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The Best Credit Cards in August

Advertiser Disclosure: Most products in our articles are from partners who may provide us with compensation. However, opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain.

Whether you’re looking for a premium card or a credit card that offers everyday perks like purchase protections or statement credits for rideshares, you’ll find a good fit from our partners below.

Look for a good match for your spending habits when choosing your next card, and be sure to factor in the welcome offers. They could easily net you hundreds of extra dollars in cash back or travel rewards.

Best Bonus Offer

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 80,000 ThankYou Points
APR: Variable APR Between 18.24% – 26.24%
Rewards Rate: 1X-3X ThankYou Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: This card features a 18.24% – 26.24% variable APR based on creditworthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 3x ThankYou Points per $1 spent at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, air travel and hotels. Beyond that, the card awards 1x ThankYou Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: New account holders can earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want to maximize rewards in multiple spending categories and welcome transferring points to airline partners.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier Card, from our partner Citi, is worth considering if you’re looking for accelerated travel rewards, but don’t want to pay a huge annual fee. It earns 3X points per dollar on air travel, hotels and spending at gas stations. You’ll also earn 3X points per dollar at supermarkets and restaurants and 1X point on everything else.

It’s easy to quickly rack up lots of points on this card. While you can redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, you’ll get more value when you redeem points for flights and hotels, and potentially even better value when you transfer points to travel partners.

Citi has dramatically improved the ThankYou Rewards program in recent years as well as the cards that earn those points, especially the Citi Premier Card. To compete with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi has onboarded new airline partners like Avianca LifeMiles and JetBlue TrueBlue.

Best All-Around Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 60,000 Points
APR: Variable Rate
Rewards Rate: 1X-5X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Sign-Up Bonus: New applicants can earn 60,000 bonus points after using their card to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That’s $750 when redeeming points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who are beginning with travel rewards cards.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred actually works like having over a dozen different rewards credit cards. That’s because this credit card allows you to transfer your rewards points into miles with 11 airlines and points with three hotel programs.

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred might not be ideal for the most frequent travelers and highest spenders, it’s part of a family of Chase cards that has a built-in upgrade path. So when it comes time to take your travel rewards game to the next level, you won’t have to start from scratch with an entirely different credit card and rewards program.

The card has a $95 annual fee, but the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit effectively reduces that fee to $45. Plus, the credit card allows you to continue earning points through bonus categories and a 10% anniversary points boost. But when it comes time to redeem your rewards for travel, this card really shines. You can take advantage of some really strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt. Similarly, you can just book any reservation you want through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center.

Best Cash Back Card

Offer Details
CITI Custom Cash card art

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: $200
APR: Variable APR Between 16.24% – 26.24% After Intro 0% APR Period
Rewards Rate: 5% Back in Top Eligible Spend Category
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: New cardholders can enjoy an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be based on your creditworthiness. Note that there is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5% of the transfer, whichever is greater. Furthermore, balance transfers need to occur during the first four months of account opening.

Once the no-interest offer concludes, a variable APR between 16.24% – 26.24%, based on credit worthiness, will apply to all balances.

APR: After the intro 0% APR offer concludes, a variable APR will apply.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want flexibility in their spending rewards.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

The Citi Custom Cash Card, from our partner Citi, has a novel approach to rewarding spending. The credit card offers an impressive 5% cash back on purchases made in your top eligible spending category each month, up to $500 spent per month — no activation required. After that, you’ll earn just 1% back on every purchase because that’s the base rewards rate.

The list of eligible bonus categories includes restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel and transit, select streaming services, drug stores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.

Cardholders can redeem their ThankYou Points for cash back as a direct deposit, statement credit or check. Alternatively, they can redeem their points for gift cards, travel and online shopping via Amazon.com. The ThankYou rewards program also partners with a number of airlines, both domestic and international, and you can transfer your points to these frequent flyer programs.

