Predictions of big scores in 2014

The big score…  If you’ve been in this hobby long enough, you know the feeling…  You learn about an opportunity that’s too good to be true and you know it won’t last long.  Your pulse races as you decide to go for it.  You apply for a huge credit card bonus.  Or, you book a dirt cheap mistake fare.  Or, you buy thousands of dollars worth of gift cards in the hopes that you’ll earn the expected rewards and be able to liquidate those cards easily.  Whether it works out for better or worse, going for those big scores is exciting.

2013 didn’t have as many big scores as we saw in past years, but there were a few.  We kicked off the year with the discovery of a 100K signup offer for the American Express personal Platinum card.  That lasted maybe a day or two?  There were also a few mistake fares here or there, the most famous of which were the recent Delta mistake fares in which people bought flights to Hawaii and elsewhere, sometimes in First Class, for less than $100.  I wasn’t fast enough for that one, but when Lufthansa released a huge amount of premium award space on their new routes and those awards were bookable with United miles, I jumped on the deal and booked a round trip for three.  And, there were some great shopping portal deals too.  My favorite was when Sears offered 16 miles per dollar through the United MileagePlus portal, and they temporarily allowed gift card purchases to count, and the Chase Freedom card offered 5X at Sears (and other department stores) that quarter.  In total, some of us earned 37 miles per dollar with that deal by buying e-gift cards and then using them to buy merchandise!  Finally, don’t forget the time in which Home Improvement gift cards (which could be purchased at Office Depot for 5X) could be liquidated for free.  This meant huge numbers of free points for those who acted fast enough, and big problems for those still holding the cards when the music stopped.

I don’t have any inside knowledge about big scores coming in 2014, but I thought it would be fun to make some guesses.  First, though, let’s look at a post I wrote in August: “Are portal mega-deals on their way back?”  In that post, I complained that we hadn’t seen any big portal deals for almost a year.  But, I saw some signs that the deals might be returning.  I wrote:

Maybe I’m just a wishful thinker (and there’s no doubt, I am), but it feels to me as if something is in the wind.  Mega deals are coming.  I can feel it.

Was I right?  Oh yeah.  Beginning two months after that post, we were flooded with big portal deals.  Here are the mega deals I posted via my Quick Deals page with offers ranging from 12X to 60X:

Oct 8: Sears 12X to 16X through the United MileagePlus Shopping portal!!!!

Oct 10: Sears 12X through the AAdvantage eShopping portal!

Oct 13: AAdvantage eShopping Portal eBags 35X, McAfee 44X, Horchow 21X, The North Face 20X

Nov 3: Neiman Marcus 18X via AAdvantage eShopping Portal

Nov 17: Walgreens 15X via AAdvantage eShopping

Nov 24: Earn 60 miles per dollar at Magazines.com via AAdvantage eShopping portal!

What’s coming in 2014

The following is pure speculation.  I have no real inside information about any of this:

  • Barclays will increase the signup bonus for the US Airways card to attract new customers while they still can.  Expect to see an offer advertised as 60K, but it will really be a 50K offer because the extra 10K will be contingent upon an unwise balance transfer.
  • In order to counter Barclays’ growth into the AA market, Citibank will revive their public 50K offers for their American Airlines branded cards.  A fight for customer share would be great for us!
  • American Express will offer short term and targeted big bonuses for their Platinum cards.  I’d guess we’ll see a 75K and maybe even a 100K offer before the end of the year.  Now that the card’s lounge club access benefit is severely hobbled, Amex will be looking for new ways to win customers.  I also expect Amex will introduce a few new card benefits to ease the sting for existing cardholders.
  • The impending merger of AA and US Airways will create short term opportunities for deals in both paid and award travel.
  • Like 2013, shopping portal mega-deals will be scarce until the fourth quarter.  At that point, we’ll know which merchants are struggling to hit their sales targets when we see new 12X and 15X offers.
  • A new financial product will emerge that will make manufactured spend easier than ever (manufactured spend is where you put spend on your credit card to earn rewards, but still get most or all of your money back).  Whatever this new opportunity is, it will last no more than 4 or 5 weeks before it is locked down.

So, that’s it.  Those are my guesses of the big scores that will be coming in 2014.  I can’t stress enough that these are just guesses.  I have no special knowledge of any of these.

UPDATE: I wrote this post on Friday morning last week, and later that day a 75K American Airlines offer was discovered (unfortunately this is for the $450 per year Executive card, but still a very good offer).

What are your predictions?

What do you think of my guesses?  Do you have other predictions you’d like to share?  Please comment below.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. Another day, another eerie PFD-FM parallel posting day. Freaking me out…
    Anyway:
    * Doesn’t last week’s OfficeMax bonanza count as a big score?
    * My wife received a 100K Platinum offer last week. I imagine they’ll be competing hard on bonuses since they lost lounge access. That, or they’ll have to offer some new benefits.
    * Agree on Citi/Barclays competition.

