Greg’s Top Picks: Current credit card offers (Oct 2020)

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In a recent Frequent Miler on the Air episode, Nick and I discussed (among other things) the new Marriott Bonvoy Boundless 5 free nights offer.  By many measures, this is one of the best credit card offers we’ve ever seen. But Nick said that he wouldn’t recommend it to friends, and I agreed with his reasoning.  It’s a great offer for those who know they’ll be traveling in the next year or so, but terrible for everyone else.  We also discussed the likelihood that other great offers will soon appear.  For example, I think that it’s extremely likely that we’ll see a great new Bonvoy Brilliant offer before the end of the year.  And there’s a good chance of a better World of Hyatt offer too.

Our Best Credit Card Offers page always shows the best offers sorted by estimated first year value.  This is a great non-biased way to compare credit card offers, but it misses  nuances like those described above.  That’s why I decided to introduce a new monthly series where I’ll list the top current credit card offers I’m most excited about, but with a dash of analysis.  I’ll point out who should care about each offer and who shouldn’t.  I’ve also added a “Wait for better” section with the list of cards that I think may soon have better offers.

Greg’s Top Picks

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless: 5 Nights

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
5 Free Nights
Earn 5 50K free night certificates after $5K spend in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Brand

Earning rate: ⚬ 6X Marriott Bonvoy ⚬ 2X everywhere else

Big spend bonus: Earn Gold status when you spend $35K each year

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Annual free night certificate for 1 night at a hotel redemption level up to 35K ⚬ Automatic Silver status ⚬ 15 nights of elite credit each year

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

I can’t remember ever seeing a credit card bonus with this much potential.  The Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card is currently offering 5 free 50K nights after $5K spend. Some will say that this bonus is worth up to 250,000 points.  And, technically that’s true, but the details aren’t quite that rosy.  I analyzed the offer here: 5 Free Nights! Should you go for it?

Who should get it: This offer makes sense for anyone who can qualify for this offer (see: Are you eligible for a new Marriott card?); and is reasonably certain that they can make good use of 5 free Marriott nights within the next year (12 months from completing the spend requirement and receiving the certificates).  50K certs are good for high end hotels when they are priced off-peak, mid to high end hotels priced standard, and mid-tier hotels priced peak or below.

Who shouldn’t get it: If you don’t think you’ll be traveling much over the next year, I’d skip this offer.  Yes, it’s possible/likely that Marriott will extend the certificates for another year if you call and ask, but I wouldn’t gamble on that possibility.

Timing your application: According to emails received by some readers, this offer ends on Thursday, October 15th.  If you’re interested, don’t wait.

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

Amex Gold Card: 60K + awesome referral opportunities

American Express® Gold Card
60K Points
60K after $4K spend in first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$250 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: This is the best we've seen

FM Mini Review: This card offers an awesome return on US supermarket and worldwide dining spend, putting it at or near the top-of-class in both categories. The addition of Boxed.com makes it easy to get full value from the card's $10/month dining & entertainment credits.


Card Type: Amex Charge Card

Base
Travel
Dine
Grocery

Earning rate: 3X points for flights booked with airlines or on amextravel.com ⚬ 4x points at US Supermarkets (up to $25K in purchases, then 1x) ⚬ 4x at restaurants worldwide ⚬ 1X points on other purchases. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Up to $100 a year in statement credits for baggage fees and more with one qualifying airline ⚬ Up to $10 in statement credits monthly with participating dining partners (Boxed.com, Shake Shack, Seamless/Grubhub, Cheesecake Factory and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse) ⚬ $100 hotel credit on qualifying charges on stays of 2 nights or longer, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc

The Amex Gold Card has been a favorite of ours since it debuted with its 4X dining and grocery categories (see above for details), but until recently the best offer for this card topped out at 45K points.  Obviously 60K points is much better.  That said, the thing that pushed this offer near the top of my list is a unique referral opportunity where you can earn a chunk of points plus the ability to earn an extra 3X for 3 months (see: Wow! Earn an extra 3X for 3 months with Amex Refer A Friend Three For All).  If you or someone in your family has an Amex card that is eligible for that referral offer, then it should be possible for you or a family member to refer another family member to the Gold card.  Remember that with most Amex cards, you can refer friends to any other Amex card.  The person who refers the other will earn a referral bonus plus 3 additional points per dollar on spend for three months.  The person who accepts the referral offer will earn 60K Membership Rewards points after meeting the spend requirements.  It’s a complicated but huge opportunity.

