Last updated 3pm 7/23/14.
Here is a current list of what we think the top 5 credit card signup bonus offers are. Consider any of these “highly recommended.” If you’re new, we realize that it can be scary to apply for any credit card, much less many at the same time. Dip your toe in the water. It is worth it. These will be updated regularly as offers come and go. Please comment at bottom with news, questions or issues.
1. 100,000 American miles after spending $10k in spending in 3 months on a Citi Executive World Elite Mastercard; you also get year-round Admirals Club access for cardholder and family or cardholder and two guests and up to $200 in statement credits. There is a $450 annual fee. Alternatively, you can get 75,000 miles on $7,500 in spending with a $100 credit or 60,000 miles on $5,000 in spending with no credit.
Value: $2,200 or approximately 2¢ each (note that you'll end up with up to 110,000 total points when you combine the bonus points with the points earned from the spending that gets you to the bonus).
2. 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with $5k in spending via this link for the Chase Ink Bold Visa. You earn 5 points per $1 on office supply stores and phone, internet and TV services or 2x for gas and hotels.
UPDATE: For a limited time, applying for the Ink Plus card at a Chase Bank branch will earn you 70,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
Value: $1,500 or 2.5¢ each for the 60,000 point offer. You actually get a total of 65k points: 60k from the bonus and at least 5k from spending. Points can transfer to United, Southwest, Amtrak, British Airways, Korean Airlines, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and others.
3. 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards points with $1,000 in spending on an American Express Platinum Mercedes-Benz; there is a $475 annual fee but you get standard Amex Platinum benefits including $200 towards airline fees (or gift cards in some cases) plus a bunch of Mercedes discounts
Value: $1,275 or 2.5¢ each. Points can transfer 1:1 into Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Air France, Hawaiian, Jet Blue, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America.
4. 2 Free Weekend Nights at any Hilton, including their Waldorf-Astoria and Conrad Hotels brands, with $2,500 in spending over 4 months via this offer. You also get free HHonors Gold status, which is normally earned with 16 stays or 36 nights. This means free internet, room upgrades and free breakfast, or bonus points. It is the best "gold status" of any hotel brand. Plus, each year you spend $10k, you get one more free weekend night.
Value: $1,250 or $1,00 from the two free nights when somewhat well used (it is certainly possible to get $700 to $1,000 in value per night) and $300 from the HHonors Gold status.
5. 70,000 Marriott Rewards Points, plus a free Category 1-4 night on account sign up, with $2,000 in spending over 3 months via this offer. Since Marriott Rewards points can be used for Ritz-Carlton properties as well, 70,000 points is enough for one night at their top tier hotels, like the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong. You'll also earn 5 points per dollar on all Marriott purchases, and 2 points per dollar on all airfares purchased from the airline. There are no foreign transaction fees, either.
Value: It depends on the hotels that you redeem with, but with the Ritz-Carlton, Central Park's rates hovering above $700, you can redeem for at least that much. You'll actually get 72k points: 70k from the bonus and at least 2k from spending.
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