The Best Credit Card Signup Bonuses (September 2021)

From Travel Strategies
Jump to: navigation, search

  HomeEasily Earn Points for Free Travel

WeighCoins.jpg

A credit card's value is based on its combination of benefits, reward rates, and signup bonus. Much of this website is dedicated to letting you know about credit cards which are valuable to get, use, and hold onto.

However, the list below only takes into consideration the value of the credit card's signup bonus. While some of these cards may have benefits that might make them interesting additions to your core credit card collection—all of them are worth getting, even if it is simply to receive the signup bonus.

If you are new, make sure to look at our Credit Cards 101 and Credit Card Signup Bonuses: The Easiest Path to Free Airplane Tickets and Hotel Nights guides. There is more to consider than simply making your way down this list.


Covid Impacts

The Covid pandemic is causing a lot of economic disruption. As a result, banks are getting nervous about extending credit. In some cases, they are lowering the credit limits for existing cardholders. For the time being, it has become more difficult to get approved for new cards, especially small business credit cards. And banks are more nervous about behavior that looks like someone might be extending themselves to far. Take things slowly until the uncertainty has passed.

Determining which cards are best

There are some basic guidelines for evaluating signup bonuses.

  • You don’t want to sign up for the cards that gives you the most POINTS, you want to sign up for the ones that give you the most VALUE. Points from different reward programs have radically different values. An Ultimate Rewards point is easily worth more than 1.5 cents per point, due to the ability to transfer them to different frequent flyer programs or the Hyatt hotel program. On the other hand, a Hilton point is worth less than .5 cents per point, because of the large number of points you need for a hotel redemption.
  • Points from foreign airlines are still valuable, even if you never plan to fly on them. For example, you may dismiss getting a card that offers British Airways points, because you don’t often fly British Airways. However, British Airlines and American Airlines both belong to the Oneworld Alliance, so you can use your British Airlines miles to book award travel on American (as well as a bunch of other partners).
  • In some ways, points on British Airlines can be even more valuable than American Airlines miles. Their program is distance-based, so it requires fewer miles when you are taking shorter American Airlines flights.

  • Transferable credit card points are more valuable than regular frequent flyer miles. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and ThankYou points to a set of different airline and hotel partners. This gives you the ability to book awards on almost any major airline and take advantage of whichever program offers the most valuable redemption for any given trip. With Ultimate Rewards, you also have good options to use your points for hotel awards or regular travel purchases. This is usually better than being locked into any given airline program and its partners. Introduction to 'Transferable' Reward Points.
  • The value of a signup offer depends on your individual circumstances. The values in our table are based on a "typical" value per point. You will need to make adjustments based on how you expect to use your points.
    • If you don’t want to mess with award tickets, Membership Rewards and ThankYou points are worth less than is shown in the table. You’ll typically only get 1 – 1.25 cents per point, when you redeem for options other than frequent flyer tickets. The signup bonuses are still valuable—just less valuable than before. For example, a 60,000-point signup bonus for an Amex card might be worth $600 rather than $900; but $600 is still one of the better offers available. Ultimate Rewards points are still about as valuable as our standard values, even if you never use them for frequent flyer tickets.
    • If you highly value business and first-class award tickets, transferable award points and frequent flyer miles are even more valuable than shown in the table. If you can accumulate enough points for the award tickets, the points can be worth more than 4 cents each, rather than the 1.2 – 2 cents used in the table. In our example, a 60,000 Membership Rewards signup bonus may be worth $2,000 or more towards the purchase of an international business or first-class ticket.
    • Points for your “local” airline(s) can be somewhat more valuable than the points for other airlines. Having points with the airline that that fly most frequently gives you the opportunity to take advantage of non-saver award tickets. While these awards require extra miles, they give you some additional flexibility.
    • While most hotel points are worth considerably less than a frequent flyer mile, it is far easier to use them for awards. While there are only limited amounts of award space available for frequent flyer tickets, most hotel companies will let you use your points for almost any room that is still available, even when the regular room rates are more expensive than normal. Furthermore, you can use hotel points for more frequent awards, instead of needing to save up over a lengthy period of time to get an expensive (but valuable) frequent flyer ticket. Once you adjust for the value per point, we prefer an equal dollar value of hotel points to airline miles.
  • If the card has an annual travel credit or includes a special credit as part of the signup offer, you can offset some of the charges you make with the card during your initial year. We add that to the net value you would receive by signing up for the card. For example, if you get the Chase Sapphire card, we count the $300 travel credit as part of the signup value.
  • If the travel credit is available on a calendar year basis, you can use two credits during the first year you have a card. For example, if you get the card in August, you can use one credit between August and December and another credit between January and your anniversary date.

