As we continue to see a travel recovery, it’s a great time to start getting your points earning strategy in order, so you’re ready to plan your dream trip when the time is right. That’s especially true when you consider that we’re currently seeing some of the best credit card welcome bonuses that we’ve ever seen.
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, 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…
…look better than this?
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
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 to earn you an international ticket in first or business class, which many would otherwise assume is off limits.
15 Best Credit Card Offers September 2021
Let’s look at some of the best credit card welcome bonuses that are available this month. Here’s what I consider the 12 best to be:
Current offer: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95
Why it’s a great offer: This is the best-ever bonus on the card, and arguably the best welcome bonus we’ve ever seen on a credit card, between the big welcome bonus, the low annual fee, and the reasonable spending requirement. This card recently underwent major changes, making it more lucrative than ever before.
The card offers bonus points on dining and travel, great travel protection, and more. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to Singapore KrisFlyer, United MileagePlus, World of Hyatt, and many other programs. I value the welcome bonus on this card at $1,700.
Current offer: Up to 150,000 Mileage Plus miles — earn 75,000 miles after spending $5,000 within three months, and an additional 75,000 miles after spending a total of $20,000 within the first six months
Annual fee: $99
Why it’s a great offer: This card is offering an incredible bonus, which is one of the biggest publicly available bonuses we’ve ever seen. On top of that the card offers some great perks for holding onto it, like two United Club passes annually, a free first checked bag, priority boarding, savings on inflight purchases, and more. I value United MileagePlus miles at 1.4 cents each, so to me the welcome bonus on this card is worth $2,100.
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 $1,700.
Current offer: 80,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95
Why it’s a great offer: This is an often-overlooked mid-range transferable points card that’s currently offering its best-ever welcome bonus. It has excellent bonus categories, as it offers 3x points on gas, dining, groceries, air travel, and hotels, and the card also offers up to a $100 annual hotel credit. I value Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, so to me the welcome bonus on this card is worth $1,360.
5. Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card, British Airways Visa Signature® Card, & Iberia Visa Signature® Card
Current offer: 100,000 Avios after spending $5,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95
Why it’s a great offer: While these are three different cards, they all have the same excellent welcome bonuses, and points are transferrable between the various Avios programs. Each card has different perks tailored to the specific airline, and you can find a comparison of them here.
Learn more about the Aer Lingus Visa (apply for the Aer Lingus Visa), learn more about the British Airways Visa (apply for the British Airways Visa), learn more about the Iberia Visa (apply for the Iberia Visa).
Current offer: Up to 100,000 United MileagePlus miles — earn 80,000 miles after spending $5,000 within three months, and earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after spending a total of $10,000 within six months
Annual fee: $250
Why it’s a great offer: This is a new card with a phenomenal value proposition. In addition to a huge welcome bonus, the card offers valuable perks like a $125 annual United credit, up to 10,000 MileagePlus miles back annually when you redeem miles, and all kinds of perks when flying United. I value United MileagePlus miles at 1.4 cents each, so to me the bonus miles on this card are worth up to $1,400.
Current offer: 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 within the first six months; earn also earn 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the United States, on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first six months
Annual fee: $695 (Rates & Fees)
Why it’s a great offer: The Amex Platinum was recently refreshed, and while it has a higher annual fee, it also has lots of great new perks. Not only can you earn 100,000 points, but you can also earn 10x points in popular categories, which I value at an incredible 17% return on spending. The Amex Platinum is a perks-rich card, offering a $200 annual airline fee credit, $200 annual Uber credit, $179 annual CLEAR credit, $100 annual Saks credit, lounge access, and so much more.
Current offer: 75,000 points after spending $7,500 within three months
Annual fee: no annual fee
Why it’s a great offer: While these are two different cards, they have the same elevated 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 bonuses on these cards at $1,275 each.
Current offer: 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 within three months
Annual fee: $295 (Rates & Fees)
Why it’s a great offer: In addition to a great welcome bonus, this is also one of the best Amex business cards for earning Membership Rewards points, given the 4x points categories. I value the welcome bonus at up to $1,190.
Current offer: 80,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
Annual fee: $199
Why it’s a great offer: The Southwest Performance Card has a huge welcome bonus with a fairly reasonable spending requirement. This card offers lots of fantastic long term perks, including anniversary bonus points, free Wi-Fi on Southwest, upgraded boardings, and more. I value Southwest Rapid Rewards points at 1.3 cents each, so to me the welcome bonus on this card is worth $1,040.
Current offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 within six months
Annual fee: $250 (Rates & Fees)
Why it’s a great offer: The Amex Gold was recently refreshed and has a bonus of 60K points, which is among the best offers we’ve seen on the card. Not only does it offer 4x Membership Rewards points on dining and 4x points U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1x), but the card also offers up to a $120 annual dining credit, and Uber Cash & Uber Eats benefits. I value the welcome bonus at up to $840.
Current offer: 60,000 Mileage Plan miles plus a companion fare after spending $3,000 within 90 days
Annual fee: $50 for the company, $25 per year
Why it’s a great offer: The Alaska Business Visa Card offers an incredible welcome bonus and some phenomenal perks, like an annual companion fare, 50% savings on Alaska Lounge day passes, 20% savings on inflight purchases, a free first checked bag, and more. I value Alaska miles at 1.8 cents each, so to me, the welcome bonus on this card is worth $1,080.
Current offer: 60,000 Venture miles after spending $3,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95
Why it’s a great offer: The Capital One Venture Card is one of the most straightforward and rewarding travel credit cards out there, and it offers some great perks as well. Capital One miles even recently became more valuable. I value Capital One Venture miles at 1.3 cents each, so to me, the welcome bonus on this card is worth $780.
Current offer: 150,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending $3,000 within three months
Annual fee: $89 annual fee, waived the first year
Why it’s a great offer: This card is offering an exceptional welcome bonus, 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. I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each, so I value the welcome bonus at $750.
Current offer: Up to 130,000 Hilton Honors points — earn 80,000 points after spending $1,000 within three months, and earn an additional 50,000 points after spending a total of $5,000 within six months card currently has a two-part bonus which can earn you up to 130,000 points:
Annual fee: no annual fee (Rates & Fees)
Why it’s a great offer: This no annual fee personal card is offering an especially good bonus right now. The card offers some solid perks for a no annual fee card, like Hilton Honors Silver status, which gets you a fifth night free on award redemptions. I value Hilton Honors points at 0.5 cents each, so to me, I value the welcome bonus at $650.
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, Citi Premier® Card, or American Express® Gold Card, are great options to start).
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees), Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).