While going through today’s mail, I noticed a sealed flyer from US Airways for my wife that at first glance seemed to be some sort of spam or otherwise useless piece of junk mail. However, being neurotic about points and miles, I agreed in my head to waste the 10 seconds to open it and I was pleasantly surprised to find a bonus offer for 15,000 miles!
The offer was for 15,000 bonus US Airways miles if I spent over $500 a month on my wife’s US Airways Mastercard in August, September and October. So for a total of $1,500 of spending over 3 months (which is easy for us to do), US Airways will give her 16,500 total miles (1,500 miles for spending $1,500 + 15,000 bonus miles). If I can manage to spend exactly $1,500 over the 3 months, she will earn 11 miles per dollar spent! Try getting that on another credit card for your next $1,500 in spend.
My best guess on why she was targeted for this offer was she never uses this credit card and Barclays is hoping she will put this card in her wallet to use for everyday spend. I do not recommend this card for everyday spend but I do recommend to get it for its great initial signup bonus of 40,000 miles for buying a cup of coffee (literally). You can earn more US Airways miles per dollar spent with other cards like the Starwood American Express which earns 1 Starwood point that converts to 1.25 US Airways miles if converted properly.
Now the question you’re probably asking is how do I get targeted for offers like these? Here are a few hints:
1) Opt in to all communications from the major banks (American Express, Chase, Barclays, Bank of America, Citibank, US Bank) – This one is simple enough. If you willingly prevent the banks from sending you promotions and other offers via mail and email, then you won’t get these offers. Yes, you will get a fair share of spam as well but it takes only one of these offers to make up for it. Below is an example of how to do change these settings at American Express (go to Profile and then General Marketing Emails. Each bank should have a similar menu somewhere in your profile or account settings).
2) Don’t go Paperless – I hope the environmentalists won’t kill me here but I receive all my statements and other notifications from the banks via the postal service. I have no anecdotal evidence to support this but those famous 100,000 and even 150,000 point American Express Platinum offers have always come by way of mail – I’ve never seen a report of someone getting one via email. Additionally, I always make a point to go through all my physical mail but there is a chance the spam filter on your email might catch some of these offers and you’ll never know about them. Sorry Al Gore but I’ll continue to receive my notifications via the old fashioned way.
3) Have Some Sort of Relationship with the Bank – Another simple but easy one to fulfill. If you’ve never had a relationship with American Express in any capacity, it would sort of difficult to get targeted for an offer (though not impossible). If you have a banking relationship or simply another credit card from that bank, your odds to get targeted offers are increased.
4) Don’t be an Amazing Customer – Seems counter-intuitive but this is exactly how Andrea was able to receive this offer from Barclays for her US Airways Mastercard. By not using her card, the bank is hoping to jumpstart the relationship with this lucrative offer. If she was already using this card for everyday spending, I doubt she would be targeted for this offer (simply look at the headline in the flyer “make this card the only card for everyday spending.” Sometimes it pays to only be an average customer.