When Will My Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus Reach My Account?

Feb 21, 2016

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TPG reader Aaman sent me a message on Facebook to ask about credit card sign-up bonuses:

“I recently got the Sapphire Preferred Card and met the spending requirement for the sign-up bonus. Do I have to wait until the end of the promotional period (three months) to receive that bonus in my account?”

In an ideal world, credit card sign-up bonuses would be deposited into your account immediately after you meet the spending requirements. After all, the sooner you have those points and miles in hand, the sooner you can redeem them. Unfortunately, the mechanics of travel rewards aren’t quite that efficient and there is some delay, but it’s generally not as long as what’s advertised.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card currently offers a bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of cardmembership. In the offer details, Chase specifies that you should allow six to eight weeks after qualifying for bonus points to post to your account. You could interpret that to mean you won’t get your bonus until the end of the promotional period, but in practice you should almost never have to wait that long.

Once you’ve met the spending requirements, you’ll generally receive the bonus within a few business days of when that card statement closes. Chase indicates a longer wait time because, in some cases, qualifying purchases don’t appear on your account until the next statement. For example, if you reach the threshold on March 12 and your statement closes on March 14, that spending might end up on your April statement, which means the bonus won’t be sent to your account until after April 14.

This timeline applies to most travel rewards cards — I’m not aware of any that make you wait until the end of the promotional period to earn your bonus, though I have seen some retention bonuses structured that way. Programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards tend to process bonuses slightly faster since your loyalty account is managed by the card issuer. You can expect to wait a few extra days for sign-up bonuses that go to a third party (like an airline or hotel affiliate).

If you’re on a tight schedule to earn rewards for an upcoming redemption, I recommend completing your qualifying transactions at least one week before your statement closes so you don’t end up waiting an extra month. If your bonus does get pushed back, you can try asking for those points to be sent to your account early once all the qualifying purchases have actually cleared. Depending on how far over the threshold you are, you may find an agent willing to help.

Check out these posts for more information on meeting spending requirements and earning sign-up bonuses:

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

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.