  • However, we don't always use the full face-value of the credit. If the credit is extremely easy to use, like the Sapphire Reserve's annual travel credit, we value it at full value. If the credit is harder to take full advantage of, like the Amex Platinum card's incidental airline credit, we value it at half-value or even quarter-value. If you think you can get more or less value from the card's annual credit, you should raise or lower the net signup value. Technically, we should value all credits as being less valuable than their full value, as they all require at least some effort to use, but we don't bother.
Value per Dollar

Most credit card signup offers have an initial spending requirement. For example, to earn the signup bonus, you may need to spend $3,000 during the first three months you have the card.

The number of signup offers you can qualify for is constrained by the amount of money you can spend over the year.

Rather than concentrating on earning the most valuable overall signup bonuses, you can focus on first earning the signup bonuses that deliver the most "value per dollar spent". In other words, if you can naturally spend $12,000 per year on your credit cards, you can initially receive more value by signing up a larger number of cards that have smaller spending requirements, rather than a smaller number of cards that have higher signup bonuses but require a larger amount of initial spending.

On the other hand, you are somewhat limited by the total number of new cards you can get, so you'll still want to concentrate on getting cards that have a high total net signup value. Alternatively, you can take advantage of some tricks to increase your credit card spending, without increasing the amount of money you are spending each year. Advanced Strategies for Collecting Signup Bonuses.

The best signup offers

These are all the credit cards with a net signup value of around $450 or higher.

Amex Platinum (multiple versions available)
maxed
$10,000 spend
cobranded $10,000

$6,900
$3,900
$2,800

.28/$
.39/$
.28/$
The regular version of the card has a promotional offer for 125,000 Membership Rewards points with $6,000 spend in the first six months, plus 15x Membership Rewards points on up to $25,000 in restaurant and small business purchases during that time. When placing a value on this offer, we assume you can spend you spend $10,000 in total, all in the bonus categories. This works out to an extra 140,000 Membership Rewards points or a total of 265,000 points. You may want to adjust the number of extra points you'd expect to earn, up to a maximum total of 475,000 points.

The co-branded cards have a lower offer of 100,000 points, plus 10x Membership Rewards points on up the restaurant and small business spending.

That's 50% of the 2x $200 airline incidental credits, 50% of the $2x $200 hotel credits, 50% of the 3x $50 Saks credits, 75% of the $200 in Uber / Uber Eats credits, 25% of the $20 per month entertainment credit, 2x $50 for the CLEAR credit, and nothing for the Equinox and TSA credits. You can adjust our numbers either way based on how much value you'd expect to get,

You may be able to earn signup bonuses from multiple different versions of the Platinum card, but you'll need to spread out your applications and it may be hard to take advantage of multiple opportunities to spend up to $25,000 at the same time.

Amex Business Platinum
150,000 point offer
100,000 point offer

$1,900
$1,150

.12/$
.07/$
Amex has been offering a 100,000 Membership Rewards offer with $15,000 spend for some time. here is a also a targeted 150,000 offer, which also typically bypasses the once-in-a-lifetime limitation. You can get links through our Platinum Card Guide.

$595 annual fee, but we count $350 in credits towards the first year value of the Platinum Business Card. That's 50% of the 2x airline incidental credits plus 50% of the 3x Dell credits. You can adjust our numbers either way based on how much value you'd expect to get.

Chase Sapphire Preferred $1,670 .42/$
All time high offer of 100,000 Ultimate Reward points with $4,000 spend. If you somehow qualify for this card (under 5/24, no Sapphire bonus in last 48 months), this is a fantastic offer. $95 annual fee waived in branch, offer is $95 less valuable if you apply online.
Chase Ink Preferred (business card only) $1,480 .10/$
100,000 Ultimate Rewards points, valued at $1700. ($15,000 initial spend). In-branch you may be able to get an offer that adds an additional 60,000 points with a total of $50,000 spending during the first six months. $95 annual fee.
BOA Amtrak $1,470 .59/$
Best ever offer of 50,000 Amtrak points, worth 2.5 cents each towards Amtrak travel plus a $100 statement credit. ($2,500 initial spend). You also get a companion ticket, upgrade certificate, and single-visit lounge pass, which we value at a total of $200 if you travel on Amtrak often enough to make this card make sense. $79 annual fee.
Chase United Explorer (business)
$20,000 spend
$5,000 spend

