Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Some reward credit cards are offering big bonuses when you sign up.
Among the most generous: Capital One Venture, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier.
Depending on the type of card you want and whether you're loyal to certain brands, some other cards might be worth a look too.
Travel cards that recently gave out generous bonuses include Citi ThankYou Premier (50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months; $95 annual fee, waived the first year) and American Express' Platinum card (60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first three months; $550 annual fee).
Business owners who travel frequently should consider the Chase Ink Business Preferred card ($95 annual fee), which recently offered 80,000 points - worth $1,000 in travel redemptions through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal - if you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
Try some tricks to nab a higher bonus than is advertised. If you're a customer of Chase's banking services and go to a branch to apply for a credit card, for example, you might be eligible for a larger bonus, said Vladislav Tyschuk, co-founder of RewardExpert, a website with information and tools for maximizing rewards.
Another idea: If the issuer's website has a page on which you can check whether you prequalify for its cards, try filling out the form - you might be offered a bigger bonus, Tyschuk said.
With American Express, for example, go to www.american express.com, click on "Cards" at the top of the page, and select "Check for Pre-qualified Credit Card Offers" from the menu.
Don't overlook cards that offer a bonus after one year or provide annual bonuses, which could prove more valuable in the long run.
The Discover It and Discover It Miles cards (no annual fee) both match the cash back or miles you've earned at the end of your first year of membership, doubling your rewards for that year. Barclays recently introduced the Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard ($150 annual fee), which offers no initial bonus but an annual bonus of 25,000 miles if you spend at least $25,000 a year (or 15,000 miles if you spend $15,000).
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