Top 10 Best Credit Card Sign-up Bonus Offers for August 2014

Every month I’ll post the top 10 best current credit card sign-up offers and update the list throughout the month if offers change. You can always check out my credit cards page for a full list of cards, but since the best credit card offers are always changing–increased offers, terms, annual fee–this post will review what I think are the 10 best currently available offers.

Disclosure: I may earn a referral if you apply for any credit cards through my links on my credit cards page, if you decide to use them the support is always greatly appreciated and keeps the blog going! 

10 Best Travel Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses For August 2014

Earning airline miles and hotel points from credit card offers is one of the easiest ways to see the world for pennies on the dollar. The credit cards listed below are the best current sign-up bonus offers to earn A LOT of free travel. Certainly I would not have been able to travel the world (40+ countries and counting) without taking advantage of some of these lucrative credit card sign-up bonuses.

I’ve compiled a list of what I think are the best credit card offers and narrowed it down to the top ten offers. Here are the top 10 best credit card sign-up bonuses for August 2014. This month there are two great increased offers from Chase including the in branch 70,000 point Ink Plus and 55,000 miles United MileagePlus Explorer card offer. On top of those there are a handful of lucrative long-running offers that still hold incredible value. As always, if you have a question about any of the offers leave a comment below!

1. Chase Ink Plus Business Card

Application Link: Apply at Chase Branch

Current bonus offer: 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95 per year


Why I dig it: The Chase Ink Plus card is currently offering an all-time high 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points as a sign-up bonus.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most flexible points and can be transferred to any of Chase’s 1:1 airline and hotel transfer partners. With the numerous valuable transfer partners, including United and Hyatt, Ultimate Rewards points are some the most valuable and flexible points currencies that can be used for many different types of award redemptions.

Keeping a balance of Ultimate Rewards points not only allows you maximum flexibility when you want to redeem, but it also helps protect against future devaluations by individual programs–although one of the programs may be devalued, other transfer partner options will still be an option.

With Chase’s Ink cards you will earn 5x points on bonus categories that include office supply stores, internet, cell phone, and cable. You’ll also earn 2x points on gas and hotels, and 1x on all other purchases. Another benefit worth mentioning are the two free Lounge Club visits per year that you get from having the card.

2. Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Application Link: United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Current bonus offer: 50,000 bonus miles + $50 in statement credits after spending $2,000 within three months. Plus, get 5,000 bonus miles for adding an authorized user and making a purchase.
Annual fee: Waived the first year, then $95


Why I dig it: This is a great offer for the United Explorer card and one of the highest ever offered for this card. You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months and an additional 5,000 bonus miles when you add an authorized user and make a purchase. Plus, you will get a $50 statement credit after hitting the spending requirement on the card within the first three months.

Some card benefits of the United MileagePlus Explorer Card include a free first checked bag for yourself and one traveling companion on United flights purchased with your card, priority boarding, two complimentary United Club lounge passes each year, and access to extra Standard Award space.

Most of the award chart increases last year impacted partner international premium cabin awards, so you can still book United and economy partner flights at mostly the same price after the devaluation. Plus you can fly on a fully flat bed on United’s GlobalFirst and BusinessFirst for a great value.

After reaching the minimum spend you will have a total of 57,000 miles, which is enough for 2 domestic round trips (25,000 each) and almost enough for an economy round trip award to Europe (60,000 miles) or anywhere in South America.

One aspect that keeps United miles among some of the most valuable airline miles out there are their generous stopover rules. With the flexibility to add stopovers and free one ways you can book some amazing international award trips at an incredible value.

3. The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®

Application Link: The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®

Current bonus offer: 40,000 miles after first purchase
Annual fee: $89 per year


Why I dig it: Now is a great time to apply for the US Airways Premier World MasterCard and earn miles. With the merger between American Airlines and US Airway it’s only a matter of time before this card disappears. After the merger the miles will be converted into American Airlines miles, which are some of the most valuable airline miles for premium cabin redemptions.

You’ll get 40,000 miles after your first purchase with the US Airways Premier World MasterCard making it a incredible card bonus. With no spending requirement the card can easily be added to a round of applications without having to worry about spending. Some card benefits worth mentioning include getting a free checked bag for you and four of your travel companions on domestic US Airways flights and the $99 companion pass.

