Bonus Credit Card Deals to Build Wealth

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UPDATE JUNE 2019: Bonus Credit Card Deal - AMEX is now giving you $300 (instead of the $250 mentioned before) in sign-up bonus cash using our AMEX card referral link. Add $50 to your take on this one! This credit card is a no-brainer for those with good credit and understand the process concerning the math (below). In January, we also got the Chase Sapphire Travel Card ($750 travel credit already, May 2019).

Every year, we "make money" by signing up for a bonus credit card deal or two. The most recent deal we signed up for was with AMEX. We chose this AMEX card after reviewing the best bonus credit card deal offers. On average, I'd say we have made over $1,000 per year for the last decade by spending 1-2 hours per year seeking out the best bonus credit card deal that works for us.

We have easily made $10k over the past 10 years; maybe spent 1-2 hours/year finding the best bonus credit card deal available, signing up, moving money, etc. That's a $10k return for about 1-2  hours of work per year, or $500 to $1,000 per hour in return. It can be a great return for your time as well; educate yourself and use credit wisely to build wealth.

The strategy we use also includes signing up (regularly) for new Online Savings Accounts with higher interest rates when compared to most local banks. We look for new accounts that offer sign-up bonuses (account opening bonus). Barclay's online savings is currently paying 1.85% interest, and Discover online bank is paying 1.9% interest (Oct. 2018) [UPDATE: over 2.2% as of May 2019]. Both banks paid us a sign-up bonus when we opened the accounts. Our local bank and our credit union are paying less than 0.02% interest. Guess where we don't keep our emergency fund money?

Best AMEX Bonus Credit Card Deal

bonus credit card dealFYI: if you use our AMEX referral link here, you'll get an Extra $50 Bonus (NOW $300! was $250 instead of $200 you get from Nerd Wallet or Mint, not sure why AMEX gives you a bigger bonus using our referral link, but it does).

Read the cash back info, fees and disclosures at the credit card site and determine if it is the right offer for you.

What we'll get:

  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%);
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations;
  • 3% Cash Back at select U.S. department stores; and
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

    (Terms and limitations apply. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.)

Note that this AMEX card does have an annual fee, but you'll get that back in the initial bonus cash after using the card. In addition, zero percent interest for a year (that's important also). Therefore, we'll max out the card and invest the money. In one year, we'll pay the credit card off in full. During this year, we'll invest the money in a interest bearing account (or short-term CD). Our online savings account currently pays 1.9 percent interest; and the bank paid us a sign-up bonus for opening the account! Let's say you get a $10k credit card limit, max it out, then put the money in a short-term CD at 2.5% or an online savings account at 2%. You'll end up with an extra $200 or $250 in addition to the credit card bonus and cash back. If your credit limit on the card is higher, say $20k, you'll have an extra $400 or $500 in the bank at the end of the year plus the bonuses, cash back, etc. See the example below for our expected net return on this one deal.

Example Net Return | AMEX Credit Card

bonus credit card deal

  • $300 (was $250, sign up bonus at AMEX using this link)
  • $360 (6% on $6,000 at grocery stores; TIP - you can buy gift cards for other stores at grocery stores but I''m not sure if that will work for the 6% although some folks claim it worked for them)
    • Eligible purchases are purchases for goods and services minus returns and other credits. Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift card, person-to-person payments, or purchases of other cash equivalents.
  • $ 36 (3% at gas stations assuming you spend $1,200/year at gas stations; gas, car wash, lunch, etc.)
  • $300 (max out credit limit and invest the money - online savings, CD - until the due date 1-year later, assumes 3% return on $10k)
  • -$95 (annual fee)
  • $851 (total return growth in your net worth in one year for 1-2 hours of work)
  • $861 - Just added $10 (AMEX is offering a $10 credit until 10/31/2018 if you use this card to pay your cable bill at the biller's website; just made $10 by doing so, it works)

It is an attractive credit card offer for us. Make sure you get more bonus cash ($300) using our referral link; the bonus to you from Nerd Wallet and Mint is only $200; again, not sure why they pay you less than our link. We get a referral bonus in addition.

Please note that we also regularly open online savings accounts that offer sign-up bonuses and higher than average savings account interest rates. We move emergency fund money from account to account and increase our return on those funds by collecting sign-up bonuses. Banks we used for this purpose in the past include: Barclay's Online Savings and Discover Online Savings when they offered sign-up bonuses (both currently pay approx. 1.9 APR interest). I'll post the details shortly.

And some folks say they can't find ways to increase their income; think of it as a side hustle. It isn't all that hard or time consuming. When is the last time you made almost $1,000 in one or two hours? You must have good to excellent credit to play the game. If you don't, cut wasteful spending and focus on improving your credit ASAP!

And, track your financial progress. I use Personal Capital to monitor my net worth, cash flow and profits from recurring revenue streams.

Building Wealth

Using a Compound Interest Calculator - Savings Account Interest Calculator ( tool), you can see how you can build wealth using bonus credit card deals. Again, our average income is about $1,000/year using the credit card and online savings account strategy. Visit the calculator website to create your return estimate.



  1. [I rec’d a question about how to get the cash for investment on another post; my response is below for those asking about it.]

