20 Apr Best Credit Cards to Earn Initial Sign-up & NEVER USE AGAIN!
Not all credit cards are created equal. Some are meant to serve your long term travel goals and provide you a rewards return year in and year out, while others are great for the initial sign-up, then a complete waste of plastic (or metal)!
Hit the sign-up bonus, quit the card – what I like to call a one-hitter quitter!
It’s a lot like dating… there are plenty of guys and gals around town that can show you a crazy fun time for a night/a few weeks/or even a month or two! That does NOT mean you want them to stick around for any extended period or invite them over for your family Sunday dinner! You want to have your fun – but it stops there!
Bad analogy to compare credit card strategy to your dating habits (feel free to complain in the comments section), but you get what I am saying here, right!?
Here are the credit cards that I am crazy attracted to the sign-up bonus, but would never keep around long enough to introduce to my mother:
1. Merrill+ Visa Signature – 50,000 Points – Phone Offer Only – (866-751-1257)
Sign-up bonus is 50,000 points after $3,000 in spend within 90 days of account opening. Those 50,000 points can be worth up to $1,000 in airfare! Sure the redemption is a little wanky and forces you to redeem 25,000 points per flight, but that 25,000 point redemption is good for up to a $500 flight (one-way or round-trip, on pretty much any airline)! If you plan your points right, it could mean $1,000 in flights with one sign-up bonus!
This thing is the real deal – and I just redeemed my points on 2 round-trip tickets TPA-SFO on… United…
The card is $0 annual fee, but earns just 1x point per $1 spent, meaning your next $500 flight redemption won’t come for another $22k in spending!
The other perks and benes outside the above are meh:
Spend $50k or more in a year and choose either a $200 travel credit that can be used for travel incidentals or Complimentary Delta Sky Club lounge membership.
The card was available online, then it disappeared… but it’s back in partial glory – as its now available only if you call the tele number above!
Hit the spend for the bonus, redeem for $1000 in airfare, quit the card… and consider getting it again down the road!?
I have been a proponent of this card for some time now.
With an initial increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 Arrival Miles after $3,000 spending in the first 3 months of card ownership, you earn over $500 in travel credits – plus, the $89 annual fee is waived the first year.
Remember, Barclaycard Arrival Miles operate differently than your typical frequent flyer miles. The “miles” do not follow any airline award chart, but rather can be applied to travel expenses paid for with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. They operate much more like reward points than the “miles” title suggests!
The 50,000 Arrival Miles are worth $500 in travel credit, and since this card earns 2x miles per $1, you’ll earn an additional 6,000 miles (worth $60) after meeting the $3,000 in minimum spend! Total that up and you have yourself $560 in travel credit in one credit card sign-up, not to mention the 5% rebate earned through the redemption of those miles.
Once you blow through the initial sign-up bonus, I consider this a 2% cash back card, but worse – since that cash back is in the form of travel credits that cannot be redeemed until you reach 10,000 (worth $100 in credits)!
Hit the spend for the bonus, redeem with the 5% back in mind*, and quit the card before the annual fee!
Applying for the personal and business Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Cards are the single best way to accumulate Mileage Plan miles. Alaska miles are magical, and you can do really cool things with them.
30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days – yes, that’s just $1,000 in spend… easy miles here people!
Get a $100 statement credit after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening. The $100 statement credit offer is not tied to the Alaska Airlines reservation you just completed and will be applied 8-12 weeks after you make the qualifying purchases with your new card.
Annual companion fare from $121 ($99, plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening. There are no blackout dates.
For me, the remaining benefits are blah…
- Free checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on the same reservation.
- 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines tickets, vacation packages, cargo and in-flight purchases.
- 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees, plus chip enabled for enhanced security when used at chip-enabled terminals.
- $75 Annual Fee – Due in the first statement cycle.
Hit the easy $1,000 minimum spend, add 30k miles to your balance for a net benefit of $25, leverage that companion fare if you can, then cancel the card and repeat 30-60 days later…
There are 3 Chase Southwest credit cards – 2 of them being personal cards – the Southwest Premier & the Southwest Plus – and currently offering a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Rapid Rewards points following $2,000 spending in 3 months, unless you know a friend with 50k refer-a-friend links (like the one I have on the Premier)!
Opening one (or two) of these credit cards will afford you a significant boost towards the ultimate goal of 110,000 Rapid Rewards points, but from an ongoing earning perspective, the cards are pretty weak… earning 2x per $1 on Southwest and 1x otherwise.
You do get hit with a first year annual fee of either $69 (Plis) or $99 (Premier). In the years to follow you could earn 3,000 (Plus) or 6,000 (Premier) Rapid Rewards upon cardmember anniversary – not worth holding onto for this!
Hit up these offer for that Rapid Reward boost towards Companion Pass, then drop them like a bad habit!
Spend $2,500 within the first 4 months and then BAM! – 2 Free Weekend Nights for you – at ANY Hilton property! From the Conrad Koh Samui in Thailand, to the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam in… well, Amsterdam!
These certificates are $$MONEY$$, but once you burn ’em, the card is just taking up space!
I know what people will say… “Derek, you’re an idiot! You can earn the anniversary bonus of one weekend night after you spend $10,000 each year and plus you get Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you are a cardmember!”
I may be an idiot, but that argument is a joke. If I am spending $10k, I am going to be doing it on a card that provides a higher return than one free weekend night! For instance, with $10k in spending, I could earn the initial sign-up bonus on each and every one #1-4!? (Check my math on that… $3k+$3k+$1k+$4k on the SW cards=$11k… Ok, whatever, you know what I am getting at here!)
Oh, and Hilton Gold is easy to snag – Amex Platinum will get you this mid-tier status and then some!
Hit the spend for the 2 Weekend Night Certs, redeem at a luxury property, ditch the plastic…
Not all credit cards are created equal. Do your research – know what cards are worth hanging onto, and which ones are one-hitter quitters!
Any other one-hitter quitter cards I missed? Do you disagree with any of the above? Are you offended that I compared my credit card strategy to your dating habits!?