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. The Slickdeals team has done a lot of research for you and have compiled our top picks for credit card bonuses in several categories including rewards credit cards, business credit cards and co-branded airline and hotel credit cards.
|Rewards Cards||Bonus||Spending Requirement||Annual Fee|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card||$200||Spend $500 during the first 3 months of account.||$0|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card||$200||Spend $500 during the first 3 months of account.||$0|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||100,000 points||Spend $4,000 during the first 3 months of account opening.||$95|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®Card||60,000 points||Spend $4,000 during the first 3 months of account opening.||$550|
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card||$200||Spend $1,000 during the first 90 days of account opening.||$0|
|Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card||25,000 Points||Spend $1,000 during the first 90 days of account opening.||$0|
|Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card||50,000 Points||Spend $3,000 during the first 90 days of account opening.||$95|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||75,000 Membership Rewards Points||Make $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.||$550|
|American Express® Gold Card||60,000 Membership Rewards Points||Make $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.||$250|
|American Express® Green Card||30,000 Membership Rewards Points||Make $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.||$150|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||$300||Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on your new Card in your first 6 months.||$95|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||$150||Earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 on your new Card in your first 6 months.||$0|
|American Express Cash Magnet® Card||$150||Earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 on your new Card in your first 6 months.||$0|
|Capital One®VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card||20,000 Miles||Spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.||$0|
|Capital One®Quicksilver® Rewards Credit Card||$200||Spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.||$0|
|Capital One® Savor® Rewards Credit Card||$300||Spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.||$95|
|Capital One® SavorOne® Rewards Credit Card||$200||Spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.||$0|
|Business Cards||Bonus||Spending Requirement||Annual Fee|
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||$750||Spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||$0|
|Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card||$750||Spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||$0|
|Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||100,000 Points||Spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||$95|
|United℠ Business Card||150,000 Miles||Spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.||$99†|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card||Up to 100,000 Points||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.||$199|
†Annual fee waived for the first 12 months.
|Airline and Hotel Cards||Bonus||Spending Requirement||Annual Fee|
|United℠ Explorer Card||70,000 Miles||60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months.||$95†|
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||150,000 Points||Spend $3,000 during the first 3 months of account opening.||$89|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card||40,000 points||Spend $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 months of account opening.||$69|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card||40,000 points||Spend $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 months of account opening.||$99|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card||40,000 points||Spend $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 months of account opening.||$149|
|Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Credit Card||10,000 bonus miles||Spend $500 in purchases in first 3 months of card membership.||$0|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Credit Card||35,000 bonus miles||Spend $1,000 in purchases in first 3 months of card membership.||$99|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Credit Card||40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)||Spend $2,000 in purchases in first 3 months of card membership.||$250|
|Delta SkyMiles Reserve® American Express Credit Card||Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)||Spend $5,000 in purchases in first 3 months of card membership.||$550|
|Hilton Honors Card from American Express||100,000 Hilton Honors points||Spend $1,000 in purchases in first 3 months of card membership.||$0|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||150,000 Hilton Honors points||Spend $3,000 in purchases in first 3 months of card membership.||$95|
† Annual fee waived for the first 12 months.
>>Review the methodology our finance experts use to evaluate the best credit card sign-up offers.
*Jump to most frequently asked questions about credit card bonuses
Best Credit Cards Bonuses in September 2021
Whether you’re looking for a premium platinum card or a card that offers perks like a statement credit for rideshares, take a look at the bonus offers below. They could easily net you hundreds of extra dollars in rewards, perhaps even on money that you planned to spend anyway.
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card
We love that the Chase Freedom Flex® card expands on an already lucrative offering from Chase. The original Chase Freedom® card was already a solid choice for cash-back enthusiasts, and this one raises the bar. As a new cardholder, you’ll earn a $200 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months. Additionally, you’ll get 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. Read our Chase Freedom Flex Card review.
The Chase Freedom Flex® card is an excellent cash-back credit card for people who are looking to maximize rewards. Cardholders can take advantage of 5% cash back on rotating categories when you activate (up to $1,500 each quarter), 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery, 3% back at drugstores and 1% back on other purchases. New cardholders can also take advantage of a 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months with the card. The Chase Freedom Flex offers all of this without any annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is a great all-around card with no annual fee. New cardholders can take advantage of its big $200 sign-up bonus and an introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months. Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited Card review.
You earn 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. Plus, the Freedom Unlimited earns 5% cash back on grocery store purchases up to $12,000 during the first year. However, big box retailers like Walmart and Target are not considered grocery stores and are therefore ineligible for this promotion.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the gold standards for earning travel rewards. New cardmembers can earn 100,000 bonus points after using their card to spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. This is worth $1,250 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.
