BonusTracker: Best credit card bonus offers
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In an effort to bounce back to full form in 2021, airlines, hotels and banks are working to entice travelers to come back into the fold and start spending again.
One of the ways they are doing this is through credit cards, and we are consistently seeing some massive credit card bonuses show up. Earning credit card welcome bonuses is the easiest and quickest way to earn free travel, so with bigger than ever bonuses, consumers should seriously consider the potential value their next credit card will provide them.
This page will track the biggest card welcome bonuses currently available and we’ll only display cards with bonuses that are worth $1,000 or more.
We’ll update this resource as soon as we get wind of new bonuses, so make sure to bookmark it and check frequently. You can also subscribe to our newsletter for updates sent directly to your inbox. We’ll even tell you when bonuses are disappearing, so you’ll never miss a deal.
One high-value offer we’re excited to call out is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card welcome bonus, for which you’ll earn a whopping 100,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. These points can be cashed out for $1,000, or they can be redeemed for $1,250 in travel through the Chase Travel Portal. What’s more, they can also be worth $1,700+ when you transfer them to Chase travel partners, as we estimate Chase points value to be 1.7 cents each when redeemed this way. More on this card and its amazing welcome bonus appears below.
Welcome bonuses from credit cards are the fastest and easiest way to earn large sums of points, miles or cash back.
The best travel card bonuses right now
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Current bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card pays out 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Average value: Again, we estimate that Chase points are worth an average of 1.7 cents each toward travel. But if you know the best ways to use Chase points, you can get significantly more value for your points. I consistently get a value of 2+ cents per point, though I’m strategic in how I use them.
Here are some examples of what you can do with the Chase Sapphire Preferred 100,000-point bonus:
- Redeem your points for $1,000 in straight-up cash
- Use your points for $1,250 in dining, groceries, or home improvement store expenses through Chase’s Pay Yourself back program (until Sept. 30, 2021)
- Redeem your points through the Chase Travel Portal for $1,250 in airfare, hotels, rental cars, or cruises
- Transfer 90,000 points to Virgin Atlantic for a round-trip business class flight from the West Coast of the U.S. to Japan on ANA
Read our post on how to use Chase points to see how simple the process is.
Why it’s worth considering: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is touting its best bonus of all time — by far. Would you pay the annual fee of $95 to get an easy $1,000 check from Chase? Hopefully so — and you can double that value if you’re skilled at using Chase points.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
Current bonus: The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card now offers 125,000 bonus points + 1 free night (valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 in the first three months from account opening (total of up to 175,000 bonus points).
Average value: We estimate Marriott points value to be around 0.8 cents on average. That means you should be able to get up to $1,200 from this bonus with relative ease. And you can get much more value if you know the best ways to use Marriott points!
Why it’s worth considering: The bonus is fantastic, and makes this card a no-brainer to at least open for a year and try out. However, the card comes with a $95 annual fee.
There are a few benefits that make the card a keeper, as well, like an annual free night certificate for Marriott hotels that cost up to 35,000 points per night. That alone can save you hundreds of dollars each year!
Just be sure to read our Marriott credit card post to learn the application rules. If you’ve had certain Marriott cards before, you might not be eligible.
Current bonus: The Platinum Card® from American Express has just launched one of its best-ever offers. You’ll earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Additionally, you’ll earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Average value: According to our Amex point valuations, 75,000 Membership Rewards are worth $1,350 when redeemed for travel via Amex’s transfer partners. That is amazing value in itself. However, if you can max out the 10x bonus categories, you could end up with a total of 225,000 points. You’ll make out like a bandit with this deal — those points average out to a value of $4,050!
Why it’s worth considering: With this new deal, you can potentially earn way more points than the targeted 100,000 point offer or the prequalified 125,000 point offers that are occasionally floating around (offers subject to change at anytime). And even if you don’t max out the 10x points categories, even just spending half of the cap would get you another 75,000 points!
