Here is a list of the top 10 best credit card sign-up bonuses for February 2014. There have been some amazing offers released in the past few weeks, as well as some offers that have been around for awhile but still offer a lucrative sign-up bonus worth mentioning.
On the first Monday of every month, I’ll post the top 10 best current credit card sign-up offers and update the list throughout the month. Since the details of the best credit card offers are always changing–increased offers, terms, annual fee–this post will review what I think are the 10 best available offers, but you can always check out my credit cards page for other cards.
Here’s my round-up of the 10 best credit card sign-up bonuses for January 2014.
1. 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: With its 2x points on all purchases, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is one of the best all-around rewards credit cards. Plus, when you redeem points, you get a 10% mile rebate, meaning you are essentially earning 2.2% cash back.
One of my favorite aspects of the card is that it is a hassle free way to earn 2.2% back on every $1 spent. This is why I highly recommend it to anyone who does not have a fixed-value points earning card or would just like to diversify their miles accounts.
You can redeem points at a fixed rate for any travel purchases, so you can purchase any flights or hotels and simply redeem points for a statement credit. If you don’t want to carry around many cards, then this card is a great one to keep in your wallet because it earns some of the highest cash back bonuses among any cards out there.
The current 40,000 mile bonus on the Arrival Plus card is worth $440 when redeemed for travel.
2. Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard
Application Link: Citi Executive® / AAdvantage® World Elite™ MasterCard®
Current bonus offer: 100,000 miles + $200 in statement credits after spending $10,000 within three months
Annual fee: $450
Why I dig it: The $10,000 minimum spend is hefty, but it may be a great option for many who can use the card benefits such as the Admirals Club access and 10,000 EMQs. Since 100,000 bonus miles is the highest offer I’ve seen on this card, it is a great time to grab it if you’ve been thinking about applying. I doubt we will see it go above this level anytime soon.
Some of the card benefits worth mentioning are 10,000 EQMs after spending $40,000 in each calendar year, the $200 in statement credits in the first 12 months, and the Admirals Club access. The 10,000 EQMs can be a valuable calendar year spending bonus if you’re going for AA elite status or need to get bumped up to the next tier.
3. Ink Plus Business Card and Ink Bold Business Card
Current bonus offer: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
Annual fee: Waived the first year, then $95 per year
Why I dig it: This is one of the longest standing great offers from Chase and it continues to be one of the best. Here’s why: Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most flexible points because you can transfer them to any of the 1:1 transfer partners. This allows you to redeem them for exactly what you want and you have the option between valuable airline and hotel partners. By keeping your points as UR you also allow protection from future devaluations by individual programs.
Both the Ink Bold and Ink Plus offer great 5x bonus spending categories to earn more points through everyday purchases. You get 5x points at office supply stores, internet, cell phone, and cable, and 2x points on gas and hotels. Both the bonus and the points earning potential of these cards are very lucrative!
I value Ultimate Rewards points at about 1.6 cents each, making this bonus worth $800.
4. The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®
Application Link: The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®
Current bonus offer: 40,000 Frontier miles after spending $500 within 90 days
Annual fee: $69
Why I dig it: You can get two free round trip flights within the US (including Alaska!) with The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® 40,000 mile bonus. It’s only 20,000 miles to fly anywhere round trip with Frontier Airlines within the US. This is the highest offer I have seen for this card and is a great deal for anyone looking to get free domestic flights.
Any round trip flight to Alaska during the summer that is under $400 is a great deal, so 40,000 Frontier miles could easily be worth ~$800+ in free flights when redeemed for trips to Anchorage or Fairbanks.
For having a low minimum spend of $500, the 40,000 miles is a great bonus and can get you:
- 2 round trip awards anywhere Frontier flies within the US, including Alaska
- 1 round trip award anywhere Frontier flies in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
You can get two free round trip flights within the US (including Alaska) with The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® 40,000 mile bonus. It’s only 20,000 miles to fly anywhere round trip with Frontier within the US.
It only costs 30,000 miles to fly to any of Frontier’s destinations in Mexico and Central America, so you can get a free round trip flight and still have 10,000 miles left over.
5. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Current bonus offer: 45,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months and adding an additional authorized user that makes a purchase within three months
Annual fee: Waived the first year, then $95
Why I dig it: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns Ultimate Rewards points that are extremely valuable because you can transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to Korean Air, United, Hyatt, and many other valuable partners. The card earns double points on dining and travel which makes it a great everyday card. With the 7% annual points “dividend” you’re essentially earning 2.14 points per dollar.
I value Ultimate Rewards points at around 1.6 cents per point which makes this sign-up bonus worth $720.
