2011 Best of & Worst of: Credit Card Promos

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For the next installment of the 2011 Best of & Worst of series, I am going to look at the best credit card promos of 2011.  This is the third of several posts in this series that will run until the end of the year.  Then the information will be compiled into one master Best of & Worst of 2011 post!  Remember, there will be some Starbucks gift cards awarded to some lucky contributors to this series!  In case you missed it, you can still check out and contribute to the previous posts in this series.

Best Airline Promo of 2011

Best Hotel Promo of 2011

Oh boy was 2011 ever the year of credit card bonuses!  I know many of us got hundreds of thousands of miles and points just from credit card sign-up bonuses this year.  From the British Airways 100,000 mile sign up, to the Capital One Venture card 100,000 point match, to the Chase Sapphire Preferred 100,000 “bump the bonus”, to the multiple Amex bump the bonuses, this was a record year for card sign-up bonuses.

My personal favorite sign-up bonus was getting in on the Chase Sapphire Preferred 100,000 point “bump the bonus”.  For those who don’t know what I am talking about, there were about 2-3 days in June where Chase was basically giving 100,000 (50,000 points for the original sign-up bonus plus an additional 50,000) points to anyone who asked.  It was fantastic.  Aside from sign-up bonuses, I have also really done very well with some recent American Express promos including Small Business Saturday and the Gift Chain.  I think my favorite on-going credit card “bonus” I learned about in 2011 is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Bold, Chase Freedom Visa, Chase Checking combo.  I am in the middle of setting up this combo for myself, and am very excited about the points it will earn me in 2012!  If you want to learn more about that deal, check out this post.  While we are on the subject of Chase Ultimate Reward points, my family also did extremely well with the one-day points bonuses that Chase offered at select retailers in November and December.  The 10x Best Buy and 10x Toys R Us days were my personal favorites.

Rewards credit cards really are the corner stone of how my family travels for free, and I am extremely grateful for all of the fantastic credit card bonuses and promos that we were able to participate in this year.  We would only be able to do a very small fraction of the travel we do if it were not for the massive about of miles and points we get from our credit cards.  If you are interested in browsing some of the current best rewards credit card offers for families, you can check many of them out here.  It’s still not too late to snag another sign-up bonus or two to round out your 2011 collection.  😉

Now to the best part….what was your favorite credit card promo of 2011?

Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card using one of my affiliate links.  You will receive a great rewards earning credit card and my sincere gratitude. 

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. .
    The Citi AA 75K cards. My wife and I each scored 230K+ AA miles with Visa/AmEx/Business cards in a few months. We missed a second business card by a couple of days when the deal closed down. These miles got me a little less than half of the way to the 530K miles I needed to score Lifetime Gold, which I achieved the day before Thanksgiving.

  2. .
    American Express promising to match offers and then reneging. I was fortunate in that all of my bumps came through and were honored but a lot of people got screwed. I have no problem with AmEx declining to match an offer you don’t qualify for but to promise the points and not deliver after people made a lot of transactions or spend is inexcusable, especially from a company like AmEx. I ended up canceling 5 of our AmEx cards in disgust. So long MR account.

  3. 1. Chase Sapphire 100k total (times two…yeah baby, got to be quick to pull the bump trigger, lol).

    2. Capital One 100k (times two) – Still kicking myself for not going for the Business cards! Just put a cruise costing $2,260 on it, so sweet!

    3. Amex Plat 50k plus bump (lost count of the bump…I think it was another 50k or maybe 25k). What was so sweet about that was that with the DL EQM transfer promo it got me from Silver to Gold. Then DL told me if I did any 3 domestic RTs it would give Platinum…so I depleted my Thank you acccount (yeah, remember that!).

    I think 2012 has a chance to be as fun as 2011 but starting in 2013 I expect a major deflating sucking sound on these promos…And I wish I am wrong on this and I have been proven wrong many times:-)

  4. I like the Chase UR holiday points promos. On the shoes.com promo, I scored 1,190 points for a $60 purchase.
    Second favorite, the AA 75K Citi cards. We each signed up for 2 cards, which has paid for our first class flights to Europe in March!

  5. I didn’t get in on the 100K Chase Sapphire :(, so my best was the BA 100K Chase promotion, since that’s
    1) what got me into this game
    2) miles I’ve already used for a fantastic redemption early next year.

  6. I’m looking for a reward card that links to either Delta or American but not necessarily directory (ie DL Amex or AA Citi)

    Which are my best options? I need two cards (for two people, one linked to AA, the other to DL)

  7. In 2011 my best card sign-ups were:
    1) Chase Sapphire for 50K + 50K bump later
    2) Amex Gold for 115K miles (for both my wife and me)
    (10k + 40k offer with a 65k manual bump in between)
    3) 80K priority club offer

    BA 100k offer was done in the previous year, otherwise would also be in the list.

  8. The best this year was the Chase British Airways 100,000 offer — was happy to collect on that one! Slightly tainted by the switch to Avios later, but happily, I had already purchased my tickets to Aruba for my family of 5. The worst was American Express’s refusal to bump the bonus after promising on two different phone calls that they would and then reneging once my spend was done.

  9. My favorite was the AmEx Plat. My wife and I each got bumped, we each transferred with bonus to Delta and BA, they covered $200 of her transfer of Delta miles to my accoutn (again with bonus!). And it’s got even more perks that we haven’t used yet! I never would have dreamed I would pay $450 for a yearly fee, but it worked out very slick-ly! A month ago, I did a speech about this card to my local “Toastmasters” club, and they were shocked/ impressed/ worried/ envious/ appalled…all the reactions people give the churners!

  10. AMEX honouring the 10k for 1st spend on additional cards – just recently, I tried my luck and after a 10 min phone call, my account was credited 100k MR points. Not everyone was as fortunate (I call it karma!)

  11. The Citi AA x2 for 150,000, followed by the Chase BA for 100,000! But the estores have been great too — I got 24 Avios per dollar at drugstore.com — $200 of essentials got over 4500 Avios, enough for a flight!

  12. Capital One was just the gift that kept on giving. Husband and I each signed up for personal using Continental miles for matching of 100,000. Then, we transferred the miles to United and each of us signed up for the Business card using the United miles for the matching of 100,000. With all matching, required spend, and adding authorized users we netted 450,000 points. Now the best part, Capital One was running a promo where you could get a $900 Hyatt gift cert for 51,250 points so we got 7. And we still had a few points leftover for airfare to Vail

  13. BEST:
    Capital One – 170K between wife and I.
    Amex PRG – 150k between wife and I.
    Amex BGR – 175k between wife and I. (still fighting for 40k they didn’t credit me)

    Oh, then transferring 150000 Amex MR points to British Airways with a 50% bonus for 225000 points!

    US Airways – 80k between wife and I (after 1 purchase) – still awesome if you ask me!

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