|by Jason Steele|
This has been an incredible year for sign up bonuses. In the spring, we saw the 100,000 mile ($1,000) Match My Miles promotion from Capital One. We also saw the 100,000 mile British Airways offer and the 50,000 points Southwest offers that were worth $830 as credit towards any flight. Over the summer, things slowed down a little and some were wondering if we had passed through a brief “golden age” of sign up bonuses that we would never see again.
The Return Of The Big Bonuses
Fear not, sign up bonus aficionados, the big ones are starting to return. Chase Sapphire Preferred is still at 50k for 3k spend in 3 months. With the 7% annual bonus, that equals a minimum of 56,710 points. Through in a 25% bonus for booking travel through Chase’s site, and you are looking at just over $700 in direct value. Otherwise, you can transfer to miles with Continental, Korean, and British Airways or points with Hyatt, Priority Club, Marriott, or Amtrak.There is a $65 annual fee for this card. Chase’s Ink Bold also offers 50k bonus for $5k spend in 3 months.
The Citi ThankYou Preferred card is out with a 50k bonus, but the minimum spend is steep. 25k points for 5k spend in six months, plus another 25k for 5k spend in the following six. Points are worth 1 cent each but there is no annual fee. There is also a 50k bonus for the Amex/Mercedes Benz Platinum, but you have to be willing to fork over a $475 annual fee. If you are balking at the annual fee, there is also a 50k points offer from the Amex Business Rewards Gold card.
Virgin Atlantic is offering 65,000 miles for their Amex, with a lengthy breakdown: 20k after first purchase, 25k after spending $2,500, and 15,000 on your anniversary payment of another $90. Finally, they through you 5k for adding an authorized user.
United just upped the bonus on their new Explorer card, but only as a targeted offer for their elites. The rest of us get a mere 40k, however there are rumors they might open the 60k offer to everyone later this week.
US Airways is as 40k, but their card offers you a 5k break on award redemptions, so you could think of it like having two, 25k domestic awards.
The BA card is still at 50k, which would sound great if not for two reasons. First, they have offered 100k on two previous occasions, so the smart money is on them doing it again some time. Second,they have just announced the re-branding of their program, changing the name from Executive Club to Avios. Whatever the name, they haven’t released their new award charts, so there is a lot of unknowns about how far these miles will take you.
The Priority Club Visa is offering 60k, with 80k targeted at many members. Hyatt is offering two free nights anywhere in the world. This can be great for some $1,000 a night stays at some really nice properties in Europe.
Hilton is offering 62,500 points for their Amex. 20k at first purchase, 30k for a mere $500 spend in three months, and 2,500 points for each of the first four Hilton stays in 18 months, plus another 2,500 for an authorized cardholder.
Rounding things out is 50k for the Ritz-Carlton Visa and 50k for the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier. Finally, there are still some targeted offers out there for the Southwest Visa at 50k.
There are still many fantastic sign up bonuses out there, and I am expecting to see more before the year is out.