This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the offers you see on the page are from our partners like Citi and American Express, but our coverage is always independent. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

The best credit card welcome offers available now:

If you want to earn points, miles, or cash back, the quickest option is signing up for a rewards credit card and earning its intro bonus. This typically requires meeting a minimum spending requirement in the first three months or 90 days, and it’s well worth it — you’ll be rewarded with thousands of points or miles to put toward your next trip, or with a sizeable amount of cash back. 

There’s more good news: Several of our favorite travel cards are offering record-high welcome bonuses, so it’s a great time to apply.

Amex Gold Card

Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Featured Reward

60,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 6 months of account opening

Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
    • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • Annual Fee is $250.
    • Terms Apply.
    Pros
    • Great rewards for dining and for shopping at US supermarkets
    • Monthly statement credit for eligible dining purchases recoups some of the annual fee
    Cons
    • Underwhelming welcome bonus


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    The Amex Gold Card is one of our favorite rewards cards, especially for dining. You’ll earn 4x points at restaurants worldwide and up to $120 in annual dining credits that you can use at select restaurants and on Grubhub and Seamless.

    The card hasn’t always offered a standout welcome bonus (previously it was just 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after new cardholders spend $4,000 in the first three months), but it’s recently increased the intro offer to 60,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 6 months of account opening. Considering you can transfer your Amex points to nearly two dozen travel partners, 60,000 points can unlock lots of options for flights or hotel stays.

    Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

    Regular APR

    17.24% to 24.49% variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Annual Fee: $95
    • Sign-Up Bonus: 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
    Pros
    • Annual fee waived the first year
    • No bonus categories to keep track of
    • Includes up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
    Cons
    • Other credit cards offer higher rewards in certain categories of spending


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    Welcome offer: Up to 100,000 miles — 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months from account opening, and another 100,000 miles after you spend $20,000 or more in the first 12 months from account opening

    The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has consistently added benefits over the last few years. While previously you could only use miles to erase purchases on your statement, you can now transfer them to a variety of airline programs, including Air Canada, Air France/KLM and Etihad. There are occasionally transfer bonuses that help you stretch your miles further, too.

    This card offers a strong lineup of benefits considering the reasonable $95 annual fee. You get an application fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and earn 2x miles on all purchases.

    Chase Sapphire Preferred

    Regular APR

    15.99%-22.99% Variable

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • 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®
    • 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.
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
    • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
    • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
    Pros
    • High sign-up bonus starts you off with lots of points
    • Strong travel coverage
    Cons
    • Doesn’t offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit or any other statement credit benefits


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    If you want a rewards credit card with points that can be used with a variety of travel partners, you can’t go wrong with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It’s one of the best general credit card picks if you’re new to the world of points and miles or if you don’t want to pay the $550 annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, as the Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee.

    The card offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points, and you can use those points to book travel directly through Chase, or you can transfer them to partners like British Airways, Hyatt, Singapore Airlines, and United. 

    Chase Freedom Unlimited®

    Regular APR

    14.99%–23.74% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
    • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
    Pros
    • Solid flat cash-back rate
    • You can combine cash-back rewards with Ultimate Rewards points if you have an eligible card
    • No annual fee
    Cons
    • Some other cards offer a higher rate of cash back on certain types of purchases


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the best cash-back cards you can get, and it now offers one of the intro bonuses. Beyond the standard $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, new cardholders can now earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores in their first account year.

    That makes this card one of the best credit cards for grocery purchases — for those lucky enough to be able to take advantage of this offer. Outside of the grocery bonus, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on most purchase you make (the Freedom Unlimited also recently started offering bonus cash back on eligible travel, grocery, and drugstore purchases).

    You can even pair the Freedom Unlimited with one of Chase’s more premium cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and you’ll be able to redeem the rewards from the Freedom Unlimited for travel with transfer partners like Hyatt, Marriott, United, and Singapore Airlines.

    Chase Freedom Flex

    Regular APR

    14.99% – 23.74%

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 billing cycles

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
    • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee.
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
    Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Generous bonus cash-back categories
    • Great welcome bonus
    Cons
    • Booking through Ultimate Rewards portal can restrict outside earning potential
    • Varying percentages and rotating calendar categories require extra attention
    • 3% foreign transaction fees

    The Chase Freedom Flex℠ recently replaced the Chase Freedom card in Chase’s lineup of cash-back cards, and it’s offering the same great sign-up bonus as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. You’ll get a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, plus 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) made in your first year.

    There are other reasons to consider this card, though. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ has no annual fee and earns 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories after activation (on up to $1,500 spent per quarter, then 1%), 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1% back on everything else.

