Best Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses – February 2016

best credit card bonuses this monthSign up bonuses are one of my favorite ways to earn credit card rewards.

There are currently some great credit card sign up bonus offers, up to $625 or more, and I have used many of them myself.

Basically you sign up for a credit card with a bonus and meet the various requirements within a time limit to get the bonus.

Sign up bonuses are normally awarded in some form of credit card reward points which you can use for either a statement credit, travel, gift cards or other reward based on each program.

Each program values points differently so it is important to know your options before you cash out your sign up bonus.

This can greatly alter the value of the credit card sign up bonus reward points so make sure you know what you’ll use your points for before you sign up for a particular sign up bonus credit card to get the best deal.

Travel Credit Cards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardMy wife and I recently used two of these credit cards to completely pay for a 7 day Carnival Cruise! Essentially, you’ll earn 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

You can then use the 40,000 bonus miles plus 6,000 earned miles on purchases to redeem your miles against $460 of travel purchases charged on your Venture credit card.

You’ll earn two miles for every dollar in purchases you make no matter what category you make your purchases in, which essentially is 2% cash back when you redeem your miles for travel purchases. Your miles will never expire and there is no limit to how many reward miles you can earn with the card.

Just to clarify, Capital One considers the following as travel purchases: airlines, hotels, railroad tickets, cruise lines, taxi cabs, car rentals, limo services, bus lines, travel agents and time shares.

As an added benefit, you won’t have to pay foreign transaction fees and Capital One will provide you with your credit score monthly.

There is no annual fee for the first year, but you’ll pay a $59 annual fee for each year after the first.

Apply for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card today.

As with any card, please read all of the fine print and details on the application before you sign up. You need to completely understand the details to ensure you get your rewards!

Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

barclay arrival plusYou can earn 40,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of having an account. When you redeem your miles for travel you’ll earn a bonus of 5% of the miles you redeemed.

This card offers an awesome 2 miles per dollar on all purchases you make, which will equate to 2.1% value if you redeem your rewards for travel after the 5% miles redemption bonus.

Bonus miles can be redeemed for a statement credit on travel purchases at $0.01 per mile and redeemed for a regular statement credit at a value of $0.005 per mile. Barclaycard considers the following as travel categories:

  • Airlines
  • Travel Agencies & Tour Operators
  • Hotels
  • Motels & Resorts
  • Cruise Lines
  • Passenger Railways and
  • Car Rental Agencies

After meeting the minimum spend amount for the sign up bonus, you’ll essentially have earned $483 in cash back if you redeem it all for travel. That’s pretty sweet! This card also has a EMV chip for overseas travel!

Keep in mind that while this card waives the $89 annual fee for the first year, you will have to pay it in the following years.

Apply for the Barlcaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard today!

As with any card, please read all of the fine print and details on the application before you sign up. You need to completely understand the details to ensure you get your rewards!

Bank AmeriCard Travel Rewards Credit Card

bankamericard-travel-rewards-credit-card-tiltedThe Bank AmeriCard Travel Rewards credit card is a great basic rewards credit card with no annual fee.

Simply spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of card membership and you’ll earn 20,000 points worth $200 in travel credits.

You’ll also earn 1.5 points per dollar in purchases so you’ll have 21,500 points after you complete your sign up bonus spending.

You can use your points for the following travel purchase categories: airfare, car rentals, hotels, airline baggage fees, campgrounds, cruise lines, tourist attractions, zoos, amusement parks and exhibits.

You won’t have to pay any foreign transaction fees on this card and the points that you earn never expire.

If you have a Bank of America checking or savings account, you’ll even get a bonus 10% extra points. If you’re a preferred rewards customer, you could even earn a points bonus of 25% all the way up to 75%.

Points must be redeemed in 2,500 point increments for a $25 statement credit against travel costs.

If you’re looking for a great no annual fee sign up bonus credit card, this is it.

Apply for the Bank AmeriCard Travel Rewards Credit Card today!

