Top 10 Credit Cards for March 2014

Posted on March 11, 2014 by in Credit Card Deals

In no particular order are my choices for the top 10 credit card sign up bonuses for March 2014.

1. Citi American Airlines Executive: While a $250 first year fee ($450 – $200 statement credit) is nothing to sneeze at, the $10,000 spend in 3 months should be fairly easy to do if you follow some of the tips I’ve outlined here. 110,000 AA miles is a king’s ransom and you can go anywhere in the world in economy (although why would you want to?) and are most of the way there in business and/or first class.

Fee: $450 a year although you get a $200 statement credit your first year

Apply here

2. US Bank Lifemiles: Recently, US Bank increased the signup bonus on this card from 20,000 miles to 40,000 Lifemiles after $3,000 spend within 120 days. Avianca is not very well known program, but their award chart is actually quite good and as long as you can avoid the horrendous call center at all costs, 40,000 Lifemiles is a great stash… especially if you’re in the know with super discounted awards using these miles. One caveat: you can’t mix and match cabins on awards which is very annoying.

Fee: Free first year then $75 per year

This offer has expired. However, you can earn 20,000 miles by applying here

3. Chase Ink Bold/Ink Plus: Every travel blogger’s favorite business card, I find that even with the Hyatt and United devaluations, the 5x points on office related supplies (including cell phone and cable bills) and the 2x on travel makes this card worth it. Doubly good if you’re hitting the manufactured spending hard and getting 5x points buying and reselling things from Staples and Office Depot. Plus, the 50,000 point bonus (after $5,000 spend in three months) is a great way to pad your Ultimate Rewards point stash.

Fee: Free first year then $95 per year

Apply here for the Chase Ink Bold

Apply here for the Chase Ink Plus

4. Barclay’s Arrival World: Unlike most of the cards in this list, the Arrival World Mastercard is a fixed point redemption program. Still, 40,000 bonus points ($440 in value when redeemed against travel spend) from a $3,000 spend is a good way to subsidize cheap flights, hotels or even cruises and the 2 points per $1 spent makes this a solid choice for an everyday spender card.

Fee: Free first year then $89 per year

Apply here!

Fee: Free first year then $95 per year

5. Citi Hilton Honors Reserve: Much like the Chase Hyatt card, the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve gets you two free nights at just about any Hilton branded hotel in the world. However, it’s a bit more restrictive in that they’re only for weekend nights, but that shouldn’t be too much of a struggle. The $2,500 spend requirement is very doable and now that the Hilton award chart is basically untenable when it comes to redemptions, this is probably the best way to stay at one of those exotic Conrad or Waldorf Astorias around the world.

Fee: $95 per year: first year not waived but think of it like paying $95 for two nights at a five star hotel

Apply here


6. Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Personal: Personally, I have very little interest in this card as I try to fly domestically on legacy carriers to earn points for premium cabin awards on international partners. However, I understand that a lot of people love Southwest, and it’s rumored that the signup bonus of 50,000 miles after $3,000 spend is quickly coming to an end. Of course, the best way to take advantage of these points would be to simultaneously sign up for a Southwest Business card as well and go for the Companion Pass.

Fee: $69 first year fee not waived

Apply here

7. American Express Starwood Personal: SPG points are widely acknowledged as the most valuable mile/point currency in the industry. This is because they not only allow you to book hotel rooms with Starwood, but transfer to dozens of airline partners, and then at a 25% premium if you execute the transfer in 20,000 point denominations. The signup bonus is comparatively low at 25,000 points after $5,000 in spend, but these points are just as valuable as 100,000 Hilton points.

Fee: Free first year then $65 per year

Apply here

8. American Express Starwood Business: SPG points are so good, I had to list the business version as well. I’d encourage you to double up and apply for both the personal and business card at the same time. Some additional benefits to holding these cards: you’re automatically upgraded to Starwood Gold if you spend more than $30,000 on the card per year and each card also gives you 2 stay credits or 5 night credits towards elite status.

Fee: Free first year then $65 per year

Apply here

9. American Express Platinum – 40,000 Membership Rewards Sign Up Bonus: With a $450 annual fee, this card is certainly not for everyone. Having said that, I’ve written here about some of the benefits and ways to get outsized value out of this card. Personally, I’ve signed up for it twice and using my tips (and potentially waiting for a 75,000-100,000 point signup bonus promotion) this could be totally worth the $450.

Fee: $450 per year, first year not waived – Tips on how to allay the annual fee:

Apply here

10. Barclay’s US Airways Premier World: As I mentioned in this series, US Airways and American are going to be merging their operations at the end of this month. This is a great way to stockpile additional AA miles, especially like me if you’ve already signed up for all of the Citi credit cards that offer bonuses on American miles. Also, these cards from Barclay will eventually be phased out so it’s not a bad idea to catch some miles from an expiring business relationship.

Fee: $89 first year fee not waived

Apply here!

About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]

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