One of the benefits of intense bank competition is that they are willing to pay increasingly higher costs to acquire each new customer. In the case of credit cards, those acquisition costs include the sign-up bonuses that they will pay you when you get approved for the card and meet a minimal level of spending. Here is what I call the 60/70/80 plan, based on the number of points that you will get per card*:
60,000 Delta Miles for The Gold Card
Delta has doubled its base offer on its Gold Skymiles Credit Card from 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Make $1,000 in purchases in the first three months and they’ll give you the 60,000 miles bonus. That number of miles will get you a nice domestic trip with miles left over to put toward a second. It could also get you most of the way to a 70,000 mile one-way business class ticket to Europe.
In terms of benefits, the card comes with a bunch on Delta, including a free checked bag for each of the first four people on your itinerary, priority boarding and bonus miles on Delta purchases.
The card is free for the first year, with a $95 annual fee after that. You also get a $50 statement credit if you make a purchase on Delta in the first three months. The offer is good until April 19.
70,000 United Miles (Maybe) For Their MileagePlus Card
As I previously discussed, there is an available offer for the United MileagePlus card. The email that I got said 70,000 miles in the title and then promptly brought me to a link for one that offered 50,000 miles. If you get the email or the 50,000 miles offer through the link above, I’d recommend calling Chase directly and requesting the 70,000 miles version.
80,000 Marriott Rewards Points
You’ll obviously need a place to stay when you burn your miles, so Marriott is currently running a promo to get 80,000 points (after you spend $3,000 in the first three months), which should cover a few nights or more. Technically, it’s an easy 87,500 points, since you’ll also get 7,500 for adding an authorized spender in the first three months. You’ll also get 15 nights toward elite status each year, which automatically earns you Silver Elite status.
The card has an $85 annual fee, but you also get one free night every year at a Category 1-5 hotel on your anniversary.**
No matter where you go or how you get there, enjoy your trip and take advantage of free travel when you can.
*Beginner’s Hint: Credit cards may be a fast way to earn miles, but they come with a few catches. The biggest “gotcha” is the interest rate that they charge. If you carry a balance each month and pay interest, you should not, under almost any circumstances, have a rewards card. One of the ways that they pay for those rewards is by charging consumers outrageous interest rates. Let somebody else pay for your bonuses.
**Beginner’s Hint: Lodging companies divide their hotels into categories. It is usually based on the cost of a room at that hotel (i.e., rooms at a high-category hotel are generally more expensive than those at a low-category property) and the higher the category, the more points it will cost you. In the case of Marriott, there are nine categories.
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