Categories

Reviews

A Guide to the Best Sign-Up Bonus Credit Card Offers in 2020

Credit card sign-up bonuses come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s in the form of cashback offers, points, or miles, new cardholders have the opportunity to earn a few hundred (if not a few thousand) dollars worth of bonuses if they choose wisely.

Picking the best option means finding the perfect match for your spending habits. After all, even the best sign-up bonus credit card won’t do you any good if it doesn’t offer solid rewards rates, flexible redemption opportunities, and multiple additional perks that reflect your style as a consumer.

Let’s take a look at what’s out there.

SHOW MORE

Best Welcome Bonus Credit Cards
Our Top Picks

Top 3 Picks

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Flexible bonus redemption

0% intro APR for 15 months

Rewards round up to the nearest 10 points

Apply Now READ REVIEW

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus

Annual card membership bonus

Low annual fee

Companion Pass benefit

Apply Now READ REVIEW

Capital One® Venture® Rewards

Flat-rate rewards

Flexible bonus redemption

No foreign transaction fees

Apply Now READ REVIEW

The 4 Best Credit Cards with Sign-Up Bonus Offers

1. Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Flexible bonus redemption

0% intro APR for 15 months

Rewards round up to the nearest 10 points

Welcome bonus:

15,000 points

Apply Now

show more


The generous and easily attainable welcome offer makes the Citi Rewards+℠ credit card one of the market favorites. If we add the fact that the card comes with a 0% intro APR and a $0 annual fee, this financial product is clearly worth a second look.

Read full review

Rewards rate:

1x-2x points

Intro APR:

0% for the first 15 months

Regular APR:

13.49% to 23.49% (variable)

Annual fee:

$0

Other fees:

Balance transfer, foreign transaction, cash advance, late and returned payment fees

2. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus

Annual card membership bonus

Low annual fee

Companion Pass benefit

Welcome bonus:

40,000 points

Apply Now

show more


The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus card offers a high welcome bonus and multiple perks to frequent domestic flyers. Even though there’s an annual charge, the reward rates are solid and redemption is flexible. Provided that you are a Southwest loyalist, this card can be a great addition to your wallet.

Read full review

Rewards rate:

1x-2x points

Intro APR:

N/A

Regular APR:

5.99% to 22.99% (variable)

Annual fee:

$69

Other fees:

Balance transfer, foreign transaction, cash advance, late and returned payment fees

Credit score requirement:

690-850

3. Capital One® Venture® Rewards

Flat-rate rewards

Flexible bonus redemption

No foreign transaction fees

Welcome bonus:

Up to 100,000 miles

Apply Now

show more


The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is considered of the market's top choices as far as travel rewards credit cards go. Not only does it have a 100,000-mile bonus, but it earns 2x miles on all purchase types. It comes with an annual fee; however, the cost is on par with other premium travel cards.

Read full review

Rewards rate:

2x points

Intro APR:

N/A

Regular APR:

17.24% to 24.49% (variable)

Annual fee:

$95

Other fees:

Balance transfer, cash advance, and late payment fees

Credit score requirement:

690-850

4. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

No annual fees

0% intro APR for 15 months

Generous rewards on US supermarket purchases

Welcome offer:

$200 cashback on Amazon + $150 statement credit

Apply Now

show more


Geared towards those who spend a lot at grocery stores and gas stations, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has gained a lot of popularity thanks to its ample rewards. The lack of an annual fee makes this credit card an excellent choice for cost-averse consumers, as does the lucrative welcome bonus.

Read full review

Rewards rate:

1% to 3% cashback

Intro APR:

0% intro APR for 15 months

Regular APR:

13.99% to 23.99% (variable)

Annual fee:

$0

Other fees:

Cash advance, foreign transaction, returned and late payment fees

Credit score requirement:

690-850

Our Criteria for Evaluating Credit Cards with Welcome Bonus Offers

Considering how competitive the credit card market has recently become, it’s no wonder consumers often find themselves overwhelmed with the hundreds of offers they come across. If you’re looking for a new credit card and don’t know where to start, this article is for you.

We’ve compared the upsides and downsides of the sign-up bonuses for several top card choices to determine the most beneficial options for different consumer habits and create a foolproof methodology.

Here are the most important factors we recommend you consider while looking for the best credit card with a sign-up bonus to match your spending style.

Sign-Up Bonus

A sign-up bonus offered by credit card issuers is essentially an incentive for a new user to complete a spending task. Many new cardholders are dazzled by the hundreds of dollars they might receive as a bonus that they fail to check whether the offer is too good to be true.

There are two equally important aspects to a welcome offer – the bonus amount (in points/miles, or cashback) and the assignment used to qualify for it. Simply put, no matter how generous an offer, it won’t do you any good if you can’t do your part to claim it.

Rewards and Redemption Options

When looking for the best sign-up bonus credit card, you should make sure that it offers a solid rewards rate. Regardless of whether you choose a points/miles-based card or even a cashback credit card, its rewards and flexible redemption options should be in sync with your spending habits.

Some cards offer tiered rewards rates that require you to keep track of your spending and returns if you want to maximize the value of your rewards in a given purchasing category. Flat-rate rewards credit card options don’t require you to keep track of where you’re shopping, as you’ll receive the same rate on all purchasing categories.

All major credit cards let you use the bonus points, miles, or cashback you get as part of the best introductory credit card offers for a variety of purposes. For travel rewards cards, these usually include gift cards, as well as hotel and airline transfers. For cashback cards, you can typically use these bonuses for statement credit, balance transfers, and checks.

Additional Benefits

While the initial offerings for signing up are certainly among the most lucrative benefits a new cardholder gets, there are a few more perks that you can enjoy even after the honeymoon period is over. In some cases, it’s the additional benefits that compensate for high annual fees or poor sign-up offers.

These perks can vary greatly from card to card and mostly include shopping protection, extended warranty, different types of insurance, flight upgrades, free hotel stays, and annual bonuses.

APR and Fees

The best intro credit card offers may grab your attention, but you should also take a look at the many potential fees before you decide to apply for the credit card you think you want. As far as interest rates go, credit cards come with variable annual percentage rates (APR), charged on both purchases and balance transfers. However, some cards offer a 0% intro APR on both transaction types for a limited period (usually 12 to 15 months).

The most important fees to look out for include annual card membership fees, cash advance fees, balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, and penalty fees such as late payment and returned payment charges.

Credit Score Requirements

You’ve done the research and found the best credit card with an intro bonus. Before you get too excited, you should make sure that you actually qualify for the financial product in question. While credit cards aren’t impossible to get, keep in mind that the most attractive options usually require a credit score of at least 690, and even then approval is not guaranteed.

Our Picks for the Best Sign-Up Bonus Credit Card Offers:

Credit Cards with the Best Sign-Up Bonus Offers
In-Depth Reviews

At a Glance

  • Welcome offer: 15,000 bonus points
  • Rewards rate: 1x-2x points
  • Intro APR: 0% APR for the first 15 months
  • Regular APR: 13.49% to 23.49% (variable)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Other fees: Balance transfer, foreign transaction, cash advance, late and returned payment fees
  • Credit score requirement: 740-850

A good fit for low spenders who generally make a lot of small purchases, the Citi Rewards+ card is a strong competitor among cards with no annual fees. It’s also one of the best bonus credit cards, particularly when it comes to redemption options. Add the “round up” offer and the “points back” benefit to the mix and you’ll understand why this credit card remains a favorite among modest spenders.

Sign-Up Bonus

One of the things that makes the Citi Rewards+℠ Card a popular choice in this market is its generous introductory offer. As a new cardholder, you get a one-time sign-up bonus of 15,000 points. But to claim it, you’ll have to spend at least $1,000 in the three months following the opening of your account.

Rewards and Redemption Options

As one of the best credit cards, the Citi Rewards+℠ Card sweetens your purchases with ThankYou® points: you get two ThankYou® points per dollar spent at supermarkets and refueling at gas stations for the first $6,000 you spend in 12 months. You’ll also get a single ThankYou® point per dollar on all purchases made in other places or after the initial 12-month period.

The Citi Rewards+ offers multiple redemption options for the rewards you’ve accumulated. You can use the points to shop at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com, or redeem them for gift cards or travel rewards via Citi’s ThankYou.com platform. Additionally, cardholders receive 10% of ThankYou® points back for the first 100,000 points they redeem in a year.