Our Picks for Best Credit Cards in August
Best All-Around Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Bonus Offer: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
Annual Fee: $95
Best No Annual Fee Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card
Bonus Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on purchases (up to $20,000 spent) in the first year
Annual Fee: $0
Best Business Cash Back Card
Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Card
Bonus Offer: Earn $750 after spending $7,500 in the first 3 months of account opening
Annual Fee: $0
Best 0% Intro APR Period
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Bonus Offer: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
Annual Fee: $0 | Rates and Fees
Best Cash Back Card
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
Bonus Offer: Earn $200 after spending $750 in the first 3 months of account opening
Annual Fee: $0
Best Bonus Offer
Citi Premier® Card
Bonus Offer: Earn 80,000 ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
Annual Fee: $95

>>Review the methodology our finance experts use to evaluate the best credit card sign-up offers from our credit card partners, or skip to most the frequently asked questions about credit card bonuses.

Best Credit Cards in August 2022

Credit card issuers often incentivize new customers with sign-up bonuses that can be worth hundreds of dollars in cash-back or travel rewards. In addition to annual fees and benefits, many cards are judged on the value of their one-time bonuses. However, it’s important to weigh the long-term value of a card as well, and decide which one best suits your spending needs.

Below, you’ll discover the best credit card offers from our partners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 60,000 Points
APR: Variable Rate
Rewards Rate: 1X-5X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Sign-Up Bonus: New applicants can earn 60,000 bonus points after using their card to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That’s $750 when redeeming points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who are beginning with travel rewards cards.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred actually works like having over a dozen different rewards credit cards. That’s because this credit card allows you to transfer your rewards points into miles with 11 airlines and points with three hotel programs.

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred might not be ideal for the most frequent travelers and highest spenders, it’s part of a family of Chase cards that has a built-in upgrade path. So when it comes time to take your travel rewards game to the next level, you won’t have to start from scratch with an entirely different credit card and rewards program.

The card has a $95 annual fee, but the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit effectively reduces that fee to $45. Plus, the credit card allows you to continue earning points through bonus categories and a 10% anniversary points boost. But when it comes time to redeem your rewards for travel, this card really shines. You can take advantage of some really strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt. Similarly, you can just book any reservation you want through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center.

Slickdeals Take: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is at the top of our list of starter travel rewards cards and our choice for the best all-around credit card. Between a digestible $95 annual fee, valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to over a dozen hotel and airline partners, and easy ways to earn points, this is a top card for rewards beginners and experts alike. Rating: 4.5/5

More Details: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the gold standards for earning travel rewards. This travel credit card helps users earn points quickly with accelerated rewards in everyday spending categories like travel and dining.

Cardholders enjoy perks like a $50 annual hotel credit, 10% anniversary point boost and access to the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal.

New cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus points after using their credit card to spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. This bonus is worth $750 in travel reservations booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, but potentially more when transferred to airline and hotel partners. Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.


Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: Extra 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent) in the first year
APR: Variable APR After Intro 0% APR Period
Intro Rewards Rate: 3%-6.5% Cash Back
Standard Rewards Rate: 1.5%-5% Cash Back
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: This card allows new cardholders to save money with an introductory 0% interest rate on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months of account opening.

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Bonus: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000) in the first year of account opening. This bonus is valued at up to $300 in cash back, and increases rewards rates to: 6.5% cash back on travel booked through Chase, 4.5% back on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and drugstore purchases and 3% back on all other purchases.

Rewards Rate: After the bonus 1.5% cash back intro offer period concludes, earn 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% back at drugstores and on dining purchases and 1.5% back on everything else.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? Households that prioritize cash-back rewards for everyday spending and Chase loyalists who are looking to maximize Ultimate Rewards earnings.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

You don’t need excellent credit to get the Chase Freedom Unlimited. In fact, many cardholders report getting approved with good credit. We like that the card offers a high flat rewards rate but also provides accelerated rewards on some common everyday spending categories. You’ll also get access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which allows you to use your cash-back earnings for travel rewards, gift cards and more.

And that sign-up bonus? Adding extra value to everyday spending categories like dining and travel help elevate this card above its competitors. Add the fact that there’s a 0% introductory APR for 15 months, an extra 1.5% cash back bonus during the first year of account holding and no annual fee, and you’ll see why the Chase Freedom Unlimited is among our favorite flat-rate cards.

Slickdeals Take: We like that the card offers a high flat rewards rate but also provides accelerated rewards on some common everyday spending categories. You’ll also get access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which allows you to use your cash-back earnings for travel rewards, gift cards and more. All that and more for a $0 annual fee make it our choice for the best no-annual-fee card. Rating: 4.5/5

More Details: The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a valuable all-around credit card with no annual fee. This cash-back card earns a rewards rate of 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back at drugstores, 3% back on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services and a flat-rate 1.5% back on other purchases. There are no rotating categories to track, caps on how much you can earn or excluded purchase categories.

New cardholders can take advantage of its big sign-up bonus—enjoy an additional 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent) in the first year. This bonus is valued at up to $300 in cash back, and stacks with all the above rewards rates, meaning you can earn up to 6.5% cash back. Read our full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card.


Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: $750
APR: Variable APR After Intro 0% APR Period
Rewards Rate: 1.5% Cash Back
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: New accounts enjoy an introductory 0% APR for purchases during the first 12 months.

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: This card offers 1.5 cents (as 1.5 Ultimate Rewards® points) per dollar spent on all purchases, with no limits.

Sign-Up Bonus: This card offers you $750 in cash back in the form of 75,000 Ultimate Rewards® points after you spend $7,500 on new purchases within three months of account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? This is a valuable card for those who aren’t interested in bonus categories, or for those who are, but want a separate card just for purchases that don’t qualify for a bonus.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Here’s a card that you can use to earn a strong rate of return on all of your business purchases, with no annual fee. The Ink Business Unlimited is technically a cash-back card, but the rewards can be transferred to travel partners when you have another qualifying Chase card that offers this feature. If you want cash back that you can drive back into your business or use for personal expenses, this card could be a great option.

The card has no annual fee but offers an incredible $750 cash bonus after you spend $7,500 in the first three months. You’ll also earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make.

Additionally, if you have some purchases coming up and need some time to pay them off, the card’s 0% APR on purchases for 12 months can help you save a lot on interest. And, if you need employee cards, you can get them at no additional charge.

Slickdeals Take: If you want cash back that you can drive back into your business or use for personal expenses, this card could be a great option. It features 1.5% cash back, no annual fee and a $750 sign-up bonus, making it our best business cash back credit card. Rating: 4/5

More Details: The Ink Business Unlimited credit card is one of the best business rewards credit cards on the market, primarily because of its large upfront bonus. As a new cardholder, you’ll earn $750 in bonus cash after you spend $7,500 in the first three months from account opening.

Ink Unlimited offers a simple flat-rate 1.5% cash back per dollar spent on all purchases. Plus, new accounts can take advantage its introductory 0% interest rate on new purchases made during the first 12 months of account opening. And, if you need employee cards, you can get them at no additional charge. Read our full review of the Ink Unlimited card.


Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus
APR: 17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% variable APR after low intro APR period.
Rewards Rate: 2% cash rewards on purchases
Details: Full Review

Rates and Fees

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: The card offers an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then the regular APR is applied to balances. Balance transfers must be made within the first 120 days of membership to qualify for the introductory 0% APR and 3% fee. After the promotional period, balance transfer fees increase to 5% (minimum of $5).

APR: After the intro low APR offer concludes, 17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% variable APR.

