10 best credit card sign-up bonuses for March!

In the interest of full disclosure, I may earn a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. They’re all for the best publicly available offers for each card. Please check out my advertising policy for further details, and thanks for your support!

While there are several excellent long standing credit card offers, the specifics of the best offers are constantly changing (be it the annual fee, minimum spend requirement, or even amount of the sign-up bonus).

I’ve decided to make a post on the first Monday of every month with what I consider to be the best credit card sign-up bonuses of the month. If you read my blog on a daily basis then by all means skip this post, but I know it’ll be a useful, “current” place for me to refer people that ask about which cards they should sign-up for, a question I get a daily basis.

With that in mind, here are what I currently consider to be the 10 best credit card sign-up bonuses:

1. Ink Plus® Business Credit Card and Ink Bold® Business Charge Card

Current offer: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

Why it’s a great offer: Ultimate Rewards points are one of the most valuable points currencies given that they can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to United, Hyatt, and many other programs. Best of all you can be approved for both the Ink Plus and Ink Bold, even if you already have the other card. The cards are also great for everyday spend given that they offer 5x points at office supply stores, and on cell phones, internet, and cable TV, and double points on gas and hotels.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current offer: 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months, plus an additional 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user to the card that makes a purchase within three months.
Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

Why it’s a great offer: Ultimate Rewards points are one of the most valuable points currencies given that they can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to United, Hyatt, and many other programs. The cards are also great for everyday spend given that it offers double points on dining and travel.

3. American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

Note: If you’re having issues with the above link, go to http://www.creditcards.com/cardmatch and enter your personal information (no need for your social security number), and the offer should appear

Current offer: 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 within three months
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175

Why it’s a great offer: Membership Rewards has many transfer partners, including Aeroplan, British Airways, Delta, and Singapore. I’d argue it may just be the most aspirational points currency now, given that you can redeem Singapore KrisFlyer miles for travel in Singapore Suites.

4. Citi AAdvantage Visa Card, Citi AAdvantage American Express Card, Citi AAdvantage Business Visa Card

Current offer: 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 within four months
Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

Why it’s a great offer: American miles are extremely valuable for OneWorld travel, and offer some of the best premium cabin redemptions out there, like first class between the US and Asia on Cathay Pacific for 67,500 miles one-way.

5. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa Card

Current offer: Two free weekend nights at most Hilton family properties after spending $2,500 within four months
Annual fee: $95

Why it’s a great offer: Hilton is substantially devaluing their award chart later this month, making some properties as expensive as 95,000 HHonors points per night. These free night certificates will be redeemable all the way up to category 10 properties, potentially making this sign-up bonus worth the equivalent of 190,000 HHonors points.

6. Chase Hyatt Visa Card

Current offer: Two free nights at any Hyatt property after spending $1,000 within three months; for Platinum members two free nights and two suite upgrades; for Diamond members two free nights in a suite
Annual fee: $75

Why it’s a great offer: Hyatt’s top properties go for 22,000 points per night, or 33,000 points per night in a suite. So this sign-up bonus is potentially worth the equivalent of 44,000 Gold Passport points for base members, or 66,000 Gold Passport points for Diamond members.

7. US Airways Barclays Mastercard

Current offer: 30,000 Dividend Miles after the first purchase
Annual fee: $85

Note: They seem to be denying people applying through this offer that aren’t Preferred members. the best official link for the link, for 30,000 miles after the first purchase with an $85 annual fee (not waived the first year)

Why it’s a great offer: Use it or lose it. Once the merger takes place it’s a near guarantee that Citi will be issuing American’s new co-branded credit card, so this card won’t be around much longer. It’s an easy 30,000 Dividend Miles given that you get the miles after the first purchase.

8. Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Card
NOTE: OFFER EXPIRED

Current offer: 50,000 points (enough for two roundtrip flights) after spending $2,000 within three months
Annual fee: $99

Why it’s a great offer: I’m not a Southwest flyer, but if you are you can’t beat two roundtrips and being well on your way to Companion Pass.

9. Mercedes Benz Platinum Card from American Express

Current offer: 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 within three months
Annual fee: $475

Why it’s a great offer: While the annual fee is high the card comes with lots of benefits that help negate the annual fee the first year, including lounge access with Delta, Priority Pass, and others, as well as a $200 airline fee credit. The annual fee is based on a rolling 12 months while the airline fee credit is based on calendar years, meaning with the first year’s annual fee you can pick up two airline fee credits.

10. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express

Current offer: 10,000 Starpoints after the first purchase, 15,000 additional Starpoints after spending $5,000 within six months
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65

Why it’s a great offer: Starpoints remain the most valuable points currencies out there, and a great value for both hotel redemptions and airline mileage transfers.

Anyway, those are my top 10 cards based on sign-up bonuses this month!

Editorial Note: Neither this post, nor the comments, are provided nor commissioned by the Issuing bank, or any other advertiser. The comments below have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not the bank or advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. Deepak says

    Why no love for the Priority Club Visa? The fee is low $49 2nd year onwards, and includes a free night along with 80k points the first year for a large hotel chain!

  2. Alex L says

    Not to forget that the US Airways card gives a free 10,000 bonus miles every anniversary. And US-Asia Business Class for only 90,000 miles!

  3. lucky says

    @ Deepak — I value Priority Club points at 0.6 cents each, so even with an 80K bonus that’s ~$480 in rewards. I value the rewards with all of the above cards at more than that. While I agree the free night is useful, the intent of the post was the best sign-up bonuses and not the best card to keep long term (and I agree the Priority Club card is GREAT to keep long term).

