The holidays are on the horizon, and you know what that means: Now’s the perfect time to start racking up points for spring and summer travel. Wait, what?
That’s right — at TPG, we believe it’s never too early to start earning. If you can earn travel rewards now, you can make your 2024 travel bookings early, taking advantage of more hotel and airline availability and cheaper rates all around. That means you’ll have more money to spend next year because you’ve already made all your big travel plans months in advance.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to earning rewards early — meaning, right now — to enjoy a low-stress and savings-filled 2024.
Cash in on timely welcome offers
First, applying for the best welcome offers on new cards right now will give you plenty of time to meet their minimum spending requirements.
Most cards have a three- to six-month window on their welcome offers and can require thousands of dollars in spending. Don’t put yourself behind the eight ball by getting a card in the fall — take advantage now.
For example, if you apply for a card now and get it by November 1, you’ll have until the end of January to take advantage of a typical three-month welcome offer. Then you can receive your points by the end of February, with time to book summer travel while it’s still cheap and plentiful.
Best welcome offers right now
If you’re wondering which card to get, here are just a few of our favorite welcome offers available right now:
The very popular Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is offering 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s worth $1,230, according to TPG valuations. You can read more about the card in our full review.
JOHN GRIBBEN/THE POINTS GUY
There’s also the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, with a healthy sign-up bonus of 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening. That’s not the highest sign-up bonus we’ve ever seen from Capital One, but it’s a decent offer for the reasonable spending requirement. Read more in the card review.
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Finally, we’ll mention The Platinum Card® from American Express, with 80,000 points after you spend $8,000 in the first six months of card membership. You may also be able to get a higher bonus through the CardMatch tool (terms apply). The Amex Platinum is a heavy hitter in the world of points and miles, with valuable earnings rates and many travel benefits, including the best lounge access of any card. Read more in the card review.
For more valuable sign-up bonuses, check out our full list of the best welcome offers on credit cards.
Use card perks for holiday travel
It’s not just about welcome offers, though. You can use your new card and its perks to enjoy all your holiday travel in the meantime.
The aforementioned Amex Platinum offers access to airport lounges worldwide, reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and Clear Plus, an up to $200 annual hotel credit and up to $200 in annual statement credits for airline incidentals. Enrollment is required.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers up to $300 in travel credits, reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and a Priority Pass membership.
There’s also the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which provides lounge benefits extended to authorized users and two guests, access to top-tier Hertz President’s Circle status and a $300 annual credit for travel booked through the Capital One Travel portal.
Upon enrollment, accessible through the Capital One website or mobile app, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through December 31, 2024. Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g. at Hertz.com) will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier. Additional terms apply.
Any or all of these cards should ensure that your next trip is cushier, even before you factor in the welcome offers involved.
Book summer plans early
As mentioned, you’ll want to get a new card sooner rather than later to ensure you can book your spring or summer trip with as little money and as much flexibility as possible. Booking earlier means more flights and hotel rooms available — at cheaper rates.
Booking summer travel in February or March is much cheaper than waiting until April (or even May). Every day counts, so you’ll want to stay ahead of the curve.
Learn how to book award redemptions and avoid common redemption mistakes for flights and hotels.
The early bird gets the worm. But seriously — now’s the time to start saving on your next big summer trip.
If you can get approved for a new card now, you can capitalize on a lucrative welcome offer and book your next trip sooner rather than later. You’ll hit two birds with one stone: enjoy your new card’s perks during the holidays and save a ton of money in 2024.
Then you can start thinking about how to do it all again for the holidays at the end of next year.