Credit Card Sign-Up and Welcome Bonus Tracker: December 2018 Edition
Which cards have hot bonuses you should apply for in December 2018?
We’ve analyzed our historical sign-up and welcome bonus data on more than 80 personal and business rewards credit cards to help you time your applications to maximize your bonuses. Read more about our methodology.
This month is a good one for those seeking looking for travel rewards cards. However, there are a few cash-back cards in the mix offering elevated bonuses as well.
For our editors' choice bonuses of the month, check out this list from our resident expert, Know Stewart.
Cards with hot bonuses
The following cards are offering (possibly limited-time) bonuses that are above their usual base offers. We don’t know when these limited-time offers will end, so be sure to click the links below to see the most up-to-date offer (offers current as of Nov. 30, 2018).
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®: Limited Time Offer: Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. Previously, the bonus was 60,000 miles.
- Chase British Airways Visa Signature: Earn up to 100,000 bonus points with this multi-step offer. Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 on purchases within your first year of account opening, plus a further 25,000 Bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening.
- Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. This is the highest we’ve ever seen on the Savor card.
- Chase United℠ Explorer Card: Limited time offer! Earn up to 65,000 Bonus Miles. Earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. This is up from the usual offer of 50,000
- Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. This is an uptick from the 100,000-point welcome bonus the card has been offering the past several months.
- Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business: Earn up to 200,000 miles. Earn a bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account. Plus, earn 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 within the first 6 months. Limited time offer. This is the largest bonus we've seen on this card in years.
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months of Card Membership. This is an uptick from the 100,000-point welcome offer the card has been offering the past several months.
So how can you tell if that card you have your eye on has a "good" sign-up bonus? We calculated the average bonus for cash back, points, airline and hotel cards, so that you can see how the card you're considering measures up.
These averages are based on total number of sign-up bonus points that can be earned for a period after being approved.
Average sign-up bonus (personal): $176
Average sign-up bonus (business): $316
Average sign-up bonus (personal): 41,800
Average sign-up bonus (business): 66,600
Average sign-up bonus (personal): 43,000
Average sign-up bonus (business): 47,000
Average sign-up bonus (personal): 66,000
Average sign-up bonus (business): 91,600
Your decision to apply, however, should not be based on these averages and highest offers alone. Be sure to weigh other factors, including spending requirements, the time you have to reach the spending requirement, the annual fee and how you intend to redeem points. For example, a card that earns 50,000 points and requires you to spend only $1,000 in three months may be a better fit for you than a card that could earn you 100,000 points but that requires you to spend $10,000 in four months.
Also pay close attention to point value. Some point currencies are worth more than others, especially in the hotel field. If a card is offering twice as many points as its competitors, don’t get too excited if those points are worth half has much as other cards’ reward points.
We have been tracking the sign-up bonuses of 83 business and personal cards since January 2016. Issuers tracked include American Express, Capital One, Citi, Chase, Discover, HSBC, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.
All sign-up bonus data used in this report is based on publicly available sign-up bonuses. Personalized, targeted and mailed sign-up bonuses (which vary by individual, based on credit history) are not used.
Editorial Note: The information related to British Airways Visa Signature® Card and United MileagePlus® Explorer Card has been collected by Credit Cards House and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.