Why Now Could Be A Good Time To Get A Credit Card

a group of credit cards

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Update: The offers mentioned in this post have now expired

I’m considerably more conservative than a lot of miles and points enthusiasts when it comes to how many credit cards I open and how often I churn my portfolio….but I still take a great deal of interest when there’s a nice sign-up bonus on offer.

Just recently I signed up for the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card to get the 100,000 point sign-up bonus that the card is currently offering (OFFER EXPIRED) and also because I know I can really maximise the bonus categories that come as part of the benefits of the card.

a hand holding a credit card

To get the 100,000 point bonus I have to spend $4,000 on the card within the first three months of having it and it’s because of this that I chose to apply for the card now.

One of the risks of opening new credit card accounts for the big sign-up bonuses is that people can be tempted to spend more than they otherwise would have spent had they not had a spending target to hit. 

It’s great that bloggers point out the spending bonuses that are available, but the average Joe who has no interest in manufacturing spend isn’t necessarily in a position to spend $4,000 in a three month period just to get a sign-up bonus.

It’s not necessarily the case that Joe can’t afford $4,000, it’s the fact that most people don’t have normal monthly expenses (that can be charged to a credit card) that would allow them to hit that target with any great ease.

This is where people can get themselves into trouble because, in order to hit the sign-up bonus target, they persuade themselves that they “need” things that they almost certainly don’t and they go out and buy items they probably shouldn’t be buying (like a new TV, more clothes etc…).

Not only is this a terrible idea but it also defeats the whole object of earning the points in the first place – points are meant to save you money not make things financially harder.

At this time of year, however, things can be a lot easier because this is the time of year where most of us spend more per month than we do at any other time. And if you’re going to be spending money anyway you may as well hit a credit card spending target while you’re at it.


Take me as an example:

On the whole I’m not a big fan of manufacturing spend because, for my circumstances, it’s not particularly practical – it takes too long and involves a lot more effort than I’d like it to. This means that I have to hit my sign-up targets using just my normal spend.

If I had signed up for the Sapphire Reserve card after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Christmas/New Year holidays I would have had a lot more trouble hitting the required $4,000 spend than I will right now.

I deliberately time my credit card applications around times when I know I’m going to be booking a lot of travel or around times of the year when I know my spending levels are going to be high anyway. This way I’m not tempted to charge things to my card that I probably shouldn’t be buying.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been thinking of applying for one of the credit cards offering good sign-up bonuses then now could be the time to do it.

Also, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the most publicised sign-up bonuses are the best ones for you – the most publicised Amex Platinum Bonus is 100,000 points for $15,000 spend (on the Business Card) but you should check to see if you’ve been targeted for the much more reasonable 75,000 points for $5,000 spend.

Most importantly, if you’re thinking of applying for a new credit card, be aware that these are not cards on which you should ever carry a balance. The interest rates are way too high and will negate any benefits you’ll get from the points or miles you earn.