Credit Card Strategy and Master List of Signup Bonuses – Updated Weekly

Finance Punk’s last post on how to make $5k this month was a little over the top.

This post is a more realistic strategy and is going to be updated often to reflect new strategy and to be used as a tool for the current signup bonuses for most credit cards.

All links to credit cards are to the highest available public offer. Some of the posts are referral links which means you will be supporting the site if you use them. That being said:

Where to start?

Ask yourself the following:

Do I have a credit karma, credit sesame, or other free credit monitoring account?

Is my credit score above 700 with no late payments, derogatory marks, and a history of at least 1 year?

Do I have a steady income of at least $25k/year?

Now look really deep inside yourself.

Can I keep myself from spending money I normally wouldn’t spend if I didn’t have a line of credit?

Can I pay my credit card(s) off in full and on-time, every month?

If you answered no to any of the first 3 questions then…

Get a Discover card here for a $50 bonus and double rewards on everything including the bonus (so $100 bonus total) on your one year anniversary of having the card.

Build a little credit history and enable yourself to get approved for better cards after a year or so.

If you answered no to any of the 2 deeper questions then…

Get yourself a rewards earning debit card, stick to bank account bonuses, and utilize cashback portals like topcashback. Don’t risk going into high interest credit card debt if you think you are prone to overspending or late payments.

If you answered yes to every question and then asked yourself the last two questions again and answered yes again then…

Plan before applying:

Look at bank specific rules for approving lines of credit.

Look at the bonuses and spend requirements for each card.

Look at annual fees for each card and see if it is waived for the first year.

Come up with multiple ways to meet thousands of dollars in spend/month without spending more money that you already do per month.

If you look at all of these factors (or even the first factor) you will find that applying for Chase credit cards first is the best option. The reason for this is their rule to only approve a line of credit for most of their cards if the applicant has not opened 5 or more cards in the last 2 years.

Without knowing any personal goals, here are the cards I would sign up for, in order:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: In branch offer
    • 100k UR points for $4k spend within 3 months
    • $300 travel credit every calendar year (calendar year means you get this twice with your first annual fee)
    • $450 annual fee.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
    • 50K UR points for $4k spend within 3 months
    • 5K UR points for adding an authorized user
    • No annual fee for the first year and then $95
  • American Express SPG Business Card
    • 35k SPG points for $8k spend within 3 months
      • 43k SPG points after the $8k spend can be turned into 129K marriott/ritz points or 50k airline points through their partners
    • No annual fee for the first year
  • American Express Business Gold Rewards
    • Targeted offer for 75k points after $5k spend within 3 months
    • No annual fee for the first year

NOTE, a few things about the first 4 cards I tell you to get:

  • This requires spending $21,000 within 3 months which can be done by:
    • Having $7k/month expenses already
    • Manufactured Spend (buying cash equivalents with a credit card)
    • Applying for less cards/month
  • There is $450 annual fee for the first year and up to $900 in annual fees if you keep all the cards after the first year
    • Hint – don’t keep all the cards after the first year. Downgrade or cancel before the annual fee.
    • The $450 annual fee is offset by the benefits of $600 in travel credits, 100k points, and other travel benefits.
  • 2 of these cards are Business cards because they do not count towards the 5 cards within 2 years that Chase keeps track of but they require, at the least, a home business. For example, a reselling on eBay business.

Take as many months to sign up for those first 4 cards as you need to meet the spend.

As in, apply for 1 card per 3 months if you need 3 months to spend $5k.

Skip the business cards if you want.

If you do not even have a eBay account where you occasionally sell things then don’t lie on a credit application and say you have a business. Just skip the business cards.

30 days before you can apply for Chase cards again:

2 Chase cards per 30 days. So, after 30 days from your first 2 Chase cards has passed, you are free to open 2 more Chase cards and maximize the <5 new cards within 2 years Chase rule.

Again, skip the business card if you do not even remotely have a home business.

