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Why September is a great time to apply for a new credit card

Sept. 14, 2022
4 min read
Person holding a laptop and credit card
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September is a great month. The summer heat is cooling off, football season is starting again and parents are enjoying some peace and quiet in the house after kids go back to school.

It's also a great time to apply for credit cards. Here's why.

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Why the timing of credit card applications is important

Good reasons to apply for a credit card anytime include earning a big sign-up bonus, pursuing elite status with a hotel or airline and taking advantage of perks like extended warranty protection or even reimbursement for your Global Entry application fee. However, the timing of when you apply for credit cards is also important.

POIKE/GETTY IMAGES

If you have a large purchase coming up, you can easily complete the spending required for a sign-up bonus. You could, for example, pay to remodel your kitchen or cover this semester's tuition for your college student. If you know you have something with a big price tag coming up, then now is a great time to apply for a credit card. Conversely, for people who don't have these large expenses coming up, it can be difficult to know when they will spend enough money to earn a big welcome bonus without overspending or creating debt.

Why you should apply for a new credit card in September

Think about what's coming up within the next three months. Many families will be shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday at the end of November. There's holiday shopping in December. You likely have things to pay for with your child being back in school now, such as after-school activities or clubs. And you may be buying Halloween costumes in the second half of October.

The holidays are just around the corner. GOODPONG/GETTY IMAGES

These upcoming expenses fall into the natural cycle of our lives every year, so you might as well use them to earn a big stash of points and miles. Most bonus offers for new credit card applicants require you to spend a certain amount of money "within three months" or "within 90 days" of opening the account. Once you meet the minimum spending requirement, you can then use those points and miles to travel for free or at a massive discount next year.

A great option to consider is the Citi Premier® Card, which is currently offering its highest-ever welcome bonus. With a low $95 annual fee, you'll earn a big 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Plus, you'll earn 3 points per dollar ongoing on air travel, hotels, gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants (including takeout), which are categories people tend to spend a lot on during the holidays.

Related: How my family of 4 uses points and miles to maximize our travel experiences

Bottom line

There are many reasons why I love the beginning of fall. It may surprise you that I put "great time to apply for a new credit card" on the list of things to like about September, but it's true. You're likely within a window of time where you have a lot of spending coming up for holiday gifts. You could use those to earn a welcome bonus on a new credit card, if you apply now and put those purchases on your new card.

For some inspiration on which cards to apply for, check out:

Featured image by YUGANOV KONSTANTIN/SHUTTERSTOCK
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.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases