Rewards Credit Cards With the Highest Anniversary Bonuses

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

Most miles and points blogs (this one included) put the bulk of the focus on the perks involved in signing up for rewards credit cards, but the truth is that there can also be some pretty good benefits for keeping and using the cards.  My take on the rewards card industry is that they know it usually takes a nice bonus to get someone to apply for a new card, but from a business stand point they also want to offer incentives for people to hold onto and use the cards beyond the minimum spending requirement so they can make their money as well.  Some cards are already structured with some nice perks for keeping and using the card, so this post is devoted to pointing out some of the highest “anniversary bonuses” that are out there!  Note that some of these cards also have business versions with similar perks, but for simplicity this post is dedicated to the personal cards.  

Hotel cards:

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature:

This card comes with a $75 annual fee, but in exchange you get 40,000 points annually for the card renewal which is pretty spectacular.  Even if you ignore all the other benefits of having the card, that is the equivalent of paying about 1/5 of a cent per point.  Remember this card also comes with an ongoing perk that gives you the second night of an award reservation for free, so in some ways it is almost like you get 80K points each year if you use them in that manner.

Hyatt Credit Card:

This card comes with a $75 annual fee, but to help lessen that blow you do get a free night at renewal for a stay in a Category 1-4 hotel.  Depending on where you use your free night, that could be worth $150+.  I would consider using mine at the Hyatt Place New York Midtown in Manhattan.  It is a category 4 hotel that normally would cost you 15,000 Hyatt points or often close to $300 per night.  If you are a big spender, you also are rewarded upon spending $20,000 in a calendar year, with 2 stay and 5 night credits toward elite status.  Upon spending $40,000 in a calendar year, you’ll receive an additional 3 stay and 5 night credits.  Thankfully, there is no spending requirement for the Category 1- 4 free night.

Chase Fairmont Visa:

Each year at the anniversary you receive one free night at any Fairmont after spending $12,000 within that year.  This card also carries a $95 annual fee.  You do also receive Fairmont Premier status for having the card.  Assuming you can hit the spending requirement, a free night at any Fairmont annually could certainly be worth a couple hundred dollars.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card:

In addition to the Gold HHonors status this card carries on an ongoing basis, you also get an annual weekend night certificate good at more than 3,800 hotels and resorts within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio after $10,000 in annual purchases. Again, depending on how you use this certificate, you could get a couple hundred dollars in value from it to help offset the $95 annual fee.  If you are a high roller, top tier Hilton HHonors Diamond status is awarded if you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year.

Priority Club Select Visa:

This is another case where info on the best sign-up offer is on Flyertalk, but the anniversary bonus is consistently the same.  The anniversary bonus consists of a free night to use at any one of their hotels worldwide.  You also get Priority Club Platinum elite status and a 10% rebate on points redeemed on an ongoing basis.  There is a $49 annual fee for this card, but it is easily more than made up for with the free night.

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa:

The best sign-up offer for this card may be found on Flyertalk, but the standard offer includes a free night at each anniversary at any category 1-5 Marriott hotel.  At each anniversary you also earn 15 credits and guaranteed Silver Elite status every year.  You then get one additional credit toward elite status for every $3,000 charged on the card each year.

SPG Amex:

This card doesn’t come with an annual free night or anything similar (though that would be great), but it does provide 5 nights and 2 stays toward elite status annually.  If you are a heavy hitter with this card you do get SPG Gold status if you spend $30,000 on the card annually.  It carries a $65 annual fee.

Airline Cards:

Airline cards seem to be better at providing ongoing benefits (free checked bag, priority boarding, etc) as opposed to anniversary benefits, but there are a few that are worth mentioning. 

The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®

This card is a little trickier to nail down as there are several versions of offers out there.  This FT thread usually has the most lucrative sign-up bonus, but even the anniversary benefits can vary some.  In terms of ongoing benefits on all of the offers, you get 5,000 miles off flights booked exclusively on US Airways operated flights.  At each anniversary you get a US Airways Club pass and a pretty handy certificate that allows up to two companions to fly on certain US Airways operated flights with you for just $99 each plus taxes.  I have a whole post about how to use that certificate here, but it can save a family hundreds a year.  Some of the US Airways cards also provide 10,000 bonus US Airways miles at renewal.  This is pretty huge as those miles are easily worth between $150 and $200 by themselves, making the $89 annual fee more than worth it.  However, I can’t guarantee that all of the offers are now providing that perk as it isn’t clearly spelled out.  I know I get that perk with my version of this card, as do many others.  If your version of this card has that anniversary bonus I would hold onto it for sure!

Alaska Airlines Card:

This card comes with a $99 (plus tax) companion certificate at each anniversary.  It used to be good even for first class travel; now it is only economy.  It can still be used to go to Hawaii though from cities served by Alaska!  There is a $75 annual fee with this card.

