Last-Minute Round of Applications – Maximizing Southwest 50,000 Ending, Starwood Amex 30,000 Launch and British Airways Visa Annual Fee Waived
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
They say when it rains it pours - and today has been a crazy day in the world of points credit cards - in a good way! This is the last day of the limited-time 50,000-point sign-up bonuses on all four Southwest credit cards, the launch of 30,000-point bonuses on the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express personal and business cards, and the Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card is being offered with its first year's annual fee waived.
I've been getting questions all day from readers on all these offers, so I thought I'd put together a post to address them in case you're considering an impromptu round of credit card applications today to capitalize on all the great deals.
Although a lot of people (myself included) have discussed the advantage of applying for these offers earlier in year if you want the bonuses specifically for the Companion Pass to lengthen its period of validity, even if you do use these to get the Companion Pass now, you still have 17 months to leverage it before it expires at the end of 2014.
However, even if no plans to get the Companion Pass, 50,000 points is the historically high bonus offer on these cards, and those points are worth roughly $833 in Wanna Get Away fares, which is a really solid offer.
I've had the British Airways Visa for years now and think it's a great card with benefits like the "Travel Together" Companion Ticket, 10% discounts on BA flights and more. Its sign-up bonus has historically gone as high as 100,000 Avios, but in order to earn the full bonus, you have to spend $20,000 within a year, and the $95 annual fee was not waived.
While the bonus now is 50,000 Avios for spending $3,000 in 3 months and thanks to BA's distance-based award calculations, 50,000 Avios can get you a lot of places. For instance, I am going to be traveling from JFK to Dublin soon on Aer Lingus in business class one way for 40,000 Avios and about $30 in fees (learn more about avoiding hefty taxes and fees getting to Europe using Avios in this post).
I suspect this offer will be around for a while, so if you're choosing between Chase cards, I'd say the Southwest offers are more pressing. however, those Southwest cards are pretty much only good if you're actually flying Southwest since it's not part of any alliance, so this could be a better opportunity for you - and as always, you should apply for the card that best suits your needs.
An Impromptu Application Round?
Now for the interesting part. If it’s been a while since your last round of applications and you’re thinking of getting a couple of new cards, today could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for as it’s the single day that both the Southwest and Starwood offers will still be live (or to apply for the BA Visa along with the Starwood cards while the offers all last).
Although these cards come from separate issuers, so you can certainly apply on different days (and if you’ve already gotten in on the Southwest or British Airways offers already, there’s no reason you can’t apply for the Starwood ones now), the advantage of applying on the same day is that each bank won’t see your other applications.
If you already have these cards, or want to get some different ones in addition to one or the other of these offers, here are the two best credit card deals of the moment from the major issuers. These are public offers, but if you have links to better ones that anyone can apply for, feel free to share!
Mercedes-Benz American Express Platinum Card: 50,000 points after $3,000 spent within the first 3 months. $475 annual fee. Perks include $200 annual airline rebate, $100 Global Entry refund, lounge access to American, Delta and US Airways clubs as well as Priority Pass membership, automatic Starwood Gold status.
Business Gold Rewards: 50,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Additionally, you will earn 3 points per dollar spent on airfare, 2 points per dollar spent on US purchases of advertising in select media, shipping and gas stations and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. This card comes with a $175 annual fee waived the first year.
Ink Bold and Ink Plus: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. These cards are extremely valuable because you will earn 5 points per dollar spent at office supply stores and on cellular, landline, internet and cable TV services up to $50,000 annually. In addition you will earn 2 points per dollar at gas stations and hotel stays up to $50,000 annually and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. $95 annual fee waived for the first year.
Read up on the many benefits of the Ink Plus and Ink Bold cards here. Some of these benefits include no foreign transaction fees, spend flexibility, transfer partners and portal bonuses.
Sapphire Preferred: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. This is one of my favorite cards because you earn 2 points per dollar spent on all dining and travel, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. It’s also a great card for travelers because there are no foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee waived the first year.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard: 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more in the first 90 days. In addition you will earn 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases with an $89 annual fee waived for the first year. Check out this post with details on what makes the Barclaycard Arrival such a great product and how to maximize your Barclaycard Arrival miles.
US Airways Premier World MasterCard: 35,000 Dividend miles after your first purchase and have the $89 annual fee waived for the first year as seen on this FlyerTalk thread. Earn 2 miles per dollar when you make US Airways purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. The annual fee is but is offset by some great perks like the annual companion certificate which is good for up to two companion tickets at $99 each.
Hilton HHonors Reserve: 2 weekend night certificates after you spend $2,500 in the first 4 months. Additionally you will earn 10 points per dollar spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio, 5 points per dollar spent on airline and car rental purchases, 3 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. Though there is a $95 annual fee, the Free Weekend Night certificates are valid at Category 1-10 hotels aside from those on the exclusion list. You can also earn a 3rd Free Weekend Night certificate if you spend $10,000 within a calendar year.
Update: The current offers for the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard and Visa are 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 miles within the first 3 months.
Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa Signature: (This is an unverified offer several readers have reported earning) 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $3,000 in first 3 months using the provided link. You will also earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on other purchases. This card comes with a $95 annual fee is waived the first year. In April of 2012 Citi added new benefits to the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage card which can be viewed here.
Bank of America
BofA Virgin Atlantic Amex: 65,000 miles, 20,000 which will be earned after your first retail purchase, an additional 25,000 miles earned after you spend $2,500 in qualifying purchases, 15,000 miles upon anniversary and 5,000 miles when you add 2 additional cardholders. You will also earn 3 miles per dollar spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases. This card comes with a $90 annual fee. I recently got in on this great sign up offer – read this post for more details.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature: 25,000 total bonus miles upon approval and a $100 statement credit after $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of your new credit card account open date. Additionally you will earn 3 miles for every qualifying dollar in purchases of Alaska Airlines tickets, Vacation packages and Cargo purchases. There is a $75 Annual fee for Visa Signature accounts, $50 annual fee for Platinum Plus accounts, or $35 for Preferred accounts. Every year you will receive an annual Coach Companion fare for up to $110 and you’ll earn 5 miles per dollar at partner hotels and restaurants.
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature: 85,000 Gold Points, 50,000 of which will be earned after your first purchase, plus 35,000 more points once you spend $2,500 within the first 90 days. You will earn 10 points per dollar spent at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels and 5 points per dollar spent everywhere else. Although there is a $75 annual fee, Club Carlson cards come with Gold status and a bonus award night. Read this post to find out more about these two great perks.
FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa: 20,000 bonus FlexPoints after you spend $2,000 in the first four months of account opening. You earn 3 points per dollar spent on qualifying charitable donations, 2 points per dollar spent on your highest spending category whether it be gas, airfare or groceries and 2 points per dollar on any merchant location that classifies itself as having telecommunication services/products. 1 point will be earning for each dollar spent in net purchases.$49 annual fee is waived the first year. My full review of this card and an explanation of how FlexPerks works can be found here.