  • Chase Ink Preferred
    • 80k UR points for spending $5k within 3 months
    • $95 annual fee
  • Chase United, Marriott, or South West card depending on travel plans
    • Not IHG, Hyatt, Marriott Bus, or Ritz Carlton because 5 cards/2 years doesn’t apply to those
  • Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, or other Chase travel card if you didn’t do a business card.
  • Barclaycard Arrival+
    • 50K points for $3k spend within 3 months
    • 5% points bonus for redeeming on travel so spend $3,750 to reach 57,500 points and then redeem $500 and then $100 for a total bonus of $600
    • No annual fee for the first year then $95
  • Citi Prestige or Premier
    • 50k points for $3k spend within 3 months
    • Premier
      • no annual fee the first year
    • Prestige
      • $450 annual fee
      • 4th night free benefit at any hotel in the world which can be really valuable because it can be used unlimited times per year
      • $250 airline credit per calendar year that can be used twice the first year ($500)
  • CapitalOne Venture
    • 40k points for $3k spend within 3 months
    • no annual fee the first year then $95

NOTE, a few things about second round:

  • This requires up to $20k spending within 3 months which can be done by:
    • Having $7k/month expenses already
    • Manufactured Spend (buying cash equivalents with a credit card)
    • Applying for less cards/month
  • There is at least $550 in annual fees for the first year and up to $850 in annual fees if you keep all the cards after the first year
    • Hint – don’t keep all the cards after the first year. Downgrade or cancel before the annual fee.
    • The $550 annual fee is offset by the benefits of $500 in airline credits, 130k points, and other travel benefits.
  • 1 of these cards is a Business card and requires at the least, a home business. For example, a reselling on eBay business.

Take these first 8 cards as slow as you want:

If you go the non business card route, you are only opening 7 cards with up to $25k spend requirements. Apply for 1 card a month if you can spend less than $2.5k per month because you will have 3 months for each card for a total of 10 months if you open the 7th card in month 7.

Without business card route total:

At least 400K points

Equal to:

At least $4,000

With business cards route total:

At least 600K points

Equal to:

At least $6,000

Round 3 of cards and beyond:

Apply for as many non 5/24 Chase cards, as many Amex cards, and other bank cards that you want whenever you want, as long as you follow their specific rules for being approved for credit.

Citi Bank has the most strict rules relating to number of hard inquiries so starting with them and paying attention to their rules makes the most sense. Citi also has a one bonus per card family rule which doesn’t allow for getting all of the ThankYou Prestige, Premier and Preferred card bonuses anymore.

Master List of Credit Card Signup Offers:

I will directly link to the best public offer. So, please use the links.

Again, I will not use a referral link if there is a better public signup offer for the card.

All links, including referral links, go directly to the Banks secure application page and do not share any information with me, this site, or anyone.

Please let me know if there is a link to an offer that is lower than the public signup offer and I will correct it.

I will note if I am aware of a targeted offer that is higher than the public offer. In these cases, waiting for a better signup offer for the card is usually the right move.

Chase Bank – Cards with 5/24 rule:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: In branch offer
    • 100k UR points for $4k spend within 3 months
    • $300 travel credit every calendar year (calendar year means you get this twice with your first annual fee)
    • $450 annual fee.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
    • 50K UR points for $4k spend within 3 months
    • 5K UR points for adding an authorized user
    • No annual fee for the first year and then $95
  • Chase United Explorer
    • 50k miles for $3k spend within 3 months
    • 5k mils for adding an Authorized User
    • No annual fee the first year
    • NOTE: there is a 70k targeted offer going around and people have been able to get matched from the 50k offer occasionally
  • Chase Marriott Personal
    • 80K Marriott points for $3k spend within 3 months
    • 7.5K points for adding an authorized user
    • $85 annual fee
    • Free night every year after the first year
  • Chase SouthWest Plus
    • 50k after $2k spend within 3 months
    • $69 annual fee
    • People like to get both this card and the business version for 100k points and then spend a little to get a companion pass
  • Chase Freedom
    • $150 back on $500 in spend within 3 months
    • 5% rotating categories (gas, club stores, drug stores, etc.)
    • Can be used as UR points with CSP, CSR, or Ink Preferred making the points worth over $0.01 each
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Ink Preferred
    • 80k UR points for spending $5k within 3 months
    • $95 annual fee
  • Chase Ink Cash

Chase Bank – Cards without 5/24 rule:

  • Chase IHG
    • 80k IHG points
    • $50 statement credit or 5k IHG points for Authorized user (or both sometimes)
    • $45 annual fee
    • Free anniversary night
    • Not linking to the 60k offer
  • Chase Hyatt
    • 2 free nights
    • 5k points for adding Authorized User
    • $75 annual fee
    • 1 Free anniversary night every year
  • Chase Marriott Business
    • 80k Marriott points
    • $99 annual fee
    • Free anniversary night
  • Chase Ritz Carlton
    • 2 Free nights
    • 10k points for Authorized User
    • $300 travel credit per calendar year
    • $350 annual fee
    • NOTE: there used to be a bonus for 3 free nights and it could still be, or become, available so I would wait. I am linking to the card because of the $300 travel credit ($600 for first annual fee) and because it doesn’t fall under 5/24 rules.

