1500 almost-free but Gilt-ridden United/Continental milesPosted: December 14, 2011
If you’re on an academic budget, chances are you haven’t signed up for Gilt.com and aren’t springing for the $252 mahimahi steaks I recently ogled (they’re on sale! They’re usually $315). Good for you, but now is the time to sign up. For new Gilt Groupe members, there’s an offer for 1500 bonus award miles. Register with Gilt Groupe through this link by entering your email address and either your United or Continental number. If you have registered for Gilt Groupe at some point in your shady past (I confess, I actually was a member — the Noisy Nerd had Gilt-ed me into it long ago), just put in a different email address. The miles are supposed to post in 6-8 weeks (I keep a list of miles I’m supposed to earn for promotions, just in case miles don’t post. Screenshots help a lot, too).
I registered both myself (under a school email that I never use since my primary email wasn’t an option) and the boyfriend I keep mentioning and then I made a purchase under each account. I won’t talk about one purchase since it’s going to be a Christmas present for another boyfriend (just kidding, same one), but the other was the cheapest item I could find: a jar of Whole Spice ginger powder, which I plan to sprinkle liberally into my breakfast congee when I’m too lazy to haul out my ginger-chopping cleaver. The ginger was $5.95 and shipping was $5.95 (yeah, for a stupid jar of ginger), so I essentially paid $11.90 for 1500 United miles (I’ll also earn 5 miles for every dollar I spend at Gilt.com for the next 6 months).
Let’s put this into perspective:
1500 is just under half of what a non-elite member would earn for a direct, one-way flight between the East and West Coasts.
1500 is what I would earn on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card if I spent $750 on travel or dining and then converted Ultimate Rewards points to United miles.
If one were to inexplicably buy United miles under normal, non-promotion circumstances, they cost $35 per 1000 plus a 7.5% tax and you need to buy at least 2000 in one go. And you get no powdered ginger to put in your congee.
I would have to check into United-associated airports 30 times on Facebook in order to get 1500 United miles (more explanation in an upcoming post).
1500 miles gets you about 1/27th of a one-way coach ticket from Singapore to the East Coast.
Unfortunately, the same offer is not available on Ruth Bourdain’s site, Guilt Taste. A real pity. I would have considered springing for the $499 ortolan.
12.15.11 UPDATE! There’s now a minimum purchase for $25 for the Gilt promotion for new members.