Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers – December 2018

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Updated December 2018. That space in your wallet or purse is more valuable than you think. Credit card companies are fighting it out, offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to encourage you to apply and try it out. These are the top 10 credit card offers that I would apply for in November 2018, if I didn’t already them. Recent changes:

  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus – new limited-offer bump to 70,000 miles (worth $700 towards travel).
  • Chase United Explorer – new limited-offer bump to 65,000 United miles.
  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards- now to up 60,000 Rapid Rewards points.

If you pay off your balances every month, then you can join me and many others in funding a huge chunk of your annual travel budget with cash credits, points, and miles. You don’t need to be a “I only fly business class” world traveler. I mostly use my rewards points on domestic economy flights, mid-class hotels, and cheap car rentals. If you have credit card debt, you should focus on paying that off first as the interest charges could offset most of the perks.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Business Card Offers. Small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Note: Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Card

  • 70,000 points (worth $700 towards travel) after $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee. See link for details.
  • Unlimited 2X miles on every purchase.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $89.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $625 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 2X points on Travel and Dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.
  • Alternative: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. More rewards, more perks including lounge access, $450 annual fee, $300 annual travel credit.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card

  • Up to 60,000 Southwest points. 40,000 Rapid Rewards points (redeemable for $600+ in Wanna Getaway airfare) after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year. See link for details.
  • $69 annual fee.
  • Combine with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase United Explorer Card

  • Up to 65,000 United miles. 40,000 bonus United miles after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus miles
    after spending $10,000 total in the first 6 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your United ticket.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

American Express Pink Gold Card

  • 50,000 Membership Rewards points (flexible, worth 50,000 miles at various airlines) after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • $100 dining credit. 20% back (up to $100) on dining purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first 3 months.
  • $120 in Grubhub and Seamless credit. $10 in statement credits each month when you pay with this card at participating partners – Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations.
  • $100 airline fee credit. Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits towards checked baggage fees and inflight meals.
  • $250 annual fee.

Citi Premier Card

  • 50,000 ThankYou points (worth $625 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points on Travel, including Gas Stations
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card

  • Up to 50,000 American Airlines miles. 40,000 miles after $2,000 in purchases in first 3 months, plus another 10,000 after making a total of $6,000 in purchases in first 12 months of account opening. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic flights perk ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

Chase World of Hyatt Card

  • Up to 60,000 Hyatt points (enough for two nights at any Hyatt). 40,000 Bonus Points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus an additional 20,000 Bonus Points after a total of $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • $95 annual fee, free night award upon card anniversary.
  • NOT subject to 5/24 rule.

British Airways Visa Signature Card

  • Up to 100,000 Avios points. 50,000 Avios after $3,000 in purchases within first 3 months. Additional 25,000 Avios for $10,000 in purchases within first year. Additional 25,000 Avios for $20,000 in purchases within first year. See link for details and redemption tips.
  • Free Travel Together companion ticket when you spend $30,000 in calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • NOT subject to 5/24 rule.

Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express

  • 125,000 Hilton Honors points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • Free Weekend Night Reward certificate after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

  • 50,000 points (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $100 annual Airline Incidental Statement Credit.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $95 annual fee.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card

  • $500 cash bonus after $3000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.


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Comments

  1. While travel-based rewards are lost on me as I don’t go anywhere, the Capital One Savor card piqued my interest. However, I have a policy of never again paying an annual fee.

    There is a “no annual fee” version of this card that pays 3% cash back on dining. However, I already have the Citibank Double Cash card which pays ~2% on all purchases. An extra 1% on one category and have to carry yet another card is not worth it for me.

    I’ll carry an additional card, e.g., Discover It or Chase Freedom, for the 5% category, though.

  2. It isn’t about the 4% its about the 500$ bonus for 3k spend, take out the fee looking at 405 which is a 13.5% return not including the 1 to 4% you’d get back from the card, so looking at a minimum 14.5% return, which is significantly better than your 2%

    • I signed up for the capital one saver card and I am trying to make a go of it as a permanent card in my rotation as I am pretty sure we’ll easily clear the $200/month it takes to cover the $95 fee given fast food is considered dining. I have given up on these “rotating category cards” as it is a pain to keep up with and keep my wife on the same page. We are currently running a 2% cash back fidelity, 5% target red card, and the Amex Preferred which I only use for groceries (6%) and gas (3%)…. we’ll see if the math works out on this one beyond the $500 sign up.

      • I solved the problem with keeping my wife and I on the same page with rotating category cards. I use my label maker to label each card for that quarter.

  3. Amex has a no fee card that pays 3% on supermarket purchases including Wholefoods and I think 2% on gas and they have second version that pays 6% on supermarkets and 3% on gas but it has an annual of I think $75. Both are 1% on everything else and then there are occasionally some attractive other cash back bonus offers.

    I’ve had both…they are both good cards….and even with the annual fee they beat Citi’s 2% at least for me.

  4. Can you recommend any cards with embedded priority PIN?

  5. The annual fee for Amex’s Blue Cash Preferred card is now $95, up from $75 about 2 years ago. Still worth it for my family as we buy lots of groceries, but it warrants a more careful look before signing up.

  6. well wisher says:

    Outside of sign up offers, nothing beats citicards 2% back on everything and no annual fee. No thinking or planning involved.

    • Joshua Katt says:

      Absolutely, I’ve gone that route after 20+ years of playing the game and amassing tons of travel points & miles that devalue before I can use them up. If a Costco member anyway, throw in that card for 4% gas, 3% dining and call it a day. Maybe throw in the Discover to max out the quarterly 5% bonuses ($75) with giftcards.

  7. Bank of America has increased it’s bonus on their Cash Rewards card. They now offer a $200 online cash bonus after spending only $500 in the first 90 days of opening the account. That’s 40% back on the first $500!

  8. Doctor of Credit is reporting the Chase Hyatt is now subject to 5/24.

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