Credit card promotions - Compare & ApplyBy Joe Taylor Jr.
Using credit cards wisely means getting strategic about when you apply for new accounts and how you choose your banking relationships. Banks face similar challenges. To keep investors and regulators happy, they've got to balance their portfolios across multiple levels of risk. If you fall into a consumer category that a lender wants to see more of, prepare to field some compelling credit card deals.
Types of credit card deals
Banks use a variety of special offers to lure new cardholders into their portfolios. Some of the most common credit card deals include:
Cash signup bonuses. Researchers at Mintel Comperemedia found that consumers respond most positively to cold, hard cash.
Low interest balance transfer offers. Knock down your debt faster by transferring your balance, but keeping your monthly payment the same.
Free airfare. More credit cards with miles promotions have surfaced over the past few years, as discount airlines muscle their way onto legacy carriers' turf.
Low fixed rates. Federal regulations made fixed APR credit cards rare, but a few banks roll them out for VIP customers.
Banking laws require lenders to register a copy of the terms and conditions statement for each credit card deal they offer. You'd think this rule would have a chilling effect on the market. On the contrary, the modular nature of most credit card deals makes it easy for banks to customize deals based on market conditions and on your personal interests.
Things to know about responding to credit card deals
Credit score algorithms reward you for the length of your oldest account, but punish you for opening too many accounts. Even applying for more than a few new credit card accounts over a short time can drop your score by 30 points or more. Follow these tips to get the most from credit card deals:
- Plan on paying your balance every month. Even if you plan to use a zero percent balance transfer offer, you can maximize your earnings by avoiding finance charges and service fees.
- Spread out your credit utilization. A tempting balance transfer offer can send your credit score spiraling if you leave too much of your debt on a single card. If you must carry balances, aim for about 30 percent of your credit limit on each account.
Even if you don't intend to apply for a mortgage or a car loan in the next few months, a drop in your credit score can still impact your daily budget. Many insurance companies set premiums using your credit score to help determine your risk factors. Likewise, a growing number of employers use credit checks to rank candidates during the hiring process. A flurry of account applications can make you look desperate for cash, so choose your credit card deal wisely.
What to watch out for with credit card deals
Of course, even the best credit card reward programs come with strings attached. Check a lender's terms and conditions to avoid these potential pitfalls:
Minimum spend requirements. Many credit card deals force you to use your new account at specified intervals, or to hit a spending plateau before you can cash in your signup bonus.
Rewards caps. Some credit card deals share brand names with more flexible reward programs, but a big signup bonus could mean giving up some of your lifetime earning potential.
Annual fees. Many credit cards with miles promotions waive their annual fee in the first year, but can charge $95 or more on your anniversary date. Be sure your savings don't wane in the second year of your new account relationship.
Just like the weather in Seattle, if you don't like the credit card offers you're seeing, wait a little while and check back. Even better, just use the comparison data on this page to learn about which of the best credit card reward programs might fit your current needs.
- Created for those with Excellent Credit and approval is based on your credit rating and application review.
- Low 7.25% variable standard purchase APR and platinum benefits
- No balance transfer fee for balances transferred in response to this online offer
- No Annual Fee
- The new Discover it card is out to change the way people think about credit cards.
- Fair...No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee & no pay-by-phone fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And we won't increase your APR for paying late.*
- Generous...5% Cashback Bonus on up to $1,500 in purchases at Home Improvement Stores now through June with free and easy sign-up. And 1% cash back on all other purchases.*
- Plus a Cashback ConciergeSM who guides a free, personalized online tour to help you get the most rewards for how you use your card.
- Flexible...Choose your own due date and pay up to midnight ET online or by phone.
- Human...talk to a real person any time with 100% U.S.-based service.
- 0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 18 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%.
- 0% Intro APR* on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. *Click apply for Terms & Conditions.
- Bonus Miles: Earn 30,000 bonus miles toward Award Travel after you spend $500 on the Card within the first three months of Cardmembership.
- Earn As You Spend: Get 2X miles on Delta purchases and 1X miles for all other eligible dollars spent.
- Check your first bag free on every Delta flight - that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
- Premium Travel Perks: Settle in sooner with Priority Boarding, and enjoy the skies with 20% in-flight savings to use toward meals, beverages, and movies awarded as a statement credit.
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
- Terms and Restrictions Apply.
when you spend $500 on the Card in the first three months from account opening
- Access to Exclusive Benefits: Baggage Insurance Plan* when you travel, and shop with confidence with Extended Warranty* and Return Protection
- Use points for gift cards for dining, entertainment, and to shop over 300 of some of your favorite merchants
- Get discounts and low rates at hotels and resorts, plus a $75 hotel credit when you book through Gold Hotel Collection
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $125
- Terms and Restrictions Apply
- Starpoints® bonus: earn up to 25,000 bonus points: 10,000 after your first purchase and another 15,000 after you spend $5,000 within the first 6 months of Cardmembership
- That's enough for a weekend getaway to a Category 4 Hotel like the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, or six free nights at a Category 2 Hotel
- Earn up to 5 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG hotels and resorts -- that's 2 Starpoints for using the Card in addition to the Starpoints you earn as an SPG member. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
- Free Hotel Nights: redeem Starpoints at over 1,100 hotels in nearly 100 countries worldwide -- with no blackout dates
- Free Flights: redeem Starpoints on over 350 airlines with SPG Flights -- with no blackout dates
- Get 5,000 bonus Starpoints after you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program with more than 30 airlines
- No limits on the number of Starpoints you can earn
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65
- Terms and Restrictions apply.
- Welcome Bonus: earn 7,500 points after you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of Cardmembership - redeemable for a $100 statement credit.
- Flexible Ways to Earn: earn 1 point for virtually every dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
- Unlimited Travel Options: Travel with any airline, hotel, cruise, car rental and travel package - with no blackout dates.
- Flexible Bill Payments: pay your bill all at once or over time.
- No annual membership fee and 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, after that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 17.24%- 22.24%.
- Terms and Restrictions Apply.
when you spend $1,000 within 3 months - redeemable for a $100 statement credit
- Earn 150 Reward Dollars after you make $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of Cardmembership.
- Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
- Simple and Straightforward: With the Blue Cash Preferred Card, you can start earning cash back. No rotating reward categories. No enrollment required.
- Terms and Restrictions Apply.