Rewards Rate: The card offers unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: New cardholders earn a one-time $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first three months.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who prioritize simple cash rewards and do not want the hassle of tracking bonus spending categories.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

If you’re a fan of earning cash rewards for your everyday spending, then you need a credit card that rewards you for purchases outside of popular bonus categories like travel, grocery stores and gas stations. With the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card (Rates and Fees), you earn 2% back for every dollar spent without the fuss of tracking specific bonus categories.

Plus, cash rewards do not expire as long as your account remains open. And, you get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card (subject to a $25 deductible).

It’s rare for a 2% rewards card to feature a bonus offer for new cardholders. Additionally, the introductory 0% APR offer for the first 15 months of card ownership will be appealing to households planning on expensive projects like home remodeling or big-ticket purchases like appliances and vehicle repair.

Slickdeals Take: The introductory 0% APR offer for the first 15 months of card ownership is solid, especially when you combine it with the flat 2% cash rewards on all purchases. It’s a simple card to use, has a decent bonus offer and a great 0% interest rate period. Rating: 4/5

More Details: Many rewards credit cards tempt you with bonus rewards for specific purchases, but with the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card (Rates and Fees), you simply receive a 2% cash rewards on purchases. There’s no need to register for anything, and there is no annual fee to carry this credit card in your wallet.

Plus, you now get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card. (subject to a $25 deductible).

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card applicants can earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening. Additionally, new accounts receive a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% variable APR after low intro APR period). Qualifying balance transfers must be made within 120 days of account opening. Read our full review of the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card.


Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Offer Details
CITI Custom Cash card art

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: $200
APR: Variable APR Between 16.24% – 26.24% After Intro 0% APR Period
Rewards Rate: 5% Back in Top Eligible Spend Category
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: New cardholders can enjoy an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be based on your creditworthiness. Note that there is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5% of the transfer, whichever is greater. Furthermore, balance transfers need to occur during the first four months of account opening.

Once the no-interest offer concludes, a variable APR between 16.24% – 26.24%, based on credit worthiness, will apply to all balances.

APR: After the intro 0% APR offer concludes, a variable APR will apply.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want flexibility in their spending rewards.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

The Citi Custom Cash Card, from our partner Citi, has a novel approach to rewarding spending. The credit card offers an impressive 5% cash back on purchases made in your top eligible spending category each month, up to $500 spent per month — no activation required. After that, you’ll earn just 1% back on every purchase because that’s the base rewards rate.

The list of eligible bonus categories includes restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel and transit, select streaming services, drug stores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.

Cardholders can redeem their ThankYou Points for cash back as a direct deposit, statement credit or check. Alternatively, they can redeem their points for gift cards, travel and online shopping via Amazon.com. The ThankYou rewards program also partners with a number of airlines, both domestic and international, and you can transfer your points to these frequent flyer programs.

Slickdeals Take: If you want a card that doesn’t require constant category activation and monitoring to make sure you’re getting the highest cash back percentage, this is a great option. Whatever spending category that has the highest spend (up to $500) in one billing cycle gets 5% cash back. That’s up to $300 per year, and if you get the sign-up bonus you can get up to $500 in cash back your first year. Rating: 4/5

More Details: The Citi Custom Cash Card, from our partner Citi, gives cardholders the chance to earn 5% cash back every month on their top eligible spending category, up to $500 each month — no activation required. This Citi card is technically billed as a cash-back credit card, but you’ll actually earn ThankYou Points, which can be worth more than traditional cash-back rewards.

Citi Custom Cash Card is offering $200 cash back after you spend $750 in the first three months — that’s 20,000 ThankYou Points, which you can redeem for cash back or for a number of other things, including gift cards and travel. Plus, new cardholders can enjoy an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be based on your creditworthiness. Read our full review of the Citi Custom Cash Card.


