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A large part of what makes travel rewards credit cards so lucrative is their welcome bonuses. Missing out on one is the biggest mistake you could make when you open a new credit card. As TPG‘s Ten Commandments for Travel Rewards Credit Cards states: “Thou shalt not miss out on a sign-up bonus.”
Resources like spreadsheets, calendar reminders and money management tools can be helpful for keeping track of your progress, but they can also become very convoluted. Thankfully, many issuers offer easier ways to keep track of your spending toward that goal.
As of July 2018, American Express has been sending card holders emails that track their progress. According to reports, the bar in the email that tracks your spending updates over time so you can go back to the same email and continually track your progress. Doctor of Credit reports that the spending tracker also shows on some people’s online accounts, but it’s unclear how Amex picks who’s eligible.
If you didn’t receive an email and don’t have the tracker on your online account, call or chat an Amex customer service representative and ask them to check your progress.
Bank of America
Bank of America unfortunately doesn’t offer any sort of tracker, so you’ll need to track your progress the old-fashioned way. As always, contacting customer service and asking them to check is also an option.
Barclays doesn’t offer a tool specifically for tracking your progress toward sign-up bonuses, but it does offer a “spend analyzer” that gets the job done. You’ll find the feature under the “Activity & Statements” part of the navigation bar. Once you’re on it, you can filter your spending to show just the last three months. This is available to all Barclays card holders, including of cobranded cards like the AAdvantage Aviator Red Card and the JetBlue Plus Card.
Similar to Amex, Capital One will send you an email with the progress toward your bonus, as well the number of days you have left to reach it (according to Doctor of Credit readers). The email is sent out about five weeks after you’ve opened a card.
In March 2019, Chase began rolling out a sign-up bonus progress tracker that shows exactly how much additional spend you need to complete and the date by which you need to complete it. It’s currently only available to a select subset of Chase customers, but will hopefully expand to all users soon.
If you’re eligible, you’ll find the tool under the Ultimate Rewards section of both the desktop and the mobile app version. So far, users have reported the tracker on both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
Citi offered an online bonus spend tracker for some cards in the past. It was available under your rewards details and showed both how much more you had to spend and how many days you had left. However, recent reports suggest that the tool is no longer offered. Removing it is a step in the wrong direction, so hopefully Citi brings it back and expands it to all card holders.
Discover doesn’t offer any sort of tracker so as with Bank of America, you’ll need to track your progress the old-fashioned way and potentially contact customer service.
Wells Fargo lets card holders track their minimum spend progress online, under “Go Far Rewards.” The tool not only shows how much more you have to spend and how many days you have left, but also confirms the details of the bonus attached to your card. The tool is available on all personal Wells Fargo cards, such as the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, but not any business cards.
Although a few issuers have some catching up to do, overall, issuers are trending in the right direction when it comes to making it easier for card holders to track their progress toward sign-up bonuses. Given the simplicity of the tools discussed, tabulating your progress using convoluted spreadsheets should definitely be avoided whenever possible.
As a reminder, the clock for a bonus period usually starts ticking as soon as your application is approved and not all charges count toward the spending requirement. So, if you got in on the previous 100,000-point bonus for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, for example, paying its $450 annual fee (see rates & fees) will not help you hit the minimum spend threshold. (The current bonus on the card is 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months)
When activating a new card, it might be helpful to speak with a customer service representative to verify the exact date when the bonus period ends. Just remember that purchases have to actually post to your account by the end date so pending transactions won’t count toward your total. If you need help reaching a minimum spend requirement, make sure to check out our guide on 11 ways to meet credit card bonus minimum spending requirements.
Aside from Barclay’s spend analyzer, issuers haven’t published any information about these tools so your mileage may vary. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
For rates & fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, click here.
Featured photo by Guido Mieth / Getty Images.
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WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
- Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
- No foreign transaction fees
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- $95 Annual Fee