By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When was the last time that you applied for a credit card? Well if you like earning rewards, now may be the time to act. As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, credit card companies are offering sign up bonuses like never before.

Millions of credit card holders haven’t changed the favorite cards in decades and the competition for new business is hotter than ever. If you’re a smart spender with excellent credit Matt Schulz with says there’s something you might not realize, “Loyalty doesn’t pay, especially when it comes to credit card rewards.”

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In fact Schulz says if you pay your balance off every month, you’re actually missing out by not shopping around for a new card. He says, “Plain and simple the fastest way to build up credit card rewards is to sign up for a new card and take advantage of the big sign up bonuses and these sign up bonuses are the biggest we’ve seen in the history of the credit card business.” Those rewards often come in the form of airline miles or points to be used for travel.

Twenty-five million credit card holders haven’t changed their favorite card in ten or more years, while another 20 million have never changed!

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But realize, to get the biggest sign up bonuses, you probably have to do some spending upfront. Schulz says, “Most any rewards card is going to come with some sort of minimum spending threshold, the most common one especially for a card that’s offering 50,000, 40,000 miles is something on the order of $3,000 spent in the first 60-90 days. ”

So what’s the key to getting a really good rewards card? You have to have excellent credit. A credit score of 750 or higher. When signing up with a new card you should leave your old accounts open as it will help your credit score.

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