Citi Premier® Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 80,000 ThankYou Points
APR: Variable APR Between 18.24% – 26.24%
Rewards Rate: 1X-3X ThankYou Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: This card features a 18.24% – 26.24% variable APR based on creditworthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 3x ThankYou Points per $1 spent at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, air travel and hotels. Beyond that, the card awards 1x ThankYou Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: New account holders can earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want to maximize rewards in multiple spending categories and welcome transferring points to airline partners.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier Card, from our partner Citi, is worth considering if you’re looking for accelerated travel rewards, but don’t want to pay a huge annual fee. It earns 3X points per dollar on air travel, hotels and spending at gas stations. You’ll also earn 3X points per dollar at supermarkets and restaurants and 1X point on everything else.

It’s easy to quickly rack up lots of points on this card. While you can redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, you’ll get more value when you redeem points for flights and hotels, and potentially even better value when you transfer points to travel partners.

Citi has dramatically improved the ThankYou Rewards program in recent years as well as the cards that earn those points, especially the Citi Premier Card. To compete with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi has onboarded new airline partners like Avianca LifeMiles and JetBlue TrueBlue.

Slickdeals Take: If you’re looking for a versatile rewards credit card with a generous sign-up bonus and accelerated points earning in diverse spending categories, then this might be the ideal card. In addition, this 80,000-point bonus offer is among the highest out there when it comes to value and availability to the most amount of people. Rating: 4.5/5

More Details: The Citi Premier Card, from our partner Citi, is worth considering if you’re looking for a travel credit card, but don’t want to pay a huge annual fee. The Citi Premier Card offers new cardholders a sign-up bonus of 80,000 ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 during the first three months of account opening.

Additionally, this Citi credit card offers a range of incentives, such as bonus points, gift cards and deals with retail partners. Best of all, you’ll get more value when you redeem points for flights, and potentially even better value when you transfer points to Citi’s travel partners. Read our full review of the Citi Premier Card.


Types of Credit Card Bonus Offers

Credit cards that offer sign-up bonuses will offer them in two different ways, either in cash back or points/miles. Here is the break down of both.

Cash-Back Bonuses

Cash-back bonuses can be more flexible than earning points. Typically, you won’t earn as much cash back as you would point and miles, but it is easier to spend. To redeem your cash-back bonus, just request a statement credit or have the bonus transferred to your bank account.

Points and Miles

Other cards reward you in points or miles. This can turn your bonus into a free vacation. These points/miles usually go farthest when redeeming them for travel. Some cards will allow you to redeem your points/miles for cash, account credit or gift cards, but the conversion rate isn’t always as high. Redeeming points or miles might take a little more legwork since you have to make sure you are redeeming your hard-earned points/miles for top dollar travel plans.

How to Choose a Card with a Sign-Up Bonus

When choosing the best rewards credit card for your budget, look at the sign-on bonuses. Weigh them carefully with the card’s everyday spending rewards — for example, if you are torn between two cards, which one will give you more cash back throughout the year rather than just upfront. Here are a few questions to ask when you are comparing credit cards:

Can you reach the spending threshold? 

This isn’t as simple as just going on a grand shopping spree. Calculate how much you must spend to reach the threshold and if it fits into your budget. Anyone can blow $5,000, but not everyone can afford to do so without digging themselves into debt. Your sign-up bonus will not be worth it when you have a high-interest rate that comes when you carry thousands of dollars of debt.

Is the annual fee worth it? 

If the card comes with an annual fee, weigh the fee against the perks. Cards with smaller annual fees typically come with smaller bonuses, but they also have lower spending minimums to activate the bonus also.

Is this the best offer for a particular card? 

Credit card offers come and go. Try to research other offers the card issuer has promoted within the past calendar year. There is a good chance similar bonuses will occur again.

What is the credit card sign-up bonus really worth? It is also wise to be realistic about how you will use the bonus. If you don’t love to travel, then you will probably take a lower cash value for your bonus — i.e., your 50,000 points might only be worth $350 in cash rather than $500 in travel redemption.

Also, the promised 50,000 points a card might offer might only equate to $500 in perks when redeemed for a specific airline or hotel chain. Make sure to research the card’s bonus redemption options, so you aren’t stuck with a bonus you can’t use.

