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I often tell people that the hardest way to earn airline miles is to step onto 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.
10 Major Credit Card Bonuses for November 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, (earned each year upon renewal of your card) that offers you a round-trip domestic (lower 48) ticket in economy or first class, plus taxes and fees.
Welcome offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee: $95
Comment: This card offers you 12x points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6x points on select business and travel purchases. You get 3x points everywhere else, plus automatic Gold elite status and a Weekend Night reward after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your card during a calendar year.
Welcome offer: New applicants can earn 60,000 bonus miles, worth $600 in travel statement credits, after spending $5,000 on new purchases within 90 days of account opening.
Annual fee: $89, waived the first year
Comment: This card is back with one of the most generous welcome offers seen on a card like this. This card offers double miles on all purchases, and you receive a 5% of your redeemed miles back.
Welcome offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000, and another 25,000 after spending an additional $10,000 within your three months of account opening.
Annual fee: $450
Comment: This is an attractive introductory offer, but it’s also has a very high minimum spending requirement. Still this can be an attractive offer for small businesses owners looking to jump start their rewards balances. The annual fee is expensive, but it comes with enough perks, benefits and travel fee reimbursements to justify it.
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 and a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within the first 3 months. Offer ends 11/07/2018.
Annual fee: $195
Comment: This is an attractive card that offers you a bunch of perks like a free checked bag 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, upon renewal each year. 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 airline fee statement credit, up to $200 in annual Uber credit and a $100 credit towards the Global Entry or $85 towards TSA PreCheck application. This card now offers up to a $100 credit towards Saks Fifth Avenue purchases (enrollment required) made on The Platinum Card. You also earn 5x points per $1 for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and on 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 a great 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 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening.
Annual fee: $95, waived the first year
Comment: This card offers 6x points at over 6,700 participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels across 29 brands, 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 each year after your card anniversary, Marriott Silver status, and Gold status when you spend $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year (note: spending threshold increases from 30,000 to 35,000 effective January 1, 2019).
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 and 1x on other purchases. The 3x and 2x apply to the first $100,00 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, followed by 1x point per dollar thereafter.