The card offers up to $200 in annual U.S. Uber cash ($10 monthly), up to $200 in annual airline incidental fees and up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue annual credit (enrollment required). Finally, you’ll also earn a hotel elite status with Marriott and Hilton and the best airport lounge access in the world if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express. Enrollment required for select benefits.
- Read the review of the Amex Platinum card and see if the perks are worth the $695 annual fee (see rates & fees)
- Best ways to use Amex points
- Apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Note that there are targeted offers for the Amex Platinum that may offer a higher bonus (including via Resy and Amex’s pre-qualified offers), so it may be worth searching for one of those.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Current bonus: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express currently offers 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. That’s no small spending requirement, but many small businesses will have no trouble meeting that threshold. If you don’t think you can hit it, read our post on all the ways to meet credit card minimum spending requirements. That is tens of thousands more points than the average offer!
Average value: After you meet your spending, you’ll have a total of at least 135,000 Amex points. We estimate Amex points to be worth around 1.8 cents each, on average. So 135,000 points should easily net you $2,430 in travel. You can read our post on the best ways to use Amex points to learn how to get several thousand more dollars in value, however.
For example, you can transfer your points to Air Canada and fly to Europe in lie-flat business class for just 60,000 points each way. You’ll have nearly enough points for a round-trip business class ticket with this bonus! Or, for that same amount of points, you could transfer to Virgin Atlantic and fly round-trip from the East Coast to Japan in first class. That ticket can cost $17,000+ in cash.
Why it’s worth considering: American Express has this wonky rule: You’re only allowed to earn the welcome bonus on each card once per lifetime. For this reason, it’s important to open Amex cards when they have unusually high bonuses — you’ve only got one shot, after all!
The Amex Business Platinum has offered 100,000 points in the past — but we’ve never seen a public offer higher than this. We recommend opening the card when it offers six figures.
The card also has a ton of great features, including hundreds of dollars in annual statement credits and comprehensive airport lounge access.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Current bonus: This card gives you 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Average value: As already mentioned, Chase points are worth around 1.7 cents each toward travel, by our estimations. And they can be worth in the range of 2+ cents if you transfer them to participating travel partners.
Why it’s worth considering: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® bonus has previously reached as high as 100,000 points when the card was first introduced in 2016. The current offer is only 60,000 points, though that’s still 10,000 points higher than the regular offer (or $170 more valuable, based on our points valuations).
- Read the review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Compare all Chase credit cards to see which one is right for you
- Apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or a Chase Sapphire Reserve® with an elevated bonus
Amex Marriott cards
Current bonus: When you open the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, you’ll earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card comes with a 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made within the first three months of card membership.
Average value: We estimate that the average Marriott points value is around 0.8 cents each. That means, depending on which card you open, you should have no problem receiving a $600 value from the points alone. And you can get significantly more than that if you know the best ways to use Marriott points! Plus you’ll earn up to $150 or up to $200 in statement credits.
Why it’s worth considering: Let’s first note the annual fees for these two cards:
- Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant – $450 (see rates and fees)
- Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business – $125 (see rates and fees)
Right off the bat, the up to $150 statement credit offered by the Marriott Bonvoy Business more than negates the $125 annual fee (see rates and fees). It’s like American Express paying you $25 to try the card out for a year and take 75,000 bonus points. This is an absolute no-brainer. I have this card myself, and find that it also tends to provide many valuable Amex Offers that my other Amex cards don’t have.
As for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, your introductory up to $200 statement credit on eligible U.S. restaurant purchases effectively lowers your first annual fee from $450 to $250 (see rates and fees). But also note that the card comes with up to $300 in annual statement credit towards eligible Marriott purchases (including room rates) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. Factor these two credits in, and you’re already $50 ahead. You’re getting $1,000 in points — not to mention all the other great card perks, like an annual 50,000-point free night certificate, and Priority Pass airport lounge membership. Enrollment required for select benefits.