Additional Benefits

Well-known as a credit card with a good sign-up bonus, Citi Rewards+ also has a unique point-counting policy. Unlike other credit cards on our list, this option automatically rounds up your bonus to the nearest 10-point mark on every purchase, with no cap. To put it simply, a $2 coffee will earn you 10 points, while a $12 meal gets rounded up to 20 points.

APR and Fees

The Citi Rewards+ credit card is among the most competitive options cost-wise. First of all, there isn’t an annual membership fee. Second of all, new cardholders get to enjoy a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After this credit card promo period expires, expect to be charged a variable APR of between 13.49% and 23.49%.

Also, note that there’s a balance transfer fee (3% of the amount of each transfer or $5, whichever is greater), a cash advance fee (5% of the amount of each cash advance or $10 – the greater of the two), a 3% foreign transaction fee, a late payment charge of up to $40, and a returned payment fee that can also amount to $40.

The Bottom Line

Although Citi Rewards+ doesn’t offer the highest credit card bonus, the fact that you won’t have to spend more than $1,000 over the first three months to get on the welcome wagon makes it much more competitive. It also stands out from the crowd as the only card that automatically rounds up your rewards to the nearest 10 points on literally any purchase.

Overall, this Citi card is an excellent option for those looking for a way to maximize their rewards on everyday purchases and claim the sign-up offer quickly, but not that great for users who’d like a larger credit card promotion amount.

Reasons to Apply

Flexible bonus redemption

0% intro APR for 15 months

Rewards round up to the nearest 10 points

At a Glance

  • Welcome offer: 40,000 bonus points
  • Rewards rate: 1x-2x points
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 15.99% to 22.99% (variable)
  • Annual fee: $69
  • Other fees: Balance transfer, foreign transaction, cash advance, late and returned payment fees
  • Credit score requirement: 690-850

Offering one of the best credit card sign-up bonuses, Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is a solid travel card. Although it doesn’t offer as many perks as the other two options available through Southwest’s partnership with Chase, it boasts the lowest annual fee, good rewards rates, and flexible redemption opportunities.

Sign-Up Bonus

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus presents a 40,000-point welcome bonus to its new users. All you have to do to claim it is spend $1,000 on purchases over the first three months of account ownership.

Annual card membership rewards are also part of the package; starting from your first anniversary, you’ll receive 3,000 bonus points for every 12 months of use.

Rewards and Redemption Options

In addition to one of the best credit card sign-up bonus opportunities, Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus also offers a solid rewards policy. Cardholders receive two points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines purchases, as well as each dollar spent on products and services provided by the airline’s hotel and car rental partners.

Some of the eligible hotel chains are Marriott, Best Western, and Hyatt, while Hertz, Avis, and several others are among the included car rental companies. There are no double bonus points on dining or grocery stores, but you’ll still receive a point per dollar spent on those and all other types of purchases.

As far as redemption options go, Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is probably the best travel credit card with a sign-up bonus. There’s a wide variety of redemption options including flight tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, gift cards, and merchandise.

If you’re looking to get the biggest bang for your buck, we suggest you use your points for airfares. Southwest lets you redeem your rewards via any of its three fare tiers (Anytime, Business Select, and Wanna Get Away). Although the least flexible of the three options, Wanna Get Away tickets come with the most generous points redemption deals.

Additional Benefits

Access to the Southwest Companion Pass benefit is another great thing about this sign-up bonus credit card. This unique feature lets you pick a friend or a family member to fly with you for free each time you buy a plane ticket or redeem your points to cover the cost. However, keep in mind that the requirements for this buy-one-get-one-free perk are hard to achieve.

You’ll need to accumulate 125,000 points to qualify and the Companion Pass will be valid for the remainder of the year in question, plus the entire following year, but not indefinitely.

APR and Fees

Low interest rates and fees can help you distinguish between the best credit card offers. Unlike some of the other competing options, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus does come with an annual charge. However, the $69 fee is relatively low for an airline credit card. And while there is no introductory APR discount, the regular annual percentage rate ranges between 15.99% and 22.99% (variable).

Note that you’ll also face balance transfer fees ($5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer), cash advance fees ($10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction), and foreign transaction fees (3% of the amount in US dollars). In addition to that, penalty charges such as late and returned payments can go up to $39.

The Bottom Line

With one of the best credit card deals when it comes to sign-up bonus offers and rewards policies, Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is a good choice for frequent flyers. The cost of what may seem like a high annual fee is easily justified by the card membership anniversary bonus and access to the unique Southwest Companion Pass benefit.

In conclusion, while this Southwest credit card isn’t the flashiest of the three in the Rapid Rewards family, nor is it aimed at frequent international flyers, it’s still one of the best credit cards for US domestic travelers.

Reasons to Apply

Annual card membership bonus

Low annual fee

Companion Pass benefit

At a Glance

  • Welcome offer: Up to 100,000 bonus miles
  • Rewards rate: 2x miles
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 17.24% to 24.49% (variable)
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Other fees: Balance transfer, cash advance, and late payment fees
  • Credit score requirement: 690-850

High rewards, flexible redemption options, and a huge welcome bonus with the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card will catch the eye of any prospective cardholder. Thanks to its premium-level added benefits, this card is a particularly great option for frequent travelers.

Sign-Up Bonus

As maybe the best sign-up bonus credit card offer, the welcome bonus given to new Capital One Venture Rewards cardholders certainly deserves the spotlight. Unlike most competitors’ options, this card comes with a twofold welcome bonus opportunity.

The primary offer grants you 100,000 bonus miles if you manage to spend $20,000 on purchases during your first 12 months as a cardholder. However, if this seems a bit too steep for your taste, you can still go for the secondary offer and earn 50,000 bonus miles by spending at least $3,000 on purchases made within three months of opening your account.

Rewards and Redemption Options

On top of one of the best credit card bonus offers, the Capital One Venture Rewards card is also well-known for rewarding its users with two miles per each dollar spent on practically any type of purchase. There are no upper limits on how many miles you can earn, and so long as your account is open, your miles won’t expire.

As one of the most flexible travel cards, the Capital One Venture Rewards card offers plenty of redemption options. You can use your miles for travel shopping in the Capital One Travel center (or outside of the credit card company’s network), or redeem them for gift cards, statement credit, and checks.

Another great thing about this credit card with a sign-up bonus is that it also lets you redeem your bonus miles via PayPal. We suggest you save your miles for travel purchases (plane tickets, vacation rentals, car rentals, etc), as that’s the way to get the most value out of them.

Additional Benefits

In addition to flexible redemption options, this travel rewards credit card also comes with a long list of bonus perks. These include up to $100 credit for TSA Precheck/Global Entry, travel accident insurance, car rental insurance, roadside assistance, virtual card numbers for safe online shopping, and extended warranty on eligible purchases.

APR and Fees

While users praise Capital One Venture Rewards for providing one of the best credit card bonus offers, it’s not the most affordable financial product of its kind. However, considering all the additional perks you can benefit from for the annual fee of $95, it isn’t the most expensive card either.

The Capital One Venture Rewards card has an immediate annual percentage rate, ranging between 17.24% and 24.49%. Additional charges include a 3% transaction fee on balance transfers, a $10 fee or 3% of the amount for cash advances, and a late payment penalty of up to $40, but there are no international transaction fees.

The Bottom Line

Given that there are cards on our list that don’t charge annual fees, Capital One Venture Rewards isn’t the most affordable solution on the market, despite being the highest signup bonus credit card. However, considering that the Capital One Venture Rewards card comes with highly flexible redemption opportunities and a long list of added benefits, it’s safe to say that this travel rewards card is worth the $95 annual charge.

Reasons to Apply

No foreign transaction fees

Multiple additional benefits

Flexible redemption options

At a Glance

  • Welcome offer: $200 cashback on Amazon + $150 statement credit
  • Rewards rate: 1% to 3% cashback
  • Intro APR: 0% APR for 15 months
  • Regular APR: 13.99% to 23.99% (variable)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Other fees: Cash advance, foreign transaction, returned and late payment fees
  • Credit score requirement: 690-850

With one of the best credit card bonuses for new members, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is an excellent cashback card. Tailored to families who spend a lot on commuting and groceries, this card offers generous rewards on purchases made in US supermarkets and gas stations.

Given that it doesn’t charge an annual fee, Blue Cash Everyday may also appeal to users looking to avoid card maintenance costs.

Sign-Up Bonus

Amex’s Blue Cash Everyday is one of the most popular cashback cards, primarily because it has one of the best credit card introductory offers. The deal is simple – a new user will receive $200 cashback on purchases on Amazon.com + $150 in statement credit if they spend $1,000 on Amazon.com within their first six months as a cardholder.

