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Credit card issuers are in the business of acquiring long-term customers. In an age where large welcome bonuses are driving acquisition costs up and customers keep shifting products, banks are trying to incentivize card holders to not only keep their product for years, but also to utilize them on a recurring basis. One of the many tools to drive utilization is an annual spend bonus. Let’s look at cards that give a variety of rewards after you meet set annual spend thresholds.

Annual spend bonuses in this article do not include welcome bonuses, welcome offers, annual caps on bonus spend categories or annual renewal bonuses. Unless otherwise noted, each year refers to a calendar year.

In This Post

Free Hotel Nights

Several Hilton Amex cards offer free weekend night awards for meeting annual spending thresholds. Image of the Hilton Hawaiian Village courtesy of Melanie Lieberman/The Points Guy.

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card ($95 annual fee) —  Spend $15,000 and earn a free weekend night certificate.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card ($450 annual fee) — Spend $60,000 and receive a free weekend night certificate, in addition to the one complimentary weekend night award you get each year after your account renewal.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card ($95 annual fee) — Spend $15,000 and earn a free weekend night certificate. Spend $60,000 total and earn a second free night certificate.

Radisson Rewards Co-branded Cards (up to a $70 annual fee) — The Premier Visa, Visa Signature, Visa and Business Visa Radisson Rewards cards all offer a free night at any Radisson property in the US for every $10,000 spent on a card, up to three free nights per year. Free nights are awarded when you renew your card.

Complimentary Elite Status

Hilton Honors American Express Card (no annual fee) — Spend $20,000 and receive an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status.

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card ($95 annual fee) — Spend $40,000 and receive an upgrade to Hilton Honors Diamond status.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card ($95 annual fee) — Spend $40,000 and receive an upgrade to Hilton Honors Diamond status.

JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card ($99 annual fees) — Spend $50,000 and earn Mosaic status good through the end of the following calendar year.

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card ($95 annual fee) and the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Credit Card— Spend $35,000 in your card member year and earn Gold Elite status through the end of the following calendar year.

You can spend your way to Gold status on the SPG Amex personal and business cards.

Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card ($450 annual fee) — Spend $75,000 and earn Marriott Platinum Elite status.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express ($95 annual fee waived the first year)— Spend $30,000 in 2018 and earn Gold Elite status. Beginning in 2019, the spend threshold for Gold Elite status with be $35,000 in annual spend.

Elite-Qualifying Dollars, Points and Miles

Before we dive into this list, note that there are quite a few recent changes to the Aviator line of cards and how they earn Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) moving forward based on when you signed up for the card. Make sure to read all the detailed changes. Also note you cannot stack EQM earnings from the different Aviator cards.

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard ($79 annual fee) — Earn 1,000 tier qualify points (TQPs) for every $5,000 in spend, up to 4,000 TQPs per year.

Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Blue Mastercard ($49 annual fee) — Spend $25,000 and earn 3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs). If you signed up for the card before Jan. 1, 2018, you will not be able to earn EQDs in 2019.

Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard ($95 annual fee) — Spend $25,000 and earn 3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs). Spend $30,000 and earn a $100 American Airlines flight discount. If you signed up for the card before Jan. 1, 2018, you will not be able to earn EQDs in 2019.

Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard ($195 annual fee) — Earn 5,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) for every $20,000 you spend on the card, up to 10,000 EQMs per year. Through 2018, you’ll earn $3,000 EQDs after spending $25,000 and another $3,000 EQDs after spending $50,000. Beginning in 2019, you’ll only earn 3,000 EQDs after spending $50,000 in a calendar year.

Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard ($95 annual fee) — Earn 3,000 EQDs after spending $25,000. Spend $30,000 and earn a companion certificate good for one guest at $99 plus taxes and fees.