$1,450
$740

.07
.15/$
Promotional offer of 75,000 United Miles with $5,000 initial spend, plus an additional 75,000 miles with $20,000 total spend over the first six months. $95 annual fee. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Chase Ink Unlimited (business card only) $1,275 .17/$
75,000 Ultimate Rewards points ($7,500 initial spend). Value assumes you have an Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Preferred Card and can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt or one of Chase's frequent flyer partners. First year value is slightly higher than Ink Cash because there is a usually a lower opportunity cost for the required spend. No annual fee.
Chase Ink Cash (business card only) $1,210 .16/$
75,000 Ultimate Rewards points ($7,500 initial spend). Value assumes you have an Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Preferred Card and can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt or one of Chase's frequent flyer partners. No annual fee.
Capital One Spark Cash Plus (business)
Full $50,000
First $4,500

$1,150
$500

.02/$
.10/$
50,000 points after $5,000 initial spend and an additional 50,000 points if you spend a total of $50,000 in the first six months. If you don't have a Venture or Spark Miles card, points from the Cash version are worth a little less because they can't be directly transferred to airline partners. While most people aren't going to be able to meet the $50,000 spend threshold, you do get a full 2x points while meeting the spending requirement. $150 annual fee.
Amex Business Gold Up to $1,100
The current offer is 70,000 points with $10,000 spend, which is valued at $650. But some people are able to access 85,000 and 90,000 point offers. The best possible current offer is 90,000 points plus an additional 10,000 points for adding and spending $1,000 on an employee card. This 100,000 point offer is valued at $1,100 points. Check the Business Gold Card Guide for links to try.
Freedom Unlimited & Freedom Flex Up to $1,050 -
The base signup offer is 20,000 points with $500 spend. If you have a Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Preferred Card, we value the points at 1.7 cents each, making the base offer worth $340. But you also get 5x points (rather than 1-1.5 points) on up to $12,000 worth of grocery spending during your first year. At 3.5 extra points per dollar, this could add up to another 42,000 points. But your value will depend on how much of the $12,000 you can put on the card and what your other options are for grocery store spending. For example, this card may only offer a small premium over what you are earning from an Amex Gold or Amex Blue Preferred Card.
Amex Gold $1,040 .26/$
60,000 Membership Rewards points with $4,000 spend in 6 months, plus up to $250 in restaurant credits (20% of up to $1,250 in spend in the first 12 months) through Resy. Some people are seeing 75,000 point offers in private browsing mode. $250 annual fee, but we count $180 in credits towards the first year value—75% of the $10/month Uber / Uber Eats credit and the $10 month GrubHub / Selected restaurants credit.
British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus $1,040 .21/$
All 3 cards offer 100,000 points after $5,000 initial spend. The British Airways version has the advantage of giving you a discount on award fees, but you could also get more than one assuming you have the Chase 5/24 slots. $95 annual fee.
BOA Alaska Airlines
personal $8,000
personal $2,000
business

$1,025
$850
$980

.13/$
.43/$
.33/$
Promotional offer of 67,000 miles with personal card: 42,000 miles after first $2,000 spend and an additional 25,000 miles for a total of $8,000 spend in the first six months. If you aren't planning to spend the full $8,000, you are better off with the main current offer of 50,000 miles for $2,000 spend. The business card has a promotional offer of 60,000 points with $3,000 spend. Each offer includes a $99 companion certificate when you sign up (which we value at $250). $75 annual fee.
Citi Premier $980 .25/$
Highest-ever 80,000 ThankYou points ($4,000 initial spend). $95 annual fee.
Amex Delta Platinum
personal
business

$850
$950

.28/$
.32/$
Personal card offers 90,000 Delta miles ($3,000 initial spend) plus 10,000 MQMs (which aren't valued as part of the net signup offer. Business card adds a $100 statement credit. $195 annual fee.
Chase United Quest $940 .09/$
Up to 100,000 miles. 80,000 miles with $5,000 spend in first 3 months plus an additional 20,000 miles with a total of $10,000 spend in first six months. $250 annual fee, but you get a $125 credit each year (good for United flights). If you want a United card, get this one and then downgrade to the Explorer or Gateway card at the end of the first year (if you no longer want the Quest).
Chase IHG $890 .30/$
Highest ever promotional offer of 150,000 IHG points with $3,000 spend, a $50 statement credit, and a waived annual fee. Subject to the Chase 5/24 rule.
Southwest Performance Business $870 .17/$
80,000 Southwest Airlines points for $5,000 initial spend. $199 annual fee. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Chase United Explorer (personal)
full $6,000
initial $3,000

