10 best credit card sign-up bonuses for September

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Update: Many of these offers are expired or outdated.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.

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.

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: While there’s a fairly 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 Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa and 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.

The “catch” is that as of a few weeks ago you typically won’t get approved for a second card if you already have another version of the card. In other words, in the past it was possible to earn the sign-up bonuses on both the Visa and the MasterCard, though at the moment that doesn’t seem to be possible.

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. 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 ~$650.

6. 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.

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. 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.

9. 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.

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 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.

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. @ Lantean — The Citi AAdvantage MasterCard was added (along with the restriction that you can only be approved for one Citi AAdvantage card at the moment), and the Starwood card no longer has the 30K sign-up bonus, so was ranked differently.

  2. I flew US airways recently and they were offering a version with 40k miles except you had to pay the annual fee. It gave you 40k miles after your 1st purchase.

  3. I do wonder as to whether yo feel that the Amex redemption policy of charging $0.0006 up to $99 per redemption, for federal excise tax, on transfers to US Airline programs, devalues the offer at all?

  4. @ Rings — In my opinion the best Membership Rewards transfer partners aren’t even US airlines (rather Aeroplan, Singapore, BA, etc.), so it doesn’t really impact my valuation.

  5. Ben, I’m really glad you put out that list. I thought BA visa with waived fee offer was expired. Ot at least it was supposed to. But it looks like its still alive. Good to know.

  6. I remember the good ‘ole days, when the Hyatt Visa gave you an affiliate bonus, and you would thus see fit to make sure to remind your readers that if they already have Platinum or especially Diamond Status (you think some of your readers might have that?), there’s a whole lot more to the bonus than just “2 free nights”

    But reminding them that those 2 free nights might be in a suite, no matter how relevant that point is, would probably propel it above the Hilton card, which does provide a link

    Then again, we should be grateful you even mentioned the card. Because ever since it stopped paying real dough, you’ve completely ignored it except in your monthly top 10 “ever changing offers even though none of these offers have really changed” posts

  7. Would it be possible to sign up for both the Ink Bold and the Sapphire Preferred on the same day (or any other personal/business combination from the same card issuer)? If so, then which one would be better to apply for first (to get the best chance of being approved for both), the personal or the business card?

  8. @ Brandon — Yes, you absolutely can be approved for both cards the same day. The order shouldn’t really matter. I’d probably do a personal and then business, but other way around should work equally well.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  9. Club Carlson does charge 75,000 points for some of it’s hotels.
    I noticed this recently when checking Radisson Blu in London, then
    chose the Hyatt Churchill instead.

  10. I applied for received the Citi Platinum AAdvantage Visa a few weeks ago using your link and nowhere does it say I receive any miles as a sign-up bonus. Even in the letter welcoming me to the program.
    Do you think I will I receive this bonus anyway if I spend the $3000.00?

  11. @ Lynn — Yes, you absolutely should. If you call customer service they can confirm your sign-up bonus over the phone.

  12. Lucky,

    Any suggestions for any other cards that earn good miles and *don’t* require a big initial spend or an annual fee? I nabbed the US Airways and just got rejected for the Barclay Arrival. I don’t mind spending a few $K but $5k in 3 mos is a stretch.

    This monthly post is a fantastic feature and a sterling service to miles-hoarders like myself. Keep it going!

  13. @ game writer guy — If you don’t want a huge minimum spend I think the Alaska Airlines cards are great, as they offer the sign-up bonus of 25,000-30,000 miles upon account approval.

    In terms of cards with a minimum spend of only a few thousand dollars, it’s tough to beat the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Citi American AAdvantage cards, which have huge sign-up bonuses with only $3,000 of spend. Lastly, the Chase British Airways card with the first year annual fee waived is great with only a $2,000 minimum spend as well.

  14. Thanks, Lucky!

    These are great suggestions. I hadn’t seen the Alaska cards.

    I guess we’re only a few days away from the October edition of this post. Looking forward to it. 🙂

  15. used your link for Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. some people seem to not want to give referral bonus out, but I use your site all the time and don’t understand why people are against using links as long as the post is honest and doesn’t cost them anything.
    now I have or had everything but 5, 6 8 & 9.
    not too much on air miles.
    heard anything on the Citi ThankYou Premier Card? website says: On October 20, 2013, exciting changes are coming to the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. While these changes are underway, we are not offering the option to apply online.

  16. @ mike — Thanks very much for using my link, I appreciate it! I’m actually not aware of the changes cming to the ThankYou Premier Card, but as soon as I find out more I’ll be sure to post about it. Thanks for reading!

  17. Hi– Last year I had an AA citi business card– I got a 30000 mile bonus– I recently canceled the card.

    If I apply and get another card with a bonus offer from Citi will I be able to get the miles? or will they disAllow the bonus since i did it last year?

    Thanks in Advance

  18. Another question about milage bonus cards–

    Last year I got a bonus for the Chase -United card (30000 mile) I recently canceled that card.

    If I join the SouthWest -Chase card, will they disAllow the bonus since i got a bonus with Chase last year?

  19. @ Gringo — You can absolutely get a different type of Chase card and earn the bonus on it. As far as the Citi business card goes, you may have to wait 12 months before being able to get the same card again.

  20. Thanks for the quick reply–

    Just to clarify; Chase will give the bonus on SouthWest if you’ve had a United airlines bonus?

    I ask, because I was turned down for bonus on a 2nd chase united Biz card this year because of last years bonus.

    — This was the 1st time I have been turned down — I have gotten United bonuses 3-4 times

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