Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers – March 2019

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Updated March 2019. That space in your wallet or purse is more valuable than you think. Credit card companies are fighting it out, offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to encourage you to apply and try it out. These are the top 10 credit card offers that I would apply for right now, if I didn’t already most of them. Recent changes:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – improved 60k offer.
  • Hawaiian Airlines – improved 75k offer.
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles – limited-time 60k + $50 statement credit offer.
  • IHG Rewards Club Premier – improved 120k offer.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless – limited-time 100k offer.
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus – bonus offer up to 70k.

If you pay off your balances every month, then you can join me and many others in funding a huge chunk of your annual travel budget with cash credits, points, and miles. You don’t need to be a “I only fly business class” world traveler. I mostly use my rewards points on domestic economy flights, mid-class hotels, and cheap car rentals. If you have credit card debt, you should focus on paying that off first as the interest charges could offset most of the perks.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Business Card Offers. Small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Note: Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $750 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 2X points on Travel and Dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.
  • Alternative: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. 3X on Travel and Dining, Priority Pass airport lounge access, $450 annual fee, $300 annual travel credit.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Card

  • 70,000 points (worth $700 towards travel) after $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • Unlimited 2X miles on every purchase.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $89.

  • Up to 75,000 bonus miles. 50,000 miles after $2,000 in purchases within 3 months, an additional 25,000 miles after $6,000 total in purchases within the first 12 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for primary cardmember when using your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Receive a one-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and The Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $99 annual fee.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Card

  • Up to 120,000 IHG Rewards club points: 80,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months, an additional 40,000 points after $5,000 in total purchases within 6 months of account opening. See link for details.
  • Free Night after each account anniversary year (valued up to 40,000 IHG points).
  • $89 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Gold Delta Skymiles Card from American Express

  • 60,000 Delta Skymiles after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months + $50 statement credit after a Delta purchase within your first 3 months. Limited-time offer expires 4/3/19. See link for details.
  • 60,000 Skymiles are worth at least $600 in Delta airfare with “Pay with Miles” option.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

  • 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • Free Night after each account anniversary year (valued up to 35,000 Marriott points).
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

  • 60,000 American Airlines miles. 60,000 miles after first purchase (any amount) in first 90 days. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $95 annual fee.

Citi Premier Card

  • 50,000 ThankYou points (worth $625 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points on Travel, including Gas Stations
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

American Express Gold Card

  • 40,000 Membership Rewards points (flexible, worth 50,000 miles at various airlines) after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • $120 in Grubhub and Seamless credit. $10 in statement credits each month when you pay with this card at participating partners – Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations.
  • $100 airline fee credit. Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits towards checked baggage fees and inflight meals.
  • $250 annual fee.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

  • 50,000 points (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $100 annual Airline Incidental Statement Credit.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $95 annual fee.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card

  • $500 cash bonus after $3000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Chase World of Hyatt Card

  • Up to 50,000 Hyatt points. 25,000 Bonus Points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after a total of $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • $95 annual fee, free night award upon card anniversary.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Improved Bonus: 60,000 Points = $750 In Travel, 2X Points on Travel and Dining

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Update with improved 60k offer. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a premium travel rewards credit card, now with an improved offer that is the best publicly-available bonus in years. The card earns points that can be redeemed for cash, travel credits, or transferred to airline miles. Here are the highlights:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That means 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel. No blackout dates. As long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide. 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named “Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption” – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, June 2018.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • $95 annual fee.

(Quick background: The previous offer was 50,000 bonus points with the annual fee waived during the first year. This one is 60,000 bonus points and a $95 annual fee. Since an extra 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth at least 1.25 cents per point towards travel, that’s still a net $30 minimum improvement with a conservative estimate. Now, I just did an instant transfer to Hyatt last week that got me 2 cents per point value, which shows that the real value of Ultimate Rewards points is in its flexibility in transferring to places like United miles and Hyatt points as needed to reach a free night or flight.)

Note the following text:

The product 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.

Note that Chase has an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years (aka the 5/24 rule). This rule is designed to discourage folks that apply for high numbers of sign-up bonuses. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers.

Ultimate Rewards points. This card offers a special 25% bonus on travel redemptions made through the Ultimate Rewards travel website. For example, 60,000 Ultimate Rewards = $750 in travel. Similar to Expedia or Travelocity, you can book flights on most major airlines and hotel chains. This makes it much more flexible to spend your points. You can even buy something more expensive and pay the difference.

If you have other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points like the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Unlimited, you can transfer points into this card account and take advantage of the this higher premium. In other words, your existing Ultimate Rewards points balance could be increased in value by getting this card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is the “ultra-premium” rewards card that offers a bigger 50% bonus on travel redemptions, along with more perks and a higher annual fee.

Prefer airline and/or hotel points? This card also allows you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points into hotel and/or airline miles. Transfer to United Airlines, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Southwest, Hyatt Hotels, IHG Hotels, and Marriott Hotels at a ratio of 1 Ultimate Rewards point = 1 mile/hotel point. Miles redemption continue to offer great value for savvy travelers, especially for last-minute travel and business class seats. I personally use the transfers to “top off” my account to reach a free coach ticket or free hotel night when I don’t have enough points otherwise. My favorite options are United miles, Southwest miles, and Hyatt hotel points. In this manner, I can often get close to 2 cents per point value.

Cash redemptions are a simple and easy option, but the conversion is a straight 100 points = $1.

Sharing points. Ultimate Rewards points are instantly transferable to other accounts like family members, as long as they have their own Chase card with Ultimate Rewards as an authorized user (free with Chase Freedom). This way, you can pool points together for transfers and redemptions if you like.

Additional card benefits:

  • Premium, dedicated customer service line with a live person, 24/7. A real person picks up after a couple rings, no phone trees or typing those darn 16 digits over and over. You can use this feature to redeem cash rewards over the phone for free, although booking rewards tickets over the phone costs $20 (doing so online is free).
  • Primary car rental collision damage waiver insurance. Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad. Most other cards only offer secondary coverage that kicks in only after the deductible of your individual insurance policy is used.
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement. If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket

Bottom line. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus, 2X points on Dining/Travel, and a $95 annual fee. This card has become quite popular because it is easy on both the earning and redeeming of rewards. Earning double miles on travel and restaurants is a useful category where a lot of people spend a lot of money (that’s not housing or student loans). If you can find a good use for airline miles, you can transfer them over. If you can’t, the 1.25 cent per point value on travel redemptions is easy to use. This is one of the few cards where I think paying the annual fee is worth it.

You can only get one Sapphire bonus every 48 months, so compare with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which offers a bigger 50% bonus on travel redemptions, along with more perks and a higher annual fee.

I will be updating this improved offer on my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard Review – Up to 75,000 Bonus Miles

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

The is the official co-branded card with perks like Hawaiian miles for purchases, a free checked bag, and companion ticket discounts. Sometimes it has the Bank of Hawaii logo on it, but in all cases it is issued by Barclaycard. If you like to fly to/from Hawaii, right now there is a limited-time offer of up to 75,000 bonus miles if you meet the spending requirements. Here are the highlights:

  • 50,000 bonus miles after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months, an additional 25,000 bonus miles after spending $6,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months.
  • One-Time 50% Off Companion Discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $100 annual companion ticket discount each year for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Free first checked bag on Hawaiian Airlines flights book with card (primary cardholder only)
  • 3X miles for every $1 spent on purchases made directly from Hawaiian Airlines
  • 2X miles per $1 spent on gas, dining, and grocery store purchases, and 1X mile per $1 spent on every other purchase.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee

Note: If you can only make the $2,000 within 3 months spending requirement and not the $6,000 within 12 months, consider this of 60,000 bonus miles after $2,000 in purchases within 3 months.

ShareMiles. A unique feature of Hawaiian Airlines is that with this card, they allow you to receive Hawaiian miles from other members without a fee. This is handy if your family members have a few miles here and there, as you can now pool them all together to reach an award level.

Domestic award travel discount. These are from their standard award chart to help you value these miles if you don’t have this card:

  • Interisland flights: 7,500 miles one-way (SuperSaver), 10,000 (Saver), and 15,000 (Flex)
  • Hawaii to Mainland US roundtrip in Coach: 40,000 miles roundtrip (SuperSaver), 60,000 (Saver), and 80,000+ (Flex)
  • Hawaii to Mainland US roundtrip in First Class: 80,000 (Saver), and 160,000+ (Flex)

However, if you do have a Hawaiian Airlines card, then you can receive certain discounts:

  • Interisland flights: 8,500 miles one-way (Saver), and 12,500 (Flex)
  • Hawaii to Mainland US roundtrip in Coach: 35,000 miles roundtrip (SuperSaver), 50,000 (Saver), and 60,000+ (Flex)

Value. As you might expect, grabbing a SuperSaver award seat means that you’ll have to book early as there are only a limited amount of such seats available per flight. They often also involve a layover on another island, which adds a few couple hours to your total travel time. Still, a quick search found some flights for 40,000 miles + $11.20 in fees that would have cost $541 with cash, for a value of 1.3 cents per mile. You just can’t be too picky with your flight times.

