Best Current Credit Card Signup Bonuses

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by gleff, Feb 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Credit card offers are often the single most lucrative way to rack up large amounts of miles very quickly. The credit card issuers are in a fierce battle for premium customers, and give very generous signup bonuses.

    Now, a couple of quick words about your credit. You're going to need a reasonable credit score to get premium cards. And you do need to think about your credit score, ingy often says 'your credit is one of your most important assets.'

    So it's worth understanding how credit card signups affect your credit
    * Each consumer-initiated request for credit will slightly ding your score, for a limited period of time. It may be a 2-4 point hit to your score in most cases, though this varies. The credit bureaus think that if you're applying for credit, you might well NEED it and you might USE it and this might affect your ability to pay off other creditors.

    * The affect on your credit lasts no more than two years, and is largest the closest in time you are to the applications.

    * Long-term though, more available credit that you do not use helps your score, it pushes down your utilization percentage (if you have more credit that sits unused you show how responsible you are with credit!).

    * There's no real benefit to a perfect score, once you hit 760 FICO or so the incremental benefit to higher scores really just isn't there.

    Still, I don't churn credit cards when I'm about to go for a mortgage. Otherwise I personally don't worry so much. I've been signing up for bonuses for years, and I have really great credit. Of course I also consider cancelling cards before the fee comes due, unless also the card issuer wants to give me a bonus for keeping it!

    Oddly enough I've kept my annual fee United Visa even though I rarely use it. It happens to be the single oldest credit card I have, and that's useful for my credit score. Plus I keep it for nostalgia.

    But I wanted to point out some of the best current credit card offers out there.

    1. American Airlines cards from Citibank. www.travel2.citicards.com has 3 cards on offer. The offer is 75k miles for $4k in spend within 6 months, no fee the first year. Get a personal card and a small business card (sometimes they will come back and ask you to verify business address but not usually, lots of folks call themselves 'their name and associates'). That's 150k miles. Have a spouse or significant other? Have them do it to! Now you each have 150k miles... then consider flying Cathay Pacific first class from North America to South Asia together. :)

    2. Chase is offering 50,000 miles for a new Continental Mastercard. http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/content/products/chase/continental.aspx?&offer=OPP50 You used to be able to get bonuses for Chase cards over and over, like every 60 days, now each card is (usually) once in a lifetime. If you haven't had the Continental card yet, now is a great time to get it. The Continental program is going away, so odds on you aren't giving up a better offer later. And the miles will get folded into Mileage Plus later this year. Register for the Continental Mile-a-thon offer before applying for the card and by February 28 (http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/apps/onepass/promotions/mileathon/login.aspx) and signing up for the card earns credit for that offer and even more bonus points. I actually like the card because holding it means you will earn double miles for online shopping through the Continental mileage mall. I love FTD via the shopping portal, instead of 25 miles per dollar on flowers I've been earning 50 miles per dollar..

    3. The British Airways Visa from Chase offers 50,000 miles at signup, though there's a $75 annual fee not waived. http://www.britishairways.com/travel/creditcards/public/en_us .. the thing to know here is that it's a great offer, of course not as good as the 100,000 mile signup bonus from a year ago. I love BA miles, especially for Cathay Pacific business and first class and for South America business class awards (only 80k from San Francisco to Easter Island on LAN with free stopovers in each direction!). But they do add fuel surcharges to awards, and combined with high UK taxes a premium cabin redemption to London and back can cost you out of pocket US$700 or so per person. The card itself is interesting, no foreign currency transaction fees and 1.25 miles per dollar, plus a free companion award ticket for spending $30k on the card in a year (valid on BA metal only, and both passengers pay the full taxes/fees).

    So, what do I have in MY wallet?

    Starwood American Express, still my go-to card for most spend, even after all these years.

    Diners Club, primarily for renting cars due to the primary collision coverage, I can play adult bumper cars.

    American Express Platinum, for very high volume spend (and I do like my Membership Rewards points for their near-instant transfer ot many mileage programs) plus lounge access.

