Of all the different types of free Points promotions that happen, my favorite are the ones that happen to be for loyalty programs that allow you to create Family Accounts.
For those of you not familiar, Family Accounts are when you have the ability to pool all your Family’s Miles / Points together into 1 account. This makes the Miles / Points far easier to use since they are all in a single account!
For example when British Midlands (BMI) had a 2,000 Mile New Member Sign Up Bonus last February, I signed up 5 “Family Members” because BMI allowed for Family Accounts. When BMI merged with British Airways, the 10,000 BMI Miles in my Family Account became 10,000 British Airways Avios, which also allowed for Family Accounts.
Similarly when Starwood ran really poorly targeted social media promotions in the Summer of 2011, I got around 30,000 Starpoints by creating 10 new SPG Accounts for my “Family Members” and each Account got 3,000 free Starpoints. A few months later after the dust settled, I quietly merged those 10 Accounts into a few different SPG Accounts that I actually use.
Long story short, a lot of these “Family Member” Accounts that I currently have with Starwood and British Airways have had Points in them but have never had any Flights or Hotel Stays credited to them.
I don’t know how to explain it but for some reason or the other, these idle Accounts seem to consistently generate some awesome targeted offers!
British Airways Targeted Promotions
For example, 5 days ago British Airways sent one of my “Family Members” this email.
This was one of the Accounts I had created for the BMI Promotion, although for some reason I only got 1,000 Miles instead of 2,000.
Anyways British Airways emailed me to say if I updated my Email Preferences, then I could get 2,000 additional Avios!
That is a pretty awesome deal, so I gladly accepted. In my excitement I just assumed that BA had sent this email to everyone.
I have 10 or so British Airways Accounts, so I figured it was an easy 20,000 Avios.
Well 4 days ago, British Airways sent the below email to my real BA Account.
At first I thought it was the same email that my “Family Member” received, but then I read it again and realized that THERE WERE NO FREE AVIOS involved!
British Airways wanted me to change my Email Settings and voluntarily receive their junk mail for free. Umm no thanks!
In the above Email, because parts of the Header are blocked out, “Earn ________ Avios When You ______ ______”, it makes it seem that if you update your Email Settings, then BA will reveal how many Avios you can get. That is not the case.
I was really bummed because this is the Account that I actually use and it doesn’t make sense why British Airways wouldn’t target an actual flyer that has activity in their Account.
Then this Afternoon I was canceling one of my Parent’s Chase Cards for them and noticed in their Inbox an email from British Airways which they didn’t tell me about.
Yes, you are reading that right. 4,000 Avios for updating their Account, which only has 1,573 Avios in it…
As I was trying to figure out why these low balance British Airways Accounts were being targeted, it reminded me of Starwood who seems to also do this.
Starwood Targeted Promotions
Way back in May 2012, I had talked about how 2 of my SPG “Family Member” Accounts had some Points in them but no Stays. For some reason or the other, they both received an awesome targeted offer of Stay 1 Night, Get 1 Night Free.
Well of course I took advantage of that and found a $80 Westin near O’Hare to stay 2 Nights at, and then used the 2 Free Night Certificates to stay at the $600+ St. Regis Washington D.C.
A few months ago those same 2 Accounts got targeted with another offer of 2,000 Starpoints per a Stay, up to 3 Stays!
This was exponentially better than the Q4 Starwood Bonus for normal Members!
As you can see it at the bottom it says “A Special Offer For New Members Only”.
Well since Starwood allows you to merge Accounts if they have the same or “close to same” name, you could easily take advantage of the above promotion and then once the Points post, just merge it with your real account!
How To Get Your Own Targeted Offers
To some extent these Targeted Offers are random, so it is far more of an art than a science trying to figure out why one Account gets targeted and another one doesn’t.
From my experience and as you can see above, the Accounts that have the smallest amount of activity (ie. posting of 1,000 Points or Miles), are the ones that seem to get targeted the most.
If you want to try and get your own Targeted Offers, I’d recommend creating an additional Hotel Account or Airline Account and seeing what happens. With Starwood, you are fairly likely to get something worthwhile because they seem to have a Targeted New Member Promotion, as seen above.
When you make an additional Account, be sure to make it in your name. That way if you do ever get any Targeted Offers, you can take advantage of them and then later merge the additional Points or Miles into the Account that you really use.
Although it is annoying to have to manage and create multiple accounts, the cost of doing so is free. It is for that reason that I’d recommend at least trying it out because you never know what you will get.
The targeted SPG Stay 1 Night, Get 1 Night Free promotion above got us $1,200 worth of Hotel Rooms for $160, and was solely an offer I received because I didn’t use my Account…
Once you do create your new Accounts, just remember to dump all the Logins and Passwords into AwardWallet! It will make your life a lot easier!
Don’t ever miss another FFU Update or Travel Deal!