A Possible Way to Get Targeted for a 50k United MileagePlus Explorer Offer

I posted last week about how I was targeted for a 50,000 mile signup bonus on the United MileagePlus Explorer card via email and how the offer link seemingly hasn’t expired even though it should have. To followup on that, the link still works but I think I know why. This week I was sent the following envelope via snail mail. Since I am still targeted for a 50,000 mile offer, that could explain why the link still shows me the offer.


All of the terms of the offer are identical to what I received via email but do you see the interesting language on this mailer (hint: check out the circle and arrow).  It specifically congratulates me for recently earning miles so does this possibly hold a clue as to why I was targeted for this offer? Let’s take a look at my recent activity.

United Activity

As you can see, I haven’t had much activity earning United MileagePlus miles with the exception of some random earning from shopping via the United MileagePlus Shopping mall. And the only two I’d consider recent are obviously just the two last transactions. My hypothesis is that earning miles via their shopping portal, mostly from 10/17, contributed to receiving a targeted 50,000 mile offer. It’s possible that lack of activity also contributed to this as someone who constantly earns United miles may not be able to trigger this targeted offer.

If you haven’t received the signup bonus on the United Explorer card in the past 18 months and you haven’t had much activity earning United miles, you might be to get yourself targeted for this offer. The next time you do some online shopping consider using the United shopping mall to earn miles. I’d also guess that earning miles from other means outside of flying such as crediting car rentals to United or even transferring 1,000 points from Chase Ultimate Rewards could work.

Anyone else have luck trying this?


Targeted Offers for the Chase United Explorer Cards Don’t Expire…Maybe

I hate to post something that I can’t replicate to prove it works for others but I need others to chime in on their experience to see if this is anything or just a random coincidence. Last month, I was targeted for a 50,000 mile offer on the Chase MileagePlus Explorer Card and it was clear per the terms offer that I must apply by October 21st.  I applied for this card two years and cancelled it about a year ago, so I pleasantly surprised to see this offer. Here is a snippet from the email:


However for various reasons that aren’t important, I decided to pass on applying and did nothing by October 21. Last night, I decided to see if the offer still worked for me and I clicked the link from the email. And it still showed I could apply for the 50,000 offer even though it was past the stated expiration date. However, that’s not the most interesting part.


Now as many of you know, you must sign into your United account whenever you try any of the targeted links that can be found floating around the internet that advertise a 50,000 mile offer since the standard, public bonus right now is only 30,000 miles on Chase’s website. Interestingly, I can only get the 50,000 mile offer to appear when clicking the link from my email (which re-directs me to https://www.theexplorercard.com/50kAFW). If I try that link directly or any others that I have found, I can only get a 30,000 mile offer to appear. There seems to be something to be said for clicking the link via the targeted email even though it should be expired as that is only working 50k link for me.

So is this something noteworthy? I have no clue but check your email folders (spam too) to see if you ever got sent a similar offer to apply, pay no attention to the expiration date in that email and give the link in the email a shot. Maybe this helps someone get a 50,000 mile offer they thought was expired and would never think to try clicking on an “expired” offer. This could also help those who don’t want to rush to apply for the card and want to wait to apply to make it part of a larger round of applications.

Has anyone had a similar experience like this?

Quick Deal: 25,000 United Miles for Buying a Certified Pre-Owned Mercedes-Benz

I’m sure there is a limited target audience for this deal but United is offering 25,000 miles to members who purchase a Certified Pre-Owned Mercedes-Benz and if you are a United elite member, you are also entitled to special discount pricing on certain models. In order to take advantage of this offer, you must first register and obtain a control number to present to the participating Mercedes-Benz dealership.


Direct Link to Signup for This Offer

For this promotion, United is partnering with TrueCar to find available models near your neighborhood. You can view the prices on each car but since I’m not in the market to buy a Mercedes, I can’t express any opinion whether these prices seem fair or not (though if I had to guess they are probably high). To obtain the 25,000 miles, you must print out the savings certificate with your control number (see below).


While it would be nice to earn 25,000 miles for buying a car, remember these miles are roughly worth $300-$350 depending on how you value them so when considering the price of a Mercedes, this is not a significant incentive. You are probably better off researching and finding a good deal on a Mercedes yourself though it may be worth a shot to see how much you can negotiate on a car you find using United’s TrueCar link.

