One thing about Travel Hacking that is a certainty is that the more you learn, the more things will change. One example is Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses. Let’s dive into the ins and outs of Credit Card Offers.
Sign up Bonuses
Credit card companies use lucrative sign up bonuses as a marketing tool to bring in new customers. These banks don’t expect everyone to redeem the points and miles. We travel hackers are the exception. We do everything we can to use the points/miles. As often as possible, we also maximize the value we receive from redemption. That value is much more than the one or one and half cents per point or mile advertised by the banks.
Sign Up Bonuses Change
Sign up bonuses will vary depending on the time of the year and other mysterious factors. For over two years, The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offered a 50,000 point sign up bonus. Recently, Chase increased the sign up bonus to 60,000 points. This offer no longer waives the annual fee of $95 in the first year. The extra 10,000 bonus points are worth more than the annual fee. So, in effect, Chase now has an even better offer than in the past.
Capital One and Citibank are banks that waive the annual fee in the first year for many of their credit cards. Note that some credit cards currently have no annual fee ever. Again, this is always subject to change in the future.
Airline and Hotel Sign Up Bonuses
The sign up bonuses for Airline and Hotel credit cards vary quite a bit. Here’s a top if you are considering applying for a specific Airline credit card like the United Explorer Credit Card. Apply for it with an application while flying on that specific airline. Often, the sign up bonus will be 10,000 miles higher with the specific applications offered on the plane. You can often find credit card applications close to the check-in desks at most airport gates.
United Airlines Example
United Airlines recently changed their sign up bonuses over the course of the second week in January. When I made a connection on United Airlines in Denver on my way to Maui, there were United Explorer credit card applications at every other United Gate. The applications offered a 60,000 mile sign up bonus. I know this because I love to do my walking in the airport between flights and get to really look around.
On my return stopover in Denver, there was a woman changing out all the United Explorer credit card applications. Yes, there is someone who has this specific job! One week later, United was only offering a 40,000 mile sign up bonus. I didn’t see an application on my outbound flight, but on my return, the in-flight application had a 50,000 mile sign up bonus. As you can see, sign up bonuses are always fluctuating.
Hotels chains are no different in how they offer sign up bonuses. The thing to remember is to keep an eye out for higher sign up bonuses. Dow this especially hen thinking of opening up a specific new credit card account.
Delta Airlines: My Experience
Watch your mailbox as you may receive a targeted offer with a better sign up bonus. Lately, I’ve been receiving mailers from Delta Airlines. They started at 30,000 bonus miles and just last week, I received a mailer with a 70,000 mile sign up bonus with for a $2,000 minimum spending requirement. I don’t have many opportunities to fly Delta, but this offer is quite good. I’m sure I can find a way to use the points by utilizing an airline transfer partner. Glad I didn’t apply for just a 30,000 mile sign up bonus.
The most important thing to remember is that when you get into this hobby, you’ll start to receive unsolicited credit card offers . It may be tempting to sign up for one of these offers even if the card doesn’t fit into your overall travel hacking strategy. If the card makes sense for you, by all means, apply. Otherwise, I urge you to use restraint.
Please feel free to reach out to me before applying to discuss your specific situation. I’m happy to help you make your decision based on your travel goals.
So there you have it, a some simple tips on the ins and outs of credit card offers.
Please scroll down and leave an answer to the question: What credit card are you considering right now?