10 Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses For February

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Update: Many of these offers are expired or outdated.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

With that in mind, here are what I consider to be the 10 best credit card sign-up bonuses for this month (and there are some exciting offers this month):

1. Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard

Current offer: 100,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $10,000 within three months, plus $200 statement credit
Annual fee: $450

Why it’s a great offer: This is the first 100,000 mile sign-up bonus I’ve ever seen on a card accruing AAdvantage miles. While the minimum spend is high and annual fee is hefty, you do get a $200 statement credit, which basically brings down the annual fee to $250. Furthermore, the card comes with Admirals Club access, which is useful since as of March 22, 2014, American Express Platinum cardmembers will no longer have access to Admirals Clubs.

I value American miles at 1.8 cents each, so this sign-up bonus is worth $1,550 to me ($1,800, minus the $250 annual fee after you factor in the $200 statement credit).

2. 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.

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.

I’m actually quite excited about transferring most of my Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt Gold Passport going forward, given the excellent redemption values for Points + Cash stays as a Diamond member.

4. Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Current offer: 50,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $2,000 within three months, provided you haven’t received the bonus on this card in the past 24 months.
Annual fee: $99

Why it’s a great offer: While this is not the card for everyone, I do think this is a great option for domestic travel, given that you earn two free roundtrips with the sign-up bonus. Rapid Rewards points can be redeemed ~1.43 cents each towards the cost of “Wanna Get Away” fares.

Also keep in mind that if you rack up 110,000 points in a year you’ll earn Companion Pass with Southwest, which allows someone else to travel with you for the entire year. For domestic travel that’s a value that’s tough to beat. I value Southwest Rapid Rewards points at roughly 1.4 cents each, so to me these points are worth $700.

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 $675.

6. 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 incredibly useful. I value British Airways Avios at 1.3 cents each, so to me the sign up bonus is worth ~$650.

7. The US Airways® Premier World Mastercard®

Current offer: 40,000 Dividend Miles after the first purchase
Annual fee: $89

Why it’s a great offer: Now that the merger with American is underway, chances are that this card will be discontinued at some point. It’s an easy 40,000 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 ~$550.

For what it’s worth they offered a 35,000 mile sign-up bonus with no annual fee the first year for a long time, though unfortunately that offer is now dead. I’d say this one is pretty comparable, though.

8. 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.

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 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.

10. 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: Last 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.

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. My wife just applied for Barclays business Hawaiian, BA and Ink Bold from Chase as well as Citi’s business AA Mastercard. Unfortunately, there was no immediate response in any of these cases. While speaking to credit analyst from the 1st bank she found out that ‘application has been declined due to too many accounts that were opened last year. Even though, we have a very low 3% utilization of our credit, no late payments posted at all, etc etc. At the same time I got Barclays Hawaiian card last month (it took them actually almost 3 weeks to mail it!) being in my wife’s shoes, i.e. I also got some 10-12 cards last year.

  2. @ Peter — It’s anyone’s guess. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pull it sometime soon. Maybe they’ll leave the offer as high as it is till the American Express Platinum Card no longer gets Admirals Club access, to incentivize people to switch.

  3. I have an Ink Bold MC with annual fee coming due in April. I’d like to cancel it and get the Plus to get another year with no annual fee. When should I cancel the IB and apply for IP? I’ve also heard it is getting harder to get approved with sole proprietor apps, any tips?

  4. I was just approved for the 60k AA verison, have people had luck requesting maybe the 75k version? I don’t think I can muster the 100k version, $10k spend is a bit out of reach on my budget

  5. My husband and I both have Chase Sapphire preferred. Would it be a problem if we added each other as authorized users for the additional 5000 points?

  6. @ janis — Unless you signed up for the version of the card offering 5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user you wouldn’t get the bonus. That being said, you can both add each other to your cards as authorized users.

  7. @ afterbang — The two cards aren’t mutually exclusive, so you could get the Ink Plus while you still have the Ink Bold, for example.

  8. Is there a business version of the Citi Executive World Elite?

    Is the 50k bonus for the Citi Platinum available on their business card?

  9. AA miles gotta be worth a tad more than 1.8 cents a piece. At your calculation, you value the 100k offer @ $1550.

    100k AA miles are good for a biz class ticket to a lot of places…

    For instance, MIA to MAD uses 100k miles…and costs between $4,700 and $5,500 for a biz class ticket.

    This isn’t the exception, it’s the rule.

    By and large AA points may be worth 1.8, but they can be redeemed (more often than not) for a much higher value

  10. @Ben – The valuation isn’t based on the maximum value you can extract from the miles. It’s based on the average value. If it was fixed at 1.8 cents, we’d all just be using cash back cards instead.

  11. I cancelled the Citi Executive AA w/ club access back in November of 2013. Too soon to apply for this new offer?

    If it is, will the platinum select w/ 50k bonus workout?

    I had both the personal and biz versions of that card and closed in Nov 2012.

  12. @ John — You wouldn’t be eligible for the Citi Executive Card bonus again, as far as I know.

    As far as the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card goes, experiences seem to be hit or miss on that. The limiting factor isn’t the Citi Executive Card, but the amount of time you need to wait since previously having the card. Some have luck getting the bonus again right away, others report having to wait at least 18 months. I’d say you definitely have a good chance of being eligible for the bonus again.

  13. Lucky; These are great but taunt your non-US readers … is there a chance that you could look at offers available to Canadian residents at some point? They are, we know, less generous, but it is an equally complicated landscape, and your insight would be welcome.

  14. Lucky, quick question: I’m thinking of springing for the 100k Citi Executive offer, assuming it’s still available.

    If I use my 10k spend on buying 80k miles from AA (or Points.com technically) and full-rev flights on AA in first, this is the best way to meet spend requirements, right? I mean I’d get 2x miles for buying from AA, not to mention higher mileage for flying full fare F.

    I can’t seem to think of a better way to meet the required spend. Any thoughts?

  15. @ pavel — To clarify, the purchase through points.com would only count as one mile per dollar. Also, even if you earn multiple points per dollar it doesn’t actually count extra towards the minimum spend. In other words, you’d still have to spend $10,000 on airfare to meet the minimum spend, even though you earn 20,000 miles.

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