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2019

Best Credit Card Signup Bonus Offers

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The signup bonus — one of the most valuable and coveted credit card features, with the potential to put a huge dent in your spending or help you score free flights and hotel stays. Many rewards cards come with signup bonuses, also known as introductory bonuses or welcome bonuses. These bonus offers can provide a surprising amount of value, with returns on spending ranging from around 20% on average to more than 50% in some cases.

Best Credit Card Signup Bonus Offers
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Our Selection Criteria

Signup bonuses are pretty easy to evaluate. Spend some money, get some rewards. But not all bonuses are created equal.

  • What kind of rewards are being offered? The most common bonus reward types are cash back, points, and statement credits:
    • Cash back is usually just what it seems to be, although there may be several redemption options like statement credits, direct bank deposits, gift cards, etc.
    • Points may have different values depending on how you redeem them, and they can be the most valuable reward type if you’re willing to put in the effort to find good deals.
    • Statement credits are the easiest to grok, because their values are simply deducted from your card balance.
  • Can I make good use of the rewards? Cash back and statement credit bonuses are simple, basically like big discounts on your spending, and these may be perfect for some people. But if you care more about maximizing rewards, particularly for travel, you may want bonus points that you can transfer for frequent flyer miles or hotel points (look at ChaseAmex, Capital One, and Citi for that).
  • What’s the return on spend? Calculate how much value you get for the required spending (we’ve done this for you in many cases). Is the spending requirement reasonable? 75,000 points may sound like a lot, for example, but if they take $7,500 in purchases to get, you might not be getting a lot for your spending.
  • Will I have enough time to meet the spending requirement? Most card issuers give you three months or 90 days to reach a spending requirement (“three months” translates to about 90 days in most cases, too). You may see 4-, 6-, or even 12-month offers. Some rare cards might only give two months. Be sure to keep track of how much time you have, starting as soon as your card account was approved and opened.
  • Does it make sense for me to have this credit card? Consider all the card features except the intro bonus. Would you use the card without the bonus? Does it fit into your spending habits, or have benefits you’ll find useful over time? Don’t let a great bonus blind you to an otherwise lackluster credit card.
Signup bonuses can make any card offer look more attractive, but there’s more to credit cards than bonuses. See our favorite cards for a variety of categories in the Best Credit Cards.
Is a Signup Bonus Card Right for You?
Best Credit Card Signup Bonus Offers
Brendan Harkness

By Brendan Harkness

Is a Signup Bonus Card Right for You?

Do you like money for free? If so, a signup bonus credit card might be right for you.

It’s not really free money, because you need to spend with credit cards in the first place, and if you’re not responsible you could wind up with fees. But it’s about as close to free money (or travel) as you can get.

A signup bonus is a reward that usually takes the form of bonus points or cash back, which you receive for reaching a certain spending threshold in a certain amount of time — think 40,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in 3 months, for example.

You should never spend money just to get a signup bonus, of course. You should only use credit cards to buy things you would normally buy. Pay off the statement balance by the due date or you’ll be charged interest, cutting into your rewards (unless you have a 0% intro APR). And we don’t recommend opening new cards purely for the bonuses.

But if a card fits in with your spending habits and offers a great bonus too, why not go for it? Follow the simple rules above and credit card bonuses can be effectively free. You won’t need excellent credit scores to nab a sweet bonus, but cards for better credit tend to have better bonuses.

Here are some situations where welcome bonuses can make big differences.

  • Everyday spending: Many cards with bonus categories for everyday purchases, like groceries and gas, have intro bonus offers; you may be able to hit spending requirements with nothing more than a few months of your usual errands.
  • Travel: If you’re going on a trip you could use a bonus to get a flight or two for free, or stay an extra night at a nice hotel. Planning ahead will be crucial here to make sure you have the card you need in time.
  • Large expenses on the horizon: When you know there’s a big purchase or two coming up, like furniture, a TV, or even a car, you could use a credit card bonus to help lighten the load on your bank account. Or you could use that as an opportunity to bank points for a vacation.
  • Rent: Rent is a fairly large monthly expense, making it a good target for intro bonus spending — if you can pay with a credit card, that is. If your landlord doesn’t accept credit card payments, you can look into a payment service like Plastiq or RadPad.
  • Tax season: Depending on how much you owe, you may be able to reach spending requirements by paying your taxes. There’s a fee to pay by credit card, but the bonus should offset that by far.
Our Selection Criteria
BEST PICK FOR

Cash Back Rewards

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee $95
Regular APR 14.49–25.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review) is an excellent pick for grocery shopping and buying gas, and it has a great introductory bonus too. Most people should be able to reach this bonus with just two or three months of normal shopping.