Hotel Credit Cards

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

starwood preferred guest credit card from american expressThe Starwood Preferred Guest credit card is often cited as one of the best hotel credit cards you can get. Currently, the card offers 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.

You’ll have over 1,200 hotels and resorts to choose from when you’re booking your stay. Nights start at just 2,000 points for a category 1 weekend stay all the way up to 35,000 points for their swankiest hotels. There are some great values available and there are no blackout dates.

You can earn up to 5 Starpoints for each dollar of purchases at qualifying SPG hotels depending on your SPG status. Additionally, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. There are no foreign transaction fees on this card.

As a cardholder, you will get free in-room, premium internet access as well as free unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices.

If you want to transfer points, there is a very long list of airlines you can transfer your points to, mostly on a 1 Starpoint to 1 airline point ratio.

Unfortunately, some hotels may have mandatory service or resort charges, but that’s the case with almost all brands these days for their higher end or big city hotels.

The annual fee is waived the first year and will be $95 in subsequent years.

Apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express today!

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Credit Card

citi-hilton-hhonors-reserve-credit-card-sign-up-bonusIf you like fancy hotels then the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve credit card might be worth checking out. You can earn two weekend night certificates, each good for one weekend night in a standard room with double occupancy at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.

To receive this sign up bonus you must spend $2,500 in eligible purchases within the first four months of card membership.

In addition to the sign up bonus, you will earn 10 bonus points for every dollar spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio, 5 bonus points for every dollar spent on airline and car rental purchases and 3 bonus points for every dollar spent on all other purchases. These are in addition to the HHonors base points you may earn for your stays.

You can earn an anniversary bonus of one weekend night at select hotels and resorts if you spend $10,000 or more on eligible purchases in each card membership year.

The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve credit card features no foreign transaction fees and a Citi chip to assist in making global travel easier.

Finally, you will be rewarded complimentary HHonors gold status as long as you’re a Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve cardmember and can earn an upgrade to HHonors Diamond status by making $40,000 or more in eligible purchases during each calendar year.

Like many of these stellar sign up bonus cards, the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card has a $95 annual fee.

As with any card, please read all of the fine print and details on the application before you sign up. You need to completely understand the details to ensure you get your rewards!

Business Credit Cards

Many people think they don’t qualify for business credit cards. However, if you run any type of business, such as selling things on eBay, rent out a property or freelance write on the internet, you can try to apply for a business credit card.

If you don’t have a business structured, chances are you would be classified as a sole propietorship and would use your social security number in place of an employer identification or taxpayer identification number.

Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card

chase_ink_plus_business_credit_card_sign_up_bonusThe Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card offers one of the largest sign up bonuses I’m aware of at 60,000 sign up bonus points but it comes with a large spending requirement of $5,000 in the first 3 months from opening your account.

Just like the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, these points can be transferred with no transfer fees at a 1 point to 1 point value to any of the following reward programs: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus®, British Airways Executive Club, Korean Air SKYPASS, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer,  Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hyatt Gold Passport®, IHG® Rewards Club, Amtrak Guest Rewards®, Marriott Rewards® and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®.

This credit card offers no foreign transaction fees. There is an annual fee of $95.

Even though this is a business card you can still apply for it as a sole proprietor by simply giving your name as the legal name of your business your SSN as the taxpayer identification number.

If you sell anything on the side or have a side gig that isn’t a W-2 job you could likely consider it a business (and you should be reporting the income to the IRS as well if it is taxable). Don’t lie about your business though… Be honest when filing out the application.

Apply for the Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card today!

As with any card, please read all of the fine print and details on the application before you sign up. You need to completely understand the details to ensure you get your rewards!

Capital One Spark Cash for Business Credit Card

capital one spark cash for business credit cardThe Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card offers a hefty $500 sign up bonus after spending $4,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.

This card also offers a great 2% cash back on every purchase you make.

Your rewards will never expire. There are no category limits and your cash back is unlimited. This card is really simple and offers great rewards for a business credit card.

