7 cards TPG staffers added to our wallets this quarter

Oct 1, 2020

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new card details and information.

Many TPG staffers put their credit card application strategy on hold earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and credit card issuers offering fewer limited-time sign-up bonuses. In fact, only four of us applied for new cards in the second quarter of 2020. But that’s definitely changed in the third quarter, with double that number applying for a total of seven different credit cards.

Issuers have recently come out with new sign-up bonuses and welcome offers that have made it appealing for many TPGers to hit resume on our card strategies. Check out the cards we’ve been adding to our wallets.

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In This Post

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The Capital One Venture has long been an excellent option for cardholders wanting to earn rewards across non-bonus purchases. The card comes with a modest $95 annual fee in exchange for 5x on hotel stays and rental cars booked and paid using the card through Capital One Travel and 2x on all other purchases. Cardholders can also earn 5x on Uber Eats through Jan. 31, 2021, as part of Capital One’s new partnership with the food delivery service. Once you earn those miles, you can redeem at a fixed value for eligible purchases or transfer to one of Capital One’s airline and hotel partners for potentially even more value.

Most notable, though, is the current sign-up bonus. You can now earn up to 100,000 miles with the Capital One Venture by spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months of account opening. Or, you can still earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months of account opening. The bonus is exciting, in part because of the potentially lucrative value you can get (TPG values this bonus at $1,400 not provided by the issuer), but also because of the minimal risk in trying to hit it. Yes, you can potentially get 100,000 in your first year, but if you can’t hit that bonus for whatever reason, you’ll still get 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months (which is pretty standard across mid-tier sign-up bonuses).

Here are the TPGers who added this card to their wallets this quarter:

Wyatt Smith, TPG Photo Editor

The Venture card’s bonus was a deciding factor in applying for this card. Wyatt had been looking for a solid 2x card for some theoretical future travel purchases, and he knew he could hit the $20,000 spending requirement for the current limited-time bonus.

Ariana Arghandewal, TPG Points and Miles Editor

Ariana had her eye on the Venture for a while now, and this current bonus offered the perfect opportunity to finally apply. She’s planning to use the Venture card bonus to cover taxes and hotel bookings.

Related: Read the full Capital One Venture Credit Card review

Chase Freedom Unlimited

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is another credit card that is great for non-bonus spending, especially if you also have a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card. But this card recently got a lineup of new bonus categories that make it an even more compelling offer. Cardholders will now earn 5% back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% on dining and drugstores, and the card’s standard 1.5% across all other purchases. New cardholders can also earn $200 after spending $500 in the first three months, plus 5% on groceries (excluding Walmart and Target) in the first 12 months (up to $12,000 in spending; then 1%).

While this is a cash-back card, keep in mind that you can combine rewards across Chase accounts. This means if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can convert your Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards into full-fledged Ultimate Rewards points. You can then redeem them as a bonus through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or transferred to partners for even more value. Chase also recently expanded its Pay Yourself Back program to include the Chase Freedom cards — including offering a 25% redemption bonus when you use your Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards to cover eligible charitable donations.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Here are the TPGers who added this card to their wallets this quarter:

Madison Blancaflor, TPG Credit Cards Writer

I’m a planner, which means I’d already been planning on applying for the Chase Freedom Unlimited later this year. But after the new sign-up bonus was launched and the new category bonuses were added, I moved up my timeline a little to apply now. I’m going to use the card in conjunction with my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to maximize its value. It will primarily be used for non-bonus purchases, including my monthly charity donations.

Laura Motta, TPG Editorial Director

Like me, Laura has the Chase Sapphire Preferred, so adding the Chase Freedom Unlimited was a strategic move to maximize the Ultimate Rewards program during a time when a lot of her airline cards are less useful. Plus, the current bonus is a nice incentive (especially that 5x on groceries in the first year).