    United℠ Explorer Card

    Annual Fee

    $95, waived first year

    Regular APR

    16.49% to 23.49% Variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open (plus, an additional 10k bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months)

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • 60k bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10k bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months.
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays, and on United purchases
    • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck™ fee credit
    • 25% back on United inflight purchases
    • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip) when you use your card to purchase your ticket
    • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and eligible delivery services including GrubHub, Caviar, Seamless and DoorDash
    Pros
    • Annual fee is waived the first year
    • Earns bonus miles on several purchase categories, including restaurants
    • Includes an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
    • Gets you a free checked bag on United when you pay with the card
    Cons
    • Not the most rewarding card for most non-United travel purchases


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    The United℠ Explorer Card is a great option if you fly United a few times a year, as it offers a free checked bag, 25% off inflight purchases, and two one-time United Club passes. There’s a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year.

    Until January 13, 2021, new cardholders can get a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open (plus, an additional 10k bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months). This is a significant step up from the card’s standard bonus of 40,000 United MileagePlus miles (after you spend $2,000 in the first three months).

    Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    Annual Fee

    Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020

    Regular APR

    13.99% to 23.99% variable APR

    Featured Reward

    $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 6 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Limited Time Offer: Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
    • Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
    • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
    • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
    • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
    • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
    • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.
    • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
    • Terms Apply.
    Pros
    • Generous bonus rewards, especially at US supermarkets
    • One of a small handful of credit cards that offer bonus rewards on select streaming services
    • Intro APR offer
    Cons
    • Unlike many other cash-back cards, it charges an annual fee
    • If you spend more than $6,000 at US supermarkets each year, you’ll want to use another card once you reach that cap


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of our favorite cash-back cards, and it’s currently sweetening the pot for new cardholders. If you apply by December 10, the annual fee is $95 (waived the first year if you apply by 12/10/2020) and you can get a welcome bonus of a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 6 months from account opening.

    United Club℠ Infinite Card

    The United Club Infinite was released earlier this year to replace the discontinued United Club Card. It offers full membership to United Club airport lounges, so both you and your eligible travel companions can have a comfortable place to relax before a flight. 

    Before this new 100,000-mile sign-up bonus launched, the card’s $525 annual fee was being waived for the first year. But 100,000 miles can easily be worth more than $525, especially if you redeem them for a business- or first-class flight.

    Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

    Regular APR

    15.99%–22.99% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
    • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
    • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
    • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable, and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
    • Inflight WiFi Credits.
    • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit.
    • Employee cards at no additional cost, earn points on employee spending.
    Pros
    • Generous sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points
    • 3x bonus points on Southwest purchases
    • Valuable Southwest perks including four upgraded boardings per year, in-flight Wi-Fi credits, and 9,000 points each year on your anniversary
    Cons
    • $199 annual fee is on the high side


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    Southwest’s premium business card is running an elevated bonus, and if you can earn the full 100,000 points, you’ll have plenty of rewards for booking flights — and you’ll earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

    The Companion Pass gets you two-for-one travel (your companion only has to pay taxes and fees), and you need to earn 125,000 qualifying points in a year to earn it. You’ll meet that requirement if you earn the full 100,000-point bonus (since you’ll earn at least 1 point per dollar on the $25,000 in required spending), so this offer could potentially be a great deal.

    The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers an application fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, plus four upgraded boardings on Southwest per year and in-flight Wi-Fi credits. 

    IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

    Annual Fee

    $89 (waived the first year)

    Regular APR

    15.99% – 22.99% Variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
    • Enjoy a Reward Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
    • Earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
    • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
    • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
    • IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
    Pros
    • Anniversary reward night can be worth more than the annual fee
    Cons
    • Could offer better rewards on non-IHG purchases


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card just launched an extra-high welcome bonus of 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, which can score you up to 14 award nights at IHG hotels (since redemptions start at 10,000 points per night).

    The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card comes with an $89 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year — making it extra valuable to new cardholders looking to save on upcoming hotel stays.

    The Platinum Card® from American Express

    Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

    Featured Reward

    75,000 points after you spend at least $5,000 in your first 6 months of account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
    • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
    • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
    • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
    • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
    • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
    • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
    • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
    • $550 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.
    Pros
    • Long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott
    • Annual statement credits with Saks and Uber
    Cons
    • Bonus categories leave something to be desired
    • One of the highest annual fees among premium travel cards


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    If you travel frequently and can put its many, many benefits to use, the Amex Platinum can be an easy decision even with its annual fee. See how Business Insider’s David Slotnick got more than $2,000 in value from the card in his first year for more info.

    Of course, no one’s traveling right now due to the coronavirus, but it could still be worth getting the Platinum Card, especially because American Express has added some limited-time benefits to its cards, including up to $320 in statement credits for select streaming services and wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers (up to $20 each month from May to December) on the Amex Platinum. 

    Some of the card’s top perks include a 5x earning rate on airfare purchased directly from the airline, up to $200 in airline fee credits each calendar year, up to $200 in Uber credits each cardmember year, and up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credits each calendar year. The card also stands out for its airport lounge access benefits. Note: Starting January 1, 2021, the 5X points will apply up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. (Note: New Platinum Card® cardmembers can earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months of card membership).