Citi AAdvantage Visa Signature/Citi Platinum Select Card:

With this card you get 10% of the miles you redeem back, up to 10k in a calendar year.  This isn’t exactly an anniversary perk, but it is pretty cool.  You also get a $100 American Airlines flight discount at each anniversary if you have spent a whopping $30,000 on the card that year.  This card has a $95 annual fee that could be off-set by the value of the miles you get back each year, if you take advantage of that benefits and redeem at least somewhere close to 50k miles per year.  Of course there are other ongoing perks useful to AA flyers who don’t have elite status.

Bank Reward Points (or transferable points):

Chase Freedom® Visa:

This card awards a 10% bonus on all points earned each year if you also have a Chase checking account.  That can really add up if you shop via this card in the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal and/or utilize the 5x bonus categories.  This card also comes with no annual fee which makes the 10% annual points bonus even sweeter!

Citi ThankYou Premier Card:

This card comes with a $125 annual fee, but also comes with an annual complimentary domestic companion ticket at renewal (within the contiguous USA) and a 15% discount when booking air travel through Spirit Incentives.

 

There are a few cards that I keep on an ongoing basis that don’t have valuable anniversary bonuses or annual bonuses, but for the most part the ones I keep are the ones that reward me for doing so.  It would not surprise me to see more and more cards tweaking their benefits programs to encourage you to keep and utilize these cards year after year.

Which cards do you keep for the anniversary benefits?

 

Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card using one of my affiliate links. Some of these links are mine, some are not.  As always, your support is very much appreciated!

 

 

Comments

    • Mark, love that card but didn’t include it in the anniversary bonus post since it’s anniversary perk requires $30,000 in spending for the travel together cert + you still have to pay the huge taxes/fees to use it. 😉 Have that card myself though!

  1. How about Delta cards? I just got the Delta Amex Platinum since I got an amazing sign up deal but have to think about keeping it after 1 year. I also struggle in keeping cards that are very old and in which I have very high credit limits. It is a hard decision to make.

  2. I recently gave up my Southwest card because the 6000 renewal points didn’t seem worth the $99 annual fee, which you state is worth around $100+. Not an attractive deal. Got 2 round trips out of the original bonus, though.

  3. Santastico, I’m just such not a Delta person it is hard for me to include many of them, however if you are a Delta flyer then it can be worth it – especially if you want the MQMs toward elite status.

  4. The PC card, that for $45 gives you a free room in virtually any PC property. Platinum status as long as you have the card. And despite what I’ve read, I have gotten suite upgrades as a Plat at Crowne Plazas in Europe, on award stays no less.
    Not to mention that the free room certificate is good for an entire year. Unlike the Marriott one which is only good for cat 1-5, and expires after 6 months.

  5. @mommypoints – Tks. I wish I were NOT a Delta person but since my hub is MSP I have not much choice. I miss my almost 2 million miles with AA and to put my lifetime Gold status to a good use 🙁

  6. @Mark Yes, the old Chase BA offer did give a 50K bonus on renewal with no special yearly spend. I just got my 50K renewal bonus a few weeks ago. Not only is that offer no longer available, but that was a one time only deal. If you renew it a second time you won’t get a bonus.

  7. The Masked Poster, you don’t come out way ahead on that one for sure. Does offset the fee if you wanted to keep the card anyway.
    Mark, yeah that deal was around a while back and I think it was just on the first renewal. Has been gone for maybe a year or so at least. Well done getting it though!
    Dan, glad you like it!
    Robert, the PC does come with a really good anniversary benefit!
    Santastico, I understand being hub captive. 😉

  8. i think your mistaken, i also have the 10k renewal on the usairways card but if i recall correctly its only upon the first anniversary not every anniversary

