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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.
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 who ask about which cards they should sign-up for, a question I get on a daily basis.
We’ve seen some great sign-up bonuses over the past few months, including some great bonuses being discontinued, and also some great new bonuses being introduced.
With that in mind, below are what I consider to be the 10 best right now:
Current offer: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months from account opening
Annual fee: $95
Why it’s a great offer: The Ink cards have extremely generous category bonuses which help sole proprietorships and small businesses maximize points on everyday credit card spend. This card was only introduced last year, and offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent annually in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.
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 ~1.7 cents each, so to me the sign-up bonus is worth ~$1,265 after subtracting the annual fee.
Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel in Korean Air business class
Current offer: 50,000 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 ~$935.
Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for the Park Hyatt Vienna
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months
Annual fee: $175, waived the first year
Why you should consider applying: This is one of the best small business cards out there in terms of the bonus points it offers, given that you earn bonus points in the following five categories:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
You can pick in which category you want to earn 3x points, and then in the other four categories you earn 2x points.
On top of that, this is a fantastic sign-up bonus for a card that doesn’t have an annual fee the first year. I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me the sign-up bonus is worth ~$850.
Redeem your Amex points for travel in ANA first class
Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 Marriott Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months, plus an additional 7,500 bonus points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase within three months
Annual fee: $85
Why you should consider applying: This is the best sign-up bonus I ever recall seeing on the card. Not only is this an incredible sign-up bonus, but this is a card that’s worth holding onto long term. The card offers an annual free night certificate valid at a Category 1-5 property, which should more than justify the $85 annual fee for a vast majority of people. Also keep in mind that Marriott points can be converted into Starpoints at a 3:1 ratio, so this is also a great way to accrue Starpoints.
I value Marriott Rewards points at ~0.8 cents each, so to me the sign-up bonus is worth up to ~$775.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months, plus a free weekend night valid at any Hilton Honors hotel on your first cardmember anniversary. Offer Ends 5/31/17.
Annual fee: $75
Why you should consider applying: This is the best offer we’ve ever seen on this card. Ordinarily 100,000 points is as good as the sign-up bonus on this card gets, though now you can also get a free weekend night on your card’s first anniversary. This can be redeemed at virtually any Hilton property, including one that would retail for up to 95,000 points per night.
Furthermore, this card offers Gold status for as long as you have the card, plus Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year. I’d seriously consider this sign-up bonus, especially since it’s the biggest bonus we’ve ever seen on the card.
Current offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that’s enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit; get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem for travel statement credits
Annual fee: $89, waived the first year
Why it’s a great offer: This sign-up bonus is 25% bigger than usual, and it’s the best offer we’ve ever seen on this card. This is one of the best travel cashback credit cards, as you essentially earn the equivalent of a ~2.1% return on everyday spend, which can be applied towards travel purchases. Add in the great sign-up bonus, and this is a very compelling card.
Current offer: Two free nights at any Hyatt property after spending $2,000 within three months, plus 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase within three months
Annual fee: $75
Why it’s a great offer: These two free nights can be redeemed at any Hyatt in the world, giving you some pretty great options in terms of where you can stay. The card also offers an annual free night certificate valid at a Category 1-4 property, making this a great card to hold onto long term. That free night certificate should more than justify the $75 annual fee for a vast majority of people.
Redeem your two free nights at the Park Hyatt Sydney
8. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express
Current offer: Personal — 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months; Business — 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
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.
Redeem Starpoints at the Le Meridien Paro
Current offer: 60,000 Avianca LifeMiles after first card use when using promotion code AVSPWE at the time of application
Annual fee: $149
Why it’s a great offer: This is a fairly new card offer, and interestingly the card is issued by Banco Popular, which is otherwise a fairly unknown issuer in the US mainland. LifeMiles are great for premium cabin redemptions on Star Alliance airlines, so this is a great card to pick up.
Redeem LifeMiles for LOT Polish’s 787 business class
Current offer: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
Annual fee: $69
Why it’s a great offer: It’s rare to see a sign-up bonus this big on Southwest’s “Plus” product, so this is a special offer. The 40,000 points can be redeemed for up to ~$440 worth of airfare, or otherwise you can even redeem your 40,000 points for $400 worth of Amazon gift cards. This is a good bonus even for those who aren’t otherwise Southwest loyalists.
If you have any questions or other cards you think have great sign-up bonuses, let me know in the comments section!