  • $250 statement credit for spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
    • Return on spend: 25%
  • 6% cash back for:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back for:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Transit
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Amex Offers: Find significant discounts at a changing selection of merchants and websites, like (at the time of publication) Best Buy, Pandora, and select meal kits.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months, then 14.49–25.49% Variable (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $95

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • $300 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
    • Return on spend: 10%
  • 4% cash back on Dining and Entertainment
  • 2% cash back at Grocery stores
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
View card details

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • $200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Return on spend: 20%
  • 3% cash back in one category of your choice: Gas, Online shopping, Dining, Travel, Drugstores, Home improvement/furnishings stores
  • 2% cash back at Grocery stores and Wholesale clubs
  • Spending limit: 3% and 2% rewards limited to the first $2,500 spent per quarter
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card

  • Cashback Match: Double cash back in your first year, awarded at the end of the first year
    • Return on spend: up to 10%
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details
2 3

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

BEST PICK FOR

Point Rewards

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee $250
Regular APR N/A
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

You can use the American Express® Gold Card (Review) to earn quite a few Amex Membership Rewards points quickly, with a fairly low spending requirement that most people should have no trouble reaching.

There’s a sizable annual fee (Rates & Fees) with this card, however, so only get it if you’ll make good use of the rewards (focused on food and airfare) and benefits (focused on food and travel).

  • 35,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $350–$700 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 8.75%–17.5%
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 spent annually)
    • Restaurants worldwide
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on Flights booked directly through airlines or American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • $100 annual airline fee credit: Good for incidental airline fees, like baggage and in-flight food and drinks. Does not apply to flight tickets.
  • $120 annual dining credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits per month for purchases at eligible restaurants and food delivery services.
  • Point transfer: To airline and hotel loyalty programs, like JetBlue, Southwest, Marriott, and Hyatt.
  • The Hotel Collection: Provides up to $100 in credits for every eligible hotel stay of two nights or more.
  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra point opportunities at a changing selection of merchants and websites, such as (at the time of publication) Staples, Macys.com, and Amazon.
  • No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $250
  • Charge card: You must pay your balance in full each month.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

  • 30,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
    • Value: $300
    • Return on spend: 10%
  • 3X points on Dining, Gas, Travel, and Streaming services
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

  • 15,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
    • Value: $150–$300 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 15%–30%
  • 3X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually)
  • 2X points at U.S. gas stations and American Express Travel
  • 50% point bonus: By making 30 or more purchases per billing period
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

BEST PICK FOR

General Travel Rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $95
Regular APR 17.74% - 24.74% Variable

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) comes with a great intro bonus for travelers. It’s made even better because you can transfer those points to a variety of partner programs, turning them into airline miles or hotel points that could be worth 2 cents each or more.

  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,200 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 15%–30%
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Travel
    • Dining
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar everywhere else
  • 25% point bonus: When redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Point transfer: Transfer points at a 1:1 rate to leading airline and hotel frequent travel programs, like Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus.
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Book eligible rooms to get perks like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, and unique gifts.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call to speak with your personal concierge any time, day or night.
  • Premium Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Get primary coverage on eligible car rentals so you don’t have to pay for insurance and your premiums won’t go up after an accident.
  • Shop through Chase/Chase Offers: Earn more points by shopping at participating retailers in the Shop through Chase and Chase Offers marketplaces.
  • Annual fee: $95

Citi Premier Card

  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,200 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 15%–30%
  • 3X points for Travel, including gas stations
  • 2X points at Restaurants and on Entertainment
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 16.67%–33.33%
  • 10X miles at hotels.com/venture through January 2020
  • 2X miles for every other purchase
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
View card details

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
    • Value: $500
    • Return on spend: 16.67%
  • 2X points on Travel and Dining
  • 1.5X points for all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $95
View card details
2 3
BEST PICK FOR

Premium Travel Rewards

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee $550
Regular APR N/A
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) is one of the top premium travel cards, currently boasting the largest intro bonus (but not by too much). This card stands out for its best-in-class airport lounge access, along with valuable hotel statuses and travel credits.

