Leveraging Monster Credit Card Signup Bonuses for Even (MANY) MORE Miles

The legendary beaubo passes along the following suggestion for maximizing the miles earned from massive credit card bonuses — rope in all of your family and friends, and have them give you control of their frequent flyer accounts.

This is radical, but then again that’s the beaubo-style!

For the BA 100K deal (really ANY credit card deal), recruit friends and family, who are not willing or able to travel, to
open up credit cards accounts and get sign up bonuses.

  • offer them either cash, say up to .25-.5 per bonus mile, so you are not getting free miles, but still VERY cheap miles OR
    offer them a redeemable award, like a mid-tier hotel night.
  • open up FFP account in their name (but you control PIN)
  • have them give you their SS#s and you actually sign them up OR give them the link to the given offer and have them sign up
  • pay them the annual fee upfront, so they don’t have to chase you for $$$
  • once card is activated, call credit card company and have limit lowered to lowest possible to minimze any exposure to cardholder
  • as there will be minimum spend requirements, pay that amount to cardholder upfront, so they don’t have to chase you for money.
  • obviously don’t go over spending amount that you paid person
  • once you have achieved appropriate spend and miles/points post, you now have virtual control (you and only you know the PIN)
    of MULTIPLE accounts. For BA, you can aggregate them all into YOUR household account. For other FFPs, you will need to count on
    combining one way awards from separate accounts to jerryrig larger redemption awards.
  • give card back to account holder for them to either close account or keep open for their future use.

Bottom line- syndicate or franchise credit card sign up bonuses with folks that will TRUST you with their credit. I controlled about 12 accounts with Amex Plat @ 50K

Now, if I understand correctly if you do offer them something other than your help in redeeming the miles you’ve earned, you might well pay them for use of their credit cards and not for the miles, you’re not really buying their miles (which they don’t even have yet!), a fine line as far as how not to be breaking any frequent flyer program rules here.

But say you aren’t giving your friends or family anything, or you’re just giving them airline tickets from frequent flyer accounts in their own names, then you should be fine. I’m speaking only to the rules of the frequent flyer programs and not to any rules in terms of interacting with credit card companies.

But the question is an interesting one, how can you leverage these 100,000 mile signup bonus to get orders of magnitude more miles than a one shot deal for yourself?

Thanks for the provocative thoughts from the guy who once hired disabled Thai rice farmers to fly between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, Thailand for the rewards.. until he got picked up by the DEA!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. A bit?

    Can’t wait for all my friends to give me their SS#’s – I can think of an even more profitable way to use them!

  2. Is there a link to beabo’s story on hiring the farmers? I haven’t heard that one yet.

  3. I think this one crosses the line and then dances a little on the bad side of the line. Surprised to see this published here, maybe Gary had a few too many cocktails at the do over the weekend

  4. @Phil: Yes, it does cross and dance way beyond the line. But I’m hardly surprised that he would come up with such a scheme (although a little disappointed that it would find publication here)

  5. @gack @Phil I haven’t done it myself but it seems interesting thinking worth passing on to get folks’ minds working.

  6. @Gary, I understand. Just not sure about potentially harming other people’s credit ratings (and taking advantage of their credulity/lack of understanding) to benefit oneself, and whether that ought to be something to be celebrated.

  7. Its one thing to “game the system”, but IMHO this crosses the line. Anyone that shares their SSN for this type of scheme deserves what they get. dings on on their credit report and the potential that someone less honorable than beaubo succumbs to temptation and runs up these new credit cards…

  8. I thought this was the sane and socially balanced one of all the FF blogs…

  9. Sounds like a good idea. My kids are about to sign up for the BA 100k card. Thanks Steve!!

  10. Don’t agree with comments. If you don’t actually share the ss# and the card is delivered to the person’s home address, there is no exposure to their credit. You simply control the pin number to their ff account which has no value to them. The cash may well come in handy to them or, alternatively, dinner or other appropriate gift. It’s a good idea-a win win.

  11. @john: Indeed. And I do wonder what Chase’s fraud department would think of this ruse? I kind of think that they would not see this in a positive light.

  12. I would not recommend anyone “lowering” their credit limit on their cards. Simply wait (with patience) for a new deal (probably better) to come along after getting the current deal.

    Greed does makes people stupid.

  13. Hi all,

    Can someone explain why this is “out of bound”? If my family or friend sign up, add me as authorized user and add my FF account as the destination. I use the card to meet the spending limit. Pay my family and friend back and have the bonus send to my account.

    Assuming friends and family agree as they may are not into miles. What’s the gray area?

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