Upon reaching this spending milestone, they’ll receive their bonus in the following eight to 12 weeks.

Rewards and Redemption Options

Designed for the average consumer’s spending habits, Blue Cash Everyday offers generous cashback on everyday spending opportunities. Users get 3% cashback when they shop for groceries at US supermarkets (up to the first $6,000 in a year and 1% afterward), 2% cashback at US gas stations and select department stores, and 1% on all other purchases.

As the top credit card for bonus offers, Blue Cash Everyday makes redeeming your rewards simple and easy. As soon as you meet the minimum threshold of $25, you’ll be able to redeem your cashback in the form of a merchandise purchase, statement credit, or gift card. Note that using your rewards to make your minimum payment isn’t an option.

Additional Benefits

Blue Cash Everyday by American Express comes with quite a few additional features. For instance, you’ll be covered by purchase protection when shopping, and you’ll get insurance for your rental car while traveling. Moreover, other Amex credit card promotions and benefits will be made available to you, such as member-only events, exclusive ticket presales, fraud protection, year-end summaries, and the Pay It Plan It feature, which lets you control how you pay your balance.

APR and Fees

Cost-wise, Blue Cash Everyday is once again a leader among cash bonus credit cards. First of all, this card offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months. After the promotional period ends, the ongoing APR ranges between 13.99% and 23.99%. Second of all, there are no annual fees. In other words, not only does Blue Cash Everyday offer one of the best credit card promotions for new users, but it also doesn’t bother you with any annual card membership charges.

However, there are a few transaction and penalty fees to be aware of when making your decision. You’ll be charged the greater of $10 or 5% of the total amount for each cash advance, 2.7% of the transaction amount for each foreign transaction (after conversion to US dollars), and up to $40 for late or returned payments.

The Bottom Line

As one of the best cash bonus credit cards on the market, Blue Cash Everyday is an excellent choice for big spenders at US supermarkets and gas stations. It’s also a good option for those looking for the smartest way to pay off a high-interest credit card balance or finance a large purchase. On the other hand, we don’t recommend this card to consumers who may still maintain a large balance after the 0% APR period, or those who prefer a simpler rewards policy.

Reasons to Apply

No annual fees

0% intro APR for 15 months

Generous rewards on US supermarket purchases

FAQ

What is a credit card sign-up bonus?

In a nutshell, a credit card bonus is an incentive offered by credit card issuers to get new card users to complete a certain task. Many credit cards come with a welcome bonus, which means that new cardholders stand to gain rewards such as points, miles, or cashback offers. However, to claim these bonuses, cardholders must meet the credit card issuer’s requirements, usually by reaching a certain minimum spending requirement within a given time frame.

How can you maximize sign-up bonuses?

Applying for the right credit card with the best sign-up bonus at the right time and sticking to a plan on how to reach the minimum spending threshold can help you get the most out of its bonus offer. We highly recommend you learn everything about multiple bonus opportunities beforehand and keep an eye on the bonus after you apply for the credit card you’ve chosen. We also suggest you time your application carefully, watch out for hidden fees, be completely aware of what purchase types count toward the spending minimum, and be careful about returning items.

Is it better to get a cash or points sign-up bonus?

The best credit card intro offers usually come in the form of bonus points, miles, or cashback offers. While both travel credit cards and cashback cards work the same in the sense that they both offer welcome bonuses and ongoing rewards, the ways a user can redeem these incentives and the redemption rates constitute the essential distinction between the two financial product types. The deal is simple with cashback cards - one cashback percentage point equals one cent per each dollar spent. As far as point- and mile-based cards go, one point or mile isn’t a fixed-rate commodity and it rarely equals one cent. Note that a credit card welcome bonus, additional perks, and even fees are all things you should consider when choosing the right option for you. To put it simply, if getting the maximum value out of a card is your top priority - even though you’ll need to put in a lot of work into it - you should apply for a credit card that lets you earn points or miles. However, if you don’t have the time or inclination to put so much effort into tracking how you spend, cashback rewards credit cards are the way to go.

Which credit card has the best signup bonus?

Based on our research, the list of the best sign-up bonus credit card offers includes: Citi Rewards+℠ Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.