[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
How many companies can you think of that will pay you to become a customer? Credit cards are one of the few products that will offer you a valuable reward just for opening a new account and meeting its minimum spending requirements.
If you act soon, you can still apply for a new credit card and receive a sign-up bonus in time for the holidays this year. To do so, you need to find a credit card that features the most valuable offer, but one that still has a relatively low minimum spending requirement.
When Will You Receive Your Sign-Up Bonus?
Although many credit card agreements specify that cardholders must allow 6 to 8 weeks for bonus points to post to their accounts, most will actually receive their bonus sooner than that. The vast majority of credit card issuers will post any points, miles or cash back you are entitled to soon after your next statement period ends, once you have met the minimum spending requirements. The exception is when necessary charges are listed as pending when your monthly statement closes. Since some charges take a day or two to post to your account, there are cases where you might have to wait until the following statement closes until you receive your points. So if you are in a hurry to receive your rewards, just be careful not to wait until the last minute to meet those minimum spending requirements. (And before you apply, check your credit to make sure your score is well into the “good” range — these cards require good credit scores or higher. One way to get your credit scores for free is through Credit.com.)
Also, carefully consider whether the credit card you want to apply for will match with your needs and your typical spending patterns. You can maximize the rewards you earn by paying your balance in full each month to avoid finance charges. Here’s an expert guide to picking a rewards credit card.
4 Cards That Offer Bonuses You Can Earn Before the Holidays
IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card from Chase
Looking for hotel award nights for your holiday getaway? IHG hotels, which include Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza and other brands, is offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points on its Rewards Club Select card from Chase. To earn this bonus, new applicants need to spend $1,000 within the first three months of account opening. Once earned, points can be redeemed for free night awards at IHG properties starting at just 5,000 points for their Points Break offers and standard award nights starting at just 10,000 points per night. In addition, you can use the IHG Rewards Club Concierge to redeem your points for tickets to games, book tours or buy one-of-a-kind items. Cardholders earn five points per dollar spent at IHG properties, double points for purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. There is a $49 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase
This card offers new applicants 30,000 bonus miles after after spending $1,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. In addition, you can also receive another 5,000 bonus miles by adding an authorized user that makes at least one purchase within the same time period. Cardholders earn double miles on all United purchases, and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Other benefits include two free United Club passes each year, priority boarding, and a free checked bag for the cardholder and a companion traveling on the same ticket. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year.
American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard from Citi
Here is another way to earn some frequent flier miles fast, as new cardholders earn 30,000 bonus miles after making just $1,000 in new purchases within three months of account opening. Travelers earn double miles on all American and US Airways purchases, and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Other benefits include a priority boarding, a 10% rebate on redeemed miles, and a free checked bag for the cardholder and up to four others traveling on the same reservation. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.
Capital One’s VentureOne card offers 20,000 bonus miles, worth $200 in travel statement credits, after new cardholders spent $1,000 within three months. This card offers 1.25X miles per dollar spent on all purchases, with no limits. Once earned, miles can be redeemed for a penny each as statement credits toward travel purchases such as flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. There is no annual fee for this card.
At publishing time, the IHG Rewards Club Select, United MileagePlus Explorer, American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Select and VentureOne credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
More on Credit Cards:
- Credit.com’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
- An Expert Guide to Credit Cards with Rewards
- How to Get a Credit Card with Good Credit