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Top 10 Current Credit Card Bonuses for A Round of Applications

by on January 28, 2014 · 33 comments

in American Express, Barclays, Chase, Citi, Credit Cards

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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

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.

BARCLAYCARD

Barclaycard Arrival
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

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

CITI

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

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.

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  • Carl Cheng

    I have the Ink Plus right now. Coming up on my one year now. Does anyone know if I can sign up for the Ink Bold while I have this card or should I cancel and then sign up?

  • Heather L. Cannady

    Do you know if there is a charge to link the Blue for Business with the paid Amex Biz cards. I remember Amex inadvertently linked my Blue for Students w/ my Biz Platinum and charged me $10. I don’t know if that was a monthly or a one-time, but I was annoyed.

  • Diamond Vargas

    One correction: you state “Annual Fee: $89 waived the first year” for the US Airways card, but that is not the case for the version you link to.

  • Heather L. Cannady

    I know that you can hold them both at once and get the bonus simultaneously. I would think that it wouldn’t matter if you cancelled your Plus first or waited.

  • Wildcat1

    Does the US Airways card still include 10,000 Preferred miles each year after $25,000 spent ? Saw that back in 2013 but cannot find any recent links to that info

  • http://www.doctorofcredit.com/ doctorofcredit

    No love for the discover IT $150 bonus? Surely it’s better than the $100 blue for business bonus?

  • Fanfoot

    There have been numerous reports of people applying for and getting the bonus for the Ink Bold VISA while still holding the Ink Bold Mastercard, so I think you’d be fine. Assuming you qualify etc etc.

  • Fanfoot

    Interesting the Blue for Business is getting some love in multiple places lately. Makes me wonder…

    Anyway, the other nice thing about the Blue for Business is that it will catch any MR points you have when you cancel all your other MR cards in order to qualify for a bonus again. None of the T&C’s currently mention the Blue cards wrt not qualifying for the bonus on the Gold for example, which otherwise blocks you out if you have a Gold, Green, Platinum or Slate? Anyway, a useful card to keep in the background given it has NAF.

    Not sure it qualifies for “Top 10 Credit Card Bonuses” though.

    One other card I think you might mention is the Chase AirTran. 32 A+ credits which is two free round trips. You can transfer these to Southwest credits, and both move them back and forth to keep them alive AND to merge credits with your spouse. Given this card will be going away at some point just like the US Air, seems worth mentioning.

  • Fanfoot

    Also… shouldn’t the current Citi Executive 100k offer be on this list? I know its in the text, but if this is a cookie cutter guide, repeating it in the list would be better for your readers.

  • Juan Sequeda

    I know that with Chase Sapphire and Ink Plus you get Ultimate Reward points which can be transferred to airlines and hotels. Can you also transfer points from Barclay to airlines? I don’t see how you can. What am I missing?

  • FlowerPower

    I am thinking of signing up for one new card. which would u suggest? I use my starwood card a lot and manage to get some good benefits. I am gold on AA and also have the card.

  • http://YeahThatsKosher.com Dani Klein

    You can’t. You have to use the points as cash back or to book travel to earn 10% of those points back. Can be used on transportation as well like subways, trains, etc.
    You call Barclay and ask them to use your points on those purchases. (I believe)

  • Vit

    No need to call them, you can redeem your cash back towards any travel purchase online once the transaction is posted.

  • http://YeahThatsKosher.com Dani Klein

    Makes sense

  • http://elistoughton.com/ Eli Stoughton

    Should be. It is still inside of the Terms & Conditions for the card linked here (after you click Apply Now).

  • Fanfoot

    Given you don’t provide a lot of information, and you already have the SPG card, I’d suggest the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Good card to keep for the long run, great transfer partners, decent earnings rate.

  • Wayne

    TPG,

    Got in the mail from AMEX

    Blue Sky card
    No annual fee
    Spend $500/3months for 30,000 points which = to $400 statement credit towards travel purchases.

    I am a low spender so would this be perfect for me? Basically sign up for the bonus while getting a no annual fee card (which always helps towards credit score?)

  • JD

    What makes these “top” bonuses? These are the norm, and have only been lower than the (real) top bonuses from the past.

  • Will

    How high does the Citi AA Platinum bonus go? The AA and Citi websites have the basic 30K offer but the link above is 50k. Worth jumping on the 50k or has it gone up to 60k?

  • Thomas

    Different products. No need to cancel the Plus first, unless you want to.

  • Thomas

    Citi AA Platinum cards have had 75k, and even 100k bonuses tied to them in the past. 50k miles is a good haul for any card, but as I don’t need AA miles at the moment, I’ll be waiting to see if the bonus gets bumped up again before I jump on it.

  • tsanfei

    i have the US Airways card but have been reluctant to spend on it. can someone please clarify if the 10k preferred miles are earned on top of the spend or is just a portion of the existing points that gets transferred to count as Preferred? i.e. if i spend 25,000, do i get 15k normal points and 10k preferred or is it 25k normal and 10k preferred?

  • http://elistoughton.com/ Eli Stoughton

    If you spend the $25k, then 10k of the miles you would earn get converted to preferred miles.

  • tsanfei

    thanks! does the Citi Executive AA card work the same way? i.e. after $40k in spending you get 10k eqm? so again it is converting part of the 40k points there?

  • http://elistoughton.com/ Eli Stoughton

    They only count for elite status qualification.

  • DD

    I found the card match tool to be pretty crappy. I have a current FICO score of 810 (checked today) but the suggested cards were ones I have never heard of with ridiculously low benefits.

  • Juno

    Thanks Brian. Just applied and got the USAir card (instantly) and Ink Plus (after calling the reconsideration line)! hmmm.. maybe IHG card should be next…

  • chris

    i have to ask, is there anything wrong with signing up for a bonus and cancelling the card after?

  • Juno

    I agree. Card match tool seems to give you the banks that they are pushing.. not what’s best for the consumer.

  • Dave

    For the current Amex Premier Rewards Gold card offer, is there a way to get around the limitation that the offer is only good for those who don’t already have an AMEX card?

  • Tom

    llooking for how to get the offer code for this Delta Platinum Amex with the following terms:

    -Earn25,000 bonus miles, 5,000 of which are MQMs, after
    your first purchase on the card. Earn another15,000 bonus miles, 10,000
    of which are MQMs, after you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months
    of cardmembership.

    -Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent with no mileage cap

    -Earn double miles on Delta purchases

    -Earn up to20,000 additional MQMstoward Medallion status each year by
    spending $50,000 in a calendar year with built-in Miles Boost

    anyone know it?

  • ready2go

    Same experience. One day, Citi gives instant approval for the Executive World MC with 100,000 bonus–the next day Card Match offers 3 low-value Cap One cards, and three “rebuild your credit” $300 limit cards from another bank. Not a tool…just a fool?

  • http://www.LiveSmartNotHard.com/ Steve Bierfeldt

    Carl yes you can. I signed up for both business cards on the same day and pending a phone call to Chase, was approved for both.

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