Editor's note: Some of the offers on this page may no longer be available through our site.
I often tell people that the hardest way to earn airline miles is to step on an airplane. Even on the carriers that still offer you miles based on the distance you travel, you’ll only earn about 500 miles per hour you spend on an airplane. And you’ll have to spend an entire night in a hotel just to earn a few thousand points in their loyalty program.
In contrast, it takes just a few minutes to sign-up for a credit card that can offer you 50,000 to 100,000 points or miles as a sign-up bonus. 50,000 miles is a competitive offer from an airline card, or one that offers points that can be transferred to airline miles. However, the best offers will be in the 60,000 to 100,000 mile range. With hotel points, a strong offer is one with enough points for at least two free nights in a mid-range hotel. But because hotel points are generally less valuable than airline miles, expect to receive 80,000 to 100,000 points from the best of these offers.
To receive these rewards, you’ll typically have to meet a minimum spending requirement, often $3,000 to $5,000 within three months of account opening. However, some of the most generous offers will have even larger spending requirements. Also, most cards will have an annual fee, although some are waived the first year.
Once you’ve paid an annual fee and received your sign-up bonus, the last thing you’ll want to do is cancel your card. Instead, try it out for a year and see how you like its rewards, benefits and customer service. At the end of your first year, you’ll have all the information you need to decide if it’s worth keeping or not.
9 Major Credit Card Bonuses for October 2018
Welcome offer: New applicants can earn 10,000 MQMs and 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within 3 months of account opening.
Annual fee: $450
Comment: Every year you can also earn 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles after spending $30,000 in a calendar year, and an additional 15,000 MQMs and an additional 15,000 bonus miles after you spend a total of $60,000 in the same calendar year. Also included is an annual companion certificate, that offers you a complimentary, round-trip, in economy or domestic first class domestic(lower 48) ticket, plus taxes and fees available the month of renewal.
Welcome offer: New applicants can now earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on their card within three months of account opening.
Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)
Comment: This card offers you 3X Points on travel, including gas stations, and 2X points on dining out and entertainment. These points are worth $625 towards airfare or can be transferred to airline miles.Card holders can redeem 60,000 points for $750 in airfare on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou Travel Center, or $600 in gift cards when redemmed at thankyou.com.
Welcome offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
Annual fee: $450
Comment: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Welcome offer: 70,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first four months of account opening.
Annual fee: $99, waived the first year.
Comment: This card now offers double miles on purchases at telecommunications, car rental merchants and at gas stations, as well as for American Airlines purchases. You also receive a free checked bag, priority boarding and discounts on in-flight food and beverages.
Welcome offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within three months of account opening. This is a limited time offer available only until November 7, 2018. Annual fee: $195
Comment: This is an attractive card that offers you a bunch of perks like free checked bags and priority boarding. But the biggest value here is the annual Companion Certificate that offers you a single domestic (contiguous 48 states), round-trip, economy class companion fare, plus government taxes and fees. This alone could be worth hundreds of dollars.
Welcome offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening.
Annual fee: $550.
Comment: While the card's annual fee is among the very highest, it also comes bundled with a $200 annual air travel fee statement credit, and up to $200 annual Uber credit and a $100 credit towards the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. This card now offers a $50 credit towards Saks Fifth Avenue purchases twice a year, enrollment required. You also earn 5x points per $1 for flights booked through the airline and prepaid hotels booked with Amextravel.com.
Welcome offer: Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. You also get a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
Annual fee: $95.
Comment: This is an excellent offer for a card that offers 12x points at Hilton portfolio hotels, 6x points at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations and 3x points on all other purchases. You also receive Gold elite status.
Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 within three months of account opening. This limited time offer has been extended until October 31st, 2018.
Annual fee: $95, waived the first year.
Comment: This card offers 6x points at over 6,500 participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® properties, giving them an enormous footprint. You also earn 4x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping, with 2x points for all other purchases. You get a complimentary night stay each year, Marriott Silver status, and Gold status when you spend $35,000 on purchases in a calendar year
Welcome offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the card within three months of account opening.
Annual fee: $175 (waived the first year.) Comment: This card offers you 3x points on one of five categories that you get to choose. You also earn 2x points on the four remaining categories.
Comment: This card offers you 3x points on one of five categories that you choose. You also earn 2x points on the four remaining categories.