And don’t forget: holding both a personal Marriott card and a small business Marriott card is the key to easy Marriott elite status. Both card types offer 15 elite night credits annually — so if you’ve got one of each, you’ll start each year with 30 elite nights! Just 20 nights to go before you earn the extremely valuable Marriott Platinum status. Check out this post for more details. Enrollment reqired.
United Business Card
Current bonus: United co-branded cards all have increased welcome bonuses, the largest of which is offered by the United Business Card. When opening up a new United Business Card, you’ll earn up to 150,000 bonus miles: 75,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open and an additional 75,000 miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first 6 months.
Average value: We value United miles at 1.3 cents apiece — meaning 150,000 miles is worth $1,950. While that is on the lower end of our points’ valuations, if you know how to best use United miles, you can easily get 3+ cents per mile. Great redemptions include United Polaris business class flights from the U.S. to Europe for 60,000 miles one-way. You can also take advantage of the fantastic United Excursionist Perk, which allows you to add on a one-way flight to a round-trip itinerary for no additional miles.
Why it’s worth considering: Apart from the large welcome bonus, the United Business Card has some pretty solid perks for anyone who flies United. You’ll get your first checked bag free on the carrier, 5,000 United miles every year after your account anniversary (a value of $65) and access to hidden United award space — and these are just a few of the perks! Qualifying for a business card is also easier than you might think — make sure to read our guide on how to apply for Chase business cards.
- Read the review of the United Business Card
- Best ways to use United miles
- Apply for United Business Card
American Express® Business Gold Card
Current bonus: After applying for the American Express® Business Gold Card, you’ll earn a whopping 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first three months of card membership.
Average value: We peg Amex points to a 1.8 cent valuation, meaning 70,000 points are worth $1,260 on average when redeemed for travel. However, it’s possible to get even more value than that if you transfer to the right partners and book luxury hotels or first-class flights.
Why it’s worth considering: This is one of the largest welcome bonuses we’ve ever seen for the American Express® Business Gold Card. So if you’ve been eyeing it, now is a prime opportunity to apply. The Business Gold card can also be incredible for points-earning in the long term since it earns 4x Amex points on the two categories where you spend the most each month from a list of eligible categories (capped at the first $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then one point per dollar) (terms apply). What makes it even better is that you don’t have to change the bonus category every month — the 4x earning is automatically applied to whichever categories you spend the most in. The card has a $295 annual fee (see rates & fees).
- Read the review of the Amex Business Gold card
- Best ways to use Amex points
- Apply for American Express® Business Gold Card
Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited
Current bonus: Both the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card are offering a welcome bonus where you can earn $750 (or 75,000 Chase points) after spending $7,500 in the first three months of account opening.
Average value: While both these cards technically offer a bonus of $750 in cash back, you can still earn Ultimate Rewards points if you also hold a Chase credit that earns Ultimate Rewards. You can combine the points earned from the Ink cards and make them more valuable when redeemed for travel with Chase’s awesome transfer partners, or you can cover grocery, dining and home improvement purchases through Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program at a great rate. If you do transfer them to partners like United or Hyatt, we estimate 75,000 Chase points to be worth $1,275 of travel based on our valuations.
Why it’s worth considering: This is the highest public offer we’ve ever seen for either card. But what’s really amazing about this deal is that neither has an annual fee. Essentially, if you can meet the minimum spend, Chase will cut you a $750 check (or more if you use your points right). Also, it may be easier to qualify for a small business card than you think — so don’t write this one off just because you only have personal credit cards.
- Read the reviews of the Ink Business Cash and review of the Ink Business Unlimited
- Best ways to use Chase points
- Make sure you’re under the Chase 5/24 rule before applying
- Apply for the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
American Express® Gold Card
Current bonus: The American Express® Gold Card is offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first six months of the card membership.
