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Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers – February 2019

Updated February 2019. That space in your wallet or purse is more valuable than you think. Credit card companies are fighting it out, offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to encourage you to apply and try it out. These are the top 10 credit card offers that I would apply for right now, if I didn’t already most of them. Recent changes:

  • Replaced Citi AA 50k card offer with limited-time Barclays AA 60k offer.
  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards – easy Companion Pass offer expires 2/11.
  • Hawaiian Airlines – limited-time offer up to 60k.
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus – bonus offer up to 70k.

If you pay off your balances every month, then you can join me and many others in funding a huge chunk of your annual travel budget with cash credits, points, and miles. You don’t need to be a “I only fly business class” world traveler. I mostly use my rewards points on domestic economy flights, mid-class hotels, and cheap car rentals. If you have credit card debt, you should focus on paying that off first as the interest charges could offset most of the perks.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Business Card Offers. Small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Note: Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Card

  • 70,000 points (worth $700 towards travel) after $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee. See link for details.
  • Unlimited 2X miles on every purchase.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $89.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $625 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 2X points on Travel and Dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.
  • Alternative: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. More rewards, more perks including lounge access, $450 annual fee, $300 annual travel credit.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card

  • Bonus Companion Pass + 30,000 Southwest points. Earn the Companion Pass and 30,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months. Offer ends 2/11/19. Companion Pass is promotional and will end 12/31/19. See link for details.
  • $69 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Hawaiian Airlines Bank of Hawaii Card

  • 60,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles. Limited-time offer of 60,000 bonus Hawaiian miles after spending $2,000 within the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for primary cardmember when using your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Receive a one-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and The Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $99 annual fee.

Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red Card

  • 60,000 American Airlines miles. 60,000 miles after first purchase (any amount) in first 90 days. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $95 annual fee.

Citi Premier Card

  • 50,000 ThankYou points (worth $625 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points on Travel, including Gas Stations
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

British Airways Visa Signature Card

  • Up to 100,000 Avios points. 50,000 Avios after $3,000 in purchases within first 3 months. Additional 25,000 Avios for $10,000 in purchases within first year. Additional 25,000 Avios for $20,000 in purchases within first year. See link for details and redemption tips.
  • Free Travel Together companion ticket when you spend $30,000 in calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • NOT subject to 5/24 rule.

American Express Gold Card

  • 40,000 Membership Rewards points (flexible, worth 50,000 miles at various airlines) after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • $120 in Grubhub and Seamless credit. $10 in statement credits each month when you pay with this card at participating partners – Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations.
  • $100 airline fee credit. Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits towards checked baggage fees and inflight meals.
  • $250 annual fee.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

  • 50,000 points (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $100 annual Airline Incidental Statement Credit.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $95 annual fee.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card

  • $500 cash bonus after $3000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Chase World of Hyatt Card

  • Up to 50,000 Hyatt points. 25,000 Bonus Points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after a total of $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • $95 annual fee, free night award upon card anniversary.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Southwest Companion Pass via (a Single) Chase Southwest Credit Card Bonus

Companion Pass Limited-Time Offer expires Monday, February 11th. Southwest Airlines offers a unique feature called the Companion Pass, which lets you pick one person to fly with free when you book your own paid OR award flights. The traditional way to earn a Companion Pass is to either fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 Qualifying Points in a calendar year, after which you’ll earn the Companion Pass for the remainder of that year the following full calendar year.

Southwest has new limited-time offer with a “promotional” Companion Pass, which is easier to achieve but only lasts for the remainder of the current year (through the end of December 2019). You get to skip the 110,000 point requirement. Keep in mind that you can change your designated companion up to three times each calendar year. Limited-time offer ends February 11, 2019.

Here are the new offer highlights. There are some slight variations between them:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card

  • Earn the Companion Pass and 30,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months. Offer ends 2/11/19. Companion Pass is promotional and will end 12/31/19.
  • 3,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $69 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier card

  • Earn the Companion Pass and 30,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months. Offer ends 2/11/19. Companion Pass is promotional and will end 12/31/19.
  • 6,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $99 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority card

  • Earn the Companion Pass and 30,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months. Offer ends 2/11/19. Companion Pass is promotional and will end 12/31/19.
  • 7,500 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit.
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on inflight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies.
  • Earn tier qualifying points towards A-list status.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $149 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card

  • 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 6,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $99 annual fee.

30,000 Rapid Rewards points redemptions vary in a narrow range, but a reasonable approximation from my experience is $450 in Wanna Get Away airfare (you are still liable for taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way). Importantly, Southwest does NOT have blackout dates or seat restrictions when you redeem with points. This means that Southwest points are much easier to use than a “saver award” on the traditional airlines. Now, if you use the Companion Pass on every trip that you book with points, that doubles the value to $900.

Southwest still includes two free checked bags per person. The fees on the other airlines have crept up to $30 per bag, each-way. That adds up.

Restrictions. All of these Southwest credit cards are subject to “5/24” restrictions, which means that your application will be automatically denied if you have opened 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months (check your credit reports). Our household strategy is to have one person only apply for Chase 5/24 cards, and the other person applies for everything else. There is also this language on the consumer card:

The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.

Basically, you can get one sign-up bonus from a Southwest consumer card once every 24 months. You can also get one sign-up bonus from a Southwest business card once every 24 months.

Another option to consider is gift card redemptions. You can still redeem 5,000 points for a $50 a Amazon.com or Wal-Mart gift certificate. That makes 50,000 points still worth $500 in Amazon or Walmart gift cards.

Our family policy is to not try out a new credit card unless it offers us $500 in total value. In this case, the Companion Pass might not be worth anything if you travel alone, or it could be worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Remember, the companion pass works on tickets booked with either points OR cash.

In our case, I like that this makes it much easier to earn two concurrent Companion Passes with just two credit card applications – one for me and one for my spouse – which would mean we could take two kids free.

Extending your Companion Pass with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest points on a 1:1 basis. The idea is is to book an award flight with those Southwest points while you have the Companion Pass, thus doubling the value of your Ultimate Rewards points as well.

Bottom line. Right now, Southwest is offering a promotion for Companion Pass good through the end of 2019 if you sign up for an eligible credit card and meet the spending requirements. The Companion Pass lets you pick one person to fly with free whenever you book your own paid or award flights. This can mean big savings. Southwest also still includes two free checked bags per person.

Which one would I pick? Well, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card offers 3,000 more anniversary points (6k vs 3k) than the Southwest Plus, but also costs $30 more per year ($99 v. $69). If you are basically willing to buy more points at 1 cent each, then you may want the Premier as you it’s not hard to get more than $30 value out of 3,000 points. However, I would personally just pick the simpler and cheaper option and stick with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card.

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