US Airways miles offer one of the most competitive award charts among all airlines and you can easily get $700+ in free flights from the 40k bonus miles. Some of the best uses of US Airways miles are 120k for a roundtrip First Class flight to North Asia and 100k roundtrip Business Class to Europe (125k in First). Another best use of US Airways miles are for redemptions during their off-peak awards to Europe or South America.

It’s been hotly debated as to when this card will no longer be available and if you’ve been thinking about applying it’s a great way to earn 40k US Airways miles to book awards on oneworld alliance partners or wait until they convert to AA miles. Applying for this card before it’s gone is a no brainer in my opinion.

4. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Current bonus offer: 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within 90 days
Annual fee: Waived the first year, then $89 per year


Why I dig it: The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is among one of my all-time favorite cards for everyday purchases. With the current offer you’ll earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days. The 40,000 mile sign-up bonus on the Arrival Plus card is worth $440 when redeemed for travel.

The Arrival Plus card offers an easy way to earn 2.2% back on every $1 spent and it’s one of the easiest travel credit cards for redeeming points. With the card you can purchase any flight or hotel and redeem the points for a statement credit at a value of 1 cent per point. Plus, when you redeem points for travel you get a 10% mile rebate, putting your earning at 2.28% cash back on every dollar spent.

The card earns 2x points on all purchases and the miles are extremely flexible and can be used to cover any type of travel. The super high card earning on everyday purchases and ultimate flexibility make it one of the best all-around travel rewards credit cards and one that I would recommend for anyone looking for a top travel rewards credit card. Not to mention that is is super easy to redeem the miles.

5. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Application Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current bonus offer: 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months plus 5,000 points for adding an additional authorized user that makes a purchase within three months
Annual fee: Waived the first year, then $95


Why I dig it: Similar to the Chase Ink cards the Sapphire Preferred Card earns Ultimate Rewards points that are valuable and flexible because you can transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to Korean Air, United, Hyatt, and many other valuable partners. This card is one that anyone serious about earning miles and points should have.

With the Sapphire Preferred card you will earn 2x points on dining and travel making it a great everyday card. Chase recently dropped the 7% annual points “dividend” on the card—making it’s earnings fall short of the 2.28 points per dollar you can earn with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card. However you may find better options for redeeming points through Ultimate Rewards transfer partners.

6. Chase IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard

Application Link: Chase IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard

*The landing page does not show the 80 offer details so YMMV, people have also had success applying for the 60k offer and secure messaging Chase to get the 80k offer.

Current bonus offer: 80,000 points after spending $1,000 within three months
Annual fee: Waived the first year, then $49 per year


Why I dig it: The IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard currently offers a 80,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 in 3 months and along other great card benefits.

This is one of the top hotel credit cards and offers one of the BEST sign-up bonuses among all hotel credit cards. The $49 annual fee is easily worth paying after the first year because each year you get a free night certificate that can be used at ANY IHG hotel! This free night can easily be worth up to ~$900 if used at some top-tier luxury hotels and is the reason I will never cancel this credit card.

The card also comes with automatic Platinum elite status which gives you room upgrades upon availability. If you’re considering this card be sure to check out my IHG Reward Club series to learn how to maximize IHG points.

7. Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card

Application Link: Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card

Current bonus offer: 50,000 points after the first purchase, and an additional 35,000 points after spending $2,500 on the card within 90 days
Annual fee: $75


Why I dig it: The Club Carlson Visa offers 85,000 bonus points and can be worth up to 18 free nights if you maximize the 2-for-1 award nights. The best perk of this card is that you get the second night free when you book stays of 2 or more award nights. Currently I have both the personal and business version of this card, which allows me to book consecutive bonus award night stays (4 for 2 award nights) because each card requires a unique rewards account.

One of the best regions to use Club Carlson points is within Europe and you can find many great redemptions at their top-tier Radisson Blu properties. Several other perks of the card include automatic Gold elite status which gives you complimentary room upgrades and a 40,000 point anniversary bonus each year that you keep the card after the first year ($75 annual fee).

8. Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

Current bonus offer: Two free weekend nights after spending $2,500 within four months (+ $100 statement credit)
Annual fee: $95


Why I dig it: The offer on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is normally two free weekend nights at any Hilton property, but now you can get a $100 statement credit on top of that. The fact that you can use the free weekend nights at any category Hilton hotel makes this one of the best credit cards for luxury hotel stays. If you have an upcoming trip or honeymoon this is a great card to consider and use at a top-tier Hilton and Conrad hotel anywhere in the world.

After spending $2,500 within the first four months you will earn two free weekend nights certificates that you can use at any category Hilton hotel. For a limited time you will also earn a $100 statement credit after you spend $100 or more at a Hilton hotel within the first 90 days of having the card. When you use the card you will earn 10x points on Hilton hotels, 5x on airlines and car rentals, and 3x on all other purchases.

Some great uses of the free nights are for stays at the Conrad Koh Samui or the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria. Rooms at these hotels can go for $800+ or 95,000 Hilton points, so you can get an exceptional value from the sign-up bonus.

With the card you will also get automatic Hilton HHonors Gold status which gives you free internet and breakfast.

9. British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Current bonus offer: 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95

Why I dig it: British Airways has a distance based award chart which is great for booking awards on short-haul flights for an incredible value. Each one way starts at just 4,500 Avios and by booking one way short-haul flights you can connect open-jaws and create short round trips. Creative multi-leg trips without using many more miles is also possible with their award chart.

Because of the high fuel surcharges, Avios are not great for most long haul international flights, so instead plan on using them for short direct flights that you need to book. This can help you save American or United miles for bigger international trips.

10. Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage MasterCard

Application Link: Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage MasterCard

Current bonus offer: 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 within three months
Annual fee: Waived the first year, then $95 per year

Why I dig it: Currently American Airline and US Airways are among the most valuable airlines miles to earn for travel on Oneworld alliance airlines. You can use American Airlines miles on any of the Oneworld partner airline and get access to some of the best premium cabin flights in the world, including Cathay Pacific which you can book for only 67,500 miles one-way from the US to Asia.

Because of the great premium cabin award redemption options and competitive award chart American Airlines miles are one of the (if not the most) valuable airline miles out there. I consider this sign-up offer to be worth about $950 and put a value of about 1.9 cents per mile.

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  1. Hi Rand – I have the US Airways MC but I am thinking about canceling it. I already received the bonus when I had opened the card and this year I even redeemed the companion passes that this card will no longer offer. Since I already have Citi Platinum AA MC, would there be a reason for me to hang on to and pay annual fees on both cards that will offer me pretty much the same benefits? Thanks!

    • Bruce, unless you can use the 5,000 mile discount on US Airways awards you’re probably better off canceling it and not paying the annual fee on both cards. If you close now it’s always an option to go for it again before it’s gone, I was able to get the card a second time couple months after closing the first.

  2. I would like to get the usair card now before it goes away. How soon before I could apply for the Barclays arrival plus card?

    • Creek00, on my last round of applications I was actually approved for two Barclays card on the same day, so you may be able to get both the Arrival and US Air at once. The other option is to apply for one now and then the other in a couple months. If you apply for the card you want first and apply for a second it will likely only be one hard pull as well. Best of luck!

  3. Did not know the US Airways card was a no spend. Just signed up for your blog yesterday and it has already paid for itself!!!

  4. hey rand, quick Q about the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage MasterCard. so I’ve never had this version of the card (MC) but do have the Visa and AMEX version. now my Q is can I apply for the MC version or will I be hindered by the ~18 month guideline as to how often the 50k cards can be applied for?

    I meet the 8/65 day guideline windows but I applied for the CitiAA Exec since thats been the goto lucrative card for the last several months — and I know that resets the ~18 month clock for the Citi 50k cards. however, is this particular MC an exception and can I apply for it? or am I ineligible.


    • Bruce, I can’t say from personal experience with the MC version as I have always spaces them out. Even though it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, 18 months after previous approval is the most common guideline. In either case it’s always better to diversify your applications across issuers.

  5. It seems that you submitted your post just in time for the Citi Exec card offer to disappear. Also do you think it’s likely that the British Airways 100,000 point offer will come back anytime soon?

    • Ramzi, thanks for the heads up! Looks like the best offer on the card is now 60k with a $100 statement credit. I would suspect the 100k BA offer to come back this year, but haven’t heard any news of when.

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