Monday Morning Miles Talk – Unexpected Ways That I Have Earned Points

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Unexpected Ways That I Have Earned Points
View from our room at the Nassau Hilton

Monday Morning Miles Talk is a regular series that has some smaller, more quirky ideas to kick off the work week.  These are essentially random ideas that I wanted to share with you.  Here are the previous entries.

Unexpected Ways That I have Earned Points

This weekend I was discussing with a friend the different ways I had amassed points without really doing anything.  These were unique one off type of things that something strange happened and I got points for it.  I was curious if anyone else had similar stories so let me know of yours in the comments section, I think it could be cool to see different data points.

Examples of When I Earned Unexpected Points

I have had three different occasions in which something unexpected happened that earned me points.  I go over them in detail below.

Unexpected Ways That I Have Earned Points

Grand Hyatt Baha Mar

My wife and I had stayed at what used to be the Radisson on Cable Beach in Nassau, Bahamas for our honeymoon.  The Radisson was no longer around, it became the Melia, when we were looking to book a trip for our 10 year anniversary (Summer of 2015).  We loved the Cable Beach area and had heard about the new Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar property, so we decided to book it with 2 free night certificates.

We were planning on staying there for 2 nights and 2 nights at the Hilton downtown Nassau, which was 40,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

A few months before we were supposed to depart we got a call from a Hyatt rep saying that the hotel would not be done in time.  We were told they would need to cancel our reservation.  They returned our free night certificates, gave us 40,000 Hyatt points to book 2 nights in the future, and offered to pay for any flight change fees if needed.  I thought this was a great response to the issue.  People later on down the line weren’t so lucky and they stopped offering the free points.  It took another years to get the property open.

We ended up adding another 2 nights at the Hilton and walked away with $800 in Hyatt points for free.  Not too shabby!

Office Max/Depot Gift Card Offer

A few months ago I bought some Bath & Body Works gift cards from Office Max/Depot to resell.  They were offering a deal where you could get $50 worth of gift cards for $40 (select merchants).  I was able to make a small profit plus earn 5x points with my Ink Plus card.  I bought quite a few but 2 of the cards rang up weird when I purchased them.  When I checked their balances later they had a zero balance, the cards did not load properly.

I went back to the store to see what they could do.  They told me I needed to contact the gift card provider, which I did.  The gift card company told me I needed to deal with the store and that they couldn’t help me, of course they did! After going back and forth some I finally found a competent Office Max/Depot manager, shocking I know.  He told me to come in and he would just refund me for the cards.

When I drove back out to the store he offered to give me a full $50 refund, the gift card’s value, to make up for the hassle.  I thought that was very generous.  He then asked if I wanted the refund in cash or back on my card?  Uh CASH please haha.  I ended up making $10 in cash plus I got a free 200 UR points for the original purchase.

Unexpected Ways That I Have Earned Points

Chase Ink Referral

Chase often offers 20,000 UR points for any referral you provide. I referred a friend for the Chase Ink Preferred.  He ended up getting denied because of 5/24, Chase included a card he had forgotten about which put him at 5/24.  We were both a little bummed about it.

When I logged into my Chase account I saw a 20,000 point addition in my future earnings statement.  I thought this must be a mistake for the referral and they would correct it.  A few days later it was up to 40,000 points…I had no idea what was going on.

When my statement closed I was awarded 40,000 points.  I did post the referral link to my Facebook account but no one commented on it, liked it, or anything along those lines so I am not sure where these referrals came from.  I’ll take 40,000 free UR points any day of the week but I am still curious where the referrals came from!

Some Instances Shared by the Miles To Memories Crew

DDG received 112,000 points back from Hilton for some room issues his parents had on a 5 night stay he had booked for them.  You can read more details about it on his website.

Bethany had an instance where she booked a cruise for her friends using her American Express Platinum card.  She booked for everyone so they could all get the cruise benefit perks the Platinum card offers.  Bethany got 20,000 bonus MR points for the booking on top of the normal earnings. The bonus points were from a spending bonus/offer she wasn’t aware of on the card!


If you play this game long enough you are bound to get some mystery/freebie type of points. I know that with the 5x Ink bonus going away on PPDG purchases I could use some free points from somewhere right about now!

Let us know of any instances where it happened to you in the comments.  I would love to read about them!

Have a great week!!

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. This was not miles per se but in March 1993 my wife and went round trip from Kansas City to Rome on United. Our flights were Kansas City-Chicago-Washington-Rome and return Rome-Washington-Chicago-Kansas City. After I booked the flights United announced a promotion to celebrate the new livery they were repainting their in. If you flew 8 segments within a specific time frame you got a free flight to anywhere United flew in the Caribbean that fall. Since our Rome trip was already 6 flights each the following weekend we flew from Kansas City to Chicago and back for $25 each way, so for a total of $50 each we vacationed in the Caribbean that fall.


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