  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $600–$1,200 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12%–24%
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Global Lounge Collection: Complimentary access to Priority Pass, Centurion, American Express International, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Airspace, Lufthansa, and Plaza Premium Lounges.
  • $200 annual airline fee credit: Good for incidental costs like checked bags and in-flight food (not flight tickets) at your selected airline.
  • $200 annual Uber credits: $15 in statement credits for Uber rides each month, except for December which gets $35.
  • $100 annual Saks credits: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four-and-a-half years).
  • Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.
  • The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay.
  • No foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees)
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Charge card: You must pay your balance in full each month.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12.5%–25%
  • 3X points for Travel (after the full travel credit is used) and Dining
  • Annual fee: $450
View card details

Citi Prestige® Card

  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 12.5%–25%
  • 5X points on Air travel and Restaurants
  • 3X points on Hotels and Cruise lines
  • Annual fee: $495
View card details

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

BEST PICK FOR

Co-Branded Hotel Rewards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Our rating
Credit range Good
Details
Annual Fee $95
Regular APR 17.74% - 24.74% Variable

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card (Review) provides a great bonus, with a very high potential return on spend. You’ll also receive a host of helpful benefits to enhance your time spent at Marriott Bonvoy properties.

  • 75,000 Bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $750–$1,500 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 25%–50%
  • 17X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy properties
    • 6X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 11X Base points per dollar for Silver Elite status
  • 2X Marriott Bonvoy Bonus points on all other purchases
  • Annual Free Night Award: Get one Free Night Award every year, beginning after your first account anniversary.
  • Complimentary Silver Elite status: Includes a 10% point bonus, reservation guarantee, priority late checkout, and more
  • Path to Gold Elite status: Spend $35,000 in an account year to earn Marriott Gold Elite status.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits annually: Toward a higher member status
  • Free in-room premium internet: At participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Annual fee: $95

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $750–$1,500 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 25%–50%
  • 18.5X points at Marriott Bonvoy properties (6X from the card, 12.5X from Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status)
  • 3X points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and Flights booked directly with airlines
  • Annual fee: $450
View card details

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

  • 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value (miles): $500–$1,250 (assuming 0.4–1.0 cent per point)
    • Return on spend (miles): 25%–62.5%
  • 30X points at Hilton (12X from the card, 18X from Hilton Honors Gold status)
  • 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
  • Annual fee: $95 (Rates & Fees)
View card details

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

  • 80,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $320–$800 (assuming 0.4–1.0 cent per point)
    • Return on spend: 16%–40%
  • For the first 12 months:
    • 40X points per dollar at IHG hotels:
      • 25X points from the IHG credit card
      • 15X points for IHG Platinum Elite status
    • 4X points per dollar on all other purchases
  • After the first 12 months:
    • 25X points per dollar at IHG hotels:
      • 10X points from the IHG credit card
      • 15X points for IHG Platinum Elite status
    • 2X points per dollar at:
      • Gas stations
      • Grocery stores
      • Restaurants
    • 1X point per dollar for all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $89
View card details
2 3
BEST PICK FOR

Co-Branded Airline Rewards

AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard®

Our rating
Credit range Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $99
Regular APR 18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard® has (in our view) the best credit card intro offer for an airline, with bonus miles along with a companion fare credit — all for simply paying the annual fee and making a purchase, with no spending requirement.

That could cost you as little as $99.01! (But let’s call it $100 for simplicity here.) Most intro bonuses return a portion of what you spend, but in this case you can actually get many times more out of it than you put in.

The Companion Certificate is good for one guest at $99, plus taxes and fees. That’s hard to beat; you’ll find a similar offer for Alaska Airlines below, which has a spending requirement but is still a great deal.

  • 60,000 bonus miles and a Companion Certificate after paying the annual fee and making a purchase in the first 90 days
    • Value (miles): $600–$1,200 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend (miles): Up to 600%–1,200%
  • 7X AAdvantage miles per dollar for American Airlines purchases
    • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar from the card
    • 5X AAdvantage miles per dollar from AA member status
  • 1X AAdvantage mile per dollar spent everywhere else
  • 25% in-flight discount: A 25% discount for in-flight purchases on AA-operated flights (awarded as statement credits)
  • Annual $25 in-flight WiFi credit: For in-flight purchases on AA-operated flights
  • Preferred boarding: Group 5 boarding for the cardholder and up to four companions, on AA-operated flights
  • Anniversary Companion Certificate: Spend $20,000 in a calendar year to earn a Companion Certificate, good for one guest at $99 plus taxes and fees.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $99

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

  • 40,000 bonus miles and a Companion Fare after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Value (miles): $600–$800 (assuming 1.5–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend (miles): 30%–40%
  • 5X miles at select Restaurants
  • 3X miles for Alaska Airlines purchases
  • Annual fee: $75
View card details

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
    • Value (miles): $350–$525 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend (miles): 35%–52.5%
  • $100 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
  • 7X miles at Delta (2X from the card, 5X from Delta member status)
  • Annual fee: $195 Annual Fee ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
View card details

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $400–$600 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 40%–60%
  • 2X points at Southwest Airlines and Rapid Rewards partners
  • Annual fee: $149
View card details

JetBlue Plus Card

  • 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Value: $400–$600 (assuming 1–1.5 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 40%–60%
  • 12X points for JetBlue purchases (6X from the card, 6X or more from flight status)
  • 2X points at Restaurants and Grocery stores
  • Annual fee: $99
View card details
2 4
BEST PICK FOR

Business Rewards

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Our rating
Credit range Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $95
Regular APR 17.74% - 22.74% Variable

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (Review) has perhaps the best welcome bonus currently available when it comes to cards that aren’t co-branded with airlines and hotels. It’s made all the better because you can transfer those points to airline and hotel loyalty programs, where they could be worth 2 cents each or more.

You could also opt for a more modest redemption bonus of 25%, for 1.25 cents per point, by redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

  • 80,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $800–$1,600 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 16%–32%
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent on:
    • Travel
    • Shipping purchases
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
    • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar everywhere else
  • 25% point bonus: When redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Point transfer: Transfer points at a 1:1 rate to leading airline and hotel frequent traveler programs, like World of Hyatt or JetBlue TrueBlue.
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Book eligible rooms to get perks like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, and unique gifts.
  • Shop through Chase/Chase Offers: Earn more points by shopping at participating retailers with the Shop through Chase and Chase Offers marketplaces.
  • Free employee cards: Get up to 70 free employee cards to help track spending and earn more rewards.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $95

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Value: $750–$1,500 (assuming 1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 25%–50%
  • 17X points at Marriott Bonvoy properties (6X from the card, 11X from Silver Elite member status)
  • 4X points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, U.S. wireless service providers, U.S. shipping purchases
  • Annual fee: $125 (Rates & Fees)
View card details

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

For the two Chase Ink cards without annual fees, if you have another Chase card that allows point transfers (like the Ink Business Preferred) you can move your rewards to the card with the better redemption options to get more value. A $500 bonus could be worth $1,000 or more with a savvy point transfer.

  • $500 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 16.67%
  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase you make
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

  • $500 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 16.67%
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each year at Office supply stores and on Internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each year at Gas stations and Restaurants
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
    • Value: $500–$1,000 (1–2 cents per mile)
    • Return on spend: 10%–20%
  • 150,000 bonus miles for spending $50,000 in the first 6 months
    • Value: $1,500–$3,000 (1–2 cents per point)
    • Return on spend: 3%–6%
  • 5X miles for:
    • Hotels booked through Capital One Travel
    • Rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2X miles for every other purchase
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
View card details

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

  • $500 bonus cash back for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 10%
  • $1,500 bonus cash back for spending $50,000 in the first 6 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 3%
  • 2% cash back for every purchase
  • Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
View card details
2 5

What Is a Signup Bonus?

A signup bonus, often known as an introductory bonus, an intro bonus, or a welcome bonus, is a special offer created to spur credit card spending.

Signup bonuses are usually awarded in the form of points, cash back, or a statement credit after the cardholder spends a set amount of money within a given timeframe after the account is opened. The intro bonus for a given card may change quite frequently.

To give you an idea of how these offers look, here’s the signup bonus that’s available for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) at the time of publishing:

Bonus offer for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

Less commonly, credit card issuers will change it up. Other types of signup bonuses include travel rewards like free hotel stays, or offers like Discover’s Cashback Match, which doubles the cash back earned during your first year as a cardholder.

All spending to secure your signup bonus must be done within the allotted time, and in most cases only purchases count — your annual fee won’t help you earn a welcome bonus, nor will balances transferred from another account.

Plus, bear in mind that the countdown begins the moment you’re approved for your credit card and the account is opened. It’ll generally take a few days for you to get the actual card, but in some cases, issuers will allow you to use your account details online and by phone right off the bat.

Public Offers and Private Offers

There are both public signup bonuses and private signup bonuses. Public offers are open to anyone, and private offers are only available to select groups of targeted consumers.

Private offers are typically better than public, perhaps offering $250 or $300 cash back instead of $200. The spending requirement may remain the same or it could change.

You may get private credit card offers online, by email, or by postal mail. Consider checking if you’re pre-approved for any credit cards, which may show you private offers that you’re eligible for (although it won’t always show you every available private offer).

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