If you don’t apply for travel credit cards at the right time, you could be leaving thousands of bonus miles and points on the table. You need to wait until the offers are at their highest before applying — for example, waiting to apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards until they hit a 50,000-point bonus offer when you sign up and meet the minimum spend.
A new survey from NerdWallet says consumers are actually losing an average of just more than 15,000 miles or points, equating to $177 worth of rewards, by not applying at the right time. They offer these tips for applying for travel credit cards:
- Cards typically offer temporary increased sign up bonuses once or twice per year.
- Waiting for these increased bonuses is worth it, as the bonus may grow by between 5000 and 50,000 points.
- Increased bonuses for airline credit cards tend to go up most often in June, August and October through December (with the highest month being November).
- Hotel credit cards tend to peak July through September.
- Chase’s limited time offers (which include the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards) tended to come in August and November; however, to fully benefit from the Southwest Companion Pass (download my free ebook on how earn your Pass), you really should apply as early in the year as possible, so be on the lookout for targeted offers.
- American Express has historically offered its best bonuses in August and September.
- Citi’s best offers typically come in October and November.
The report also suggests consumers sign up for a card at least five months before travel to ensure they can cash in on the miles and points.
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