Earlier this fall, it looked like we had seen the last of the really high credit card sign-on bonuses for the year. Lufthansa offered 50,000 miles on its co-branded credit card, and Chase finished a big 70,000 point push on its business card, the Chase Ink.
But oneworld alliance airlines or at least the ones most relevant to North American travelers seem to have gotten together and decided that they really like the business that credit cards bring them. British Airways, American Airlines and US Airways have all thrown out 50,000 mile sign-on bonuses.
Just in the last week, Delta and its new controlling partner, Virgin Atlantic, jumped into the fray with some very tantalizing offers of their own.
So if you’re looking to stock up on a few more points this year, here are your best bets.
Oneworld 50,000 Mile Bonus Options
Dubbed by some points and miles collectors as the card that refuses to die, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard has already announced the changes that will take place once US Airways has completed its merger with America Airlines. That doesn’t stop them from continuing to issue the card, and with great perks.
In addition to 50,000 miles, which is credited after just the first purchase, cardholders receive a companion pass that can be used for up to two passengers traveling for just $99 plus taxes and fees along with a paid ticket. Read more about how to use the US Airways companion pass before its gone here.
Judging from the generous buy miles offer it currently has going, American Airlines is picking up some of US Airways generosity in the merger. Its current credit card offer is no exception.
The recently redesigned Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard now features chip technology and allows cardholders to get 10% of redeemed American Airlines miles back at the end of each year (up to 10,000). The current bonus offers 50,000 miles and two Admirals Club lounge passes after a $3,000 spend in three months.
Across the pond, British Airways is offering a Goldilocks-style middle ground between the US Airways and American Airlines offers. When you get the British Airways Visa Signature Card under the current offer, you’ll get 50,000 Avios after a $2,000 spend in three months.
The offer itself doesn’t carry any additional perks like the AA card, but, like the US Airways card, it comes with some powerful perks on its own. You earn 2.5 Avios on British Airways purchases, 1.25 miles on everything else, and a travel together ticket after spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year.
The New Kids on the Block: Delta and Virgin Atlantic
Belatedly and very briefly, Delta has thrown its hat in the ring with an offer for its Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card. It comes with both a 50,000-mile bonus after a very low spend (just $1,000 over three months) and the opportunity for a separate $50 statement credit after any Delta purchase in the same time period.
The offer won’t be around long it has barely been on the scene a week and it expires December 21 so don’t dally too much if you’re a Delta fan. The card also includes discounted access to Delta Sky Club lounges and no foreign transaction fees.
Virgin Atlantic’s new offer technically blows the other sign-on bonuses currently available out of the water at 90,000 miles, but it comes with a lot of strings and a high spend. The Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard, also known commonly as the Black Card, is giving an easy 20,000 miles after the first purchase, 5,000 miles for adding an authorized user and 15,000 miles on your first anniversary. But to get the other 50,000 miles, you’ll need a $12,000 spend in six months.
Like the British Airways card, however, the Black Card comes with an above-average earning rate at three miles per dollar on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 miles per dollar on everything else.