2015 predictions revisited. Are we near the end of the SkyPesos moniker?

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2015 predictionsAt the start of the year, in the post “Predictions for 2015, 83.3% guaranteed,” I reviewed my predictions from 2014 and published new predictions for 2015.  The title of the post came from the idea that 5 out of my 6 2015 predictions had come true.  It turned out though that I was wrong: the one prediction I had thought was wrong was actually right.  So, I really scored a perfect 100% for 2014 predictions.  Now, in 2015, there’s only one way things can go from there, right?  Right…

2014 predictions reviewed

Here are the predictions I made in 2014.  All came true:

  • Barclaycard will increase the signup bonus for the US Airways card
  • Citibank will revive their public 50K offers
  • American Express will offer short term and targeted big bonuses for their Platinum cards
  • The impending merger of AA and US Airways will create short term opportunities for deals in both paid and award travel.
  • Shopping portal mega-deals will be scarce until the fourth quarter
  • A new financial product will emerge that will make manufactured spend easier than ever

2015 predictions

Here are the predictions I made for 2015:

  • Gary, from View from the Wing, will grudgingly admit that Delta SkyMiles should no longer be thought of as SkyPesos.
  • New 40K and/or 50K offers will spring up from lessor known banks.
  • Citibank will add one or more new transfer partners to their ThankYou Rewards program.
  • Target will continue to allow REDbird credit card loads at least until August 2015.
  • Target will roll out REDbird country-wide in October 2015.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2015, Amex will add the ability for REDbird customers to enroll in Amex Offers,

Let’s look at each:

SkyMiles / SkyPesos

Recently, Delta introduced 5,000 mile awards on specific short-hop discounted routes.  I’ve been able to find these 5,000 mile one-way prices on flights from Los Angeles to/from San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Sacramento; and between Portland and Seattle.  I see this trend as a big improvement in the SkyMiles rewards program. Previously, it was crazy to use miles for otherwise cheap flights (since you would get so little value for your miles), but now there are at least a few routes where it can make sense to do so.  Plus, those with relatively few Delta SkyMiles can now find decent uses for them.

So, you would think that Gary, from View from the Wing, would relent and take away the SkyPesos moniker, right?  Maybe not.  He says that this new development should scare us.  And, he says “I do not like it”.  His primary argument is that this development heralds the end of outsized value from our SkyMiles.  Maybe that’s true (but the answer will really depend on how they handle awards on partner airlines in the future), but isn’t that in itself a good reason to drop the SkyPesos name?  If we’ll consistently get a bit over 1 cent per point value from SkyMiles, then those miles may not be the most valuable currency out there but at least they should be measured against US currency, right?  SkyPennies, perhaps?

New 40K or 50K offers from lesser known banks

As predicted, we’ve seen good offers from lesser known banks, but I believe they’ve been limited to specific regions.  With this prediction I thought that we would see some new nationally available offers.

Recently, Capital One rolled out two big offers for their Spark Business cards: one for 50K points and the other for $500.  These are very good offers for cards with strong point earnings (2X everywhere) and low annual fees (first year free, then $59).  One big downside is that Capital One is known to request hard pulls from all three credit bureaus when you sign up.  However, there are advantages to going with Capital One.  I recommend reading what the Devil’s Advocate has to say.  Follow his embedded links for more information.  I wouldn’t call Capital One a “lesser known” bank, but they have been largely out of the picture for a while when it comes to the area of big signup bonuses.

In the meantime, the usual go-to banks have continued with big offers, unabated.  For example, Citi has stepped up their game considerably with solid 50K offers for their Premier and Prestige cards.  Barclaycard has continued its 40K Arrival Plus offer along with good offers for several airline and hotel co-branded cards.  And, Chase has continued with its amazing offers such as the 50K offers for its United cards and Southwest cards.  Amex, meanwhile, has continued to target people for their very best offers rather than making them publicly available.  However, some targeted offers are available to everyone through simple browser procedures.

Even though we haven’t seen lesser known banks come out with nationwide 40K/50K offers (that I can remember), we have seen regionally available 50K offers and we now have Capital One introducing new nationwide 50K offers.  The point of the prediction was that there would be big new offers from unexpected places.  I think we can call this one a win.

Citibank Transfer Partners

This one was an easy win. I predicted that Citi would add one or more new transfer partners to their ThankYou Rewards program.  And, so far this year, they’ve added two:  In January, they added Virgin Atlantic; and in February they added Qantas.  Now I just hope they add a few more useful partners.  Hint to Citibank: we would all be very happy to see Alaska Mileage Plan on the list!

Target to allow REDbird credit card loads through August…

I got this one wrong! As of May 6th, it is no longer possible to reload REDbird (the Target Prepaid REDcard) with a credit card at Target.  Fortunately, REDbird is still worth keeping.

REDbird nationwide rollout in October 2015

This one might still happen.  We’ll see.

