In the credit card game, when great offers come along, you’ve got to hop on them fast. Sign-up bonuses are the fastest way to rack up a lot of points or miles, and in order to maximize the great deals out there, a lot of folks apply for multiple cards in a single day.
The benefit of this is that the issuers generally won’t see the applications to other issuers on that same day, increasing your chances of approvals and making it easier in the long run to track how long credit card inquiries remain on your credit report.
When you do all your applications in one day, the inquiries generally fall off your credit report in batches as well. Let me be clear here, this is not an exact science, and I don’t stick to a strict quarterly schedule myself. If there’s an incredibly generous limited-time offer, I’ll still apply even if it’s not timed to my quarterly schedule.
Although 2014 has been kind of slow in terms of high sign-up bonuses, there are several great limited-time offers available at the moment that might have you thinking about a round of applications.
Today I reported on a 100,000-mile sign-up bonus for the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard, and earlier this month, Southwest upped the bonuses on its credit cards to 50,000 miles. All that means there are plenty of points and miles out there for the taking, and now is the time to apply.
If you’re thinking about getting in on these, here are the other top offers out there at the moment you can apply for at the same time.
This is not a list of every offer on the market. For that I recommend going to the Top Deals page, and feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below.
Before you get started, be sure to check out my posts on How To Check Your Credit – Preparing For The Credit Card Application Process, and When To Cancel A Card – My Personal Card Inventory and Decision Process.
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
Current Bonus: The current public offer is 25,000 points after $2,000 spend in the first 3 months – however, many people have been targeted with a higher offer of 50,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months through the Card Match Tool so be sure to check there first.
Benefits: Earn 15,000 points after you spend $30,000 in purchases annually. Earn 3X points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines, 2 points per dollar on US supermarkets, and one point per dollar on 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.
Annual Fee: $175 waived the first year
Blue for Business
Current Bonus: 10,000 Membership Rewards points after first purchase ($100 cash back) within 3 months.
Benefits: Earn a 30% annual Relationship Bonus. Earn 2X points per $1 on purchases made through Amex Travel and 1X points per $1 on everything else.
Annual Fee: $0
While not the highest-earning card, for a no annual fee card with a travel bonus and a 30% points dividend, you can really rack up the points fast. While these Amex points are only good for cash back, if you have another premium Amex Membership Rewards points card like the Business Gold Rewards or Platinum cards, you can combine your balances and take advantage of the program’s transfer partners.
Current Bonus: 40,000 miles with $1,000 spend in the first 90 days
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 after account 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.
Annual Fee: $89 waived the first year
US Airways Premier World MasterCard
Current Bonus: 40,000 miles after first purchase or balance transfer in the first 90 days.
Other Benefits: Receive an annual companion certificate good for up to 2 companion tickets upon approval and every year, 5,000-mile discounts on awards, 2X miles per $1 on US Airways purchases. Also receive 1 complimentary US Airways Club day pass and get first class check in and Zone 2 boarding.
Annual Fee: $89
Chase has several great offers out there including these three that you should get in on while they last.
Ink Plus Business Card
Current Bonus: 50,000 points with $5,000 spend in the first 3 months
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.
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa: Update – this offer has expired, view the current offer here.
Limited-Time Current Bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
Benefits: With this card you will earn 2 points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways purchases as well as Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. This offer comes and goes, but the best time to apply is between October and December so that you hit the $2,000 spend requirement as early in the new year as possible if you’re gunning for the holy grail of travel rewards – the Companion Pass.
Annual Fee: $99
If you’re looking for a personal card with a decent sign-up bonus and the flexibility of transferrable points, then my top pick is:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Current Bonus: 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in 3 months
Spending Bonuses: 2 points per $1 on travel (which includes flights, hotels, car rentals, subway, parking, taxis, etc.) and restaurants (basically any food establishment and catering) with no maximum caps.
Benefits: Points are worth 1.25 cents when redeeming with pay-with-points for airfare, hotel, car rentals and cruises (that means the 40,000 sign-up bonus = $500 towards travel at the very minimum); 7% annual points dividend even on points already redeemed; no foreign transaction fees; extra earning potential through the Ultimate Rewards earning mall; Ultimate Rewards Exclusives experience redemptions, Visa Signature perks and protections, no foreign transaction fees and chip & signature technology
Transfer Partners: United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club, Amtrak.
Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year
If $450 annual fee on the current 100K Citi Executive AAdvantage card is too much, here are a couple alternatives to consider.
Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World Mastercard
Current Bonus: 50,000 American AAdvantage miles after $3000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership
Category Spending Bonuses: Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1 mile per $1 on everything else
Benefits: Your first eligible checked bag is free, priority boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases, earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back, reduced mileage awards, up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar year, earn a $100 American Airlines flight discount every cardmembership year when you spend $30,000 or more on eligible purchases
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year.
If you’re looking for free hotel nights, this one is a no-brainer:
Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve
Current Bonus: Two weekend night certificates, each good for one weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) at most hotels and resorts within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, after $2,500 in eligible purchases within the first 4 months.
Category Spending Bonuses: 10 points for every $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio; 5 points for every $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases; 3 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Benefits: Automatic Hilton HHonors Gold status; Diamond status with $40,000 annual spend; no foreign transaction fees, SmartChip technology; Visa Signature benefits; cardholders who spend $10,000 annually get an anniversary free weekend-night certificate as well that can be used at any property
Annual Fee: $95