    You can use the Amex Membership Rewards points you’ll earn with this card to book travel with airlines like British Airways, Delta, and Emirates, and with hotel partners including Marriott.

    Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

    Regular APR

    15.99%–20.99% variable APR

    Featured Reward

    100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
    • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn
    • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don’t expire as long as your account is open
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Employee cards at no additional cost
    • $95 Annual Fee
    Pros
    • High sign-up bonus
    • Offers 3x bonus points on several spending categories, including travel and advertising purchases
    • Includes comprehensive travel coverage
    Cons
    • Welcome bonus has a very high minimum spending requirement


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers the highest sign-up bonus among Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. Plus, it has generous bonus categories — you’ll earn 3 points per dollar in the first $150,000 in combined purchases you make on categories including travel, shipping, and advertising (and 1 point per dollar on everything else).

    This card has a $95 annual fee, and it offers benefits like primary rental car insurance when you’re renting a car for business purposes.

    Citi Premier® Card

    Regular APR

    15.99% – 23.99% variable APR based on your creditworthiness

    Featured Reward

    60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
    • New! Earn 3 Points at Restaurants and Supermarkets
    • Earn 3 Points at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
    • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • New! Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
    • 60,000 Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
    • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
    Pros
    • Strong welcome bonus
    • Generous bonus categories
    Cons
    • Doesn’t offer much in the way of statement credits or other perks
    • Citi ThankYou Rewards may not be as convenient as other points for US-based travelers

    Welcome offer: 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening

    Annual fee: $95

    In addition to offering a very solid sign-up bonus, the Citi Premier card stands out for its recently added bonus categories, including 3 points per dollar at restaurants and supermarkets. This makes the card a great option for maximizing your everyday purchases, because everyone has to eat.

    The Citi Premier also added a hotel savings benefit. This perk will save you $100 once per calendar year when book a hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through thankyou.com.

    Why earn credit card rewards in the middle of a pandemic?

    With travel on hold due to the pandemic, now may seem like an odd time to open a travel rewards credit card, but earning a sign-up bonus now can put you in a great position to use points and miles for your next vacation, whenever that may be. 

    Plus, in addition to allowing extra time to earn a welcome bonus, issuers like American Express and Capital One are offering additional benefits tailored to life in quarantine, including new bonus categories for earning rewards and the option touse Capital One miles to cover food delivery and streaming services. And many issuers are extending the time you have to earn a welcome bonus — in most cases, from three to six months.

    Before you apply for a new credit card, make sure you understand how credit card applications affect your credit score. Also make sure you treat your credit cards like debit cards, only spending what you can afford to pay back each month. If you carry a balance to earn rewards, you’ll be putting yourself in a bad financial position — and the interest fees you’ll rack up will easily outweigh any points or miles you earn.

    FAQ

    What is a sign-up bonus?

    A sign-up bonus, also known as a welcome bonus or intro offer, is a reward of points, miles, or cash back for new cardholders who meet designated requirements. Usually, these requirements involve meeting a minimum spending threshold within the first three months after you open your new credit card account.

    Do credit card sign-up bonuses change?

    Some credit cards almost always have the exact same sign-up bonus, while others change frequently. If you’re considering opening a new rewards credit card, do your research to see whether the card you want has previously offered a higher bonus. If it has, it could be worth waiting until that elevated offer returns, or you may even be able to find that higher offer through the credit card issuer’s website.

    What is the best credit card sign-up bonus?

    There isn’t one single best sign-up bonus, because even if one card offers more points, not all points and miles are valued equally. There are also different types of credit card rewards: points, miles, and cash back, so the best sign-up bonus for you depends on the rewards you value most.

    How can I use a credit card sign-up bonus?

    There are typically several options for using a credit card sign-up bonus.

    If you earn a cash-back sign-up bonus, you could be able to use it toward a statement credit to reduce your credit card bill, or you could receive the money in check form. With a travel rewards card, you could use your points or miles to book an award trip, or you decide to cash them out for gift cards, money back, or merchandise.

    The exact options depend on the credit card you have and its specific rewards program, but the bottom line is that there are several possibilities for using your sign-up bonus.

    Is a credit card without a sign-up bonus still worth it?

    The short answer is yes. A credit card sign-up bonus can be a great incentive to apply, especially if you’re looking at a card that has an annual fee, but not every good credit card offers an intro bonus. For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card is one of our favorite cash-back credit cards, but it doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus. It could be worth forgoing an intro bonus if that card’s 2% cash back (1% back when you make a purchase, and another 1% back when you pay your bill) appeals to you. 

    For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

    For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

    For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

    LoadingSomething is loading.

    More:

    Personal Finance Insider
    Credit Cards
    Chase Sapphire Reserve
    Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.