    Hilton Surpass American Express, because $40k in spend gets me Diamond status and I rack up tons of reimbursable business expense.. plus since I'll put conferences on the card, and Hilton spend earns 9 points per dollar.

    United Visa and Continental Mastercard, as mentioned above.

    I've got other cards too, and business cards for various business entities I help to manage. But these are some of the key every day cards. And of course a card with no foreign currency transaction fees (like the BA Visa or Hyatt Visa) are absolutely key for heavy international travelers....

    So as they say, what's in your wallet???
     
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  2. JohnnieD
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    JohnnieD Silver Member

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    what's in your wallet???
    Just as Gary said, my go to card is the SPG Amex. For merchants that dont take Amex, I am using the Citi AA business card (got bonus @ signup). I just got approved for the Continental card with 50K bonus. As soon as I get the card, i am going to buy some new appliances via the Continental shopping portal for "Twice The Miles" using the card. If I can hit $25K total spending, then a 10K bonus kicks in.[​IMG]
     
  3. Grace
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    Grace Silver Member

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    For me it's all about what do I actually use? I redeem Hilton points more than anything besides cash so I have:
    • Hilton AMEX Surpass (edited)
    • Costco AMEX since it's not bad for a cash back card and I'm a costco member anyway: 3% gas, 2% travel, 1% elsewhere
    • Citi Professional: 5% back from Avis, primary rental coverage
    • Citi Premier Pass (converting into Citi Hilton because I like Hilton points)
    Right now issuers are looking at balances more than ever before and it's hard to get instant approval for me. I have a FICO of over 780, but since I put all my business expenses on personal cards and I only make mid-5 figures they see my debt-to-income as a liability and I keep getting declined. I also stupidly did a BT for DH so that doesn't help my balances.
     
  4. krusty
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    krusty Silver Member

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    Thank you gleff.

    Important to add:
    1. Per ingy, do not play this game if you have trouble: a) paying off your balances completely & timely, or b) staying organized about promotional spending requirements & when annual fees come due.
    2. Do not close your oldest accounts. Their open dates benefit your credit rating.
    In my wallet:
    1. Starwood Amex: Double-dipped on a 30k points for $1k spend in 3mo (1personal, 1business). For some reason, they added 10k bonus points on top.
    2. AA Citi Visa and Amex: For each, 75k points for $1.5k spend in 6mo.
    3. Formerly Schwab Visa now FIA (BofA): 2% cash back. No foreign transaction fee.
    4. Formerly MBNA Quantum now BofA: This card is my oldest, back to the 80's.
    Considering next:
    1. CO Chase MC, as above.
    2. Priority Club Chase Visa: 60k (80k if you're targeted) points for first spend, 1 free night certificate per anniversary, 10% rebate on reward redemptions, no annual fee first year, and no foreign transaction fee.
    A tip, albeit with partial speculation:
    • I applied for my 2 AA Citi's on the same day, which should have reduced the number of credit pulls to 1 (same issuer). I plan on doing the same with the 2 Chase cards above.
    Happy hunting!
     
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  5. [quote="gleff, post: 2388"
    1. American Airlines cards from Citibank. www.travel2.citicards.com has 3 cards on offer. The offer is 75k miles for $4k in spend within 6 months, no fee the first year. Get a personal card and a small business card (sometimes they will come back and ask you to verify business address but not usually, lots of folks call themselves 'their name and associates'). That's 150k miles. Have a spouse or significant other? Have them do it to! Now you each have 150k miles... then consider flying Cathay Pacific first class from North America to South Asia together. :)
    [/quote]

    The 100k miles for $10k spend still works, even though it technically expired October 31, 2010. My friend signed up for it about 10 days ago and verified the terms after approval.

    My experience so far with Citibank credit card offers is that if the link still works to submit your application, then the terms of the offer will be honored. That said, this 100k mile deal doesn't have an offer page to look at, and so you have to go on a bit of faith in terms of this deal actually working.

    Here are the links and details to the 100k mile offer:

    50k/100k, Visa
    50k/100k, Visa Business
    50k/100k, Amex

    For this 100k card, there is no offer page showing promo details.