American Express:

  • Amex SPG personal
    • 35k SPG points for $5k spend within 6 months (25k for $3k in 3 months and then 10k for $2k)
      • 40k SPG points after the $5k spend can be turned into 120K marriott/ritz points or 50k airline points through their partners
    • No annual fee for the first year
    • This is the highest signup bonus ever for this card
    • This is one of, if not the, best travel card bonus do to it’s versatility
  • American Express SPG Business Card
    • 35k SPG points for $8k spend within 3 months
      • 43k SPG points after the $8k spend can be turned into 129K marriott/ritz points or 50k airline points through their partners
    • No annual fee for the first year
  • American Express Business Gold Rewards
    • 50K MR points for $5k spend within 3 months
    • Targeted offer for 75k points after $5k spend within 3 months
    • No annual fee for the first year then $175
  • Amex Blue Cash Preferred or Everyday
    • Preferred
      • $150 and 10% back at Restaurants for 6 months
      • 6% back on up to $6,000 of groceries per year
      • 3% back on gas
      • $95 annual fee
    • Everyday
      • $100 and 10% back at Restaurants for 6 months
      • 3% back on up to $6,000 of groceries per year
      • 2% back on gas
  • Amex Everyday Preferred or Everyday
    • Preferred
      • 15,000 MR points after spending $1,000 in 3 months
      • $95 annual fee
      • Better offer in you open this link in private browsing sometimes (25k points)
    • Everyday
      • 15,000 MR points after spending $1,000 in 3 months
      • No Annual fee
      • NOTE: I’m linking this card and not the preferred because the bonus offer is the same and this card has no annual fee
      • Targeted offers of 25k MR points have been going around and have been seen by opening the link in private browsing
  • Amex Premier Rewards Gold
    • 50K MR Points
    • $100 airline credit per calendar year
  • Amex Platinum
    • 75k MR points for 5k Spend
    • $200 airline credit per calendar year
    • $200 aber credit payed $15/week
    • $450 annual fee if you signup before 3/31 then it goes up to $550
  • Amex Delta Gold
    • 50k Delta points plus $50 statement credit
    • My referral offer is only 40k points with $50 statement credit so I’m not linking to it
  • Amex Delta Platinum
    • 50k delta points plus $100 statement credit
    • $195 annual fee
    • NOTE: the bonus goes to 70k points with $100 statement credit occasionally
  • Amex Hilton Honors
    • 75k HHonors points
    • Public offer is currently only 50k points so I’m not linking it
  • Amex Hilton Surpass
    • 100k HHonors points after $3k spend within 3 months
    • $75 annual fee

BarclayCard:

  • BarclayCard Aviator
  • BarclayCard Rewards Mastercard
    • $200 targeted offer
  • Barclaycard Arrival+
    • 50K points for $3k spend within 3 months
    • 5% points bonus for redeeming on travel so spend $3,750 to reach 57,500 points and then redeem $500 and then $100 for a total bonus of $600
    • No annual fee for the first year then $95

Citi Bank

  • Citi Prestige or Premier
    • 50k points for $3k spend within 3 months
    • Premier
      • no annual fee the first year
    • Prestige
      • $450 annual fee
      • 4th night free benefit at any hotel in the world which can be really valuable because it can be used unlimited times per year
      • $250 airline credit per calendar year that can be used twice the first year ($500)
  • Citi AAdvantage
  • Citi Hilton or Reserve
    • 60k HHonors points
    • 2 free weekend nights for Reserve
  • Citi Double Cash
  • Citi Dividend
  • Citi Business

CapitalOne:

  • CapitalOne Venture
    • 40k points for $3k spend within 3 months
    • no annual fee the first year then $95
  • CapitalOne Quick Silver
    • $150 for spending $500 within 3 months

 

 

 

 

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