Bottom line. The offers a unique set of perks for regular customers of Hawaiian Airlines, including miles for purchases, free checked bags, and companion ticket discounts. Right now, there are limited-time offers on their sign-up bonuses. 75,000 Hawaiian miles is enough for two roundtrip SuperSaver coach tickets between the Hawaii and the mainland, or one first-class award ticket.

I will be adding this offer to my ongoing list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers. I don’t think the timing of this limited-offer to coincide with the first flights to Hawaii by Southwest Airlines is a coincidence. If you like flying to Hawaii, consider that if you can get enough points to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass with a little help from their credit cards, that means those Rapid Rewards award tickets + free companion tickets work on Hawaii flights as well!

Sprint Free Year of Unlimited Data Promo: Get Free Service Through April 30th, 2020

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Now free unlimited data all the way through April 30th, 2020. Sprint has an unadvertised “secret” promotion (no TV, radio, newspaper ads, not even mentioned on front page of website) that is only available online to new customers who use the right link. If you sign up at the special link HERE, bring over your own eligible smartphone, and port-in your phone number, Sprint will give you a free year of unlimited talk, text, and data. There is no requirement to continue service past that. I did have to pay approximately $3 to $4 a month in taxes and fees per line.

Need proof? Here’s a picture of our monthly bill. Two lines for six bucks a month!

Offer is valid for multiple lines (up to 5). If your household bill is currently $100 a month, this promotion is worth $1,200 over a year.

My experience.

  • Offer keeps getting extended. I signed up over a year ago, but they keep extending the offer each month. At this writing, you can get free service through April 30th, 2020. I believe that Sprint is trying to keep their subscribers numbers high right now while they complete the T-Mobile merger, so this won’t last forever.
  • Sprint will perform a hard credit check. They will check your credit, so be aware. It was worth it to me for the several hundred dollars in savings.
  • My total cost for two SIMs was $15.98 + sales tax ($2.99 each + $10 flat shipping). If you order by 2pm EST, they will send the SIM cards that same day by UPS Next Day Air.
  • Activation was quick and easy. The activation process was done 100% online, and it took under 20 minutes to swap SIM cards and port the existing numbers over. To complete activation after you get the SIM cards, you will need your SIM card #, phone IMEI/MEID #, and current carrier’s account number and PIN.
  • Some people have been successful switching from prepaid service, especially Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile Prepaid. However, they do state that they require port-in from a postpaid plan. Use the phone compatibility checker tool after you click “Get Started” here. Another tactic is to first move to T-Mobile’s cheapest prepaid $3/month plan ($10 minimum load) and then immediately port over to Sprint.
  • My total monthly bill always ranged from $6.xx to $7.xx including all taxes and fees for 2 lines. This matches with the online reports of monthly bills in the $3 to $4 range (per line) including everything.
  • No surprise fees or charges. We got what was promised for all 12 months with no funny business. I recommend their online Live Chat if you have any questions.
  • Sprint coverage is worse than my previous carrier (Verizon), but it’s acceptable. I primarily notice this in terms of slower data speeds. Sprint is definitely slower than Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile in my area. I get fewer bars of 4G LTE and occasionally I can only get 3G. I am not a heavy data user, so I feel the inconvenience is worth the $100 a month in savings. I haven’t had any problems with dropped calls or a complete lack of coverage. Check OpenSignal for a better coverage comparison in your specific zip code.

Important requirements and fine print:

  • You must bring over a phone that is already unlocked and compatible with Sprint (so that you just need to switch SIM cards). If you have AT&T or T-Mobile you may need to call them up and ask to unlock your phone. See list below, but be sure to use the phone compatibility checker tool after you click “Get Started” here.
  • You must own the phone(s) you’re bringing to Sprint. (Not on a lease plan.)
  • You must port-in a phone number.
  • You must still pay a small monthly fee: “standard $1.99 admin fee, $0.40 regulatory fee and other taxes and fees apply.”
  • The $30 activation fee is waived as part of this promotion. The fee will appear on your first bill and a credit will appear within 2 bills.
  • Requires a Sprint SIM card ($2.99 each + $10 shipping), paperless statements and Sprint AutoPay ($5/mo./line discount applied within two invoices). If AutoPay and eBill are removed, a $7.99/mo. charge will apply.
  • This deal is not available in any stores, you must sign up online through the special link above.
  • According to the terms, you must port-in from another postpaid carrier. Sprint requires a hard credit check on all new postpaid customers, including this offer.
  • If you keep the service past the first year, you will then start to pay $60/mo. for line 1, $40/mo. for line 2 & $30/mo./line for lines 3-5.
  • This plan also comes with Sprint Global Roaming, which includes “data up to 2G speeds and text messaging in any of our 165+ Global Roaming countries at no charge, calling for just $0.20 a minute.”

Details about the Sprint Unlimited Plan:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data subject to the following limits below. Data deprioritization applies during congestion after 23 GB.
  • Stream video at up to 480p (DVD quality), music at up to 1.5mbps, gaming at up to 8mbps.

Here are select eligible phones. (Not the entire list! Use the checker tool to be sure.)

  • Apple iPhone 5c (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone 5s (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone 6
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
  • Apple iPhone 6s
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
  • Apple iPhone 7 (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone 8 (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Verizon only)
  • Apple iPhone SE
  • Apple iPhone X (Verizon only)
  • BLU S1/VIVO S
  • Essential Phone
  • Google Nexus 5 (16 & 32 GB – black/white/red) (Verizon only)
  • Google Nexus 5X (all versions)
  • Google Nexus 6 (32 & 64 GB – black/white)
  • Google Nexus 6P (all versions)
  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel XL
  • Google Pixel 2
  • Google Pixel XL 2
  • HTC One A9 (Sprint Version only)
  • LG X Charge
  • moto e4
  • moto e4
  • moto g4
  • moto g4 play
  • moto g4 
  • moto g5 
  • moto g5s special edition
  • moto x pure edition
  • moto x4
  • moto z2 play
  • Orbic Wonder
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile)
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile)
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+ Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9 Special Edition

If you don’t have one of the phones above, you could probably buy a new Android model for under $300 or a used one for under $100. If you prefer Apple iPhones, on the cheap end you could get a used iPhone 6S 64GB from $230 or used iPhone 7 for $305 and then get a , which should last you a while. Alternatively, you could just take the hundreds of dollars in savings and buy a new phone with it.

Bottom line. Sprint is offering an unadvertised promotion of unlimited talk/text/data FREE for an entire year if you bring over your own phone and port in a phone number. My wife and I were able to save $1,000 over a year with this promotion. The coverage wasn’t as good as Verizon in our area, but the savings was worth it. All we had to pay was about $3 to $4 a month in taxes/fees per line. There were no surprise charges. You must sign up via this special link, as it is not advertised on TV or on Sprint’s home page.

Domino’s App: 10 Points Free Per Week = Eventual Free Pizza

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

I find it interesting how Domino’s Pizza rescued themselves from oblivion by (1) improving the taste of their pizzas so they don’t remind you of cardboard and (2) fully embracing mobile (lazy) ordering. Their smartphone app lets you apply coupons easily, order quickly, and tracks your order in real-time. There have so many business articles about this turnaround that they created a website to track them all at .

The Domino’s rewards program requires 60 points for a free Medium 2-topping pizza. Their new will give you 10 free points a week with no purchase required. You must simply take a picture of any pizza* using their app. This works for up to 6 weeks for 60 points total, enough for a free pizza. Points expire 6 months after earning.

Bottom line. Free pizza. If you already had some points in this program like me, this promo can get you put you over the top.

* Hint: If you simply have picture of pizza on your computer and take a picture of that, digital pizza works. Just run an image search for “pizza”.

Amazon Prime Reading: Free $3 Amazon Credit w/ First Book

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Amazon Prime reading has been around since 2016, offering “unlimited reading” from a rotating selection of books, magazines, and comics – all free for Amazon Prime subscribers. Right now Amazon is offering a when you borrow your first Prime Reading ebook. Easy few bucks if you’re a Prime member. Offer expires April 19, 2019.

The Prime Reading library consists of roughly 1,000 titles, which are basically a rotating sample of the bigger which costs $10 a month. But hey, free is free. It looks like they swap things out once a month. Here are some business and finance-related titles that caught my eye:

Besides a Kindle or Fire tablet, you can read using the Kindle app for iOS/Android, Kindle desktop app for PC/Mac, or simply use the Kindle Cloud Reader in a computer browser.

United Explorer Business Card Review – 50,000 Bonus Miles

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

The United Explorer Business Card is the co-branded business credit card between Chase and United Airlines. This card offers unique perks for regular United customers including free checked bags and expanded award seat availability for redeeming miles. Here are the highlights:

  • 50,000 bonus United miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket.
  • Two one-time United Club passes each year ($100+ value)
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to redeem for that saver award economy ticket.
  • Priority boarding for you and companions on the same reservation on United-operated flights.
  • 2X miles at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores.
  • 2X miles on United purchases and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Your miles don’t expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Keep in mind the following terms and conditions:

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.

However, you CAN get this card if you had the consumer version of the United Explorer in the past 24 months (or have one now).

Many people aren’t aware of the fact that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. The business type is called a sole proprietorship, and these days many people are full-time or part-time consultants, freelancers, eBay/Amazon/Etsy sellers, Uber/Lyft drivers, or other one-person business owners. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID.

Note that Chase has an unofficial rule that they will most likely deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years (aka the 5/24 rule). This rule is designed to discourage folks that apply for high numbers of sign-up bonuses. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers.

The good news is that small business cards from Chase hardly ever show up on personal credit reports, so getting this card in itself won’t affect your future 5/24 eligibility. This it makes a “free” application if you are already eligible.

This card is very focused on rewarding you for being a United customer. Before you board, you might use one of your free United Club lounge passes. You have the first checked bag for free on United flights, both for your and a companion traveling on the same reservation. The fee is usually $30 per person, each way, so that this how they get the value of $120 each roundtrip. You also get Priority Boarding, which helps you find space for your carry-on.

Expanded award availability. You earn United miles for all your purchases (double miles on restaurants and hotel stays), but then they also make it easier for you to redeem those miles on Saver level tickets with no blackout dates. Expanded award seat availability is another of the top perks from this card, and it is actually a significant difference. Saver Award ticket redemptions start at 12,500 miles one-way within the continental U.S. and Canada.

Another unique feature of this card is that it offers primary coverage on the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. On many other cards, this coverage is offered as secondary coverage, meaning it only kicks in after your personal auto insurance has been exhausted.

Bottom line. The United Explorer Business card offers valuable perks for folks that fly United even just once or twice a year. The card provides lounge passes, a free checked bag, priority boarding, and inflight discounts. There are bonus categories to earn more miles, and special expanded award seat inventory for credit card holders to make it easier to actually redeem those miles for flights.

I have added this card to the Top 10 Best Small Business Card Bonus Offers.

Marcus Bank $100 Bonus: Both New and Existing Customers

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

I’m never really sure what to call it, but is offering a $100 bonus if you deposit $10,000+ in new funds into their online savings account within 10 days of enrollment at this . You must enroll by 11:59pm EST on 3/18/19 and maintain the new $10,000+ deposit for 90 days. They will deposit $100 into your account within 14 days, after those 90 days (got it?). Both new and existing customers are eligible, which is nice.

Offer available to new and existing customers. Each customer is limited to one bonus offer, which can only be applied to a single account. For eligibility purposes, each joint owner will be treated as a separate customer. For example, if you apply the bonus offer to a joint account, the remaining joint owner(s) may apply this offer to another account they own if they have not done so already. Offer not available to customers who are currently enrolled in a different bonus offer on an existing savings account. […] The bonus will be treated as interest for tax reporting purposes.

Basically a 1% bonus on $10,000 if you keep it there for 90 days, which makes it roughly 4% APY annualized. The bonus is on top of the standard interest rate, currently 2.25% APY as of 3/10/19. This combination makes it a great 3-month rate at that balance size when compared to my last monthly update of best interest rates.

Top 10 Best Small Business Credit Card Bonus Offers – March 2019

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Do you have small business income or work as an independent contractor? Uber/Lyft, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Airbnb? You are eligible to open a small business credit card, which keeps your personal and business expenses separate. If you are not a corporation or LLC, you can apply as a sole proprietorship, with your name as the business name and your Social Security number as the Tax ID number. I did this for years successfully before incorporating my business.

Small business credit cards are offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to try out a new card. Below are the top 10 credit card offers that I would apply for (or have applied for already) as of March 2019. Recent changes:

  • Improved Alaska Air Business 40k + BOGO offer.
  • New 100k Marriott Bonvoy Business limited-time offer.
  • Updated CitiBusiness AA card offer.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers for personal cards. Notice that small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Note: Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

  • 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,000 towards travel!) after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card

  • $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
  • No annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase Ink Business Cash Card

  • $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • No annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

  • 100,000 bonus points after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Limited-time offer expires 3/18/19. See link for details.
  • Points can be used towards Marriott (and former Starwood) hotel stays, or converted to select airlines miles.
  • Annual fee is $125 (if applied for the card before 3/27/2019, the annual fee for the first year is waived, then $95). Free night award upon card anniversary (worth up to 35,000 Bonvoy points).

Capital One Spark Cash for Business Card

  • $500 cash bonus after $4,500 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Flat 2% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card

  • 50,000 bonus miles after $4,500 in purchases in the first 3 months. 50,000 miles is redeemable for $500 towards travel. See link for details.
  • Flat 2X miles per dollar on all purchases with no limit.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card

  • 60,000 Rapid Rewards points (redeemable for $900+ in Wanna Getaway airfare) after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • $99 annual fee.
  • Combine with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Consumer Card to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

  • $600 cash back. Earn a $200 statement credit after each $10,000 you spend in purchases, up to $30,000, within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 1.5% early pay discount on all purchases which stacks on top of the bonus above.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $250.

  • Up to 65,000 total American Airlines miles: 50,000 miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months 15,000 bonus miles after a total of $10,000 in purchases within the first 12 months. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic flights perk ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

United Explorer Business Card

  • 50,000 United miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip).
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to redeem for that saver award economy ticket.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

(Barclaycard)

  • 50,000 Hawaiian miles after $1,000 in purchases with the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • One-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and the Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $99 annual fee.

(Bank of America)

  • 40,000 Alaska miles + BOGO Companion Fare Voucher after $2,000 in purchase within 90 days. See link for details.
  • Companion fare voucher is “Buy one ticket, get one for just taxes and fees” ($0 fare taxes and fees from just $22).
  • Free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other passengers on the same reservation.
  • $50 annual fee for company, $25 per card.

Free Morningstar Premium Mutual Fund Reports via Public Library Card

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Updated 2019. Let’s say you are a DIY investor and doing some research on some mutual funds. You decide to learn more about the Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt Fund. You pull up the Morningstar quote pages (ticker and ) and find some useful numbers, an analyst report hidden to the public as a “premium” feature.

You see a 14-day free trial and after some more clicking around, you discover that a premium membership to Morningstar costs $199 a year or $24 a month.

mstar_premium2

Now, I’d like to read the rest of that analyst report, but I’m not sure if it is worth the fee. Well, you may already have access to those analyst reports through your payment of local and state taxes. Yup, the good ole’ public library!

Many public libraries have a subscription to what is called the Morningstar Investment Research Center database. Most offer instant, online access via your library card number and PIN. You should look under the “Databases” or “Resources” section. Some only have a limited amount of offsite licenses, so you’ll have to either ask for a password or you’ll have to read them in a branch. Here’s a screenshot of my free report accessed from the comfort of my home, with all the good stuff blurred out of course:

I was also able to access their analyst reports for stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs, as well as the premium version of tools like Portfolio X-Ray.

Now, if your local library system doesn’t provide this access, you can also look at state libraries, university libraries, or other libraries in the region for which you are eligible. Finally, there are some public libraries that offer library cards to non-residents for an annual fee. For example, the in North Carolina offers library cards by mail for $45 a year (Seniors 62+, $35 a year).

Non-residents of Mecklenburg County can obtain a Charlotte Mecklenburg Library card for an annual fee of $45.00. This amount is approximately equal to the annual property tax a Mecklenburg County resident pays to support the Library. A non-resident library card entitles you to the full services of the Library at all locations.

According to their website, they also offer access to the Morningstar database. $45 a year is still significantly less than $199 a year, and there are other library benefits like access to Libby/Overdrive eBooks and RB Digital magazines. However, I would call them to confirm before you plunk down $45 as the services they offer can change at any time.

That is just one example. Here are some more libraries with , although I haven’t checked again in 2019 as to whether they offer M* access.

  • ($25/year)
  • ($27/year)
  • ($50/year)

Bottom line. If you want to access reports and information from the Morningstar Premium section, check your local and state libraries to see if you can access it for free with your library card. Some public libraries also offer library cards to non-residents for an annual fee. However, if you are signing up for a specific service like Morningstar, I would call them up first and confirm that they are still offering it for non-resident cardholders before you pay any fees.

Best Interest Rates on Cash – March 2019

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash for March 2019, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to get an idea of how much extra interest you’d earn if you are moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 3/4/19.

High-yield savings accounts
While the huge megabanks like to get away with 0.01% APY, it’s easy to open a new “piggy-back” savings account and simply move some funds over from your existing checking account. The interest rates on savings accounts can drop at any time, so I prioritize banks with a history of competitive rates. Some banks will bait you and then lower the rates in the hopes that you are too lazy to leave.

  • offers 2.50% APY on balances up to $50,000. CIT Bank Savings Builder is now up to 2.45% APY with a $100 monthly deposit (with no balance limit). There are several other established high-yield savings accounts at 2% APY and up.
  • Got a lot of friends or followers? You can 4.30% APY on up to $50,000 for 30 days via the Empower app, another 30 days for each friend that you refer to the. First month is free + 11 referrals = 4.30% APY for a year.

Short-term guaranteed rates (1 year and under)
A common question is what to do with a big pile of cash that you’re waiting to deploy shortly (just sold your house, just sold your business, legal settlement, inheritance). My usual advice is to keep things simple and take your time. If not a savings account, then put it in a flexible short-term CD under the FDIC limits until you have a plan.

  • has a 13-month No Penalty CD at 2.60% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. 13-month No Penalty CD at 2.35% APY with a $500 minimum deposit, 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.30% APY with a $25k+ minimum, and CIT Bank 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.05% APY with a $1,000 minimum. No Penalty CDs offer a fixed interest rate that can never go down, but you can still take out your money (once) without any fees if you want to use it elsewhere. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • has a 13-month CD at 3.20% APY ($500 minimum) with an early withdrawal penalty of 3 months of interest.

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs
If you like to keep cash in a brokerage account, beware that many brokers pay out very little interest on their default cash sweep funds (and keep the money for themselves). The following money market and ultra-short bond funds are not FDIC-insured, but may be a good option if you have idle cash and cheap/free commissions.

  • currently pays an 2.46% SEC yield. The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund, which has an SEC yield of 2.34%. You can manually move the money over to Prime if you meet the $3,000 minimum investment.
  • currently pays 2.71% SEC Yield ($3,000 min) and 2.81% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year, so there is more interest rate risk.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF () has a 2.87% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF () has a 2.93% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

Treasury Bills and Ultra-short Treasury ETFs
Another option is to buy individual Treasury bills which come in a variety of maturities from 4-weeks to 52-weeks. You can also invest in ETFs that hold a rotating basket of short-term Treasury Bills for you, while charging a small management fee for doing so. T-bill interest is exempt from state and local income taxes.

  • You can build your own T-Bill ladder at TreasuryDirect.gov or via a brokerage account with a bond desk like Vanguard and Fidelity. Here are the current . As of 3/4/19, a 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 2.44% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 2.54% annualized interest.
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF () has a 2.30% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF () has a 2.21% SEC yield. GBIL appears to have a slightly longer average maturity than BIL.

US Savings Bonds
offer rates that are linked to inflation and backed by the US government. You must hold them for at least a year. There are annual purchase limits. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest.

  • “I Bonds” bought between November 2018 and April 2019 will earn a 2.82% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More info here.
  • In mid-April 2019, the CPI will be announced and you will have a short period where you will have a very close estimate of the rate for the next 12 months. I will have another post up at that time.

Prepaid Cards with Attached Savings Accounts
A small subset of prepaid debit cards have an “attached” FDIC-insured savings account with exceptionally high interest rates. The negatives are that balances are capped, and there are many fees that you must be careful to avoid (lest they eat up your interest). Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. There is a long list of previous offers that have already disappeared with little notice. I don’t personally recommend or use any of these anymore.

  • The only notable card left in this category is at 6% APY on up to $2,500, but there are many hoops to jump through. Requirements include $1,500+ in “signature” purchases and a minimum balance of $25.00 at the end of the month.

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops, and if you make a mistake you won’t earn any interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. Rates can also drop to near-zero quickly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling. I don’t use any of these anymore, either.

