Six Best-Ever Rewards Card Offers That Aren’t Going to Last Much Longer

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One of the most frequent questions I get from readers is “how long will this bonus last?” Maybe you don’t want to apply today, but you also don’t want to miss it. So you’re trying to play baby bear and time an application just right.

It’s always hard to say when a big offer will end, though.

  • Sometimes there’s a published end date. It may not be obvious on an application page, but it’s been announced somewhere and that’s the easiest. Usually an offer will last through it’s expiration, although sometimes an offer gets extended past that.

  • Sometimes an offer ends earlier than anticipated, quickly even. That’s often because a marketing campaign goes better than expected. There’s a certain budget set out to acquire new cardmembers, and when that budget is exhausted the offer gets pulled.

  • An elevated offer may be limited-time or it may be the new normal. When the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. was first introduced I assumed 80,000 points after $5000 spend within 3 months was a temporary initial bonus meant to draw attention to the product. It’s been the best overall offer for much of the last two and a half years since the card was introduced. It’s a small business card, and bigger offers may make sense there (since average business spend volume is higher an issuer can make back the acquisition cost more quickly) but I’ve been nonetheless surprised.

Looking over the slate of available rewards card offers, there are (6) best ever offers that aren’t going to last.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card. This card was brand new and its initial bonus offer to earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open is the biggest offer there’s ever been for a Southwest Airlines credit card. When you use these points and earn a companion pass (110,000 eligible points in a year lets you take a travel companion with you for the cost of taxes whether you fly on paid tickets or awards) 80,000 points can net almost $2400 worth of travel.

    Historically Southwest card offers have gone up and down, they don’t sit at 60,000 points let alone 80,000 points. When Chase introduced the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card last year – their new premium personal card – they did it with a large bonus that turned out to be limited time.

    So if I had to peg one offer that hasn’t been announced as temporary as in my view least likely to last, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is it.

    Cardmembers receive 9000 bonus points each year after cardmember anniversary; a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees every four years; reimbursement for four upgraded boardings per year (A1 – A15 boarding purchased at the airport); plus inflight wifi credits. That package alone makes the card’s $199 annual fee well worth it.

  • UnitedSM Explorer Business Card has a best-ever offer to earn up to 100,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open and another 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.

    The card’s annual fee is $95. You receive 2 United Club passes each year with card renewal, a free checked bag, and priority boarding. In addition, United cardholders along with elites get better award availability and access to redeem miles for last seat availability. Ongoing spend will earn 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, gas stations, office supply stores and on United purchases.

    This is the first 100,000 mile offer from a U.S. airline in five years. A few years ago I got excited when this card was being offered with just 50,000 miles. This is a great way to pick up 100,000 United miles. I find that United miles are the most flexible of any U.S. airline currency for business class awards to Europe and Asia, since United has the most partners through Star Alliance (and you can combine partners to get where you’re going).

  • IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has a best-ever points offer to earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

    In addition for the first 12 months you have the card you earn really generously for your spend:

    • For the first 12 months this card will earn 25 points per dollar at IHG hotel properties. That strikes me as much stronger earn than any other card at any other hotel chain.
    • And for the first 12 months it will earn 4 points per dollar on all other spend which makes the card worth using.


    Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur

    The card comes with Platinum status; a free night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide; a free reward night on points stays of 4 or more nights (which is better than the ‘5th night free’ from other chains) and amounts to a 25% discount on four night award stays; and Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit (up to $100 every 4 years) as well.

  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express has an offer to earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership and 50% back as statement credits on purchases made directly with Delta with the card (up to $500 back total). This ends August 15, 2019. [Offer expired]

    You’ll of course receive standard airline benefits like checked bags and earlier boarding privileges, but it’s these bonuses that I think are intriguing and would call the Platinum versions best-ever.

  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has a limited-tie initial bonus offer to earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $4,000 on the new card within 4 months (expires August 28, 2019). In addition to those points when you meet the minimum spend in the time allotted you will receive a free weekend night reward as well.

    Every other credit card free night offer I’m aware of caps the category of hotel where you can use it, or the maximum points value of the free night. The American Express Hilton free night does not. Instead you can use it at almost any Hilton hotel (the bulk of excluded properties are ‘vacation club’ and ‘all-inclusive’ hotels). However you have to use it on a weekend night: Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night stay.

    What’s more each year you spend $15,000 on the card you’ll earn another weekend night reward, which makes using the card certainly worthwhile.


    Conrad Bora Bora

    Of course the card also comes with complimentary Gold status To me Gold status is the sweet spot in the Hilton program, which gets you breakfast – at a place like the Conrad Bora Bora that can save you around $50 per person per day, though when I stay in city hotels for work I’m often not using the benefit.

    Interestingly the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card at a $95 annual fee (
    see rates and fees) offers Priority Pass airport lounge access. This is the only sub-$100 annual fee card that comes with a Priority Pass membership and includes 10 free visits each year.

  • Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® has the best offer I’m aware of, 60,000 miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days ($0 annual fee the first year, then $99). This was announced as being ‘limited time’ but now is apparently coming to an end according to Doctor of Credit.

    HawaiianMiles are great for Hawaii travel especially, and you can easily top off a Hawaiian Airlines account by transferring American Express points.

    What’s more just as you can transfer points freely, You and your partner can get the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® and combine points. Hawaiian Airlines credit card customers can share miles for free, without the usual $25 service fee, $0.01 per mile transfer fee, and 2000 mile minimum. Instead there’s no minimum miles required for sharing.

I like small business card offers from Chase, American Express and Citibank especially because they shouldn’t add to your “5/24” total that Chase uses as part of considering whether to approve you for another card. You can get the Delta, United, and/or Southwest business cards without adding to your 5/24.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Usually ,it seems, Chase Southwest cards have given at least a short notice of what date the bonus amount would drop. I have companion pass till 12/31/20 and am hoping business Performance 80k bonus will last till early October so I can hopefully use it toward extending companion pass for an extra year.

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