6. Premier Rewards Gold Card AMEX
Current bonus offer: 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 within three months
Annual fee: Waived the first year, then $175 per year
Current Bonus Offer: There is a targeted sign-up bonus offer of 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months on the CARDMATCH tool. This offer was first seen on November 16, 2013, but there have been reports of the offer being more widely available as of last week.
Not everyone will get this offer, but you can check whether you are offered the 50k sign-up bonus through the CARDMATCH tool.
The Premier Rewards Gold Card has a public offer of 25,000 points, so this is a great offer if you do get it! The card has a 3/2/1 earning structure and you will earn:
- 3x points on flights booked with airlines
- 2x at US gas stations and US supermarkets
- 1x on everything else
If you are a big spender you will also get a 15,000 points bonus any calendar year that you spend $30,000 using the card.
Some of the best uses of 50,000 Membership Rewards points include transferring them to valuable transfer partners such as ANA, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, or Iberia. In total, you can transfer them to 17 airline partners that are in all three global alliances and a handful of hotel partners.
7. United MileagePlus Explorer Card
Current bonus offer: The online public offer is 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months, but I just checked last week and can confirm that the 50,000 offer is still available at the Chase branch. You can go into a Chase branch and get the better offer of 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months. On top of this offer, you can get another 5,000 miles by adding an additional user.
You can also try to get the targeted offer by following these steps.
If you applied for the 30,000 mile offer, you can send Chase a Secured Message to match the 50k offer, but there’s no guarantees of this works 100% of the time.
Annual Fee: Waived the first year, then $95 per year
Why I dig it: Although United is devaluing their miles for awards booked after February 3, 2014, they are still some of the most valuable miles for US travelers. Most of the award chart increases will hit the partner international premium cabin awards, so you can still book United and economy partner flights at mostly the same price after the devaluation.
If you are able to get the 50,000 mile offer plus the 5,000 miles for the additional authorized user, you will have a total of 57,000 miles after hitting the minimum spend. This is enough for 2 domestic round trips (25,000 each) and almost enough for an economy round trip award to Europe (60,000 miles).
Because United has great stopover rules, you can book some amazing international award trips and get free one ways. This is one aspect that will keep United miles in competition with American Airline miles. which will have a better award chart after the United devaluation kicks in.
8. 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: This sign-up bonus has been one of my favorite offers over the last year. The value of the 85,000 point bonus offer is extremely lucrative and it has a minimum spend of only $2,500. One of the biggest perks of this card is that you get the second night free when you book stays of 2 or more award nights! This essentially doubles the value of your points.
This card was my favorite card of 2013 because I was able to redeem six free nights at Radisson Blu hotels across Europe after earning the sign-up bonus from both the personal and business version of the card. These hotel stays easily had a value of more than $3,000, and during each stay, I was upgraded to a suite with the automatic Gold status that the card gives me.
After hitting the minimum spend you will have close to 100,000 points which is worth 4 free nights at Club Carlson’s top category hotels (50k per night) when booking two night stays. I stayed at three amazing Radisson Blu properties on my last trip to Europe and used the bonus free nights on each occasion.
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 uses a distance based award chart that allows you to book awards. This is incredibly valuable for direct short-haul flights and you can create amazing multi-leg trips. Each one way starts at just 4,500 Avios. Booking one way short-haul flights can be useful to connect open jaws and to create short round trips.
This card bonus is not great for long haul international flights because of the high fuel surcharges on those flights. The card is great to fill in all the short direct flights that you need to book, and will save you miles vs. using American or United miles.
There is also an offer available for 100,000 Avios after spending $20,000 dollars within a year. If you are a big spender this offer may be worth it to you.
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: American Airlines miles are one of the (if not the most) valuable airline miles out there. Considering the United and Delta devaluation and taking into account the American Airline/US Airways merger, these miles will be even more valuable. You can use them on any of the Oneworld partners and travel to almost anywhere in the world. On top of that, you get access to some of the best premium cabin flights in the world.
I consider this sign-up offer to be worth about $950 and put a value of about 1.9 cents per mile. American Airline miles have incredible flexibility because you can use them on any of its 3 award charts, and have access to book on any of the partner airlines.
Citi stormed the scene this last week with the 100,000 mile offer for the Citi Executive AAdvantage credit card. They first increased the offer to 75,000 miles and then a few day after upped it to 100,000 miles. It’s always great to see a 100k offer and hopefully other card issuers will follow suit and give some competition. The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard is still a great offer for getting domestic flights this summer, especially if you have been wanting to venture up to Alaska. It’s only 20,000 miles round trip anywhere Frontier flies in the US.
I’m still hoping that we see a 75,000+ offer from Amex in the near future since I’m getting ready to launch another round of card applications in the next month or two. If they want to create a little competition for Citi, now would be the time to do so!