The Worst Credit Card Signup Bonus Ever

Three years ago we saw what I think may be the worst signup bonus in history, worse even than the stuffed animal you could get signup up for a JAL Mileage Bank credit card.

It was the bottle of soda signup bonus.

Look at this great churn with the Walmart credit card!

In fact I take it that a giveaway may be for applying rather than on approval. So you’d expect it to be modest, sort of like getting an extra 500 miles from Barclays applying for their American Airlines co-brand card inflight.

Along the same lines Costco will apparently give you a cooler if you apply for their card in-store (HT: yugrudfoo).

Costco Cooler Bag Reward

Comments on this old Reddit thread are awesome, wondering if current cardholders can secure message Citi asking them to match the offer, and wondering if you can apply multiple times because “I have about four or five frozen lasagnas I’d like to take home on the plane for the 4th to my Mother’s.”

Credit card signup bonuses weren’t always generous. There were rewards cards on the market frequently two decades ago that didn’t even offer bonuses. I didn’t receive a bonus when I first got my Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express 16 years ago.

But to the extent bonuses are being offered, the stuffed animal has to be about the weakest — as long as bottles of soda and coolers are an extra spiff for in-person applications rather than all you’ll get.

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, 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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  1. I did much better with my sign up for the Costco Visa
    Instead of the extravagant cooler I received a rotisserie chicken
    that would have cost 4.99
    Unfortunately no more free chicken sad 🙂

  2. Of course, the bonus comes just for signing up. Who’s to say your handwriting is illegible and you wrote down you SSN and other details wrong?

  3. Not to mention the fact that it was only a chance to get a stuffed animal. It wasn’t even a guarantee. You had to be one of the first 100 approved.

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