Advertiser Disclosure

3 Credit Cards With Big-Spender Bonuses

October 7, 2013
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

This page is out of date

With Marriott combining the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty programs, this page is out of date. See our details pages for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express for updated offers on these cards.

Using a credit card regularly is one of the best ways to build a positive credit history. It shows that you’re responsible with the money you borrow, you’re savvy enough to shop with a method other than cash, and you were creditworthy enough to obtain the card in the first place. So if you’re doing your day-to-day shopping with a credit card, nice work!

Some credit card users, though, spend well beyond what most of us would consider to be a “normal” discretionary amount. In fact, some purveyors of plastic spend more on their cards annually than most of us make in a year. If this sounds like you, it’s important that you’ve carefully evaluated all of your credit card options to be sure that you’re making the most of the rewards programs out there. After all, if you’re spending all that money you should be seeing some serious perks for your purchases.

Take a look at this rundown of the three best big-spender credit cards on the market today; if you’re not already using any of these cards, you’ll probably be persuaded to switch when you hear how exceptional they truly are:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express card is one of the most rewarding cards on the market today. Its rewards currency is Starwood hotels’ Starpoints, one of the best programs in the industry. Here are some of the specifics:

  • It comes with a welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
  • You earn up to 5 Starpoints per $1 spent at participating SPG hotels, 2 Starpoints per dollar at Marriott Rewards properties and 1 Starpoint per dollar everywhere else.
  • Starpoints can be redeemed at more than 1,300 hotels worldwide or transferred to a wide range of airlines, and since earning them is so easy with this card, that adds up to a lot of free travel.
  • If you spend $30,000 in a calendar year with the card, you get automatic Gold elite status, which comes with perks like higher rewards earning (including on your SPG card), late checkout, and a welcome gift like free Internet or bonus Starpoints.
  • Annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95.

All in all, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express handsomely rewards its members, so if you spend a lot of money on your credit card each year, this one will pay for itself in spades.

>>More: How to Maximize Credit Card Rewards When Shopping

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express has a generous rewards points program for its loyal customers:

  • The welcome bonus is generous: Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
  • If you spend $30,000 within one calendar year you earn an additional 15,000 points
  • Earning rewards points is easy because of all the bonus categories; for example, you’ll earn three times the rewards points if you book a flight through an airline, and two times the rewards points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets
  • Flexible rewards program: bonus points can be redeemed for entertainment, restaurant gift cards, and credit at select retail stores.
  • $100 annual airline incidentals credit
  • Annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $195.

The only major downside to this card is that it has a pretty high annual fee after the first year. But if you spend a lot of money in the bonus categories described above, the fee will pay for itself.

>>More: American Express Premier Rewards Gold vs. AmEx Platinum