How to Get Targeted Credit Card Offers

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As credit card application restrictions evolve and new cardmember bonuses become harder to come by, it’s essential we look past the most common methods of applying for cards to secure the best deals. An often overlooked technique is to position yourself for targeted credit card offers.

Targeted offers via email, postal delivery, or pre-qualified offers from your bank or credit provider typically provide higher than average rewards for meeting the minimum spend on new cards. Over the past few years, we've seen reports of targeted offers on cards like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and also one of our favorite business cards, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Alaska Mileage Plan $100 Statement Credit
An example of a targeted online offer for a $100 statement credit after initiating a booking on Alaska's website

Banks and loyalty programs regularly target customers with personalized credit card offers. These can include increased bonuses compared to what is publicly available, bonus points for upgrading to a higher-tier card within the same card family, or bonus points for reaching tiered spending challenges. Offers can be targeted at specific demographics, regions, individuals that meet the right financial criteria, or existing customers where the bank wants to deepen financial relationships.

Each credit provider uses different metrics to determine who is targeted, but suitable candidates have an excellent credit score and clean credit history, are actively using revolving credit already, and are members of the rewards programs that they want to be targeted.

Check Pre-Qualified Offers by Phone, Online, and In-Branch

Any bank or financial institution with whom you have an existing relationship is a good candidate to check for pre-qualified offers. You can do this by calling up your bank, checking online when signed into the customer portal, or you can call into a branch and talk to a rep face to face. Checking for pre-qualified offers from your bank is not the same as applying for a credit card, there is no hard pull on your credit file, it's only checking if your bank has you pre-qualified for credit products.

It’s important to note that pre-qualified offers don’t guarantee your application will be successful. The credit provider will still pull your credit report and perform standard financial due diligence on your application. They may, however, occasionally make exceptions to their internal application rules or restrictions.

Opt-In to Email & Direct Mail Offers

One reason you may not receive targeted credit card offers is if you've opted-out of email and postal promotions. It should go without saying that to get targeted credit card offers, you need to be signed up to receive them. However, if you’ve been on the receiving end of one too many Discover campaigns, it’s common to hit the unsubscribe button just to be rid of the clutter.

The problem with opting-out is you’re potentially leaving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars value on the table. If you spend large sums on your cards and pay your balance each month, you’re a valuable customer, and credit providers want you signed up to their products. Ensure you register to receive emails and promos from every loyalty program and financial institution you bank with and check that your mailing and email addresses are up to date.

No Junk Mail

One of the most significant benefits of checking your physical mail is that occasionally offers will exclude restrictive language that prevents you from obtaining a signup bonus a second time or within a specified timeframe. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s the equivalent of winning the award travel lottery!

You can typically find email and communication settings after signing into your account and navigating to something along the lines of:

Profile > Communication or Contact Preferences > Email and/or Promo Settings

However, this process will differ between providers.

Sign-Up to Rewards Programs and Add a Small Balance

Another method for receiving targeted offers is signing up for a rewards program and adding a small balance of points or miles. You don’t need to build a significant balance. Transferring the minimum number of points across from a flexible currency like Ultimate Rewards or SPG, or crediting miles when flying another airline within the same alliance, or even making a purchase through the program's shopping portal is usually enough.

Loyalty programs want to see you investing in their points or miles before sending you lucrative offers. Again, this is not science or bank policy, but a method we’ve seen in action and used ourselves to a positive end.

Initiate a Booking to Receive Better Offers

A great example of this approach in action was an increased offer last year on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card, which was offering 30K miles after a qualifying purchase. If you initiated a booking on Alaska’s website, you’d receive an exclusive online offer that included a $100 statement credit in addition to the 30K Alaska miles.

Final Thoughts

Targeted credit card offers provide an opportunity to bag higher than average new cardmember bonuses. But to ensure you get these offers, you need to register to receive promos from every loyalty program and bank with whom you have an existing relationship.

For those that aren't targeted for higher offers. A few members of our Facebook community Award Travel 101, have reported having recent applications matched to higher targeted offers after contacting the bank via phone or secure message, not knowing that they were even eligible for such an offer. There is no guarantee, but the answer is always no unless you ask.

If you have any questions or tips on getting targeted credit card offers, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.

How to Get Targeted Credit Card Offers
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Comments

  • The absolute best advice: always ask! And second: if you don’t get the answer you’d like, hang up and call again! There are CSRs that like to help people, and others who don’t. So much depends on simply getting connected to the right person.

  • It definitely matters where you live. In Eastern Europe we hardly get any offers from credit card providers.

    • I second this. The offers in Canada are no where as near as the ones that are in the USA.

      Spring and Fall seem to be the big push times. Winter and Summer are pretty dead for these solicitations.

  • Thanks for the tip, especially about moving a small balance to a rewards program. I’m going to have to look into that.

  • Thanks for the tips, especially about moving a small balance to a rewards program.

  • Thanks for the tips!

  • Thank you for the pointers!

  • angelo fonseca says:

    It’s good to know these tips.

  • Very useful tips. Thanks!

  • great tips! It’d be nice to have those high end targeted amex offers. Those are the lucrative ones.

  • Good tips!

  • Having a small balance that is so easy to build without much investment has definetely worked for me.

  • I never thought about whether I might have unchecked mailing lists. I need to go and make sure they are not unchecked.

  • excellent advice

  • I’ve heard Amex doesn’t target if you already have an Amex product. Hope that’s not true since I do still want mailers from them

    • Definitely not the case. I have several Amex products and have been targeted for other ones — most recently the personal Platinum card.

