The right signup bonus can easily pay for a round of international flights.
You’ll usually have to hit a spending requirement, like spending $3,000 within 3 months on your new card. If you’re planning on a big purchase already, getting a new card at the same time could give you a huge batch of points.
I’ve been thinking of switching one of my credit cards. I’m also planning on buying a new Macbook later this year. By doing both at the same time, I’ll easily walk away with 60,000 extra miles for stuff I was going to do anyway. That’s enough for round-trip tickets to Europe.
While I’m not a fan of choosing cards based on the signup bonus, it is worth looking at the best signups bonuses for the cards you already want.
The 5 Best Credit Card Signup Bonuses
Here are five of my favorite cards that offer some of the best signup bonuses.
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Not only does our favorite overall credit card have a great rewards program for a very reasonable annual fee, it also has a great signup bonus.
You’re eligible to receive 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first three months. And with an annual fee of $95, it’s obtainable to many folks.
You’ll also get double points on airfare, hotels, and restaurants when using the card. If you love to eat out and travel like I do, you’ll rack up a ton of points over time.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards points program is one of the more valuable points programs too. There’s tons of partners that you can transfer points to at a 1:1 rate. This gives you a lot more flexibility than a standard airline miles program, you can find the perfect flight award across a range of airlines instead of being locked into one.
The Chase Sapphire card is one of the most popular cards of the past few years and for good reason.
2. The World of Hyatt Credit Card
The World of Hyatt credit card is primarily a hotel rewards card. If you stay in hotels frequently and want to commit to Hyatt, the World of Hyatt’s signup bonus is worth a look.
- 25,000 in bonus points as long as you charge a minimum of $3,000 to your Hyatt card within the first three months
- An additional 25,000 bonus points if you charge $6,000 in purchases within the first six months
- Receive a free night once you earn 5,000 points
- Get one complimentary night at a category 1-4 Hyatt property following your cardmember anniversary
- Get two free night credits each time you make $5,000 in purchases
- Receive 2 bonus points for every $1 spent at participating restaurants, airlines, gym memberships, and transportation
The World of Hyatt card comes with a $95 annual fee. However, cardholders who earn the maximum 50,000 bonus points within the allotted amount of time qualify for 10 free nights at a category 1 Hyatt property.
That’s a ton of perks and an amazing signup bonus for a reasonable annual fee. I’d definitely get this card if I stayed at Hyatt regularly.
3. Capital One Savor
Travel is great, but what if you just want a credit card that gives you cash back on purchases?
If you still want a signup bonus, that won’t be easy. Many cash back cards don’t offer signup bonuses, they only have their standard cash back rewards.
Capital One Savor is one of the exceptions and is a great card on its own.
You’ll get a $300 cash bonus when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. Not bad.
For the cash back rewards, you’ll get 4% on entertainment and dining, 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else.
If you’re looking to get a second card and boost your rewards, this is a perfect option. Use it for dining, entertainment, and groceries, then use your main card for everything else. Extra rewards and still really easy to follow.
All for an annual fee of $95 which is waived for the first year.
4. Platinum Credit Card from American Express
The most well-known, well-respected, and perks-packed card for luxury travelers.
It comes with a 60,000 points bonus after you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months.
As for other perks, there’s plenty:
- Uber VIP status and $200 of credits each year.
- 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Access to Centurion lounges, some of the best lounges available.
- Get free upgrades and perks at hotels through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit for purchases made with airlines (excluding tickets) at one qualifying airline.
- $100 in statement credits each year at Saks Fifth Avenue.
The annual fee is one of the highest at $550. If you make full use of the statement credits, you’ll only pay $50 each year. That’s a great deal for the other perks.
5. Amex Blue Cash Preferred
This is my other favorite cash back card with a great signup bonus. You get a $250 back if you spend only $1,000 in the first 3 months. This is a really low spending requirement for a signup bonus. If you’re on a tight budget and want a signup bonus that you can easily hit, go for this card.
It’s a strong cash back card too:
- 6% cash back at US grocery stores on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
- 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
- 3% cash back on transit (taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, etc).
- 3% cash back on gas at U.S. gas stations
- 1% cash back on everything else.
These are some of the highest cash back rates around.
Keep in mind that this card comes with an annual fee of $95. That’s steep for a cash back card. As long as you’re maxing out the grocery benefit and using this card regularly for gas, it’s still worth it.
How Credit Card Signup Bonuses Work
Also known as “welcome offers,” credit card signup bonuses are a way to get you in the door. They know you have a lot of options for credit cards. So they use signup bonuses to sweeten the deal.
Usually, you earn your signup bonus by charging a minimum amount to your card within a certain amount of time. It’s usually $3,000-4,000 within 3 months.
For example, a card might offer 75,000 bonus points, but only if you spend $5,000 in the first three months you have the card. If you spend just $4,500 during this time, you won’t earn the points.
Most signup bonuses are around 60,000 points. Occasionally, they’ll jump to 80,000 or even 100,000 for a short period. If you’ve been looking at a card and see an offer like this, jump on it.
Keep in mind that signup bonuses are temporary. They’ll come and go before you know it. If you were already planning on getting the card, it’s like getting free money. But if a signup bonus convinces you to get a subpar card that you’re stuck paying an annual fee on, you’ll easily pay more in fees than you got as a signup bonus.
And never stretch your spending further than you can comfortably pay off every month. Keeping a balance will negate any points or bonuses you get. Pay off your card in full every month, even during the signup period.
How to Choose The Best Credit Card Signup Bonus
Credit card signup bonuses can be a great way to earn valuable rewards, but it’s important to do your homework. Here are three things to consider.
1. Start With Cards You Really Want
Whenever I’m looking at a new card, I always start by creating a short-list of cards that would help me on an ongoing basis.
It should help me maximize rewards, get me access to new perks, or upgrade a previous card.
I factor in signup bonuses last.
This ensures that the card will fit nicely into my overall financial system and habits.
2. Check for Special Promotions
For your list of cards that you’re considering, check the signup bonuses for all of them. If I found a special promotion, I might change the order that I’m planning on getting my cards.
Let’s say I was considering an Alaska Airlines card and a Hilton card to get more perks while traveling. If Alaska was offering an elevated signup bonus, I’d probably get that card before I worried about getting the Hilton card. Or vice versa if Hilton offered an amazing signup bonus.
As a general rule, any signup bonus over 60,000 points should be considered.
3. Check Your Spending
Once you have a card and signup bonus picked out, check your spending. Can you easily pay your card off each month while going for the signup bonus?
If you hit the bonus and then carry a balance, the lender always gets the better deal. It only works in your favor if you pay off the card in full every month. Then it’s free money.
I like to break the signup bonus into monthly chunks, that tells me if it’s within my normal spending. For example, if I regularly spend about $1,000 on my credit card each month, I know I can easily handle a $3,000 spending requirement within 3 months to get a bonus. But a $4,000 spending requirement in the same timeframe would be tight.
One way to hit the spending limit more easily is to plan a larger purchase around the credit card. If you saved up for the purchase and were already planning on it, you can easily hit the spending requirement without stretching your budget. Computers, mattresses, furniture, and electronics are all great options.
If your budget looks good, get the credit card.
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