    I predict an awesome new product from at least one of these four: US Bank, Comenity, KeyBank, and PNC.

  2. Good set of predictions. I would say online store bonuses could be seen around quarter end – these firms live quarter to quarter and so don’t think we need to wait until year end. And my tip for the source of best crazy promos this year: Best Buy. You read it here first. I think I have personally put an end to Banana Republic crazy promos 🙂

    The OM promo was a good one, as was the not too dissimilar CVS/Paypal one. And a few more that didn’t hit the big radar.

    The big question in my mind is will debt PINs continue to work the way they are now. This is the foundation of all current MS, and it’s hurting a lot of providers, I expect to see something tighten up on this front

    • MilesAbound, I hope you’re right about the quarterly bonuses rather than year-end. That’s not what we saw last year, though. BestBuy: I’m looking forward to reading about this on your blog. Regarding PINs, yeah I wasn’t intending to try to predict the bad stuff, but I agree that it has to have a limited life.

  3. I vote for the Drugstore.com earning rate to go back up to the 6x to 8x rate through the BA portal.

    Also you know there will be one or two of those weird deals during the year that hit on some random Tuesday in say May where you can buy dog food online for like 10x plus a bonus or something like that. It’s what keeps me watching blogs everyday.

  4. Good set of predictions, I think the Discover It will start having sign up bonuses. They spend a few hundred bucks a month sending me junk offers, how about offering me a sign up bonus or something? I also think something will happen to the Club Carlson card, it’s just too generous.

    • @Grant, I signed up for the Discover It in December when the bonus was $250 after spending $750 in the first three months. The bonus already posted because I used the card to max out the online spending category in 2013 Q4. I thought that was a great signup bonus for a no-annual-fee card. I’m hoping that the quarterly categories continue to be complementary (not coinciding) to the Freedom categories. I just looked at FM’s credit card page, and it seems that the sign-up bonus is currently $150.

  5. whats coming in 2014 is your website will crash and burn for exposing certain things…The CURSE IS ON YOU…YOU WILL HAVE LOTS OF BAD LUCK…..

  6. @jugoo, I laugh, but I don’t know whether or not to cry for you. Three cheers to FrequentMiler and the blog. Thanks to this blog I’ve earned over 600,000 miles and taken my family on almost a dozen trips 🙂

  7. I agree we’ll see the intro of some interesting new products this year…at this point it’s all about who gets out before it gets ugly.

    This week’s OM promotion was enormous for me mostly because I hit it early and have a number in the area. By yesterday there was nothing left. All the area stores knew what types were looking for the cards, some even describing why limits were in place. WM employees had obviously had lots of loaders through and had been briefed by week’s end to look for GCs. I’m lucky enough to have had two functioning Moneycenter ATMs last SUnday when this began–by yesterday both had been completely locked down and allowed no further loading directing even on a first load attempt to go through a cashier. Totally agree with @milesabound that the pin system is vulnerable especially with small denomination gift cards drawing that much more attention to our hobby.

    We’ve seen a solid raising of redemption rates over the past year from carriers–will the signup bonuses inflate as well?

    As always, thanks FM.

    • Yes, targeted 50K offers are alive and well if you know where to look. I was speculating that Citi would raise their public offer from 30K to 50K. I agree that it wouldn’t make much difference to those of us that know about the current offers.. unless Citi treats the public ones as new products..

  8. 2013 didn’t have as many big scores? Are you serious? 2013 was friggin’ amazing! The Alaska portal offering 3x on AMEX GCs at the end of the year was one of the best deals of 2013 IMHO.

  9. Well, you may have a crystal ball indeed. My mail arrived as did a 100,000 bonus miles AAdvantage world elite mastercard offer. $450 fee and requires a $10K spend within 3 months.

  10. Well the pending NetSpend $0 fees seems like it could be game changer, for as long as it lasts…

    BTW, another data point on the Kate’s… one I hit periodically suddenly started giving error after Money Card, Reload, $500 suggesting you talk to a person. No issue at cashier though.

  11. A humble personal prediction……..I will learn how to use statement credits from AMEX and then get 10 more cards for free due to the statement credits while simultaneously learning how to have 10 windows on my screens going at once………….

  12. If you call Citi and inquire about 100k Exec AA card offers without having gotten a targeted mailing, will they pretty much shut you down?

  13. Steve, no that should be fine.
    I just applied for the 100K offer using the link on The Points Guy’s post. After the app, it said to call for approval. I called and after a long hold was asked just a few simple questions and then approved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *