My take on the Top 10 credit card offers for March 2018

The content on this page was accurate at the time of posting. Some offers on this page may no longer be available through our site.

Regular readers know that we maintain a sorted list of the Top 10+ Credit Card Offers (the “+” means that you can click “Next” to see beyond 10).  The offers are sorted by an estimate of first year value.  For details aboujt how this is calculated see: Credit card signup bonus estimation details.

Our formula has the benefit of being unbiased, but it’s far from perfect.  We use our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) to estimate the value of points or miles bonuses.  That’s much better than a finger to the wind, but in reality the value you get from your points will depend upon how you use them.  You could get far more value or far less.  Our first year value estimates also leave out credit card perks such as free lounge access, free checked bags, etc.  We left those out of the first year value estimate because we had no way to know how often they’d be used, if at all, within the first year.

So, while our estimates are quite useful, readers must make their own decisions about how valuable each offer is to them.  To help with this, here’s my subjective take on each current Top 10 offer at the time of writing (note that by the time you read this, the Top 10 list may have changed):

#1: Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

Offer at the time of writing: 80K Ultimate Rewards points after $5K spend in 3 months. $95 annual fee not waived first year. A 100K offer may be available in-branch to those with access to a Business Relationship Manager.  More details about this card can be found here.

If you can get this card, do it.  The card earns Ultimate Rewards points which are my favorite transferable points currency.  Points are transferable to valuable partners such as Hyatt, Air France, British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, and Virgin Atlantic. Or, points can be used to book travel through the Chase travel portal at a value of 1.25 cents each.  Worst case, you could redeem points as cash at a value of 1 cent per point.  As a result, the 80K signup bonus is worth at least $800.

Unfortunately, this card is subject to 5/24. If you are over 5/24 your best bet for getting approved is to go in-branch to ask if you are pre-approved before applying.  Alternatively, some have reported success bypassing 5/24 by applying through a Business Relationship Manager.

If you get approved for this card, it won’t add to your 5/24 count since Chase business card accounts do not appear on personal credit reports.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months. Some exceptions that are NOT subject to the 5/24 rule include: British Airways, Hyatt, IHG, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Marriott Business, and Ritz Carlton.

To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status.

Summary: This is best public signup offer around.  If you can get this card, do so.

#2: Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Offer at the time of writing: 70K Delta miles + 10K MQMs after $3K spend in first 3 months + $100 statement credit after Delta purchase in 1st 3 months. $195 annual fee is not waived first year. More details about this card can be found here.

If you are chasing Delta elite status then this offer is awesome. 10,000 MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles) offsets a heck of a lot of flying that you’d otherwise have to do to earn the next level of status.  And if you spend $25,000 on this card within the calendar year, you’ll earn another 10,000 MQMs (and 10,000 bonus SkyMiles) and you’ll get an MQD waiver for any status level up to Platinum (this means that you don’t have to spend a lot on Delta flights in order to get status).  You can get another 10,000 MQMs and miles at $50K spend as well.

Those not chasing Delta status can still get excellent value from the offered 70,000 bonus points.  In my experience, Delta flight awards often result in per mile value of somewhere between 1.25 and 2 cents. That means that you could get between $875 to $1,400 value from 70,000 miles.  Plus, when you have a Delta credit card, you can use miles for paid flights at a value of 1 cent per mile, so this offer is worth at least $700 to those who use the miles while they still have a Delta credit card.

The $100 statement credit is easy to get.  Any Delta purchase, including a Delta gift card purchased directly from Delta.com will trigger the credit. The Delta purchase can be as small as $1 and it will trigger the full $100 credit.  For more, see: Earn Delta statement credits without flying Delta.

And, anyone who travels domestically with a friend may get value from the annual companion certificate. You’ll get the companion certificate added to your Delta account after 12 months of card membership and then you’ll then have a year to use it.  If you downgrade or cancel your Platinum card after getting the certificate, you can still use the certificate. Just keep in mind that you’ll need an Amex card to complete the airfare purchase.  For more, see: Delta companion certificates quick guide.

The public offer for this card is subject to Amex’s lifetime rule.  This means that if you’ve had this exact card before, then you’re not eligible for the signup bonus.  If that’s you, then keep an eye out for targeted offers which sometimes do not have the lifetime language.  Also note that the personal Platinum card, as well as Gold and Reserve business and personal cards, are considered separate products. It’s fine if you’ve had any of those before.

Summary: Fantastic offer for those seeking Delta elite status. Excellent offer for anyone who flies Delta.

#3: Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Offer at the time of writing: 70K Delta miles + 10K MQMs after $3K spend in first 3 months + $100 statement credit after Delta purchase in 1st 3 months. $195 annual fee is not waived first year. More details about this card can be found here.

See my take on the business version of this card, above, for my analysis since this offer and card benefits are the same as those with the business version.  One important note: it is possible to get both. If you haven’t had the cards before, you could get both the personal and business versions of this card.

Summary: Fantastic offer for those seeking Delta elite status. Excellent offer for anyone who flies Delta.

#4: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred

Offer at the time of writing: 65K Ultimate Rewards points: 60K after $4K spend in 3 months + 5K for adding authorized user. $95 annual fee is not waived first year. More details about this card can be found here.

This is another great card on the top 10 list that earns my favorite transferable points: Ultimate Rewards points.  If you’re more interested in the Sapphire Reserve, you might still prefer to start with this offer. See: Showdown: Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred First Year Value.

Unfortunately, this card is subject to 5/24.  If you are over 5/24 your best bet for getting approved is to go in-branch to ask if you are pre-approved before applying.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months. Some exceptions that are NOT subject to the 5/24 rule include: British Airways, Hyatt, IHG, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Marriott Business, and Ritz Carlton.

To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status.

Summary: Great offer for earning super-valuable Ultimate Rewards points.

#5: Citi ThankYou Premier Card

Offer at the time of writing: 50K ThankYou Rewards points after $4K spend in 3 months. Annual fee waived first year, then $95. More details about this card can be found here.

This card earns Citi ThankYou points which can be used for 1.25 cents per point value towards travel, or can be transferred to valuable partners such as: Air France, Avianca, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Singapore, and Virgin Atlantic.

If you are more interested in the Citi Prestige card, it may make sense to get this card and then later upgrade to the Prestige since the Prestige doesn’t currently have a signup bonus.

Citi sometimes has no offer at all for the Premier card.  At other times, they offer 40K points.  If you are eligible to get this offer, then it’s a good idea to do it soon while the 50K offer is available.

Summary: Very good offer that is worth jumping on while it’s available.

#6: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Offer at the time of writing: Up to 75K Membership Rewards points: 50K after $10K spend + 25K after additional $10K spend in 3 months. $450 annual fee is not waived first year. More details about this card can be found here.

This has become the standard offer for this ultra-premium card, but it has ridiculously high spend requirements.  Better targeted offers are common.  See: 8 ways to get the best targeted Amex signup bonus offers.

I love this card for its myriad perks such as airport lounge access, including Amex Centurion Lounges, elite benefits (Hilton, SPG, and Marriott Gold status, for example), 10 free in-flight wi-fi passes that work on both domestic and international flights, etc.  For more about these benefits, see: Your Platinum card arrived. Here’s what to do next…

Summary: If you want to get Platinum benefits right away and you’re able to meet the offer’s big spend requirements, then go for it. Otherwise, I recommend waiting for a better targeted offer or going with a 60K offer for the personal version of the platinum card with lower spend requirements (found here).

#7: BOA Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard

Offer at the time of writing: Up to 75K Virgin Atlantic miles: 75K: 20K after first purchase + 50K after $12K spend in 6 months + 5K for adding 2 authorized users. $90 annual fee is not waived first year. More details about this card can be found here.

This card has a very good signup bonus.  Virgin Atlantic miles can be quite valuable, but only for very specific circumstances.  They are very good for booking non-stop Delta flights, ANA first class flights, and more.  For flying Virgin Atlantic, it’s best to think of the miles as a way to reduce the price rather than to get a free flight since Virgin Atlantic charges very high fuel surcharges.  Virgin Atlantic miles are also great for those who’d like to visit Necker Island (which is expected to be back in business after the latest hurricane by October 2018): Is Necker Island really worth 1.2 million miles?

See also: Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Deep Dive: Maximize Earnings and Status.

Summary: Excellent signup bonus to earn miles that mostly useful for niche awards.

#8: The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

Offer at the time of writing: 50K Membership Rewards points after $5K spend in 3 months. Annual fee waived first year, then $175. More details about this card can be found here.

