Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Any time I have to make a major purchase, my first thought is usually: “How can I get some credit card rewards out of this?”

After all, credit card points have helped me travel the world and stay in luxury hotels for next to nothing. If I have to make a dent in my bank account, I might as well get a free flight out of it.

I could simply pay with my favorite travel credit card and earn points that way. However, if I really want to boost my travel rewards, going after a lucrative credit card sign-up bonus is the best way. The best bonuses typically require at least a few thousand dollars in spending, so I only go after them when I have a big purchase coming up.

Knowing I had some major expenses I’d finally be able to cover thanks to my stimulus check, I decided to find a new credit card that would meet my ongoing needs while offering me the chance to earn a hefty welcome bonus. The card I chose got me a $750 bonus, which I then turned into $1,125 in travel spending. Here’s how.

Using my stimulus to earn a $750 bonus

Regular APR

13.24%–19.24% variable APR

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Featured Reward

$750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, with no bonus categories to keep track of
    • Intro APR offer
    • No annual fee
    Cons
    • You can earn more cash back on some purchases with a card that has bonus categories

    • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
    • No Annual Fee
    • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Earn rewards faster with employee cards at no additional cost. Set individual spending limits for greater control
    • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
    • With Zero Liability you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
    • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases


    Read Our Review
    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is my favorite travel rewards program. Not only does it offer high-value, flexible points, but Chase credit cards also come with excellent earning rates and a slew of useful benefits.

    I already have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards. There’s only one card left that I’ve never had that’s offering a big, limited-time welcome bonus: the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card.

    This card gets you an unlimited 1.5% back on all purchases, making it a great everyday card for small-business owners and freelancers. Right now, you can earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

    The spending requirement was a stretch for me. However, my stimulus check helped me get there. I used the card to pay some larger expenses I’d been putting off and then paid off the balance with my stimulus check. If it weren’t for those expenses, I probably would’ve pre-paid my bills for a couple of months instead. That way, I’d be using my stimulus check to earn a welcome bonus and get ahead financially.

    How I turned a $750 bonus into $1,125 in travel spending

    Regular APR

    16.99%-23.99% Variable

    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
    • Strong travel insurance
    • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify
    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more


    Read Our Review
    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    With only one week to spare, I hit the minimum spending requirement and earned the $750 welcome bonus. The bonus is actually awarded in the form of 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which are worth 1 cent each toward cash back when you only have the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card.

    However, because I have an annual-fee Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card (the Chase Sapphire Reserve®), I can transfer the points from the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card to my Chase Sapphire Reserve®

    This is more valuable to me, as someone who likes to travel. As a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder, my points are worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards — so 75,000 points are actually worth $1,125. If I choose to transfer them to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners, I could get even more value.

    I even earned another 11,250 points for the $7,500 I spent to get the bonus, since I earn 1.5 points per dollar with the card. That leaves me with a total of 86,250 Ultimate Rewards points. This is worth $1,293.75 in travel spending — more than enough for a couple of free flights.

    This pairing of the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of my new favorite credit card power duos. If you don’t want a business credit card, pairing the Chase Freedom Unlimited® with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a similar effect. The popular Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is another lucrative combo that gets you an effective cash back rate of 7.5% on rotating bonus categories.

    By pairing up complementary rewards credit cards and going after the best sign-up bonuses, I’ve been able to accumulate hundreds of thousands of credit card points. I make sure to pay off my balance in full every month so I don’t end up paying interest. If a credit card has an annual fee, I do the math to ensure the rewards and benefits I’ll earn outweigh it.

    Finally, I make sure to set up automatic bill payments so I never miss a credit card payment. This has helped me travel more and spend less, all while avoiding the potential pitfalls of owning multiple credit cards.

    Elizabeth Aldrich is a finance writer specializing in credit cards and loans, retirement planning, investing, economics, and small business. She’s an avid credit card points collector and perpetual traveler.



    Source link