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Top Current Credit Card Offers With First Year Annual Fee Waived

by on August 27, 2013 · 18 comments

in American Express, Barclays, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Credit Cards, US Bank

Update: The current bonus for the Starwood Amex business and personal cards is 25,000 points, 10,000 after first purchase and 15,000 after $5,000 spend in the first 6 months. 

2013 has been a great year for credit card sign-up bonuses. Not only have we seen some of the same promotions return like the current Starwood Preferred Guest Amex and Chase British Airways 100,000 Avios bonus, but a bunch of new cards have entered the market. Best of all, many of the most lucrative cards also come with the first year annual fee waived, making them a no-brainer- at least for the first year.

However, always make sure you can meet the minimum spending requirements and pay your cards off on time, or else you’ll drown in fees and interest.

British Airways Visa Signature Card

British Airways Visa Signature Card

Luckily, to entice new customers, many of the major issuers waive the first year’s annual fee for new cardholders (like the current offer on the British Airways Visa), so you can still take advantage of the benefits of many of these travel credit cards without paying for them for 12 months – at which point hopefully you will have maximized their value and can reevaluate your options.

So in case you are considering a round of credit card applications while these offers are out there, I have compiled a list of what I consider to be the top credit card offers with no first year’s annual fee. I’ll just give you the shortlist of the top 10 first and then you can read on below to where I have arranged the entire list by issuing bank and included some details on just why each of them is valuable, so read on and start putting your application list together.

TOP CURRENT WAIVED ANNUAL FEE OFFERS

1. Ink Bold and Ink Plus: 50,000 points
2. Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express: 50,000 points – Offer expired October 29, 2013: There is no current sign up bonus for the Business Gold Rewards Card.
3. Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard: 30,000 miles
4. United MileagePlus Explorer: 50,000 miles (in bank branch) 30,000 miles online
5. British Airways Visa: 50,000 Avios
6. Chase Sapphire Preferred: 40,000 points
7. Barclaycard Arrival: 40,000 miles
8. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (personal and business versions): 30,000 points
9. Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex: 45,000 miles (through Card Match Tool)
10. Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express: 25,000 points

AMERICAN EXPRESS


Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
Current Sign-up Bonus: 30,000 bonus points - 10,000 after first purchase and another 20,000 with $5,000 spend in the first 6 months.Update: The bonus is now 25,000 points for the Starwood Amex business and personal cards after $5,000 spend within the first 6 months.
Annual Fee: $65 waived the first year.
Other Benefits: Receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays annually toward the next level of SPG Elite Status, earn up to 5 Starpoints for each dollar of eligible purchases spent at hotels in the SPG portfolio that can be transferred to more than 30 airlines, and get purchase protection for up to 90 days after the date of purchase.

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN
Current Sign-up Bonus: 30,000 bonus points - 10,000 after first purchase and another 20,000 with $5,000 spend in the first 6 months. Offer ends September 3, 2013.
Annual Fee: $65 waived the first year.
Other Benefits: Receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays annually toward the next level of SPG Elite Status, earn up to 5 Starpoints for each dollar of eligible purchases spent at hotels in the SPG portfolio that can be transferred to more than 30 airlines, and get purchase protection for up to 90 days after the date of purchase.

For more information on these cards and the Starwood Preferred Guest program, check out these posts:
Maximizing Starwood Cash & Points Awards
Starwood “Enhances” Cash & Points Awards
Major Starwood Preferred Guest Elite Enhancements
Maximizing Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Transfers
The Ultimate Guide to Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Transfer Partners


Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN Update: This offer expired on October 29, 2013. View the current offer for the Business Gold Rewards card.

Current Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 points with $5,000 spend in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $175 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Earn 3 points per dollar on airfare, 2 points per dollar on US purchases for advertising in select media, shipping and at gas stations, and one point per dollar on all other transactions. Receive Purchase Protection, Return Protection, Extended Warranty, Travel Accident Insurance, and Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (Through the Card Match Tool)
Current Sign-up Bonus: 45,000 miles with $5,000 spend in the first 6 months
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year
Other Benefits: First checked bag is free and get priority boarding. Receive a 20% discount in the form of a statement credit on drink, food and entertainment purchases when you fly Delta.

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 25,000 points after $2,000 spend in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $175 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Earn 15,000 points after you spend $30,000 in purchases annually. Earn 3 points per dollar on airfare, 2 points per dollar on US supermarkets, and one point per dollar on all other transactions. Receive a $75 Hotel Credit and room upgrade at check-in when you book a minimum 2-night consecutive stay with the Gold Hotel Collection.
For more information on these cards and Amex Membership Rewards, check out these posts:
Ranking the Top American Express Travel Credit Cards
The Ultimate Guide to American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners
Analyzing Amex Membership Rewards Star Alliance Transfer Partners
Top 10 Lesser Known Amex Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners

BARCLAYCARD


Barclaycard Arrival – Annual Fee
Current Sign-up Bonus: 40,000 miles with $1,000 spend in the first 90 days
Annual Fee: $89 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and receive 10% of your miles back when you redeem on travel. 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months afteraccount opening – after that, a variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%,based on your creditworthiness. Receive a complimentary membership to TripIt Pro. No foreign transaction fees.

