I was waiting for a 1.2 feature that is Trophy and promotions are now automatically applied on session creation. I am trying to make this work like that, and it just promotes users when the cron runs.
I don't know if there is one option for this, if there is can't find it, but for me the user promotions aren't being applied on user / session creation, i tested with several registers, valid accounts, user verification turned off, logout/login, etc... The promotions were only applied when the cron did run. I did this with a custom user field based promotion.
The trophies work just fine on session creation.