While the global community faces a huge crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people have asked what about a credit card strategy during this time.
Let me share my thoughts for those who may have been on the fence; contemplating applying for a new card.
Perhaps I can make an argument for why it’s a smart move to apply for that credit card now.
Unsure Times Ahead – So Apply for That Credit Card Now
If you have been looking to apply for a new card, my recommendation is do it now. My guess is that the banks are feeling pretty uneasy about the economic climate in the short term. That could result in them pulling some great current offers.
Some banks may stop processing new applications either out of concern for the financials or simply that they have been forced to furlough or lay off staff. Either way, that means a reduced ability or willingness to accept new applications.
It will probably take the rest of the year for the banks and the economy to get back on solid footing. That probably means less attractive offers coming in the near term. So if there’s an offer out there right now you like, I would say ‘go for it’ and apply for that credit card now.
Furthermore, banks may be a little more leery in lending money (via credit lines) as unemployment numbers are sure to swell in the coming weeks.
All of this news makes banks uneasy and as a result, less likely to offer a lot of incentives going forward.
What Credit Cards Do I Recommend Applying for Right Now?
Let me drop the choices into three categories.
No Annual Fee Credit Card to Apply for Now
First, we have the No Annual Fee cards which really have no downside to them for an applicant (as long as you can pay the charges you ring up each month.)
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 – 25.24%.
Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified digital wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card
Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
Here’s my review of 7 Reasons To Acquire and Keep No Annual Fee Credit Cards
That probably makes even better sense given today’s news.
Best Current Bonus Offer Credit Cards to Apply for Now
Secondly, I would say look at the best current offers which might disappear soon.
In this category, I have a few recommendations:
Current offer: The Bonvoy Boundless Card is offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points ($535+ value) after spending $3,000 within three months.
Annual fee: $95 (great low annual fee)
Points to Know: The card offers 6X Bonvoy points for spending at Marriott-family hotels globally. That is a value for many travelers who plan to visit these properties in the future.
Chase has this (unwritten) policy many refer to as the 5/24 rule. This means that if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months you typically won’t be approved for another Chase card. If you do plan to apply for any of these Chase cards listed, make sure you’re under that limit.
RELATED POST: The Chase 5/24 Rule & How To Easily Check Your Standing
Current offer: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points (value of about $950) after spending $4,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95 (great low annual fee)
Points to Know: This card’s bonus was recently increased (from 50,000 to 60,000) Ultimate Rewards points, which is terrific news. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to Hyatt, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Hyatt and many other programs. The card also provides double points on everyday spending like dining and travel.
Annual Fee: $89 (low annual fee with great perks)
Points to Know: This card has its best ever welcome bonus at the moment, and so many perks that make this card worth holding onto long-term. The card offers cardholders an anniversary free night certificate, fourth night free on award redemptions, IHG Platinum status for as long as you have the card, and so much more.
Annual Fee: $250
Annual Fee: $95
Points to Know: Earn 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 total within 6 months of account opening. Free nights start at 5,000 points Receive 1 free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort after your Cardmember anniversary
Best Business Credit Cards to Apply for Now
Current offer: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth about $1,700+) after spending $15,000 in first three months from account opening
Annual fee: $95 (a low fee compared to many)
Points to Know: The Ink cards have extremely generous category bonuses that help sole proprietorships and small businesses maximize points on everyday credit card spend. This card offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent annually in combined purchases on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each anniversary year.
Chase Ultimate Rewards offer a lot of value to most cardholders; whether transferring points to partners (e.g. Hyatt) or using the travel portal for booking travel. The top two in the Chase portfolio might just be the Chase Sapphire Preferred for personal cards and the Ink Business Preferred for business cards
Annual Fee: $250
Points to Know: Again, one of my favorite cards (the Business version) which offers so many benefits for the Delta flyers. Recently, increased welcome bonus SkyMiles has made the card even more attractive.
Annual fee: $99
Current offer: 100,000 United MileagePlus miles (valued at $1,400) after spending $10,000 within three months
Points to Know: This is actually a new card for United Airlines, and it even has an incredible limited-time welcome bonus. This card has some unique long term perks that will justify the annual fee for many, including 5,000 bonus miles on your account anniversary when you also have a United personal card, two United Club passes every year, a first checked bag free, priority boarding on United flights, and more.
If you are considering getting a credit card, in general I’d recommend doing so sooner rather than later. Right now we have some truly great welcome bonuses, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get worse in the next quarter due to the uncertainty we’re seeing right now.
The global community is struggling to make sense of the current situation and companies are cutting costs wherever they can, and I expect that will extend to acquiring new customers.
Many are probably rethinking their airline, hotel, and credit card strategies going forward. Of course we do not know how long the current pandemic will last, or its long-term effect on travel.
Hopefully, my insights into what are probably the best credit card offers right now will provide some guidance with your credit card strategy going forward. As I said, you should definitely apply sooner than later as I expect the economics to affect the banks offering these credit cards. So, the window of opportunity is probably rapidly closing for some time.
That’s Why It’s a Smart Move to Apply For That Credit Card Now!
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