2011 Best of & Worst of: Best Airline Promo

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Now that we are officially into the second half of the last month of the year, it is time to look back at some of the best and worst points stories and promos of 2011.  Not only is it kind of fun to review the year, but I bet that some of the best of and worst of stories that people have can really be informative for others as we head into a fresh year of promos, mileage runs, points collecting, and more….

I’m not sure how many of these posts I will do yet, but there will be several between now and the 31st (I guess we will just do them until we run out of fun things to review!).  At the end of it all, I will compile the information into one post with the hand-picked best and worst stories and promos all listed in one spot.  Starbucks gift cards will go out to those whose stories are deemed the best and/or worst.  The Mommy Points team (you know, the official crew of The Man, The Grandparents, Little C, and myself) will very scientifically select the winners.  You may file all complaints about winner selection directly to Little C and she will carefully review and respond to each complaint.  😉

Let’s have fun with this and get ourselves ramped up for another great year of points, miles, and (almost) free travel!

First up is Best Airline Promo of the year.  I would love to not only hear your thoughts on what the best airline promo was, but also how well you personally did with the promo.  For example, my favorite airline promo this year had to (obviously) be the US Airways Grand Slam.  For less than $400 extra cost, I brought in over 120,000 US Airways miles on my account alone.  For me, no other airline promo even came close.

However, I have been reading about the stackable Double Elite Qualifying Miles promo that American has right now, so I’m willing to bet that for those willing to do mileage runs, Lucky’s idea of getting American Airlines Executive Platinum status in four days for under $2000 has to make the short list!  For others, maybe the infamous United Months of Miles was the top promo for 2011.  While it certainly has to be in the running for worst airline promo of the year, I know some people earned a very very large number of miles from this promo.

Enough of my blabber, tell me about what you think the best airline promo of 2011 is and how well you did off of that promo!


The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. […] As a fun (and also informative) way to round out 2011 miles and points collecting, I am doing a short series on some of the best promos and personal miles and points accomplishments of 2011.  There will be Starbucks prizes involved once I compile all of the best and worst of stories into one final 2011 post!  You can learn more about what this will look like and weigh in on your favorite airline promo in this post. […]


  1. My personal favorite is the Delta Sky Mall promotion. I earned 100,000 Delta miles for about $600. While not as good as the US Airways Grand Slam promotion, it did not require as much time.

  2. I’d say the US Air Grand Slam was my favorite. Some of the credit card deals have been good but I came out with the most gain from the Grand Slam. The Delta Skymall promotions have been good but I was upset on round 2 when it was limited to so few people.

  3. My fav was the Grand Slam. And the least was Months of Miles. Besides United changing the terms several times, I’m having a blast trying to get 1/2 of my Sams gift cards to count! (The shopping mall said 1/2 of those that I purchased weren’t qualifing purchases!)

  4. I’m still pretty new to this, but I got in just in time to get the 2x Citi AA cards, which netted me 150k miles for putting all my normal spend on those two cards to make the minimum spend. Pretty nice way to get started in the travel hacking game

  5. Ditto on the UA Months of Misery being the worst. I tried to work both my and wife’s accounts to get 25K worth in both. Had 52 Sam’s GC transactions, and only 13 of them posted. Still haggling with Cartera over them, but that seems to be a losing battle.

  6. While these aren’t necessarily airline promos, I think the “Year of the Bump” is how I will remember 2011. I was able to get in on the 100k bump for Platinum as well as the 75k for Gold, and so was my husband. Then came the Chase Sapphire card, and I was lucky enough to get the extra 50k bump over that one elusive weekend, so 100k total. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my husband signed up as well (he didn’t get the card until a few months later), but I was able to help a few friends out who didn’t even know about the extra 50k and they took advantage as well.

  7. Grand Slam was way too much work and I generally don’t like to spend ‘extra’ money for points/miles – All the points I’ve gotten the past few years, prob close to 2 million now, have been without spending a dime on annual fees, or buying things. This year, got a ton from the Amex Bump codes, got 100k today (after a long fight) for business gold, 75k PRG, 50k for 5 authorized users, 10k for insite toolbar, so 235K points on my a/c alone, wife’s is the same, except trying to secure 75k points on her business gold, if so, that’ll be 210k points on hers, so total this year on amex would be 445k without spending anything (except for meeting spend requirements).

  8. Loving the answers! I will have a separate question for credit card promos very soon, too. I agree completely that 2011 was the year of the bonus bump!

