There haven’t been many opportunities to describe anything as “perfect” in 2021, but there is one silver lining to this incredibly turbulent year: credit cards have never been more rewarding.
This might sound surprising. If you’ve been paying attention to the credit card landscape, you’ve probably heard that during the pandemic, banks increased requirements for approval and slashed credit limits on existing cards. While banks still have tighter restrictions to avoid riskier customers, they are always looking to attract low-risk, high-earning customers.
And right now, they are using some very tempting offers to catch attention, including some that are only available for a limited time.
Here are three reasons why you should consider taking advantage of these offers sooner than later, followed by a look at some of the best welcome bonuses available now.
If you act now, your holiday shopping will give you a gift, too
What feels better than putting a smile on someone’s face when they unwrap your gift? Putting a smile on your face at the same time with a bunch of reward points or cash back.
What did you spend on gifts for your family, friends, and colleagues last year? Take a look back at that spending activity from last year, and think about what you have in store for shopping this year. By opening a new rewards credit card, you can put every holiday purchase on it to fast-track your way to one of these impressive bonus opportunities.
When you can think about taking a trip, you just might feel happier
2021 has included plenty of reasons to feel sad, and if you’re still working from home, you may worry that you’ll be stuck in a pixelatedwindow forever.
Fear not — travel will return. As you start earning points, you can start thinking about where you’ll use those points to go for free. According to all the scientific studies listed in this National Geographic piece, the act of simply planning a trip is enough to make a positive impact on your mental health. And let’s face it: We can all use something to smile about right now.
A new card can help your credit score — if you’re responsible
Earning welcome bonuses and putting trip itineraries on your horizon are short-term benefits. What will applying for a new rewards card for you now do in the long run?
As long as you pay your balance in full each month, a new credit card can have a big impact on your credit score. A higher credit limit across all cards can improve your credit utilization ratio, which is a key factor in determining your overall financial health.
So, when you’re applying for a bigger life-changing financial product like a mortgage or a car loan, the additional credit from your new rewards card may be able to help you in securing another reward: a lower interest rate.
Several credit cards are offering excellent welcome bonuses
If your credit score is excellent, take a look at some of the huge credit card welcome bonus opportunities that are available right now. A welcome bonus is the quickest and easiest way to earn more points, miles, or cash back, so they’re a key element to any award traveler’s strategy.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been my go-to credit card for the past few years. The annual fee comes in at a reasonable $95, and the bonus Ultimate Rewards points for travel and dining have been especially valuable during the times when I’ve been on the road a lot.
The welcome bonus is 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. With a 25% increase in value when used for booking travel, this bonus is worth $750 in travel — and it may be worth even more if you transfer those points to one of Chase’s travel partners for something super awesome, like a business-class seat.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Those “What’s in your wallet?” Capital One commercials feel especially relevant now that the bank’s brand-new Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening — worth $750 in travel, or potentially more if you transfer your miles to airline and hotel partners.
This is a premium credit card, but it’s priced lower than most similar cards at $395. It offers great benefits, including up to $300 per year in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One, Priority Pass and Capital One airport lounge access (even for authorized users), a 10,000-mile bonus on each account anniversary (worth $100 in travel), and Visa Infinite travel and purchase benefits.
Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
The Citi Premier® Card is a great choice if you want to earn bonus points in lots of everyday spending categories. It’s currently offering 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Cardholders earn 3x points on air travel, gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and hotels, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Citi ThankYou points are worth 1 cent each when you redeem them for travel through the Citi Travel Portal, merchandise, gift cards, or cash back. But it’s possible to get even more value when you transfer rewards to one of Citi’s airline and hotel partners.
A smaller spend can still rack up a sizable bonus now
If you’re aiming to avoid annual fees or you’re worried about having to spend a big chunk of money to meet a minimum spending requirement, you can still cash in on the uptick in rewards activity with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
Both cards have a welcome bonus of a $200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, new cardholders can earn 5% cash back (5x points) at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 in spending during the first year of account opening (then 1x).