The banks are eager to attract customers right now. The best banks with the most rewarding cards are aggressively courting new customers. And yet, lots of the folks I talk to don’t have these credit cards. They have other cards, cards that just don’t earn the sort of day-to-day value the best cards do. What makes that even more painful is that the sign-up bonuses are pretty much at all-time highs.
Just so there’s no confusion about my motives, none of the cards I discuss here give me any referral credit whatsoever. Every one of them, though, is in my wallet.
I had dinner with some close family friends this weekend and they asked me what credit card they should get for the new business they’re starting. I asked them what they carried now and they told me about the card they got from their credit union that never really seemed to earn them anything worth redeeming.
I walked them through why they should be applying for multiple cards. And, they nodded in all the right places. Most folks won’t follow through and actually apply for a new credit card, but some will. And, if you’re thinking about it, these are the cards you should be thinking about right now:
Chase Ink Bold: Link
Through the end of May, the sign-up bonus is 60,000 points instead of the normal 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months the account is opened. There is no annual fee the first year, $95 thereafter. This is a charge card (you need to pay off your balance every month). The currency this card earns are called Ultimate Rewards points. You can earn 5 points per dollar spent on things like cellphones, home phones, internet and cable bills as well as office supplies. It also offers double points on gas stations and hotels. The points transfer on a 1:1 basis to United Airlines, British Airways, Hyatt, Marriott and others. I’ve only seen the sign-up bonus at 60,000 one other time, and all reports are that this offer goes back down to 50,000 points after May 31st.
Chase Ink Plus: Link
This is essentially the same card as the Ink Bold, with the exception that you can carry a balance on this card. You can combine the points from both of these cards towards an award.
60,000 points is enough for a roundtrip coach saver ticket to Europe on United or two roundtrip coach saver tickets in the US plus some extra miles for later.
Citi Executive/AAdvantage Elite World MasterCard: Link
The sign-up bonus is an eye-popping 100,000 miles. The annual fee is $450, but you receive a $200 statement credit as soon as you spend $200, effectively reducing it to $250 for the first year. It requires a code to apply (feel free to e-mail me for it) and $10,000 in spending in the first 90 days to get the miles. There are plenty of ways to manufacture spending if you have the drive to do so. It’s not that hard, but will take a little work.
100,000 miles is enough to fly a family of 4 round-trip anywhere in the continental US on coach saver tickets. Or, it’s a business class seat to Europe.
This card also comes with a lounge membership, allowing you access to all Admirals Clubs and US Airways Clubs. You won’t see a bigger sign-up bonus than this, IMO. It’s also been around for a couple months now, so I’m not sure how much longer it will stick around.
If you were to apply for all 3 cards and hit the sign-up bonuses, you’d have at least 126,000 Ultimate Rewards points and 110,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. That’s enough for a family vacation somewhere in the domestic US.
What are you waiting for?