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Update: Many of these offers are expired or outdated. Please check out the current list of the best travel credit cards.
Every month I make a post with what I consider to be the best credit card sign-up bonuses of the month. 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). If you read my blog on a daily basis then by all means skip this post, but for me it’s a useful, “current” place 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: This is the only “unofficial” link remaining for a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus, and while the bonus isn’t stated on the application, people that have applied through the above link have consistently received that bonus.
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.
5. 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.
6. British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Current offer: 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 within three months
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 thereafter
Why it’s a great offer: British Airways recently got rid of the first year annual fee on the card, which was previously $95. They have 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 ~$650.
7. Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card
Current offer: Two free weekend nights at most Hilton family properties after spending $2,500 within four months of account opening
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.
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: Regardless of whether or not the merger with American actually goes through, either American or US Airways miles are extremely valuable. 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!
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Hyatt Credit Card and Fairmont Visa Signature® Card have been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.