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There’s no quicker and easier way to earn a large amount of miles quickly than with a new credit card. And before the holidays is the perfect time to get one, because it’s even easier than the rest of the year to meet the minimum spending required to earn signup bonuses.
Every month I post what I find are the best signup bonus offers out there. Several of last month’s offers are gone or changed, and new better offers have arrived. So here’s the current up to date list of best initial card bonus deals. And here are easy ways to meet the minimum spend required by some of the offers.
Here are the cards I consider to have the very best initial bonus offers right now:
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has an 80,000 point signup bonus after $5000 spend within 3 months. That can even be enough for a roundtrip business class award ticket between the US and Europe. (Chase points are super valuable because they transfer directly to a variety of airlines and hotels.)
It earns 3 points per dollar on travel — that’s airlines, hotels, rental cars, tolls, even Uber — and 3 points per dollar on shipping and advertising on social media and search engines, so great for anyone who advertises on Facebook or Twitter, or who spends money advertising with Google. It also comes with $600 protection against theft or damage when you use it to pay your cell phone.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card lets you earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
This is the card to get started with. Get Sapphire Reserve later, perhaps product change to it after a year, this is the easier card to get approved for and it has a better annual fee.
Points transfer to United, Hyatt, Southwest, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, JetBlue, Air France KLM, Emirates, JetBlue, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Marriott Rewards, and IHG Rewards Club. Probably the best all-around credit card, certainly for getting started in the hobby, and with a great signup bonus.
In fact since it has a bigger initial bonus offer than Sapphire Reserve (and you can’t get bonuses for both), and is easier to get approved for, a great strategy if you want Sapphire Reserve is to get the Sapphire Preferred card and ask Chase to product change in a year. In general Chase doesn’t approve this card for folks who have signed up for 5 or more new card accounts in the past 24 months, it’s the first card you should apply for.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is offering 80,000 Rapid Rewards points with $5000 spend within 3 months. Earning 110,000 points in a year (including from Southwest credit cards, flights, online shopping through their portal) earns a Companion Pass which allows you to take a designated companion with you for just security taxes when you fly Southwest even on points. A companion pass effectively doubles the value of your points, making 80,000 points worth nearly $2400 in travel.
The card rebates the cost of four A1 – A15 boardings per year and also the fee for Southwest Airlines wifi service up to 365 times per year. While no end date has been announced for this offer I see this as introductory for the new card, and don’t expect it to last.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is offering 70,000 AAdvantage® miles after $4,000 in purchases in first 4 months. This card has a $0 annual fee the first year (then $99). You can get this even if you have the personal card, and even if you have one of the AAdvantage cards from Barclays.
I Flew Qantas First Class Using AAdvantage Miles This Year With My Wife and Daughter
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® is a $95 annual fee card (not waived first year) offering 65,000 miles after $1,000 in purchases within 90 days and 10,000 more miles for adding an employee card and making a purchase with that card within those 90 days. It is possible to get both the CitiBusiness card above as well as this one.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® best-ever offer with an initial bonus of 60,000 miles and a companion certificate after first purchase and paying the card’s $99 annual fee within 90 days.
- 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).
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is offering 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the new card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. You also can earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with the new card within your first 3 months.
The card comes with first bag free on Delta flights, Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights, and a 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit. There’s a lot of value in the annual domestic economy round-trip companion certificate that comes upon renewal of the card.
- Ink Business Unlimited(SM) Credit Card is included here because while its initial bonus is $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, the value of the bonus shoots up if you have a Chase card whose points transfer to miles like Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Transfer these points to that other Chase card and then those points transfer to miles. And it’s a no annual fee card that earns unlimited 1.5 points per dollar for ongoing spend.
- British Airways Visa Signature® Credit Card lets you earn 100,000 Avios: 50,000 Avios after $3,000 spent within the first three months and another 50,000 Avios after $20,000 spent in total purchases in the first year. It also gives you a promo code or 10% off British Airways tickets when you pay with the card.
And spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year gets you a companion award ticket for just the taxes and fees.
Crucially the card has brand new improved earning for spend and offers a statement credit for taxes and fees when redeeming British Airways Avios for BA transatlantic flights originating in the U.S. You can get up to $600 a year rebated (3 credits a year up to $200 each).
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express has a great new offer for the American Express Business Platinum card. It’s a limited-time offer through 12/14/19.
- You earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an additional 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of cardmmbership.
It comes with a $100 Global Entry credit and a $200 airline fee credit (you pick one preferred airline to use it on). You can enroll for up to $200 in statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell each year ($100 semi-annually and I’ve found plenty of items available priced under $100). Cardmembers are also eligible for one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork to access 300+ workspaces in 75+ cities (enroll by 12/31/19).
It can get you discounts on premium cabin airfare. usiness Platinum gets you Marriott Gold and Hilton Gold, pretty well covering you with some benefits for hotel stays along with National Car Rental Executive status.
And Business Platinum cardmembers get access to American Express Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium lounges as well as Airspace and Escape lounges as well as Delta lounge access when flying Delta same-day. That’s more comprehensive lounge access than any other card.
Hong Kong Centurion Lounge
- Marriott Bonvoy BoundlessTM Credit Card is offering 100,000 points after $5000 spend on purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership. Each year after card renewal you earn an annual free night after each account anniversary valued for hotels which cost up to 35,000 points.
And you’ll receive 15 elite nights every year as a cardholder, helpful if you’re trying to earn Platinum or even 75 night status. You can earn 15 elite nights with this card, 10 elite nights with a single modest scheduled meeting, and the Platinum just takes 25 more nights.
Al Maha Desert Resort
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card lets you earn up to 60,000 points as an initial offer — 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open plus, earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open.
This is the premium Southwest Airlines co-brand card really designed for folks who fly Southwest — it makes Southwest travel better, and spending helps earn both A-List status and a companion pass.
This $149 annual fee card provides a $75 travel credit with the airline each year; 20% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies; and four upgraded boardings per year when available (when A1-15 boarding positions are offered at the gate, buy it and you’ll receive a statement credit for the charge). In addition cardmembers receive 7,500 bonus points after their cardmember anniversary.
- Avianca Vuela Visa® Card offers 60,000 LifeMiles through end of year (40,000 Bonus LifeMiles after first purchase within 90 days of account opening, an additional 20,000 bonus miles after $1,000 spend on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening) using promo code SB4060 when completing the application.
It comes with a 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after $12,000 spent each year and an additional 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after $24,000 spent each year.
Star Alliance frequent flyer program Avianca LifeMiles is one of my favorites. They offer domestic US flights from just 3500 miles, and transatlantic awards for as little as 13,500 miles. You can even save miles on a premium cabin award by adding a segment in a lower class of service.
They’re a transfer partner of Citi, American Express, and Capital One so you can combine points into a LifeMiles account, and you can earn their points quickly with their credit card as well. Not enough miles? They regularly sell points inexpensively too.
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card is fantastic for anyone who likes Hyatt. It makes earning elite status easier, and spending is rewarding — for Hyatt stays, for bonus categories, and because of the additional free night after $15,000 in spend each cardmember year.
The initial offer is to earn up to 50,000 Bonus Points – 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening plus an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.
You’ll receive 1 free night every year after your cardmember anniversary at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort and earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year.
The card lets you get automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open and 5 qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every year and also earn 2 qualifying night credits towards your next tier status every time you spend $5,000 on your card.
Park Hyatt Sydney Opera Deluxe Room is akin to a Junior Suite
Think there’s a card that belongs on this list but isn’t here, leave a comment!