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When Can I Earn a Second Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus?

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TPG reader Cindy sent me a message on Facebook to ask about credit card bonuses:

“I earned a sign-up bonus from the Marriott Visa in September of 2014. Chase says I need to wait 24 months before I can earn another one. Do I need to wait that long before I open a new card, or just make sure 24 months pass before I earn a second bonus?”

One of the most significant credit card application restrictions is a limit to how often you can earn a sign-up bonus. The rules vary from one card issuer to another, and in some cases for different cards from the same issuer. To maximize your rewards and avoid unpleasant surprises (like missing out on a bonus entirely), it’s important to understand the terms of an offer before you apply.

The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. To be eligible for the bonus, you can’t be an existing cardholder, and you can’t have earned a bonus from the same card in the past 24 months. Cindy wants to know whether she could apply now (less than 24 months after earning the previous bonus) and still be considered eligible by waiting until September to complete the spending requirement. Unfortunately, that won’t work.

The bonus offer is tied to your application, so your eligibility is determined when that application is submitted. If you aren’t eligible when you apply, then you won’t be eligible later, so you have to wait 24 months from when you actually received points or miles from the previous bonus offer. In Cindy’s case, that means waiting until September of this year (or possibly October, depending when the points reached her account).

Technically, you could still apply for the card now, but you wouldn’t be eligible for the bonus. That might make sense if you were getting a card purely for its benefits (like the 15 elite night credits you get each year from the Marriott Rewards Visa). However, I think it’s best to wait until you can earn the bonus.

Your guest
You could get the Marriott Rewards Visa and its benefits now, but you have to wait 24 months to earn a second bonus. Image courtesy of the JW Marriott Scottsdale.

Keep in mind that personal and business cards are separate products, and you can earn a sign-up bonus from each one. If you’ve recently earned a bonus from the personal version of the Marriott Rewards Visa, you could apply for the Marriott Rewards Premier Business Card for a similar offer. That can also be a great way to boost your Marriott status, since you can stack the elite night credits and annual free nights you get from each card.

For more on earning credit card sign-up bonuses and current offers, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image courtesy of the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit.

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Apply Now
  • Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Plus, Earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date!
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Rewards points and get free stays faster
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott locations & 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
  • The fastest way to earn Marriott Rewards Elite Status. Receive 15 Elite Credits guaranteeing Silver Elite Status or better. Plus, Earn 1 Elite Credit for every $3,000 spent on purchases
  • All for an $85 Annual Fee
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24% - 23.24% Variable $85 0% Excellent Credit