Thinking of giving yourself a Christmas gift? Few treats are better than a large pile of points or miles. Fortunately, credit card bonuses continue to spiral upward, which is a boon for consumers with a good credit score. Here are some of the top offers to consider first:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
We can’t say it often enough: transferable points are the most valuable currency to have. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents when redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal, and they can be worth more if you pick your redemption carefully. The Sapphire Preferred comes with a bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first three months after account opening. This is actually a better bonus than the high-end Sapphire Reserve card for only a $95 annual fee, and your points transfer to 10 airline partners and three hotel programs.
Chase Ink Business Preferred
Speaking of Ultimate Rewards points: the bonus here is 80,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first three months. After that, you earn three points per dollar on travel (airlines, hotels, cruises, rental cars, and even tolls and Uber), and three points per dollar on both shipping and advertising on social media and search engines. The bonus alone can be enough for a roundtrip ticket to Europe in business class. The annual fee is $95.
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard
If you collect American Airlines miles, this is an unbeatable offer from Barclays: 60,000 AA miles and a companion certificate after your first purchase and paying the card’s $99 annual fee within the first three months. Remember that both Barclays and Citibank issue AAdvantage cards, and that holding a card from one bank doesn’t disqualify you from having a card from the other. American is a member of the Oneworld alliance, which allows you to redeem your miles on 12 partner airlines.
Southwest Performance Cards (Personal and Business)
The Southwest Companion Pass, which allows free travel for your designated companion, is one of the most valuable rewards in the travel industry. If you earn it early in the year, it’s valid until the end of the following year. Both these cards give you a bonus of 70,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months, which gives you a large jump on the 125,000 points needed to qualify for the pass. Try to time your application so you get the card just after the first of the year. The annual fee on both cards is $199.
British Airways Visa Signature
You can earn a maximum of 100,000 BA Avios—50,000 after spending $3,000 in the first three months, another 50,000 after a total of $20,000 spent during your first year. You get a companion certificate after spending $30,000 in a calendar year, and you receive a promo code for 10% off British Airways tickets purchased with the card. It also offers help with BA’s steep “fuel surcharges,” giving cardholders a statement credit for taxes and fees for transatlantic flights originating in the U.S. (three credits per year of $200 each). The annual fee is $95.
United Explorer Business Card
If you have a small business, take advantage of this amazing 100,000-mile offer: 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months, and another 50,000 for a total of $25,000 within the first six months. The annual fee is $95, and you receive priority boarding, a free checked bag, two one-time United Club passes on your anniversary, and better award availability. If that’s not enough, you also have the flexibility of 25 Star Alliance partners when you redeem your miles.
Avianca Vuela Visa Card
Through the end of the year, Colombia’s flag carrier is offering 40,000 LifeMiles after your first purchase and another 20,000 miles after spending $1,000, both within 90 days, if you use the promo code SB4060 when completing the application. If you’re not planning travel to Colombia, no worries: Avianca is also part of the Star Alliance, which gives you 25 airline partners including Lufthansa, Singapore, Swiss, ANA, Austrian and South African Airways. This often-overlooked program can be the key to unlocking some amazing award redemptions. The annual fee is $149.
World of Hyatt Card
If you’re a Hyatt fan, this refreshed card is for you. The signup bonus is 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months, and another 25,000 after spending a total of $6,000 within the first six months. The additional benefits are substantial: automatic Discoverist status; five qualifying night credits toward your tier status, and two credits every time you spend $5,000 on the card; a free anniversary night at any Category 1-4 hotel or resort, and an additional free night at any Category 1-4 hotel or resort after you spend $15,000 during your cardmember year.
Green From Amex
American Express recently revamped its iconic Green Card, which is now a credit rather than a charge card. The introductory signup bonus is tempting: 45,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases within your first three months, plus a $100 statement credit for new cardmembers who apply by January 15. The earning rates for ongoing spending are also impressive—three points per dollar on both travel and dining.
Whenever you’re considering applying for a new credit card, remember the Chase 5/24 Rule: they will reject your application if you’ve opened five or more personal bank cards within the past 24 months (this applies to all cards, not just those issued by Chase). Given this restriction, it makes sense to apply first for the Chase cards you really want.
Source: frugal travel guy