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Best Credit Card Signup Bonus Offers for 2020
A lucrative credit card sign-up bonus can give you a head start toward leveraging returns on your spending. Since it’s one of the most competitive incentives used by issuers, you can expect them to be pushed to the forefront. With multiple credit card offers claiming to have the best credit card sign up bonus, it’s smart to do a little homework before choosing.
The best credit card sign up bonuses offer anywhere from $100 to $1,000 in perks to entice consumers. Generally, these perks fall into three main categories: a cash back, points or miles. Depending on the terms, you’ll continue to earn rewards with the card for as long as your account remains open.
For people who pay their balance in full every month, credit cards with sign up bonuses are a great way to leverage the convenience of credit to your advantage. The sign up bonus alone can be enough to earn a night’s stay at a hotel or an airline flight right away — or you can choose to have cold hard cash deposited into your bank account. But how much weight should you give the sign up bonus when selecting the right credit card for you? Here are some of the best bonus offers and some things to consider when making your decision.
Compare the Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses
|Card||Rewards Rate||Annual Fee||Sign Up Bonus|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®– Best for travel||Earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.||$550||Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card– Best for flexible redemption options||Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.||$95||Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®– Best for cash back||Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.||$0||Earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.|
The best credit card sign up bonuses let you do more of what you already love. If you travel a lot, the sign up bonus on a travel or rewards card lets you stay an extra night or purchase a travel upgrade. Cash back rewards give you extra holiday spending money or can be used to pay down existing debt.
What is a credit card sign up bonus?
Credit card companies want your business, which is why they’re willing to offer incentives to new customers in the form of a sign up bonus. This one-time bonus typically takes the form of points, cash back or miles. Typically, the cardholder must spend a specified amount within a set period of time in order to receive the bonus, though there are a few cards that waive spending requirements.
How do sign up bonuses work?
Receiving a sign up bonus is not automatic once you are approved for the card. You also need to charge the required amount on your card within the specified amount of time. There may be other conditions and restrictions as well, depending on the company that issues the card.
What types of sign up bonuses are there?
There are two main types of sign up bonuses — points and cash back. Points have a variable redemption value; for instance, if you have an airline miles card, you’ll earn the highest value on deals offered by the miles program and/or transfer partners. Cash back cards offer cold hard cash that can be transferred into your bank account or used to pay down the statement balance.
What are some best practices for maximizing a sign up bonus?
When using a points card, make sure to redeem the points through the award program affiliated with the card in order to maximize value. Some points cards allow you to make a purchase with a combination of cash and points, so using your card to fund the cash portion will earn even more points. Some issuers partner with other companies for a limited time — for instance, Vivid Seats with Capital One Savor — to offer even more bonus points, and other issuers combine bonus cash back with an introductory 0% APR. It’s important to pay attention to all these variables.
Is a credit card sign up bonus worthwhile?
It is if you make sure to read the fine print carefully, says Beverly Harzog, writing for U.S. News. She suggests that you research and compare various offers to see which one is right for you. The right card is the one that gives you the best sign-up bonus and allows you to earn the most points or cash back when you make everyday purchases.
How to choose the best credit card sign up bonus for you?
The first thing you want to do, according to Forbes, is figure out whether you would fare better with a cash back or rewards card. You should then figure out how much the sign-up bonus is worth over time, not just during the introductory period, by factoring in the annual fee and determining how many points or cash-back dollars you will earn on things you buy every month.
Which sign up bonuses can I earn multiple times?
Although credit card companies frown on credit card churning, or the practice of getting new cards just for the sign-up bonus, some issuers actually allow you to earn multiple sign-up bonuses. There are restrictions. Citibank, for instance, will only allow you to get the sign up bonus when you have closed a card and waited 24 months to apply again. The bottom line, though: If you play by the rules, you can earn more than one sign-up bonus with the same card.
What is the Chase 5/24 rule?
The Chase “5/24” rule says cardholders can only sign up for certain Chase credit cards if they haven’t acquired more than five new credit cards from any company in the past 24 months. Among the cards subject to this rule are cards with big sign up bonuses.
I got a credit card for a sign up bonus, but I barely use it now: Is it better to cancel unused credit cards or keep them?
The general consensus is you should keep your accounts open if you don’t use them because canceling credit cards has a negative impact on your credit score. However, there are some ways to minimize the hit, such as paying off the balances on all your cards to lower your utilization of credit percentage, an important factor in your credit score.
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