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With strategic and responsible spending, sign-up bonuses are worth hundreds of dollars in cash
Listen… we all love using credit card points for free travel but the coronavirus pandemic is making future travel more and more difficult. It’s also putting millions of people out of a job.
However, this doesn’t mean that signing up for travel credit cards during the pandemic isn’t a good idea. There are some issuers that have the best credit card welcome offers that are worth hundreds of dollars in value. You can then use these points towards tons of award redemptions!
I previously highlighted how you can use your current stash of credit card points and airline frequent flyer miles on everyday expenses. From Amazon to Doordash to Panera Bread gift cards, those points could help during these tough financial times.
But even if you don’t have years worth of credit card points, banks are still offering sizable credit card offers. In fact, we’ve listed three credit card options below, which in our opinion, have the best credit card welcome offers as of this writing.
Basically, these points are an easy way to get really great deals without shelling out money.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has one of the best welcome offers in the market. The card has a $95 annual fee which is pretty reasonable because new cardholders can get 60,000 Chase points after spending $4,000 on the card within three months. It also earns 2x points on travel and dining.
Chase advertises that the 60,000 points are worth $750 in travel. This is absolutely true. But who is planning vacations for the foreseeable future? Fortunately for us, Chase points can be redeemed for one cent each for cash, meaning those 60,000 points can be converted to $750 in cash with the click of a button. All for using a specific credit card for four months.
Let’s say you spend $4,000 on a new Chase Sapphire Preferred card and receive the additional 60,000-point welcome bonus. That means that you would have at least 64,000 points, and those 64,000 points have a value of at most $800 in cash. After taking into account the $95 annual fee, that leaves you with $705.
Yes… that’s a lot of money to spend on a credit card. That level of spending won’t be possible for everybody and it’s especially hard for those who have lost their primary source of income. But let’s say you can avoid paying interest and pay your bill on time each month. If so, the Chase Sapphire Preferred welcome bonus is a fantastic way to rack up points that are worth hundreds of dollars courtesy of Chase bank.
Capital One Venture Card
In terms of earning credit card points for award travel, I usually steer clear of Capital One. However, when it comes to getting a decent welcome offer that’s worth hundreds of dollars, the Capital One Venture credit card presents itself as a potential option.
What sets the Capital One Venture card apart from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the lower spending threshold. Instead of needing to spend $4,000 for the sign-up bonus, new Capital One Venture cardholders only need to spend $3,000 to earn the card’s 60,000 point welcome bonus.
You get the same welcome offer but the spending requirement is a lot smaller. This card has an annual fee of $95 and earns 2x miles on all spending.
The major downside of the Capital One Venture card? The exchange rate for converting points to cash is only .5 cents/point. This means that the 66,000 Capital One miles you would earn by satisfying the welcome bonus requirements (double miles on all spending!) would only be $330 in cash.
After taking into account the $95 annual fee, the net gain of signing up for the Capital One Venture card would be $235.
Obviously, $1235 is significantly less than $745. But some people might be intimidated by the $4,000 in needed spending with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. This is the reason why the Capital One Venture card is a great alternative because of its lower spending requirement.
The Venture card could also be more suitable to someone who has already signed up for multiple credit cards within the past two years. Chase has a restriction called the “5/24 rule” which prohibits people from signing up for Chase cards if they have opened five credit cards within the past 24 calendar months.
There are a few exceptions and nuances, but if you would fall into this category, perhaps the Capital One Venture card would be a better option.
Citi Premier Card
The last card I’ll highlight is the Citi Premier credit card. The welcome bonus for this card is 60,000 Citi ThankYou points if you’re able to spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. The card also comes with a $95 annual fee.
Fantastic, right? Sure, it’s a big spending requirement, but try to think that you can exchange those hard-earned ThankYou points for as cash.
Citi ThankYou points can be redeemed for .5 cents/point, much like the Capital One points. This means that the 64,000 ThankYou points you accumulated through meeting the spending requirement and earning the sign-up bonus are worth $320. And after taking into account the $95 annual fee, the total profit for your efforts would be $225.
The Citi Premier card has a small value advantage over the Capital One card. But while Chase has the 5/24 rule, Capital One is notorious for being more difficult in approving the Capital One Venture card to individuals with less than stellar credit.
There’s no hard and fast rule to the number, but Capital One’s fickleness is noteworthy. Citi, meanwhile, is probably the easiest bank in terms of issuing credit cards. So if you’ve recently signed up for a lot of credit cards or have a below-average credit score, the Citi Premier card might be the best fit.
While the economy is taking a downturn, credit card issuers are maintaining their lucrative sign-up bonuses. With strategic and responsible spending, those sign-up bonuses are worth hundreds of dollars in cash.
All three cards offer fantastic opportunities for you to rack up a huge amount of points. But remember, once you pay interest, those points are pretty much useless so make sure to use your credit card responsibly. If you’re having doubts on your credit card knowledge, you can sign up for our travel concierge to get unlimited credit card and award booking assistance.