Nixon wrote:No rhyme or reason from what I can tell.
One plausible explanation is their analysis of my selective use of the card. When they see I use Sallie Mae almost entirely for 5% stuff, their algorithms may conclude that a little boost to my rewards isn't going to make me bring non-bonus spending over on a long-term basis.
For Aviator, there may be more leeway in giving mini-bonuses upon request. For cards like Sallie Mae and Priceline, I think it's (at least almost) impossible to request extra rewards. Either the algorithms pick you as being eligible and they contact you with the offer, or the algorithms don't and the CSRs can do nothing.
Discover and Amex employees seem to have a lot more freedom in handing out incentives.
*Another change is that I'm more willing to close a card or let it die off if I find it a headache - even if it saves me money.*