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As credit card issuers continuously compete with each other to try to earn a spot in your wallet, credit card sign-up bonuses just keep getting bigger and better. A recent MagnifyMoney* study found that the average sign-up bonus for a travel rewards card more than doubled from 16,050 points in 2008 to 40,556 points in 2018. That’s an astounding increase of 24,506 points, clearly indicating issuers’ desire to attract new customers.
By meeting the requirements of a sign-up bonus, you can earn increased rewards within the first several months of account opening. And, depending on the spending prerequisites, you may not need to up your spending by much or at all to earn the bonus. Plus, cards with great sign-up bonuses often provide added value with rewards and other perks.
Here are five credit cards that have some incredible sign-up bonuses and may change at any time:
1. Best luxury card sign-up bonus: The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Welcome Offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
The Membership Rewards® points you earn from the Welcome Offer can help offset the $550 annual fee during your first year of card membership. And, you can redeem Membership Rewards® points in a variety of ways including travel, gift cards, points for charges and more. Redemption value varies, so refer to www.membershiprewards.com/pointsinfo for details. Plus, you have the ability to transfer your points to participating frequent travel programs mostly on a 1:1 basis.
Other card perks:
- $200 Airline fee credit: Receive up to $200 in statement credits for incidental fees like in-flight meals and checked bags when you select a qualifying airline. Currently, qualifying airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.
- Credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry fee: Apply for TSA Precheck or Global Entry and you’ll receive a statement credit for the fee once every four years.
- Airport lounge access: The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ provides access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. So, you can get away from the crowds and relax before or after your flight.
- Fine hotels & resorts: Receive complimentary benefits such as room upgrades when available, breakfast, late checkout, early check-in and more when you book a stay at any of the 1,000+ Fine Hotels & Resorts.
- Numerous insurances: This card offers several insurances that can provide added protection to you and your property: baggage insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance and travel accident insurance.
Read our review of The Platinum Card® from American Express here.
2. Best travel rewards sign-up bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
This offer can be an even better deal if you redeem points for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Points redeemed this way are worth 25% more, meaning one point is worth $.0125 instead of the typical $.01 when redeemed outside the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for other options like gift cards and cash. The sign-up bonus is a great way to cover the cost of upcoming travel arrangements like hotel, airfare car rentals and more — just remember to book via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Other card perks:
- Increased value of points redeemed for travel: When you redeem points for travel like airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises via Chase Ultimate Rewards, points are worth 25% more. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
- 1:1 points transfer: You can transfer your points to select frequent travel programs on a 1:1 basis. Current programs include: British Airways Executive Club, Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM, Iberia Plus, Korean Air SKYPASS, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus®, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® and World of Hyatt.
- Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance: You may be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for prepaid non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours and hotels if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations.
Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card here.
3. Best sign-up bonus with no spending requirements: Discover it® Cash Back
The offer: Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.*
If you don’t want to be rushed to meet the requirements of a sign-up bonus, the new cardmember offer of the Discover it® Cash Back can be a good alternative to typical bonuses. You control how much money Discover matches, so if you earn $100 in cash back at the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match that and give you an additional $100 in cash back. There’s no limit to the amount you can earn, so spend as much or as little as you want and Discover will match it.
Other card perks:
- Simple cash back redemption: You can conveniently redeem cash back at any time and for any amount. That’s a plus compared with most other cards that require a minimum $25 to redeem.
- No late fee on your first late payment: Discover won’t charge you a late fee on your first late payment. This is a great reminder to set up autopay or calendar alerts.
Read our review of the Discover it® Cash Back here.
4. Best student card sign-up bonus: Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students
The offer: Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
The points you earn can help pay for a portion of typical student expenses like textbooks, laptops, meals or gas when redeemed for statement credit, gift cards, merchandise or cash back. Or, you can redeem points for travel via Citi’s travel portal, giving your points one of the more straightforward conversion rates — one point worth $.01 (gift cards also offer this rate). The redemption value for other options is less than $.01 per point, so it’s a good idea to evaluate how you want to use your points in order to get the most value.
Other card perks:
- Citi® Price Rewind: Register eligible items with Citi® Price Rewind, and a 60-day search for a lower price will be conducted. If a lower price is found, you may be reimbursed for the difference between the price found and what you paid.
- 0% Intro period: If you plan on purchasing textbooks or school supplies, the intro 0% for 7 months on Purchases* on purchases can come in handy. Just make sure to pay your balance before the intro period ends since the regular purchase APR is 16.24% - 26.24%* (Variable).
Read our review of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students here.
5. Best business card sign-up bonus: Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
The offer: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The points you earn from the sign-up bonus can be used in a variety of ways that suit your business’s unique spending. If you and your employees travel often, increase the value of your points by 25% by redeeming for travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards. That means points are worth $.0125 each instead of $.01. Or, if you often purchase from Amazon.com, points can conveniently be redeemed to cover all or part of your eligible Amazon.com order — including tax and shipping. You can also redeem points for cash back or gift cards that can be used to incentivize employees.
Other card perks:
- Increased value of points redeemed for travel: Redeeming points for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards increases their value by 25%. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel. Travel purchases include airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises.
- 1:1 Points transfer: Benefit from the flexibility to transfer points to select frequent travel programs on a 1:1 basis. Current programs include: British Airways Executive Club, Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM, Iberia Plus, Korean Air SKYPASS, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus®, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® and World of Hyatt.
- Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance: If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you may be reimbursed up to $5,000 per trip for prepaid non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours and hotels.
- Cellphone protection: When you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your card, you can get up to $600 per claim with cellphone protection for you and your employees. *Maximum of three claims in a 12-month period with a $100 deductible per claim.
Read our review of the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card here.
*Disclosure: MagnifyMoney is a subsidiary of LendingTree, which is also the parent company of CompareCards.