AP: Time your credit card application this bonus-friendly season

November 7, 2019
MELISSA LAMBARENA of NerdWallet

In late 2017, San Francisco couple Riley Adams and his wife stumbled upon the Halley’s comet of airline credit card welcome offers. For a limited time, the card was advertising a companion pass on top of a large sign-up bonus.

“We knew we had a lot of spending in one specific area coming up, and we wanted to try to shop around to get the best value for those needs,” says Adams, a certified public accountant and owner of the blog Young and the Invested. “If you plan for it, you can really offset those costs (with a sign-up bonus).”

If you’re considering a new credit card, the bonus-friendly season from October through December is an ideal time. Your expenses on Black Friday, holiday travel and meals, end-of-the-year charitable donations and more may easily meet a large spending requirement for a juicy sign-up bonus.

Andy Hill, host of the podcast “Marriage, Kids and Money,” plans to earn a sign-up bonus this holiday season with the savings he’s earmarked for Christmas gifts.

“We save about $1,200 for Christmas gift shopping,” Hill says. “If we’re going to spend that $1,200, we might as well hit a bonus on a new credit card for us to get some cash back.”

OTHER FACTORS TO KEEP IN MIND

As you size up a rewards credit card and its sign-up bonus, ask yourself these questions:

— Can you meet the card’s credit requirements? You’ll generally need good credit (a FICO score of 690 or higher) to qualify for a rewards card with a big bonus.

— Are you willing to pay an annual fee? The top cards — those with the highest bonuses, richest rewards and best perks — charge one. If you don’t think you’ll earn enough in rewards and benefits to outweigh that fee, consider a no-annual-fee rewards card. Many of them also offer bonuses.

— Do the card’s rewards categories match your expenses? A sign-up bonus can offer a chunk of upfront value, but the card won’t be useful long term if its ongoing rewards and perks don’t fit your habits.

— Are you eligible for the bonus? Check the card’s terms. For example, you may not be able to earn a bonus if you’ve already received one from the same issuer recently.

— Can you meet the spending requirement for the bonus with your current budget? If you know you can’t spend $4,000 in three months without going into debt, look for a bonus with a lower spending threshold.

— Will you pay your bill in full every month to avoid interest? Rewards cards tend to have high ongoing APRs, meaning you don’t want to carry a balance month to month. If you’re already struggling with debt, a rewards credit card may not be ideal for you.

Source:  AP

Summary
Article Name
Time your credit card application this bonus-friendly season
Description
In late 2017, San Francisco couple Riley Adams and his wife stumbled upon the Halley’s comet of airline credit card welcome offers.