Today we launched the new Travel Is Free Podcast!
If you’ve already listened to our first episode – which was just my co-host Dave and I – then you’ve already heard this story. But for those who prefer reading over audio…
This week’s Throw Back Thursday is the time Dave ordered a pallet (yes, pallet) of cheese for the miles.
Circa Pudding Guy
This was after the time of the famous pudding cup story, where another former FlyerTalker known as “PuddingGuy” bought thousands of dollars worth of pudding cups.
Dave recalls that it was a promotion by Healthy Choice to promote their meals… But PuddingGuy realized that the only requirement for satisfying the promotion was a Healthy Choice label.
He scouted out the grocery store and found that the cheapest item with that label was a pudding cup.
Here’s the real genius moment…
Then, when it came time to peel the labels for submission, he took them to a shelter and donated them with the condition that the labels be peeled off and collected.
Thus, he got his thousands of pudding cup labels and the tax write off.
The Emmi Cheese Promotion
Dave has a similar story. He couldn’t remember exactly how many miles were involved in his case, but I was able to find this FlyerTalk thread with the details.
On November 10th, 2006, someone on FT named “tmcneill” posted a deal they’d discovered in their home grocery store in Queens, NY.
“Earn 500 AAdvantage miles for purchase of Swiss Knights Fondue and Cheese.”
He also mentioned that they sold “wedges”.
Let me remind you that back in the day AA miles would go a long way. You could fly international business class for less than half of the current price, and the award availability was at least 100 times better.
1 wheel of cheese apparently was $3.59, which meant for $359 you could get 50,000 AA miles, which was worth way more than $359 back then.
Dave apparently got in contact with someone who posted that they were going to get a lot of cheese. Being the curious fellow he is, Dave messaged.
Apparently the guy found the distributer and was going to get a big discount by ordering $5,000, multiple pallets, of cheese directly from them.
Dave went in on the deal and wired the guy $1,000.
First, however, Dave called headquarters and asked if there was a limit to how many cheese labels he could send in for their mileage promotion.
We joke that the guy was dreaming that Dave would order a dozen cheese wheels, or even a whole shopping cart full. He had no idea what was coming.
According to Dave, one of the most famous travel hackers for big stunts (although for whatever reason he left him nameless in the podcast) called the cheese headquarters and offered to buy $25,000 of cheese… with one catch…
He wanted $25,000 of the labels, but none of these cheese.
It’s at this point that Dave believes the cheese company caught on to their problem.
A Problem For Whom?
Dave’s cheese showed up on his doorstep. And I don’t know if anyone else out there has ordered $1,000 of cheese, but apparently it was a ton of cheese!
Even worse was having to peel off all the labels, which was not a quick ordeal.
In the end, Dave went to his computer with his little label codes and logged on to find that the 500 AA Mile redemption had been replaced with the following:
“Due to the popularity of this promotion, our supply of AAdvantage miles has been exhausted. However, we are pleased to offer a Swiss Army Knife, valued at $20 with a valid code. One (1) redemption per person or household. If you have a code, click here.”
FlyerTalk erupted with “this can’t be legal!” and “HELP!”.
… Of course Dave also freaked out and called the guy at HQ again.
After pleading his case, the guy at HQ offered to honor the promotion if Dave mailed all of his labels in.
Apparently they ultimately ended up honoring everyone who’d ordered before Dec 1st.
The Bitter Sweet Ending
The good news is that Dave got his miles.
The hilarious part for me, and less so him, was that his wife didn’t much pay attention when he asked her to get as much cheese as she wanted before he donated the rest.
After he had donated all but two or so wheels of cheese, Dave’s wife tried her first bite and loved the cheese, asking if he had any more of it!
*cue the All In The Family theme song*
“Those were the days!”