While many people may not be traveling now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t start racking up rewards towards future adventures. That way you’ll be able to plan your dream trip when the time is right.
While there are several excellent long-standing credit card offers, the specifics of the top offers are constantly changing (be it the annual fee, minimum spending requirement, or even amount of the welcome bonus).
If you read my blog on a daily basis then by all means skip this post, but for me it’s a useful, “current” place to refer people who ask about which cards they should apply for, a question I get on a daily basis.
Why You Should Care About Credit Card Offers
Simply put, when the time is right, most people want to travel better, but don’t know how. One of the best ways to improve your travel experience is to pick up an excellent credit card that can add value to you.
After all, doesn’t this…
Etihad’s 787 business class
…look better than this?
Etihad’s 787 economy class
This is more true in the coronavirus era than ever before, given that more space has become the ultimate luxury.
When applying for a credit card, consider three main points:
- The bonus — how many points can you earn for signing up for the card and completing some amount of spending; this typically ranges from a single purchase to several thousand dollars
- The rewards structure — pick a credit card that offers bonus points in the categories you spend the most on, whether that’s dining or groceries or gas or airfare
- The perks — some cards offer perks that more than justify the annual fee, even if you don’t spend money on the card; for example, there are hotel credit cards with sub-$100 annual fees that offer annual free night certificates that can be redeemed at hotels that cost $300+ per night
There are so many credit cards worth having
In this post I’m focusing primarily on the welcome bonuses, which can be one of the best ways to get rewarded quickly. Often a good credit card bonus will be enough earn you an international ticket in first or business class, which many would otherwise assume is off limits.
10 Best Credit Card Offers October 2020
Let’s look at some of the best credit card welcome bonuses that are available this month. Here’s what I consider the 10 best to be:
Current offer: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95
Why it’s a great offer: The Ink cards have extremely generous category bonuses that help sole proprietorships and small businesses maximize points on everyday credit card spending. This card offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent annually in combined purchases on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.
This is a card that’s good for both for the welcome bonus and for everyday spending. I value Ultimate Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me, the welcome bonus is worth $1,605 after subtracting the annual fee.
Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for a stay at the Park Hyatt Milan
Current offer: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95
Why it’s a great offer: This card is currently offering an increased bonus that’s 20,000 points bigger than before. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to Singapore, United, Hyatt, and many other programs. The card is also great for everyday spending given that it offers double points on dining and travel. I value the welcome bonus on this card at $1,265.
Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for the Park Hyatt Maldives
Current offer: 75,000 Bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
Annual fee: $95
Why it’s a great offer: Bonvoy points are especially flexible and can be redeemed for more than just stays at Marriott properties
Potentially redeem your points at the Westin Maldives
Current offer: Up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points — 70,000 points after spending $5,000 within three months, and an additional 30,000 points after spending a total of $25,000 within six months
Annual fee: $199
Why it’s a great offer: If you meet both tiers of the spending requirement as a new cardmember you’ll have a balance of at least 125,000 Rapid Rewards, which is more than enough to earn Companion Pass. On top of that, this card has so many great perks that make it worth holding onto long term, from an anniversary points bonus, to free Wi-Fi on Southwest, to upgraded boardings.
125,000 Rapid Rewards points can get you lots of flights, including to Hawaii
Current offer: 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months
Annual fee: no annual fee
Why it’s a great offer: While these are two different cards, they have the same sign-up bonuses and both don’t have an annual fee, so I’ll cover them in the same section here. The Ink Cash offers 5x points in useful categories (on the first $25,000 spent per cardmember year on office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines), and the Ink Unlimited offers 1.5x points on all purchases.
For both cards, points can be pooled with the Ultimate Rewards points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. Assuming you have one of these cards in conjunction with one accruing premium Ultimate Rewards points, I value the welcome bonus on this card at $850.
Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel in Singapore Airlines Suites
Current offer: Up to 100,000 British Airways Avios — 50,000 Avios after spending $3,000 within three months, and an additional 50,000 Avios after spending a total of $20,000 within the first year months
Annual fee: $95
Why it’s a great offer: This is an excellent airline credit card bonus, especially if you’re able to spend a lot. The card offers lots of great long-term perks, including 10% off British Airways revenue flights, a reward flight surcharge rebate, and a companion certificate for an award if you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year.
Note there are two other cards with similarly good bonuses that earn Avios, and you’re potentially eligible for all three of them — the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card (review) and Iberia Visa Signature® Card (review).
Redeem Avios for travel in British Airways’ Club Suites
Current offer: 150,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $4,000 within three months
Annual fee: $450 (Rates & Fees)
Why it’s a great offer: This is my single favorite hotel credit card, thanks to all the great perks it offers, including Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you have the card, a $250 annual airline fee credit, a $250 annual Hilton resort credit, an annual weekend night reward, a Priority Pass membership, and more. For me this is a card that pays for itself over and over.
Redeem Honors points at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
Current offer: 140,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $3,000 within three months
Annual fee: $89 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months
Why it’s a great offer: This card is offering an exceptional limited time welcome bonus at the moment, and there are so many perks that make this card worth holding onto long term. The card offers an anniversary free night certificate, fourth night free on award redemptions, IHG Platinum status for as long as you have the card, and so much more.
This card is extremely valuable for IHG stays
Current offer: Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
Annual fee: $250 (Rates & Fees)
Why it’s a great offer: On balance I think the Platinum products have the best first-year value, as the cards offer a first checked bag free, priority boarding, an annual companion certificate, and more.
Redeem your SkyMiles for travel in Delta A330-900neo business class
Current offer: Up to 50,000 World of Hyatt points — 25,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months, and an additional 25,000 points after spending a total of $6,000 within six months
Annual fee: $95
Why you should consider applying: This is one of the most well-rounded hotel credit cards out there. Just for having the card you receive five elite nights towards status annually, plus you receive an anniversary Category 1-4 free night certificate. There are so many other great benefits to this card.
Redeem Hyatt points at Ventana Big Sur
Rules Of Applying For Credit Cards
Before applying for cards, makes sure you’re aware of the rules each bank has for credit card applications.
One of the common misconceptions people have is that they think applying for credit cards will hurt their credit. The opposite is largely true, actually. Assuming you use your credit responsibly (and make payments on time, don’t utilize too much of your credit, etc.), applying for credit cards can actually help your credit.
Lastly, if you are going to apply for credit cards, make sure you do so responsibly — only apply for them if you have self-control and won’t end up in debt, and try to pay your balance in full every month, or else the finance charges will negate any rewards earned.
Best Credit Cards Summary
The above are just some of the best credit card offers out there right now, though there are so many others to choose from.
If you’re already into miles & points but don’t have some of the above cards, consider applying. If you’re new to miles & points, now is the time to get started (and I think something like the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a perfect starter card, especially with its current increased bonus)!
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees).