Category Archives: Extreme Tactics

The Free Cheese Stick Loophole

I figured out a way to get 54 cheese sticks and $3.03 worth of gas for free when you make a $25 fuel purchase at Super America gas stations.  At least that’s one way to spin the convoluted points-earning scheme I have come up with.

Is this what free gas looks like to you? (Or is that just my points psychosis taking hold...)

Is this what free gas looks like to you? (Or is that just my points psychosis taking hold…)

It all started when I was in my local Super America station, talking to the cashier about the impending end of Double Coupon Tuesdays.  I was planning on buying a few hundred dollars worth of gift cards, earning 10 pts per dollar, in order to have enough points (8,750) for one last $0.50/gal coupon before the end of August.  He mentioned that another good way to quickly earn points was with the food item promotion where you earn 1000 points for every 6 items purchased.  Normally I avoid buying gas station food because it’s expensive and unhealthy.  But the cashier showed me the best deal on food items, which is 3 cheese sticks for $1.50 (regularly $0.75 each).  If you buy 6 of them for $3.00, you get 1000 points.

That perked my ears up.  When spending 8,750 points for the $0.50/gal coupon and using it on Double Coupon Tuesdays, you can get $1.00 off per gallon up to 25 gallons.  This means the points are worth $2.86 per 1000.  And now I discover I can “buy” 1000 points for $3.00 and get 6 cheese sticks out of the deal.  That’s 6 cheese sticks for $0.14!  But wait . . .

The above calculation only considers the bonus points and doesn’t account for the regular points earned on the $3.00 purchase, which is an extra 60 points.  Furthermore, if your $3.00 purchase is paid with a gift card (as it should be if you are using the free gas tactic) you earned another 30 points when you bought the gift card.

6 cheese sticks for $3.00: 60 pts for purchase + 30 pts for gift card + 1000 bonus points = 1090 pts per 6 cheese sticks purchased.

At 1,090 total points for each group of 6 cheese sticks, you’d have to do it 9 times to get the 8,750 points required for the big gas coupon. This would leave you with 1,060 points leftover, which is worth $3.03 in free gas according to the above valuation.

Two sides of the same coin

You can choose to look at this deal in one of two ways.

  1. You’re buying 25 gallons of gas at a small discount, and getting the 54 cheese sticks for free, OR
  2. You’re buying the cheese sticks at a discounted price, and getting the big gas coupon (worth $25) for free.

Either way, it all revolves around the fact that Super America doubles coupons on Tuesdays and that you can buy a $0.50/gal coupon with 8,750 My SA Rewards points.  Which brings me to the next part:

Now, the kicker . . .

None of this will work after September 1st.  That’s right; My SA Rewards points will be worth exactly HALF of what they are currently worth, starting next month.  As I wrote about last week, Super America will stop double coupon Tuesdays after this month.

The moral of the story

If all the math in this deal breaks down in a few days, why waste my time explaining it to you?  Why did you just read this?  Several reasons:

  • You can still take advantage of this deal through this Tuesday.
  • Working through the calculations and point valuations for a little scheme like this probably isn’t worth much, BUT it’s exactly this type of in-depth analysis that leads to exceptionally awesome discoveries like the loophole I wrote about last week that was worth over a million frequent flyer miles.
  • The breakdown of this deal is yet another example of why you shouldn’t wait to get in the game!  Deals are always disappearing and getting downgraded.  If you enjoy getting something for nothing, traveling for free, and maximizing valuable opportunities, then read more and get in the game now!

The Man Who Earned 1.25 Million Miles . . . with Pudding

This guy is my hero.  David Phillips became a legend in the points and miles world when he earned 1,253,000 frequent flyer miles by taking advantage of a marketing promotion.  In 1999 Healthy Choice was running a promotion whereby 10 UPCs from their food products could be redeemed for 500 miles each (at your airline of choice).  They would double it to 1000 miles if the submissions were mailed before the end of May.  Mr. Phillips (a.k.a. The Pudding Guy) calculated that the miles were far more valuable than the cost of the food products themselves so he found the best deal in town, the pudding cups.  Like a good value tactician, he took full advantage of the deal before it was gone!  He bought 12,150 cups of pudding (among other food products) for $3140 and earned one and a quarter million miles!
I can’t figure out how I was previously unaware of this legendary figure in the points world.  I recently saw the Adam Sandler movie “Punch Drunk Love” which features a fictionalized version of Mr. Phillips’s pudding escapade.  I loved the story so much I used a clip of it as a hook in my post, Don’t Hoard Points.

It was only after I used the clip that I decided to find out if such a promotion ever existed, and I discovered The Pudding Guy is real!

For a more detailed report of what this Hero of Value did, check out these links:

The archived Flyertalk blurb written by Mr. Phillips himself

A short video featuring commentary by the man

The wikipedia entry on David Phillips