  9. MommyPoints, thanks for the great post. My card stash has a specific purpose; fund our annual pilgramage to Disney World and/or Disneyland from the pacific Northwest. To accomplish this goal, so far, here is my list:
    .
    Delta AMEX Platinum card: by far the absolute BEST benefits available for the non-frequent flier on any airline. Free companion ticket, 1 free bag (up to 8 in party), priority boarding (up to 8 in party), $25 lounge access (great for long layover or irrops), 20% discount on in-flight Delta food, AMEX benefits. $150 annual fee pays for itself. MP, you don’t fly them due to being in a hub city, but I bet you would if you lived elsewhere. Made for the vacationing family!
    .
    Hyatt Chase card: Hyatt Regency Orlando airport IS IN the airport, and is a Cat 4 hotel! The annual free night here helps with late arrival/early morning departure. Also, Platinum (mid-tier) status (free internet, nicer service) is nice.
    .
    Chase Disney card: no annual benefits and earning rate is in Disney dollars, so not very useful. However, Mickey, Goofy, and Donald on the card always brings out the clerk’s smile. 🙂
    .
    Other airline cards for Disney:
    .
    Alaska Airline BoA card: just approved a couple days ago! AS is our go to airline to get to Anaheim.
    .
    US Airways Barclays card: go this for the two $99 companion tickets and boarding. However, no free bags and flights cost more than DL. Likely not going to be around much longer, so not sure about how Barclays will handle this.
    .
    Is it good to build a card portfolio around an annual event, like vacation or visiting grandma? Any other suggestions?
    .
    .
    Wants:
    .
    Citi HHonors Reserve: I stay at Hilton brands once per month for a couple of nights, but not enough to get status, so I want this for the Gold status since Hilton is (currently) my primary hotel. Also use HHonors points for beach vacation when in FL.
    .
    AMEX Platinum: for all the benefits mentioned in your post.
    – or –
    United Mileage Plus Club card: great benefits for infrequent fliers on United, lounge access, Hyatt Platinum status, and Avis First (not as good as the President’s club that was there). Yes, $395 is high but the benefits are outstanding if you don’t have status.
    .
    Too bad Rental Car agencies do not have a co-branded card.

  10. Marriott’s Premier Visa’s cat 1-5 annual certificate is no longer worth it as Marriott has greatly devalued their points/rewards in the past 3-4 years:
    1) by introducing several new category levels (more points to stay at higher level category hotels)
    2) where the total # of hotels moving UP in category (means more expensive, points-wise) easily out numbers those that have moved down.

  11. The USA Air offer was worded kind of strange (I have a screenshot). It said “FIRST YEAR BONUS MILES – 10,000 after the first anniversary of account opening”. Then the next line said “BONUS ANNIVERSARY MILES – 10,000 after each subseqent account opening anniversary”.

    I don’t know why they seperated the two. Maybe it’s a British thing (Barclays).

    Of course with the merger it may be a moot point.

  12. The PC card flies under the radar(due to a lot of low key properties…HH Express, Candlewood etc…) but the renewal room benefit, Plat status, gift on check-in, point rebate, and Point Break list etc..) make this an easy to card to pony up $49 every year!
    Question: Does the free night at renewal work at the Venetian/Palazzo in Vegas or Montelucia in Scottsdale?
    If so, that’s a pretty easy $49(oh, plus “resort fee”)..

  13. I forgot to mention that SPG cards seem a bit overrated once you get past the sign up bonuses, which BTW have hefty min spends($5000 each to unlock).
    No bonus points for spend at all, that I am aware.
    Like the properties a lot, the card(s) not so much.
    The Hyatts seem like a much better deal given the ability to transfer easily accumulated Chase points.
    And Park Hyatts rival St Regis’s.

  14. @Geoff – Blasphemy (about the SPG part)! But I agree.

    I’m Club Carlson (and actually do like it), but that’s also a company budget issue. Hyatt wouldn’t fly.

  15. You don’t factor in that, the sooner you cancel any card, the sooner you can reapply and get the full and far superior signup bonus.

  16. -Yeah my US Airways offer says 10k at every anniversary.
    -SPG earns very valuable points that are hard to earn otherwise. It doesn’t have to try too hard to be valuable. 😉
    -Good question about if you can use for Venetian/Palazzo. Looks like Noob Traveler had success in doing so. http://www.noobtraveler.com/quick-hotel-review-intercontinental-venetian-las-vegas/
    -Chris, I like your approach, just please don’t tell me you are putting too much spending on your Disney card. 😉 Use it for the character meet and greets though!

  17. I used my Hyatt anniversary night at the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg on New Year’s eve. The regular room was about $350/night. And, they upgraded us to a suite because of the platinum status that comes with the card. Yay! It was a great value for the annual fee.

  18. @Geoff {re: SPG} “No bonus points for spend at all, that I am aware” If you transfer points to most airline programs 20K at a time, you get a 25% transfer bonus. Plus you get to wait until you know where you want to move those miles. That flexibility is worth a lot, IMHO.

  19. Masked Poster – I’ll gladly pay $99 for 6000 Rapid Rewards points each year. The reason is that RR bookings are fully refundable with no fee, so I use my points to book itineraries when my plans are subject to change.

  20. I had the US Airways Premier World MasterCard and Barclays would only award the 10,000 points on the 1st anniversary. I cancelled on the 2nd anniversary after numerous phone calls with them to no avail. Guess it’s all to be a mute point soon.

    • Rich, interesting. The wording clearly says at each anniversary…at least on the offer I’m looking at.

  21. Great recommendations. I’m a big fan of the Alask Airlines card but my favorie is the Hawaiian Airlines Visa. I should look into giving a hotel card a try too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *