In the wake of the Great Recession, credit card companies are determined to garner the business of those consumers who maintained excellent credit throughout the financial turmoil. As a result, more and more credit cards offer high initial rewards bonuses, designed to draw in the highly desired consumer segment with FICO scores above 700.
After examining over 800 credit card offers, we at Card Hub found 338 cards with initial rewards bonuses. While the lucrativeness of these offers differ, one thing they all have in common is the fact that the initial bonus kicks in once the user charges a certain amount within a designated introductory period. Out of 338 products we examined, the following cards with annual fees below $100 stood out:
- Southwest Airlines Credit Card – Get 50,000 bonus points (worth over $800 in Wanna Get Away Fares) after your first purchase; $99 annual fee
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Get $625-worth of airfare or hotel accommodations or $500 cash back when you spend $3,000 during the first three months; no first-year annual fee
- Capital One Venture Rewards – Score $250 in travel expenses when you spend $1,000 in the first three months; no first-year annual fee
- New Ink Cash Business Card – Offers $250 cash back to business owners who spend $5,000 in the first three months; no annual fee
- Chase Freedom Visa – Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first three months; no annual fee
- British Airways Credit Card – Earn 50,000 miles, enough for a free transatlantic flight, when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days; $95 annual fee
In addition to the aforementioned products, there are numerous credit card offers currently on the market with initial bonuses worth at least $100. Among them are the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express, the Citi Dividend Platinum Select and the BankAmericard Cash Rewards.
According to Card Hub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou, the fear of a credit score hit shouldn’t cause consumers to shy away from these offers either. ”While it is true that your credit score will take a dip for about six months each time you apply for a new credit card, this shouldn’t be of concern unless you plan on applying for a loan, taking out a mortgage or otherwise actually needing the best credit score possible within that time frame,” he said. ”The hit you take as a result of opening a new card will not be permanent and will truthfully be irrelevant unless you need your credit score. On the other hand, the benefit of a lucrative rewards credit card offer is plain to see.”
While daily deals have their place and can help consumers save as well as try new things, credit cards must also be given their due as savings vehicles. By simply opening one and using it to make everyday purchases, you could add a little more cash to your rainy day fund or take that trip you’ve been dreaming of. Now, that’s a pretty powerful piece of plastic.