  • The best one right now is Orion FCU Premium Checking at 4.00% APY on balances up to $30,000 if you meet make $500+ in direct deposits and 8 debit card “signature” purchases each month. The APY goes down to 0.05% APY and they charge you a $5 monthly fee if you miss out on the requirements. Find a local rewards checking account at .
  • If you’re looking for a high-interest checking account without debit card transaction requirements then the rate won’t be as high, but take a look at at 1.60% APY.

Certificates of deposit (greater than 1 year)
CDs offer higher rates, but come with an early withdrawal penalty. By finding a bank CD with a reasonable early withdrawal penalty, you can enjoy higher rates but maintain access in a true emergency. Alternatively, consider building a CD ladder of different maturity lengths (ex. 1/2/3/4/5-years) such that you have access to part of the ladder each year, but your blended interest rate is higher than a savings account. When one CD matures, use that money to buy another 5-year CD to keep the ladder going.

  • has a 19-month CD at 3.50% APY ($500 minimum) with an early withdrawal penalty of 6 months of interest.
  • has the following certificate rate: 2-year at 3.25% APY 3-year at 3.35% APY, 4-year at 3.25% APY, 5-year at 3.51% APY ($500 minimum deposit). MACU can be joined via a partner organization for a one-time $5 fee, usually right on the online application. Note: The 2-year and 3-year certificates have an early withdrawal penalty of 180 days of interest, and the 4-year and 5-year certificates have an early withdrawal penalty of a full year (!) of interest.
  • You can buy certificates of deposit via the bond desks of and . These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance and easy laddering, but they don’t come with predictable fixed early withdrawal penalties. As of this writing, Vanguard is showing a 2-year non-callable CD at 2.60% APY and a 5-year non-callable CD at 3.00% APY. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs listed by Fidelity.

Longer-term Instruments
I’d use these with caution due to increased interest rate risk, but I still track them to see the rest of the current yield curve.

  • Willing to lock up your money for 10+ years? You can buy long-term certificates of deposit via the bond desks of and . These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance, but they don’t come with predictable fixed early withdrawal penalties. As of this writing, Vanguard is showing a 10-year non-callable CD at 3.25% APY. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs from Fidelity. Matching the overall yield curve, current CD rates do not rise much higher as you extend beyond a 5-year maturity.
  • How about two decades? are not indexed to inflation, but they have a guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate which is quite low (currently a sad 0.10% rate). I view this as a huge early withdrawal penalty. You could also view it as long-term bond and thus a hedge against deflation, but only if you can hold on for 20 years. As of 3/4/19, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 2.93%.

All rates were checked as of 3/4/19.



Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards: 60,000 Mile + $50 Statement Credit Limited-Time Offer

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

American Express and Delta Airlines have various credit cards that offer special perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and the ability to earn Delta Skymiles with card purchases. However, as you can only get the welcome bonuses once on each of these cards per person per lifetime (each card is considered different), I recommend waiting until a limited-time offer to maximize your benefit. Here are the latest such offers:

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 4/3/19.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

This limited-time 60,000 mile offer + $50 statement credit is one of the highest welcome offers for this Gold card that I can remember. The standard offer has been about 35,000 miles in the past. Delta now offers a minimum value out of your Skymiles via the “Pay with Miles” option. 60,000 Skymiles can reduce the price of your Delta ticket by $600 at the very least. (5,000 mile = $50 minimum redemption.) You can still book the traditional award tickets and possibly get better value.

Add in the waived annual fee for the first year, and I will be adding this limited-time offer to the Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $195 Annual Fee.

In my opinion, a good reason to pick the Platinum over the others is if you can use that companion certificate. I used to have the Platinum version when I flew on Delta a lot, and it was easy to get $300+ value out of it every year when my wife and I flew together. The MQM boosts also help if you are trying to reach a certain status level.

Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® access. Enter Delta Sky Club® at no cost and bring up to two guests for an exclusive rate of $29 per person per visit.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $450 Annual Fee.

In my opinion, the main reason to pick the Reserve over the others is if you fly Delta a lot and get enough value out of lounge access via the Delta Sky Club membership. I am disappointed that the perk doesn’t include family members or companions on the same itinerary, however. The First Class companion certificate is also pretty cool, but I am personally unwilling to pay cash for a First Class seat, even if the second one is free ( taxes and fees). You may feel differently.

Every card above also offers 2X miles on direct Delta purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases. You get 2 miles for every dollar spent directly with Delta. This includes flights booked on Delta.com, seat upgrades, Sky Club membership or day passes, Delta Vacations packages, or in-flight food/entertainment purchases like food, beverages, and entertainment.

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