    As a cardmember, you’ll benefit from:
    • 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $750 in purchases within the first 4 months of cardmembership
    • 50,000 additional American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $10000 in purchases within 1 yr of cardmembership
    • $85 annual fee ($75 for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Visa® card) waived for the first 12 months of cardmembership*
    •offer expires Oct 31, 2010​
     
  6. sagefemme52
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    sagefemme52 Silver Member

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    "A tip, albeit with partial speculation:
    • I applied for my 2 AA Citi's on the same day, which should have reduced the number of credit pulls to 1 (same issuer). I plan on doing the same with the 2 Chase cards above.
    Happy hunting!"

    Krusty, Let us know how that works (or doesn't)
     
  7. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    I applied for both at the same time, i don't recall if I had two pulls or not though (as I had applied for soo many other cards at the same time it was difficult to differentiate what was what pulling).
     
  8. neil
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    neil Silver Member

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    A couple of other suggestions and things I've picked up from years of doing this:
    1. Don't randomly close accounts. Having more open accounts is good for utilization (which is probably obvious,) but perhaps even more important and less obvious is that closing an account can be a good bargaining chip when you're declined for a card you want. You can ask, "If I close X, will you approve me for Y?" Of course, if you're coming upon the annual fee, cancel and/or try for a retention bonus.
    2. "Your credit is one of your most important assets." -ingy. This is very true, but don't get it confused. Playing the game isn't going to kill your credit. Missing payments will. Not meeting promo requirements and paying annual fees without reaping benefits will kill all of these deals.
    3. Creditkarma.com is a decent site to monitor the direction in which your credit's going as you sign up for these bonuses.
    4. Make a yearly credit report review part of your routine. Do it with your taxes.
    5. Use spreadsheets to keep track of your cards.
    In my wallet: AMEX SPG, Schwab 2%, and whatever card I'm trying to fulfill spend requirement on.

    I'll be be doing another "Travel App-o-Rama" soon and will report my results in the forum.
     
  9. straitman
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    straitman Silver Member

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    I have to assume from the lack of information to the contrary that the majority (or all) of you are referring to CCs from the USA.

    The situation varies dramatically from country to country. In Australia we do not have access to the various Hilton, SPG and AA type cards but there are a bunch of others that compensate.

    ie The Amex Platinum card currently has a 75,000 point sign up bonus. The obvious question though is what do current card holders get other than mud in the face?

    Another good one was Qantas tied up with the Woolworths supermarket chain for a low cost card that is 1 point per $1 spend and a 16,000 point signup bonus. This has a direct sweep to Qantas but also includes free QFF membership which normally has a joining fee of $82.50.

    Like everywhere else these promos come and go.
     
  10. noam
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    noam Silver Member

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    In my wallet:
    1. Starwood Amex
    2. AA Citi Visa and Amex: 100k promo on each
    3. Formerly Schwab Visa now FIA (BofA): 2% cash back. No foreign transaction fee.
    I'm using the AA cards right now until I hit $10k on each of them for the promo. Normally the Starwood is my go to card, unless I'm somewhere that doesn't take Amex.

    **EDITED TO ADD BELOW**

    4. AMEX Platinum, only when I'm traveling so I can get into the AA lounges.
     
  11. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    In my wallet:

    1. AMEX Platinum.
    2. AA Citi MC from 50k promo (I signed up early :(.
    3. BOA WorldPoints Visa (Xfers 1-1 to Aeroplan with no fee and online (but not instant) transfer).
    4. Visa Schwab Platinum ATM/Check Card. (No foreign transaction fees, ATM fees refunded worldwide - even had a $50 atm fee refunded once).

    And of course an ID. That's it. I hate carrying around a stack of crap in my wallet.
     
  12. xp0
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    xp0 Silver Member

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    In my wallet

    1. Amex SPG
    2. Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass
    3. Chase Continental OnePass Mastercard for those that do not take AMEX.

    Right now I am using my HHonors so I can get to 40k spend and match Diamond/Platinum status. Otherwise, its basically SPG for all.
     
  13. k2o
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    k2o Silver Member

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    Visa FlexPerks
    Am Ex Gold Premier (rec'd 50k MR on Biz and 25 MR on Pers)
    Chase BA for int'l travel as it has no foreign ex fees
    Citi AA for when MC is required such as Sams club

    I know I'm going against the grain here and not listing SPG. It's been my 'go to' card for the 3 yrs.I've been playing this game...however I'm on a tight budget and like using the MR and Flex pts to pay for a bis tickets. I've had terrible luck with bumps (I had 30+ segments without a bump, and yes I was the first vol. in line many, many times) so having accounts to pay for the tickets is working for me right now.
     
  14. MrPiggy
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    MrPiggy Active Member

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  15. 1. SPG for everyday spend
    2. Hilton Surpass for Hilton Diamond for gas and groceries at 6 points per $
    3. United Mileage Plus when they won't take Amex
     
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  16. My wallet consists of (in order of usage right now)
    1. Citi Visa (75k offer)
    2. Citi AmEx (75k offer)
    3. Travelocity AmEx (Grandfathered into 2x points for each purchase)
    4. SPG AmEx
    5. Continental Debit Card

    Fo Sho.
     
  17. Fireball
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    Fireball Active Member

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    The Asiana (through BofA) sign-up bonus is only 5k, but the Amex gives one 2 miles/$ spent and redemption rates/rules are quite friendly. If you actually spend a lot, this card has one of the higher returns out there (and has replaced the SPG Amex in my wallet).
     
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  18. Colonel(ret.)wes

    Colonel(ret.)wes Active Member

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    Wallet; SPG personal, Penfed Visa (only for Gas get 5% cash back), AMX-P (when flying,cruising)
    Wife's; Delta Gold skypesos AMX(50K miles for 3K spend), SPG personal
    Sock drawer; SPG Biz, Zinc, Delta Gold Skymiles, AMX biz Gold Rwds, just put 75K Citi Visa in after earning 75K after $4k spend, Hyatt Visa (thanx to Ingy for this onegood for 2 free nights in any Hyatt property in 2011) 4 other Citi AA cards, Cap One visa, chase visa x2,United Chase Visa, Chase Sapphire Visa
     
  19. syphlix
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    syphlix Silver Member

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    how do you verify the bonus terms? do you just call the number on the back of the card when you call to activate it and ask them if your promotion is good?



    btw the forum is buggy if you try and quote a post that already had a quote... it won't quote the whole thing just part of it bc of the quote tags
     
  20. nellie
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    nellie Silver Member

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    Applied for the United Visa Signature 30k promo last week and got approved. I spend the $250 required and I'm hoping my miles post soon!
     
  21. Surface Interval
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    Surface Interval Silver Member

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    I was new to this concept about one year ago - back in the FT days :D
    Last year was busy with me and the Mrs racking up just over 1M CC miles - that is, if you count the spend needed to make the bonus; mostly with nice new gold colored coins - but that is another thread. Either way, an awful lot more miles were obtained than we would have done without that resource.
    All a bit of a blur, Chase 40k CO, 100k BA + a pair of 2-4-1's, and 50k UA; AMEX 50k gold (per and biz), SPG (per and biz) and DL, Citi AA 100k Visa (per and biz), and 100k Amex; and a couple of Chase Checking accounts (CO debit). Some of them we both got, others only one of us. There were only two rejections all year - one was reversed with a phone call. As all of the easy pick'n is over, I've got to settle in a make more careful choices. Perhaps I'll try a bit of recycling as I've recently dumped a couple that are getting close to fee time.

    I look forward to contributing to this new community!
     
  22. Saracen
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    Saracen Silver Member

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    Those of you based in the US of A sure are lucky with all these offers floating about!
     
  23. amejr999
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    amejr999 Silver Member

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    I generally use the FIA Fidelity card. It's a flat 2% (mostly) cash which works pretty well for me.
     
  24. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    Wish I could get that card.
     
  25. amejr999
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    amejr999 Silver Member

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    joesmoe likes this.

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