This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.
Over the weekend I was reading some threads on Milepoint and came across one about the different credit card sign-up bonuses that are currently available. The post asserted that 50,000 point sign-up bonuses have gotten “boring” and that made the author of that thread consider sitting on the sidelines unless a monster offer comes along. That post made me wonder if other people are thinking the same thing.
The first rewards credit card I remember getting primarily for the sign-up bonus was a Continental Chase card many years ago. The sign-up bonus at the time was something like 25,000 miles, and I was so excited that I was able to get a free flight just by getting a credit card. I was in my early or mid-20′s and living on a very modest budget, so that was a huge deal for me to get 25,000 miles so easily! I still remember the rush I got when those miles posted to my account. Like a true miles junkie, of course it just made me want more. And more.
Fortunately the world of credit card sign-up bonuses has grown since I got that card several years ago, and there are offers that are at least twice as good as that 25,000 mile that I was so excited about a few years ago. However, the downside of the increase in sign-up bonuses is it seems that some people have become blase about sign-up bonuses that are even in the 50,000 point range. I would argue that is a pretty dangerous opinion to have if you want to maximize earning miles and points. Sure, 75,000 and 100,000 mile bonuses are undeniably exciting when they are available, but they are also pretty rare, especially these days. In 2012 I am only aware of two publicly available 100,000 mile sign-up offers that came and went. One was for the Chase British Airways card, and the other was for the Capital One Venture card (but this one required you to have earned that many points via another card to qualify). While those were both good offers, I would not want to miss out on all of the other good offers out there waiting for only those huge limited time offers.
In fact, I think that we are currently seeing some credit card bonuses on the decline, so overlooking current bonuses that are available near the 50,000 point level because they don’t get your heart racing may not be a wise move, as there is no guarantee that the sign-up bonuses will continue at that level through 2013 (though I certainly hope they do). For example, we saw the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus at the 50,000 point level for about a year, but then it dropped to 40,000 points in the spring of 2012 and hasn’t increased since. 40,000 Ultimate Reward points is still a very good offer, but obviously 50,000 Ultimate Reward points are better than 40,000 Ultimate Reward points.
I think we are incredibly lucky to have (almost) free travel available as easily as it is. Heck, just go talk to some outside the US who can’t get these offers and they will tell you how lucky we are! Here are some of the current available offers that I consider exciting given how valuable they are. I know they get my “travel wheels” turning when I think about how and where I would want to use the points. Each of these offers is easily worth $50o – $1,000 depending on how you use the points or free nights.
- Ink Bold Business Card or Ink Plus Business Card: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 in 3 months
- Citi American Airlines double browser trick: Up to 100,000 miles for the two cards, depending on offers selected
- Hyatt Credit Card two free nights in any Hyatt world-wide after spending $1,000 in three months (some even get an offer for two free nights + $100 statement credit when making a booking on Hyatt.com)
- Up to 80,000 Priority Club points awarded after first purchase
- Southwest 50,000 Rapid Reward points after spending $2,000 in three months (especially lucrative when leveraged for the Companion Pass)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: 40,000 points after spending $3,000 in three months
- Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card: Two free weekend nights in a Hilton after spending $2,500 within the first four months
- AirTran Airways A+ Rewards Credit Card: Two free roundtrip AirTran flights after spending $2,000 in the first three months (expired)
I could go on and on listing offers that currently grab my interest, but that should be a sufficient number of examples of just how lucrative the offers still are – even without any 100,000 point monster offers. Even just getting a few cards a year will net you thousands of dollars in almost free travel a year. That will never be boring in my book. I will be pulling the trigger on my own applications this week, and I get very excited just thinking about it.
So what do you think – do you agree with the poster on Milepoint that the current offers are “boring”, or are they still good enough to get you excited?
Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for a card using one of my affiliate links. Some of the links in this post are my links, and some are not. All of them are to the best available of which I am aware. Please use your credit responsibly and eat your vegetables.