10 best credit card sign-up bonuses for July

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!

Update: Many of these offers are expired or outdated. Please check out the current list of the best travel credit cards.

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).

Continuing with what I started doing earlier this year, I’m making a post the first week 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 consider to be the 10 best credit card sign-up bonuses right now:

1. Ink Bold® Business Charge Card and Ink Plus® Business Credit 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: This remains the single best credit card sign-up bonus out there. 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 they offer 5x points at office supply stores, and on cell phones, internet, and cable TV, and double points on gas and hotels. So this is a card that’s good for both for the sign-up bonus and for everyday spend. I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.8 cents each, so to me these points are worth a whopping $900. Last month there was a promotional 60,000 point sign-up bonus on the card for Small Business Week, though this is otherwise as good as the bonus gets.

2. The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN

Current offer: 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175

Why it’s a great offer: This is a promotional sign-up offer on a card that doesn’t ordinarily come with any sign-up bonus. While there’s a high annual fee it’s waived for the first year, and at the very least has some good short term potential for earning points given that it offers triple points on airfare, double points on gas, shipping, and advertising, and one point per dollar spent on everything. I value Membership Rewards points at 1.8 cents each, so to me the sign-up bonus is worth $900. Furthermore there are often transfer bonuses from Membership Rewards to their partner programs, potentially making these points even more valuable.

3. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Current offer: 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 within three 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. I value American miles at 1.8 cents each, so this sign-up bonus is worth $900 to me.

4. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current offer: 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 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. I value the sign-up bonus on this card at $720. Given that you can get the Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, and Chase Sapphire Preferred, that’s an easy 140,000 Ultimate Rewards points worth of sign-up bonuses alone, not factoring in the points you can earn for everyday spend.

5. British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Current offer: 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 within three months (offer is only available to applicants that haven’t had the card in the last 24 months)
Annual fee:  $0 Intro Annual Fee The First Year, Then $95

Why it’s a great offer: British Airways has a distance based award chart which is extremely lucrative for shorthaul travel, as awards start at just 4,500 Avios one-way. Given that short flights are often disproportionately expensive when paying cash, I’ve found Avios to be invaluable. I value British Airways Avios at 1.3 cents each, so to me the sign up bonus is worth ~$550 (factoring in the annual fee).

6. Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve 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: In late March Hilton substantially devalued their award chart, making some properties as expensive as 95,000 HHonors points per night. These free night certificates are redeemable all the way up to category 10 properties, potentially making this sign-up bonus worth the equivalent of 190,000 HHonors points. So in terms of buying power, the value of these certificates has hugely increased over the past week compared to the buying power of HHonors points. Furthermore you get HHonors Gold status for as long as you have the card, which gets you free breakfast and internet. As far as I’m concerned those are the two most useful hotel elite benefits, and you get that all for the low annual fee on the card.

The Chase Hyatt Visa Card and Fairmont Visa Signature Card also offer similar sign-up bonuses of two free nights after completing the minimum spend, though I’d say the thing that gives the Citi Reserve Card the “edge” is that it gets you their mid-tier status as well, which is extremely valuable.

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

Current offer: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months, and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 10,000 Starpoints after the first purchase, and 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 currency out there to me, and are a great value for both hotel redemptions and airline mileage transfers. I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each, so this sign-up bonus is worth $550 to me. Terms apply.

8. US Airways Barclays Mastercard

Current offer: 35,000 Dividend Miles after the first purchase
Annual fee: $85, 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 35,000 Dividend Miles given that you get the miles after the first purchase. I value US Airways miles at 1.6 cents each, so this sign-up bonus is worth ~$560.

It’s worth noting that while the above link seems to work as of now, I can’t guarantee for how long it’ll continue to work. Last time I posted a similar link the application continued to work though people started getting automatically rejected since the offer wasn’t intended to be publicly available. The only offer on which I can guarantee the bonus is my affiliate link, which only offers 30,000 Dividend Miles after the first purchase and doesn’t have the first year annual fee waived.

9. Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card

Current offer: 50,000 points after the first purchase, and an additional 35,000 points after spending $2,500 on the card within 90 days.
Annual fee: $75

Why it’s a great offer: As I’ve written about in this post, the Club Carlson card has a ton of value, including 85,000 points after completing the minimum spend, a 40,000 point anniversary bonus, Gold status for as long as you have the card, and most importantly, the second night of any award redemption is free, potentially doubling the value of your points.