Barclaycard Arrival Premier — The card is no longer available for sign-ups, but if you hold it you’ll earn earn 15,000 bonus miles when you use your card to spend $15,000 in a card member year and an additional 10,000 bonus miles each year that you spend another $10,000, for a total of 25,000 bonus miles after $25,000 of spending.

Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard ($450 annual fee) — Spend $40,000 within the year and earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles.

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express and the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card ($450 annual fees) — Spend $30,000 and receive 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus redeemable miles. Spend an additional $30,000 and receive another 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles. Also, spend $25,000 and qualify for Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion Status if you’ve earned the required MQMs or Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) but not the required Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs). Or, spend $250,000 and qualify for Diamond Medallion Status if you’ve earned the required MQMs or MQSs but not the MQDs.

Expedia+ Card from Citi (no annual fee) — Earn one elite qualifying night toward Expedia+ Gold status for every $2,500 spent.

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard ($79 annual fee) — Earn 1 elite-qualifying mile per dollar spent on the card, with no cap to EQMs allowed to be earned. Spend your way to Elite20k, Elite 50k and Elite 100k status.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express ($0 annual fees for the first year, then $95) — Spend $25,000 and qualify for Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion Status if you’ve earned the required MQMs or MQSs but not the required MQDs. Or, spend $250,000 and qualify for Diamond Medallion Status if you’ve earned the required MQMs or MQSs but not the MQDs.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express ($195 annual fees) — Spend $25,000 and receive 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles. Spend an additional $25,000 and receive another 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles. Also, spend $25,000 and qualify for Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion Status if you’ve earned the required MQMs or MQSs but not the required MQDs. Or, spend $250,000 and qualify for Diamond Medallion Status if you’ve earned the required MQMs or MQSs but not the MQDs.

Work toward Southwest elite status by spending on several of its co-branded cards.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card ($149 annual fee), Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card ($99 annual fee) and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card ($99 annual fee)— Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for each $10,000 in purchases up to $100,000 in purchases annually, which equals 15,000 TQPs.

Virgin Atlantic Black Credit Card ($90 annual fee) — Get 25 tier points per $2,500 spent, up to 50 tier points per month.

World of Hyatt Credit Card — Earn two elite-qualifying nights for every $5,000 spent with no cap on the number of nights you can earn.

Bonus Points and Miles

AT&T Access More ($95 annual fee) — Not available for new sign-ups, but if you hold the card you can earn 10,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $10,000.

BBVA Compass Select Credit Card ($125 annual fee waived the first year) — Earn 1,000 bonus points for every month you spend $5,000. Spend $20,000 annually and earn a $100 account credit.

Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard ($59 annual fee waived the first year) — Spend $5,000 in a card member year and earn 20,000 bonus points.

Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card (no annual fee) — Spend $10,000 and earn 8,000 bonus points on your card anniversary.

Diamond Resorts International Mastercard (no annual fee) — Earn 500 bonus Diamond Plus Points for every $2,000 spent, up to a maximum of 5,000 bonus points, for as long as you remain a card member. Timeshare down payments do not count toward eligible spend.

Expedia+ Voyager Card from Citi ($95 annual fee) — Spend $10,000 and earn 5,000 Expedia+ bonus points at renewal.

Hawaiian Airlines
Earn bonus Hawaiian Airlines miles with the co-branded business credit card. Photo courtesy of Eric Salard via Flickr.

Hawaiian Airlines Business Mastercard ($99 annual fee) — Earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $50,000-$99,999 or earn 40,000 after spending $100,000 or more on purchases during your card membership year.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card ($89 annual fee) — Earn 10,000 bonus points each account anniversary year during which at least $20,000 is spent, and one additional purchase is made at least one day after you have spent $20,000.

SKYPASS Select Visa Signature Credit Card ($450 annual fee) — Spend $35,000 and earn 10,000 bonus miles at renewal.

Spirit Airlines World Mastercard ($59 annual fee waived the first year) — Spend $10,000 and earn 5,000 bonus miles.

