I’m at the point where I am ready to sign up for a new credit card. It’s always an exciting time when we’re almost finished with the spending requirements for our most recent cards. I’ve read many articles listing the “Best sign up bonuses” so I have an idea of what is available. Instead of making yet another list, I’ll give you some insight into the things I take into consideration when making a decision like this.
Know what offers you’re eligible for
I talked more about this in my recent article, The confusing rules when applying for reward credit cards. Once you’ve been doing this for a while, there are offers out there that you just can’t take advantage of. No worries though, as there are many more that you still can sign up for. On a personal note as an example, there are many AMEX cards I’ve had before and because of their once-in-a-lifetime rule, I can’t get those sign up bonuses ever again. With Citibank, I can’t sign up and get the bonuses for cards that get ThankYou points or any of their American Airlines personal cards because I have opened or closed similar cards in the last 24 months, which takes them out of the running. With Chase, I’ve finally managed to get under the 5/24 rule so any of their cards are available to me. Two more of my applications are going to hit the 24 month mark very soon and will drop off of Chase’s radar so I may even be able to get more than one of the Chase cards if I want. I don’t have cards from the other minor banks so if they do have any offers out there, I could also apply for those, if I wanted.
Are there currently any really amazing offers?
The current blockbuster offer out there that is expiring very soon (tomorrow [May 31st, 2017], actually), is the increased bonus for the American Express Hilton cards. When the bonuses on these cards were announced, I wrote about Why I’m not going to bite at the 100,000 point AMEX Hilton Surpass card offer. As time went on, I thought about my reasoning but I’m sticking with my gut and saying that while this offer is for a bunch of points, it just isn’t that great for me. However, as always, your mileage may vary.
Fortunately there are some other good offers out there. Just a few days ago, the American Express co-brand Delta Airlines cards came up with increased offers of 60,000 miles for the Gold card and 70,000 miles for the Platinum on both the personal and business versions. And while I’ve had both of the personal versions of these cards, I’ve never had either of the business cards.
With the higher than ever bonuses, I’m leaning towards picking up one of these cards (I do have a business I can use). These offers are available until July 5, 2017.
I don’t want to ignore the bonuses on the Citi American Airlines cards but since I’m not eligible for them and American miles aren’t that valuable to me right now anyway (because I have more than I can use), they didn’t factor much into my decision making.
Which type of miles/points do you want or need?
As I just mentioned, I have enough American miles right now. I have a healthy balance and I’m finding it difficult to use them because American is currently being very stingy with releasing seats for award tickets. On the other hand, I’ve been using my Delta miles quite a bit recently, such as for our trip to Charlotte, as well as for tickets home for our trip from Arizona, Las Vegas and California later this year. I also have lower than usual balances of Chase Ultimate Rewards because I transferred some points to Hyatt for our stays in Key West and Raleigh. I’d like to try and get some of those points back, if I could.
The most appealing Chase card would be the Ink Preferred business card, which is offering 80,000 points for meeting the spending requirement of $5,000 in the 3 months after opening the card. The down side is that Chase has been getting stingier with approving businesses for cards and I don’t want to go through an interrogation about my business when applying. The next most appealing card for me is the Sapphire Reserve. Even though I missed out on the 100,000 point bonus that was offered when the card was introduced, the current offer of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within 3 months is very appealing. Not to mention the 3x points for spending on travel AND dining.
So, what am I going to do?
I’m happy that so many options are available to me right now. I have balances in my accounts to cover any future travel we have planned and, against my own advice, I don’t have a current goal. Because of this, I am going to do the next best thing and focus on earning flexible points. Being under the Chase 5/24 rule means I’ll finally be able to get the Sapphire Reserve. That will add to my balance of Ultimate Rewards and I’ll be able to transfer them to whichever program I need to when the time comes. When it gets closer to July, I’ll apply for one of the Delta AMEX cards. I’ll have a month to start to meet the spending goal on the the Reserve before I need to worry about the Delta card. Staggering applications will let me spread out the spending requirements so I don’t have to worry about spending enough to meet the minimum amounts.
But won’t all of this ruin your credit?
I feel fortunate that we are in a financial place where we can pay off our bills every month and not carry any credit card debt. That’s the main factor in us being able to sign up for all of these credit card bonuses. If you’re thinking that having multiple credit cards will ruin your credit, you’re mistaken. I can say that if anything, my credit score has increased since I started getting additional cards. I am still responsible about paying my cards on time (I hate having to pay a late fee when I forget a bill, but it does happen occasionally). When we applied for a car loan, the salesman ran our credit and told us that we had “old people credit” because he had never seen a score so high from anyone besides, well, old people with no debt. I took it as a huge compliment.
How do you apply for cards?
Up until now, I always did a quick search to make sure I was getting the best current offer available. I then went to a travel blog website that I liked and used one of their links to apply, so they could get whatever kick back was being offered to them. It was a way I could pay them back for all of the time they spent on their blog/website (I still do this when applying for credit cards. Now I’d be grateful if you apply for cards I mention on my site by using my links. They do provide me some extra miles for the trouble and I’d be very grateful.).
I’d like to hear if you are going to be signing up for any cards soon. Did this look into how I decide which card to get help you any? Do you have any questions about if the current offers are good ones. Let me know in the comments or write us on Facebook or Twitter.
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