How to Maximize a Sign-Up Bonus

Once you know which credit card bonus you will be pursuing, it is time to make the most of it. Just a little more effort could land you more bonus points.

Time Your Applications Carefully

Timing is everything when it comes to credit cards. You want to apply when the card has the best offer, and you also want to apply at a time you were planning on spending more money, such as right before Christmas or right before booking a vacation. This will help you reach the spending limit faster. Make sure you have let enough time pass between similar credit card offers. For example, you must wait 24 months to receive another sign-up bonus from a Chase credit card.

Never Overspend

The desire to meet your spending limit might put you in a shopping flurry. Keep track of your spending to make sure you reach the minimum without racking up debt.

Look for Special Offers

Sometimes a card will allow you to add an authorized user for additional points. Other times, you can activate offers on your card to make your spending go even further.

Watch Out for Hidden Fees

Not every retailer lets you swipe your plastic for free. Some purchases will incur a convenience fee. These fees are common for online ticket vendors or third-party companies that allow you to pay your rent with a credit card.

Understand What Counts Toward Your Spending Threshold

Most cards will not count annual fees, transferred balances or cash advances toward the spending threshold. Many cards will also not count gift cards, lottery ticket purchases and similar purchases toward the bonus, either. Read your card’s fine print thoroughly before you spend. When in doubt, a quick chat with your card’s customer service line can help.

Be Careful About Returning Items

Any returns made on your card will not count toward your purchase total. Even if you return an item after you receive your bonus, the issuer can reclaim the bonus if your original purchases did not meet the spending requirements. This is at the discretion of the card issuer. But what if you really hate the sweater you bought? Try returning items in exchange for store credit rather than getting credit back on your card.

How to Compare Bonus Offers

When using a rewards credit card, you are able to earn cash back, points or miles for each dollar you spend. But while it’s always helpful to earn a couple of points with the best travel credit cards on all of your purchases, it’s even better to snag thousands of them at once, thanks to an impressive bonus offer.

Credit card bonuses are frequently available to new cardholders in exchange for meeting certain spending requirements. The best credit card bonus offers are often worth hundreds of dollars (or more), giving you a jump-start on your cash-back earnings and easily canceling out any annual fees your issuer may charge.

Methodology

While the right rewards credit card for you will depend on a number of factors, these are some of our favorites right now that are also offering enviable sign-up bonuses.

We considered a number of factors when choosing these cards, including the value of the bonus, redemption options and whether or not the card charges an annual fee. To help ensure that the card is a great choice for you beyond that initial bonus, we also looked at the benefits included and the rewards rate on future purchases.

With each of these cards shown, you will enjoy either no annual fee or a fee that can easily be recouped with the benefits and/or bonuses offered.

For a more in-depth explanation of our rating methodology, please go here.

Tips to Improve Credit Scores

If you don’t have a strong credit score, you may be wondering what your chances are of getting approved for a card. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say because credit card issuers don’t disclose their eligibility criteria publicly. However, here are some tips for improving your chances of getting your next credit card.

  • Improve your credit score: If your credit score isn’t in great shape, consider working on improving it before you apply for a new account. Check your credit report to see which areas need work and address them as quickly as possible.
  • Apply within your credit range: Rewards credit cards are appealing, but most of them require good or excellent credit (that’s a FICO credit score of 670 or higher). If your credit score isn’t quite there yet, focus on cards that market to people who are working on building their credit.
  • Don’t give up: If you’ve had a credit card application declined recently, it can be easy to take it personally or get discouraged. In some cases, you may be able to call and ask them to reconsider. If they won’t, just because one card issuer denied you, it doesn’t mean all of them will. While it’s best to avoid applying for multiple credit cards in a short period, don’t be afraid to apply again in the future.

As you follow these steps and consider these tips to improve your credit score, you’ll be in a better position to apply for and get the credit card you want to have.

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.