Yep, just free goddamn groceries. There’s a catch, of course. You need to collect Air Miles and shop at Safeway, and you need to hack the American Express Air Miles Platinum credit card first. More details below.
Before we get started, you should know Air Miles has never been a great rewards program. It’s free, I guess, but it’s still shit. Using Safeway as an example, you only get 1 reward mile for every $20 you spend. The only way people accumulate a meaningful miles total at all is by hunting for items that give you “bonus miles”, which I don’t recommend you do. To make matters worse, it takes 7,500 miles just to fly to Europe. Earning miles the usual way means you’d have to spend $150,000 just for that flight. Air Miles are dumb, and you should know that going in. Don’t even get me started on how miles are gonna start expiring soon. Seriously.
The Air Miles program’s only saving grace is you can now log in and change your miles type from Dream Miles to Cash Miles. Instead of earning towards a flight you’ll likely never take, you can now trade 95 Cash Miles for $10 off your Safeway grocery bill. This is where it gets juicy.
First off, you CANNOT turn existing Dream Miles into Cash Miles. This is super sneaky, especially when Dream Miles is the default setting. What you need to do is log into the Air Miles website, click on “Get Miles”, then click “Set your preference”. Slide the bar over until it reads “100% AIR MILES Cash”, then click “Set my preference”. It’ll take a day or two to switch your account over, but you’re done now. You’re now earning Cash Miles.
Still want that $210 in free groceries? You’ll need to sign up for that American Express. Here’s the link again. As you can see, there’s no annual fee for the first year and it’s $65/year after that. That’s okay, we won’t be paying. You’ll also notice you get 2,000 reward miles as long as you charge $500 to the card within the first three months of membership. See where I’m going with this? Sign up, link your Air Miles account to it after you’ve switched over to Cash Miles, collect your 2,000 Cash Miles which equals $210 of Safeway groceries, and cancel the card before you have to pay an annual fee. Easy peasy. (A word of caution: This may slightly impact your credit score.)
The crazy thing is there’s actually loads of free shit out there just like this. Here’s an even better article about credit card hacking from MMM. I juggle credit card rewards all the time and just saved up enough Avion points for a flight to Spain. Cost: $170 in annual fees.
Credit cards can be great if you know how to use them. As long as you keep up with your bills, you’re golden. And apparently, if you know how to hack them, they can be a nonstop fountain of free shit.
One final note: In researching for this article, this is only how I think this deal works. I spent an hour on the phone with them checking my facts, but there’s always the element of human error. Read the fine print before signing anything, and please don’t sue me if something goes wrong. Let us know how it goes in the comments.
Editor’s note: Ben did not receive any payment for recommending these products.