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Why right now may be the best time to sign up for a mid-tier credit card

July 20, 2021
5 min read
a credit card against a multi-colored background
Why right now may be the best time to sign up for a mid-tier credit card
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Editor's Note

This story has been updated with the latest offers and information. 

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

Credit card offers come and go. That's just the nature of the beast. However, as we hopefully emerge from the worst of the pandemic, issuers are eager for your business.

With several best-ever introductory promotions out there, now may be the best time to apply for a mid-tier card (between $95-$250 in annual fees).

That includes two $95-per-year cards: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (100,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening) and the Citi Premier® Card (80,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening). In addition, the American Express® Gold Card also has one of its best welcome offers of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases with six months.

All four of these cards have notable perks and earn transferable travel points that you can use now -- or well into the future. Let's take a closer look.

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Best-ever (or nearly best-ever) bonuses

All three of these cards have some of the highest welcome offers/sign-up bonuses ever offered after meeting minimum spend requirements -- 100,000 points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, 80,000 points with the Citi Premier and 60,000 points with the Amex Gold.

Chase Sapphire Preferred: 100,000 points worth $2,000*

Let's talk about the sign-up bonus that is the most exciting. The TPG Award-winning Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering a lucrative sign-up bonus. In fact, it's the best-ever publicly available bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Based on TPG’s valuations, 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth a whopping $2,000. Any time you can get more than $1,000 in value from a single credit card, it’s an easy win -- and this is double that. There are many, many ways to use 100,000 points for travel, Pay Yourself Back for a statement credit and more.

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Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred review

APPLY NOW for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Related: How I redeemed 100,000 Chase points to book a Costa Rica trip of a lifetime

Citi Premier: 80,000 points worth $1,360*

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

For a long time, the Citi Premier card has been a mid-tier dark horse.

But it's now finally getting some of the attention it deserves. Citi recently launched the best publicly available offer we’ve seen for this card: 80,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. According to TPG valuations that peg a ThankYou point at 1.7 cents, the entire bonus is worth $1,360.

Back in August 2020, Citi also changed up its earning categories for both new Premier card applicants and existing cardholders. The good news is that two bonuses were added to help you earn ThankYou points faster. Those category bonuses include:

Cardholders now also receive a $100 hotel credit, eligible on purchases of $500 or more, excluding taxes or fees, made through per calendar year. That’s a solid bonus — and entirely new as of last year.

Related: Citi Premier card review

APPLY NOW for the Citi Premier card.

*Based on TPG valuations and not from the card issuer

Amex Gold: 60,000 points worth $1,200*

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

The Amex Gold card is currently offering one of its highest publicly available welcome offers ever of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of account opening. Based on TPG’s latest valuations, that bonus is worth $1,200.

However, it may be possible to get a 75,000-point welcome offer after meeting minimum spend requirements via the CardMatch Tool (offer subject to change at any time).

The Amex Gold earns 4x points on dining at restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x at U.S. supermarkets).

Additionally, you'll get up to $120 in annual dining statement credits (such as Grubhub) and new for 2021, up to $120 in annual Uber Cash which can be used for Uber rides and UberEats orders. If you're into food, this card is for you.

Related: Amex Gold card review

APPLY NOW for the Amex Gold card.

Bottom line

Whether you are traveling now or not, these elevated card offers are great opportunities to score points and miles for a plethora of use cases. The perks that come with each of these three cards -- which are all part of a transferable points or miles currency -- also come in handy no matter how you travel.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.

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

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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