2011 Best of/Worst of Winners!

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First off, Happy New Years!!!  We had a very low-key early evening with some friends, some s’mores, some small fireworks, and our little toddler (who did not nap today, so will not be staying up anywhere near midnight!).  It is a perfect finale to a great year for our family.  I hope that you were able to ring in the New Year in a way that makes you just as happy!

I really loved all of the stories that were shared as part of the Best of/Worst of Series, so thanks so much for sharing them!  I picked ten of my favorites to share here (though I could have easily picked 20-30 because there were so many great ones!)  The Best of and Worst of stories shared here are worth a $10 Starbucks gift card.  I will be emailing you your Starbucks gift card soon, so keep an eye on your inbox!

Best Miles and Points stories of the year:

CU on Ultimate Rewards and the Marriott MegaBonus – 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!

We also did really well with the Marriott MegaBonus this year. This was the silver lining with Storm Alfred — we stayed at Marriotts for 10 days during the storm while out of power, and that meant we maxed out the promotion with 4 free nights. Thanks, Marriott!

Carwag25 on American Airlines Double Elite Qualifying Miles – 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.

Kris on Donating Money to Get Miles – 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!

Gpapadop on Credit Card Bonuses and Bumps

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 account (yeah, remember that!).

Josh Winning Big on Small Business Saturday – I have to agree that the Amex 5721 promo was the most disappointing this year. But all those AUs paid off big in the end with Small Business Saturday and then the gift chain. I cleared over $15,000 in gift chain prizes by using each AU card to buy a $25 Pottery Barn card 10 times. So, what started out terrible turned out to be the best promo ever.

Ike on Amex Promos Gone Wrong – 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.

Anita on United Months of Miles – Months of Miles was an epic failure in so many ways!

1) Received the postcard in snail mail but told by United “not targeted”.
2) Is dining subject to $10 limit? yes. no. yes. no. maybe. up until Sep 9th, yes. Clear?
3) “Best of all, there is no limit” became “limited to 25k”.
4) One word: Cartera. In more words, some stuff posts, other stuff does not, and communication is subpar.

We earned probably 80K miles but it left us with a bad feeling toward United.

Mark W–  My favorite hotel promo this year was the Club Carlson – Radisson 50k promo. I signed for it the first day and the wife and I stayed out in Des Plaines near O’Hare. Between the points for joining the Club, and the extra 1K for joining TGI Fridays through a CC email link, I’m up to 62,625 points and so far I’ve stayed one night (I status matched my Marriott Silver). Here’s the point breakdown:
Dec 8, 2011 Earn Radisson Hotel Chicago O’Hare – Dec 4, 2011 to Dec 5, 2011 – Radisson – Des Plaines , IL US Points|Room Earning 20 Points per USD 2,100
Dec 8, 2011 Earn Radisson – Des Plaines , IL US Points|Silver 25% Room Points Bonus 525
Dec 8, 2011 Earn Radisson – Des Plaines , IL US Points|Radisson Big Night Giveaway 50,000 Points Bonus 50,000
Dec 8, 2011 Earn Radisson – Des Plaines , IL US Points|Online Booking Silver Member Bonus Points 2,000
Dec 8, 2011 Earn Radisson – Des Plaines , IL US Points|Welcome Next Stay 2000 Bonus Points 2,000
Dec 1, 2011 Earn T.G.I. Fridays Stripes Enrollment Bonus 1,000
Oct 28, 2011 Adjust Adjustment – Discretionary Award 5,000

It’s a pretty great program!

BarbD on Priority Club’s Crack the Case Promo – The Priority Club Crack the Case promo is the best hotel promo ever. I had to open 5 cases ( did one mattress run at $70 but otherwise everything else was at no additional cost) and that netted me 245,000 priority club points. With those points I stayed one week in The Twin Cities at the Crown Plaza on the 5000 per night points break offer and one week in Colorado Springs at the 5000 per night pointsbreak offer. Still have a lot of points and they don’t expire.

BarelyElite on the Radisson 50K Promo and Starwood Free Resort Nights Promo – I took full advantage of the Starwood and Radisson promos mentioned, earning 9 Starwood free resort nights (used in Miami, Honolulu, and Peru) and 250,000+ Radisson points (pooled among family and friends).  Also great was scoring a free night at any Hilton property worldwide with their Twitter free night giveaway. I only regret not recruiting friends to participate in that one.

Those were all some awesome promos and awesome stories.  I can’t wait to see what types of promos and redemptions that 2012 has in store for all of us.  Happy New Year and Happy Travels in 2012.


The Mommy Points Family

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  1. Mommy Points – Year end stories were interesting to read. I’m learning that I need to take advantage of these promos more! I would really like to learn more about status match. We have Gold in Delta, Gold in Hilton. Who can we status match and how to go about it?

  2. Promos come and go every year. You win will plenty, you will lose some. If not in the past, certainly in the future. Law of averages confirms so.

    The only real problem I see is getting seriously bent out of shape when things go haywire with a promo. Fight the good fight but set a point to give up and move on, eat the loss. The next promo is always around the corner. I believe there are some that haven’t figured this out yet, unfortunately.

  3. First off, Happy New Year!
    Loved the pic of Little C. When I was that age, I learned that my marshmallow would burn, and I could turn my “treat” into my “torch”; which I valued much more than a treat! My parents never could break me of that behavior!
    All things considered; 2011 was negative, but a learning year for me.
    The big “worst” was AAmerican dropping that miles from every source count toward a million thing. Up jumped the “cult of personality” thing; like I, a consumer, give a rat’s behind about who is running the AAdvantage.
    American, Citi, and Hilton were all linked together for me in the beginning. Right now, only Hilton is keeping our relationship alive. But, I’ve had trouble with Continental, Onepass, and it’s merger, too. So, my Citi AA card is probably safe for couple of years, as I need to unload that Continental Onepass card in 2012.
    What I learned this years is that some people think loyalty programs should exist only to reward the folks who are already spending big dollars with the company. Fair enough. Those folks are playing the game in a different league than me. What I want from a loyalty program is good reason to spend my money with them instead of their marketplace competitor. Otherwise, all bets are off; and we go right back to Priceline!
    I have really enjoyed reading this blog in 2011. My niece has a teenage daughter who was a miricle baby. Enjoy them while they’re young! I look forward to reading Mommypoints in 2023 😉

  4. To those who won, you are more than welcome. I am so grateful to everyone who reads and contributes to the discussions on this site. I wish I could give everyone a Starbucks gift card! 😉

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