Who should get it: The 60K offer is a great one and is a good pick for anyone interested in accumulating Amex Membership Rewards points.  The refer-a-friend Three For All is also a fantastic offer that you should take advantage of if you can.

Who shouldn’t get it: The Amex Gold card will add to your 5/24 count, so if you’re trying to stay under 5/24 you won’t want this one.

Timing your application:  If you want to get in on the Amex Refer A Friend Three For All, you (or your referred friend) will have to apply by October 28th.

See also: Amex Membership Rewards Points Complete Guide

Sapphire Preferred: 80K

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
80K Points
80K after $4K spend in the first 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details). This card is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months.

Recent better offer: None. This is the best offer we've seen.

FM Mini Review: Great signup bonus. Solid option to pair with fee-free Ultimate Rewards cards such as the Freedom cards, Ink Business Cash, and Ink Business Unlimited in order to unlock ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Dine
Other

Earning rate: 2X Travel and Dining ⚬ 5X Lyft (through March 2022)

Noteworthy perks: Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ⚬ Free DashPass for at least 1 year (activate by 12/31/21)

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

The Sapphire Preferred card has always been one of my top picks with it’s usual 60K offer, but now the offer is 20K sweeter.  Read more here: Chase Sapphire Preferred 80K Offer – Should you go for it?

Who should get it: If it’s been more than 48 months since you last received a welcome bonus for the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card and if you’re under 5/24, then this is a great choice.  If you currently have the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll have to first product change it to a Freedom card then wait about a week before signing up for this one.

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.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: If you’re close to going over 5/24 and have your heart set on other Chase cards (see: “Must have” Chase cards), then you may want to skip this one.  Also if you love the Sapphire Reserve card’s features and don’t want to go without that card for a year (you have to wait a year before upgrading the Sapphire Preferred), then skip the Sapphire Preferred.

Timing your application: It appears that the 80K offer will expire on November 8th, 2020.  I think it’s a good idea to wait until that date gets closer in case the Sapphire Reserve comes out with an even better offer in the meantime, but if that doesn’t happen then make sure to apply by November 7th.

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Amex Green Card: 50K + awesome referral opportunities

American Express® Green Card
50K Points
50K points after $2K spend in 3 months. Terms apply. See

$150 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Alternate offer: Via certain browsers you may see an offer for 30K points plus up to $200 back for US grocery spend.

Recent better offer: This is the best we've seen

FM Mini Review: This card is worth considering as your go-to travel card, but only if you value its CLEAR and Lounge Buddy credits. Also note that Amex cards continue to have limited acceptance in many international destinations.


Card Type: Amex Charge Card

Base
Travel
Dine

Earning rate: ⚬ 3X on travel & transit (including flights, hotels, taxis, and rideshares) ⚬ 3X dining ⚬ 1X points on other purchases. Terms apply. See

Noteworthy perks: $100 CLEAR credit annually ⚬ $100 LoungeBuddy credit annually. Terms Apply.

Just like the Amex Gold Card above, this one made the list not just for its better than usual welcome bonus, but also thanks to unique referral opportunities (see: Wow! Earn an extra 3X for 3 months with Amex Refer A Friend Three For All).

Who should get it: The 50K offer is very good.  It’s a good choice for anyone interested in accumulating Amex Membership Rewards points.  The refer-a-friend Three For All is also a fantastic offer that you should take advantage of if you can.

Who shouldn’t get it: The Amex Green card will add to your 5/24 count, so if you’re trying to stay under 5/24 you won’t want this one.

Timing your application:  If you want to get in on the Amex Refer A Friend Three For All, you (or your referred friend) will have to apply by October 28th.

See also: Amex Membership Rewards Points Complete Guide

Wyndham Business Card: 45K points + Diamond

Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card

FM Mini Review: Excellent earning rate at gas stations and Wyndham hotels. Diamond status plus 15K annual bonus makes this card a keeper.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Gas
Phone
Biz
Brand
Other

Earning rate: 8X Wyndham & gas ⚬ 5X marketing, advertising, and utilities (telecommunications, cable, satellite, electric, gas, heating oil and water) ⚬ 1X everywhere else

Noteworthy perks: 15,000 points each anniversary year ⚬ Diamond status ⚬ 10% discount on free night awards ⚬ Cardmember discount on paid stays ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

See also: Wyndham Earner credit cards review: Surprisingly strong

It’s not just the 45K welcome bonus that excites me about this new Wyndham card, but rather a combination of cool things:

  • 15K annual point bonus: The annual point bonus alone is worth the card’s $95 annual fee.
  • Wyndham Diamond status: With this status you can get suite upgrades (including on free nights), welcome amenity, and ability to gift Gold status to others.  Even better, Wyndham Diamond status freely matches to Caesar’s Diamond which offers perks like waived resort fees, free $100 Celebration dinner (read Nick’s Celebration Dinner trip report here), and much more.
  • Strong earnings for gas station purchases (8X), Wyndham hotels (8X), and utilities (5X)
  • Won’t add to your 5/24 Count: Business cards from most issuers (including Barclays) do not show as accounts on your personal credit reports and therefore do not add to your Chase 5/24 count.

Who should get it: I think this one makes sense for pretty much anyone who is eligible to apply for business cards.

Applying for Business Credit Cards: You must have a business to apply, but even a simple sole proprietorship will work. It's likely that you have a business even if you don't realize it.
More:You must have a business (but you probably do): In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.

Who shouldn’t get it: Anyone who doesn’t foresee any good use for Wyndham points should stay away.  Wyndham points expire 4 years after they’re earned.

Timing your application: The 45K offer is probably temporary. My bet is that the offer will drop down to 30K at some point in the future, but I don’t know when.  If it’s important to you to get the 45K bonus then sign up soon.

See also: New Wyndham Earner credit cards review: Surprisingly strong

Freedom Unlimited or Flex: Up to 80K + great new category bonuses

Chase Freedom Flex
20K points + 5X grocery + 15 months 0% APR
Earn 20,000 points (worth $200 cash back) after $500 spend in 3 months + 5x Ultimate Rewards points (worth 5% cash back) on grocery purchases for 1st year (on up to $12K in purchases, excludes Target & Walmart). 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.

No Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details). Even though this card is marketed as a cash back card, it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points which are redeemable for 1 cent each, or can be combined with other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards to get even more value. This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

Chase Freedom Unlimited
20K points + 5X grocery + 15 months 0% APR
Earn 20,000 points (worth $200 cash back) after spending $500 in the first 3 months + 5x Ultimate Rewards points (worth 5% cash back) on grocery purchases for 1st year (on up to $12K in purchases, excludes Target & Walmart). 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.

No Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details). Even though this card is marketed as a cash back card, it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points which are redeemable for 1 cent each, or can be combined with other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards to get even more value. This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

Recent better offer: None. This is the best offer we've seen.

Now that Chase has added valuable new bonus categories to these cards, it’s definitely worth adding at least one of the two to your arsenal.  Both cards offer 5X Ultimate Rewards for travel booked through Chase; 3X for dining; and 3X drugstores.  The Freedom Unlimited rounds this out with 1.5X everywhere else whereas the Freedom Flex offers 5X in categories that change each quarter.  If you don’t already have a great “everywhere else” card, then the Freedom Unlimited is the better choice, otherwise go for the Freedom Flex.

It’s nice too that Chase has greatly improved the Freedom welcome bonus.  The old bonus was for 20K points after $500 spend.  Now, you get the same 20K points but also earn 5X at grocery stores for 12 months on up to $12K in purchases.  If you spend $1K per month at grocery stores and nothing else on these cards, you’ll end up with 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points (20K from the initial bonus + 60K from 5X spend at grocery stores).

Who should get it: Anyone with a premium Ultimate Rewards card (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred) in the household should consider getting one of these cards.  The Freedom cards make it easy to earn points quickly and the premium cards (especially the Sapphire Reserve) make your points more valuable.

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.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: Anyone trying to stay under 5/24.

Timing your application: I don’t think these offers are likely to change anytime soon so it’s fine to wait until it’s convenient.

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

United Business: 75K

United℠ Business Card

FM Mini Review: Decent perks such as enhanced access to United saver level economy awards makes this a keeper for some.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Dine
Gas
Office
Other

Earning rate: 2X at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores ⚬ 2X United ⚬ 2X on local transit and commuting, including taxicabs, mass transit, tolls, and ride share services

Big spend bonus: $100 annual United travel credit after 7 United flight purchases greater than $100

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Improved saver award availability ⚬ Last seat standard award availability ⚬ Free first checked bag ⚬ Priority boarding ⚬ No foreign exchange fees ⚬ 2 United Club passes per year at anniversary ⚬ Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ⚬ 5,000 bonus miles at anniversary when you have this card and also a personal Chase United credit card. ⚬ 25% back on United in-flight purchases

An offer like this for a United business card comes and goes over time.  Right now it’s at a high watermark, so it’s a good time to grab it.  United miles are useful not just for flying United, but also for flying any Star Alliance airline or United partner.  One nice thing about using United miles is that United doesn’t pass along fuel surcharges even when the flying carrier otherwise imposes them (yes, I’m looking at you Lufthansa and Swiss).  The downside is that United’s award prices are fairly high compared to some alternatives like ANA or Turkish.