  9. Not really sure if this qualifies for 2011, but I have MR’s planned on AA in Jan 2012 that will take me from nothing to EXP status for two years using a combination of the OWMD promo and the double/triple EQM promos, all for ~$1,500. Total BIS miles: 32,772. Total EQMs: 101,160.

  10. Nice, carwag! I was thinking about trying that too to earn EXP status for less than $2000 but I may have a new job starting soon. 🙂

  11. For me, the best promo was the one we are still in the middle of — Ultimate Rewards — the special days where you can get up to 10X points for shopping at a particular merchant. I cleaned up at ToysRUs at Thanksgiving doing Christmas shopping for the kids, and the promised points cleared fast and easily. Thanks, Chase! Second favorite, the American Express transfer bonuses which really helped boost our mileage! I have mixed feelings about the Grand Slam — got quite a few points but, as others said, a LOT of work. Worst experience: No hit posted for a purchase from Marriott Vacation Club even though it was listed as part of the terms and conditions. I obviously didn’t make the purchase just to get the Grand Slam hit, but still. Don’t promise something you won’t deliver, US Airways! Overall, a great year. I ended up with over a million points/miles in different programs with only six months of work. Thanks, Mommy Points!

  12. OK, I trust you’ll add this to the category it fits in best, as it covers a few differnt ones, I think. My best story for this year was the AmEx Plat card. I got one for myself and my wife, both got bumped to 100K, and they transferred very “lucrative-ly.” 🙂 We got 75k SkyMiles and 75K BA miles (uhhh…I mean “Avios”). During a subsequent “50% bonus on transfers” in Delta, we each transferred 30K to each other, for $330 a piece. AmEx covered $200 of her cost (but they didn’t for me, despite many emails back and forth!). I still look back on the Plat card with wonder that we were able to get in on that deal!

  13. My favorite promo of 2011 was AA’s 30 Miles per dollar for donations to either Susan G Komen Breast Cancer foundation or the USO. I donated $500 to SGK as the ‘favor’ for my April 2012 wedding. I thought it would be a great bonus to get back 15,000 miles for something I was planning to do anyway. HOWEVER… AA ended up giving me 45,000 miles and to this day I don’t know why! But you can’t beat 90 miles per dollar for a good cause 🙂 And those miles helped me book flights for my honeymoon for free!

  14. After receiving the 100k sign-up bonus on AMEX, I transferred them to Delta in August.
    Due to Delta’s 50% bonus promotion at the time, I ended up receiving 150,000 SkyMiles + 25,000 MQMs through this transfer.
    In addition to the large points haul, this helped me make Gold Medallion, when I had never been any level of Medallion before.

  15. 25,000 Alaska Airlines bonus miles for Northern California residents to fly to Hawaii. Status matched to MVP Gold (from United) got upgraded, and earned double redeemable miles on the flight. First class direct SMF-OGG for less than $350 rt. 🙂

  16. It’s a tie between BA/Amex and Delta/Amex promotions.

    1) BA 100K + 50% Amex MR transfer + 100K Amex Plat promotion was very neat and allowed me to book three around South America tickets in business class.

    2) 100% intra-Delta transfer + 50% Amex MR transfer/25,000MQMs + Gold Medallion Challenge was cool too and allowed me to score three flights in business to Europe. (Yes, it is possible to use those Delta miles if you try hard enough)

    3) Capital One 100K

    4) AA 75K bonuses

  17. I like the 25,000 mileage promo for transatlantic flights on BA then matched by AA. I already had a qualifying trip planned on AA and I was able to get the extra 25,000 miles at no additional cost to me!

  18. Another entry here: the Grand Slam. I didn’t get in on it, but it was laid out very clearly, with help, and seemed to net a lot of folks some good results. I have been inspired to do this next year for me and the wife. Maybe we could hit Europe in January ’13?

  19. Since the stackable AA promotion is really just half of December and all of January, I’d hold out on naming it best until next year, but I’d put it in the running for sure then.

    The best promo is Grand Slam because US Airways seems to respect people and play by the rules without changing them midway. Sure it’s not as easy as it once was but it’s still quite lucrative. When you can get 100k miles for $300, sunk costs, I’d say it’s a true winner.

    The Delta SkyMall is good if you want Sky Pesos. But after Delta decided to say no changes on award tickets within 3 days of travel and tried to make it retroactive, I have no trust or respect for DL. I even bailed on a Platinum challenge with them when they did it. The cabin experience is great, but company ethics and a subpar mileage program can’t make it the best for me.

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