Congratulations! You just received your shiny new card and now you’re ready to earn those sign up bonus points. But how long will it take you to receive those points?
To set the stage, the best credit cards for travel rewards offer some sort of sign up bonus. The mechanics work like this: spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening your card and you will receive 50,000 sign up bonus points (note that all cards offer different terms, this is purely an example).
When will I receive my sign up bonus points?
All credit card issuers operate on a monthly statement period. The statement period closes one day of the month and your payment is due another day, usually 25-30 days after the statement period closes. We’re not too concerned with the payment due date here (however, make sure you’re paying everything in full and on time!), but we do want to focus on the statement closing date because that dictates when your points will post for most card issuers.
The short of it is that you will receive your bonus points after the statement period closes when you reach your minimum spending requirements. Let’s look at an example. Say your statement closing date is the 12th of the month. You open a new card that requires a $3,000 minimum spend on October 1st, so you have until January 1st to reach your minimum spending requirements to get the sign up bonus points. You spend $2,900 the first month, so on November 12th your statement shows a balance of $2,900. That’s $100 short of the goal of $3,000. Then on November 13th you spend that $100 to get the total to $3,000. Congratulations, you have reached your spending requirements! But, November 14th shows up and no points? Well, that’s because you have to wait until the statement period closes. You have to wait until December 12th to receive the bonus points – the next statement period closing date.
A couple caveats
There are some caveats to this. Some issuers, not many, but some, will deposit your bonus points prior to the statement period closing. Consider this an exception to the rule, so don’t count on it.
Another caveat is earning points on an airline or hotel co-branded card. An example of this is the Citi American Airlines Platinum card. Citi is the card issuer, but you are earning American Airlines AAdvantage miles from your spending. Count on receiving your points a few days after the statement period closes in this situation.
The bottom line is that when planning to earn and use points for a specific trip, always plan ahead and know when you will receive your bonus points!