Grab these 5 top rewards card bonuses while you still can
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Credit card sign-up bonuses have never been as lucrative as they are now.
But after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon disclosed earlier this month that handing out rewards on a popular new credit card would cut the bank’s fourth-quarter profit by up to $300 million, speculation began about when issuers would cut back on the freebies.
It could happen tomorrow. It could happen next year. The truth is, nobody can say for sure, which is why if you’re in the market for a new credit card, you should jump at the good offers now while they’re available.
CARD SEARCH: Get a top rewards credit card now. You deserve it.
There are some signs that banks are already tightening their grip on sign-up bonuses.
Marketing research firm Mintel Comperemedia found that the value of bonuses fell to $138 in the third quarter of 2016, down from $150 during the same time period a year prior, according to a MarketWatch report.
Stiff competition among card providers
Still, the rewards boom has been driven by furious competition to get your cash and your loyalty. That competition hasn’t cooled.
“We look at the competitive landscape and we always want to make sure we’re resonating with our customers in light of that competitive landscape,” says Kevin Condon, a Bank of America senior vice president and rewards program executive.
And even if Chase lost a ton of money initially with the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, Dimon calls the card a success — and the issuer continues to dole out the bonus for new customers.
“The card has been doing great,” Dimon said recently during an investor conference.
If you’re looking for a new card, here are some of the best offers available.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The aforementioned Reserve is probably the standard-bearer today for rewards credit cards, even though it carries a hefty $450 annual fee. If that fee turns you off, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which comes with rewards about half as good as the Reserve, but has no annual fee the first year and is $95 thereafter.
What you’ll get: The Reserve card comes with a 100,000 point signup bonus, worth $1,500 toward airfare, hotels, car rentals or cruises when redeemed through Chase’s rewards platform. Regular rewards include an annual $300 travel credit, triple points on travel and dining and a single point on everything else, free airport lounge access and a reimbursement for the Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee.
Requirements: You must place $4,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months after the account is opened.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard
What you’ll get: Receive 50,000 miles worth about $660 in travel on American Airlines. You’ll also get one free checked bag and first group boarding on American Airlines flights, double miles on airfare purchases and an annual 10 percent refund on redeemed miles.
Requirements: You must spend $3,000 during the first three months of account opening. The annual fee is $95, but it’s waived the first year.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
What you’ll get: Earn 50,000 miles worth $500 in travel. Earn double miles on all purchases and get a 5 percent miles refund on each redemption.
Requirements: You must spend $3,000 during the first three months of account opening. The annual fee is $89, but it’s waived the first year.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
What you’ll get: Receive a one-time bonus of 40,000 worth $400 in travel. Earn double miles per dollar on all purchases.
Requirements: You must spend $3,000 within three months of account opening. The annual fee is $59, but it’s waived the first year.
Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
What you’ll get: Earn 80,000 points, enough for a four-night stay at hotels like the Fairfield Inn & Suites Boca Raton or the Courtyard Chicago O’Hare. You can opt for a two-night stay at hotels like the Beverly Hills Marriott or Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club instead. You’ll earn five points per $1 spent at Marriott hotels, two points on airline tickets, car rentals and restaurants and one point on all other purchases.
Requirements: You must spend $3,000 during the first three months of account opening. The annual fee is $85.
Significant digits: 398.5 million
Earlier this week, I wrote about how credit card delinquencies are expected to rise a bit in 2017. The main driver is the increasing number of people with bad credit who now own credit cards.
In reality, though, this is a small percentage of all cardholders — 10 percent.
As of September, there were 398.5 million credit card accounts in the U.S. There are about 245.3 million adults living in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Meaning each person on average holds 1.6 credit cards.
What’s more, while the average credit card balance per consumer is expected to rise, the average balance per card is actually lower than it has been, says Paul Siegfried, senior vice president and credit card business leader for the credit bureau TransUnion.
Give this thief some credit
Kevin Lee Co is one ambitious thief.
The 45-year-old California man this week admitted to essentially using his employer’s credit card to rip off about $4.8 million over a seven-year period, Ars Technica wrote.
The dollar figure is mind-blowing in and of itself, but what he spent the looted cash on is even stranger.
Co admitted to spending approximately $1 million on “Game of War,” the mobile app that is constantly showing up in television advertisements. I know those in-game purchases can get expensive, but sheesh.
Co also admitting to paying for plastic surgery, membership to a golf club and season tickets for the San Francisco 49ers and the Sacramento Kings.