The credit cards tied to a travel program, like an airline or a hotel, offer the best bonuses.
They all work the same – new cardholders can earn hundreds of dollars in cashback or reward points if they spend a specified amount, usually a few thousand dollars, within the first few months – most often 90 days. The cards set it up this way because they are trying to entice you to make their new card your “everyday credit card.”
There's no catch, credit cards are just very lucrative and very competitive. I've compiled some the richest bonuses available for your earning pleasure. 🙂
Table of Contents
- Best Promotions:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – $500 Cash or $750 in travel
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – $500 Cash or $625 Travel Rewards
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card – 50,000 Rapid Reward Points
- Chase Freedom Unlimited – $150
- Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express – 25,000 Starpoints
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card||50,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||$150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months|
|Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express||25,000 bonus Starpoints after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months|
Chase Sapphire Reserve – $500 Cash or $750 in travel
The current king of the hill, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card will give you 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. That's $500 cashback or $750 on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
There's a hefty $450 annual fee but you also get $300 in annual travel credit plus reimbursement of Global Entry or TSA Pre ✓® Fees, complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select, and access to their concierge team. You also get 3X points on travel and dining worldwide.
(there was once a 100,000 point offer but that expires in march 2017)
Chase Sapphire Preferred – $500 Cash or $625 Travel Rewards
Until the Chase Sapphire Reserve, THIS card was the richest of the promotions! The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will give you 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's valued at $500 cash or $625 in travel if you redeem those points through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
You can also transfer those points on a 1:1 ratio to 10 other travel reward programs including United Airlines MileagePlus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Marriott Rewards, Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Rewards Club, and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
Using the card will reward you with 2X points on travel, 2X points on dining worldwide, and 1 point per each $1 spent. It was named the “Best Credit Card” for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine. The card has a $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then it's $95.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card – 50,000 Rapid Reward Points
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card is a great travel rewards card if you fly Southwest. You can earn 50,000 points after just $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months your account is opened.
Valued at 1.66 cents per point, 50,000 points is worth approximately $830 in airfare. If you're able to get Companion Pass, by earning another 60,000 points that year, the benefits could be worth far more than $830 depending on how much flying you do.
Chase Freedom Unlimited – $150
The Chase Freedom unlimited card is a no annual fee cash back card that'll give you $150 bonus after you spend just $500 on purchases in your first 3 months. Easily the best bonus to purchase requirement ratio out there (most require spends in the thousands).
You also get 1.5% cash back on every single purchase. It's not points, it's cash and it's 1.5% standard across all merchants. If you're in the market for a balance transfer, they have a 0% introductory APR for 15 months from account opening (on purchases too) with a 5% balance transfer fee.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express – 25,000 Starpoints
The Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express will give you 25,000 Starpoints after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. You will earn 4-5 points at SPG resorts per dollar spent and 1 point everywhere else.
There are some nice travel perks too. When you stay at Starwood resorts, you'll get free in-room premium internet service. You'll also get complimentary unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices. There is also a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.