Man turns $3,000 of pudding into unlimited airmiles

The pudding guy

A man turned $3,000 of chocolate pudding into a massive amount of airmiles - and it looks as though he’ll never pay for a flight again.

In 1999 David Phillips noticed a promotion where you could swap 10 barcodes from any product in a range of food called Healthy Choice for 500 frequent flyer miles. Healthy Choice made all sorts of food, from ready meals and tins of soup, to individual pots of chocolate pudding. Of course all of the products had different prices, most products we’re too expensive to make it worthwhile. However in a discount supermarket David found individual pots of chocolate pudding for just 25¢ each, that means it’d only cost $2.50 for 500 airmiles.

What made the promotion even more lucrative, was that if you submitted your barcodes before the end of May 1999 you’d get double the amount of miles, 1000 airmiles for 10 barcodes instead of 500. For David, that was 1000 miles for every $2.50 spent. So he quickly went to every chain of the supermarket selling the 25¢ pudding in the Sacramento area and bought up 12,000 individual cups of pudding, costing him $3,000 and netting him 1.2 million airmiles.

The problem then, was that he had 12,000 pots of pudding in his garage, and they all needed the barcodes peeled off them and had to be sent in before the end of May to take advantage of the double airmiles promotion. He initially had his family pitch in and start peeling, but after they all got blisters on their fingers from doing so many he realised he needed a better plan. In a genius way of killing two birds with one stone David offered all his pudding as a donation to the Salvation Army, on the condition that they removed the barcodes for him. Not only did they do that, by giving the pudding as a charitable donation to the Salvation Army the purchase qualified him for a tax rebate, so even got part of the $3,000 he spent back!

But how did he turn 1.2 million miles into unlimited miles?

The biggest perk of getting all these airmiles (except the free travel, of course), that that by taking the flights he was actually earning even more free miles, meaning that $3,000 has netted him almost unlimited frequent flyer miles. At the last count David has amassed over 6 million airmiles in total, and he isn’t showing any signs of stopping, he now makes money flying around the US (and earning even more airmiles) giving speeches about how to make the most of frequent flyer glitches like these - and is known as "the pudding guy".

We haven’t got any flight glitches quite as good as this, but check out our trick for cheaper flights or how to get a free first class upgrade.