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- Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
- You can earn new member bonuses – tons of points or cash back – when you sign up for new rewards credit cards.
- In some cases, credit card issuers will offer higher-than-normal bonuses to attract new customers. By taking advantage of these offers, you can rack up points, miles, or cash rebates quickly.
- This June, there are a few incredible limited time offers, including on Delta Air Lines cards -for just one more week – and a bonus that can get you a free flight to Hawaii. There’s also a chance to earn the highest bonus we’ve ever seen on the Platinum Card® from American Express when you check for pre-qualified offers through the CardMatch Tool.
- Some of these are only around for a limited time, though – and some of them might end without notice – so if you see a bonus that can be useful to you, we recommend applying sooner rather than later.
The fastest way to earn rewards points, cash back, and frequent-flyer miles is to open a new credit card and earn its sign-up or welcome bonus.
Credit card issuers offer huge bonuses to attract customers, while designing card features with long-term, continuing value in an effort to keep them. This offers consumers a chance to take advantage of these bonuses, perks, and features.
You can read more about earning new card-member bonuses and how that will affect your credit score here, or scroll down to find some of the best offers available this month.
Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.
When you’re working to earn credit card rewards, it’s important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.
- Hawaiian Airlines
Sign-up bonus: 60,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles (after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days). For a limited time.
Naturally, the Hawaiian Airlines credit card, issued by Barclays, might seem a bit niche for everyday spending unless you’re from the islands.
However, there’s a compelling reason right now for mainlanders to sign up for a frequent flyer account and open its credit card.
Right now, and for a limited time, the Hawaiian Airlines card is offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles when you spend $2,000 in the first 90 days.
That’s enough miles to book a round-trip flight from the US mainland to Hawaii. Award (mileage) prices can vary on peak days and times, but sample searches show plenty of availability from cities like New York and Los Angeles at lower saver-level prices.
You’ll still have to pay taxes and fees, but these top out at about $6 each way. This is an excellent way to cut down on expenses for a trip – especially if your travel companion also opens the card, earns the bonus, and uses the points to book their ticket.
This is an especially good value considering that the card’s $99 annual fee is waived for the first year.
Welcome offer: 75,000 Delta SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) (after spending $3,000 in the first three months). Plus, get a $100 statement credit when you make any Delta purchase in the first three months. Ends July 2.
The Delta Platinum SkyMiles card is one of my personal favorites, because even though it has a $195 annual fee, it pays for itself. The first year, you can earn a welcome bonus – right now it’s a newly-increased 75,000 SkyMiles when you meet the spending and timeliness requirement, as opposed to the normal 35,000 miles – which more than makes up for the year.
Every year after that, on your card-member anniversary, you’ll get a companion pass good for a domestic round-trip flight in economy (or “Main Cabin” as Delta calls it). The companion pass is essentially a “buy-one-get-one-free” certificate. When you book an economy-class flight for yourself anywhere within the continental US, you can get a second flight for free, other than minimal taxes and fees.
For me, the value of the pass at least cancels out the annual fee, and in some cases offers enough value to mean I’m making a profit. Although I’ve heard from a few readers before that they felt the companion pass’ terms were too restrictive, I respectfully disagree (for what it’s worth, I live near a Delta hub). For instance, last year I used my companion pass to book a flight for my wife and I to pick up our new puppy – the tickets were about $225 each, and when I redeemed the pass, we only had to pay $24 of taxes and fees for her ticket.
The card also offers plenty of perks for Delta flyers, including one free checked bag for each person on the cardholder’s reservation; priority boarding so that you can settle in sooner and snag space in the overhead compartments; discounted access to Delta Sky Club lounges; a 20% discount in the form of a statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases; and no foreign-transaction fees.
If you aren’t interested in the companion pass, you can also consider the Gold version of the card (the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express). The card offers similar benefits, except for the companion pass, and only has a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year. Its limited-time welcome offer is 60,000 SkyMiles when you spend $2,000 in three months – also ending July 2.
You can read more about the limited-time offers and the differences between the two cards here. Even if you’ve had one of them before, you can still get the bonus on the other one.
The welcome offers on these two cards are tied for the highest-ever made publicly available, in terms of SkyMiles.
- American Express/Facebook
Welcome Offer: 60,000 points (after spending $5,000 in the first three months). It’s possible to be targeted for a 100,000-point bonus for the same spending and time requirements when you use the CardMatch Tool (this offer can change at any time without warning).
The American Express Platinum card has one of the highest annual fees of any consumer credit or charge card – $550 – but as AmEx’s flagship product, this premium credit card offers a tremendous amount of value to offset that fee. For example, I got more than $2,000 worth of value in my first year with the card.
The card earns Membership Rewards points, the currency in AmEx’s loyalty program, which can be exchanged for statement credits or cash back, used to book travel through AmEx’s travel website, or, to get the most value, transferred to any of 17 airline and three hotel transfer partners (transferable points are among the best). Travel website The Points Guy lists a valuation of 2¢ per membership rewards point; based on that, the welcome offer is worth about $1,200.
The Platinum Card earns an incredible 5x points on airfare purchased directly from the airline, and offers an airline fee credit of up to $200 each calendar year, and up to $200 in Uber credits each card member year.
It also grants the cardholder access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world, including Delta Sky Clubs and AmEx’s own Centurion Lounges.
Other benefits include automatic Gold elite status in the Marriott and Hilton loyalty programs, a statement credit up to $100 to cover enrollment in Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, concierge service, access to exclusive events, and much more.
