The 7 best elevated credit card offers to sign up for in October
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. For the latest limited-time benefits related to the pandemic, read our guide to temporary card perks and bonuses.
Credit card sign-up bonuses and welcome offers are the quickest and easiest way to rake in lots of points and miles, so we regularly update our roundup of our favorite current offers in our best credit cards guide. But what if you put a priority on not missing any limited-time or elevated offers?
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To help you in that situation, we’ve rounded up the best offers currently available — especially the ones that are worth an extra look right now before they disappear. This month, we’re seeing some especially enticing offers for some of the best travel credit cards, including cobranded hotel credit cards.
Since many issuers have restrictions on how often you can earn a bonus on a card, it’s important to apply when there’s a good offer. Also, higher bonuses don’t always stick around for long, so if you’re considering one of these offers, you’ll want to hop on it sooner rather than later.
The best new elevated card offers in October
- The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card: Best for elevated CardMatch offers
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Best low-cost card for Hilton
- Hilton Honors Card from American Express: Best no annual fee card for Hilton (see rates & fees)
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Best overall for IHG stays
- IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card: Best no annual fee card for IHG
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Best overall for Marriott stays
While these aren’t technically limited-time offers, you can often find elevated welcome offers through the CardMatch tool. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express is currently offering a public welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months but some new customers can earn a 100,000-point or 125,000-point welcome offer after meeting the same minimum spend requirements via the CardMatch tool.
While the American Express Gold® Card offers a public welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months, some new customers can earn a 60,000- or 75,000-point welcome offer after meeting the same minimum spend requirements via the tool. Please note: These elevated offers are targeted and subject to change at any time.
Current welcome offer: 130,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Bonus offer value*: $780
Annual fee: $95 (see rates and fees)
Benefits: The Hilton Surpass is one of the best mid-tier hotel cards available. Its welcome offer is very generous, given its manageably low spending requirement. The ongoing earning rates outrank its competition. The card earns an impressive 12x points per dollar spent at participating Hilton properties (a 7.2% return based on TPG valuations); 6x points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations; and 3x points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. You’ll also get 10 Priority Pass lounge access passes each year, complimentary Hilton Gold elite status and a pathway to earning Diamond status. Additionally, you can earn a weekend night reward redeemable at any Hilton Honors property after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year.
Read our review of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card.
Current welcome offer: 80,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Bonus offer value*: $480
Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)
Benefits: The Hilton Honors Amex features a few notable benefits for a no-fee card. For starters, you’ll earn a respectable 7x points per dollar spent at participating Hilton properties; 5x points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; and 3x points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. You’ll also get automatic Hilton Honors Silver status (with an upgrade to Gold when you spend $20,000 in a calendar year), basic travel and shopping protections and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
Read our review of the Hilton Honors American Express Card.
APPLY HERE: Hilton Honors American Express Card
Current sign-up offer: 140,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Bonus offer value*: $700
Annual fee: $89 (waived for the first year)
Benefits: The IHG Premier’s annual fee can easily be offset by its perks. As a cardholder, you’ll get an annual award-night certificate worth up to 40,000 points, automatic IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status, a fourth-night reward on award stays of four or more nights, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit of up to $100 and no foreign transaction fees. On the earnings side, you’ll 10 points per dollar spent at IHG properties; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.
Read our review of the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
APPLY HERE: IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Current offer: 100,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Bonus offer value*: $500
Annual fee: $0
Benefits: The IHG Traveler earns a solid 5x points at IHG hotels and resorts; 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1x on everything else. Like the IHG Premier, this card offers a fourth reward night on award stays of four or more nights. It also provides a 20% bonus whenever you buy IHG points and a pathway to Gold elite status.
Read our review of the IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.
APPLY HERE: IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
Current offer: Earn five free nights after spending $5,000 in the first three months of account opening, valued at the equivalent of up to 250,000 Bonvoy Boundless points.
Bonus offer value*: $2,000
Annual fee: $95
Benefits: While Marriott offers several credit cards issued by both Chase and Amex, the Bonvoy Boundless is the only mid-level personal card you’ll find. It’s also offering the highest sign-up bonus of the lot at the moment. In addition to its five free nights sign-up bonus, you’ll earn automatic Marriott Silver elite status and an anniversary free night certificate worth up to 35,000 points. TPG values Marriott points at 0.8 cents each, meaning 35,000 points are worth $280. However, you only need to redeem your free night for one-third of that value to completely break even on your annual fee! Like most other Marriott cards, the Bonvoy Boundless earns 6x points per dollar on Marriott purchases and 2x everywhere else.
Read our review of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.
APPLY HERE: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
*Bonus offer value based on TPG valuations and not provided by issuers.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors card, please click here.
Additional reporting by Chris Dong.
Featured photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page with limited-time welcome offers to consider each month, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for updates.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.