How to “Bump the Bonus”

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“Bump the Bonus” verb: to take one fabulous credit card offer and turn it into an extraordinarily fabulous offer

Example: I have successfully “bumped the bonus” three times in the last three months of different credit cards.

Okay, so that is the official Mommy Point’s dictionary definition of “bumping the bonus”……here are the nitty=gritty details. Bonus bumping can typically happen one of two ways:

1. You apply and are approved for a great credit card offer. You think you are a rock star with all your new found points. Suddenly, one day while cruising around the internet (or while checking your email or snail mail) you see an even better offer for the credit card you just applied for! At first you are mad at yourself for biting too soon and missing out on the better offer, but then you realize that maybe your new BFF credit card company will do you a favor this one time and match the better offer they are now offering if you ask nicely. You can either call the credit card company directly, or use their online secure messaging feature to very nicely ask then to match the better offer. It varies offer to offer and card to card as to which way is more successful. On average, I have better luck with messaging, but there are exceptions.

This type of bonus bumping was the case for my mom’s Continental Onepass Plus card and my recent Chase Sapphire card. In the case of mom’s Continental card, there were two “public” offers available on the Continental website. One for 30,000 miles plus $50 cash back and one for 50,000 miles and no cash back. I applied for the 30K mile offer and quickly realized my error, so I wrote to Chase and they easily agreed to change it to the 50K offer with no hassle. This was easy as both offers were available to everyone, but the 50K offer was just more “hidden” on the website.

With my Chase Sapphire card (read more here), I applied for a 50,000 point offer and then found out about a 100,000 point offer via Flyertalk.com (read more here) – the best source for most point related information, and I quickly wrote into Chase to ask to be matched that offer. I had a four digit promo code that I obtained via Flyertalk and just politely asked to be matched to the better offer via their secure messaging center on my account’s home page. My account was about a month old and I was quickly told no problemo. I was thrilled! The points posted instantly. Within a couple days, Chase seems to have totally reversed course with this and are now saying that the 100k was only meant for individuals who received a specific invitation and they stopped issuing the bonus points. There are even some rumblings they may even take back the extra 50K given out, but hopefully that is just a ridiculous rumor. I (and quite a few others) asked nicely and were granted the points. Even my 18 month old usually knows not to take away something that you give someone! Anyway, that was a case of bumping the bonus using a non-public offer code.

2. Apply for a decent offer with the intent of getting bumped to a better offer. This is a more risky proposition, as there are never guarantees that bumping the bonus will work. If you read threads on Flyertalk, or similar message boards, you will see that there are some cards that historically people have had great success “bumping the bonus” for long periods of time, so some people then decide to apply for those cards with the intent of requesting they be matched to a better offer code once they are approved. My mom’s AMEX Gold is one of those cards (read more here). While her situation wasn’t exactly this, many people apply for existing 10-15K bonus point offers, with the intent to ask for a long standing 75K bonus offer. The 75K offer is supposedly targeted to specific individuals who receive invitations, but AMEX seems to be pretty good about granting it to many who just ask and give the offer code that is easily obtained via Flyertalk or other similar sites or blogs.

It is risky because sometimes you are told “no”, seemingly at random. You may read about 20 people in a row who have great success, but then several in a row who are told “no points for you” regardless of how many times they message or call. In fact, I had some trouble getting AMEX to honor the points that my mom applied for as it turned out to be a targeted offer, but we found that out after the fact. It is somewhat just the luck of the draw who is answering your call or message. If you do decide to try option #2 in bumping the bonus, be prepared to be okay with the offer you apply under, but then have a lot of patience and persistence in going after the offer you want. Don’t give up on the first try. Call and message at different times of the day or night. Don’t argue with a customer service rep if you are told no, just be polite and hang up. Then, try again.

Between my mom and I in the last three months we have taken three original offers of 90K points total, and bumped them to 200K total. Acting quickly is a must, especially in situations such as the Chase Sapphire. I also do not recommend pretending to have been sent an invitation or code you didn’t actually receive. Simply say that you are aware of a better offer with code XXXX. That way, they can never accuse you or fraud or anything scary sounding like that. As long as you are being truthful, my theory is it never hurts to ask. More often than not, asking has resulted in many additional miles. Happy bumping!

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