Sunday Reader Email Question: Best Time of Year for Card Bonuses?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
This one is short and sweet from TPG reader Adam:
"Do you know if there is a better time of year when credit card companies/airlines are offering the most bonus sign-up miles?"
Big card bonuses are not seasonal - at least not in my experience. The 100,000 mile BA bonus kicked off in November 2009 and they ran it again in April of 2011. Will they run it again? Who knows, but probably not for a while.
However, that bonus was so effective, we saw 100k offers from the Capital One Venture card and then a slew of higher than normal offers, like 50k for the Amex Platinum card (now 25k, but many are still getting that bumped to 100k per this post), 75k for the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card (now 15k bonus but many are getting bumped to 75k per the same post), 50k for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (actually 53,500 when you factor in their yearly 7% dividend on all points earned - including sign-up bonus), 50k for the Southwest Visa Signature (Update: deal is no longer available), 50k for the Continental/United Visas (now targeted, but hopefully open for all soon), 50k for the Citi Premier (update: bonus has been reduced to 30,000 points) and the list goes on.
Citi had been running their 75k offers for a while, but they technically expired in February. They are still active, but not being promoted. Is this because of the BA offer and enhanced competition? Don't know, but if you want an easy 150,000 American miles, read this post.
2011 has been a bonanza for sign-up bonuses - between Chase, American Express, Citi and Capital One, its very conceivable to have earned 450,000 miles in the first half of the year with 4-6 credit inquiries (8-30 points off your credit score) and less than $600 in annual fees.
Do I have a crystal ball whether another run of 100k offers will happen again? No. Do I think we are "done" with lucrative sign-up bonuses? No.
But back to answering your question, no - I don't believe there is a specific time of year for good bonuses.