Top Credit Card Bonuses Roundup – July 2011

If you have a good credit score and the discipline not to get into consumer debt, you can profit from your responsibility by participating in various credit card sign-up incentives. The bonuses are not subject to tax, and by applying for only the best offers, you can add thousands of dollars to your income a year.

$500 in Gift Cards or $500 towards Student Loans, your Mortgage, Airfare or Hotel

The Citi ThankYou Premier Card is competing with a 50,000 ThankYou Point bonus. You get 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $2,500 in purchases within 3 months of account opening. 50,000 points is worth $500 in gift cards, airfare, or a check towards your student loan or mortgage. No annual fee. See this post for details.

$625 towards Airfare or Hotel

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a rewards credit card offering new cardholders 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. 50,000 points can be redeemed for $625 in travel since they offer a 25% boost towards airfare and hotels. No annual fee for the first year, $95 in future years. They also offer 2 points per dollar spent on dining & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Additional details here.

This is their new travel-oriented card, with no foreign transaction fee on purchases and you can also earn points based on the amount of miles you actually fly. The annual fee is free the first year, $95 in later years if you keep it. Alternatively, if you want a card with no annual fee period, the Citi ThankYouSM Preferred Card is offering 25,000 bonus points after $2,000 in purchases within 4 months.

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  1. The first three cards are all Chase–has anyone had success applying for multiple cards from the same provider around the same time period or is it best to spread out the applications?

  2. From my experiences and what I’ve heard, chase tends to be stingier than others. They are more likely to let you open a new account if you close down an old one. 3 at a time seems unlikely, 2 possible. I was able to open 3 within a 6 month period though (I closed #1 when I opened #3).

    If you try and open more than 1 you probably will not get instant approval on the 2nd. Don’t give up if they don’t initially approve you, your chances are still good if you are persistant and call in.

  3. I currently have 4 credit card accounts with Chase after opening both the Southwest and Sapphire accounts… at one point I had 5 accounts with them. I have had the two other accounts for several years though, so they probably don’t consider me as a perpetual account hopper…

  4. I noticed you put the annual fee for the other 3 cards, but you forgot to put that there is a $99 annual fee for the Southwest card.

  5. Stephen says:

    I have had a Amazon rewards card with Chase open for about 6 or 7 years (I’m guessing). In that time I have opened a 2nd Chase card, and closed it 6-18 months later, a couple times. About 3-4 months ago I opened the Chase British Airways card and still have it open. I decided I wanted to go for the Southwest card too. So I called in and lowered my credit limit on the other two Chase cards (to just $5K each) thinking that I might have a better chance of getting approved for the 3rd Chase card. Then a couple days ago I tried to open the Chase Southwest card — this is the first time I’ve tried to have 3 Chase cards open. And I did not get instant approval on the web when trying to open the account. It said I would get a response in the mail in 7-10 days or something, which I am taking as a bad sign. Maybe I’ll try giving them a call. I guess I could close the British Airways card since I’ve already qualified for & received the 100,000 miles, but I originally thought I would try to keep it open until I actually use the miles or until it came up for another annual fee being due.

  6. If you get a card with rewards, and have to pay an annual fee, how long do you have to keep the card open and still keep the reward? If they waive the fee for the first year, can you cancel after the first year and keep the reward still? I’d like to take advantage of these, but want to a) avoid paying annual fees (more than once), and b)close the account as soon as possible. What is the strategy for this?

  7. I just used the Hyatt card for 2 free nights at the Park Hyatt Paris and was fairly disappointed. I will admit that the room was really nice looking and the shower was nice, but I was in Paris mainly to sight see so that hotel was mainly for sleeping. They knew I was using my free nights, so they stuck me on the first floor in the room furthest from the elevator right by the busy street. The street was very loud and they had horible sound protection. On top of all of that, they wanted 20 euros (~$28 usd) for internet access. Seriously, guests pay $900/night and you can’t throw in free wifi? I stayed at other hotels during my europe trip that were only around $150 usd a night and got free wifi and breakfast.

