It’s raining 50,000 point and mile sign up bonuses. Today, we’ll wade through the offers to help you determine which is the best card for you.
Update April 2012: Many of the 50,000 offers are disappearing. The post is updated to reflect those changes.
Chase Sapphire Preferred – 40,000 Ultimate Rewards Points
Quick Summary: Chase is offering 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. These points can be used for gift cards and all things in between. When use for travel, through Chase’s booking center, you get a 20% point bonus. That’s a $500 travel value.
- $500 worth of travel that can be used on any airline, hotel, or car when booked through their travel site.
- Ability to transfer points to various programs like Continental (and thus United), British Airways, Amtrak, Priority Club, Marriott, and Hyatt.
- No foreign currency exchange.
- 7% annual bonus. Include the sign up bonus.
- 2 points per dollar spent on travel; 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
- I’m unable to verify the value of rewards through the booking portal because I don’t currently have an Ultimate Rewards account (but I should any day).
Chase Ink Bold Business – 50,000 Ultimate Rewards
Quick Summary: Get 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. Just like the Sapphire Preferred, you get a 20% point bonus when you use the Chase travel center to book travel.
- $600 worth of travel that can be used on any airline, hotel, or car when booked through their travel site.
- Ability to transfer points to various programs like Continental (and thus United), British Airways, Amtrak, Priority Club, Marriott, and Hyatt. You may be required to also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred to first transfer the points there.
- Complimentary one year Priority Pass membership.
- Higher than normal minimum spend requirement ($5,000)
Citi Premier – 30,000 ThankYou Rewards Points
Quick Summary: Citi is offering 30,000 ThankYou points after spending $2,500 in the first three months. These points can be used for a variety of non-travel related items. This could include $300 worth of gift cards. Citi Premier members get a 33% point bonus when booking travel through the ThankYou Travel Center. That results in a $399 travel value.
- $399 value when using the points to book travel with the ThankYou Travel Center. Comparable rates when compared to other domestic US flights.
- Points can be used to pay for car rentals.
- Can fly on a variety or airlines.
- No foreign exchange fee.
- ThankYou Travel Center offers poor hotel redemption rates as compared to other online travel sites.
- No opportunity to transfer points to a mileage based program.
Get more card details here.
American Airlines – 50,000 AAdvantage Miles
Quick Summary: Citi will give you up 50,000 American Airlines miles depending on the card. An offpeak trip to Europe costs 40,000 miles roundtrip.
- American Airlines has a solid program with good discounted off-peak economy rates
- Opportunity to get even more miles (total of 150,000) with the two browser application trick.
- $85 annual fee is waived for the first year
- Still charges a foreign currency
- Miles are locked into one program (American) and not transferable.
Marriott Rewards – 50,000 Marriott points
Quick Summary: Chase will give you 50,000 Marriott points and a free hotel stay (Category 1-4) when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Depending on the destination, the value can be around $435 (in this example for Hawaii)
- An opportunity to get hotel points in the sea of good airfare offers.
- Easy redemption.
- No foreign currency.
- Not as flexible as other programs that allow hotel, airfare, and car rental options.
- Depending on location, may have a lower dollar value.