    With zero percent interest for a year, you basically make “minimum payments” instead of paying your statement balance in full (zero interest on the outstanding balance, no charges). You take the money you would have paid on the outstanding balance and invest that money. We put everything possible on credit cards for the rewards, etc. It adds up fast to a significant balance, which we always pay in full UNLESS it is accumulating at zero interest.

    Step 1: Sign-up for the credit card (use our referral link and get the $250 bonus [Now $300 06/2019] once you use the card for a month or so)

    Step 2: Use the credit card to pay as many of your bills as possible; accumulate the cash-back rewards (6% groceries, 3% gas stations, etc.).

    Step 3: Open an online savings account that pays a sign-up bonus. Several banks have offers right now; Google it or contact me and I’ll send you the info.

    Step 4: Pay the credit card company the minimum required. Say, $50 minimum payment on a balance of $1,000 for example. Put $950 into the online savings account immediately, instead of paying it to the credit card company. Start collecting interest on that $950.

    Step 5: [$10 AMEX PROMO UNTIL 10/31/2018] If you have cable, pay your cable bill using the AMEX card by adding the card to your cable providers payment option. You only need to do this for one payment. Collect the $10 bonus from AMEX; I did this last week and the $10 was credited to my account already.
    Using the example above, you now have $960 for your online savings account. In a month or so, you’ll have another $250 from the credit card bonus. Add that amount to your online savings account, which will then total $1,210 (gaining interest). Say you also found an online savings account that paid you a $200 sign-up bonus, soon you’ll have $1,410 in your online savings account gaining interest. This amount is more than your credit card balance – you are making money.

    Step 6: Do the above for a year or until you max out your credit card limit (i.e., $5k, $10k, $15k, $20k, depends on your credit score how much the bank will offer you for your credit limit). At the end of the zero percent promotion (one year), take the money from your online savings account and payoff the credit card in FULL before the promo deadline. After paying off the credit card, you’ll have several hundred dollars left over in the online savings account that’s yours.

    Step 7: Do it again with another credit card company. We usually do it at least twice per year. It does require having good to excellent credit, which I hope you already do or are making that a priority in your financial life – it’s important.

    NOTE: it does require being diligent with the money you earmark for paying the credit card off. A higher interest savings account YOU DON’T TOUCH is good for that purpose. As mentioned above, make sure you use an online savings account that pays a “sign-up bonus” – we got several hundred dollars for opening accounts with Barclay’s Online Savings and Discover Bank. Both paid sign-up bonuses when we opened the accounts in the past, and the interest is currently 1.9% (October 2018). It isn’t a ton of money, but it is more than not using the strategy (it adds up).

    You must: pay yourself by adding the amount of the credit card bill to your online savings account – instead of paying the credit card company monthly, you pay them at the end of the one-year zero interest promo after collecting the interest from your online savings account. No difference in cash flow for you on a monthly basis.

  2. This credit card deal is a winner for us folks! We’ve had the card less than a month and here’s our return so far:

    – Sign-Up Bonus credited to our account: $300
    – Cable bill pay promo from AMEX: $10
    – Referral Promo: $75
    – Card Annual Fee: -$95

    TOTAL RETURN (so far): $290+
    The $290 return does not include the cash back we’ll get at the end of our first statement; 6% at grocery stores, 3% at gas stations, etc. Total return will be over $400 before Christmas!

    Thank you AMEX – I love to make money from banks!

  3. UPDATE APRIL 2019 – the returns keep coming in and we are getting closer and closer to our goal of $1,000 of income for this one credit card:
    OCT. 2018
    – Sign-Up Bonus credited to our account: $250
    – Cable bill pay promo from AMEX: $10
    – Referral Promo: $75
    – Card Annual Fee: -$95
    RETURN TO DATE: $240

    DECEMBER 2018 – Bonus Reward: $63
    JANUARY 2019 – Bonus Reward: $52
    FEBRUARY 2019 – Bonus Reward: $65 (to date: $180)
    MARCH 2019 – Bonus Reward: $50 (to date: $230)
    APRIL 2019 – Bonus Reward: $50 (to date: $280)

    SUB-TOTAL RETURN (as of 04/2019): $280 + $300 + $10 + $75 – $95 = $560

    Now, we add in the sign-up bonus we received from our new Online Savings Account with Citi Bank ($400 bonus):
    $560 + $400 = TOTAL RETURN TO DATE: $960

    NOTE: To get your total return, add in the interest on the money you put into the online savings account. We opened a “new online saving account” with Citi Bank and we received a $400 sign-up bonus (no significant interest with this account). The bonus is better than interest, in this case. However, you need to deposit $15k in the account for the $400 bonus. Other bonus amounts for less deposit FYI.

    Again, we pay the minimum payment on the credit card, but put the money we would have used to pay the credit card in an online savings account or money market account. These funds will cover the full payment of the credit card when the “zero” interest credit card deal ends after a year. The average interest we’ll earn via the online savings account for the year will be ~$15/month.

    For example, assume a credit card outstanding balance of $5,000. You put the money in an online savings account with a 2.2% interest rate. You would get about $110/yr. in interest (about $9.17/month). At a $10,000 outstanding balance, you’ll earn $220/year or $18.33/month in interest.

    For those looking for this easy return, use this AMEX link that provides the $300 bonus (the bonus does vary).. Check it out, was $250 bonus now $300 (06/2019).

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