Top 3 Reward Credit Cards Offering The Best Sign Up Bonus Offers As Identified By Credit Card Comparison Portal, BestCreditCards.co For February Of 2016
Let’s begin by saying, that credit cards industry is highly competitive, especially these days, and every company is going an extra mile to sweet-talk new customers into signing up. This only mean, however, that we, as simple customers, get the biggest benefit. Today we have a wide variety of credit cards to choose from, and it should go without saying, that it wouldn’t be wise to sign up with the first offer available, before doing an extensive comparison. You can receive hundreds of dollars’ worth in miles, points, free flights or hotels, so while all offers may seem equally lucrative at first, they do vary dramatically. In this article, we are going to discuss how to choose a credit card based on a sign up bonus, which most companies are tempting us with.
Don’t confuse basic reward rate (which is typically 1%) with a sign up bonus. Sign up bonus is the extra value you receive instantly (or typically after 90 days), upon getting your application approved. It could be free nights in any of the partner hotels, or it could be points that you will be able to redeem later on for gift cards, or – which is the most common – a huge amount of points you will receive as a bonus once a certain amount of money has been paid using the new credit card. Either way, these bonuses are worth your time and effort of comparing the credit cards companies.
The purpose of this article, is to save your time and effort though, so we have outlined top 3 credit cards with the help of the experts from bestcreditcards.co/rewards that offer the biggest bonuses this February, which we believe are worthy of attention.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Current sign-up bonus: You will receive 50,000 bonus points upon spending your first $4,000 in 3 months upon account opening (approx. $625 in travel rewards). These points can be used at a highly valuable ratio of 1:1 at 11 travel rewards programs, which include airlines flight booking and hotel reservations. This card, doubtlessly, will suit regular travelers and businessmen best, since this huge and tempting bonus can only be transferred to travel expenses. Another reason this card is ideal for travelers is because you earn 2x points on travel and restaurants transactions. The downside of Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is that you are bound to spend a relatively large sum of money right from the start, which may not fit in everyone’s budget. The first year you will enjoy your card free from fees, then there is a $95 annual fee, regardless of the amount spent monthly.
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card – Current sign-up bonus: You will receive 40,000 bonus points upon spending your first $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening. These points can then be redeemed for either $400 in gift cards, or $500 in travel programs. Another option includes about twenty other partners where points can be used at a ratio of 1:1. This card offers the best value, in my opinion, because the points are very flexible and can be redeemed not only for travel expenses, but also for gift cards. 40,000 points, when used sagely at 1:1 ratio and transferred to airline miles, can doubtlessly be a huge bonus to any household.
Check out this related video, boosting your credit scores in 2016
Starwood® Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express – Current sign-up bonus: You will receive 25,000 bonus “starpoints” upon spending your first $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. You can redeem these startpoints at Starwood Preferred Guest hotels, or transfer them to more than a dozen airline companies, typically at a 1:1 rate. This card, too, will suit travelers the most, moreover in 2016 they introduced a new enticing feature – “No Foreign Transaction Fees” on international transactions. This is another double benefit for those of us, who do not spend much time at home. First year no annual fees, then $95 per year.
In fact, our research shows, that most credit card companies reward through airfare and hotel-chain bonuses, but again, this may not suit the needs of a regular household, who just wants to save a few dollars here and there, while using their credit card. Even though many of the best offers are attractive in their own way, it’s essential to realize how to make the most of these offers without sabotaging yourself financially. Before you choose one sign-up bonus over another, make sure to look into each loyalty program, so you know what your points will be worth in reality.
Also, prior to signing up and deciding which company to go with, it’s crucial to compare the annual fees and ratio, at which these points can be redeemed later on. For example, most credit cards charge an annual fee that is slightly under $100. Anything above $100 could not be worth your annual reward percentage, unless you are a big spender.
The next important issue to consider is the points ratio (or the actual value of the points), while some companies would offer a 1:1 points redemption scheme, others (such as Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card) actually only offers a 0.5% value, which means that in this case, HHonors points are worth only half, what they could otherwise be worth with a different credit card company. Also, take into account, how meeting a minimum spending goal will impact your finances. If your monthly spending is comparatively low, steer clear of offers that ask you to spend more than you would otherwise. If you won’t be able to pay off your bills on time (and overspend, just to receive a bonus) paying interest on your superfluous purchases while at the same time chasing rewards is not a wise idea.
Remember, that almost all bonuses are bound to spending a certain amount of money through the new credit card within the first 3 months of approval, so unless you fulfill that requirement – your bonus is lost. Can you objectively meet that minimum requirement? It’s important to evaluate your budget and your needs, to see if the sign-up bonus will be worth the “obliged” expenses and the annual fees, and make sure that the required spending goal is attainable.
Naturally, if you are an avid traveler or your business requires you to spend a night every week in a different hotel, the top 3 credit card companies we discussed above are ideal, especially in case of Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. 50,000 worth of points, which transfers into roughly $400+ worth of airfare bonuses is, without a doubt, a fantastic incentive that is very hard to pass on these days.
How big can a bonus be? You are probably wondering now, if you can get an instant 50k points bonus, which admittedly is a big enough sum, are there bigger bonuses on the market? Well, the answer is yes. Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, for instance, offers a massive 80,000 points bonus, however, these points are not very flexible and will only have a good value if you stay in Marriott hotels (in which case, by the way, these points will still be used up quickly, considering Marriott’s prices). However, once you decide to transfer your points elsewhere, they begin losing value. This is exactly the case, where the offer looks lucrative, but proves to be less valuable in reality, to the bigger part of the population.
Always remember that the more flexible are the bonus points, the higher is their value.
Some people who do not like to travel much, however, may prefer smaller sign up bonuses that are offered in forms of straight cash (not points). These are, generally, smaller bonuses (such as $150 extra cash for the first $500 spent, like with Chase Freedom credit card), but it could be a very nice extra bonus, if you know you wouldn’t be traveling anywhere any time soon. Also, while most credit cards today do offer a reward rate, the terms and conditions change often, and every bank offers dozens of various credit cards, some have more benefits than others and some credits do not offer a reward rate (which is a for of cash back in a form of points). If you are a seriously big spender, you might want to considering choosing a bigger annual reward rate, over a one-time sign-up bonus. It all comes down to your personal needs, preferences and financial abilities, so evaluate wisely, compare before submitting your application and be sure to get the best possible value for your cash.
If you carefully plan your credit and choose the best sign-up bonus (which will be beneficial for your particular needs), you can wipe out the annual fees and make traveling much more affordable. You will be able to take your entire family for a vacation almost free, if you just switch to using a different credit card. But do bear in mind, that adding another credit card just for the sake of the bonus, can hurt your credit score in a long run. Getting a new card will always result in a hard inquiry with at least one credit reporting agencies, so if you have several hard inquiries, this could potentially cause your score to go down.
Thanks to contributions to this article from Forbes.com, CreditCards.com, BestCreditCards.co, Today.com and some great tips from our editorial team. Have a great tip for another credit card promotion, feel free to contact us online.