Terms and conditions:
The bonus mileage offer and incentives are only available to members who are eligible MileagePlus members at the time of an eligible transaction. An eligible MileagePlus member is a member who has been enrolled in the MileagePlus program for at least six (6) months prior to the time of accessing the bonus mileage offer and incentives, or if less than six (6) months, has flown at least one (1) flight eligible to earn miles since enrollment. To receive the miles or incentives, the MileagePlus member must log in to united.com/mercedes using their MileagePlus credentials and print out a Savings Certificate to present to the dealer for the applicable car of their choice. In order to be eligible for the bonus mileage offer or other incentives, the member must obtain a Savings Certificate prior to the transaction. Upon completion of the sale or lease, these bonus miles will be posted to a member’s account approximately 6-8 weeks after the date of completion of the eligible transaction. These offers are not valid for any purchases already completed.

LAST CALL: Hyatt Suite Upgrades, United Partner Award Sale & More Ending February 28th

With March right around the corner (and hopefully an end to this awful winter for us in the Northeast), there are several deals and offers expiring at the end of month. I’d figured it would be helpful to do a quick roundup of 3 deals you should consider taking advantage of before February 28th.

1) Hyatt Suite Upgrade Awards – Each year Hyatt suite upgrade awards expire on February 28th before Diamond members get four new awards on March 1st. While you must make your reservation by Saturday, you don’t have to stay by then. You can generally book rooms a year out so if you have future Hyatt stays in 2015 or early 2016, I’d consider locking in those stays now. While most rooms are cancelable up until a defined period beforehand, please note that if you need to change the dates of your future stay at any point, you will lose the suite upgrade. Essentially there is no risk to lock in an award to use your suite upgrade now and you can cancel or change without issue  All you lose is the suite upgrade which would have expired if you didn’t attempt to use it.

Andaz Maui Suite

Andaz Maui Suite

If you are like me and lost Diamond status for 2015, this will be your last chance to use ANY suite upgrade awards until you become a Diamond member again. I made sure to use mine so I am staying at the Andaz Maui in April and the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in August on points + cash stays. You can use a suite upgrade award in conjunction with a points + cash stay but not an award night booked solely with points.

2) United Partner Award Sale – United has been offering discounted award flights on partner airlines for the past month or so but that sale is officially ending on Saturday. Ever since United devalued its frequent flyer program, certain award flights on partner airlines in Star Alliance cost more than flights on United’s own planes. For example, a one way business class ticket to Europe on United costs 57,500 miles while a flight on a partner airline like Swiss, Austrian or Lufthansa costs 70,000. If you have been eyeing an award flight to either Europe or Asia on a Star Alliance partner, I highly recommend booking it before Saturday to save 10,000-12,500 miles each way! You can book flights for travel between now and January 2016, so you do a wide range of dates to work with.

United Award Sale

United Award Sale

3) Citibank $400 Checking Account Bonus – I haven’t posted about this deal previously but Citibank has a promotion in which you can earn $400 for opening a Citigold checking account, depositing $50,000 and keeping it there for just 15 days. This promotion expires February 28th and while it requires you have to $50k in liquid capital, this could be a great way to make some quick money. You might get hit with a 1099 on this offer which reduces the value of it but you still come out ahead on this offer, especially considering it only takes 15 days. The good Doctor has a writeup here on this offer.

There are also others Citibank Citigold offers for 30,000 AA miles or 40,000 Thank You Points and you can fund all these checking accounts with a credit card.

Have I missed any other deals that expire February 28th? If so, please share in the comments and I’ll add it to this post.

My Reflections on the United Mistake Fare Not Being Honored & How to Not Miss These Deals Going Forward

I’m sure this is old news to everyone at this point, especially since major news sources (USA Today, CNN etc.) picked up on the amazing United first class mistake fare on Wednesday, but United has decided to NOT honor any of the tickets that were booked. A lot of digital ink has been spilled about whether United has legal obligation to honor these tickets (obviously United doesn’t think so) but I’ve been asked by several people for my thoughts on this so I figured I’d outline them here.