Who should get it: Anyone with a business who is under 5/24.

Applying for Business Credit Cards: You must have a business to apply, but even a simple sole proprietorship will work. It's likely that you have a business even if you don't realize it.
More:You must have a business (but you probably do): In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.

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.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: Anyone who doesn’t have a business or has no use for United miles.

Timing your application: I don’t think this offer will last long.  Either grab it now or wait until it comes around again.

IHG Premier: 140K

Chase IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
140K Points
140K after $3K in the first 3 months

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $89

Recent better offer: None.

FM Mini Review: Good signup bonus. Keep only if you value the 40K annual free night and/or 4th night free awards.


Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Brand

Earning rate: 10X IHG ⚬ 2X gas, grocery, and restaurants.

Big spend bonus: 10K bonus points after you spend $20K in a cardmember year + make one additional purchase

Noteworthy perks: Annual free night e-certificate good at IHG properties up to 40K points per night ⚬ Fourth night free on award stays ⚬ 20% discount on points purchases ⚬ Platinum elite status.

This is a great bonus for a card with decent perks but poor earnings on spend.  Those who don’t have the (no longer available) IHG Club card may like the IHG Premier for its annual free night certificate and automatic Platinum Elite status.  The Fourth Night Free on award stays is a great feature too, but that’s also available on the fee-free IHG Traveler card.  For those who don’t want to pay this card’s annual fee, a great option is to sign up for this bonus and then next year downgrade to the fee free card.

Southwest Performance Business: 2-Year Companion Pass w/ $25K spend

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
Up to 100K points
Up to 100K points: 70K after $5K spend in first 3 months + 30K points after a total of $25K spend in first 6 months

$199 Annual Fee


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Phone
Biz
Brand

Earning rate: 3X Southwest ⚬ 2x on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services

Big spend bonus: If you earn 125,000 points in one calendar year, you'll get a companion pass good for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next year.

Noteworthy perks: 9000 bonus points each year upon card renewal.

This is an offer that we haven’t recommended earlier this year because the timing wasn’t right.  Now, though, the timing works.  Once you earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, Southwest offers a Companion Pass which is good for an unlimited number of flights (award flights or paid flights) for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next. And it just so happens that points earned from Southwest credit cards, including the welcome bonus, count towards the Companion Pass.  The goal for maximizing this deal is to earn the welcome bonus early in January 2021 so that you’ll have a Companion Pass for the rest of 2021 and all of 2022.

The trick is to sign up for this offer before January, but wait to put spend on the card until after your December statement closes.  Then, you’ll have to make sure to spend $25K before the terms of your welcome offer expire (3 months after approval).  If you can make all of that happen, then you’ll earn 100,000 points from the welcome offer plus 25K points from the $25K spend.  Then, once the 125K points are awarded, you’ll be given a Companion Pass good for nearly two full years.

Who should get it: This is ideal for anyone who can easily spend $25K quickly and who often travels in pairs on Southwest, or wants to do so.

Applying for Business Credit Cards: You must have a business to apply, but even a simple sole proprietorship will work. It's likely that you have a business even if you don't realize it.
More:You must have a business (but you probably do): In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.

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.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: If you don’t think you’ll be flying much in 2021, then you should wait a year before doing this.  If you aren’t interested in flying Southwest, in general, then don’t do this.  If you can’t easily spend $25K quickly, then definitely don’t do this.

Timing your application: Ideally you’d wait until maybe mid-November to pull the trigger on this offer so that you’ll have more time to complete the $25K spend after your December statement closes.  There is some risk that the offer will disappear before then, but I think that the risk is low.

See also: Southwest Airlines Companion Pass 2020 Complete Guide

Ink Business Cash: 50K + great 5X categories

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
50K points
50K after $3K spend in 3 months

No Annual Fee

See: How to sign up for Chase Ink cards

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen.

FM Mini Review: This one should be in everyone's wallet. Incredible signup bonus for a no-fee card. Great card for 5X categories. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred.


Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Dine
Gas
Phone
Office
Other

Earning rate: 5X office supplies ⚬ 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually) ⚬ 2X gas and restaurants ⚬ 5X Lyft

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

This fee-free card belongs in every point collector’s wallet.  It offers 5X for office supplies and 5X for phone service, cable TV, and internet (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5X categories annually).  Many families would do well to setup their phone, TV, and internet bills to autopay from the Ink Business Cash card in order to earn 5X rewards without any effort whatsoever.  Those willing to do a little bit of work will find that stores like Staples and Office Depot sell lots of gift cards in-store; and Staples.com sells them online.  In both cases, you’ll earn 5X buying gift cards so that you can ultimately buy what you really want.

