It’s been more than two months since I updated a top 10 list of best current credit card signup offers.

Here’s what I consider the current 10 best credit card signup bonuses currently available:

  1. Ink Bold charge card and Ink Plus credit card are small business cards that both offer 50,000 point signup bonuses after $5,000 spend within 3 months. They have a $0 fee the first year, $95 thereafter.

    Points transfer to United, British Airways, Korean Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club, and Amtrak.

    If you’re wondering whether a small business card makes sense for you, read Why You Should Add a Small Business Card to Your Wallet.

  2. Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a $0 fee the first year ($95 thereafter); 40,000 points after $3000 in spend within 3 months, 5000 additional bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening; no foreign currency conversion fees, double points on travel and dining, points transfers to United, Hyatt, Southwest, Amtrak, British Airways, Korean Airlines, Marriott Priority Club, and Ritz-Carlton. Probably the best all-around credit card, and with a great signup bonus.

    This is the card I recommend most to beginners in the hobby for getting started, but it’s one that beginners and experts alike can benefit from.

    (The better offer some folks wound up getting at the Chase site no longer seems to be available; the 40,000 point bonus is the best I’m aware of otherwise since March 2012.)

  3. Citi American Airlines Visa : 50,000 bonus points after $3000 spend within 3 months, no fee the first year.

  4. British Airways Visa Signature® Card: Up to 100,000 points: 50k points after $2000 in purchases within 3 months, 25k more points after $10k spend within first year, and 25k more when you hit $20k spend within the first year.

    If you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year you earn a companion certificate so you can redeem miles and a second passenger travels on the award for no additional miles (but does pay the taxes and fuel surcharges). Here’s my full discussion of this offer.

    British Airways offers family accounts so you can pool your miles. One person could get the card, spend $30,000 on it this year and earn 87,500 points (signup bonus plus 1.25 points per dollar for spending). A second person gets the card, and spends only enough for the 50,000 point bonus. Together they then have 140,000 points that can effectively be used twice for 280,000 points worth of travel as long as they fly together and exclusively on British Airways.

  5. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature: 50,000 points — 25,000 on approval, 25,000 after $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of the account open date. The $75 annual fee is not waived the first year.

  6. Mercedes-Benz American Express Platinum card: 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after $3000 spend within 3 months, $475 annual fee (which also gets you a $200 airline fee credit, $100 credit if you are signing up for Global Entry, and lounge access with American, US Airways (both ending March 22) and Delta — plus a Priority Pass Select card for Alaska Airlines and many international lounges). Here’s a roundup of the various offers for different American Express Platinum cards.

  7. United Explorer Card: There’s a 50,000 mile signup bonus with additional miles possible, it is targeted but many have been able to get the card. I love that the card comes with primary collision damage waiver benefits for rental cars. If the offer was generally available to everyone it would be higher up on my list. There’s also a small business version of the card — log into your MileagePlus account and click on the Explorer card for business. Some people click around to other cards and back and see the 50,000 point card offered to them.

  8. Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card: 50,000 points after $2,000 within 3 months, that’s ~ $714 worth of airfare, and it’s even incrementally better than that because you only pay the segment (security) taxes and not the excise taxes you’d be out of pocket for on a paid ticket. Up through the end of March the points are actually worth $833, so if you get the card now and redeem for travel by then you do even better.

    When you earn 110,000 points in a year in the Southwest program (e.g. this 50,000 point signup bonus, and also getting a business card linked ont he same page, plus transferring in some points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt to Southwest or a little bit of spending on the cards) you can earn a pass that allows someone to travel with you for free whenever you travel.

  9. US Airways Mastercard 35,000 points after first purchase and fee waived the first year. It’s not the best offer I’ve seen, there have been 40,000 mile offers in the past, but it’s the best current offer I’m aware of.

  10. A quartet of free hotel night credit card offers:
    • The Citi Hilton Reserve Visa comes with Gold status (upgrades, breakfast, free internet) and 2 free weekend nights after $2500 spend at nearly every Hilton family property. There’s a $95 annual fee. An amazing deal when Gold status stays as long as you keep the card.

    • The Hyatt Visa offers two nights at any Hyatt in the world after $1000 in spend.

    • The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card give you an 85,000 point signup bonus — 50,000 after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2500 spend within 90 days plus Gold status in the program and your last night on every award redemption free. The annual fee is $75. You get Gold status with the chain, and you get a free night every time you book an award stay of two nights or longer!

    • The Fairmont Visa offers 2 free nights at any Fairmont, including breakfast.

Reasonable people can disagree on the ordering — how you will value points depends on how many you already have and what awards you’re after.

(A little over a third of the card links in the list above offer referral credit to me if you are approved after applying through the links in this post.)


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  1. Haldami said,

    Why didn’t you mention that the platinum is losing American and US Airways lounge access next march? You don’t think your readers should know?

  2. Nick said,

    The application link for #5 (Alaskan Airlines VISA) is dead FYI.

  3. Corky said,

    Your math on the British Airways companion pass example doesn’t account for the $100,000 bonus.

