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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi Prestige, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card, Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard
One of the biggest misconceptions about the points and miles hobby is that it takes some serious spending (and time) to earn enough rewards for free travel. That couldn’t be further from the truth; as TPG Points & Miles Editor Sarah Silbert explains, it’s easy to earn 50,000 points from a single credit card sign-up bonus alone.
Credit card sign-up bonuses provide one of the best ways to quickly earn a stockpile of points and miles, helping you get that much closer to an award night or a free flight. That’s why TPG highlights the best currently available credit card offers each month, and you’ll sometimes find sign-up bonuses of up to 100,000 points among them.
The top offers list also includes credit cards that offer free nights rather than a set amount of rewards after you meet a certain spending requirement — while these can be incredibly valuable if you use them at high-end properties, sometimes you want to keep your redemption options open, especially if you don’t have any specific travel plans. In that case, your focus should be on sign-up offers that get you as many points or miles in your preferred program as possible. Below, you’ll find plenty of great options that offer a minimum of 50,000 points or miles when you meet the specific spending requirements.
Note that the offers below are presenting in descending order based on the total number of points you can earn. However, as some points are worth more than others, be sure to check our monthly valuations post to see how much value you can expect to get from each rewards currency.
Current sign-up bonus: 80,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months after account opening. Plus, earn an additional 7,500 points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the first three months.
Annual fee: $85
Reasons to get it: For several months, this card has been offering an increased sign-up bonus of 80,000 points — 30,000 more than the standard offer. That means now’s a great opportunity to take the plunge if you’re looking to book Marriott or Ritz-Carlton stays in the future. You’ll earn a free night at a Category 1-5 hotel each year after your account anniversary, and the card offers 15 credits toward elite status — enough for you to become a Silver Elite member. You can also earn additional elite credits, at the rate of one per every $3,000 spent on the card.
2. Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
Current sign-up bonus: 75,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months after account opening
Annual fee: None
Reasons to get it: This card wouldn’t always earn such a high place on this list; its standard sign-up bonus is for 40,000 points (after spending $1,000 in the first four months), so it could be worth jumping on this limited-time offer. Those points can get you a free night at a Category 9 property like the Conrad Hong Kong, or you can really stretch them by redeeming as few as 5,000 points for a free night at lower-level hotels in the Hilton portfolio. The Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card earns you 6x points for spending on Hilton stays; 3x points for supermarket, drugstore and gas station purchases; and 2x points on everything else. As a cardholder, you also get complimentary Silver status and a loyalty bonus of 10,000 points at the end of each calendar year in which you spend $1,000 or more on stays within the Hilton portfolio.
3. Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard
Current sign-up bonus: 60,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months after account opening
Annual fee: $450
Reasons to get it: If you regularly fly American, don’t let the steep annual fee dissuade you. On top of offering a generous sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles (which can get you pretty far despite the devaluation in March), this card includes a full Admirals Club membership for you and free access for authorized users when flying AA. Plus, you can earn 10,000 EQMs after spending $40,000 on the card in a calendar year; those can certainly come in handy if you’re working toward AAdvantage elite status. Other benefits include a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, a free first checked bag for you and eight companions on domestic itineraries, priority boarding and no foreign transaction fees.
4. Chase Ink Plus Business Card
Current sign-up bonus: 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months after account opening
Annual fee: $95
Reasons to get it: This card always claims a high spot on TPG’s monthly list of top sign-up bonuses, thanks to the 60,000-point offer that’s been available for several months. There have been higher offers in the past — such as 70,000 points when you sign up at a Chase branch during National Small Business Week, but it’s probably not worth holding out for one of those to come along. You can transfer points to the Ultimate Rewards program’s 11 travel partners, including British Airways, Hyatt and United. And, depending on your spending categories, it can be easy to rack up plenty of Ultimate Rewards on purchases. The card offers 5x points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year, plus 2x points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations each account anniversary year.
Current sign-up bonus: 60,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months after account opening. Earn an additional 5,000 points after you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the first three months.
Annual fee: $49 (waived the first year)
Reasons to get it: IHG Rewards isn’t the most rewarding hotel loyalty program, but it does offer some good value — especially with its PointBreaks properties that cost just 5,000 points per night. We’ve seen 75,000-point offers for this card, but if you’re hoping to book an award stay in the near future it could be worth jumping on the currently available bonus. Card benefits include automatic Platinum elite status, a free anniversary night and a 10% rebate on points redemptions. You’ll earn 5x points per $1 spent on IHG stays; 2x points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1x points per $1 spent everywhere else. Not bad for a card with a low annual fee that’s waived the first year.