Additionally, Chase recently made updates to the Sapphire Preferred which give the card even more value than before. Cardholders now enjoy new perks like a $50 annual hotel credit, 10% anniversary point boost and new bonus categories like online groceries (excluding Walmart and Target) and select streaming services.
Sapphire Preferred also allows cardmembers to take advantage of some really strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve sign up bonus rewards new cardholders with 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after they spend $4,000 during the first three months of opening the account. The Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus is worth $900 in travel redemptions when booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve review.
Right off the bat, this card features a $300 annual travel credit. That means the card’s hefty $550 annual fee is effectively just $250 per year for frequent travelers. You also get free access to more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges and restaurant options around the world. Those lounges usually give you free food and drinks, cleaner bathrooms, fast internet and a comfortable place to sit outside of the ruckus of an airport terminal. Throw in perks like a complimentary DashPass, an annual statement credit, no foreign transaction fees and 24/7 customer service through a secure website and it’s easy to see why so many consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve to be a high-value card.
The card offers you 10x points per dollar on hotel stays, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases made using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. You also earn 5x points when booking air travel through Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on all normal travel and dining purchases and 1x on all other purchases. In fact, Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card is among the most popular credit cards for people who want a cash-back card without all the bells and whistles of the more complicated premium cards. Not only does it reward you generously with 3% and 2% cash-back options, it doesn’t have an annual fee and even offers a $200 sign-up bonus once you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of your account opening. If you use this card to make most of your budgeted purchases during that time, there’s a good chance you’ll easily be able to meet that requirement. Read our full review of the Cash Rewards credit card.
One of the primary reasons many folks choose a Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card is its ability to earn cash on regular purchases. You’ll earn 3% cash back in one of the following categories of your choosing: gas stations, online shopping, travel, dining, drug stores and home improvement/ furnishings. Review your spending to see which category takes the biggest chunk of your budget, and choose that as your 3% category. You’ll also get a flat-rate 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. This is a great benefit since many other cash back cards don’t offer a higher cash back tier for wholesale clubs. If you buy in bulk, this card could really help maximize your rewards. You’ll earn the 3% and 2% cash rewards on the first $2,500 combined spending each quarter. All other purchases earn a flat-rate 1% back.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
With the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, you can earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar you spend on the card. You don’t have to worry about rotating categories or purchase limits. Each time you swipe, you earn points that can be redeemed for future travel. And once new cardholders spend $1,000 with their new cards during the first 90 days of account opening, they earn 25,000 bonus points—good for $250 worth of travel expenses. Read our full review of the Travel Rewards credit card.
One of our favorite benefits of the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is the fact that you can easily redeem your points for different travel experiences. You don’t have to worry about blackout dates or special conditions. There’s no need to worry about loyalty to a particular brand, either. Your points are used for a statement credit to pay for travel expenses, including hotels, flights, cruises, vacation packages and rental cars. You can even redeem your points to pay for baggage fees.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Premium credit cards with large annual fees often require a lot of spending to justify paying so much money. The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card has a reasonable $95 annual fee that offers valuable benefits to cardholders. You’ll receive a large 50,000 point sign-up bonus (a $500 value) and earn an unlimited 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases. Plus, earn 2 points for every dollar spent on grocery store purchases, now through December 31, 2021. Additionally, the card awards 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Plus, if you become a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 3.5 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases. Read our full review of the Premium Rewards card.
Airline fees are becoming a way of life as airlines shift to a la carte pricing. The Premium Rewards credit card has you covered when those fees pop up. You will be reimbursed up to $100 in airline incidental fees each year. Fees eligible for reimbursement include nuisance fees like those for checked bags, ticket changes or cancellations. As well as fees for things you actually want to spend money on. This includes preferred seating upgrades, onboard food and beverages, in-flight entertainment and airport lounge access. Additionally, you’ll be reimbursed up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fees (credit available every four years).
