UPDATE: This deal has expired. Sign up for my email list to get alerted of similar deals in the future!
You can now add golfing to the list of ways to earn airline miles! A company by the name of Golfmiles is awarding frequent flyer miles or points, or gift cards, for booking tee times through their website and we’ve got a special signup promotion for you.
I worked with the team at Golfmiles to secure a special offer for readers of The Honeymoon Guy: For the month of August, they’ll award 1,500 bonus miles to readers of this site who register through this special link and then books a tee time within 60 days. The standard signup bonus on the Golfmiles site is 500 miles, so with this offer you’ll get triple the norm. If you do sign up through this offer, I’ll receive a small number of miles myself as the referrer (thank you!).
Golfmiles is partnered with 6,000+ courses and offers miles in the frequent flyer programs of 11 different airlines: American Airlines, Etihad, Frontier, Hawaiian, Iceland Air, JetBlue, Southwest, United, Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic.
Now before I was willing to partner with Golfmiles I had to be sure the company’s booking service provided value. So I tested the site out. I signed up, booked a tee time through the site and then played that round of golf (terribly).
How it Works
Golfmiles.com is essentially a front-end searching and booking site. When you’re looking to book a tee time, instead of visiting various specific golf course websites or calling pro shops, you search for available tee times and complete the booking all online at Golfmiles.com.
There are other aggregate sites around but they don’t offer the perks that Golfmiles.com does.
So the concept is certainly appealing in principle but there were two major questions in my mind: 1) Is the site easy to use? and 2) Is the pricing competitive?
Ease of Use
The front page of the site is straightforward. You select a geographic area to search and a date of interest, click “Search Tee Times” and your search is on. After crunching for a few seconds, the site returns results. In one of my test searches, the number of available tee times returned was 602, so there was a great selection.
The results are presented in an attractive summary list format. For each course with an available tee time, you get the starting price and reward information, both points/miles and gift card. The mileage earning rate varied a lot between courses. It appears that the number of miles you earn for a booking is, not surprisingly, related to the price of the booking.
One feature I didn’t see was a composite map presentation option. It would be nice to see all the search results on a map as proximity can be a major factor in selection of a course to play.
Clicking on a specific course result produces a detailed list with all the available tee times throughout the day of interest. Once you select your chosen tee time, you are presented with a summary page which includes a radio button selection for number of players. The fees, taxes and reward info updates dynamically as you change the player count. The remainder of the booking process is also straightforward.
At a point during my testing the site was finicky on Firefox but it worked flawlessly on Chrome at that time and all others.
Overall, I found the site very easy to use and self-explanatory.
Besides ease of use, the other key question was, How do tee time prices on Golfmiles.com compare to other booking options?
On a Thursday evening I did some searching for next-day tee times. I found a late afternoon tee time at a nearby course of interest for just $23, including cart. That tee time was available for 1, 2, 3 or 4 players (I booked for two). I then compared the price I paid through Golfmiles.com with the price I would have paid if I booked directly with the golf course.
The website of the golf course showed that my tee time of 5:05PM fell into the twilight category with a corresponding price of $33. The course website also included a statement that the best prices are offered online (as opposed to walk-up or calling) so the $23 rate offered on Golfmiles.com actually saved us $10 per person over the best price offered directly by the golf course. On top of that, I had the option of earning miles (100 United MileagePlus miles) or a $5 gift card, which I of course would not have received if I booked through the golf course directly.
For the sake of fully trying out the website and checking timeline on mileage delivery I selected the 100 United MileagePlus miles. I value MileagePlus miles at about 1.5 cents each so the gift card value of $5 is actually significantly more, percentage-wise, than the airline miles.
Payoff For An Avid Golfer
If you’re an avid golfer, you could rack up a substantial number of airline miles by using the site to book all of your tee times. For someone that golfs about once a week, 40 weeks a year, you could potentially earn enough airline miles to fly a domestic round-trip flight. That’s based on earning 625 miles per tee time, which seems doable based on the searches I performed. Alternatively, you could rack up $1,000 in gift cards, based on a $12.50 gift card per booking.
Payoff For the Average Joe that Golfs Infrequently
Of course the number of miles or value of gift cards you earn is a function of how many tee times you book. For the average person that golfs maybe a few times a year, Golfmiles.com won’t be getting them tens of thousands of miles. However, the site and service will yield such a person a non-trivial number of miles/points. Sometimes even a small number of points/miles can be critical as the activity will keep the account active, which prevent points/miles from expiring.
Additionally, the site and service can be very useful if a user is a small number of miles away from a redemption threshold. Say you’re sitting at 24,500 miles but are looking to book a domestic roundtrip flight. You could use Golfmiles to book a round of golf that earns you 500 miles, enabling you to reach an account total of 25,000 miles.
Timeliness of Reward Delivery
I created my Golfmiles account on a Thursday, booked a tee time that night for a round of golf the next day and then received the signup bonus miles the following Wednesday. So the signup bonus miles were delivered less than a week after fulfilling the signup requirement. Ten days after playing my round of golf I received the corresponding miles.
Summary and Conclusions
Golfmiles is a great addition to the frequent flyer miles/points arena. The special signup bonus offer for readers of this site – in effect for August – is a great one. The 1,500 miles could easily be worth $22, offsetting much of the cost of a round of golf.
On a recurring basis, it enables avid golfers to rack up a lot of miles or gift cards. For less frequent golfers it still offers a nice payoff. The miles earned can be critical to getting a user over a redemption threshold or keeping an account active. If you need a few hundred miles to reach a threshold for a honeymoon or vacation flight redemption, you may want to get those while hitting the links.
I don’t golf very frequently but whenever I’m planning to do so I’ll be checking Golfmiles.com. If their rates remain equal to or better than the rates available elsewhere I’ll gladly book through the site. With 6,000 courses on board and more supposedly in the works, there’s a very good chance I’ll be using the site again.