When Can I Earn a Second Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
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 75,000 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.
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:
- Top 10 Travel Rewards Credit Card Offers for July 2016
- When Must I Meet the Spend Threshold for a Sign-Up Bonus?
- When Will My Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus Reach My Account?
- Do Charges Offset by Credits Count Toward a Sign-Up Bonus?