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I often tell people that the hardest way to earn frequent flyer 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 apply for a credit card that can offer you 50,000 to 100,000 points or miles as a welcome 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 75,000 to 125,000 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 welcome 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 October 2019

 

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Welcome offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards. You earn the first 50,000 after you spend $10,000, and another 50,000 after spending an additional $15,000 within your three months of account opening.

Annual fee: $595 (See rates and fees)

Comment: This is a very attractive welcome bonus, but it also has very high minimum spending requirements for its tiered bonuses. Still, this can be an attractive offer for small business 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.


Related: 8 Credit Cards That Will Get You 'Free' Checked Bags


 

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Welcome offer: Earn up to 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, preferred boarding, and discounts on in-flight food and beverages.

 

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Welcome offer:  Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee: $95 (See rates and fees)

Comment: This card now offers you 6% cash back on up to $6,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services. You also earn 3% back at U.S. gas stations and transit, including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more.

 

The Platinum Card® from American Express           

Welcome offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee: $550 (See rates and fees)

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 in annual Uber credit and up to  $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.


Related: 7 Easy Ways to Earn Frequent Flyer Miles


 

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Welcome offer:  Earn 125,000 bonus points after spending just $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 (see rates and fees)

Comment: This is a best-ever 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. 

 

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

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 three months of Card Membership.

Annual fee: $95 (See rates and fees)

Comment: This card offers you 12x at Hilton hotels, 6x on select business purchases, and 3x everywhere else. Plus, you get Gold status, and a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Welcome offer:  Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening, worth $750  in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Annual fee: $95

Comment: This card is a perennial favorite for travel rewards enthusiasts, as you can transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.


Related: The American Express Rewards Cards Every Traveler Needs


 

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier,  and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.

Welcome offer: All three of these cards offer up to 60,000 points. You earn 40,000 bonus points after spending just $1,000 within the first three months of account opening.  Then, you can earn another 20,000 points after spending $12,000 within 12 months of account opening.

Annual fee: $69, $99 and $149 respectively.

Comment: These cards all offer the same signup bonus, and the difference Is the benefits and the annual fees, as well as the bonus you get on your account anniversary.

 

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles after spending just $3,000 within the first three months of account opening. This limited-time offer ends on 10/30/2019. You also earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your card within three months.

Annual fee: $195  ($250 if an application is received on or after 1/30/2020) (See rates and fees)

Comment:  This card offers you fantastic benefits like a companion certificate that’s good for a domestic (lower 48 states) round-trip flight in economy class. You also get a complimentary checked bag, priority boarding on Delta flights, and a 20% savings on in-flight purchases.

 

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Welcome offer:  Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.

Annual fee: $0 (See rates and fees)

Comment: This is a very rare hotel rewards card with no annual fee, and it has a very modest minimum spending requirement to earn the welcome bonus. Yet you can still earn 7X Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands, 5X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations, and 3X points for all other eligible purchases on your card.

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