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My Thoughts on the Current Best Offers
Offers are constantly changing for different cards at different banks, so I thought it would be a good idea to go over what I think is the current best offer at each of the major banks and why. Today I’ll look at the offerings from Chase, Amex, Bank of America, Citi, US Bank and Barclay’s.
Bank of America
We’ll start with one of the easier choices for me. While the Virgin Atlantic 90K offer looks good on the surface, it requires a ton of spend and that program often has high fuel surcharges. For me, the Alaska airlines card provides the most valuable overall bonus because of their partners and generous award program.
Best BofA Offer: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
The Offer: 25K miles after approval and $100 statement credit after $1K in spend during the first 3 months. $75 annual fee not waived. (Note: You may be approved for a lesser version of the card with a smaller bonus.)
My Mini Review
25K miles doesn’t look like that much, but you also receive a $100 statement credit that more than offsets the $75 annual fee. The real value of Alaska’s program comes with booking premium cabins on their partners such as Emirates and Cathay Pacific. You can also generally get this card multiple times which makes it easy to stack up the miles.
Oh Barclay’s. I used to love you and now there simply isn’t much to love. The Wyndham card is decent and provides what amounts to 3 free nights, however really good properties are few and far between. I also think the Miles & More 50K offer has some potential, but there are too many pitfalls with that program. At this point I still think the Arrival Plus is the best offer.
Best Barclay’s Offer: Arrival Plus Mastercard
The Offer: 40K miles after $3K spend in 3 months. $89 annual fee is waived the first year.
My Mini Review
I rather publicly broke up with my Arrival Plus card earlier this year after they made some very negative changes. Yes, the card isn’t what it once was, but the sign-up bonus is still worth ~$420 worth of free travel. The Arrival Plus also has chip & pin for those pesky kiosks in Europe, so that may earn it a spot in your wallet while traveling internationally.
As I mentioned in my breakup post, I do love the sign-up bonus on this card, but with all of the changes I am not sure it is something to keep long term. It just doesn’t offer enough benefit to justify the high annual fee. Either way, we are talking about sign-up offers and this is still Barclay’s best in my opinion. Just make sure to think long and hard if it is worth keeping after the year.
Citi has gone crazy this year with amazing offers on a ton of cards, especially ones that earn ThankYou points. We have seen 50K offers on the Premier and Prestige cards for awhile and they even introduced the AT&T Access More card which gives a free phone and earns 3X ThankYou points on online purchases. While it was a tough decision, I do think the Premier wins.
Best Citi Offer: ThankYou Premier
The Offer: 50K ThankYou points after $3K spend in 3 months. 95 annual fee waived the first year.
My Mini Review
There were a brief couple of days about a month ago where you could get this card with a 60K bonus. I really don’t expect that to surface again soon since Citi was adamant that it was a mistake. Either way, 50K ThankYou points can still be incredibly valuable and this card is one of the best earners as well. For everyday purchases you will earn 3X on travel and 2X on dining and entertainment. Sure beats the Sapphire Preferred.
This card also opens up points transfers to Citi’s 13 partners and gives you the ability to redeem ThankYou points for airfare at 1.25 cents each. While the Prestige card is fantastic in its own right, I think the Premier edges it out as being a more mainstream card due to the lower (waived first year) annual fee!
Picking the best American Express offer is tough since they have had so many good ones. With the recent end of the increased SPG card bonuses and no current public ways to get 100K from the Platinum or 75K from the Gold, the decision was a little easier though. My pick for the best Amex card offer at this moment is the Everyday card.
Best Amex Offer: Amex Everyday
The Offer: 25K Membership Rewards points after $2K spend in 3 months. No annual fee.
Application Link (If you see a 10K offer try to use private/incognito mode and you should see 25K.)
My Mini Review
This is a great card for a couple of reasons. First off, it has no annual fee and lets you keep your Membership Rewards points alive. In fact it is the only no annual fee card across all bank programs that allows transfers to partners. Aside from that, it gives 2X at supermarkets and you can earn a 20% bonus with 20 or more transactions.
The big deal with this though is the bonus. Normally the bonus on this card is 10,000 points. That isn’t terrible for a no annual fee card, but right now you are getting 150% more. This is by far the highest bonus we have seen on this card since launch. If you transfer to the right partner, this bonus could easily be worth $500 or more. You rarely ever see that on a card without an
If you asked this question a few months ago, the Club Carlson card would have easily been the winner. Nowadays I think the Flexperks cards are worthy contenders, however that program is too complicated for the average person and it requires finding perfect airfares to maximize value. Overall, despite the changes I still think Club Carlson reigns supreme.
Best US Bank Offer: Club Carlson Premier Rewards
The Offer: 50K point after first purchase + 35K points after $2.5K spend in 3 months. $75 annual fee is not waived.
My Mini Review
Even despite all of the changes, this card still has the best potential sign-up bonus. 85,000 points are enough for a ton of free nights at lower category properties and that is where you should focus. On the high-end there isn’t a lot of value, but getting free nights for 9K or 15K allows you to stretch this bonus out.
I recently downgraded my card and will probably cancel it eventually, but if I was looking to get a card from US Bank for the first time, this one would be it. This bonus is worth at least $300-$400 or so but could be stretched much further.
Chase is probably the most popular bank, so I figured they should go last. Since they recently have cracked down on churners applying for Ultimate Rewards earning cards, I thought I would split Chase into 2 sections. Today I’ll cover the best Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card and the best of the rest!
Best Chase UR Offer: Chase Ink Plus
The Offer: 60K Ultimate Rewards points after $5K spend in 3 months. $95 annual fee not waived the first year.
My Mini Review
I honestly believe the Chase Ink Plus is the most valuable card to carry in your wallet. Both my wife and I have 2 each and I now have an Ink Cash as well. Between the bonus categories and the ability to transfer points to partners, it is the card to get. (Note: There have been reports of Chase denying applicants who have opened 5 or more cards across all banks during the past 24 months. More info here.)
The normal offer is 50K with the annual fee waived and this new temporary offer is 60K with the first year annual fee charged. Either way, the bonus is nice, but this card has a ton of long term value as well. Sometimes people have been able to get the 60K offer without a first year annual fee by going into a branch. It may be worth a try!
Best Other Chase Offer: Hyatt Visa Signature
The Offer: 2 Free nights after $1K spend in 3 months + $50 statement credit after first purchase + 5,000 points for adding an authorized user. $75 annual fee waived the first year.
My Mini Review
Deciding which of the partner program offers is best is a tough decision. Chase recently upped the bonus on the British Airways Visa Signature to 100K and the Southwest 50K offers are public again just in time to setup for a companion pass.
With that said, this version of the Hyatt Visa Signature comes with too many goodies to pass up. You get 2 free nights at any Hyatt worldwide, a $50 statement credit and 5,000 points for adding an authorized user. My family is using our nights next month at the Andaz Maui which gets us a value of over $800. Add in the points and credit and we are close to $1,000 just from one bonus!
So there you have it. A number of great offers across the six “major” banks. I did leave out a couple of banks including Capital One since they run credit from all three bureaus. If I left out any other major banks it is because they have too few products. Feel free to express your thoughts in the comments. Am I wrong? What do you think the best offers are?
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