      • How can I check Amex that I’m receiving all cc offers?
        I never get any and AMEX has no feedback even when I have 827 FICO score and been with MAEx 16 years.

      • Need help getting AMEX PLAt 100k targeted offer.
        FICO score 827
        16 years with MAEX

        Neve get any targeted offers

        Amex says it doesn’t;t know why.

        • Amex has algorithms that we don’t know how they operate — unfortunately, if you’ve followed what we’ve recommended that is all we can really suggest. We don’t even know if using or not using your card helps.

          • what have you recommended since I’ve NVER gotten a targeted offer from AMEX?

          • If you’re not targeted, you’re not what they’re looking for at that time.

          • Do not know what you specifically recommended?

            Card Match Tool shows zero Amex offers for me which is strange with a 827 FICO and 16 years AMEX Hilton card

            Incognito link appeared to work for me but confused whether this is a personal card or biz as the biz 75k is the norm?

            Don’t know how to setup a self referral to get an extra 20K bonus?

          • You make a comment if not targeted your Not what AMEX is looking for.

            Such a vague response which doesn’t show you understand how the targeting works thus you have no solution.
            Write-up iso general it cannot be proven it makes difference with anyone.

            – High FICO score – check
            – Multiple FF hotel, airline, bank reward accounts
            – regular purchase of reward points & FF mileage annually
            – high income
            – AMEX card holder 16 years
            – Card Match Tool offered zero AMEX matches which is absurd
            – NO CC’s opened in past 2 years and only 2 in past 5 years.

            Problem is you don’t know what AMEX is looking for and none of your ideas can be proven as making it result in targeting so you just generalize.

          • So, what is your solution? And how do you know that Amex (or any other bank) wants the attributes you’ve listed for targeting?

            I’m not saying they don’t, but my data is based on a decade of targeted offers and feedback from those that have been targeted. I don’t say that I know exactly how Amex does it, but rather these are our suggestions based on our experience.

            The solution is to make sure you haven’t explicitly said “don’t target me” and also to be a good credit risk. Outside of that, if you have any known insight, please share it. Everything else is speculation (unless you’ve got specific/known data points).

          • When you respond to my last 2 direct comments to you there is zero option to reply?

            Do you turn this feature off?

            If your web tool would allow more feedback then I wouldn’t have to find another post from you to reply.

            q: How are solicitation offers turned off?but I still get VISA
            If FRAUD protection at 3 credit bureaus is ON does that print solicitations?
            a: Doubtful since I have FRAUD protection on but still get VISA solicitations in mail.
            And Card Match Tool shows 3 VISA cards solicitations eligible.

            q: Why does card tool atcha only show a few VISa cards for me and not any Chase VISA cards while I have a Chase Saphire Reserve card now?

            Every metric you have suggested for targeting supposedly I have met and still no suggestion from you of what else.
            I’m suspecting Fraud protection which is highly recommended on credit bureaus might be reason but cannot start a dialogue with you.

            Once again your web site prohibits me from replying if you answer this feedback.

          • I’m sorry you’re frustrated with the site and how commenting works.

      • One major problem with your web site is if I asked a question and you reply ONCE that’s it no option for me to respond tom your comment.
        Reply option is turned off on your 3 feedback comments.
        Why does the blog deny followup replies?

        AMEX confirmed to me I’ eligible for mail offers and yet has no history of solicitations for past 6 months and is reveiwing for past 3 years but I have to wait 8 weeks. I know I haven’t been solicited in past 3 years already.

        Supposedly I have met all of your recommendations and yet no solicitations.

        Suspect adding FRAUD alert on Credit Bureau might play a factor even though that is highly recommend by most smart people.

        You claim your targeted by AMEX on personal offers and I would assume my situation si very similar to yours:
        Excellent FICO score 825
        AMEX card hold 16 years
        14 (fourteen) FF/reward programs
        Redeem rewards twice yearly
        Multiple credit cards earning points
        High income
        Verified solicitation NOT turned off
        Card Match tool does not pull out any MAEX cards – none

        Nothing makes sense —- especially why your web site tool denies multiple feedback to respond to your comments.

  • Great tips as usual!

  • Bertrand Say says:

    Good to know these facts.

  • Good to know…

  • Thanks to all for great pointers. I’ve had many rewards credit cards but there are probably still some out there – I’m probably leaving many miles and points on the table!

  • I would love to be targeted! Thanks for the tips.

  • Thanks for the tips. I always seem to get credit card offers that I don’t actually want…and none of the offers for cards I do want!

  • All of a sudden I seem to be getting many offers

  • There are some good tips here. I’m hoping to get more targeted mailers.

  • Great tips, thanks for the info.

  • jason picker says:

    such useful tips
    thanks!

  • So many great tips! I’ve already done several to make sure I get my info. I usually find most of the best offers here though first and then a few days later guess what’s in my inbox? lol! Why do you they like you guys more? ;o)

    I also see lots of ads in my Yahoo email box area…off to the side. Clearly they know which sites I go to and therefore offer me deals, etc from those companies.

  • great tips and even better comments!!! Thanks !!

  • Why are all the offers I get crappy offers. UHH

  • Good tidbit. Now hopefully will get the 100K pts from IHG been reading about.

  • Nice info. I feel I should used to get more targeted offers. I guess need to give my email out more often for sign up to newsletter etc

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