A valuable sign-up bonus often attracts many to the miles and points game. As much as we love using recurring benefits, the sign-up 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 highest 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 Sign-up Bonus
This is the most obvious bonus that usually pops up when you do a Google search. More often than not, you’ll find that the publicly available bonus isn’t the highest offer available.
2. Affiliate Channels
Many blogs 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.
3. Targeted Offers (Online)
Targeted offers can be of different types. Firstly, a bank targets you for a specific card and a sign-up 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 chain may target you for various reasons like recent stays, flights or elite status levels.
4. Targeted Offers (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/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.
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 finish it. 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.
8. Refer a Friend Links
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 to only 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 how you can get the best possible sign-up bonus each time you apply for a 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.