Best Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses 2012
In a sense, we live in a golden age of credit card sign up bonuses. Never before in the nearly 6 years I’ve been writing about credit card deals for this site has there been a time when credit card issuers have been so generous in offering cash, points and miles in exchange for your application.
To what do we owe this good fortune? Well, it appears that credit card issuers are attempting to take advantage of consumer’s increased appetite for credit card spending. According to credit card processing giant First Data, purchases made with credit cards rose 8.2% in Q1 of 2011, 9% in Q2 and 10.6% in Q3. Seemingly in response, credit card mailings have increased 85% since the beginning of 2010 to 1.3 billion credit card offers in the third quarter of 2011, according to research firm Intel Compermedia.
That’s still below the record 1.58 billion mailings sent out during the third quarter of 2005, but a huge increase from the 349.1 million sent out during the same quarter of 2009. This shows that credit card issuers are quite optimistic about the future and are aggressively courting new customers.
With so many offers to choose from, that’s where this list comes in. In this post, I’ve tried to identify the offers with the best initial sign up bonuses so that you can spend your time on the offers that are the most rewarding.
Best Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses List for 2012
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Signup Bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. 40,000 points are worth $400 in statement credit or $500 towards travel.
Annual Fee: $95 (waived first year)
Details: An excellent all-around rewards card for the frequent traveler, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card should appeal to a wide range of consumers due to its flexible point redemption opportunities. For more details, see this review.
Hyatt Credit Card
Signup Bonus: Earn 2 free nights at any Hyatt property worldwide after making your first purchase.
Annual Fee: $75
Details: Given that a hotel room at a top-tier Hyatt property can easily run $400-500/night and that the bonus is earned after your first purchase, this is a generous sign up offer. For more details on this card offer, see this post.
Priority Club Visa Card
Signup Bonus: Earn 80,000 points after first purchase. 80,000 points are worth between 2-8 nights at an IHG hotel.
Annual Fee: $49 (waived first year)
Details: IHG properties include Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, and InterContinental hotels and resorts. For more details on this card offer, see this post.
Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
Signup Bonus: Earn 50,000 points after first purchase, plus $75 statement credit.
Annual Fee: $85 (waived first year)
Details: See this post.
Chase Ink Bold with Ultimate Rewards
Signup Bonus: Earn 50,000 points — 25,000 after first purchase, plus an additional 25,000 after spending $10,000 in 3 months. 50,000 points is worth $500 in gift cards or $625 towards airfare.
Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)
Details: A rare business credit card offer on this list. For more details on this card, see this post.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card
Signup Bonus: Earn 50,000 miles after first purchase. Earn another 10,000 miles after spending $25,000 within a calendar year.
Annual Fee: $95 (waived first year)
Details: Restrictions apply for this offer. You must have an open MileagePlus account that contains United miles in it in order to be eligible. See this post for details.
Have opinions on this list? Picking a “Best of” list is subjective to a certain extent, so let me know what you think in the comment section below.
The following offer(s) were previously part of the list, but have since expired:
Citi ThankYou Premier Card
Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $2,500 in purchases within 3 months of account opening. 50,000 ThankYou points are redeemable for $500 in gift cards or $665 in travel. Expired: 2/3/12
Current offer: 30,000 ThankYou points worth $300 in gift cards after spending $2,000 within 3 months. For details, see this link.
Annual Fee: $125 (waived first year)
Details: The natural competitor to Chase’s Sapphire Preferred Card. For more details, see this post.
Citi® Select® / AAdvantage® American Express® Card
Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® Visa Signature® Card
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Visa Card
Signup Bonus: Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in 4 months; $150 statement credit after first eligible AA purchase within 12 months; 2 Admirals Club One-Day passes. Expired: 2/29/12
Annual Fee: $85 (waived first year) for the consumer cards; $75 (waived first year) for the CitiBusiness card
Details: A good churning candidate for those who fly AA. For more details, see this post.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card
Annual Fee: $69