January has brought with it some impressive credit card offers, with the Southwest Companion Pass sign-up bonus leading the pack and grabbing headlines.
Southwest Rapid Rewards consumer credit cards
Sign up for any of the three Southwest consumer credit cards by Feb. 11, 2019 to be eligible for this new sign-up bonus: Earn Companion Pass and 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Offer ends 2/11/19. Companion Pass is promotional and will be valid through 12/31/19.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has the lowest annual fee, $69, and you get 3,000 bonus points on your card anniversary. But this card has a 3% foreign transaction fee.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card costs $99 a year, gets you a 6,000-point-bonus on your cardmember anniversary and carries no foreign transaction fees.
The $149-a-year Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card gets you a $75 Southwest travel credit each year, 7,500 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary and no foreign transaction fees, along with some other perks.
» Learn more: FAQs about the Southwest Companion Pass sign-up bonus
The promotional Companion Pass that comes with the sign-up bonus is good for unlimited flights through Dec. 31, 2019, free not counting taxes and fees starting at $5.60 each way.
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card
Because Marriott’s loyalty program merged with Starwood Preferred Guest in 2018, your points are good at a wide range of hotels and resorts, including Sheraton, Westin, Marriott, Luxury Collection, St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton properties.
Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The card has a $95 annual fee and it is not available to customers who already have or have recently closed certain Marriott and SPG cards. Other perks include 6 Marriott Rewards points per $1 spent at participating hotels, 2 points per $1 on all other purchases, automatic Silver Elite status and no foreign transaction fees.
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
The current welcome bonus for Chase’s The World Of Hyatt Credit Card is as follows: Earn up to 50,000 Bonus Points – 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening – free nights start at 5,000 points.
That’s enough for an impressive 10 free nights at a Category 1 hotel like the Hyatt Place Phoenix North or the Hyatt House Chicago Oak Brook. Or you can redeem those 50,000 points for two free nights in Hawaii at the luxurious Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa or the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort.
The card carries a $95 annual fee, but you’ll get one free night at a Category 1 – 4 hotel every year on your anniversary. Plus, the card gets you elite membership status at the Discoverist level and comes with no foreign transaction fees.
» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best credit card tips for January 2019
The American Express® Gold Card
A bonus offer of 35,000 Membership Rewards points has us looking past the American Express® Gold Card’s $250 annual fee. To earn the points bonus, charge just $2,000 in qualifying purchases in the first three months after card opening, to earn bonus points NerdWallet values at around $350.
There’s a $100 annual airline fee credit, good toward checked bag fees, and a $120 annual dining credit good at a handful of chains like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Cheesecake Factory, as well as on GrubHub and Seamless deliveries. You’ll earn 4 Membership Rewards points on charges you make at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, with a $25,000 spending cap at U.S. supermarkets, and you’ll earn 3 points per $1 on travel booked through the American Express site and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Terms apply.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
An annual fee of $0, 3% cash back, 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24% – 26.24% Variable APR, and an $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening earn the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card a spot on our list.
The cash back rewards have just been updated to make this card an even better deal: Until this month, this card paid 3% cash back only on gas purchases, along with 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Now you can pick your 3% bonus category: Gas, travel, online shopping, dining, home goods or drugstores.
You can change the category up to one time per month, meaning that you can earn 3% back on travel purchases when you’re booking your next trip, then switch your 3% category to dining when you’re sampling restaurants every day at your destination city.
The Chase Freedom®
If you plan to spend a lot on drugstores, gas and tolls through March 2019, the Chase Freedom® card will reward you with 5% cash back on every dollar you spend up to $1,500 in these categories. Above $1,500, you’ll earn 1% cash back.
It’s part of this card’s somewhat unusual rewards program: Every quarter, there are new spending categories that earn you 5% cash back, provided you remember to activate the bonus before the quarter ends. Outside the categories, you earn 1% cash back automatically on all other purchases. Sign up now and you’ll get $150 cash back after you spend $500 in the first three months. The card has an annual fee of $0 and a 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.99% – 25.74% Variable APR. There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee.
The Citi Rewards+℠ Card
If most of your spending happens at grocery stores and gas stations, or if you make a lot of small purchases, the Citi Rewards+℠ Card is an excellent choice.
The card pays 2 ThankYou points for every $1 spent at grocery stores and gas stations, up to $6,000 per year, and 1 point on all other spending. A unique “round up” rewards system makes this card especially good for small purchases because it rounds up your rewards to the nearest 10 ThankYou points, meaning that if you spend $4 on coffee, you’ll earn 10 points.
Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com. The Citi Rewards+℠ Card doesn’t have an annual fee and the first 100,000 points you redeem will kick back 10% of those points into your account.
The JetBlue Card
Not everyone can spend thousands on a credit card in just a few months or take an annual fee in stride. For those travelers, JetBlue Card from Barclays is a great option. Spend just $1,000 on qualifying purchases in the first 90 days and you’ll get 10,000 True Blue Points — enough for a one-way ticket to many places in the U.S. and almost enough for a round-trip ticket in off-peak times, like New York-to-Fort Lauderdale midweek in May, which starts at 12,600 points.
The JetBlue Card pays 3 points per $1 spent on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. You get 50% off any cocktails or food you purchase on a JetBlue flight with the card and you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees. And the $0 annual fee means you don’t have to worry about costs eroding the value of the rewards you earn.
ABOC’s 5X Rotating Bonus Categories
The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card and the ABOC Platinum Rewards Card have revved up their traditional 1-point-per-dollar rewards rate with an opportunity to earn 5 points per $1 in certain spending categories, up to $1,500 spent, with the categories changing every quarter.
Through March 31, 2019 it’s grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants. April through June, it’s wholesale clubs and home improvement/home supply retailers. July through September it’s travel purchases, including airlines, cruises, car rental, hotels and travel agents. Then, October through December, you’ll earn 5 points per $1 on auto parts, repairs and services.
The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card has a 0% Intro APR for 12 months on Purchase and Balance Transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 11.50% Variable. The ABOC Platinum Rewards Card has a 0% Intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.15% – 25.15% Variable APR.
Capital One Exclusive Restaurant Access Offer
Weekend tables at some of the hardest-to-reserve restaurants in the world are being held for Capital One cardholders. Through a partnership with the Resy restaurant booking app, Capital One has set aside two tables for two at Charlie Bird, Frankies 457, Legacy Records, Loring Place, Pasquale Jones and Quality Eats in New York City; A Rake’s Progress, All Purpose (two locations), Masseria and Red Hen in Washington, D.C.; and Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Odd Duck, Pitchfork Pretty and She’s Not Here in Austin, Texas.
Tables are available Thursday through Saturday nights between Feb. 1 and July 31, 2019 to the first Capital One customers to grab them. Just look for the Capital One logo on the Resy app.
If that’s not exclusive enough for you: Capital One cardholders now have access to for Resy’s new dining program, called Off Menu Week, 72 hours before the general public. The program features experimental “off menu” chef creations at participating restaurants in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York City, Chicago and Austin.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
How to pick the right credit card for you in 4 easy steps
How to get started with frequent flyer programs
This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards
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