Our Top Picks for October: Credit Cards With Bigger Than Usual Sign-Up Bonuses

Our Top Picks for October: Credit Cards With Bigger Than Usual Sign-Up Bonuses

Credit card sign up bonuses are the fastest way to accumulate tons of points and miles. With all of the restrictions that the major banks have placed on earning sign up bonuses lately, it is important to be strategic when it comes to signing up for new cards. The best way to do that is to jump on offers when they are elevated above the standard sign up bonus, especially when they are at or near all-time highs like the Delta co-branded airline cards.

There are currently several cards with elevated sign up bonuses. Below is a list of these cards along with a description of the sign up bonus and key benefits of each card.

1. Platinum Delta Skymiles Card from American Express

  • Sign up bonus: 70K miles plus 10K MQMs after spending $3K in the first 3 months. Also receive a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within the first 3 months.
  • Offer Expiration: 11/9/16
  • Annual Fee: $195

This bonus is likely the highest offer ever made publicly available for this card. The standard offer is 35K miles, so this is really significant increase. If you fly Delta even a moderate amount, we highly recommend jumping on this offer. While award flight costs for Delta can be quite volatile, 70K miles is enough for approximately three round-trip domestic economy awards, or one long haul international economy award. Also, the statement credit effectively reduces the 1st year annual fee to $95. This card can also help you achieve elite status. You receive 10K Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) as part of the sign up bonus, plus an additional 10K MQMs if you spend $25K in a calendar year. Each year upon account renewal, you receive a domestic economy companion certificate. If you can make use of this benefit, you should be able to recoup enough value to more than make up for the annual fee each year. Other benefits include first checked bag free, priority boarding, and Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver if you spend $25K in a calendar year.

2. Platinum Delta Skymiles Business Card from American Express

The sign-up bonus and key benefits of the business version are identical to those detailed above for the personal version. However, since these are considered separate products by Amex, this card does present an additional opportunity to earn a sign up bonus.

 Platinum Delta Skymiles and Platinum Delta Skymiles Business cards sign-up bonus offers

3. Gold Delta Skymiles Card from American Express

  • Sign up bonus: 50K miles after spending $2K in the first 3 months. Also receive a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within the first 3 months.
  • Offer Expiration: 11/9/16
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the 1st year, then $95

The benefits of the Gold Skymiles card aren’t as good as those of the Platinum card, but it also comes with a lower annual fee. This card is good for those who are primarily interested in collecting miles and don’t have use for a companion pass or elite status. Also, the annual fee is waived for the first year, so this card could be a cheap way to rack up some miles. The 50K mile sign up bonus should be enough to get 2 round-trip domestic economy tickets. It also comes with some of the lower end benefits such as 1st checked bag free and priority boarding.

4. Gold Delta Skymiles Business Card from American Express

As with the Platinum card, the Gold card has a business version that has the same sign up bonus and benefits, which represents another opportunity to earn a bonus.

 Gold Delta Skymiles and Gold Delta Skymiles Business cards sign-up bonus offers

5. Barclaycard Arrival Plus

  • Sign up Bonus: 50K points after spending $3K in the first 3 months
  • Offer Expiration: Date not announced, could end at any time
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the 1st year, then $89

The usual offer for the Barclay Arrival Plus card is 40K points, so this is a 10K increase. These points can be redeemed for statement credits at a value of 1 cent each toward travel purchases of $100 or more made within the last 120 days. You also receive a 5% rebate on every point redemption. Therefore, the current sign up bonus is worth $525. The card earns 2 points per dollar on all purchases, so when this is combined with the 5% rebate, this is essentially a 2.1% fixed value card for travel redemptions. You can read more about fixed value rewards in our previous post .

6. Chase Ink Cash Business Card

  • Sign up Bonus: 30K Ultimate Rewards after spending $3K in the first 3 months
  • Offer Expiration: Date not announced
  • Annual Fee: None

The standard offer for the Chase Ink Cash card is 20K UR, making this a 10K increase. While this offer doesn’t seem as big as any of the others on this list, Ultimate Rewards are the most valuable currency out of any of the cards that currently have increased sign up bonuses. It is relatively easy to get redemption values of at least 2 cents per point, making this sign up bonus worth at least $600. Chase markets this card as a cash back card because holding this card alone does not allow you to transfer points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners. However, if you also have one Chase’s premium cards such as the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Plus, then you can combine points across accounts and access all of the transfer partners. The Ink Cash card has strong earning power with several useful bonus categories:

Chase Ink Cash business sign-up-bonus offer
  • 5 points per dollar at office supply stores, cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services on up to $25K in spending per anniversary year
  • 2 points per dollar at gas stations and restaurants on up to $25K in spending per anniversary year

This is one of the best no annual fee cards in the entire travel rewards industry. The bonus categories make it easy to rack up significant numbers of points and they can combine with points earned on other cards to unlock excellent redemption values.

Conclusion

If you have been thinking about getting any of the cards on this list, now is a good time to go for it since none of these offers will likely last more than a couple of months. To determine if these miles or points are a good fit for your upcoming travel plans, use RewardExpert’s free travel strategy service and tell us where you want to go. We’ll show you the strategies available so you can see if one of these cards is a good fit for you.

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