10 Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses For December

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Update: Many of these offers are expired or outdated.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. For reference, here is my list of the best credit card sign up bonuses for November.

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

1. 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. American miles haven’t been devalued yet either, unlike Delta and United miles.

The “catch” is that as of a few months 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.

2. Alaska Airlines Signature Visa Card

Current offer: 25,000 Mileage Plan miles upon approval, 25,000 Mileage Plan miles after spending $1,000 within 90 days
Annual fee: $75

Why it’s a great offer: This is the highest offer I’ve ever seen on the Alaska Airlines Visa. Alaska miles are incredibly valuable for award redemptions on Cathay Pacific and Emirates, especially since they allow one-way redemptions and even allow stopovers on one-way awards. The card also comes with a $118 companion certificate, which is one of the more valuable companion certificates out there since the companion is eligible for mileage accrual and upgrades. It’s worth noting that while this card is historically very churnable (meaning the bonus can be earned multiple times), the new card has a restriction which reads as follows:

“*Bonus Mile Offer: This one-time promotion is limited to new customers opening an account in response to this offer and is valid for a limited time by invitation only. This offer is not valid for customers that have applied for this product in the last 12 months.”

It’s anyone’s guess whether that will be enforced in practice, though.

3. 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: There’s no doubt the value of Ultimate Rewards points has gone down a bit recently due to the devaluation of Hyatt, Southwest, and United points. That being said, there’s still a lot of value to be had from cards that accrue Ultimate Rewards points due to the big sign-up bonus and generous category bonuses, including 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 1.5 cents each, so to me these points are worth $750.

4. British Airways Visa Signature® Card – (Update: This offer is now expired)

Current offer: 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 within three months, 25,000 additional Avios after spending $10,000 within a year, and an additional 25,000 Avios after spending an additional $10,000 within a year
Annual fee: $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 “basic” 50,000 point sign up bonus is worth ~$650. Whether or not it makes sense to spend an extra $17,000 to get the additional $50,000 Avios depends entirely on how big of a credit card spender you are, but it has the potential to be a very good value.

5. 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 can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to Korean Air, United, Hyatt, and many other programs. The card is 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 $600.

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: Now that the merger with American is official, it’s only a matter of time before this card is discontinued. 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 previously, 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 award redemptions are 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
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 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!


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Comments

  1. Ben,

    I got the Alaska for 25K a day before the 50K offer came out. Is there any channel for trying to get a bump? Would I just try to call the number on the back of my card?

  2. @ Michael – I am in the same boat like you. I did an online chat but no success. I have already sent an email and am expecting a response within 24 hrs. I called but no success. The CSR was fully aware of this offer but very firm. However he submitted my request and said if they accept then I will be approved for a new card but not the current one can be upgraded. Actually I like that if it works, but so far no luck

  3. I would definitely switch #1 and #2… lower spending threshold and the same amount of more valuable miles that are harder to come by offsets the annual fee in my opinion.
    There is no way to collect AA miles and take a shower on an A380 with them. Or have a whole floor of a lounge for yourself for that matter. Or get a jaw dropping leather amenity kit. Just my $0.02.

  4. -i currently have the “thank you premier” (less than 18 months).
    can i receive the “thank you preferred” bonus? what about the “business thank you” bonus?

    -i also currently have the “AA personal visa” (less than 18 months).
    can i receive the “AA personal master” bonus? “AA business” bonus?

    thanks!

  5. @ Mr.Cool
    From personel experience Yes you can. I got the Premier 10 months ago. Got the Preferred 3 months ago have received both bonus points. I also got the Citi Forward bonus 1 year ago. I don’t have the Business card but most every CC company seperates business cards from personel so I would think so. Can anyone else help on this?

  6. Lucky, I know I will sound dumb, because I don’t know much about credit cards. From my understanding you own and use several different credit cards, my question is how do you earn enough points on all of them to be worthwhile? And when do you choose to make transactions on which cards?

  7. @Jim
    interesting.. i thought, for example, if you have 1 AA personal then you can get another AA personal bonus for some 18 months?
    they i read about the 3 citi apps within 65 days…. anyone else have luck with this (less than 18 mos since most recent citi app)??

    thanks!

  8. Thanks Paul. I am intrigued by this offer but since I wasn’t sent an invitation I am a little reluctant to try it and then have them deny me the extra bonus miles. They’re always sending me offers. I think I will start paying more attention to them. I’ve been looking for a new program since UA is making their miles worth a lot less.

  9. @ Michael — There are some reports of people having success calling and getting the offer matched, though it seems to vary on a person by person basis unfortunately.

  10. @ Mr. Cool — With Citi it really seems to vary nowadays. Most report not being able to earn a personal Citi AAdvantage bonus if you have another personal AAdvantage Card, while others have better luck. So there’s no “sure” answer.

  11. @ Mitchzmagic — Well a lot of the value I get out of cards comes from their sign-up bonuses. In this post I share which credit cards I currently have, which I plan on keeping, and why I think they’re worth the annual fee:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2013/11/27/credit-cards/

    The short answer is that I keep them either because they’re sufficiently valuable for everyday to offset the annual fee, or they offer enough annual benefits just for having the card to justify the annual fee.

  12. @ Sabine — Unfortunately not really my area of expertise, as unfortunately the sign-up bonuses aren’t nearly as big in Canada as in the US. Sorry!

  13. @lucky
    i see.
    probably a similar situation when applying for another personal “thank you” account if you already have a personal “thank you” account as AA personal accts

  14. @Mr. Cool – I have had the Citi Visa for less than 18 months and applied for the MC through Lucky’s link a couple months ago and got approved and miles posted. YMMV of course but it worked for me. Now to burn burn burn before a deval! lol.

  15. I am a student with a very small annual income because I only work over the summer. I am having a very hard time getting accepted for any of the cards mentioned above. What cards do you recommend for me in order to maximize rewards of any kind?

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