The credit card bonus offer. It’s flashy, exciting, enticing… and fleeting.
That’s right, credit card bonuses can and do rise and fall, which means that applying for a new card at the right time could mean a substantially higher bonus for you. Likewise, missing the window of a limited time offer could mean your bonus opportunity is half of what it could be.
The best credit card bonus offers often come and go with the seasons. That means that whatever consumers might be doing or buying in a particular season, that’s what credit card issuers are marketing at that time. For instance, following the shopping-heavy holiday season, many credit card issuers launch special balance transfer offers in late December or early January to try and attract new customers eager for some extra time to pay off holiday debt without paying interest.
Sometimes issuers announce limited time offers with specific start and end dates, which means you know exactly how long you have to take advantage of the offer.
But more often credit card issuers update their terms or features ahead of particular seasons (or really, whenever they want). These aren’t officially "limited time offers," so there’s no rapidly approaching expiration date. Especially in these cases, waiting to apply could prove disastrous as the offers could end or change at any time and hesitating to apply could cost you big bonus rewards. Here are a couple of examples in this vein:
- Citi ThankYou® Premier Card – 60,000 ThankYou® points*
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card – 10 miles per $1 spent at Hotels.com/Venture*
- Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card – 125,000 bonus points*
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card – 125,000 bonus points*
*Terms apply. Click the card names for details.
Spontaneous credit card applications aren’t usually the best idea, but if you see something you like and you’re in a solid financial position – that means your credit score and spending habits can support adding a card to your wallet – then jumping on one of these limited time or higher-than-typical offers could seriously benefit you.
Here are some of the excellent bonuses and higher-than-typical offers on the market right now.
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
Why We Like It: ThankYou® points can be redeemed for airfare for 25 percent more value through the ThankYou® Travel Center or you can transfer them to a variety of airline partners. Options are nearly always a good thing. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser
The Welcome Offer: Receive 60,000 bonus ThankYou® points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Thanks to the option to redeem for 25 percent more value for airfare through the ThankYou® Travel Center, those points are worth up to $750 in airfare or redeem them at their standard $.01 per point value for $600 in gift cards.
Annual Fee: $95, waived for first 12 months*
Rewards Rate: Earn three points per $1 spent on travel, which includes your gas station purchases; two points per $1 on dining out and entertainment; and one point per $1 on everything else.
Why We Like It: In case you haven't noticed by now, let us be blunt: Flexibility when it comes to your rewards does matter and being able to earn rewards quickly and easily is pretty important, too. This card checks both those boxes.
The Welcome Offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership.
Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards Rate: It doesn't get any simpler than this: Earn two miles per $1 spent on all your purchases with no caps or categories to worry about.
Why We Like It: This is a hotel rewards card that offers your bonus points for everyday purchases as well as some complimentary airport lounge access. And then there's that impressive welcome offer...
The Welcome Offer: Earn 125,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months. Plus, you'll receive a weekend night stay reward after you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, a feature that should more than offset your annual fee.
Annual Fee: $95. Terms apply; See Rates and Fees
Rewards Rate: Earn 12 points per $1 spent directly with Hilton portfolio hotels and resorts; earn six points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets; and earn three points per $1 spent on your other purchases. Read our full Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card review.
Why We Like It: Besides the healthy welcome offer, this card offers solid bonus points on your hotel stays as well as on some common business and travel purchases. Plus, what business traveler wouldn't appreciate 10 complimentary airport lounge visits each year?
The Welcome Offer: Earn 125,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $95. Terms apply; See Rates and Fees
Rewards Rate: Earn 12 points per $1 spent directly with Hilton portfolio hotels and resorts; earn six points per $1 spent on select business and travel purchases; and earn three points per $1 spent on everything else. Read our full The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card review.