For more information on this card, read my review here, and then check out this post for details on its Travel Bonus Category and Redemption Options, and this one for ideas on the Top 10 Ways To Maximize Barclaycard Arrival Miles.

US Airways Premier World MasterCard
Current Sign-up Bonus: 35,000 miles after first purchase or balance transfer in the first 90 days – unverified offer from this FlyerTalk thread, see the T&C on the application page.
Annual Fee: $89 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Receive an annual companion certificate good for up to 2 companion tickets upon approval and every year on cardmember anniversary and 10,000 Anniversary Miles. Also receive 1 complimentary US Airways Club day pass and get first class check in and Zone 2 boarding.

CAPITAL ONE

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 10,000 miles with $1,000 spend in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $59 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. No foreign transaction fees.
For more information, check out this post on Maximizing Fixed-Value Travel Points.

CHASE

Ink Bold Business Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 points with $5,000 spend in the first 3 months
Annual Fee:$95 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores, cellphone, landline, internet, and cable TV services and 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations and on hotel accomdations, up to $50,000 annually.


Ink Plus Business Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 points with $5,000 spend in the first 3 months
Annual Fee:$95 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores, cellphone, landline, internet, and cable TV services and 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations and on hotel accommodations, up to $50,000 annually. Receive a complimentary LOUNGE CLUB membership and 2 free visits each year with access to over 350 VIP airport lounges.

For more information, see these posts:
Ranking the Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
Top 10 Ways To Maximize Each Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner
Why I Love Chase Ultimate Rewards
Ranking the Top Chase Travel Credit Card Offers

British Airways Visa Signature Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 Avios with $2,000 spend in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Spend $30,000 in a calendar year and receive a Travel Together Ticket good for two years. Earn 2.5 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1.25 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases. No foreign transaction fees.

For  ideas on how to maximize British Airways Avios, check out my series. Posts include:  Distance-Based Awards; Household Accounts; Using Avios to Upgrade Paid Tickets; The Avios and Cash Option; Save Money on Fuel Surcharges by Transferring British Airways Avios to Iberia; Using Avios For Non-Flight Redemptions; Using Avios to Book Domestic First Class FlightsDirect Flights, London Stopovers and UK Destinations; How to Redeem British Airways Avios Without Huge Fees; Using British Airways Avios on Aer Lingus to Avoid Huge Fees.

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 points with $1,000 spend in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $85 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Earn 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott locations, 2 points per dollar spent on airfare, car rentals and dining and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Receive 1 free night upon approval and every year on cardmember anniversary. Receive 1 credit toward elite status for every $3,000 spent. No foreign transaction fees.

United MileagePlus Explorer Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 miles with $2,000 spend in the first 3 months (ONLY IN CHASE BRANCH) or 30,000 miles with $1,000 spend in the first the months
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Get first checked bag free and priority boarding on United-operated flights. Receive two United Club passes per year. No foreign transaction fees.

United MileagePlus Club Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: $100 statement credit after first purchase
Annual Fee: $395 waived when you sign up in a Chase branch
Other Benefits: Full United Club membership. Get the first and second checked bags free as well as priority check in and boarding on United-operated flights. No foreign transaction fees.


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 40,000 points with $3,000 spend in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Earn 2 points per dollar on all travel and dining. Receive a 7% annual points dividend on all points earned throughout the year. No foreign transaction fees.

For more information, check out these posts:
Details on the Sapphire Preferred 2X on Travel
The Sapphire Preferred 7% Annual Dividend

Chase Priority Club Select Visa
Current Sign-up Bonus: Unverified Offer 80,000 points with $1,000 spend in the first 3 months. See this FlyerTalk thread for more information
Annual Fee: $49 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Get a 10% rebate on IHG Rewards Club point redemptions. Receive an annual free night certificate worldwide on cardmember anniversary. No foreign transaction fees.

Marriott Rewards Credit Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 30,000 points with $1,000 spend in the first 3 months.
Annual Fee: $45 waived the first year
Other Benefits:  Earn 2 free night stays at a category 1-4 hotel after account approval. Receive 10 credits after your account opening and every year after your account anniversary, giving you guaranteed Silver Elite status every year. Receive 1 credit toward Elite status for every $3,000 spent on purchases.

CITIBANK

Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® Visa Signature® Card – Offer expired.
Current Sign-up Bonus: Unverified Offer 50,000 AAdvantage miles with $3,000 spend in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Receive a $100 American Airlines flight discount every year with $30,000 or more in purchases. First checked bag is free for you and up to 4 travel companions and get Group 1 priority boarding when flying on American.


Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®
Current Sign-up Bonus: 30,000 AAdvantage miles with $1,000 spend in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Receive a $100 American Airlines flight discount every year with $30,000 or more in purchases. First checked bag is free for you and up to 4 travel companions and get Group 1 priority boarding when flying on American.

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage World MasterCard
Current Sign-up Bonus: 30,000 AAdvantage miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate each year of cardmembership in which you spend $30,000 or more in purchases and renew your cardmembership.First checked bag is free for you and up to 4 travel companions and get Group 1 priority boarding when flying on American.

For more information on these cards, check out my post on Reduced Price Awards and 10% Mileage Refund for Citi AA Cardholders.

US BANK

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 17,500 FlexPoints with $2,500 spend in the first 5 months
Annual Fee: $49 waived the first year
Other Benefits: Earn triple FlexPoints on qualifying charitable donations and double FlexPoints on the category you spend the most on (gas, groceries or airline) and most cell phone expenses during each billing cycle. Earn 3,500 FlexPoints with $24,000 spend each year. Receive a $25 airline allowance with every award travel ticket good towards baggage fees, in-flight purchases and more.

For more information on this card, check out my review.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Carl Cheng

    I didn’t realize there was a 50k Citi AA Mastercard offer. I applied last Thursday using the 40k offer and was approved. I still haven’t received my card or activated it yet. Is there a good chance Citi will match this offer?

  • Bobby

    Hi TPG – I recently received this offer from Marriott for their Premier card. I’ve had the SPG Amex for 1-2 years, but have been finding myself at Marriott more often lately and recently signed up for their Platinum challenge.

    Assuming I split my time between the 2 chains with the goal of staying Platinum at one and Gold at the other (No preference on which is primary), do you think it’s worth switching to this card and cancelling the SPG Amex? Since I am primarily forced to use a corporate card anyway, I can’t justify paying for both cards.

    Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
    - 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months from account opening
    - 1 free night stay after account approval (Category 1-4 hotels)
    - Unlimited Point Accumulation
    - 5 points for every $1 spent at over 3,600 Marriott locations
    - 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies & restaurants
    - 1 point for every $1 spent on purchases anywhere else
    - 15 nights credit toward Elite status every year upon account anniversary
    - Earn 1 Elite Night Credit for every $3,000 spent
    - 1 free night stay every year after account anniversary (Category 1-5 hotels)
    - Pay no foreign transaction fees and enjoy global acceptance with Chip and Signature Technology
    - Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $85

  • http://mreverydaydollar.com/ Mr. Everyday Dollar

    The 50,000 mile United MileagePlus Explorer Card is available at Chase branches as stated, plus it is a targeted offer via snail mail and under MileagePlus accounts.

    It’s only 60,000 miles roundtrip economy from US to Europe so it’s an awesome bonus.

  • thepointsguy

    The annual night makes it a no-brainer, so if you’re going to go for Marriott stays, this card makes a lot of sense. The SPG is also great for the 2 stay/5 night elite status or free Gold at 30k in spend, so if you value those benefits you might want to just keep both.

  • thepointsguy

    It can’t hurt to ask!

  • AndreLaplume

    They matched for me last year.

  • philbert

    @THP, How about an article on the top 10 cards with the lowest ‘spend’ requirement?

  • Bobby

    Thanks! Great point on the free night – that alone more than covers the cost of the card. I will definitely get the Marriott Card. I will have to think more about the SPG card… but I do love those heavenly beds…

  • MM

    The Gold Amex offer says you can’t have a gold card within the past year for the bonus. What if you had a card where your spouse was the primary cardholder?

  • Carl Cheng

    Thanks Andre! Ended up calling when I received my card. The CS rep couldn’t help and wanted me to send a physical letter with the offer. I was reluctant so just did a secure message online after linking the card to my existing Citi account. In less than 24 hours, they added 10,000 AA miles as a courtesy since they can’t change the original terms. So just as good, if not better!

  • Danny

    I did the Marriott Premier card last year and I’ve been very happy with it. With it, you can get 20 points per dollar spent at marriotts if you are platinum (10 base +50% bonus for platinum + 5 for using MPCC) which is a great haul. Even considering Marriott points are not as valuable as SPG, 20 points per dollar is hard to beat. I’ve found the best way to spend them is through travel packages which let you book 7 nights and then transfer up to 120K Marriott points into nearly any airline points at 1:1 ratio.

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  • Rajeev Jog

    I thought today was the last day for the SPG Amex, pulled early?? The business card is still working.

  • Rajeev Jog

    How do you get this just walk into a branch and ask for an application?

  • http://mreverydaydollar.com/ Mr. Everyday Dollar

    You got it.

  • Pingback: Citi ThankYou Preferred Sign-Up Bonus Increased 50% to 30,000 ThankYou Points | The Points Guy

  • D

    Can’t find any reference in the terms to the annual fee being waived for the British Airways card.

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