Additionally, this card has no balance transfer fees and no foreign transaction fees. You can even get free employee cards if you wish!

There is no annual fee the first year, but an annual fee of $59 per year kicks in after the first year.

Apply for the Capital One Spark Cash for Business credit card today.

As with any card, please read all of the fine print and details on the application before you sign up. You need to completely understand the details to ensure you get your rewards!

Airline Credit Cards

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Premier Credit Cards from Chase

If you fly on Southwest these cards offer some tremendous sign up bonus values! Both credit cards, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Premier, offer a standard 25,000 sign up bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of opening an account.

Hint: Sometimes if you google Southwest 50,000 point offer, you can find a better sign up bonus. Currently, I can only find the Premier version offering 50,000 points.

Those 25,000 points can be redeemed for over $350 in Wanna Get Away?® fares which can be redeemed for a round trip flight.

In addition to the sign up bonus you earn 2 points for every dollar spent on Southwest Airlines® when you book directly with the airlines and 2 points for every dollar you spend on Southwest Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent.

Both versions of the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card have anniversary bonuses. The Plus credit card has a 3,000 point anniversary bonus and the Premier credit card has a 6,000 point anniversary bonus.

The Premier version boasts no foreign transaction fees which can save you a ton of money if you commonly use credit cards in foreign countries.

Unfortunately, both credit cards have annual fees. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus annual fee is $69 and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier annual fee is $99.

If you use all of your points each year, the extra $30 for 3,000 extra anniversary bonus points is actually worth $40+ in Wanna Get Away?® fares so it might be worth it to splurge for the Premier card.

As with any card, please read all of the fine print and details on the application before you sign up. You need to completely understand the details to ensure you get your rewards!

General Rewards Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

chase_sapphire_preferred_credit_card_sign_up_bonus I personally signed up for this card a couple years ago. The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card has a limited time 50,000 point sign up bonus after you spend $4,000 within 3 months of opening your card.

You can also earn 5,000 points by adding your first authorized user and having them make a purchase within the first 3 months.

The 50,000 points can be applied as a statement credit or direct deposited into your bank account for $500 with each point being worth a penny.

If you use the rewards through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program you can get $625 worth of value. However, there are some even better ways to use your 50,000 point sign up bonus.

Advanced card users will likely transfer their points to another rewards program at a 1 point to 1 point value to some of these amazing rewards programs: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus®, British Airways Executive Club, Korean Air SKYPASS, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer,  Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hyatt Gold Passport®, IHG® Rewards Club, Amtrak Guest Rewards®, Marriott Rewards® and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®.

I transferred my points to the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® program because each Chase Ultimate Rewards point is equal to 1 Rapid Rewards point. I can exchange 100 Rapid Rewards points for roughly $1.42 in Wanna Get Away?® fares which essentially increases the value of my points by roughly 42%! Not shabby.

You also earn points for your purchases. You earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

A couple of the other great benefits include no foreign transaction fees and the card is Chip and Signature enabled for when you’re traveling internationally.

They even have a customer service number answered directly by real humans! You don’t have to go through any computer automated prompts and that is pretty awesome if you ask me.

There is an annual fee but Chase will waive the $95 annual fee on the Sapphire Preferred card for the first year. You’ll have to pay the fee each year after that.

P.S. This card is pretty cool because it is made of metal and heavier than normal credit cards.

As with any card, please read all of the fine print and details on the application before you sign up. You need to completely understand the details to ensure you get your rewards!

Citi ThankYou Premier Card

citi thankyou premierCiti has recently joined the game of large sign up bonuses with the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. Simply spend $3,000 within the first 3 months and you’ll earn 40,000 ThankYou points.

You can redeem your points at a penny per point for gift cards to places like WalMart, Home Depot, Lowe’s or one of many other retailers.

If you want to get an extra 25% value for your points, you can redeem your points to book travel through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center for airline tickets, cruises, car rentals or more.

On your purchases, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel, including gas, 2 points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment as well as 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. There are no limit to the number of points you can earn and points never expire.

