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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express, Chase Freedom Visa, Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard , Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard
Getting in on the most lucrative credit cards is key to maximizing your miles and points. With the continuously shifting nature of the credit card landscape, I thought it was time again to spell out what I see as the 10 best offers currently available. Whether you’re well-versed in the art of credit and seeking your next sign-up bonus score, or you’re new to the game and looking for guidance, read on.
Note: 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.
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express (There is a Business version as well)
Current bonus (through June 30, 2014): 30,000 points – 10,000 after your first purchase, and an additional 20,000 when you spend $5,000 within 6 months.
Other Benefits: 2 Starpoints per dollar spent on Starwood stays. 2 stays and 5 nights towards elite status per card- so if you have both personal and business cards,you start the year with 4 stays/10 nights.
– Gold status with$30,000 in spend per calendar year
Annual Fee: $65, waived the first year.
BANK of AMERICA
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
Current Bonus: 40,000 miles – 25,000 after account approval and 15,000 more after spending $10,000 within 6 months.
Other Benefits: Earn 3 miles for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, Vacation packages and Cargo purchases, and earn 1 mile per $1 on everything else. Coach Companion Fare every year from $118 (USD) ($99, plus taxes and fees from $19). Note: You can get this card multiple times, so even if you’ve gotten it in the past, many people have been able to get the same bonus numerous times.
Annual Fee: $75
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
Current Bonus: 40,000 miles with $3,000 spend in 90 days.
Other Benefits: Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and receive 5% 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 16.24% or 20.24%,based on your creditworthiness. Chip and Pin technology. No foreign transaction fees. For more information on this card, read my updated 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 anniversary. 5,000-mile discounts on awards. Free checked bag for you and up to 4 companions. 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. Thanks to the merger with American Airlines, this card’s days are numbered, so get it while you can still maximize its value with the companion certificates. For more info on this card, read my most recent review here.
Chase Freedom Card
Current Bonus: 15,000 points with $500 spend in 3 months.
Other Benefits: Rotating quarterly bonuses that allow you to earn 5 points per dollar in certain categories, up to $1,500 per quarter. 1 point per dollar on other spending. Points can be transferred into the Ultimate Rewards account for your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink cards. For more on the current offer, check out this recently updated review.
Annual Fee: None
Ink Plus Business Card
Current Bonus: 60,000 points with $5,000 spend in 3 months.
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 complimentary LOUNGE CLUB membership and 2 free visits each year with access to over 350 VIP airport lounges.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa
Current Bonus: 50,000 points after $2,000 spend in 3 months.
Other Benefits:With this card you’ll 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 and maximize the holy grail of travel rewards – the Companion Pass.
Current Bonus: 2 free nights at Hyatt properties worldwide after $2,000 spend in 3 months.
Other Benefits: Receive automatic Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum elite membership (and up to 20% off room rates thanks to Hyatt’s new Elite Nights benefit). Earn 3 points for every $1 spent at all Hyatt properties. Earn 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, and at car rental agencies. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent elsewhere. No foreign transaction fees. Smart Chip technology and extra protections. Free night at category 1-4 property every year after your card anniversary.
Annual Fee: $75 waived first year
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 spend in 4 months.
Other Benefits: 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. 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 that can be used at any property
Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard
Current Bonus: 50,000 AAdvantage miles after $5,000 spend in 3 months.
Other Benefits: Earn up to $200 in statement credits — earn $1 in statement credits for each $1 spent on purchases within the first 12 months of cardmembership. Complimentary Admirals Club membership (value up to $475). Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after spending $40,000 in purchases each calendar year. No foreign transaction fees. Earn two AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, including US Airways codeshare flights booked on aa.com. Priority Boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases. First eligible checked bag is free. SmartChip technology. Expert Concierge Service. For more on this card, read my full review.
Annual Fee: $450
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Credit Rating|
|N/A||15.49%-19.49% Variable||$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.||0%||Excellent Credit|