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The weather is starting to heat up—and so are credit card rewards. Several card issuers have amped up intro bonuses on rewards credit cards in time for the summer travel season.
Here's a roundup of seen cards offering extra hefty intro incentives. Note that these offers are subject to change at any time.
Current Intro Bonus: 100,000 points after you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening the account
Annual Fee: $95
Chase is offering one of the best intro bonuses around with its huge 100,000 point bonus that is only around for a limited time. (The bank has not specified how long the 100,000 bonus will last.)
But this new card also has several other attractive features, especially if you are a frequent guest at Marriott International Hotels. Cardholders earn 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott hotels, and a respectable 2 points per $1 spent on everything else. Cardholders also get automatic Silver Elite status in Marriott's loyalty program.
The card can also help your Marriott stays go more smoothly: Starting in August, cardholders will receive free, premium in-room internet access. Plus, you'll earn one free night at eligible hotels each year. And starting in 2019, cardholders will earn 15 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of the program's elite status.
Hilton Honors Aspire Credit Card from American Express
Current Intro Bonus: 100,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening the account
Annual Fee: $450
This is an impressive offering, even despite the card's significant annual fee. Cardholders earn 14 Hilton Honors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on Hilton reservations, 7 points for every $1 spent on flights booked directly with the airlines or through American Express Travel, 7 points for every $1 spent on car rentals booked at select car rental companies, 7 points for every $1 spent on restaurants, and 3 points for every $1 spent on everything else.
The card's other perks are eye-opening, as well: Cardholders get automatic Hilton Honors Diamond Status, a $250 airline fee credit each year, one free weekend night each year, plus the chance to earn a second one after spending $60,000 on the card, and a $250 Hilton resort statement credit.
Current Intro Bonus: 80,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the account
Annual Fee: $89
If you frequently stay at hotels in the IHG Group (like Intercontinental, Kimpton, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and more), you might consider adding this new card to your wallet—especially because you get automatic Platinum Elite status. The 80,000 point bonus is impressive, especially considering you only have to spend $2,000 to get it.
And if you spend $20,000 in a calendar year, you can rack up an additional 10,000 bonus points. Add an additional cardholder to the account and get an extra 5,000 points. Cardholders earn 10 points per $1 spent on 5,200 IHG hotels worldwide; 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants; and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
You'll also have access to one free night at participating hotels (worth 40,000 points or less) every year, and if you redeem points for a three-night stay, the fourth night is free.
You'll also get a 20% discount on points purchases if you use the card, a $100 Global Entry application credit, and no foreign transaction fees. (See: Fly Through Airport Security With These Credit Cards)
Current Intro Bonus: 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
This card is only available to small business owners (though side gigs like freelancing may also count). Cardholders earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping, Internet, cable, phone and advertising purchases each year.
You also earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. Your points never expire, and if you redeem them for travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site, they are worth 25% more.
Finding the Most Rewarding Card, For You
It may be tempting to open an account for the intro bonus, especially when there are so many enticing offer right now—but experts caution against going into credit card debt in order to snag a intro bonus.
"Cards with lucrative sign-up bonuses can be very attractive and tempting to customers. But you need to make sure you do not overspend to qualify for the bonus," says Bill Hardekopf of LowCards.com. "The money you put on the card should be money you have budgeted to spend—you are simply paying for those purchases with this particular card in order to qualify for the one-time bonus."
If you're in the market for a new rewards card, shop around for one that will suit your spending style. For example, if you spend a lot of money on travel and dining, look for a card that offers extra points on those purchases.
Or, if you frequently fly a specific airline, co-branded airline cards can make your experience much smoother with perks like free checked bags and priority boarding. Experian CreditMatch is a good place to start your search and if you sign up for a free account, you'll get matched with cards that best fit your spending habits and credit profile.
You should also try to maximize your opportunity for bonus rewards—extra miles or points you can earn by spending a certain amount of money within the first few months of opening an account.
This is one of the best ways to boost your cashback rewards or miles. Typically, you have three months to charge a few thousand dollars in purchases to the card in order to earn the bonus, which can be as high as 100,000 points.
The information related to the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus, Hilton Honors Aspire, IHG® Rewards Club Premier, and Chase Ink Business PreferredSM credit cards has been collected by Experian and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.