You earn 5x points per dollar spent on the card, so once you’ve spent $3,000 on the card you’ll have 100,000 points. Club Carlson’s top category hotels cost 50,000 points per night, so that’s enough points for two sets of two nights at some of Club Carlson’s top properties.

10. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Current offer: 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within first 90 days
Annual fee: $89, waived the first year

Why it’s a great offer: Each point can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of travel, and you get a 10% refund of redeemed miles, making each point worth 1.1 cents. This sign-up bonus is therefore worth $440, and you can earn a pretty great 2.2% cash back towards travel for every dollar spent on the card.

Anyway, those are my top 10 cards based on sign-up bonuses this month. If you have any questions or other cards you think have great sign-up bonuses, let me know in the comments section!


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Comments

  1. On the 10 best of June list, you had the Arrival World Mastercard ahead of the Carlson card (which wasn’t listed).

    Since then, neither sign-up bonus has changed, and at best, the values of the points haven’t changed (at worst, Carlson points are worth less)

    So what happened that caused you to put Arrival ahead of Carlson last month, but the other way around this month?

  2. Just did an AOR off your links, 3 instant approvals, one pending, buy yourself something nice 🙂

  3. Ben,

    Given that Club Carlson just devalued their transfer rate without any notice, how can you be confident they won’t do the same with their hotel redemption rates. By not giving their customers any advance notice of a devaluation, they are an automatic pass for me.

  4. Just an FYI, I think your math on Club Carlson is wrong. If the min spend is $2,500, then you would have 97,500 points, not 110,000. Not a big deal as you would only need to spend $500 more to get to the redemption level you mentioned.

  5. Hi Lucky, may I ask if we can apply for both #9 and #10 at the same time (Carlson and Barlaycard)? Thanks.

  6. @Nguyen, you should be able to. Carlson is US Bank and the BarclayCard is obviously Barclay’s. You wouldn’t be able to get that and the US AirCard together in one AOR though.

  7. Would you consider the Pentagon Federal Travel Rewards card a candidate for this list? It pays 5 times points on all air travel and offers a $200 worth of credits as a sign-up bonus with some minimum spend. No annual fee. Is there some catch with this card? 5 times points on airfare seems like a best in market rate for earning points.

  8. @ Steve — Sorry, the order isn’t meant to be scientific. Previously the Lufthansa Miles & More card was in the #9 spot and since that bonus was pulled I replaced it with the Club Carlson card. It’s somewhat straightforward to put a cash value on sign-up bonuses when all that’s being offered is miles, since I have valuations for those.

    However, I have a hard time placing a value on the sign-up bonus of the Club Carlson credit card, given that in order to maximize the value you have to stay in two night increments.

    So perhaps it should be in the number 10 spot.

  9. @ Michael — In my last post on Club Carlson I wrote that it’s very much a program I’d recommend earning and burning in. I wouldn’t want to rack up a huge Club Carlson balance since their program (and credit card) is still pretty new.

    That being said, I’d certainly hope that if they do devalue their award chart for hotel stays in any significant way they’d give advance notice.

    I think it’s completely unacceptable they devalued mileage transfers without any notice, though at the same time it was never the primary use of Club Carlson points, so I think it’s a bit different than hugely devaluing your primary award chart without any advance notice.

  10. @ Mark D. — Whoops, not sure why I had $5,000 minimum spend in my head, you’re absolutely right. Updating post right now. Thanks!

  11. @ Nguyen — As Dan notes you absolutely should be able to, especially since the cards are issued by different banks.

  12. @ Fishing4Deals — This list is about the best sign-up bonuses and while it may be a rewarding credit card to keep long term, I don’t think a $200 sign-up bonus would be one of the best bonuses out there.

    Best I can tell the card basically gives you a cent per point, so at five points per dollar on travel you’re looking at a 5% return. For a no annual fee card that’s really good, though I think I’d still prefer three Membership Rewards points per dollar on the Premier Rewards Gold card, for example.

  13. 40k miles on #10. Barclaycard card, which airline is it for? or is it just converted to $400 at booking time?

  14. Ok Ben, as always, I used your links and applied for 3 cards. Instantly approved. AA Citi, Hyatt and SPG. Watch your referral credit!

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