It’s been a while since I posted a list of my current favorite credit card sign-up bonuses (since you can get them here any time you want). However, since we have seen some big offers end (100k and 75k AA Executive, sniff) and other limited time offers sprout up, I think it is time for a refresher post on some of the top current offers. 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.
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 favorite offers may be different than yours simply because our situations and goals are not identical.
As always, I don’t recommend dabbling in the world of rewards credit cards if you don’t have good credit and/or you cannot use them to only buy what you otherwise would and pay the balances off each month.
Here are the current rewards credit card sign-up offers that I think are currently most valuable for families (and a brief word on why):
**This United offer has expired. Please go to ‘Credit Card Offers’ on homepage for latest offer.
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card: Limited time offer of 50,000 United miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months + additional 5,000 miles when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months. This is a big increase over the standard 30,000 mile offer that is usually available. There is even an offer that also includes a $50 statement credit floating around, though it does not work consistently for everyone (or at least it doesn’t for me).
There is a $0 intro annual fee the first year, and $95 thereafter. 50,000 United miles are enough for two round trip tickets within the lower 48 and Canada, not to mention that is a good chunk of miles to get you on your way to the different awards United has to offer.
Some (including myself) are even able to get a business version of this card with 50,000 miles or a United Club Card with the first year fee waived. Head to Run For Miles for a post on these targeted offers.
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. 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 for American Airlines miles.
The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®: 40,000 miles after the first purchase with $89 annual fee. This is a great card because it awards miles on the first purchase, it will go away at some point when 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 (though 2014 will be the last year for that perk). Due to the very, very low spending requirement and the fact that this card will go away, this is an easy card to include when it is time to get a new rewards credit card.
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 $3,000 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 it comes with an EMV chip that makes it extraordinarily useful for travel overseas. Another perk is that you don’t have to have enough points to redeem for the full amount of a charge in order to use your points. 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. The card earns 2x on all purchaes and you also get 10% of your points back when you redeem the points toward travel charges. This is a very, very good card to get and use for everyday purchases if your travel goals include primarily domestic and/or economy class redemptions.
Southwest Airlines: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first 3 months of opening your account. This card has a $99 annual fee. 50,000 points are worth over $700 toward “Wanna Get Away fares. The official public offer for this card is 25,000 points right now, but a TPG contributer found this link and it seems to be working just fine!
British Airways Visa Signature® Card: 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months. There is a $95 annual fee for this card. 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 Alaska Airlines and American Airlines. I would recommend getting 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. If Europe is your goal you can also use Avios to fly on partners such as Aer Lingus and airberlin with low/no fuel surcharges.
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 for you 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.
Hyatt Visa Signature: Two free nights after spending $1,000 in the first three months. $0 intro annual fee the first year and $75 annual fee with free Category 1-4 certificate at each renewal.
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 $3,000 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 favorites 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 favorite credit card sign-up offers list? Did I miss your current favorite?