$860
$780

.14/$
.26/$
Promotional offer of 40,000 United Miles with $2,000 initial spend, plus an additional 25,000 miles for $10,000 total spend in the first six months. Annual fee is waived the first year. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Amex Delta Gold
personal
business

$810
$860

.41/$
.43/$
Personal card has a 70,000 Delta miles offer ($2,000 initial spend) . Business card adds a $50 statement credit. Waived first-year annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Reserve $840 .21/$
60,000 Ultimate Rewards points with $4,000 spend. 70,000 point offer available in-branch. The signup offer for the Sapphire Preferred version is better and you can only have one of these two cards. However, the Sapphire Reserve card is a more interesting card for the long term. Probably best to get the Preferred and convert to the Reserve later (if you want it for the long term). $550 annual fee. The $300 travel credit is valued at full value. The $120 of DoorDash credits are valued at $100. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Chase Marriott Boundless $830 .28/$
{{{5}}}
Amex Hilton Aspire $820 .20/$
Promotional offer of 150,000 Hilton points, valued at $680 ($4,000 initial spend). You also get a free weekend night certificate good at any Hilton hotel, which we value at $300. In addition, you get a $250 Hilton resort credit, and up to two $250 airline incidental credits, during your initial year, which we value at 50% each (for a total of $375). If you are willing to make the effort, you can get full value from these credits (an extra $375).
Barclays Hawaiian Airlines (personal and business) $820 .41/$
Promotional offer of 70,000 Hawaiian miles ($2,000 initial spend). You also receive a half-priced companion ticket, that we value at $250, making this a pretty valuable signup offer, if you can use the companion certificate to fly to Hawaii. The business version of the card has the same promotional offer, but with only $1,000 initial spend, making it about $15 more valuable.
Barclay Aviator Card
personal
business

$720
$790
Promotional offer of 60,000 American Airlines miles and a waived annual fee on personal card. Business card has promotional 80,000 mile offer: 50,000 with initial $2,000 spend plus an additional 30,000 miles with a total of $6,000 spend during the first year. $95-99 annual fee.
US Bank Leverage (business card only) $750 .10/$
Standard offer of 75,000 points. Since it earns 2% on your choice of over 50 different categories, there isn't much opportunity cost to the $7,500 of spend. Annual fee waived the first year.
Citi AAdvantage
personal
business

$680
$720

.23/$
.18/$
Promotional offer of 60,000 American Airlines miles ($3,000 initial spend) plus 5,000 MQMs for the personal card or 65,000 miles ($4,000 initial spend in the first fourmonths) for the business card. Annual fee is waived the first year.
Chase Southwest Premier Business $710 .24/$
60,000 Southwest Airline miles ($3,000 initial spend). Southwest operates a fixed-value rewards program, where you can get around 1.2 - 1.6 cents per point, without having to worry about award availability. $99 annual fee. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule
Chase Hyatt $700 .05/$
This is a complicated offer. Even though it is marketed as 60,000 points, it is really a 45,000 point offer. You get 30,000 Hyatt points with $3,000 spend. Plus you get 2x Hyatt points, rather than 1x points, on your first $15,000 of non-bonus-category spend. Since spending this much will earn you an extra free night certificate, we added $150 to the point value of the offer. $95 annual fee. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Capital One Venture $680 .23/$
Promotional offer of 60,000 points with $3,000 spend in the first three months. $95 annual fee.
Barclays JetBlue (personal and business) $670 .67/$
Promotional offer of 60,000 JetBlue points ($1,000 initial spend). Business card is 50,000 JetBlue points plus 10,000 points with a purchase on a employee card. $99 annual fee.
Capital One Spark Miles (business) $650 .14/$
50,000 Capital One miles after $4,500 initial spend. Fee waived first year.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve $630 .14/$
50,000 points, worth 1.5 cents each ($4,500 initial spend). $400 annual fee, but a $325 airfare credit brings the effective annual fee down to $75.
BOA Air France Card $630 .32/$
50,000 miles plus $150 statement credit ($2,000 initial spend). Plus you get 60 XP points at signup (which isn't valued as part of the net signup value). $89 annual fee.
Wyndham Earner (Plus and business) $610 .31/$
90,000 points. 60,000 points ($1,000 initial spend) plus an additional 30,000 points with a total of $2,000 of spend over the first six months. $79 annual fee for the personal (Plus) version of the card. The business version has a higher $95 fee (so a slightly less valuable offer), but its extra benefits make it the better long-term option.
Capital One Spark Cash Select (business) $600 .13/$
50,000 points after $4,500 initial spend. If you don't have a Venture or Spark Miles card, points from the Cash version are worth a little less because they can't be directly transferred to airline partners. No annual fee.
Amex Blue Business Plus Card Up to $600
The current offer is 10,000 Membership Rewards points with $3,000 spend. But some people can access 50,000 point offer with $15,000 spend and a 40,000 point offer with $5,000 spend (plus an extra 10,000 for an employee card with $1,000 spend. See the card guide for links to try.
Amex Green Card $580 .29/$
45,000 Membership Rewards points with $2,000 spend in 6t months. $150 annual fee, but we give the card a $50 boost (total) to reflect its $100 Clear and $100 Lounge Buddy credits.
Barclay Miles & More (Lufthansa)
full $20,000
initial $3,000