  8. Pete:

    I applied for the Continental One card (early December 2010), British Airways (May 2011) and (just received today) the Chase Sapphire — all Chase cards. I allow enough time between applying for each so that I can easily charge my normal monthly spending using each card (almost) exclusively, until I hit the spending requirement that triggered the bonus points/airline miles. I now have 50K+ in miles with Continental, 100K+ with BA and am about to shift spending to new Sapphire card with my sights set on the $500 cash. Southwest is next on my list in a few months (also a Chase card). I do have a high credit score (785) and they did move excess credit from an existing card to this newest one, which I had no problem with at all as I pay off credit card bills in full each month and can’t remember the last time I hit my limit on any card. Good luck!

    I also received the “You’ll receive a response in the mail in 7-10 days” message. Evidently, they tried to contact me via phone to see about lowering a credit limit with another card I have with them, but couldn’t reach me, so did it anyway and opened the new account. I saw it was added online before I got anything in the mail. I think it took close to three weeks, but worth the wait!

  9. You would think a bank would be apt to open an acct for qualified people applying for cards such as these with annual fees.

  10. I’m up to 6 Chase cards now. Slate, Amazon, Freedom, Sapphire, BA, and Southwest. The last 3 I’ve gotten over the past 6 months. I have never had any hassles getting any, but I’ve never been instantly approved. It takes about 2-3 weeks and they either mail me an approval or it just shows up on Chase online. My wife, on the other hand, applied for the BA card and got approved, but then applied for the Sapphire and they wouldn’t give it to her (despite calling in – her credit is as good as mine mine). So it’s very YMMV.

    PS, thanks again, Jonathan, for aggregating these deals for us!

  11. Margaret says:

    I applied for the Southwest card and they said I would know in 2-3 weeks. I already have the British Airways card and called in to lower the credit from 20,000 to 10,000 in the hope it would sway their approval. I initially thought I would be able to trasfer Brit Air points into my American Aadvantage account but it seems as though this is not an option – unless I am missing something. I can book an American flight through BritAir but cannot transfer the points into American Airlines available gift cards. A bit disappointed but if anyone out there knows otherwise, please advise.

  12. Interestingly, Southwest credit card is stilll up with 50,000 bonus points at!?

  13. I applied for Chase South West credit card and I got approved after waiting for about 2-3 days. Hopefully I will be getting the sign up bonus of 50,000 points with my next monthly statement.

    I also got 100,000 points (50,000 sign-up bonus + 50,000 with the special code) with my Chase sapphire credit card. I have booked my winter trip to Florida with these points.

    Looks like I need to pay more attention to my credit score changes for now.

    Thanks Jonathan for helping a lot of people find these offers.

  14. I applied for the Chase Sapphire and got approved. Now, any ideas on where to spend $3000 in 3 months ? other than car insurance, balance transfers?

    Looking for something I can deposit on my bank. Any ideas?

  15. You can try American Express gift cards:

    The code is expired, but you can still get 1.6% back at BigCrumbs and a smaller % back at other cashback portals like eBates and still make back any fees charged.

  16. Regarding the Chase Sapphire Preferred card — I applied for it when they were initially offering a $250 bonus after $3k in purchases. Later, the offer was raised to $500. I just got the $250 bonus posted to my account, which is nice, but after seeing that they’d raised the award, it would be even nicer to get $500. Has anyone had luck calling them and requesting the bonus at the now higher level? If so, what’s the best way to do this?
    Meanwhile, I’m awaiting approval for the Southwest Rewards card, so I don’t want to rock the boat until I hear back on that.

    For Pat: I needed to rack up a few more hundred $ in purchases to reach my Sapphire purchase requirement, so I bot gift cards at the two grocery stores I use the most.

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