Add a limited time bonus to your holiday shopping list

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Holiday sign-up bonuses

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This holiday season, card issuers have a few gifts to give
out – in the form of limited time increased introductory offers. Credit cards
including the
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
, United℠
Explorer Card
and all three Southwest
Rapid Rewards® cards
are offering even more points or miles.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a new travel card, you
couldn’t ask for a better time of year to sign up. With higher spending months
ahead, it is that much easier to earn a little extra toward next year’s
travels.

Why sign up for a new travel card now?

Over the next few weeks, as you pick the perfect gifts and
book travel to visit friends and family, it is likely that you are going to
spend a bit more money than you would in a typical month. To give yourself a
gift as well, use a new rewards card to earn points or miles on these
purchases.

Each of the limited time sign-up bonuses include a minimum
spend requirement in the first few months of account opening. Since you’ll be
spending more in the coming months anyway, it will be much easier to hit
thresholds a bit higher than you normally would.

Plus, these increased bonus offers are only available for a
limited time. If you sign up before January, you could earn anywhere from
60,000 to 70,000 extra points or miles.

Limited time sign-up bonuses

If you are willing to do a little hunting, there are plenty
of limited time sign-up offers available right now. For a quick example, here
are a few travel cards currently offering some of the most valuable bonuses
you’ll find. 









  Sign-up bonus Expiration date
Barclaycard
Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
70,000
miles if you spend $5,000 in first 90 days
Not specified
United℠ Explorer Card

  • 40,000 miles if you spend $2,000 in first 3
    months
  • 25,000 additional miles if you spend $10,000 in
    first 6 months

Jan.
8, 2018
Southwest
Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3
    months
  • 20,000 additional points if you spend $12,000 in
    first year

Jan.
9, 2018
Southwest
Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • 20,000 additional points if you spend $12,000 in first year

Jan.
9, 2018
Southwest
Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • 40,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • 20,000 additional points if you spend $12,000 in first year

Jan.
9, 2018

All of these bonuses can get you at least a couple round
trip flights, making it a great time of year to take advantage of one of them.
But keep in mind that you’ll still be holding on to the card after the holidays
are over. Consider all of the things you want out of a travel card before
signing up for the highest offer you find.  

Which card is right for you?

While it can be tempting to sign up for the Barclaycard
Arrival Plus because it has the largest sign-up bonus, it is important to
consider the overall rewards value and how the rewards program fits into your
spending habits.









  Rewards rate Annual fee
Barclaycard
Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2 miles per dollar on general purchases
  • 5% bonus miles when you redeem for travel
    statement credits

$89
(waived first year)
United℠ Explorer Card

  • 2 miles per dollar on restaurants and hotel
    stays
  • 2 miles per dollar on United purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases

$95
(waived first year)
Southwest
Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and
    Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

$69 
Southwest
Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and
    Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

$99 
Southwest
Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases and
    Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 20% back on in-flight purchases

$149 

We spend our money a bit differently during the holidays,
perhaps budgeting a bit more for travel or gifts than the rest of the year. All
of these cards offer bonus categories for travel purchases and can help you get
more value out of your holiday shopping.

But looking forward to the new year, consider how the
rewards program fits into your everyday purchases. Most of these options give
the best rewards for a specific airline. So while the Southwest Rapid Rewards®
Plus credit card might have a smaller sign-up bonus than the United Explorer,
it still might earn more value for frequent Southwest flyers. Cardholders who
are not loyal to any one airline might get the most value out of the
Barclaycard.

Consider long-term ownership

Signing up for a new travel card during gift-shopping season
is a great way to ensure you’ll meet the spend threshold and earn a bigger
intro bonus. After the holidays are over though, you want to make sure you
continue to get great value out of your new card. If you don’t do much
traveling outside of holiday season, you might not be able to justify a higher
annual fee.

Spend thresholds for increased sign-up bonuses

All of these offers require you to spend quite a bit of
money in order to get the full sign-up bonus. While holiday shopping might make
it much easier to spend $1,000 in three months – in the case of the Rapid
Rewards cards – it still might not be feasible to spend the $12,000 in the
first year required to get the full intro offer value.

The United Explorer card requires even more to get the full
bonus – $10,000 in six months. If you don’t typically put this much money on a
credit card, even with added gift shopping, it is probably not a good idea to
rack up a large balance just for the rewards.

Give yourself a gift this holiday season

As you start your hunt for the perfect gifts for your loved
ones, consider how you can reward yourself over the holidays. By taking
advantage of higher spending to earn higher sign-up bonuses, you can give yourself
the gift of credit card rewards.




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