This card offers no foreign transactions fees and EMV Chip technology for improved global acceptance and security.

This card does have an annual fee of $95 per year, but it is waived for the first 12 months of card membership.

As with any card, please read all of the fine print and details on the application before you sign up. You need to completely understand the details to ensure you get your rewards!

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

Citi-ThankYou-PreferreThe Citi ThankYou Preferred credit card can provide up to a 20,000 bonus ThankYou points bonus! In order to earn the full bonus, you must spend $1,500 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

You can redeem your 20,000 points for $200 in gift cards or you can save them and use them for other great rewards such as merchandise.

You’ll earn 1 ThankYou point on every dollar of purchases, but for dining an entertainment purchases you’ll earn 2 ThankYou points for every dollar you spend. Points never expire and you can earn unlimited ThankYou points.

Feel free to travel the world with this credit card. It has Chip Technology for global acceptance.

As an amazing kicker, this card has no annual fee!

As with any card, please read all of the fine print and details on the application before you sign up. You need to completely understand the details to ensure you get your rewards!

Keep These Thoughts In Mind When Considering a Credit Card

Credit cards can be great tools and make you a ton of money, if, and only if you play the game correctly. I ALWAYS pay my credit card off in full every month and you should too. If you can’t do this I would suggest against getting credit cards.

If you have a problem with debt and/or credit cards I would suggest you not sign up for new cards. The cash back benefits do not outweigh the interest charges you will pay.

Credit card interest rates are normally higher than most other loans and the interest can add up fast. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

What sign up bonus credit cards have you used in the past? Are there any other offers I should be aware of or add to my list? I’d love to hear your input below in the comments!

The information in the article is accurate to the best of my knowledge as of February 1st, 2016. It will be periodically updated as offers change. As with any offer, make sure to read all of the details on the application site as those are the terms and conditions that will govern any credit card you sign up for. What you have read here is simply a summary and does not contain all terms and conditions.

Picture by: 401kcalculator.org Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Looks like some good cards! My wife and I both got Amex cards recently that had a really cool travel point program with it. We’ve already met the minimum and got $1000 for travel rewards and will be paying for our bathroom remodel next month with it. We’ll be using the points to go on a vacation early next year. :)

  2. I have churned almost all of those! I did the Southwest card this winter…but isntead of $800 in flights I took $500 in Walmart gift cards. Boring, I know, but it freed up $500 in my budget to throw at my mortgage. Right now we are churning Starwood Preferred guest cards for our trip to Europe next spring!

  3. I have a United card and got a Continental card before the merger. I have added a business card over the years as well. Last year I got a Hilton card for the hotel stays. You can really rack up points on the card quickly.

  4. I love credit card rewards. They are just so easy. Chase has had some pretty great offers lately. $500 for opening a Sapphire account is no small reward. If I was in the market for a new one, I’d seriously give that one a closer look.

  5. I got the email about that new Citibank card, but I have a Chase Freedom and a Chase Sapphire Preferred and love how those 2 cards work together!

    Hope you’re doing well :) Love the site design!!

  6. I churn cards all year long.. It takes discipline, but makes me about 2k a year for doing nothing..
    If it hasnt been mentioned here, its good to note that the best everyday card in the world (In my opinion) is the capital one spark business card. It earns 3% on EVERY purchase.. Not just gas. the only catch is a 99 dollar fee annually.

    • actually, I lied.. Its 2% on every purchase.. Still not bad.

      • Gordon, isn’t there an annual fee with that card? It’s good if you spend enough to make it worth it, but you definitely have to keep it in mind now that there are no fee cards at a flat 1.5%.

  7. I am trying to slowly ease my way into rewards cards. I did sign up for the Discover It card a couple months ago but haven’t used it yet. I just have this fear in the back of my head that I’ll buy more than normal with a CC. I am contemplating just charging any normal bills I can to it and then immediately logging in and paying it off so that I can rack up some rewards. I’d like to get the confidence to earn the big rewards.