This is a solid signup bonus. I especially like that the first year fee is waived since I don’t think this card is a keeper for most people at $175 per year.  Exceptions are those who spend a lot on this card’s bonus categories: Airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, U.S. purchases at gas stations, U.S. purchases for shipping, U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers.  Cardholders can select one of these categories to earn 3 points per dollar and then will earn 2X for the others. 3X and 2X apply to first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter.

Note that targeted offers for up to 75K points are fairly common.  See: 8 ways to get the best targeted Amex signup bonus offers.

#9: Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Offer at the time of writing: 60K Delta miles + $50 statement credit: 50K miles after $2K spend in the first 3 months + $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months + 10K bonus miles after additional $1K spend in the first 6 months. Annual fee waived first year, then $95. More details about this card can be found here.

In my experience, Delta flight awards often result in per mile value of somewhere between 1.25 and 2 cents. That means that you could get between $750 to $1,200 value from 60,000 miles.  Plus, when you have a Delta credit card, you can use miles for paid flights at a value of 1 cent per mile, so this offer is worth at least $600 to those who use the miles while they still have a Delta credit card.

The $50 statement credit is easy to get.  Any Delta purchase, including a Delta gift card purchased directly from Delta.com will trigger the credit. The Delta purchase can be as small as $1 and it will trigger the full $50 credit.  For more, see: Earn Delta statement credits without flying Delta.

I love that the first year annual fee is waived.  Those who plan to fly Delta in the coming year may also benefit from the card’s free checked bag benefit, priority boarding, etc.

The public offer for this card is subject to Amex’s lifetime rule.  This means that if you’ve had this exact card before, then you’re not eligible for the signup bonus.  If that’s you, then keep an eye out for targeted offers which sometimes do not have the lifetime language.  Also note that the personal Gold card, as well as Platinum and Reserve business and personal cards, are considered separate products. It’s fine if you’ve had any of those before.

Summary: Excellent offer for anyone who flies Delta.

#10: Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Offer at the time of writing: 60K Delta miles + $50 statement credit: 50K miles after $2K spend in the first 3 months + $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months + 10K bonus miles after additional $1K spend in the first 6 months. Annual fee waived first year, then $95. More details about this card can be found here.

See my take on the business version of this card, above, for my analysis since this offer and card benefits are the same as those with the business version.  One important note: it is possible to get both. If you haven’t had the cards before, you could get both the personal and business versions of this card.

Summary: Excellent offer for anyone who flies Delta.

Others to Consider

It’s worth noting that the SPG Personal card, and the Marriott Business card probably won’t be available for new signups after this year.  This is because of the Marriott / SPG merger and the announced new credit card lineup.  This is the reason that Ben added those cards to his portfolio in his run towards over 600,000 points in less than a year.

Also of note are the SPG Business card with its best ever 35K offer, and the new Chase Iberia card with its 75K offer and evidence that it is not subject to 5/24.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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king
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king

Too much credit card related posts …daily……atleast OMAAT and VFW are posting other items like trip reports or flight reviews….

Jonathan
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Jonathan

I would encourage you to include the Ameriprise version of the Platinum card in any discussion of Platinum cards. It has all the benefits sans the points but it’s free the first year. When you encourage your readers to get the Platinum cards with fees, you are effectively just encouraging them to buy membership reward points (at a good rate, I would agree, but don’t tout the Platinum card for it’s benefits when the free version of the card gets you all the same benefits for free). Unfortunately the Ameriprise version doesn’t earn blogger commision, thus less coverage (I’m not accusing you of that, it’s just sadly the truth). The Ameriprise version is also churnable.

wr23434
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wr23434

I vehemently disagree. I would prefer to keep the Ameriprise under the radar. When bloggers start pumping it then the loophole of not requiring an Ameriprise account will be closed very quickly.

Mike
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Mike

“In search of the perfect perpetual point machine” – is that still your slogan? I’ve been a regular reader since around the time you started this blog, and that slogan is why I still read it, although lately it has been lacking in that regard. I don’t think there are too many credit card posts (although this one is long and I did not find it particularly useful). I’m also not suggesting more trip reports or flight reviews, although I do enjoy the occasional post on those topics. But I strongly agree with others who have expressed missing the tips & tricks aspect of this blog. We now typically only get one post per day from you Greg, so those of us looking for your personal creativity in search of the perfect perpetual point machine get disappointed with a post like today’s. Sometimes it helps to remember your roots.

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Jason
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Jason

Greg,
Is it possible to get both the platinum and gold Delta sky miles business card at the same time?