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Right now Chase and Citi are offering some great bonuses to entice new cardmembers to get the Sapphire Preferred and ThankYou Premier cards. The points are worth quite a bit no matter what you use them for, but become worth even more if you redeem for airfare. If you’re on the hunt for a new card to earn some miles, snatch up one (or both) of these great deals before they’re gone.
As you can see, this card is primarily for people who travel a lot. If you are a frequent traveler, or even just want to take a vacation and don’t want to drive, you can turn your 50,000 point bonus into $625 worth of airfare. Through the Ultimate Rewards site, you can book two plane tickets of up to $312.50. The catch is, the plane ticket that you need won’t always cost exactly $312.50. Even so, if you’re hoping to travel soon, a plane ticket is still a great (and the best) value for your points at more than a penny per point.
How to earn points with this card:
- 50,000 point sign up bonus after spending $3000 in the first 3 months
- 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- 7% annual bonus based on the points you earned that year
Fine print for this card: only new cardmembers qualify, and cash advances don’t count toward the $3000. Balance transfers do, however, which is a pleasant surprise. Your account also must be active and not in default, meaning that you can’t rack up $3000 in purchases then miss a payment or two and still expect to get your reward. Even a late payment could mess with your ability to receive your rewards, so be careful. You also can’t close your account until after you redeem the reward.
Now that you’re hooked, the Sapphire Preferred card is for those with excellent credit. There is an annual fee of $95, but it’s waived for your first year. If you have excellent credit, travel a lot, and want to get up to $625 worth of free airfare.
- Credit RequiredExcellent Credit
- Rewards ProgramEarn 1 point per dollar spent, 2x points on dining and travel. Earn a 7% annual points dividend.
- Signup Bonus$500 in Free Airfare40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Update: The Citi ThankYou Premier card offer has changed and they are now offering $500 in giftcards after you spend $2000 in the first 3 months.
Citi ThankYou Premier is another good option for travelers, and may be better for those who don’t fly quite as much. Although the 1.2 points per dollar on gas and groceries doesn’t sound quite as good as the 2 points per dollar with Chase’s card, if you don’t travel much, it will end up earning you a lot more points. You can still redeem your points for plane tickets, and 50,000 ThankYou points is actually worth up to $665 in airfare, beating Chase’s $625 bonus.
How to earn points with this card:
- 50,000 point sign up bonus after spending $2000 in the first 3 months
- Earn 1.2 points per dollar for purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, drugstores, and public transportation
- Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
- Earn 200 bonus points for signing up for paperless statements and signing up for an online account
- Earn 1 point for each mile flown as long as you use your card
- 1-5% annual bonus based on points you earned that year
For those light travelers, there are always options to spend your points on other things if you decide not to travel this year. Citi offers a selection of gift cards and cash, as well as merchandise. The merchandise isn’t your best choice, since you can usually find a better deal at the store, but you can get a pretty good point value with gift cards if you buy in larger increments—$100 gift cards will get you a penny per point.
Like the Sapphire Preferred, this card is for those with excellent credit, and has an annual fee that’s waived for the first year. Citi’s fee is a little higher: $125 per year. This is a little steep, but if you think about it, your sign up bonus will pay for your annual fee for several years to come.
- Credit RequiredGood Credit
- Rewards ProgramEarn 1 ThankYou point for every dollar you spend on purchases. Earn points for the miles you fly when you purchase a ticket with your Citi ThankYou Premier Card. Annual complimentary domestic companion ticket.
- Signup Bonus$300 in Gift Cardsafter $2,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening.
Although you can get over $1000 in rewards by applying for these cards and using them to make a few purchases, don’t open too many new lines of credit at once or your credit score may drop. It’s normal for a drop of a few points after applying for a credit card, but if you see a significant drop when you’re approved, your credit score may be warning you that you’re getting in over your head. As long as you use your credit responsibly, however, you and your family can benefit from these money-saving deals.