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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – JetBlue Plus Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
If you’re in a relationship, you probably expect a little something on your anniversary. And yes, this includes your relationship with credit card issuers — as a handful of travel rewards cards give you something each year you renew your membership. But instead of flowers or chocolates, you can expect lounge passes, companion certificates or even a free hotel night stay.
How Cardmember Anniversary Bonuses Work
When you’re approved for a new credit card, your account is opened on that day. If the terms of your account offer an account anniversary bonus, you should expect to receive it when your next statement is issued, following the anniversary of when your account was opened.
For example, if you opened an account on February 20, 2016, and you receive your statement every month on 5th, you should receive your first account anniversary bonus year on March 5th, 2017, so long as your account is open and in good standing.
However, the terms of some account anniversary bonuses require that you renew your card and pay your annual fee in order to receive your bonus. With these cards, you’ll get your bonus only after your annual fee is received, and usually once the following statement is issued.
Here’s a comprehensive list of all the travel rewards credit cards that offer you some kind of bonus on your account anniversary:
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express — Both the personal and small business versions of this card offer an annual companion certificate, but only when you renew your card. This certificate offers a companion airfare when you purchase a qualifying round-trip, economy-class ticket in the contiguous 48 states. However, residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) can purchase a qualifying ticket that originate from their home state or territory to the mainland. Most fares qualify, so long as they’re in L, U, T, X or V fare class. This excludes bulk and group tickets, as well as basic economy fares. You also have to pay any government taxes and fees, but this certificate can still be quite valuable. There’s a $195 annual fee for each of these cards.
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card — Both the personal and small business versions of this card offer a companion certificate each year that’s nearly identical to the one offered to Platinum Delta SkyMiles cardholders. However, the certificate you receive with these cards is valid for economy tickets as well as Comfort+ and first-class tickets. In many cases, you could use this to fly two people in first class for about as much as you’d pay for two economy-class tickets. There’s a $450 annual fee for each of these cards.
Bank of America
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card — Currently offers you an annual companion fare at sign-up and each year on your account anniversary. You’ll receive the first companion fare after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening — it’ll show up within two billing cycles. You’ll receive another companion fare each year after your account anniversary (also within two billing cycles), so long as your account is open and in good standing.
The companion fare is awarded as a code that’s credited to the primary cardholder’s Alaska Mileage Plan account, and it must be redeemed within one year of the date of issue. Also, you have to pay a $99 base fare for the companion plus up to $22 in taxes and fees. It’s not valid for award travel or any other discounts. There’s a $75 annual fee for this card.
Asiana Visa Signature Credit Card — This card offers several anniversary bonuses. You get two Asiana Airline lounge passes and 10,000 bonus miles. You also receive an automatic $100 annual rebate on Asiana Airlines tickets purchased. There’s a $99 annual fee for this card.
Miles & More World Elite Mastercard — This is one of the best American credit cards issued by a foreign airline for various reasons, including its anniversary bonuses, which you’ll receive if your account is open and in good standing. First, you get an annual companion ticket, but just be aware that it’s only valid on some of the more expensive fare classes, and you still have to pay some taxes and fees. Also, you receive two complimentary Lufthansa Business Lounge vouchers annually, which you can use at one of its several lounges in US airports. There’s an $89 annual fee for this card.
JetBlue Plus Card — With this card, you get 5,000 bonus points each year after your account anniversary. They typically post to your account within 4-6 weeks of your anniversary. This card has a $99 annual fee.
The Hyatt Credit Card — This card offers a free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel each year after your cardmember anniversary. Allow up until the end of your anniversary month for the certificate to be issued. There’s a $75 annual fee for this card.
Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card — Both the personal and small business versions of this card offer a free night stay at a Category 1-5 Marriott location each year after your cardmember anniversary. The certificate will be deposited into your account within 8 weeks of your account anniversary date, and it’s good for 12 months. There’s an $85 annual fee for the personal version and a $99 annual fee for the business version.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card — This card offers 3,000 bonus points each year after your cardmember anniversary, which also apply toward the 110,000 points needed to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. According to TPG’s latest valuations, Southwest Rapid Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each, so the annual bonus is worth $45. There’s a $69 annual fee for this card.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card — Both the personal and small business versions of this card offer 6,000 bonus points each year after your cardmember anniversary. There’s a $99 annual fee for each of these cards.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card and the United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card — These cards both offer two United Club passes, which you receive on your account anniversary. These passes are normally sold for $59 each. There’s a $95 annual fee for these cards (waived the first year for the business version).
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card — This card offers 40,000 bonus points each year when you renew your card and pay the $75 annual fee. It’ll appear in your account within 6 to 8 weeks. According to TPG’s latest valuations, Club Carlson points are worth 0.4 cents each, so the bonus is worth $160. You can also earn one free night when you charge $10,000 to the card in an account year then renew it by paying the annual fee.
Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature Card — This version offers 25,000 bonus points each year when you renew your card and pay the $50 annual fee, as well as a free night when you charge $10,000 in an account year then renew your card by paying the annual fee.
LATAM Visa Signature Card — This cards offers 4,000 bonus miles each year when you renew your card and pay the $75 annual fee (waived the first year). The standard LATAM card offers just 2,000 bonus miles each year when you renew your card and pay the $45 annual fee (also waived the first year).
What’s your favorite travel rewards card that offers an anniversary bonus?
Featured image courtesy of the Category 4 Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa in Vietnam.