An eye-catching welcome bonus often attracts many to the miles and points game. As much as we love using recurring benefits, the welcome bonus is the initial offer that makes us dip our toes into the water. Having said that, the motive for starting this blog was to help readers get the best possible offers so that they could travel farther for less. That begs the key question. Is there a way to ensure that you’ll get the best possible bonus for a credit card? What are the different avenues that you should explore before you sign up for a card in order to get the highest possible welcome bonus?

1. Publicly Available Bonus

This is the most obvious bonus that usually pops up when you do a Google search. Quite often, you’ll find that the publicly available bonus isn’t the highest offer available.

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The publicly available bonus if 35k, but it isn’t the highest

2. Affiliate Channel

Many bloggers have partnerships with affiliate networks. Banks often partner with bloggers to launch partner only or limited opportunity offers through specific affiliate channels. In certain cases, you may be able to get a higher offer if specifically advertised.

As written earlier, The Points Pundit has no partnerships with credit card marketing affiliates. If you like the content and want to support the blog, I always encourage readers to use my refer-a-friend links.

3. Targeted Offers (Online)

Targeted offers can be of different types. Firstly, a bank targets you for a specific card and a welcome bonus. Very often, you’ll see these offers once you log into your account.

For example, Chase recently targeted me with an offer even though I was above their 5/24 threshold for credit card approvals. Similarly, you can find pre-qualified offers when you log into your American Express account. Other banks may send you targeted offers via email.

Similarly, an airline or hotel chain may target you with an offer. Very often, you’ll see these offers once you log into your loyalty program accounts. An airline or hotel may target you for various reasons like recent stays, flights or elite status levels.

4. Targeted Offers (By Mail)

If you play the miles and points game, you’re surely one who keeps a tab of what’s in the mail. Banks, airlines and hotels often target customers with physical offers sent by mail. It’s always a good strategy check your mail regularly for any offers that may pop up.

5. In-flight sign-ups/airport kiosks

Very often, you’ll find these offers to be lower in comparison to offers that you see online. However, it doesn’t hurt to take a quick look when your airline makes an announcement or passes on co-brand credit card offers while in flight, at an airport kiosk or a lounge.

6. Incognito Offers

This is my personal favorite and continues to be for many of my readers, especially for American Express credit cards. I’ve consistently found higher welcome bonuses while using the incognito mode while applying for American Express credit cards. This post details some of the latest offers and how you can access them.

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35k bonus through the public link, but 50k bonus via Incognito

7. Shopping Cart Trick

The shopping cart trick is simply a trick where you access the airline or hotel website to complete a purchase but don’t actually complete the purchase. When you reach the end of the process and you have to enter payment details, you’ll see a small banner with a credit card offer. Very often, these offers provide with handy statement credits of $100 or even more.

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$250 Statement Credit while completing a booking on

8. Refer-a-friend Offer

Credit card issuers offer refer-a-friend links to existing customers so that they serve as customer advocates to help acquire their friends or family as new customers. Amex has a fairly lucrative refer-a-friend program where you can refer for a card across the entire Amex portfolio if you hold a card that earns Membership Rewards points. Similarly, Chase also has a referral program, however it’s generally limited only to the card you refer.

The Pundit’s Mantra

Many people make a mistake by getting carried away and applying for offers. Limited time offers are designed to generate buzz and make people apply for a card. However, not all limited time offers may be the best possible offers available.

I hope I was able to help you gain some insight into the different avenues you should first explore before you apply for the card. Certain issuers like Amex have a once-in-a-lifetime restriction, so it’s in your best interest to get a card when it’s offering the highest possible bonus.

Which other avenues or tricks do you use to attain the highest possible welcome bonus for a credit card? Let us know in the comments section.


This travel credit card is one of my favorite hotel credit cards. You can earn a welcome bonus of 50,000 points when you apply for this card using the link below!

Apply Now

With this card, you’ll not only earn a free night each year when you renew the card, but If you pair it with this limited time offer, you’ll also earn 25% points back when you redeem your points until October 8, 2020.


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Disclosure: The Points Pundit receives NO compensation from credit card affiliate partnerships. Support the blog by applying for a card through my personal referral links. This article is meant for information purposes only and doesn’t constitute personal finance, health or investment advice. Please consult a licensed professional for advice pertaining to your situation.