$550
$470

.03/$
.16/$
Promotional offer of 50,000 Miles & More points ($3,000 initial spend) plus an additional 25,000 points with $20,000 in total spending during the first year. $89 annual fee.
Delta Reserve Business $540 .11/$
Promotional offer of 80,000 Delta miles, a $200 statement credit, and 20,000 MQMs. But card has an annual fee of $550. The personal version of the card has a similar offer, but without the $200 statement credit it fall below the threshold for this list. Some people will want to get both in order to receive 40,000 MQMs.
Amex Bonvoy Brilliant $520 .17/$
$200 of restaurant credits on top of normal 75,000 Marriott point offer ($3,000 initial spend). $450 annual fee, but comes with $300 Marriott credit that can easily be used for hotel bookings.
Amex Hilton Surpass and Business $510 .05/$
Up to 180,000 Hilton points. 130,000 Hilton points with $2,000 initial spend plus an additional 50,000 points with a total of $10,000 spend in the first six months. $95 annual fee. Higher offers might be available.
Amex Bonvoy Business Card $500 .17/$
$150 of statement credits on top of normal 75,000 Marriott point offer ($3,000 initial spend). $125 annual fee.
US Bank Altitude Connect $500 .17/$
50,000 points with $3,000 spend. 2% for grocery and dining (and 4% for travel) reduce the opportunity cost of earning the bonus. Annual fee waived the first year.
BOA Sonesta $500 .50/$
60,000 Sonesta points valued at .8 cents each, plus an extra 5,000 points for an additional cardholder. Annual fee waived first year.
Chase Southwest Airlines (all personal cards) $400-480 .40-.49/$
40,000 Southwest points with $1,000 initial spend. The smaller the annual fee, the more valuable the first year offer is, but if you fly Southwest often, you may want to pay a little more for the cards with extra benefits. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Bank of America Premium Rewards $460 .15/$
50,000 points, worth 1 cent each ($3,000 initial spend). $95 annual fee. You can receive the card's $100 airline incidental credit twice during your initial year. But, we only valued the credit at half of the potential $200 value. If you have $100,000 in combined assets with Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, you'll earn 2.625% on every purchase, so there is no opportunity cost for using the card to qualify for the bonus. $95 annual fee
Barclays Emirates Silver $460 .15/$
50,000 Emirates miles with $3,000 spend. $99 annual fee. Make sure you can use these miles before the expire.
Navy Federal Flagship Rewards $450 .15/$
40,000 points, worth $400, with $3,000 spend. Plus a free year of Amazon Prime, valued at $100 (rather than its $130 sticker price). $49 annual fee. Unfortunately, joining Navy Federal is only available for people with military backgrounds.
US Bank Business Cash Card $450 .15/$
50,000 points with $4,500 spend (over 150 days). Not as good as another US Bank Leverage Card, but still a very worthwhile offer, especially if you can also get value from its annual $100 software credit (not included in the value above). No annual fee.
Bank of America Business Cash Card $425 .09/$
$500 with $5,000 initial spend. No annual fee. You can often get more than one.

