Best credit card deals and bonuses this week: A rare elevated offer on an iconic travel card, plus news from Capital One, Amex, and Cardless

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Whether you’re thinking of opening a new credit card to earn cash back or travel rewards on your holiday shopping or using an intro 0% APR offer to save on interest, now is a terrific time to apply.

Chase, American Express, Citi, Capital One, and other banks are currently offering elevated credit card bonuses, and there are dozens of other lucrative deals available. These include increased offers and even brand-new cards from major card issuers.

A few of these credit cards are offering record-high intro bonuses of 100,000 points or more — but some are only available for a limited time.

Whether you want to use upcoming expenses to collect travel points for an upcoming trip, earn cash back to take the sting out of rising prices, or take advantage of an introductory 0% balance transfer APR to consolidate debt, there’s a rewards credit card that’s right for you.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Best limited time offer

Best cash back bonus

Best flexible point bonus

Best airline bonus

Best hotel bonus

Best 0% offer (balance transfers)

Best 0% offer (purchases)

Best business card bonus 

Credit card news this week

Elevated Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus

Chase rolled out a massive limited-time welcome bonus offer on its iconic Chase Sapphire Reserve® card — a whopping Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This is the highest bonus offered since the card launched six years ago, and it’s worth $1,200 in travel booked through Chase. And if you transfer your points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners, it’s potentially worth around Chase Sapphire Reserve® in travel, based on Insider’s valuation of Chase points at 1.8 cents each. Find out all the details in our Chase Sapphire Reserve card review.

Last chance for increased Amex Hilton bonuses

The elevated bonuses on three Hilton credit cards will come to an end on October 26, 2022, so it’s your last chance to apply. You can earn up to 130,000 points with these deals, so if you’re looking to earn Hilton points in a hurry, these should be on your shortlist. Here’s our guide to the best Hilton credit cards to help decide which is best for you.

New Capital One luxury hotel booking program and lounges

Capital One had some good news for Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card cardholders, too — it will launch The Premier Collection, a luxury hotel booking program, later this year. In addition, Capital One revealed plans to open culinary-focused Capital One Landing lounges featuring authentic Spanish-style tapas at two US airports in 2023.

Amex Blue Cash Everyday Card intro bonus with 20% back on PayPal

American Express unveiled a new offer on the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express just in time for the holiday shopping season. New cardholders can earn a Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as statement credits).

That’s on top of card’s already generous earnings: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent per year (then 1% back), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations on up to $6,000 spent per year (then 1% back), 3% cash back on US online retail purchases on up to $6,000 spent per year (then 1% back), and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

Cardless to issue new Simon Mall American Express card

Fintech company Cardless announced plans to launch its first-ever American Express card in partnership with Simon Property Group, which operates nearly 200 malls and outlets in the US. The Simon® American Express® Credit Card from Cardless will offer a welcome bonus of Simon® American Express® Credit Card from Cardless, and will earn bonus cash back at Simon Malls, Mills, and Premium Outlets. 

Southwest Companion Pass requirements increasing in 2023

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows last week — Southwest announced an increase to its requirements to qualify for its coveted Companion Pass. Currently, you need to earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year to earn the Companion Pass; starting in 2023, this will increase to 135,000 points.

The good news is if you have a Southwest credit card (such as the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card), these changes won’t have an impact because cardholders will receive a “boost” of 10,000 qualifying points in their accounts each year — effectively negating the increase.

How to pick a credit card bonus

Credit card limited time offers

Credit card intro bonuses aren’t always the same. In fact, certain cards are known for increasing their bonuses from the “standard” offer at least once or twice a year, but usually only for a limited time.

The trick to earning the most rewards is timing your credit card applications to coincide with these elevated offers. For instance, the Citi Premier® Card normally offers 60,000 points after meeting minimum spending requirements, but right now it’s got an increased offer of Citi Premier® Card (worth around Citi Premier® Card in travel based on Insider’s valuations).

