Best Credit Cards Bonuses: August 2017 (Cathay Pacific, JetBlue Plus, Citi American Airlines Business)

Cards of the month is a series that highlights cards that have an increased signup bonus. Just because the card is mentioned in this post doesn't mean it's a good fit. There may be a better card out there for you.

Cathay Pacific Credit Card

The typical signup bonus is 25,000 points, and there is currently an increase offer of 50,000 points. The Cathay Pacific card is issued by Synchrony Bank, which is typically the bank that offers cards that store cards like the Banana Republic.

The basics:

  • Signup bonus: Earn 50k points after $2,500 in spend within the first three months
  • Annual fee: $95, not waived the first year. 
  • Earns 2x points whenever you use it at Cathay Pacific and in-flight
  • Earn 1.5x on dining (U.S. and abroad)
  • Earn 1.5x miles on purchases outside of the U.S.
  • Earn 1x on other transactions in the U.S.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Automatic first year green tier membership in the Marco Polo Club (Cathay Pacific's loyalty program)

The points are worth 1.3 cents per point, depending on how you use them. If you use them for economy flights, the points are worth 1 CPP. When you use points towards business and first class, they'll be worth a lot more. This means the signup offer is worth ~$650 in travel. 

To see what your specific situation and if it's going to work out, I recommend looking at their rewards chart to find out how many points you'll need. If you do want to fly first-class and you need more points, you can transfer points to Cathay from American Express, SPG, and Citi. 

Citi currently has a promotion where you can transfer points at a 1:1.25 rate. 1,000 Citi points would equate to 1,250 Cathay points.

Cathay award zone chart

Cathay award zone chart

Looking at Google Flights, I'm surprised to find cheap flights in the Fall from SFO to Hong Kong. Below are the price ranges from Economy to First Class. 

economy class

economy class

economy plus

economy plus

business class

business class

first class

first class

cost of rt flight from sf to hk

cost of rt flight from sf to hk

Barclays JetBlue Plus 

The Barclays JetBlue Plus currently has an increased offer of 40,000 points; the normal offer is 30,000 points. Get the 40,000 signup offer after $1,000 in spending. The $99 annual fee is not waived the first year.

If you're not getting positive expected value after Year 1, you can always downgrade the card.

The basics:

  • Normal offer: 30,000 points
  • Current offer: 40,000 points
  • Minimum spend: $1,000 in the first three months
  • Annual fee: $99, not waived the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 6x points on JetBlue purchases
  • Earn 2x on restaurants and grocery stores
  • Earn 1x on everything else

The benefit is the JetBlue Plus is a keeper card if you fly JetBlue often. JetBlue points are tied to the price, as well as the type of seat option. Meaning if you fly Mint, the points will be worth less (1 CPP), and if you fly economy, it'll be worth more (1.9 CPP). 

View the current public card offers by clicking the travel banner above this post.

JetBlue roundtrip prices from jefk ot sfo

JetBlue roundtrip prices from jefk ot sfo

Citi Business American Airlines Platinum Select

This one is a bit weird because you have to message them to match an offer.

The base offer is normally 60,000 points after $3,000 in spend, but it's possible to get matched to 75,000 points by calling in. Your mileage may vary; points match is NOT guaranteed.

The basics:

  • Normal offer: 30,000 points
  • Current offer: 60,000 points
  • Matched offer: 75,000 points
  • Minimum spend: $3,000 in the first three months
  • Annual fee: $95, waived the first year
  • No foreign transaction fees

There is a $95 annual fee, and it's waived in the first year. Before applying, I recommend watching the Citi Rules video to see if you qualify

An important note is this is a business card, meaning if you don't own a side business or a full-time business, you will not be approved. One of the benefits of business cards is they don't count towards 5/24. 

Recently, Citi has been removing a lot of reward availability for flights, so the CPP valuation is lower. This means that it'll be harder to redeem points for travel, but it's still possible. Citi points are valued at 1.2 CPP. 

Return on Spend Analysis

Access the spreadsheet here: http://bit.ly/2vWECmt

Instructions: 

  • The Return on Spend Analysis can be found on the third tab on the bottom of the sheet.
  • To edit the sheet, make your own copy or download a copy. File->Download
  • Edit the YELLOW cells

Net return on spend analysis:

I recommend the...

  • JetBlue Plus if you frequently fly domestic
  • Cathay Pacific if you frequently fly to Asia 
  • Citi Business AA if you're not sure