The Best Credit Card Sign-up Offers are Always Changing

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I try not to post a list of the best credit card offers too frequently, since you can get them here any time you want, but given some recent changes I think it is time for a refresher post.  It is important to get as many miles and points as possible when you sign-up for a rewards credit card, so knowing what the best offers are is something that is pretty important in the miles and points game.  Often there are multiple offers for the same card available at the same time, so finding the best one can be a little trickier than just doing a simple search.  I do my very best to list the top available offers for all cards, whether they are my affiliate link or not…but do be aware that the various miles and points blogs all tackle this issue differently.  While many do as I do and share the best offers regardless of whether or not they are affiliate links, some do not.  Do your homework and don’t miss out on any miles when the time comes to get a new rewards credit card.

For me, to decide which offers are the “best” you have to consider whether they are a limited time only, how much the points are worth to you based on your travel plans and goals, how high the sign-up bonus is compared to other previous offers, and how easily you can meet the spending requirement.   Ultimately, my best may be different than your best simply because our situations and goals are not identical.

Without further ado, here are the offers that I think are currently tops for families (and a brief word on why):

Ink Bold® Business Card or Ink Plus® Business Card: Both of these cards offer 50,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $5,000 in three months, and they are considered separate products.  The Bold is a charge card and the Plus is a credit card.  There is a $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $95 annually thereafter.  These business cards come with tremendous earning power since they pay out 5x Ultimate Reward points for office supply store, cell phone, internet, landline, and cable charges.  Ultimate Reward points can transfer 1:1 to United, British Airways, Hyatt, Korean Airlines, Marriott, IHG Rewards, and more.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 40,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.   There is a $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $95 annually thereafter.  This card has been the darling of the miles and points world since it came out, and it is consistently my #1 recommendation for those new to this hobby because of the valuable and flexible Ultimate Reward points and access to the online Ultimate Rewards shopping portal.  The card also pays out 2x on travel and dining expenses (3x on “First Fridays” dining).  If you don’t yet have this card, I would fix that when the time is right for you to get a new rewards credit card!

Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® Visa Signature® Card; 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in three months.  There is a $95 annual fee, but it is waived for the first year.  Being able to get a legitimate public offer with a landing page for this card at 50,000 miles is actually pretty rare.  In addition to a good sign-up bonus this card is also helpful if you fly American as it provides free checked bags for you and four companions, priority boarding, 10% of your redeemed miles back, and more.  Read this Flyertalk thread for the most up to date info on these cards, but this is a very solid offer.

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card 85,000 Club Carlson points (50k after first purchase, and 35k more after spending $2,500 in the first three months.)  There is a $75 annual fee, but you do get 40,000 bonus points at each renewal.  The bonus points with this card are good, but what makes this card a “must have” for us is that the last award night is free.  That means, if I redeem for two rewards nights then I pay for the first one with points, and the second is free!  While my favorite Club Carlson hotels are in Europe, there are also some pretty good family options here in the US.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®: $400 toward travel charges after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.  There is a $89 annual fee that is waived the first year.  What I love about this card is that the points can be used toward any type of travel and you aren’t limited to just airfare or hotels and you don’t have to have enough points to redeem for the full amount of a charge.  For example, if you have a $600 hotel charge, but only $400 worth of points then you can still redeem the portion that you have toward the travel charge.
US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard: 35,000 miles after the first purchase and the $89 annual fee waived.  This is a great card because it awards miles on the first purchase, it will go away if the AA merger happens, you get a 5k mileage discount when you book award tickets on US operated flights, and you get an annual $99 companion fare that allows up to two companions to fly on your US operated itinerary for free (get full details here).
British Airways Visa Signature® Card: 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months.  There is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year and $95 thereafter.  This card is pretty awesome because the spending requirement is pretty low, and the points can be insanely valuable when used on short haul flights on partners like American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.  For example, you can fly round trip from many West Coast cities to Hawaii for 25k points using BA partners.  I would not get this card with the intent to fly British Airways flights to Europe and beyond unless you are very familiar with the fuel surcharges and fees that will entail, but using them for flights within the US and to nearby destinations like Canada and the Caribbean can be very rewarding.
The Hyatt, Hilton and Fairmont hotel credit cards:  These hotel cards all are fantastic, but get grouped in my head since all of their sign-up offers are similar.  With all three you have to hit the spending requirement and then you are given two free nights to use at their respective hotels across the world.  Which one is the best pretty much just depends on where your travels will take you.  Do note that with the Hilton card the free nights are limited to the weekend and with the Fairmont card you also get free breakfasts.  With the Hyatt card your nights are in a suite if you are a Diamond elite member when you apply.
Hyatt Visa Signature: Two free nights after spending $1,000 in the first three months.  $75 annual fee with free Category 1-4 certificate at each renewal.  Pay attention on Hyatt.com when you make a booking to see if you are offered an even sweeter deal with a statement credit.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card: Two free weekend nights after spending $2,500 in the first four months.  $95 annual fee.  You also receive Hilton Gold status with this deal, which can score you free breakfast in Hilton hotels.

