Last updated on November 17th, 2021
Credit card issuers face fierce competition and often look for ways to draw in (and keep) new cardholders. There are a LOT of credit cards on the market, and each come with their pro’s and con’s; an anniversary bonus is one thing that separates a credit card offer from the rest of the pack. How elusive is the anniversary bonus, and what does it mean?
Anniversaries are often things to be celebrated; as each year passes, milestone life events like weddings, birthdays, job hire dates, and more become nostalgic and worthy of memorialization and merriment. After all, these are important moments in our lives! Most often, we focus on familial and personal achievements – the anniversary of a first date or a lifetime commitment to a partner, or reaching a milestone at work. This tradition dates back to medieval times; Germanic tribes were known to commemorate 25 years of marriage with a silver wreath, for example. Who doesn’t like getting a gift or two as an acknowledgment of an achievement or the passing of a significant occasion?
What is an Anniversary Bonus?
As a modern nod to these traditions, many credit card companies now offer exclusive perks and bonuses to their cardholders that are only available once their account has reached a full calendar year after opening. These credit cards feature gifts like free hotel stays, bonus points, and even free flight vouchers for cardholders who reach an important milestone with their card, as a thank you to loyal customers. When looking at credit card offers, it’s a good idea to consider cards that offer anniversary bonuses – and to double check the fine print, as some bonuses have requirements that must be met in order to qualify. Let’s look at the types of bonuses available on the market today, and which cards offer them:
Anniversary Bonuses and Credit Cards
In the world of co-branded credit cards, an anniversary bonus typically takes one of five forms:
- Flight Voucher
- Free Hotel Stay
- Bonus Points
- Airline Lounge Access Pass
- Complimentary Room Upgrade
Other cards will automatically boost you to an elite tier status within the loyalty program paired with the credit card offer.
Hotel Card Anniversary Bonuses
Hoteliers know that offering their most loyal customers exclusive perks can give them a leg up on the competition when it comes to attracting old and new customers – after all, who doesn’t like earning a free night at their favorite hotel? Joining a hotel loyalty or rewards program is a great idea for anyone who plans to book multiple stays with a hotel throughout the year – it’s usually free to join, and offers the opportunity to open the door to lucrative rewards, discounts, and VIP treatment at some of the most luxurious hotel properties in the world. An anniversary bonus is like the mint on your pillow – it’s a detail that may set one hotel above the rest, especially when it means a free night at your favorite establishment.
Hotel cards that offer a free night as an anniversary bonus:
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card – One Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – One Free Night Award every year after cardmember anniversary
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex – One Free Night Award every year after the anniversary of account opening
- World of Hyatt Credit Card – One free night each year after cardmember anniversary
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card – One weekend night reward each year after account renewal
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card – Free night after each account anniversary year at IHG hotels worldwide
Hotel cards that offer airport lounge access:
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card – Ten free visits to over 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges every year after your account renewal
Airline Card Anniversary Bonuses
Like hotels, airlines have become savvy when it comes to attracting customers old and new. While many airline rewards cars offer lucrative programs that earn miles towards a free flight, some airlines have upped the ante when it comes to pleasing their customers and now offer an anniversary bonus for cardholders who are in good standing. That anniversary bonus can take the form of a companion fare, airport lounge access, bonus points, and more: Airline cards that offer annual companion fare (flight voucher):
- Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card – One Annual Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare® on account anniversary
- Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card – One Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare® each year on account anniversary
- Delta Reserve Credit Card – One Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card
- Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® – One companion ticket annually
Airline cards that offer airport lounge access:
- Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® – Two complimentary Lufthansa Business Lounge Vouches every account anniversary
Airline cards that offer bonus points:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – Bonus of 3,000 points each year on cardmember anniversary
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card – 6,000 bonus point reward every cardmember anniversary
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – 7,500 bonus points on each cardmember anniversary
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – Anniversary bonus of 6,000 bonus points
- LATAM Visa® Card – 2,000 bonus points each cardmember anniversary
- LATAM Visa Signature® Card – 4,000 bonus points for every anniversary as a cardholder
- Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard® – 5,000 bonus miles each year a cardmember spends at least $50 with their card (usually, we don’t consider a bonus that requires a certain level of spending to be an anniversary bonus, but $50 is very easy to achieve)
How Can I Get An Anniversary Bonus From My Card?
It’s important to read the fine print when considering a credit card for its anniversary bonus. There are so many options out in the wild that it can make your head spin, so it pays to pay attention here. Things to consider: – Some cards, like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, offer several annual bonuses that can be collected on the anniversary of opening an account with the card issuer; this card in particular showcases 7,500 bonus points alongside an annual travel credit with Southwest Airlines of $75 and four (4) upgraded boardings each year. – The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card is another offer from Chase that proffers not only bonus points each year but also four upgraded boardings for your cardmember anniversary; the LATAM Visa card offers one 10% discount on LATAM airfare each year in addition to annual bonus points, while the LATAM Visa Signature card offers a one-time 20% discount for the same each year along with three coupons for a free upgrade and bonus points. – When comparing and contrasting anniversary bonuses, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the card’s annual fee, as well as the interest rates you will be subject to. Depending on the perks offered, the bonuses and benefits may not outweigh the price to renew your account each year. Remember, in order to qualify for an anniversary bonus, your credit card account must be in good standing as you pass your anniversary; if you have repeatedly made late payments or missed one or more payments, there’s a chance the card issuer will flag your account and possibly close it, at which point you’d forfeit that free weekend stay or companion flight voucher. Demonstrating financial responsibility is an important part of this process; if your credit score falls due to negligence, you may see one or more of your credit lines closed and, if it gets low enough, you may have to apply for a secured credit card in order to repair your credit score before you can apply for a card with an anniversary bonus again. BestCards.com is here to answer the questions you have about credit scores, credit cards, and how to maximize your credit card usage to score free hotel stays, free flights, merchandise, and more. Check out our informative blogs for insight into the world of credit from our editors, and read our impartial reviews – we break down all the info you’ll need to decide which credit card is best for your needs!