Posted byon August 2, 2011
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We were hit with a landslide of huge credit card sign up bonuses lately. And while I think it’s fun to apply for all of them at the same time, I realize some readers want to pick just one: the best one. But which one is the best?
Obviously, picking the card with the largest net sign up bonus (after subtracting the annual fee) is the biggest consideration. But it’s important to look a little further and evaluate the spending requirements and redemption options. In addition, I like to look at the long term point earning opportunities, including the anniversary bonus.
Let’s see how the current $500 bonus cards stack up:
|Credit Card||Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card||Citi Thank You Premier Card||Chase Sapphire Preferred card|
|Spending Requirement||One purchase||$2,000||$3,000|
|Travel Reward Option||2 Free Roundtrip flights||$665 in airfare||2 flights of $312.50 each|
|Gift Card Reward Option||$500 in gift cards||$500 in gift cards||$500 in gift cards|
|Cash Reward Option||None||$312.50 (Each 8,000 points redeemable for $50)||$500 statement credit|
|Annual Fee||$99||$125||First year $0, then $95|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||3%||None||None|
|Bonus Offer Details||Southwest $500 Sign Up Bonus||Citi Thank You Premier $500 Sign Up Bonus||Chase Sapphire $500 Sign Up Bonus|
|Earning Purchase Points||2 points for each $1 made with Southwest, including gift cards, vacation packages & their partners (hotel & rental cars). 1 point per $1 everywhere else.||1.2 points per $1 spent when you use your card at gas stations, supermarkets, drugstores, commuter transportation and parking merchants. 1 point per $1 everywhere else.||2 points for each $1 of eligible airfare net purchases made online through the program booking tool. 1 point per $1 everywhere else.|
|Yearly Points Bonus||6,000 points||1% – 5% based on year||7%|
|Sign Up||Southwest card||Citi Thank You Premier Card||Chase Sapphire Card|
It was fun to see each card roll out a hefty sign up bonus this summer, then change it immediately after seeing the bigger bonuses from the other cards. Coincidence?
If you’re playing the credit card sign up bonus game this summer, which card did you pick?