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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Several TPG readers emailed me this WSJ article all about how credit card bonuses have been as high as ever. It’s an interesting read, although not a surprise most savvy TPG readers, with quotes directly from American Express on the state of the credit card industry.

In general: Credit card companies are really competing for consumers with excellent credit scores. While the focus in the past was to get customers who would carry a balance and pay lots in interest fees, with new regulations, taking on that risk isn’t as lucrative. Instead, card companies are looking for responsible borrowers who charge a lot and bring in lots of revenue on the processing side of the house (every time you use a credit card the merchant pays the credit card issuer a fee, usually around 2-3%).

However, these types of credit card borrowers, including many TPG readers, are savvy and want solid rewards and service. So it’s been interesting to see Chase and Citi get extremely aggressive against American Express (who acknowledges as much in this article), which has historically been the main card company for the creditworthy.

Bottom line: If you have good credit – leverage it! The credit card landscape changes with the economy and it’s clear that the competition is as tough as ever. There are still a lot of really good deals out there, like the 50,000 point Sapphire Preferred (which likely drops this week to 40,000), 100,000 Capital One Venture and 50,000 point Amex Platinum.

Two of the most interesting quotes:
“The new deals are part of a broad effort by lenders to woo affluent households as the nation emerges from the financial crisis. High spenders are a “core and coveted group,” says Eva Reda, a senior vice president at American Express. “We are seeing our competitors dial up the energy in this space.”

I imagine this is in response to Chase ratcheting up their Sapphire Preferred card, which emerged from obscurity to become known as one of the best cards on the market – especially for travelers. Amex shouldn’t really be surprised since this sign-up bonus is twice the current 25,000 point offers on the comparable Premier Rewards Gold, and the Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees handily beat the $175 and 2.7% foreign fees on the Premier Rewards Gold.

“‘These new customers typically have high credit scores, which means banks don’t have to set aside as much in reserves to meet capital requirements that were stiffened in response to the financial crisis,’ says John Grund, a partner at First Annapolis Consulting, an advisory firm focusing on the electronic-payments industry.”

This just enforces the point that you need to have a good credit score to maximize credit card offers. The best way to raise your scores is to pay off your balances and pay your bills on time (or preferably early). Check out this post for more on credit score calculations.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.