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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
With some credit card sign-up bonuses exceeding previous offers, others appearing to be in peril due to tenuous brand relationships, and still others facing devaluations within their points programs, it’s a great time to take advantage of several credit card offers that are currently available, but might not be for long. Whether you’re looking to simply increase your balances or to diversify your travel rewards, these cards can help.
The question of whether to apply for a certain credit card now or wait for a better offer is one that comes up often. Based on a few key factors, these are the cards I recommend applying for now rather than waiting.
US Airways Premier Wold MasterCard
Sign-up bonus: This card offers 50,000 bonus points after your first purchase on the card and payment of the $89 annual fee. That’s worth $950 according to my most recent monthly valuations.
Benefits: Earn double points on eligible US Airways and American Airlines purchases, and one point per dollar elsewhere. Receive an annual companion certificate good for up to two $99 companion tickets. Get a free checked bag for you and up to 4 companions, a 25% discount on in-flight purchases, first class check-in, and Zone 2 boarding.
Annual Fee: $89
Reasons to Get the Card Now: The merger between US Airways and American will spell the end of this card, and cardholders will be transferred to one of the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator products. Take advantage of this rather hefty (and easy to earn) sign-up bonus soon, since you won’t be able to later. 50,000 miles is enough for two round-trip domestic economy flights, or even a round-trip economy flight to Europe on off-peak awards (October 15 – May 15).
Sign-up bonus: This card offers 20,000 TrueBlue points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of card membership. That’s worth up to $340 based on a maximum redemption value of 1.7 cents apiece.
Benefits: Earn 2x TrueBlue points per dollar on all eligible JetBlue purchases (on top of the usual 6x for TrueBlue members).
Annual Fee: $40, waived the first year
Reasons to Get the Card Now: Although not confirmed, it has been reported that JetBlue is planning to cut ties with American Express in the near future. JetBlue frequent flyers may be able to take advantage by applying for this card now, earning the 20,000 TrueBlue points from the sign-up bonus, and then reapplying for another JetBlue card with the new issuer. However, this move is a bit risky, as it’s possible your account will be automatically converted (like what happened when the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard switched from Bank of America to Barclaycard last year). In that case, you won’t be able to earn the bonus twice, and there’s a reasonable chance that the next bonus will be more lucrative than the present one.
Chase Ink Plus Card
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you make $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s worth a bare minimum of $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, but I value those points at $1,260 thanks to the lucrative transfer opportunities.
Benefits: Earn 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. You also earn 2x points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent on combined gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each year. No foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee: $95
Reasons to Get the Card Now: With a sign-up bonus that trumps most other cards and the ability to earn large sums of points each year depending on your spending patterns, this card is a no-brainer.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening. Earn 5,000 miles when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months.
Benefits: You’ll earn 2x MileagePlus miles for each $1 spent on airfare purchased from United, as well as at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Get an additional 10,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $25,000 on the card in a calendar year. Get a free checked bag and priority boarding for yourself and a companion on the same reservation, no foreign transaction fees, and 2 United Club passes annually.
Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year
Reasons to Get the Card Now: The sign-up bonus for this card is normally 30,000 miles, but in an effort to compete with other current co-branded airline credit cards, the bonus has been upped to 50,000 miles.
IHG Rewards Club Select Card
Sign-up bonus: Earn 70,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. This bonus offer is available to you as long as you have not received a new cardmember bonus for this product in the past 24 months.
Benefits: Earn 5 points per $1 at IHG hotels, 2 points per $1 on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Get automatic Platinum Elite status with IHG as long as you have the card, and an 10% rebate on points redemptions. Additionally, receive an annual free night stay, 10% points rebate, and no foreign transactions fees.
Annual Fee: $49, waived the first year
Reasons to Get the Card Now: This underrated card is a great opportunity to diversify your hotel points. The sign-up bonus and annual free night are easy to use, since IHG is one of the largest hotel chains in the world; you won’t have a hard time finding a property near you, wherever you’re going. For more on the current offer, check out this post.
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees