Why right now may be the best time to sign up for a mid-tier card

Nov 6, 2020

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Credit card offers come and go — that’s just the nature of the beast. But right now is one of the best times to take advantage of some stellar offers.

You may feel discouraged from applying for a card because of the ongoing, persistent effects of the pandemic. However, it’s a rare window of time where a new card — especially a mid-tier one with solid, everyday benefits — may actually make a whole lot of sense.

The three cards in question are the $95-annual-fee Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the $250-annual-fee American Express® Gold Card (see rates and fees) and the $95-annual-fee Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

All three of these cards have notable perks that are relevant to the COVID-19 era, incredible (but limited-time) sign-up bonuses and earn transferable travel points that you can use now — or well into the future. Let’s take a closer look.

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In This Post

Highest-ever bonuses

All three of these cards have some of the highest welcome bonuses ever offered after meeting minimum spend requirements — 60,000 points with the Amex Gold, 80,000 points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and up to 100,000 miles with the Capital One Venture.

Amex Gold: 60,000 points worth $1,200*

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

The Amex Gold card is currently offering one of its highest welcome offers ever of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of account opening. Based on TPG’s latest valuations, that bonus is worth $1,200.

However, it may be possible to get an amazing 75,000-point welcome offer after meeting minimum spend requirements via the CardMatch Tool (offer subject to change at any time).

The Amex Gold earns 4x points on dining at restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x at U.S. supermarkets), two categories that are key drivers of spending during the pandemic. Additionally, you’ll get up to $120 in annual dining credits (such as with Seamless and Grubhub) and new for 2021, up to $120 in annual Uber Cash  which can be used for Uber rides and UberEats orders. If you’re into food, this card is for you.

Chase Sapphire Preferred: 80,000 points worth $1,600*

Let’s talk about the sign-up bonus that is arguably the most exciting (and also ending on Nov. 8, 2020). The TPG Award-winning Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering a lucrative sign-up bonus of 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Based on TPG’s valuations, 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth a whopping $1,600. Any time you can get more than $1,000 in value from a single credit card, it’s an easy win. There are many, many ways to use 80,000 points for travel, Pay Yourself Back for a statement credit and more.

Capital One Venture: Up to 100,000 miles worth up to $1,400*

New Venture Rewards cardholders can now earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months of account opening. Alternatively, you can still receive the ongoing bonus of 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening if spending $20,000 on the card happens to be a bit much for your situation.

According to TPG valuations, the full 100,000-mile bonus is worth a generous $1,400, easily making it onto our list of best credit card offers.

*Based on TPG valuations and not from the card issuer

Relevant, limited-time non-travel benefits

Besides some hefty welcome bonuses, each of these three cards has unique benefits that cater to the strange pandemic-era that we live in.

Amex Gold: Various credits and 4x on dining and groceries

As mentioned, the Amex Gold has been ideal for food purchases during the pandemic with its 4x bonus on dining at restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).

Additionally, if you apply for the Amex Gold before the end of 2020, you could earn up to $440 in credits through the end of 2021. Keep in mind this is a card with a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Here’s how that breaks down:

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Pay Yourself Back, grocery bonus and Peloton credit

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

If you don’t want to use your points towards travel during the pandemic, Chase now has a somewhat-competitive option called Pay Yourself Back.

From now through April 30, 2021, Chase Sapphire Preferred customers can redeem Ultimate Rewards at 1.25 cents each to offset purchases made at grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments, including take-out and delivery services. That’s not as good as TPG’s 2-cent valuation of an Ultimate Reward point, but it’s still a compelling option should you decide not to use your points toward travel.

Additionally, you’ll now also earn 2x on groceries, up to $1,000 in monthly purchases — on top of everything else the card offers. This new bonus category started on Nov. 1, 2020, and goes through April 30, 2021.

Finally, if you’re working out from home — and are a fan of Peloton — you’ll be pleased to know that you can now receive up to $60 in statement credits toward Peloton Digital or All-Access memberships through Dec. 31, 2021.

Capital One Venture: 5x on Uber Eats and new redemption options

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)

Capital One Venture cardholders will now earn 5x miles on Uber Eats purchases through the end of January 2021. Also, Capital One announced new ways to redeem your miles on takeout, delivery and streaming services through Dec. 31, 2020.

This benefit is an extension of the option to cover travel purchases using your miles at a fixed value. You’ll use your Capital One Venture to redeem with a redemption rate of 1 cent per point.

Keep in mind that the most lucrative use of your Capital One miles will continue to be transferring to its hotel and airline partners. However, if you are hoping to save money in the short-term on things such as food delivery and streaming services, using miles to “pay” for past purchases isn’t the absolute worst option.

Of course, with the Venture, you’ll also earn 2x miles per dollar on virtually everything you buy.

Related: Capital One Venture review

Bottom line

Whether you are traveling now or not, these elevated card offers are great opportunities to score points and miles for a plethora of use cases.

The perks that come with each of these three cards also may come in handy during a period of slower travel. However, in all of these cases — especially the Chase Sapphire Preferred which ends on Nov. 8 — the bonus won’t last long.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

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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