My Cancelled Ticket

My Cancelled Ticket

With mistakes fares, there is never a guarantee these flights will be honored even if they get ticketed. In the past we have seen some amazing fares honored such as the Delta First Class glitch (Christmas 2013) and the $187 flights to Abu Dhabi a few months ago but we have seen some ultimately voided such as the infamous 4 mile United award flight to Hong Kong. There has even been an instance where the airline (in this case Swiss) cancelled tickets but was later forced to reinstate the tickets after the Canadian Government got involved. 

At the crux of the issue, is whether the Department of Transportation’s rules state that the fare has to be honored. For this United mistake fare, I believe you could make an argument related based on DOT rule 399.88 which reads:

“(a) It is an unfair and deceptive practice within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 41712 for any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, or of a tour (i.e., a combination of air transportation and ground or cruise accommodations), or tour component (e.g., a hotel stay) that includes scheduled air transportation within, to or from the United States, to increase the price of that air transportation, tour or tour component to a consumer, including but not limited to an increase in the price of the seat, an increase in the price for the carriage of passenger baggage, or an increase in an applicable fuel surcharge, after the air transportation has been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of an increase in a government-imposed tax or fee. A purchase is deemed to have occurred when the full amount agreed upon has been paid by the consumer.”

Since these flights were TO the United States, which is an important criteria, that rule reads to me that if I paid the agreed upon amount, United cannot void nor raise the price of the ticket that was issued. United offered me my tickets at 666 DKK and I accepted – that seems pretty cut and dry – and I can see the charge on my card, indicating United also accepted my payment. While United is publicly blaming a 3rd party for the currency error, that is still on United since they ultimately hired that company to provide that service. Based on a very literal definition, I read that to be the DOT rule above should be in effect. That said, I certainly do not feel cheated nor dis-serviced by United which seems to be the intent of the rule. It will be interesting to see what viewpoint the DOT takes on this.

So what can you do? You can file a complaint with the DOT citing this rule and making your case why the fare should be honored. It takes about 5 minutes to fill the form outline here and if this is your first time doing this, please read this Flyertalk thread on how to do it. I think there is a non-zero chance the DOT will step in and enforce these fares. I believe they are getting overwhelmed with complaints and they might decide to take action by forcing United to reissue all these tickets. To be clear, I think this likelihood is small but its not zero. For those that will ask, I am NOT filing my own DOT complaint as I do not feel truly dis-serviced by United and I am not any worse for the wear.

I think I’ve made my opinion known about this matter but let’s discuss how you can get in on the next mistake fare (and hope it gets honored!)

For those that missed this mistake fare, here are several tips to take advantage of the next one:

  • Follow blogs like mine, Dans Deals, Flight Deal, View From the Wing etc. Better yet follow them (and me) on Twitter as well. For example, I re-tweeted Gary’s post about the mistake fare several hours before I could get my own post up about it.
  • Subscribe to the Flyertalk Mileage Run and Premium Deals threads. I believe this fare was first found and outed on Flyertalk about 4 hours before I saw it on any blog.
  • Once you are aware of the mistake fare, DO NOT CALL THE AIRLINE. This is rule numero uno. The sooner they find the mistake, the sooner they will kill it so let’s not help them out. OK?
  • Be ready to book and fast. Sometimes these deals literally last minutes, sometimes hours. I had a buddy of mine book one ticket for his girlfriend but by the time he went to book his ticket, the deal was dead. You don’t always have time to call your spouse/partner/boss/friend/second cousin twice removed. You generally have 24 hours to cancel your itinerary after booking so book the flight first THEN figure out if it will work for you. If not, simply cancel. And I’ve even seen the airline allowing you to cancel way after the 24 hour mark without issue since they don’t actually want customers taking advantage of the mistake fare.
  • Read Instructions! While you do need to be quick, take an extra 30 seconds and re-read the instructions or details behind the mistake fare. For example, a co-worker of mine ended up booking an economy ticket instead of first class during this mistake fare. Ultimately it didn’t matter since the tickets were voided. I’m sure she would have been happy to get a $50 flight either way but if you can do it in business/first class why not?
  • Lastly, know a general idea of what dates would work for you. You should be able to quickly determine what weeks/weekends you are not available due to other travel or commitments and what your ideal dates would be for this trip. Once I saw this mistake fare post, I knew I wanted to travel before June 12th but I couldn’t travel in March, the end of April or beginning of May. In the end, I was quickly able to book early June but it helped knowing when I could book and when I couldn’t it.