  4. lucky says

    @ tassojunior — You sure about that? While the page doesn’t list the offer, most seem to agree the above is a 40K offer, no?

  5. JGfromOC says

    For the WN card, you can actually stretch that into 5 RT tickets pretty easily. With that bonus and some previously earned RR points, I’ve booked 6 RT tickets – roughly $1000 in WN travel for $95. Not too shabby.

  6. Evan says

    @ Lucky How can the above US Airways offer be the best offer when you can not even submit an application????

  7. AJ says

    The best signup bonus on AA I am seeing is 30k miles. Do you have your own hookup with AA to get the 50k bonus?

  8. Kenny says

    do you think we will still receive the 10k annual bonus miles once the merger takes place?

  9. lucky says

    @ Kenny — I doubt it. It’s almost certain that Citi will be the issuer of the combined airline after the merger, and they offer a 10% rebate on awards (up to 10,000 miles per year) as opposed to the anniversary bonus of 10,000 miles.

  10. Patrick Mc says

    I just signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred using your link and got instant approval! Thank you for all of your travel advice. A referral fee is the least I can do. :)

  11. pianodude says

    Any thoughts on the Chase Airtran card for 32 credits, especially considering the good chance that the card will go away in the near future? In addition to the transferability to Southwest, Airtran flies to Mexico and the Caribbean.

    I’ve recently had all the WN cards and most cards listed above, so just looking for possiblities for this week’s round of apps — thanks!

  12. Ken says

    UIs air still handing out 40000 offer on their flights? Plus. 500 mole bonus. Same or better offer than above?

  13. lucky says

    @ Ken — I think their onboard offer is for 35,000 miles at most — definitely not 40,000 miles if I recall correctly.

  14. gottoloveInk says

    Hi Lucky – applied via your link for Citi Business Visa and got approved. Thanks for blogging…

  15. OooO says

    I think it’s worth mentioning that you get 10% rebate on AA award redemption for a Citi card holder, essentially making it 60750 mile for a one way first class from US to ASIA. The only problem that I have with AA redemption is that you can’t go anywhere in ASIA from ANC (my home airport) without violating their 25% MPM rule. I have to talk to the supervisor every time to do a forced connection to make it single redemption from ANC to ASIA.

  16. OooO says

    I guess you did mention that in the earlier post. Good to know that it has 10,000 mile limit.

  17. Myron says

    Does the personal SPG card have the 15,000/$5,000 bonus right now? I see it in the fine print for the business card application but not the personal one.

  18. Tracy T. says

    This article is very timely as I’m just now planning my next churn. Is it worth it to get the US Airways card with the sole intention of holding on to the miles to eventually transfer them to my AAdvantage account? I don’t even have a US frequent flier account now.
    Back in Dec. I got the 2 Southwest cards (personal & business). How likely is it that Chase will give me a Sapphire Preferred and an Ink now? Credit score is excellent.
    Thanks!

  19. lucky says

    @ Myron — I can assure you the bonus on the personal card is for the 25,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 on the card.

  20. lucky says

    @ Tracy T. — How many other cards do you have with Chase? I’d say it’s quite likely they’ll approve you for either/both if you don’t have too many others with them. If you have others with them they’ll probably be happy to close an existing card in favor of a new one. Chase is great about shifting around credit lines.

    And yes, I’d say it’s worth getting the US Airways card with the sole intention of them turning into American miles down the road.

  21. Tracy T. says

    Thanks for the quick repsonse,Lucky! The 2 Southwest cards are the only ones I have with Chase. (I’m very new to the miles/points game.) I really want the Sapphire Preferred, but not sure whether or not to push my luck with an Ink.

  22. lucky says

    @ Tracy T. — If you currently only have two Chase cards and have an excellent credit score I doubt you’ll have any problem getting approved for another personal and business card. Two personal and two business cards is a very reasonable number of cards to have.

  23. FlyingDoctorWu says

    Where is it confirmed that the Citi HHonors certificate for free weekend nights can be used for all categories with the recent devaluation?

    FDW

  24. beachfan says

    This is a super list, I just sent it to my less experienced friends!

    If you want to make it valuable to the most experienced folks, then I would suggest including the best guess as to how often you can churn.

  25. Muerl says

    @Lucky, that US Airways link I got declined on. They told me over the phone that it was only for US airways Elite members only and that I had been declined BEFORE a credit pull.

    Word of warning!

  26. lucky says

    @ Muerl — I’m really sorry about that. Seemed to work until a couple of days ago, and then more people started getting denied. I’ve gone ahead and updated the post with the “official” link I have, as I don’t want people to have the same issue. Sorry again and thanks for the heads up.

  27. lucky says

    @ Zz — There’s a difference between the cards with the best sign-up bonuses and the cards that are best to be kept long term. The Club Carlson card is phenomenally valuable long term, but the sign-up bonus itself isn’t worth more than $400 or so.

  28. jfadds says

    first, i want to say thanks for all the great work you do for us miles/points maniacs.you are the hardest working guy out there,IMO.

    my family and i appreciate it. we just signed up for 4 cards using the above links.

  29. mtb says

    Chase Sapphire Preferred® Visa Card
    had this card a while back. how long is the waiting time to rechurn? ie if i canceled 18 months ago can i get the bonus again? ive also heard 2 years, but never gotten a confirmation on the exact time if ever.
    also as a side note spg went up 25% in many cases on point requires so while i still think they are the lowest point per stay out there, everyone holding points dropped their value.

  30. lucky says

    @ mtb — With Chase you never know for sure. I think 36 months is the only guaranteed period, though many report having success getting the bonus again before that.

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