Just because a card has an increased bonus doesn’t mean you should apply. Be sure to consider if the rewards it earns are useful to you, as well as factors like the card’s bonus categories, additional benefits, and annual fee. For example, there are terrific intro bonus offers available right now on the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Premier Business Credit Card — but if you rarely stay at IHG brand hotels, opening one of these cards isn’t a practical move.

We list the top deals available each month in our guide to the best current credit card offers — and every Monday, we publish a weekly roundup (like this one!) of card news and updates to ensure you’ve got the scoop on the latest deals.

Read our guides to learn more:

Cash back credit cards

The best cash-back credit cards can earn you anywhere from 1% to 6% back on your spending, depending on the card and its bonus categories. Using a cash-back card is a great way to take the sting out of everyday expenses, and because you can use cash back for anything, you’ve got the ultimate flexibility in redeeming your rewards.

Most of the top credit cards in this category have no annual fee, which is important if you’re trying to keep expenses down. However, that usually means you won’t see the outsized intro bonuses that more premium cards offer.

Our pick right now for the best cash-back bonus is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which is offering a Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express but charges an annual fee of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Paying that fee is worth it if you can take advantage of the card’s extra-generous bonus categories: 6% back on your first $6,000 in U.S. supermarket spending each year (then 1% back), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back on U.S. gas stations and transit, and 1% back on all other eligible purchases (cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as statement credits).

That said, if paying an annual fee is a turnoff for you, there are plenty of no-annual-fee cash back cards like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited® with solid intro bonuses, benefits, and earning rates. 

Read our guides to learn more:

Flexible points credit cards

Opening a card that earns flexible or transferable points is a smart move if you don’t have immediate plans for redeeming rewards and don’t want to be locked into a specific airline or hotel loyalty program. These travel rewards credit cards typically offer a multitude of redemption options, from cash back and gift cards to transferring points to airline and hotel partners for award travel.

Cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards®, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Capital One miles are among the most popular picks in this category. Beyond choosing a card with a high intro bonus offer, be sure to consider how you prefer to redeem rewards and which transfer partners are useful to you (not all programs partner with the same airlines and hotels).

Many of these cards offer bonus points in certain categories, so picking a card that lines up with your spending habits can help you maximize rewards. But if you don’t want to fuss with bonus categories, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a great pick because it earns 2x miles on all purchases (except hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One, which earn 5x miles). It’s also offering one of its highest intro bonuses ever: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (worth Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card in travel, based on Insider’s valuations).

Some flexible points cards also offer upscale benefits, like airport lounge access and statement credits, but for those, you’ll typically pay a high annual fee (you can read more about them in our guide to the best premium credit cards).

For instance, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers The Platinum Card® from American Express (worth The Platinum Card® from American Express in travel based on Insider’s points and miles valuations) and it comes with an array of perks worth potentially thousands of dollars each year. But it also charges a The Platinum Card® from American Express annual fee, so it’s not practical for many folks.

Read our guides to learn more:

Airline credit cards

If you’re loyal to a particular airline, opening a co-branded airline credit card can make a lot of sense, particularly if you can use perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, or inflight discounts.

Choosing the best airline card for you really depends on how often you fly a particular carrier, which benefits you’re looking for, and how high an annual fee you’re willing to pay. Travelers who only fly a few times a year typically do the best with a mid-tier airline card that offers elite-like perks for a moderate annual fee. 

Let’s look at United credit cards as an example. One of the best of these is the United℠ Explorer Card, which charges a United℠ Explorer Card, and comes with a free checked bag (when you use the card to pay for your ticket) and priority boarding on United flights, two United Club one-time passes each year, and excellent travel and purchase protections. However, it’s currently offering United℠ Explorer Card — one of the lower intro bonuses we’ve seen this year.

Its bigger sibling, the United Quest℠ Card, has a higher bonus and more benefits (including a $125 annual United credit and two free checked bags instead of one). It’s offering United Quest℠ Card, and charges a United Quest℠ Card annual fee. So in this case, you’d have to decide if the card’s higher bonus and additional perks make it worth paying a much higher annual fee.