    • If you can handle it then that sounds like a good strategy, but if you’re worried about getting into trouble with credit cards then I would say no reward is worth potential credit card debt!

  8. The new Wells Fargo cards probably deserve a mention as well, $400 in cash + $100 in airline reimbursements.

  9. Bill Long says:

    Bank of America offers a 0% interest card ( less than 1 year) and they award $25 each calendar quarter if you pay more than the minimum ( $25) each month and pay on time. If you open a small Bank of America checking/saving account and have the $25 bonus credited to the account you get another $5. You must make these payments each month in a quarter to get the $30 at the end of the quarter. Time getting the card in order to start a new quarter of payments. Keep enough on the card @)% to owe a minimum of $25 each month, play this out until the 0% runs out and then pay the card off. Can get $120 a year doing this.

    • Thanks for the comment Bill. This sounds really complicated though for such a small pay off compared to some of these other cards like the Barclay Arrival Plus. However, if this is what works for you, free money is awesome!

      • An easy way to use this BofA Balance Rewards card is to pay a small number of small recurring bills using the card. I have mine set up to pay 3 monthly bills automatically, totaling about $30 monthly. Paying the card balance in total every month is also automatic. Set it and forget it and get $120 a year. Not a lot of cash, but not bad for doing a few online transactions to set it up, and no annual fee.

  10. After the Sapphire my best card is the Venture its 40,000 bonus points for $3,000 in 3 months.

  11. In the past year and a half I got both the Southwest Premier and Signature cards when they each had a bonus of 50,000 points which they seem to offer a few times every year. When the combined bonuses and spending reached 110,000 points it also earned us a Companion Pass which has saved us thousands of dollars since my wife flies with me for free, even if I am paying with points! Then we got the Marriott Rewards card while it was offering a 70,000 point bonus. Our Marriott Rewards points were used to stay ten free nights in Marriott hotels over the past year, worth well over $1000. Most recently we started using the Chase Ink Business Plus card which was also offering a 70,000 point bonus that we will be able to use at Marriott hotels or on Southwest flights, or in many other places. It really pays to watch for those special offers!

  12. Currently I would say the Barclays US Airways Premier MasterCard with it’s 50,000 point sign up bonus is one of the best offers. The bonus is easily worth well over $500 dollars in flights. The card is being discontinued soon so act quick! It should also be noted that if you already have credit with Barclays and are denied for a card with them you can easily call them up and move some of your credit to get approved. I’ve only been 18 for 8 months and I just got the Barclays US Airways card along with their Arrival Plus (and the Chase Freedom) with the help of moving credit from my first card with them.

  13. be careful with citi thank you card if youve had one before, they will issue you a card, but when you have met your minimum and ask for your sign on bonus, they will not give it.

    • There definitely are rules if you’ve already had a card or received the sign up bonus for a card before. Make sure you understand if you are eligible for the bonus before you apply. Call the credit card company and verify if you need to.

  14. It should probably be mentioned that the Citi ThankYou reward points can be transferred to partners as well. That seems to be a big hole in your recommendations.

  15. Great work on getting all that information together. I spend about $3K per month on my existing cards, I may have to do some travel hacking soon.

    • Glad I could help. I normally update this post once a month with the latest and greatest, so make sure to check back when you’re ready to sign up for a credit card.

  16. Is there a link for the Southwest Plus 50,000 bonus? The bonus on the website is still at 25,000.

    thanks for your great blog!!!

    • Just google Southwest 50,000 points and you should be able to find a link that works. They’re always changing, so I won’t post one here, but Google will find one for you :)

  17. Keeping too many credit card isn’t good for your credit score right ?
    Also if we use these cards for paying our bills ( apartment , phone) , do we still get points ??

    • As long as you don’t carry a balance, carrying more credit cards shouldn’t hurt your score in most cases. Of course, if all of the credit cards are new it could shorten your average age of credit which could slightly hurt your score. You do get points for almost any regular purchase. You don’t get points for cash advances though. Just make sure to never carry a balance.

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