In the last 10 years that I have been into credit cards rewards, miles and points, I have come across so many people who have thrown away or discarded excellent promotional invitations for credit cards offering exceptional bonuses for applying. In fact, I have taken advantage of many such mailer in my lifetime earning me a bulk of miles and points.
As an example, five years ago, one of my friend received a targeted mailing offering him 100,000 bonus United Airlines miles just for applying for the card, yes just for applying, no purchase necessary, no spend required, all that with first year annual fee waived. He asked me and my response was to jump on it – 100K bonus was the first time I had seen in my life, until then. Guess what, he didn’t and the next time I met him, he asked me if I had the link to the offer as he had trashed that mailer. I obviously didn’t have that offer as such offers are targeted and they have a special invitation number and code on it that only the addressee can use to apply. Their system matches the names on the invitation with the one on the application and will go forward if it mismatches.
Another story if from three years ago when my colleague received an offer from American Express to upgrade his American Express Green Charge Card to American Express Gold Card for which the invitation offered him 75,000 Membership Rewards points, yes 75,000 points. That offer to upgrade to a gold card was pure gold as it was unheard of at that time. And the first-year annual fee was waived for him. I coerced him into taking it up which I am glad he did! He got the 75K points which he stupidly redeemed for gift cards without checking with me. That is one of the worst ways to waste your valuable AMEX MR points. This does not end here, in 6-9 months, he received another offer from AMEX to upgrade his Gold Card to Platinum AMEX card and this time, the offer was 100,000 bonus AMEX MR points, with first annual fee waived. This time, he jumped on it without even checking with me and called me once he received his card to seek my advice to opti-maxi-mize his points. I helped him plan his and his wife’s trip to London using those points, from New York (JFK) non-stop in Upper Class (business class) on Virgin Atlantic Airways by transferring the points to ANA‘s (All Nippon Airways) frequent flyer program who partners with Virgin Atlantic Airways. Retail cost of those tickets were in the range of $7,000, per person.
I am glad he had learnt his lesson the second time the opportunity came knocking on his doors (read mailbox). Now, he has learnt to play this game smartly and with little guidance, is as savvy as other players in this interesting and often lucrative game.