Best Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses

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by parag
Last Updated: July 21st, 2016
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KEYWORDS:#credit cards #tips #rewards #cash back
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If you’re in the market for a new rewards credit card, it pays to get one with a good sign up bonus. New customers can get hundreds of dollars in rewards in the form of things like airfare, hotel stays, and cash back. We read the fine print for you and found the best credit card sign up bonuses. 

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred is well known among travel rewards aficionados and you can see why. It’s easy to earn points, they have a lot of transfer partners, and the card just looks and feels sexy! It’s metal and the numbering and lettering are laser embossed. 

Sign Up Bonus: When you are approved for the CSP, you will receive 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. This gives you $625 towards airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, and cruises when you redeem points through Chase’s travel portal, Chase Ultimate Rewards. You will receive an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user, and they make one purchase within three months. 

Earning Points: You earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel expenses including airfare, hotels, cruises, rental cars, train travel, taxis and even Uber! There are no airline blackout dates when using the CSP, if there is a seat available, you can book it with points. 

You also earn 2 points for every $1 you spend dining out and the criteria for earning points is pretty generous. Coffee shops like Starbucks earn points as do some bars which serve food as long as they are coded as a restaurant in Chase’s system. For all other purchases, you receive 1 point per $1 spent. 

Fees: The annual fee for CSP is waived for the first year and $95 per year after that and there is no foreign exchange fee. The APR is a variable16.24%-23.24%.

Credit Score: You need a score of “Very Good” to qualify for this card, a score above 750.

 

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

American Express has several travel rewards cards available but if you like to stay in luxury resorts, this is your card!

Sign Up Bonus: You will receive 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. For the past few years, this has jumped to 35,000 points in the late summer so if your need is not immediate, you may want to wait to see if that comes around again this summer. 

Earning Points: It’s harder to earn Starwood Points than it is to earn points with some other cards but Starwood points are really valuable because they transfer 1:1 to almost 150 airlines and when you transfer 20,000 points (which is less than what you get with the sign up bonus) to a frequent flyer account, you get 5,000 additional points, a 25% bonus!

You can earn up to 5 points per $1 spent at SPG hotels and resorts and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. 

Fees: The annual fee is waived for the first year and is $95 a year after that and there is no foreign transaction fee. The APR is a variable 15.49%-19.49%.

Credit Score: You need a score of “Very Good” to qualify for this card, a score above 750.

 

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Not only is this a good sign up bonus, but bags fly free on Southwest so you can save even more money when you travel! The airline also doesn’t charge a fee if you need to change details of a flight. 

Sign Up Bonus: You will receive 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months of opening the account. 

Earning Miles: You earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases made with Southwest Airlines and their hotel and rental car company partners which include Best Western, Choice Hotels, Hyatt, Marriott, Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Hertz among others. 

You earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Each year on the anniversary of your membership, you will receive a 6,000 bonus miles. 

Fees: This card has an annual fee of $99 which is not waived the first year, it shows up on your first statement. There is no foreign transaction fee. There is a variable APR of 16.24%-23.24%.

Credit Score: You need a score of “Excellent” to be approved for this card, a score above 800.

 

The JetBlue Card

JetBlue is a relatively new contender among airline cards but it’s long overdue because a lot of travelers love flying JetBlue. 

Sign Up Bonus: You will receive 10,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of opening the account. 

Earning Miles: JetBlue is one of the easiest cards to earn miles with! You receive 3 miles per $1 spent on JetBlue purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and grocery stores, and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases. 

Fees: This card has no annual fee and there is no foreign transaction fee. There is a variable APR of 12.24%, 20.24%, and 25.24%. There is an introductory 0% APR rate for balance transfers made within the first 45 days of opening the account so if you have a balance on another card that is hitting you with interest charges on, this card is a great choice.

Credit Score: You need a score of “Good” to be approved for this card, a score above 700.

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited

This is a cash back rewards credit card. 

Sign Up Bonus: You’ll get $150 in bonus cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months. 

Percentage: You get an unlimited 1.5% back.

Categories: There are no revolving categories to keep track of. You get the 1.5% back on all purchases. 

Fees: There is no annual fee. For the first 15 months, the APR is 0%. After that, the APR varies from 14.24-23.24.

Credit Score: You’ll need a score of “Very Good” rating for this card, a score above 750.

 

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express

This is a great card if you spent a lot of money grocery shopping. 

Sign Up Bonus: You will receive a $150 statement credit after spending $1000 in the first three months. You can get an additional credit of up to $200 via a 10% rebate when you spend up to $2,000 at a US wireless phone provider in 2016. So if you’re in the market for a new phone, jump on this offer!

Percentage: This card offers 6%, 3%, and 1% back, depending on the category.

Categories: You will receive 6% back on the first $6,000 spent on groceries. After reaching the $6,000 limit, you’ll receive 1% back on groceries. Super stores like Walmart and Costco are excluded from this as are liquor stores. You get 3% back on gas and at qualifying department stores. All other purchases will get you 1% back with no dollar limit. 

Fees: The card has a $75 annual fee and a foreign transaction fee of 2.7%. There is 0% APR for the first 12 months and then it goes up to 13.24-23.24%. 

Credit Score: You will need at least a “Good” score to get this card, so above 700. 

 

Chase Ink Business Plus

This is a great card but it is only open to business owners. 

Sign Up Bonus: It’s a big one! You will receive 60,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. You can redeem those points for up to $750 in travel rewards when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards which is Chase’s travel booking portal. 

Earning Points: You get 5 points for each $1 spent on each account year anniversary up to $50,000 on office supply stores, and your cell phone, land line, internet and cable bills. You get 2 points per $1 spent on each account year anniversary up to $50,000 on gas stations and hotels. You get 1 point for every other $1 spent with no limits.  You can redeem your points for cash back, travel, gift cards, or Amazon purchases. 

Fees: This card has an annual fee of $95 and no foreign transaction fees. The APR is a variable of 15.49-19.49%.

Credit Score: You need a score of “Excellent” for this card, a score above 800.

 

So What’s the Verdict?

The best card from this list depends on your idea of a great rewards card. If you travel a lot, a good travel card can save you money and score some nice perks. If that sounds good to you, it’s hard to go wrong with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. It’s a big sign up bonus and the you can save a lot of money when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. 

If you don’t travel much or just prefer not to have to worry about transferring points, a good cash back card is what you’re looking for. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a nice bonus of $150 cash back after a very low spend of just $500 in the first three months. There also aren’t any categories to keep track of, you get a flat 1.5% back on all purchases.

Credit card companies can change these offers at any time so if you see something you like, jump on it fast! 

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