Why right now is the most rewarding time to apply for a new rewards credit card
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We are at an interesting moment in time. Travel is on the rebound, we can (hopefully) see the light at the other end of the pandemic tunnel and credit card welcome bonuses are hitting all-time highs.
If you are like me and pulled back on applying for new credit cards in 2020 when everything was so uncertain, it may be time to pull your wallet out of hibernation.
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Right now, credit card welcome bonuses are reaching insane heights. In fact, multiple offers are at all-time highs, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. And with so many in the U.S. getting back to leisure travel, the timing for opening a rewards credit card is actually great.
Here are a few reasons why it’s an insanely good time to apply for a new rewards credit card.
For me, there are two prime candidates I’d recommend others apply for right now, both with the highest bonuses we’ve ever seen for these popular cards.
The first is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card that’s offering a bonus of 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Depending on how you use these miles, they are worth $1,020 toward travel (the latter is based on TPG valuations and not the issuer) with just a $95 annual fee. I love having points I can use toward home rentals and other more flexible redemption types, so I know I will put these miles now that I’ve unlocked the full 60,000-mile bonus. But, I can also choose to redeem these miles by transferring to partners if I want.
Then there is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and its new best-ever offer of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This bonus is valued at $2,000 based on TPG valuations if you leverage the 13 hotel and airline partners such as Southwest, United, Hyatt and more.
But — even if you want to keep things super simple and not transfer your Chase points to any partner, you can still book $1,250 in travel via the Chase Travel site with those 100,000 points. This is, by far, my most recommend card to those new to points and miles.
New travel patterns
Not only are credit card welcome bonuses really good right now, but it is a great time to evaluate your current travel patterns. Or rather, think about what your travel patterns are most likely to be in the coming months.
A lot has changed this year in the world of travel while many of us were staying home. For example, multiple airline route networks got a shake-up to some leisure destinations and even to new airports. For example, Southwest Airlines added lots of dots to their route map, including Colorado ski country destinations, which catches my attention.
Other airlines similarly expanded service in some areas while contracting in others. The best airline for your 2021 and 2022 flights may not be the one that was best for you in prior years. Additionally, more airlines moved to fee-free change policies that will outlive the pandemic.
If Delta has become your airline of choice, the line-up of Delta credit cards is currently offering bonuses of up to 60,000 Delta SkyMiles.
I have and love the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card thanks to its annual awarding of a companion airline ticket and current offer of 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
If you expect to stay at Marriott properties in 2021 or 2022, another increased card offer to consider is from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.
This card just introduced a welcome bonus that awards three award nights at properties priced at 50,000 points per night or less when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The current bonus allows you to earn 10 points per dollar on $2,500 in combined purchases at grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations within the first six months from account opening.
While not every Marriott property is available for booking with a 50,000 point per night certificate, you do have your pick of several solid 50k choices.
You can start making plans
It felt impossible to plan for much of 2020. As soon as you thought maybe things were getting better, they’d get worse all over again. And while that is still true to some extent in 2021, the vaccine rollout has really been a gamechanger for life — and travel.
While we all know anything can happen, it’s now possible to make tentative travel plans for the upcoming months and feel more secure that they are likely to happen than was true last year.
And after a lean 2020 travel year, that’s just the beginning of what we have planned for the coming months.
This card currently has a public welcome bonus of 75,000-points after you spend $5,000 in the first six months of card membership. It’s also offering new cardholders a whopping 10x points per dollar spent on eligible purchases made at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets. This bonus applies to up to $15,000 in combined eligible purchases during the first six months of card membership. The card has an annual fee of $550 (see rates and fees).
While not everything is 100% back to normal, it’s now a great time to consider getting a new rewards credit card — especially if you’ve laid low on applying for new cards this year. While we were busy waiting, the welcome bonuses have shot up to some truly historical levels.
And, with the summer travel here, you may be able to line up some solid uses of those points, miles and perks whether you are booking a cabin nearby on the river or getting back up in the sky once again.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
Featured image by author
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees