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There’s no quicker and easier way to earn a large amount of miles quickly than with a new credit card. And before the holidays is the perfect time to get one, because it’s even easier than the rest of the year to meet the minimum spending required to earn signup bonuses.
Every month I post what I find are the best signup bonus offers out there. Over the past several months we’ve seen several that are new and bigger. As a result there are a bunch of great cards to sign up for. The United offer is about to end but we’ve got new bonus offers from American Express for Starwood and Delta and from Citibank for American.
Here are the cards I consider to have the very best signup bonus offers right now:
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has an 80,000 point signup bonus after $5000 spend within 3 months. That can even be enough for a roundtrip business class award ticket between the US and Europe. (Chase points are super valuable because they transfer directly to a variety of airlines and hotels.)
It earns 3 points per dollar on travel — that’s airlines, hotels, rental cars, tolls, even Uber — and 3 points per dollar on shipping and advertising on social media and search engines, so great for anyone who advertises on Facebook or Twitter, or who spends money advertising with Google. It also comes with $600 protection against theft or damage when you use it to buy your cell phone. ‘5/24’ applies.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card lets you earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
With a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95, I suggest that as the number on card to get started with in miles and points. Get Sapphire Reserve later, perhaps, the card’s annual fee makes this the one to get first.
Points transfer to United, Hyatt, Southwest, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Air France KLM, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards Club, and Ritz-Carlton. Probably the best all-around credit card, certainly for getting started in the hobby, and with a great signup bonus.
The card earns two points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. The card has an introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.
Transfer Points and Redeem for Singapore Airlines
Since in general Chase doesn’t approve this card for folks who have signed up for 5 or more new card accounts in the past 24 months, it’s the first card you should apply for.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Card 50,000 point signup bonus after $4000 spend within 3 months; triple points on travel and dining; Priority Pass Select membership with free guests; $300 travel credit make this new Visa Infinite card from Chase with a $450 annual fee the most exciting new entrant of the year. 5/24 applies.
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card is offering a signup bonus of up to 75,000 Avios:
- Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.
If you spend $30,000 in a calendar year to earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years which can double the value of your Avios on a single redemption for 2 people.
Chase’s 5/24 reportedly does not apply.
British Airways First Class
- Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN offers 50,000 Membership Rewards points after $5,000 spend on purchases with the card within your first 3 months of cardmembership.
American Express Points Transfer Directly to Etihad
- United MileagePlus Explorer Card has a limited-time offer of 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. You also get 5000 more miles adding an authorized user to the account and making a purchase within the same 3 months. 5/24 applies. This offer ends March 15, 2018. (Offer expired)
The card’s annual fee is now $0 the first year, then $95.
What’s often overlooked is that cardmembers get access to last seat availability when redeeming awards at the MileagePlus Standard Award level. Unlike Delta and American, last seat availability isn’t offered to everyone. However also unlike Delta and American and even Alaska there are only two award levels, the most you’ll pay for a domestic one-way award is 25,000 miles regardless of saver award inventory. That’s a lot less than Delta and American.
One benefit of the card for MileagePlus elites is that co-brand cardholders are eligible for upgrades on domestic MileagePlus award travel. Furthermore the card offers primary collision damage waiver for rental cars, and has no foreign currency transaction fees. And cardholder miles don’t expire as long as the credit card account is open.
Cardholders will still get their checked bag and priority boarding benefits even when purchasing basic economy fares — and the boarding benefit allows them to also avoid the ban on full-sized carry ons.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months with the card.
It’s also the card with the best benefits. The value proposition here is airline lounges and elite status. It comes with Hilton Gold, Starwood Gold (matches to Marriot Gold), and National Car Rental Executive status. It gets you into Centurion lounges, Delta lounges (when flying Delta), and gives you a Priority Pass card for lounge access. There’s a $200 airline fee credit, and an Uber credit up to $200. The card earns 5 points per dollar on purchases made directly with airlines. And this $550 annual fee card is now metal.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® will give you 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. It has a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95.
Cardmembers receive one free checked bag and preferred boarding on American Airlines flights and a companion ticket after $30,000 in spend each year. The 60,000 point offer is gone from both the Citi and Barclaycard personal AAdvantage cards so I’m surprised to see this link for the business card still available..
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership and an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend an additional $1,000 with your new Card within your first 6 months. That’s a 60,000 mile total initial bonus offer.
You also get a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. The card has a $0 annual fee the first year and is then $95.
The strongest value proposition for the card is that people who fly Delta but not enough to earn elite status receive some of the key benefits of that status just for being a cardholder, specifically priority boarding (which helps avoid having to gate check carryon bags) and first checked bag free on every Delta flight ( a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four, so can more than pay for the annual fee after year one with just a single trip).
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express earn 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 elite qualifying miles after $3000 in purchases within your first 3 months of cardmembership. You’ll also earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
Earning is 2 miles per dollar with Delta and 1 mile per dollar on eligible purchases elsewhere. The card comes with first checked bag free on Delta flights and priority boarding.
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express has a limited-time offer through March 28, 2018 to earn 35,000 points after $7,000 in purchases on the new card within the first 3 months. Back in November they offered this briefly but required $10,000 in spend to earn the whole bonus. There’s never been a bigger offer for this card.
It has a $95 annual fee but it’s $0 the first year. And it gives you club lounge access when staying at Sheraton, which is huge it’s effectively like being a Starwood Platinum for the stay since that’s the biggest and most frequent benefit of the status.
- Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers 75,000 points after spending $3000 within the first 3 months of cardmembership. Now that Marriott points transfer to Starwood, it’s a great offer for Starwood points as well. There’s a $0 annual fee the first year then $85. 5/24 applies.
Starwood’s Al Maha Desert Resort – Base Room is a Standalone Villa With Private Pool
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® now is offering 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
This card has a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95. Cardmembers receive one free checked bag and preferred boarding on American Airlines flights.
- The Hyatt Credit Card offers 40,000 points after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. You also get 5000 bonus points for adding an authorized user to your account and making a purchase with the card in that same 3 month timeframe. Chase’s 5/24 reportedly does not apply.
Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Maldives
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has an offer to earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Ongoing earn is 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
You earn 3,000 bonus points after your cardmember anniversary, a nice incentive to keep the card.
What I like about Southwest is that they have no change fees, you can use your points even to make a speculative booking. It’s always great to have Southwest points around, even if you book mostly international award tickets. You might need a domestic flight to get to the city your international award ticket leaves from. Or book the Southwest flight, and if award availability opens up to include a domestic flight on your other ticket, great, there’s no change fees. Southwest points are great insurance. They don’t have other fees either like checked bag fees or change fees.
And you can always redeem your points for gift cards, too, I find I can always get a minimum of a penny a point in value that way so a 50,000 point signup offer has a floor of $500 in value.
Most importantly the points you earn on the card, including its signup bonus, count towards Southwest’s companion pass which is earned after 110,000 eligible points in a year.
Think there’s a card that belongs on this list but isn’t here, leave a comment!