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Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Million Mile Secrets reader Victoria writes:
I haven’t seen an article about cards with good sign-up bonuses in a while and it seems like you used to mention 1 almost every blog. Is it because there aren’t any right now or have you just changed your focus?
I’m finally able to sign-up and meet the spending requirements and always appreciate your insight.
Credit card sign-up bonuses are a quick way to earn lots of miles and points. And there are lots of great credit card offers right now!
I’ll tell you about my current favorite card offers!
What You Should Know Before Applying for Credit Cards
The fastest way to earn miles and points for Big Travel with Small Money is from credit card sign-up bonuses and spending. But there are some things Victoria should know before she gets started:
- Read the 5 Dangers of Applying for Credit Cards – The hobby isn’t for everyone, so make sure you know the risks.
- Start Out Slow – I recommend folks who are new to this sign-up for 1 or 2 cards, until they’re comfortable. This will give you time to see how your credit is impacted and if you’re able to pay your bills on time.
- Have a Plan Before You Start Applying for Cards – Some folks sign-up for multiple cards each quarter and others prefer to wait for the big sign-up bonuses.
- Set Your Travel Goals – Where and how do you want to travel? Then figure out which miles or points will get you there. Otherwise, you may wind up with points that aren’t useful to you.
- Make Sure You Can Meet Minimum Spending Requirements – See my post on 40+ Ways to Meet Minimum Spending for tips.
Best New Credit Card Offers
Citi is making some great changes lately. They’ve improved the offers for 3 of their cards, making them all terrific deals!
Here’s a look at what Victoria can get with these cards.
1. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve
The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve is my favorite Hilton hotel card. That’s because you get 2 weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) at almost any Hilton hotel when you spend $2,500 on purchases within the 1st 4 months of opening your account.
And now this card is even better, because you’ll get $100 statement credit after you spend $100 or more on your 1st stay at a Hilton Hotel within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
The $95 annual fee is NOT waived the 1st year, but the 2 weekend nights and $100 statement credit more than make up for it.
2. Citi Prestige
Link: Citi Prestige
The sign-up bonus for the Citi Prestige has increased by 20,000 points. You can now earn 50,000 Citi ThankYou points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account. (EXPIRED.)
What I like about this card, is you can redeem your 50,000 Citi ThankYou points for up to $800 in flights on American Airlines (no blackout dates) through July 23, 2017! And you’ll earn frequent flyer miles!
This card has a high annual fee of $450.
However, you’ll get a $250 airline statement credit (good towards airfare and other airline fees) in 2015 and you can use another $250 airline statement credit (good towards airfare and other airline fees) in early 2016 before your next annual fee is due.
Plus, you’ll get other perks like a $100 credit for your Global Entry application, lounge access, and more!
3. Citi ThankYou Premier
Link: Citi ThankYou Premier
It’s now easier to earn the sign-up bonus with the Citi ThankYou Premier card. You’ll earn 50,000 Citi ThankYou points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account. The $95 annual fee is waived for the 1st year. (EXPIRED.)
It previously took over 1 year to receive the full sign-up bonus with Citi ThankYou Premier.
You can redeem the 50,000 Citi ThankYou points for $625 worth of airfare booked through the Citi Travel Center.
Or you can transfer your points to partners like Virgin Atlantic for award flights to Hawaii or Flying Blue for good deals on award flights to Europe!
The Oldies but Goodies!
These credit card offers have been around for a while. But they’re still great deals!
1. AMEX SimplyCash
Link: AMEX SimplyCash
With the AMEX SimplyCash card, you can earn a $250 statement credit when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 6 months of opening your account. And there’s NO annual fee.
Note: This is a limited time offer that expires January 25, 2016.
What’s great is you earn 5% cash back at US office supply stores (and US cellphone service). And office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot carry gift cards to other retailers (Amazon, Southwest, Lowe’s, etc).
2. Barclaycard Arrival Plus
The 40,000 Arrival miles you earn are worth $420 in statement credits towards travel expenses of $100+. You can use your Arrival miles towards travel expenses that aren’t usually covered by airline miles and hotel points, such as cruises, taxis, ferries, and attractions.
You can also use your Barclaycard Arrival miles to pay for stays outside of major hotel chains, such as bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, and nights booked through Airbnb.
3. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
You can earn 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your Chase Sapphire Preferred account. The $95 annual fee is waived the 1st year.
If I could only have 1 card in my wallet, it would be the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. That’s because you earn 2X points on travel and dining (2 of my favorite things!). And because Chase Ultimate Rewards points give you lots of flexibility.
I prefer to transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to partners like United Airlines and Hyatt.
4. Chase Southwest Cards
Link: Chase Southwest Premier Personal
Link: Chase Southwest Premier Business
Both the Chase Southwest Premier Personal and Business card each have a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points. To get the bonus, spend $2,000 on purchases on each card within the 1st 3 months of opening your account. The $99 annual fee on each card is NOT waived.
If you sign-up for both cards, you’ll earn almost enough points for the Southwest Companion Pass! With the Southwest Companion Pass, a friend or family member can fly with you for close to free for up to 2 years!
And even though Southwest recently changed its award pricing, the Southwest Companion Pass is still an excellent deal!
These are a few of the deals I like, but you can find an updated list of all my favorite cards in the Hot Deals tab.