Several recent articles claiming that credit card sign-on bonuses are harder to come by lately are nothing but a lot of hype over nothing, according to research done here at Credit-Land.com.
In spite of so-called “experts” who say that “the bonanza days of 2010 and 2011 seem to be past us” – that`s according to Rick Ingersoll of the blog “Frugal Travel Guy” – we found some offers that seem pretty sweet to us:
- Enough miles for TWO free international flights or FOUR free domestic flights, just for making a purchase – any purchase (from the British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card)
- Two free nights at a luxurious Hyatt property, valued at over $1,000, after making any purchase (from the Hyatt Credit Card offered by Chase)
- An entire week`s vacation at a Marriott property, totally free, just for making one purchase (from the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card)
Sounds pretty good, doesn`t it? All of these offers are current, and easy to get for anyone with good credit. Credit cards that offer rewards and sign-on bonuses have always been reserved for customers with good or excellent credit; that`s nothing new. So what are these articles saying, and on what basis are they making these claims of scarce bonuses?
Tony Mecia of CreditCards.com cites the fact that British Airways used to offer double their current reward of 50,000 miles (or “Avios” as they call them) after making a purchase, and now they make customers spend $20,000 in a year to get that 100,000 mile bonus. Sure, four international flights is better than two, but two free overseas flights are nothing to sneeze at, Tony!
Likewise, he complains that the Citi ThankYou Premier card made it “harder to earn” ThankYou points – ignoring that fact that they now offer more bonus points, if customers spend just $2,000 a month on their Citi cards. Instead of getting 50,000 ThankYou points, customers can now earn 60,000 points. Yes, you have to charge more money to the card to get the bonus, but how hard is that, really?
Here`s a look at the average monthly spending of American families, based on Department of Labor data and including only those categories in which spending could presumably be put on a credit card:
- Groceries – $289
- Utilities – $290
- Entertainment – $225
- Restaurants – $222
- Gas – $199
- Apparel and Services – $157
- Miscellaneous – $67
- Housekeeping supplies – $53
- Personal care – $49
Okay, so that makes only $1,551 – but keep in mind, that`s an average across all incomes and family sizes. Personally, I spend at least $600 on groceries alone each month to fee my family of four, and my last pair of shoes cost more than $157. Let`s just say, it`s easy for me to charge $2,000 a month on my credit card, and I`m betting it is for most people who are in the market for a rewards credit card.
So, if I spend that $2,000 a month on my Citi ThankYou Premier Card, what will I get? 60,000 ThankYou points will get me $600 worth of gift cards from Zappos, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Sephora.
According to Ron Shevlin, an analyst with the Aite Group, a research and advisory firm, “The economics of the business is allowing [credit card companies] to not have to sweeten the deals to the extent they have in the past two to three years. They’re feeling less of a need to throw in everything but the kitchen sink.”
I say, who needs the kitchen sink when you can have free flights, free hotel stays, and free gift cards? Sign-on bonuses aren`t dead, no matter what you`ve read. Apply today and find out for yourself!