One of the best ways for a Penny Hoarder to make some serious extra cash is to take advantage of credit card sign up bonuses. Of course, to get the most benefit, you should have excellent credit, and you should routinely pay off your credit card in full each month so you’re not paying interest. (After all, every time you pay interest, you’re losing some of the positive effects of the bonuses.)
Just recently I received over $1,425 in credit card bonuses by selectively choosing new cards to apply for and use. All I had to do was put my regular spending on the credit card over the course of a few months. Isn’t that freaking awesome! How else can you so easily earn $1,425?!
For those of you wondering, here’s a great article on how to do this without hurting your credit score: How Opening and Closing Credit Cards Affects Your Credit Score
Here are the credit cards I used to rake in the free cash:
Earn 40,000 Miles, Worth $400 in Travel Reimbursements
If you love to travel the world, the Barclaycard Arrival card may be the perfect card for you. Try it out and take advantage of their current promotion: earn 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of opening the account. How easy is that?
This program is great because you make all your travel arrangements independently through whatever channel you would like and use your Barclaycard to pay. Then, within 90 days, redeem your miles for statement credit to pay off your travel expenses. There is no limit on the number of miles you can earn. You’ll also receive a generous 2 miles for every dollar spent.
Like the other cards, this one waives the annual fee for the first year; you’ll pay $89 for every year after that.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® Application Form
Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards Points, Worth $250
American Express Gold is offering 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2000 on your card within the first 3 months of opening your account. American Express offers a 3-2-1 rewards tier systrm. Earn 3 points per dollar spent for travel arrangements, 2 points per dollar spent at U.S. gas station and grocery stores, and 1 point per dollar spent for everything else.
You can redeem points for merchandise, gift cards or travel. In addition, you can transfer your points to another rewards program. The rate for redemption for each item varies, but in general, you can get a $100 gift card for 10,000 Membership Rewards points.
The annual fee is waived the first year, but after that, you’re annual fee will be $175.
Earn 20,000 ThankYou Points, Worth $200 in Gift Cards
Another good card for those who like dining out and entertainment, the Citi ThankYou Preferred card offers a sweet, easily accessible bonus deal. Spend $1,500 on your card within the first 3 months of opening a new account, and you’ll receive 20,000 ThankYou Points. You can redeem for gift cards, cash, travel or experiences, and merchandise. There are hundreds of items to choose from!
You can earn 2 points for every dollar spent on dining out and entertainment, and 1 point for every dollar spent on everything else.
In addition to the flexibility in redemption choices, the other awesome feature of this card is that it has no annual fee!
Earn 17,500 FlexPoints, Worth $175 in Cash or Gift Cards
The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Card offers one of the easiest bonuses. You’ll earn 17,500 FlexPoints when you spend $2,500 on your card within 5 months of opening your account. Unlike some other cards, this equates to spending just $500 a month on your card, which most of us probably already do.
A $400 flight costs 20,000 FlexPoints, so this bonus leaves you a bit shy, but getting another 2500 FlexPoints is easy enough considering you get 1 FlexPoint for every dollar you spend and 2 FlexPoints in the category you spend the most on such as gas or groceries. However, the 17,500 bonus is enough to get $175 in gift cards or statement credit.
This card has no annual fee for the first year and has a relatively modest $49 annual fee each year after. You can use 3,500 FlexPoints to pay your annual fee, so it will cost you nothing out of pocket.
Earn 40,000 Bonus Points, Worth $400 in cash or $500 in Travel Rewards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a bit stricter rules to earn 40,000 bonus points, but it’s still easy to do. Just spend $3,000 on your card within the first 3 months of having the card.
If you love to dine out and travel, this might be the perfect card for you because you’ll get 2 points for every dollar you spend on travel and dining out. (You earn 1 point for all other purchases.) In 2013, they are also offering a bonus where you get 3 points for every dollar spent dining out on the first Friday of the month.
There is no annual fee for this card the first year; after that, the annual fee is $95 a year.
Good luck Penny Hoarders!
***Some of the links in this article may be affiliates of The Penny Hoarder.