Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some Decent Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Unfortunately, the stream of massive credit card sign-up bonuses we saw earlier this year has now slowed to a trickle. But despite there being very few mega-bonuses in the past few months, there are still a couple of good deals to be had.

I had previously written about the SPG American Express, and how it remains one of my go-to cards for daily use. I typically don't keep cards beyond one year so as not to incur the annual fee, but I've made a notable exception for the SPG AMEX simply because SPG points are worth more than the average airline miles or hotel points, and because it is so flexible for transfers to other programs. Earlier this summer, there was a promotion on this card for 10,000 SPG points after your first purchase, and then 20,000 more after spending $4,500 within the first 3 months of cardmembership.

That offer has already ended, but American Express has now tweaked the regular year-round offer to make it somewhat easier to earn the full sign-up bonus. Right now, if you sign up for the card, you can earn 10,000 SPG points after your first purchase, and then 15,000 more after spending just $5,000 within the first 6 months of cardmembership. Compare that to the normal $15,000 spend threshold within 6 months! Personally, I would say if you don't have an urgent need for this card, wait until next summer when SPG and American Express might run another 30,000 point sign-up promotion. Otherwise, take advantage of this offer now. The $65 annual fee is waived for the first year.

If anyone plans on applying for this card, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to refer them. That way, you get the same great offer, and I receive 5,000 SPG points also. Just email me your full name and email address at milesglu@gmail.com, and I'll get the referral sent out right away. Thanks!

Another offer that popped up recently is for the Chase Ink Business Bold charge card. Right now, you can receive 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $5000 within the first 3 months of cardmembership. That is a pretty high spend threshold in a short amount of time, so you may need to employ some other spend methods such as buying gift cards or Amazon Payments. Also, even though this is a business card, you typically don't need a registered business... applying as a sole proprietorship with your Social Security Number has worked in the past. But as always, proceed with caution.

I've gone through some of the benefits of the Ultimate Rewards program in a previous post, but in general, points can be redeemed for cash on a 100:1 basis (so 50,000 UR points = $500 USD). Or if you redeem for flights or hotels through the UR travel booking tool, points are worth 25% more (so 50,000 UR points = $625 USD). You can also transfer points on a 1:1 basis to a number of different airlines such as Continental, British Airways, and starting within the past week or two, Korean Air. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year. This offer expires on November 28, 2011, so apply soon!

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