Who should get it: Anyone with a premium Ultimate Rewards card (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred) in the household should consider getting the Chase Ink Business Cash.  The Ink Cash makes it easy to earn points quickly and the premium cards (especially the Sapphire Reserve) make your points more valuable.

Applying for Business Credit Cards: You must have a business to apply, but even a simple sole proprietorship will work. It's likely that you have a business even if you don't realize it.
More:You must have a business (but you probably do): In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.
Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.

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.  This is true for Chase business cards too: you won't be approved if you are over 5/24. That said, if you are under 5/24 and get approved for a Chase business card, that card won't add to your 5/24 count.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

Who shouldn’t get it: Don’t apply if you don’t have a business or if you’re over 5/24.

Timing your application: Sign up anytime. This has been the standard offer for a very long time.

See also: Chase Ink Business Cash Complete Guide

On the fence

Venture Rewards 100K

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
100K "Miles"
Earn 100K bonus miles when you spend $20K on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50K miles if you spend $3K on purchases in the first 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen in recent years.

I had a hard time deciding where to put this offer.  On the one hand, it’s hard to ignore a 100,000 point offer.  There’s no doubt that it is a very strong offer.  On the other hand, I believe that this offer has a narrow target audience…

In general, I think that the Venture Rewards card is a good pick for someone who only wants a single card, but anyone willing to carry even two cards can do better.  For example, the combination of the Chase Freedom Unlimited and either Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred has the same total annual fee and is a better choice for most people in my opinion.

And for those only interested in the welcome bonus, there are a couple of problems: 1) Capital One is notoriously difficult to get approved if you have opened a lot of cards in the recent past.  That eliminates a lot of us; and 2) To get the full 100K bonus, you have to spend a whopping $20K.  That’s a big hurdle.

Wait for better

Bonvoy Brilliant

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
125K points + Platinum Status
125K points + Platinum Status: 100K points after $5K spend in the first 3 months + Platinum status for 2021 membership year (2/1/21 to 1-31-22) + 25K points after first anniversary. Terms apply.
(Offer Expires 1/13/2021)

$450 Annual Fee

Now that Chase has come out with the best ever 5 free night offer for their Bonvoy Boundless card, I think that it’s very likely that Amex will respond with their own best-ever offer for the Bonvoy Brilliant card.

World of Hyatt

Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card
You choose: Up to 50K points OR One Cat 1-7 free night certificate + $200 statement credit
New cardmembers can choose between two bonus offers (each offer also comes with 10 elite night credits in 2020 and 10 elite night credits in 2021): OFFER 1: 50K points: 25,000 points after $3K spend in 3 months + 25,000 points after $6K total spend in 6 months. OFFER 2: $200 statement credit after first purchase + one Cat 1-7 free night certificate after $3K in purchases in the first 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

This card is believed to be subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.

Recent better offer: 60K: 40K after $3K in 3 months + 20K after $6K total in 6 months (Expired 1/9/19)

Will Hyatt respond to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless offer with a huge new offer of their own?  I find this likely, but I’m not nearly as confident as with the Bonvoy Brilliant.  For some reason, unlike Marriott and Hilton, Hyatt doesn’t often change their credit card welcome offer.  On the other hand, they’ve been very aggressive with points deals lately and so I wouldn’t be surprised to see something exciting happen with their card.

Hilton Aspire

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
150K Points
150K after $4K spend in 3 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$450 Annual Fee

This is a tough one.  I almost put this card in the top list.  This card already has a great offer.  Plus if you sign up immediately, your free night upon signup might be issued before the end of the year.  That would be great because then it would last for two years and be usable any day of the week, not just weekends.  For more on this topic, see: Is it time to get an Amex Hilton Card?

On the other hand, if the Bonvoy Brilliant card gets a huge new welcome bonus, I think that Hilton will respond.  Overall, I think that the chance of something great happening here is possible but unlikely.

Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
50K Points
50K after $4K spend in 3 months

$550 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details). This card is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months.

In the post “Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K Offer – Will it return?” I offered up probabilities of various outcomes:

  • Probability of the offer remaining 50K: High
  • Probability of a 70K offer: Very Low
  • Probability of a 80K offer: High
  • Probability of a 100K offer: Low

In sum, I think that a return of the Sapphire Reserve 100K offer is very unlikely.  But still, you never know.

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