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited: A powerful duo 

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

For those who can apply for a small business credit card, the Marriott Bonvoy Business has a lot to offer regular travelers.  The welcome offer is 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership (worth $800 according to TPG valuations). Earn up to $150 in statement credits within your first 6 months of Card Membership for all eligible purchases on your Card on U.S. Advertising in select Media. Plus receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status for one year (February 1, 2021-January 31, 2022). Offer ends 1/13/21. On top of the welcome offer, you’ll get 6x at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 4x on U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations (10x through Oct. 31, 2020), 4x on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on purchases made from merchants in the U.S. for shipping. On all non-bonus purchases, you’ll get 2x.

But for many, the real value in this card comes from the perks. You’ll get 15 elite-night credits each year to help you hit Marriott Bonvoy elite status, a free night award worth up to 35,000 points annually, and the potential to earn a second free night when you spend $60,000 throughout the year. For a manageable $125 annual fee (see rates and fees), many can get outsized value from this card.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy extending all members’ elite status through February 2022

Here are the TPGers who added this card to their wallets this quarter:

Scott Mayerowitz, Executive News Director

Scott already has the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, but he applied for the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card to get the extra annual 15 elite night credits, along with the added free anniversary night (worth up to 35k points) since you can earn up to 30 elite night credits per year when you have one personal and one business Marriott Bonvoy credit card.

Kate Genter, TPG Points and Miles Writer

This year provided a unique opportunity for Katie to make a push for Marriott Platinum elite status, and part of that strategy included applying for two new Marriott Bonvoy credit cards in 2020 — including the Marriott Bonvoy Business. Like Scott, her primary reasons for applying were the extra elite night credits and additional free night.

Related: Read TPG’s full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex card 

Other credit cards we applied for this quarter

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

United Club Infinite Card – Brian Kelley, The Points Guy

Brian’s on track to hit United Premier 1K this year, and the United Infinite has been on his radar for much of the year. When United brought back the 100,000-mile sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spend requirements, it was a no-brainer for him to apply. This offer is no longer available but the $525 annual fee is now waived for the first year.

Read the full United Club Infinite Card review.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® – Mitchell Stoutin, TPG Director of Engineering

The card has an easy-to-hit sign-up bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $2,500 in the first three months. For Mitchell, the long-term draw of the card was its 2x on gas (along with 2x on eligible American Airlines purchases and at restaurants) and perks such as free checked bags.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Read the full Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select Review.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card – Katie Genter, TPG Points and Miles Writer

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is the other card Katie applied for this quarter on her quest for Bonvoy Platinum elite status. At that time, the Boundless was offering a 100,000-point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spend requirements, which is compelling on its own. But it was the perks that sealed the deal — 15 elite night credits (which means 30 total for Katie) and a free anniversary reward night (worth up to 35,000 points).

Note that the previous offer is no longer available, the card’s new sign-up bonus allows new cardmembers to earn five free nights after spending $5,000 in the first three months from account opening. That’s the equivalent of up to 250,000 Bonvoy Boundless points and can be redeemed for up to 50,000 per night (including up to Category 5 properties, as well as standard redemption for Category 6, and off-peak redemption for Category 7).

Read the full Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Review.

Citi Premier® Card – Ariana Arghandewal, TPG Points and Miles Editor

The Citi Premier® Card does offer a solid sign-up bonus at 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. And the card’s bonus categories were compelling for Ariana. In fact, she’s already put the ThankYou points she earned with the sign-up bonus to good use on a trip to Turkey.

Read the full Citi Premier credit card review.

Bottom line 

Plenty of credit cards have recently announced new changes and limited-time sign-up bonuses. These offers have caused many of us to reevaluate our current earning strategies and apply for new cards as a result. Before you apply for a new credit card, make sure you can take advantage of these sign-up bonus offers — check our guide on application restrictions to be sure you’ll qualify to earn the bonus.

Featured image by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy.

For the rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, please click here

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


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.

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More Things to Know
  • 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.
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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