Average value: We value Amex points at 1.8 cents each — meaning the 60,000 bonus points are worth close to $1,100. Amex has some of the best (and most unique) airline transfer partners, like ANA, Delta, Aeroplan, Etihad and more. If you like luxury travel, Amex points are for you. You can transfer 88,000 points to ANA and book round-trip business class to Europe on a Star Alliance carrier like United or Lufthansa.
Why it’s worth considering: This is the largest bonus we’ve ever seen for this card and still comes with a very reasonable minimum spend requirement, so it makes sense to hop on this deal now. It’s also one of the best cards for ongoing spend and is top of wallet for many MMS staffers, since it offers an industry-leading 4x points on restaurant purchases and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x point). You’ll also enjoy $10 a month in dining credits (towards services like Gruhub, participating Shake Shacks and more) (up to $120 annually). The card has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees). Enrollment required for select benefits.
Our methodology on how we choose the best bonuses
The value of the bonus itself
Even though not all points are created equal, the number of points you earn from each bonus is still important. Sometimes the value of the bonus itself can offset the cost of the annual fee for a decade. So if the bonus was big enough and the points valuable enough, it made this list.
Flexibility of rewards
The more flexibility you have when redeeming your points, the more valuable they are. That’s why we mostly listed cards with transferrable points since having more options is always better. For instance, if you have Amex points and want to fly to Europe, you can transfer to a number of partners, each of which is in a different airline alliance, meaning you’re not boxed into flying a few airlines. It also allows you to take advantage of different sweet spots in each airline’s award chart, therefore getting the lowest possible price for your flight.
Ease of earning a welcome bonus
Most credit card bonuses have reasonable minimum spending requirements, although occasionally they can be quite high. Basically, the lower amount of spend required to earn a bonus, the better. It can be hard to organically meet a high spending requirement for those who don’t run a business or have a huge purchase coming up.
Additionally, when a card’s spending requirement is lower, you’ll be able to more quickly shift your spending back to a different card that’s more rewarding for everyday spend once you’ve hit the bonus requirements. If your card does have a high minimum spend requirement, here are some creative ways to help you get there faster.
Ways to meet the spending requirement
First and foremost, the only way to make a credit card’s sign-up bonus worth your while is if you’re able to pay off the card’s balance in full every month. This way, you’ll avoid the interest charges that come when you carry a balance. The bottom line is to be sure you choose a card that offers a welcome bonus you can meet while still paying off the entire balance every billing cycle.
Once you have your shiny new card in hand, here are some purchase suggestions to help you meet the bonus’ spending requirement:
Groceries and gas: Just about all of us visit the grocery store at least once a week and fill up the gas tank several times per month. These are the types of purchases you’re almost guaranteed to make regularly. Why not use the new card and let these necessities count toward the bonus?
Dining out: Whether you order pizza every Friday night, go out for barbecue every Saturday night, or grab some quick takeout on busy weeknights, restaurant purchases can be another simple way to help you achieve your bonus. Also, don’t forget to reach for this card for special occasions like a birthday or anniversary dinner.
Standard monthly expenses: If you already pay your monthly auto or homeowner’s insurance on a credit card, consider switching those charges to this new card, at least for the time being. The same could apply to other monthly expenses like gym memberships and streaming services.
Travel: As a travel-related site, we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you that this is another great way to help meet a credit card’s spending requirement. If you’ve been planning to take a trip, this might be a good time to book it, using your new card to reserve flights, rental cars, and hotel stays, as well as purchase theme park or museum tickets, and so on.
For more ideas and inspiration, check out our post on 40 ways to meet a credit card’s minimum spending requirement.
Before applying, consider what cards may complement your travel style the most and your eligibility for the bonus. That being said, these credit card bonuses are among the biggest that have ever been offered, meaning it’s hard to go wrong with any of them.
For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.
For airline co-branded cards, you can use their miles for big value on a multitude of partners (other than Southwest, but they don’t have blackout dates).
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business, click here
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, click here
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold card, click here
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here
Featured image by Patrick Foto / Getty Images.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)