Targeted Bonuses

Delta has released a whole sleuth of targeted bonuses (identified by Flyertalker bdschoebel). Targeted bonuses are opportunities to earn miles or other benefits that are only open to the recipient of the offer.

Airlines and hotels evaluate a traveler’s habits and try to get them to bump up their spending in specific ways. For instance, I fly from Washington DC to California alot, but usually on cheap fares. United has sent me bonus offers good for lots of miles if only I’ll fly Washington DC to California on expensive fares.

However, I’ve often found that I’ve been “targeted” and just wasn’t aware of it — maybe I received the offer buried in an email or paper statement and I just didn’t notice it. I’ve also found that many so-called targeted offers that I may not have specifically been designated for award me the miles anyway. So I always sign up. Even for the ones I don’t think I’ll be eligible for, since I don’t know when I might get re-routed to another city or on another airline and just happen to stumble my way into a big bonus.

Starwood has really taken up the targeted promotion mantle alot lately.

USAirways is notorious for offering “targeted” bonuses that everyone can sign up for. Then sometimes the miles post and sometimes they don’t.

Delta recently allowed anyone who wanted to sign up for their “92 Ways to Earn” promotion, posted the miles, and then took them back from the folks that the offer wasn’t originally intended for.

At least Delta has gotten better — they only let intended recipients sign up for the bonus. That’s an improvement, because if they let other people sign up — and then those people believe they’re eligible and spend money to meet the requirements of the promotion, the airline really ought to honor its end of the bargain.

I think there’s a pretty strong obligation for these programs to only permit targeted people to sign up or to make it very clear that only those targeted will receive the points — or let everyone who signs up participate.


Here are Delta’s new targeted offers:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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