The ultimate guide to tracking your progress toward a credit card sign-up bonus
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with information on new tracking features. It was originally published on May 13, 2019.
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 10 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 your goal.
Related reading: The best limited-time credit card offers currently available
American Express in the past has sent cardholders emails that tracked their progress. According to reports, the bar in the email that tracked your spending would update over time so you were able to go back to the same email and continually track your progress. Doctor of Credit reported that the spending tracker also showed on some people’s online accounts, but unfortunately, it’s unclear whether either of these tracking methods are available anymore.
If you didn’t receive an email and don’t see the tracker on your online account, you will have to call or chat with an Amex customer service representative and ask them to check your progress.
Related reading: Choosing the best American Express credit card for you
Bank of America
Bank of America unfortunately doesn’t offer any sort of tracker, so you’ll need to track your progress yourself. Ccontacting 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 cardholders, including those with cobranded cards such as the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard and the JetBlue Plus Card.
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.
Related reading: The best Capital One credit cards
In March 2019, Chase began rolling out a sign-up bonus progress tracker that shows exactly how much additional spend you need to make and the date by which you need to complete it.
If you’re eligible, you’ll find the tool under the Ultimate Rewards section of both the desktop and the mobile app. So far, users have reported finding the tracker on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
Related reading: Maximize your wallet with the perfect quartet of Chase credit cards
Citi has 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 would be a step in the wrong direction, so hopefully Citi brings it back and expands it to all cardholders soon.
Discover doesn’t offer any sort of tracker, so as with Bank of America, you’ll need to track your progress yourself.
Wells Fargo lets cardholders 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, but not any business cards.
Related reading: Don’t overlook Wells Fargo credit cards
Although a few issuers are out of step, overall, issuers are providing the tools that make it easier for cardholders to track their progress toward sign-up bonuses. Given the simplicity of these tools, you can avoid tabulating your progress using convoluted spreadsheets in many cases.
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, for example, you got the bonus for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (earn 90,000 bonus miles after after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.), paying its $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) will not help you hit the minimum spend threshold.
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, as some bonuses are timed by calendar days while others are by months. 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 experience may vary.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex card, please click here.
Featured photo by Guido Mieth/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
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*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
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