If you’re an active military servicemember, you can get the AmEx Platinum Card’s fee waived.
- American Express
Welcome offer: $250 statement credit (after spending $1,000 in the first three months)
If you’re less excited about earning Membership Rewards points – which can be valuable, but also tricky to redeem – and want to stick with cash back, the Blue Cash Preferred is the best option, despite its $95 annual fee.
AmEx recently announced a refresh to the card on May 9. Starting then, new and existing cardholders earn 6% cash back on select US streaming services and 3% back on all transit. That’s in addition to the existing categories of 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year (and 1% after that), 3% back at US gas stations, and 1% cash back on everything else.
The card previously offered 3% back at some US department stores. That won’t be available for anyone who applies on or after May 9. For existing cardholders, it will stick around through the end of July.
Like the EveryDay cards, the Blue Cash Preferred offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months, before switching to a variable 15.24-26.24% APR.
The Blue Cash Preferred comes with a handful of travel and purchase protections as well. Cash back comes in the form of a statement credit, so effectively you can use it to “erase” purchases.
- The Points Guy
Sign-up bonus: 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months)
The Sapphire Preferred is one of the most popular all-around rewards credit cards, and it’s easy to see why. This card earns 2x points per dollar spent on just about all travel and dining purchases, and 1x point on everything else. It also comes with a ton of travel and purchase protections, such as rental car insurance, trip delay coverage, and extended warranty.
The card’s sign-up bonus was recently increased for the first time since 2015– it’s now 60,000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. That’s worth, at the very least, $600 as cash back or gift cards. However, if you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and use points to pay, you’ll get a 25% bonus, making points worth 1.25 cents each. That means that the sign-up bonus would be worth $750.
Even more lucrative – the Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you transfer your UR points to a few different frequent-flyer and hotel-loyalty programs. This comes in handy because in many cases it costs fewer points to book a trip if you go through one of those programs, as opposed to using the points as cash. You can read more about why transferring points to frequent-flyer programs gets you more value here.
This all comes for a fairly standard annual fee of $95, which is not waived the first year.
Capital One’s travel rewards program isn’t necessarily as lucrative as what other banks offer. However, Capital One recently expanded the card’s benefits, adding airline transfer partners, and launching transfer bonuses– the latest is a 20% bonus to Air France/KLM. While the transfer value isn’t quite as good as with Chase or AmEx, the flip side is that they’re easy to earn and easy to use – and thanks to a new partnership, you can earn them quickly.
The Venture Rewards card earns 2x miles per dollar on all purchases. As a new benefit, added this year, the card earns a stunning 10x miles when you book prepaid hotel stays with Hotels.com (you just need to go through a special landing page: hotels.com/venture). Plus, you can earn through Hotels.com’s own rewards program at the same time.
Miles can be redeemed as a statement credit to “erase” travel purchases. For example, if you buy a $500 plane ticket, you can apply 50,000 miles to cancel out that charge. The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year.
Capital One has added airline transfer partners in December 2018 – 12 are at a 2:1.5 ratio, and three are 2:1 – meaning it’s now possible to get outsized value from the card. This is especially the case when you consider that you can earn 10x Capital One miles on hotels, which translates to 5-7.5 airline miles per dollar, based on the transfer ratios.
Between the ability to transfer miles to airlines, and the chance to earn up to 10x miles on hotels, this is one of the best cards available right now.
The card also offers a credit to enroll in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. It has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
- American Express
Welcome offer: 35,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
Right now, the AmEx Gold Card is arguably the best card available for dining.
The Gold Card earns 4x points at US restaurants and on up to $25,000 per year at US supermarkets (and 1x point after that), 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline, and 1x point on everything else. Based on the fact that you can easily redeem Membership Rewards points for more than 1¢ of value each, that makes this the highest-earning card for everything food-related.
The Gold Card offers up to a $100 airline fee credit each calendar year, and adds up to $120 of dining credits – split into $10 each month – at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Steak House, or participating Shake Shack locations.
While it’s difficult to assign an exact value to Membership Rewards points, The Points Guy subjectively estimates each point as worth 2¢. That makes the welcome bonus worth $700. Even without factoring in the annual credit benefits, that’s more than enough to make up for the card’s $250 annual fee.
Check out our full review for more details.
Keep in mind that it’s possible to be targeted for a higher welcome bonus.
Welcome offer: 30,000 Go Far points (after spending $3,000 in the first three months).
This card from Wells Fargo has one of the more attractive rewards offerings you’ll find from a no-annual-fee card. The current Propel card is a relaunch of an old product – Wells Fargo stopped accepting applications for the old card a year ago, before announcing the new product and reopening applications this summer.
The card earns 3x points on all travel, dining, and select streaming services (and 1x point on everything else). If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s almost the same as the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve.
There are key differences between the cards. The Propel lets you redeem points for 1¢ each toward cash back, merchandise, travel, or more, while the Sapphire Reserve offers a range of more valuable redemption options – it’s easy to get at least 50% more value for Chase points. Plus, the Sapphire Reserve offers a number of premium perks that the Propel doesn’t, like airport lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit travel delay insurance, and more.
Of course, the Sapphire Reserve also comes with a $450 annual fee, while the Wells Fargo Propel doesn’t have a fee. Between the new member offer, and the solid earning rate on popular spend categories, the Propel makes a decent option for those who don’t travel often, or who aren’t comfortable floating a large annual fee.
We named the Propel the best no-fee card of 2019.