The Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards

By Jason Steele. Last updated 18 October 2018. 5 comments

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In an effort to attract new cardholders, issuers often offer amazing bonuses for their travel rewards credit cards. When handled responsibly, these offers are legitimate ways to earn free or discounted travel. (See also: 5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation in 9 Months with Credit Cards)

Current Top Sign-Up Bonuses

Keep in mind that these bonuses come with spending requirements, usually a specific amount within a certain time frame. Returns don't count, so you have to actually make and keep the purchases. Never overreach with your finances in order to meet the minimum spending requirement for the bonus rewards. You'll never come out ahead, since rewards credit cards usually have high APRs. (See also: 5 Smart Ways to Meet a Rewards Card Minimum Spending Requirement)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The has an attractive bonus for new cardmembers. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. This card allows you to transfer points on a 1:1 value to participating frequent travel programs, which means 1,000 Chase points equal 1,000 partner miles/points. The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

The offers 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. These bonus points can be redeemed as a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases. Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on every purchase, with no limit to the points you can earn and no expiration date on the points. Points can be redeemed as a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, and more with no blackout dates and restrictions. This card has no annual fee.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

The offers new cardholders 50,000 bonus points after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. That's a $500 value. You also earn an unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Further, if you’re a Bank of America® Preferred Rewards client, you can get a 25%-75% rewards bonus on every purchase. This card also includes up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screen statement credits. The annual fee is $95.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The is offering a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening (equal to $500 in travel). You also earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and unlimited 10x miles on hotels when you pay with your card at — and miles don't expire for the life of the account. Plus, receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. There are no blackout dates. The annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

New cardholders of the  from our partner Citi earn up to 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles: 40,000 AAdvantage® miles after making $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and 10,000 miles after making a total of $6,000 in purchases in the first 12 months of account opening.* The card offers 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, and gas and restaurant purchases, as well as 1 mile on other purchases. Other benefits include free first checked bag and preferred boarding. You can also earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card. The annual fee is $99, waived for the first 12 months.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

With the , new cardholders can earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months, get a $50 statement credit when you use your card for a Delta purchase within the first 3 months. This card also offers 2x miles on purchases made directly with Delta and 1x mile on other eligible purchases. Get your first checked bag free, priority boarding, and discounts on in-flight food, alcoholic beverages, and audio headsets. (Savings do not apply to any other in-flight purchases, such as in-flight wireless internet access and associated services, and charitable contributions.) There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms apply.

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Guest's picture

Did the SW card, paid my house taxes, just booked 2 round trip tickets to Seattle (from Houston)...paid a total of $20.00 for taxes!! Sweet!!!!

Guest's picture

The Southwest Credit Card worked well for me. Charged $2k as soon as it arrived. I got 40K points, booked two free one way tickets to Denver and two free one way tickets from Salt Lake City back to Ohio for a total of $20.00 in fees. All with zero hassle and little effort. All on line. What's great about this is both my brothers did the same thing and we are headed on a family vacation to the Black Hills and Yellowstone. No blackout dates or seat restrictions. Great deal!

Guest's picture

I always check who is servicing the cards. I still use them, but with reluctance; I thoroughly examine anything processed by FIA Card Services. They make many mistakes and are too quick to post charges improperly. In fairness they made corrections, in spite of the great stress of ing/ reaching the staff responsible- for resolving complaints....

Guest's picture
Credit Card Rewards Geek

I hadn't previously noticed that with the Fidelity cards. I'll be sure to check my statements more closely in the future. I usually just glance at them briefly. I know what you mean about the stress/annoyance of getting things corrected on bills; I've been putting that off on one of mine for about a week now.

Guest's picture

If I'm planning to use my accumulated points for future SW travel but i don't know that I will pay off the total every month. Are the hopes of using or acquiring points futile? Please advise. Thanks!