Led by Chase – the top issuer – credit card providers are converting more of their best-rated customers to variable rates, a policy category that is exempt from provisions in the upcoming reform laws. Avoiding the tougher rules on hiking fixed interest rates is one factor contributing to the trend. The other: variable rates, most often based on the prime rate, will mostly move upward in coming months, especially as the economy moves deeper into a sustainable recovery.

As far as anybody can tell, it will be the most lucrative credit card sign-up rewards deal ever. Chase, the largest credit-card lender, and British Airways, are expected to offer new customers 100,000 airline miles in what will very likely ramp up the competition among card issuers for affluent customers.