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Update: The below links for the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express are expired, but you can learn more about best available offers here.
Update: Many of these offers are expired or outdated.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 on a daily basis. For reference, here is my list of the best credit card sign up bonuses for December.
With that in mind, below are what I consider to be the best credit card sign-up bonuses for this month.
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. Using a valuation of 1.8 cents per mile, this sign-up bonus is worth $900.
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.
Current offer: 50,000 American AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months of cardmembership
Annual fee: $0 annual fee for the first 12 months, then $95
Why it’s a great offer: The miles from the personal and business cards can “pool” into a single AAdvantage account, so this is a great way to earn more miles quickly. Using a valuation of 1.8 cents per mile, this sign-up bonus is also worth $900.
3. Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
Current offer: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
Annual fee: Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Why it’s a great offer: I would argue this is the all around best business credit card out there. The Ink cards have extremely generous category bonuses which help sole proprietorships and small businesses maximize points on everyday credit card spend, 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 the sign-up bonus is worth $750 to me. It’s worth noting that you may be able to get a higher sign-up offer at your local Chase branch, so you may want to check that out as well.
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 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. This is probably the most-used card in my wallet.
5. Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Signature Card
Current offer: 140,000 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months
Annual fee: $395
Why it’s a great offer: Not only is 140,000 points enough for two nights at any Ritz-Carlton in the world, but you also get a $300 airline fee credit each year. With your first year’s annual you’ll get two of these, for a total of $600 in credits. There are lots of other great benefits on top of that.
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. You can also earn a British Airways Travel Together ticket for spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year.
I value British Airways Avios at 1.3 cents each, so to me the sign up bonus is worth ~$650 to me.
7. The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®
Current offer: 50,000 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. This is 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 ~$700.
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: 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 Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express is offering an increased 80,000 HHonors points sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 in purchases within your first three months of card membership. The card has a $75 annual fee, which isn’t waived for the first year. This is the highest publicly available sign-up bonus I’ve ever seen on that card.
If you don’t have either card, I’d probably get the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card first, as the free night certificates are more valuable in practice than the 80,000 bonus points, in my opinion. That being said, the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express has a lower annual fee, and the bonus categories can be potentially lucrative.
9. 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.
Use SPG points at the W Guangzhou
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 is also a great card to use in conjunction with award tickets on airlines that levy fuel surcharges, so can be a huge cost-saver. 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 credit 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 The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit 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.