And, if you’re a very frequent United flyer, you might want to look at the premium United Club℠ Infinite Card, which adds United Club airport lounge access and other upscale perks to the mix. It comes with yet a higher intro bonus offer: United Club℠ Infinite Card. But this card is only worth it if you can take advantage of the additional benefits because it charges a United Club℠ Infinite Card annual fee.

Read our guides to learn more:

Hotel credit cards

Most of the major hotel chains offer co-branded credit cards, ranging from basic no-annual-fee cards with a handful of benefits to premium cards with automatic top-tier elite status and statement credits. The best hotel credit card for you again depends mostly on your preferred hotel brand and the benefits you’re looking for, as well as how high of an annual fee you’re willing to pay.

Marriott is a good example, because it offers six co-branded cards issued by both Chase and American Express at various levels of annual fee and with different intro bonuses and perks:

The most expensive of these is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, and while it comes with a ton of fancy perks, it’s really only worth the annual fee if you can take advantage of all the benefits. Most average Marriott travelers will do just fine with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card — which also happens to be offering an excellent intro bonus right now.

Read our guides to learn more:

Intro 0% offer credit cards (balance transfers)

Carrying high-interest credit card balances can make getting ahead of your debt really difficult, especially nowadays. A balance transfer credit card might be just what you need to consolidate debt and give yourself some breathing room while you pay down your balances.

Unfortunately, the very best balance transfer credit cards with the longest intro 0% APR periods don’t typically offer an intro bonus. Our top pick right now is the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card, which offers a Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card, followed by a Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card APR (balance transfers must occur within 120 days of account opening to qualify for the intro 0% APR rate). However, it doesn’t earn any rewards.

That said, there are a number of balance transfer cards that do come with a bonus and earn good rewards. Right now, the best of these is the Citi® Double Cash Card, with its limited-time bonus of Citi® Double Cash Card. New cardholders receive a Citi® Double Cash Card (then a Citi® Double Cash Card APR), which is a very generous intro period.

Citi® Double Cash Card cardholders effectively earn 2x points (equal to 2% cash back) on all purchases (1 point per dollar when buy, and 1 point per dollar when you pay). 

Read our guides to learn more:

Intro 0% offer credit cards (purchases)

Spending more on a credit card than you can afford to pay off in full is never a good idea, because you’ll get charged interest and could end up accumulating debt. But sometimes, you don’t have a choice but to carry a balance on your credit cards, be it from an unexpected emergency or large purchases you need a little more time to pay off.

A credit card with an introductory 0% APR on purchases can be just the ticket if you know you’ve got big expenses coming up you’ll need to pay for over a longer period. These cards don’t charge interest for a specified time on purchases as long as you make your minimum payment each month, and can be a great tool as long as you have a plan to pay off your balance before the introductory period expires.

Again, the very best 0% APR credit cards for purchases don’t come with a bonus or earn rewards (the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card being a good example) but there are many that do. For instance, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card earns 2% cash rewards on purchases and comes with a Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. And new Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card cardholders receive a Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, followed by a Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card APR. 

Read our guides to learn more:

Business credit cards

You might be surprised to learn you don’t need to own a huge corporation or be a full-time business owner to qualify for a small-business credit card. If you have a part-time venture or side gig like driving for Uber, working as a freelancer, or reselling on eBay, you could be eligible to apply.

Some of the top business credit cards come with the most valuable intro bonuses around, whether you’re looking to earn cash back, airline miles, hotel points, or flexible rewards. One limited-time offer to watch right now is on the United℠ Business Card with its sky-high bonus of United℠ Business Card. But if you don’t fly United, this probably won’t appeal.

For a flexible all-around card with a six-figure bonus and modest annual fee, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a terrific choice. New cardholders can earn Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (worth Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card in travel based on Insider’s valuations). Plus, the card has excellent bonus categories for small businesses and comes with solid benefits, including cell phone protection, for a Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card annual fee.

Of course, if you’re willing to shell out a much higher annual fee, you can find cards with bigger intro bonus offers, such as The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (The Business Platinum Card® from American Express annual fee). And if you’re looking to earn rewards in an airline or hotel program, there are business card options too (like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®).

Read our guides to learn more:

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