Virgin Atlantic Black Credit Card ($90 annual fee) — Spend $15,000 to earn 7,500 bonus miles then earn an additional 7,500 bonus miles after $25,000 in annual spend.

Virgin Atlantic White Credit Card ($49 annual fee) — Spend $5,000 and earn 2,500 bonus miles. Spend $15,000 and receive an additional 5,000 miles.

Airline Companion Tickets

Earn a companion ticket by spending $30,000 on the British Airways Visa Signature Card.

Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card — Spend $30,000 and earn an economy companion ticket.

Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard ($195 annual fee) — Earn a companion certificate good for up to two guests at $99 each, issued annually after your account anniversary when you spend $30,000 or more in purchases (taxes and fees apply).

British Airways Visa Signature Card — Spend $30,000 and earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.

CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard ($99 annual fee waived the first year) — Spend $30,000 during the card membership year and earn a $99 domestic economy companion certificate. (Account must remain open for at least 45 days after anniversary date)

Virgin Atlantic Black Credit Card ($90 annual fee) — Spend $25,000 on purchases in a year and redeem the necessary miles for a Virgin Atlantic economy award ticket and get a companion reward ticket for half the miles.

Virgin Atlantic White Credit Card ($49 annual fee) — Spend $25,000 and earn a certificate to redeem the necessary miles for a Virgin Atlantic economy reward ticket and get a companion ticket for half the miles.

Travel Credits, Discounts and Other Benefits

Ameriprise World Elite Mastercard ($150 annual fee) — Spend $36,000 and earn a total of $200 in statement credits toward airline purchases.

Avianca Vuela Visa Credit Card ($149 annual fee) — Spend $12,000 and earn a 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States. Spend another $12,000 and earn a second 50% discount.

BBVA Compass Select Credit Card ($125 annual fee waived the first year) — Spend $20,000 annually and earn a $100 account credit.

Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard ($99 annual fee waived the first year)— Spend $20,000 and earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount.

Delta Sky Club ATL Terminal B
Some cards offer other benefits like statement credits toward lounge membership. Photo of Delta’s flagship Terminal B Sky Club in Atlanta courtesy of Darren Murph/The Points Guy.

Crystal Visa Infinite Card ($400 annual fee) — Spend $50,000 and be reimbursed for up to $550 in airline lounge access passes or an annual airline lounge membership.

Iberia Visa Signature Card — Spend $30,000 and earn a $1,000 discount voucher toward two tickets on the same flight.

Merrill+ Visa Signature (no annual fee) — Spend $50,000 and earn a $200 travel credit or a one-year Delta Sky Club executive membership.

BBVA Compass Select Credit Card ($125 annual fee waived the first year) — Earn 1,000 bonus points for every month you spend $5,000. Spend $20,000 annually and earn a $100 account credit.

Southwest Co-branded Cards — $110,000 in annual spend on any combination of these cards, as long as they are all tied to the same Rapid Rewards account, will result in a Companion Pass.

U.S. Bank Flexperks Business Travel Rewards Card ($55 annual fee) — Spend $24,000 and receive a credit for the $55 annual fee.

Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card (no annual fee) — Spend $50,000 and Go Far Rewards become worth 1.75 cents per point when redeemed towards airfare purchases.

Bottom Line

Given the concerted effort of banks to retain customers and spending, the above bonuses are pretty dynamic and I expect routine changes. Be sure to go back to your card’s benefit guide or a card issuer representative to confirm any of the above information before deciding to place thousands of dollars in spend on your card.

I also recommend making an Outlook or Google Calendar with notifications to buzz yourself a few times throughout the year as a reminder for any of the annual bonuses you may be able to obtain.

Featured image courtesy of the St. Regis Langkawi in Malaysia.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Earn 2 points $1 on Southwest and Rapid Rewards car and hotel purchases and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. This card also comes with an annual $75 travel credit.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year.
  • 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on inflight purchases made with your Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$149
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.