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How Fast Can You Give Away 1 Billion Frequent Flyer Miles?

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When Capital One announced its Match My Miles promotion on March 10, I called it the richest credit card offer I’d ever seen, with a potential payout of 110,000 miles for new cardholders who could show they’d earned at least 100,000 miles in an airline mileage program.

I also prompted readers to act quickly since the offer would only remain in effect until May 13, or until Capital One had given away 1 billion miles through the promotion. My guess was that the miles would be gone long before the end date was reached.

And indeed they were. I received an email from a Capital One rep last night alerting me to the fact that they’d depleted the promised allotment of miles and would be terminating the offer.

One Billion Miles, Gone

As it turned out, they gave away 1 billion miles in about 25 days, or 40 million miles a day.

Capital One wouldn’t comment on the number of new cards issued, or the average number of miles matched. But it’s likely that the new cardholders were disproportionately travelers with 100,000 miles or more in their airline mileage accounts, since they had the most to gain from the mileage match. If they all had 100,000-mile balances, then the promotion would have generated 10,000 new customers for Capital One.

Not bad for a 25-day campaign.

If You Applied …

If you applied before the promotion ended and haven’t yet had your miles matched, you’re not out of luck. According to the Capital One rep: “Rest assured that cardholders who were approved during the promotion period will still have 45 days from when they opened their account to register their miles and qualify for the match (which means we’ll actually be going above and beyond one billion).”

And if you didn’t apply while the bonus was still in effect, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Reader Reality Check

Did you take advantage of this promotion?

How do you plan to use the miles you earned?

This article originally appeared on

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