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Another Big Reward Opportunity

by Jason Steele

Every so often, credit card companies release a really big sign up bonus offer.  Sometimes the offer isn’t even very widely publicized or is of a targeted nature.    Targeted rewards are ones in which you get a solicitation in the mail, or an email solicitation.   While some targeted offers are only applicable to the person targeted, others are open to anyone who signs up with the correct link.

CititBank’s New American Airlines Sign Up Bonus Offer

I am hesitant to mention this offer, as it is targeted, yet there are enough reports out there to indicate that even non-targeted people can receive the big bonus if they apply with the correct link and are approved.    How big is the bonus?   Well, there is one offer for 50,000 miles at sign up when you spend $750, and another 50,000 miles if you spend $10,000 in six months.   Other offers out there earn 75,000 miles.     This post over at The View From The Wing blog seems to have the best information and links.

The best part about this offer is that it is on American Airlines.    I accumulated a significant amount of American miles last year while churning was still permitted.    Based on my previous experiences attempting to redeem miles on carriers like Delta and United, I was prepared to have difficulty finding award seats for three people, at lower levels, and in first class.    To my shock and surprise, I really didn’t have many problems at all.     It was like going back in time 10 years to an age when booking award travel was almost as easy booking revenue travel.   Even the service on American was far superior to the frugal service on Delta, not to mention the gulag like demeanor that I last experienced on United.

How To Get Sign Up Bonuses

Even people who are not big spenders can earn a lot of miles and points with their credit cards through sign up bonuses.  I have recently been reminded that not everyone goes all in for a good credit card bonus every time they see one, so I thought I would give some of my more novice readers a primer.     First, don’t apply for every card you see with a sign up bonus.   Your credit score will suffer a small, short term hit of around 3-5 points when you apply for a credit card.     By itself, it is not significant, but applying for many new cards in a short period of time is not a good idea.  Your credit score is an extremely valuable asset, allowing you to rake in these sign up bonuses, just don’t be too greedy or it will cause you some short term pain.

Which Cards To Apply For

The funny thing is that many people will apply for a credit card at a retailer like Target or Macys just to save 10% on their purchase that day.    It is not worth it unless you are spending thousands of dollars.    Think about it, your average airline card offers enough mileage for domestic award.    While low award seat availability at most carriers means the award is not worth as much as it used to be, it still has a value of $300-$500 at the least.    100,000 American miles are easily worth at least $1500-$2000.    Right now, I won’t bother to apply for a card that offers me a sign up bonus worth less than $500.   It is not that $500 isn’t worth my hassle, as I have been known to make a lot more of an effort to save $50, it is that I know that I can only sign up for so many cards in a year without hurting my credit score, and there are enough cards with sign up bonuses worth more than $500 that I won’t bother with lesser offers.

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