Current sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus, earn an additional 5,000 points after you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the first three months from account opening.
Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95
Reasons to get it: This card also ranks high on TPG’s monthly list of top cards, and it could be a great choice if you’re looking to earn Ultimate Rewards points but already have the Chase Ink Plus Business Card (or can’t qualify because you don’t meet the issuer’s requirements for opening a business card). If you’re new to the points and miles hobby and looking to earn UR points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the first card you should get, both because it earns you 2x rewards (a 4.2% return, based on TPG’s valuations) on all travel and dining purchases and because you don’t want to run the risk of being denied for opening five card accounts within 24 months, as part of Chase’s 5/24 rule. Other solid benefits include primary car rental insurance and zero foreign transaction fees.
Current sign-up bonus: 50,000 Avios after spending $3,000 in the first three months after account opening
Annual fee: $95
Reasons to get it: While you can no longer book 4,500-Avios short-hauls within the US, British Airways’ loyalty currency still offers some solid redemption options, including Aer Lingus from the US to Ireland and flights to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines. The British Airways Visa Signature Card‘s current sign-up bonus is far from the highest we’ve seen, but for previous offers you needed to spend $20,000 in the first year with the card to earn a total of 100,000 Avios, so this offer could be much more manageable. If you can put significant spending on this card, though, you can earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years; you’re eligible for this after making $30,000 in purchases in a calendar year. This can be a great perk if you maximize it for travel in a premium cabin (just note that you’ll have to pay taxes and fees, which can be significant given British Airways’ notoriously high fuel surcharges).
8. Citi Prestige
Current sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months after account opening
Annual fee: $450
Reasons to get it: Like the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, the Citi Prestige Card charges a very steep annual fee. But like the previously mentioned card, it justifies that charge with some great benefits. Chief among those is the 4th Night Free perk, which can save you thousands on paid hotel stays when you book them through the Citi travel center. The card also offers an annual $250 air travel credit, which you can use for incidentals like checked baggage as well as airline tickets. Other benefits include complimentary Admirals Club access when you’re traveling on American and Priority Pass lounge access for you and two guests. This card earns 3x points on air travel and hotel purchases, 2x points on dining and entertainment purchases and 1x on everything else.
Current sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after spending $750 in the first three months after account opening
Annual fee: None
Reasons to get it: If you’re looking to earn HHonors points and don’t want to commit to a card with an annual fee, this is a great option. Not only is there no charge to keep this card open each year, but the minimum spending requirement to earn the 50,000-point sign-up bonus is a very manageable $750 in the first three months. There are plenty of great ways to put those points to use, including both high-end redemptions like the Waldorf Astoria Park City and lower-level properties that will really stretch the value of your rewards. Plus, the Hilton HHonors Card from American Express offers some decent category bonuses: You’ll earn 7x points on Hilton stays; 5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations; and 3x on everything else.
10. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card
Current sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months after account opening
Annual fee: $99
Reasons to get it: Southwest Airlines may not offer fancy premium cabins or flights to far-flung destinations like Asia, but it’s worth considering for domestic travel and trips to the Caribbean, especially since the carrier doesn’t impose change or cancellation fees. The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card‘s sign-up bonus of 50,000 points is especially worth considering since it gets you almost halfway toward the Companion Pass, which lets a designated friend or family member travel with you for free minus taxes and fees. This benefit requires earning 110,000 points, and you can get the remainder through flights and/or by signing up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card, which is also offering 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months. You’ll also earn a bonus of 6,000 points after your cardmember anniversary, and you’ll earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points (TQPs) toward elite status for each $10,000 you spend, for a maximum of 15,000 points per year.
As you can see, several travel rewards cards can get you at least 50,000 points or miles for meeting the sign-up bonus spending requirements, and there are plenty of ways to put those rewards to use. However, keep in mind that not all loyalty currencies are created equal; for example, TPG values Hilton HHonors points at 0.5 cents apiece and Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2.1 cents apiece, so while the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card‘s sign-up bonus of 75,000 points seems higher than the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card‘s offer of 50,000 points, the former is worth $375 while the latter is worth $1,050. For more information on how credit card sign-up bonuses stack up in terms of shear value, see this post on offers worth at least $500.
In any case, hopefully this post has helped drive home the point that you can quickly earn a windfall of points and miles through credit card sign-up bonuses. Feel free to share the highest sign-up bonus you’ve earned in the comments below!
What’s the highest sign-up bonus you’ve earned?
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- 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