Additional great offers that require little or new spending

The following offers are all worth at least $350 and don't have a high initial spending requirement. In many cases, you'll qualify for the signup bonus after making your first purchase. In other cases, you may need to spend $500-1,000.

Amex Hilton Card (no annual fee) $350 .35/$
Promotional offer of 80,000 Hilton points ($1,000 initial spend). No annual fee.
BOA Amtrak No-annual-fee $350 .35/$
12,000 Amtrak points, worth 2.9 cents each on Amtrak travel ($1,000 initial spend). No annual fee.
Bank of America Spirit Airlines $350 .71/$
Promotional offer of 30,000 Spirit miles ($500 initial spend). No annual fee.

Take advantage of promotional offers

Banks occasionally offer higher-than-normal signup bonuses for their cards. Sometimes, these promotional offers are available to everyone. Sometimes, they are only available to specific people who have been targeted by the bank.

  • The table above reflects publicly available promotional offers. It shows you the most valuable signup offers that are available right now. In many cases, any promotional offer will be displayed directly on the bank's website. In other cases, you'll need to click on a special link that leads you to the higher-than-normal offer. These links are available in each card's credit card guide.
  • Before applying, you may want to check elsewhere to see if you can find an even better offer. It is always possible that we've missed something. As discussed in more detail in our step-by-step guide, if you want to be sure that you are getting the best offer, take the time to check some other websites. The entire process should only take a few minutes and can let you earn tens of thousands of extra points for the same card. Step-by-Step Guide: Before You Apply.
  • USCCGuideGraph.png
  • To see better Amex signup offers, you often need to browse in "Private" mode. When you visit the Amex website, any signup offers are individually targeted to you. If Amex hasn't targeted you for a better offer, you won't see it.
  • Better offers are often available to anonymous users. To see these offers, you need to open a private browser window, which ignores all your cookies and other identifying information. Each web browser uses a different name for this feature. You may also need to refresh the page a few times. In some extreme cases, you'll need to use a Virtual Private Network to make it look like you are visiting Amex from a foreign country. Of course, when you actually sign up, you would still be using your real information on the application form.
  • To receive better offers from other cards, you may need to use the "checkout trick". When you are using a credit card that is associated with an airline, hotel, or store, you will sometimes receive a better-than-normal credit card signup offer when you are in the middle of "checking out". To get this offer, you start the process of buying something, wait until you receive the offer, apply for the credit card, and then don't bother completing the purchase. We recommend always trying this approach, before applying for one of these cards.
  • For example, to see if a better offer is available for the Alaska Airlines card, you would go to the Alaska Airlines website and start buying an airline ticket. You aren't going to complete the purchase, so any airline ticket will do. Partway through the process, the website will ask you if you want to sign up for a new Alaska airlines credit card. Click to apply for the card. Then, when you return to the check-out page, you can cancel the original purchase and enjoy the benefits of the enhanced signup offer.

How we calculate the "Net Value" of signup offers

The “net sign-up value” for each of these cards is determined by calculating the value of the signup offer and then subtracting the costs involved with earning the bonus.

CalculateMoney.jpg
  • There are two costs involved with earning a signup bonus: the initial year's annual fee (if it isn't waived) and the opportunity cost of spending enough money with the new card to qualify for the signup bonus. For every dollar you need to spend, we assume that you could have earned 2.5 cents in value from your general purpose reward card and then subtract the value of the points that you will receive by using the new card instead. For example, if you have to spend $3,000 to earn the bonus and you receive 1.5 cents per dollar for spending with the card, you are giving up $30 in rewards you could have earned by using your regular reward card. To keep things simple, we don't factor in bonus reward categories, either from the new card or from the existing cards that you could have been using. Your exact opportunity cost will depend on your bonus category mix and the cards you have.
  • We don't consider the value of the card's other benefits. Many of these cards come with extra benefits, like hotel elite status benefits or primary rental car insurance. There is a good chance that you'll get at least some value from these benefits, during the initial year that you hold onto the card. For example, most airline cards have a free checked bag benefit that can save you hundreds of dollars. For anyone who can make use of this benefit, the card becomes even more valuable.
  • Since it can be hard to determine the value of these ongoing benefits, we only focus on benefits that you only receive when you first get the card and the core credits and certificates that are specifically mentioned in the table above.




Send comments or suggestions to editor@travelstrategies.com or leave a comment below.



blog comments powered by Disqus</div>