Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Free Miles and Points: Checkpoints

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Christmas is over, but the Free Miles and Points series continues! This week: Checkpoints. What started as a mobile app (iOS and Android) now has a big fancy Swagbucks-like website counterpart. The app however is a true original, and is probably my favorite way of earning free miles and points.

Playing Checkpoints at Foodland in Hawaii

How it Works- For this post I'll be focusing on the mobile app part of Checkpoints as the website is pretty self-explanatory (click thru links, search, participate in sponsor activities, etc.). The app turns your routine trips to the grocery store into a fun miles and points earning scavenger hunt. Simply check in, and scan the featured items while at the store. In addition to earning points, which you can trade in for miles, you also earn Bonus Coins which allow you to play free games to try and win more points.

Scanning items at the grocery store

The Currency and Rewards- The points are what you trade in for miles and prizes, while Bonus Coins are what you use to play the Instant Win games: Paradise Slots and Jungle Lotto. Checkpoints has some great rewards include gift cards ranging from $1-$500 (335-154,500 points), Bose QuietComfort 15 noise cancelling headphones (100,000 points), iPad 4's (150,000) and even a Hermes Birkin Handbag (418,500)! Of course, if you're in it for the miles and points you should be focused on the following rewards: 500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles or Delta Skymiles for 3750 points, and 1000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles for 8,100 points. I have to admit though I'm always a sucker for the $50 Sephora card (17,250 points).

Free miles

Free Points- Checkpoints is free to download and free to use. Each scanned item is typically worth 10 points and 1 Bonus Coin. Recently, A typical trip to the grocery store will earn you about 100 points before any games. You can then expect to earn an extra hundred or so from your Bonus Coins. Don't worry if you can't always find everything in the store- not all store stock all the items. Sometimes if you can't find the item, scanning a different item from the same brand will work. The typical prize amount for both Paradise Slots and Jungle Lotto is 20 or 50 points, but I did actually win 5,000 points one time! Those names of winners scrolling across the bottom of the app are real and for one week mine was included!

Taking it to the Next Level- BonusCoins.com is a mobile site that supplements the Checkpoints app. There you get additional Bonus Coins for downloading and opening apps, most of which are free. Download, open, get coins, delete, repeat. Downloading stuff from Bonuscoins.com will slow down your phone beyond belief so don't do it if you have an urgent need to use the internet. I typically like to start a bunch of downloads right before bed, and then deal with the opening/deleting part first thing in the morning. Some of the downloads are even worth keeping. I've even discovered a few cool new games.

BonusCoins.com

Overall Analysis and Other Stuff You Should Know- Don't cheat (i.e. print a bunch of computer-generated bar codes off the internet or scan items from your home). They say they review all scans, and they're not kidding! You will get caught. I did. I got off with a warningand since then I've been playing fair. Checkpoints can really pay off if you take it seriously. My husband and I went all out for a while to see how much we could get and had no problem getting the 3,250 points needed for a $10 Amazon.com gift card each week! That said, we don't normally go to the grocery store daily, so it takes us a little longer to rack up all those points now when we stick to our usual routine. It's still fun though and it definitely makes trips to the grocery store more interesting (if don't mind the occasional person giving you a weird look because you're scanning stuff with your phone). My advice is to scan what's easy, download an app every now and then, and have some fun earning free miles!

Using Bonus Coins to play Jungle Lotto. Moderately addicting.

How to Sign Up- download from the App Store or Google Play. You can use my code "hulagrrl210" to get 300 points (I get 150) or you can join the conga line over at flyertalk. Visit Checkpoints.com to learn more.

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