Fairmont Visa Signature: Two free nights + breakfast after spending $1,000 in the first three months.  $0 intro annual fee for the first year and $95 thereafter.
There you have it – my current favorite rewards credit card offers as of right this second.  The landscape is always changing, so my favorite list could be different tomorrow, and what is best for you will depend on your travel goals and current point balances.
Are some of these on your top credit card offers list?  Did I miss your current favorite?
Disclosure: Some of these are my affiliate links and some are not – all are to the best current offer I am aware of.  As always, thanks for your support!

Comments

  1. Gene, I’m most displeased with AA for their decision on fuel surcharges and how they are handling it, but it is still a good sign-up offer…just not as good for some uses as it was when this was written yesterday.
    Nick, saw that and it can be good if you plan on running a decent amount of spending on those categories through the card, but no sign-up bonus means it didn’t crack this list. I think you also needs a WF account to get it last I checked. Good card for those who spend a bunch in those cats though.

  2. Today American begins charging fuel surcharges and here you are pushing their credit cards…wow…you must really need referral money bad

  3. @Mommypoints – looks like you have the wrong link under Club Carlson. From the description I thought you had a list of good Club Carlson properties in US, worthy of redemption.

  4. @mommypoints–there was speculation that you need to have a WF relationship, but I just got my card yesterday and I have no relationship with Wells. The closest I come on that count is having had a checking account with them that I closed in 2003.

  5. Bobo, that is not an affiliate link and the post was written yesterday before the announcement. That link doesn’t earn me a dime, but I still think it is a very good offer for the sign-up bonus. You can use on AA flights for sure without fuel surcharges, but you are right that it isn’t as good for many routes as it was yesterday.
    Rasputin, fixed and thanks!

  6. I wonder if this post has anything to do with the SPG card offer going away in a week. Gotta get in as many referral fees as you can before it goes away!

  7. Jared, it is partially related to the SPG offer ending soon, but not for the reason you state. No sense people missing out on 5k points if they were going to do it soon…and I know some that have been procrastinating on pulling the trigger. Cough, husband. Cough, dad.

  8. I still think AA miles are valuable compared to paying full price. It is only a matter of time before other US carriers do the same and fuel surcharges will be the new norm.

    I’d rather pay fuel surcharges on an award ticket vs full price.

  9. Did we really need a refresher when there are 50 posts a day from bloggers saying how A-MAZING the 30k bonus for the SPG card is or do the bloggers have an ulterior motive behind it?

    ONLY some of the links are you affiliate links?! Really? Isn’t it rather ALL but ONE?

  10. I’m on the wall about the SPG Amex card. For me, miles are more important that hotel points since flights are more limited and hotels are a dime a dozen. Lots of my travel are international based so the Foreign Charge fees are killer. Do you still think its worth it to get this card and just accrue on a 1x since I dont stay in hotels domestically (AirBnB is awesome). Or do you think its more worthwhile just to charge my international hotel fees on the Sapphire card?

  11. You might want to delete the part about AA adding fuel surcharges. Many people were quite vocal in expressing their displeasure, and AA has backtracked. Of course, they are calling it a misunderstanding. How that misunderstanding led to people being charged fees, and CSRs reading people official memos about it is not explained. Anyway, Lucky posted this update from AA:

    “Last night, in a routine effort to better align American to industry standards with other global carriers, American began collecting carrier-imposed surcharges on tickets for travel on other carrier’s metal. This change was intended for revenue tickets only, but the surcharge was erroneously added to AAdvantage award redemptions on other airlines as well. Except in the cases of British Airways and Iberia (where American currently collects these surcharges), no carrier-imposed surcharges will be applied when redeeming AAdvantage miles for award travel on other carriers. Any customers who encountered this fee in error will be fully refunded.”

    Whatever the case, I feel greatly relieved…

  12. As for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, isn’t the minimum spend requirement $2,000? It’s listed as $1,000 in your description. Is there a better offer around?

  13. YOU WROTE
    British Airways Visa Signature® Card: 50,000 Avios after spending $1,000 on the card in the first three months. There is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year and $95 thereafter. This card is pretty awesome because the spending requirement is low,

    HOWEVER…If you click the link, you’ss see that the spending requirement is $2000, not $1000.
    – See more at: http://mommypoints.boardingarea.com/2013/08/28/the-best-credit-card-sign-up-offers-are-always-changing/#comments

  14. @Maurys That was clearly a typo. If you click on the link she provided, the app says “$2,000”.

    Yet with the AF waived, and just two months of Amazon Payments to meet the minimum spend for 50K miles, it’s still a pretty sweet deal.

  15. Rob, I agree the AA offer is still good with or without fuel surcharges, but certainly better without since apparently that was all “an error”. 😉
    Susan, you are most welcome. Hope it helped!
    Dan, a quick count shows 4 are non-affiliate links, and all are to the best public offers.
    Leo, I would not put international spend on the SPG Amex since plenty of other great cards like the CSP you mention do not charge the forex fee. It is a very good card, but not for international charges.
    Robert, it is now deleted. What a morning that roller coaster was!
    Maury and Shirley, file that one under the offers are always changing…it was $1k until pretty recently, but you are correct it is now $2k.

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