Amex to to allow REDbird enrollment in Amex Offers in Q4 2015

I have until the end of the year for this one to pan out.

Tally to-date: 2 right, 1 wrong, 3 TBD

So far, two of my 2015 predictions have come true (Citi transfer partners and new 50K offers) and one has proven false (REDbird credit card loads).  If I get all of the remaining 3 correct, I’ll end up with the same 83.33% prediction rate that I first thought I had at the end of 2014.  That would be nice, but I now think the chance of Gary giving up the SkyPesos name is pretty darn slim…

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.

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18 Comments on "2015 predictions revisited. Are we near the end of the SkyPesos moniker?"

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Grant
Guest

Great post Greg, your prediction success are much better than mine. Do you have any predictions to add today that you think will be true be the end of the year? I think everyone predicted massive changes to Club Carlson’s Last Night Free award, but can you think of any other predictions regarding hotel programs? Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Jason
Guest

These “predictions” of yours are merely generalized guesses that don’t really mean anything. I can do the same thing:
1. Citibank will add one, two, three, or more additional partners in the next two years.
2. Chase will add one, two, three, or more additional partners in the next two years.
3. Amex will add one, two, three, or more additional partners in the next two years.
4. Target will roll out the REDcard nationwide between 2015 and 2017.
5. Smaller and larger banks will have sign-up bonuses of 20K-100K.
6. Some airlines will devalue their award charts by 2016.
7. Another manufactured spend product will be released by the end of 2015.

JustSaying
Guest

Shocking that you are not 100%. From the Fairmont Ambassador Suite in Georgetown. Complimentary night from Chase Beautiful property and great workout space. Now off to Lyon to cash in the Barclay’s points you got me.

wise2u
Guest

I wanted to let you know I saw a memo from Kroger that is disturbing. It says that you are not allowed to buy more than $2000 (including fees) of any of their giftcards without paying cash. It also said that the cash registers will be hard coded sometime this year to prevent it. Right now the policy is ignored or enforced depending on who you talk to, but it limits you to 3 variable load $500 cards…unless you want to include the fee and buy 4 at 494.05……the thing that pissed me off was after blindsiding me with this memo the manager refuse to let me buy half and my wife buy half of the $3500 in giftcards, because “he knew we were together” so now I have to go to Kroger a few more times to get the same amount of cards…..all of this is supposedly in response to a federal law that started in Feb. which I will call Kroger corporate tomorrow to get further details…..it’s not like they are stopping you, but they are adding more hoops to jump through….another case of corporate ignorance and stupidity!!

Fairy8i8
Guest

I still value Skymiles because I am limited to traveling at peak travel times, like Christmas, and the Skyteam partners often have good award availability.

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[…] 2015 predictions revisited. Are we near the end of the SkyPesos moniker? by Frequent Miler. Look back at how he is doing with his predictions so far. I’ll do a similar post at the end of the month, so far I’m doing OK but not great. […]

Ray
Guest

One of the main benefits of collecting miles and points is to redeem premium products. Skymiles is still extremely weak at this and it may get worse. Yes, it can often give you a bit more than one cent in value at redemption. But only when you can find reasonable redemptions. This means it worths less than that – still pesos.

hotshottrev
Guest

I was pleasantly surprised with Delta Skymiles! I have had very poor success in the past with them, but last week this has all changed. I was able to book a one way ticket from SJC to GTF (San Jose to Great Falls) at 12,500 points on Alaska metal!! This was even lower than the 20,000 miles Alaska wanted for the exact same flight…I will now keep 25k points in my Delta account to accommodate last minute travel. I am a hot shot courier (and also do hand carrys) based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and have points in over 12 airlines/programs approaching 2 million. I started collecting points seriously 2.5 years ago and can’t begin to describe how much fun I have.

Good Luck to All

craig
Guest

Hey hottshottrev I would love to hear about your job as a courier and know how one might go about doing what you do as Its something i have been interested in for sometime but can’t seem to find out how to get started into seems like you have to know somebody to do those type of jobs.

Bruno
Guest

Hey Greg,
When I check the Delta routes you mentioned (LAX to SMF and PDX to SEA) the best options I see are 9,500 miles one way. Did you really see 5k?.
I see some Detroit routes at 10k one way – Nashville, St Louis, Chicago.

Adam
Guest

greg you say this prediction of yours came true:
A new financial product will emerge that will make manufactured spend easier than ever.

what exactly is this new product that came out this yr?

Adam
Guest

nvm, the predictions were for 2014. and the redbird came out later in 2014. lets see what surprises the remaining half of this year has in store.

Carole
Guest

Can I buy a $500 Visa or MC gift card, and load it onto my Redbird using a pin? Help, I have 3 new cards to manufacture spend on.
Thanks.

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[…] 2015 predictions revisited. Are we near the end of the SkyPesos moniker? –  A look at how this year’s predictions have panned out thus far. […]