  4. Glenn said,

    You’re better than that headline. Don’t succumb to internet click bait please.

  5. Glenn said,

    @Haldami – If you read the list you’ll see the Amex Platinum isn’t even on there.

  6. Gary said,

    @Nick – hmm, it was working this morning and others let me know they apply today

  7. Gary said,

    @Haldami – I don’t receive anything for folks applying for a Mercedes-Benz Amex Platinum. I have written extensively on the end of the American Express-American/US Airways relationship. Certainly not hiding that ball from readers. Updated though to make it clearer.

  8. Gary said,

    @Glenn I just thought it was a ‘fun’ headline, no offense intended

  9. GeekAbroad said,

    Something to add to the Citi AA visa is that you’re also considered a “new” card holder after, from what I’ve been told, 18-24 months. Though not as lucrative before it’s still nice to be able to get a easy 50k AA every couple years.

  10. Haldami said,

    @Glenn actually if you read the list you’ll see it’s number 6.

    @Gary if your argument is that because your regular readers would know about it, so it doesn’t need to be mentioned, then you don’t need a list because your regular readers would know what’s best. The fact it’s not an affiliate line is irrelevant. You for need to be paid to be honest. But your blog, your rules.

  11. Anon256 said,

    Where by “10″ you mean “15″.

  12. Rob said,

    “The 10 Biggest, Baddest Credit Card Signup Bonuses to Fly Free”

    I count 14

  13. Maury said,

    Alaska link is dead!

  14. Ivan said,

    I believe the British Airways card now charges a $95 annual fee, NOT waived the first year. If anyone has a link for the annual fee waived the first year, please post it, because I want this card but don’t want to pay the $95 fee.

  15. Lantean said,

    This Alaska link is working for me:

    https://www.applyonlinenow.com/USCCapp/Ctl/entry?sc=VAB3E9#apply

  16. mh said,

    Barclays with 40,000 points sign up & only $1,000 spend with 2.2 earnings capabilities – not on list??

  17. Gary said,

    @mh – I consider it a good value but it doesn’t make my top 10, i consider each of the above to be worth more, ymmv

  18. Gary said,

    @Haldami you seem to have an issue with me generally, my point was I’m not hiding the ball on this but I took your suggestion as constructive and made it clearer

  19. Alex (@NoviceFlyer) said,

    Maybe the targeted Amex Gold PRC for 50k points should be in there too. It’s pretty good considering half the spend and double the points :)

  20. Tom said,

    Anybody know how to get on the United 50K offer. Thanks Tom

  21. Gary Steiger said,

    @Tom: Last I asked, the 50K UAL offer was available at my local Chase office. I provide other ways to futz online to find it on my website (click on my name).

    For the business card 50K offer, post number 360 on the Flyertalk thread at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit-card-programs/1474409-united-business-card-50k-10k-united-miles-18.html#post21516338 suggests

    “I used a chrome browser on private mode. . then signed into my united account. then clicked on business products under products and services. then the MileagePlus Explorer Business Card link. at first the offer showed 30k. clicked on the club card, which showed $395 fee waived the first year. clicked back to the MileagePlus Explorer Business Card tab, and then it showed the 50k offer with 2k spend.”

    On September 29, 2013, this same method worked for me in Firefox without going into private mode. On October 28, 2013, it did not work in Firefox, but did work in private mode in Internet Explorer. I actually got the card and confirmed the 50K that day by calling Chase’s business lending department at (800)453-9719.

  22. Mick said,

    Does Southwest allow for family accts or at least for miles to be transferred between spouses? Or can you transfer UR points into a spouse’s account?

  23. Jorge said,

    Baddest… that adjective offends William Shakespeare.
    Too “bad” I used it as well…

  24. Jack said,

    I spent about an hour on the phone with a card processor for Alaska, and the bottom line is you only get the initial 25000 points unless you got an email invite to join for the full fifty thou. If anyone knows the code in the email invitation, that could help me out get the second 25000.

  25. Robert Hanson said,

    @Jack I can give you the code, but I don’t know if it will help you any. I called to authorize my card yesterday, and the CSR said it was only for 25K.

    When I gave her the code, she said that wasn’t in her system, and the other 25K must be coming directly from Alaska, and I would have to call them about it. She was quite firm that I was not going to get the extra 25K from B of A.

    And of course, that sign up link is now expired, so I’m guessing they figured out it was being used by out of state folks, and cancelled it.

    If you get either B of A or Alaska to give you the full bonus please post how you did it here to help the rest of us out.

    The code is:

    VAB3E8

  26. Robert Hanson said,

    Update: Just called B of A CS, and without having said anything yet, was told I am in fact getting 25K miles on approval, and 25K more upon spending $1K in 90 days. Whoohoo !

  27. Chris said,

    Strange that you don’t mention the Barclaycard on your website or compare Sapphire with that — even though there are ads for it on your site. Which one is better? Why?

  28. Gary said,

    @Chris I have written on the card extensively, Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is better for flying coach, others for premium cabins in my view

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