Best Business Credit Card Bonuses
You don’t need to be a multimillion dollar entity to qualify for some of the best business credit cards around. There are a myriad of options for organizations all the way from sole proprietors (aka you’re a one-person operation) to ones with multiple employees. Credit cards for businesses can offer you a bunch of perks, including the ability to track your expenses in a much easier way and earning rewards to maximize your purchases. Similarly, the best business credit card bonuses offer cash, points and even travel.
|Card Details||Bonus||Bonus Offer Details||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||$750||Spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||$0||Yes|
|Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card||$750||Spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||$0||Yes|
|Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||100,000 bonus points||Spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||$95||No|
|United℠ Business Card||75,000 bonus miles||Spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.||$99†||No|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card||Up to 100,000 bonus points||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.||$199||No|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card||60,000 bonus points||Spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.||$99||No|
†Annual fee waived for the first 12 months.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
The Ink Business Cash Card is a great option for entrepreneurs of all types. Earn an impressive 5% cash back on select business purchases. These include the first $25,000 you spend each account anniversary year at office supply stores and on phone, cable and internet services. The card also offers 2% cash back on up to $25,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations. You’ll earn 1% cash back on virtually everything else you buy. As a new cardholder, get $750 in bonus cash back when you make $7,500 worth of purchases within the first three months your account is open. Read our full review of the Ink Business Cash.
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. 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 all purchases. The Ink Business Unlimited also doesn’t allow point transfers by itself, but the points can be combined with rewards from other Chase accounts that do allow transfers. It also has travel benefits including an auto rental collision damage waiver, travel and emergency assistance and roadside dispatch. Read our full review of the Ink Business Unlimited.
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
If you’re a business owner who travels a lot for work or pleasure, the Ink Business Preferred is an ideal choice. It offers a whopping 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months. Additionally, with the card’s 25% bonus on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, that’s worth $1,250. It awards 3x points on your first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines on each account’s anniversary year. Plus, 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Read our full review of the Ink Business Preferred.
United℠ Business Card
The United Business Card℠ comes with a bonus offer of up to 150,000 miles. Earn 75,000 miles after spending $5,000 during your first three months of account opening and then an additional 75,000 miles after spending a total of $20,000 in the first six months of membership. Beyond the generous bonus, cardmembers will also receive a $100 annual United travel credit after seven United flight purchases of $100 or more. Earning this extra bonus will make up for the $99 annual fee attached to the card. However, this annual fee is waived for the first year to give you time to decide if the card aligns with your spending and traveling needs. Another perk to highlight is a 5,000 bonus miles each anniversary if you have both this new United Business Card and a personal United card. These new benefits, along with a list of other valuable travel perks, make the United Business Card a near-perfect business credit card for those who travel regularly on United. Read our full review of the United Business Card.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
New account holders can earn up to 100,000 bonus points. Earn 70,000 points after spending $5,000 during the first three months the account is open and an additional 30,000 points for spending $25,000 during the first six months. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is perfect for small business owners who have employees who travel (employee credit cards at no additional cost). It also offers the most generous point rewards structure of any of the Southwest cards: 3x points per dollar spent with Southwest. Let’s not forget the sign-up bonus and the 9,000 cardmember anniversary points you can receive. Plus, you’ll get other benefits like four upgraded boardings per year, free inflight WiFi credits, no foreign transaction fees and credit toward a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application. In other words, these can help you have a much smoother flight, which is helpful if you’re on an important business trip.
Best Airline and Hotel Card Bonuses
Many airlines and hotels co-brand with a credit card issuer like Chase or American Express to offer frequent flyers travel credits, in-flight perks and rewards for eligible purchases.
Even though the popularity of travel credit cards has declined due to COVID-19, many people are applying for cards now to help offset the cost of post-pandemic travel. Stay up-to-date on travel restrictions and best safety practices using the CDC’s official COVID-19 Pandemic Travel page.
If you’re looking for a credit card bonus with an airline who will give you free Wi-Fi or a hotel that will upgrade your stay, then take a look at these limited-time offers.
|Card Details||Bonus||Bonus Offer Details||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fees|
|United℠ Explorer Card||70,000 bonus miles||60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months.||$95†||No|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card||40,000 points||Spend $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 months of account opening.||$69||Yes|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card||40,000 points||Spend $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 months of account opening.||$99||No|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card||40,000 points||Spend $1,000 on purchases during the first 3 months of account opening.||$149||No|
|Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Credit Card||10,000 bonus miles||Spend $500 during the first three months of account opening.||$0||No|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Credit Card||35,000 bonus miles||Spend $1,000 within three months of account opening.||$99||No|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Credit Card||40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)||Spend $2,000 within three months of account opening.||$250||No|
|Delta SkyMiles Reserve® American Express Credit Card||Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs)||Spend $3,000 during the first three months of account opening.||$550||No|
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||150,000 points||Spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.||$89||No|
|Hilton Honors Card from American Express||100,000 Hilton Honors points||Spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.||$0||No|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||150,000 Hilton Honors points||Spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.||$95||No|
† Annual fee waived for the first year of card membership.
United℠ Explorer Card
The best airline credit card for you is likely the card offered by the airline you fly with most. For total value, the United℠ Explorer Card is tough to beat. It offers 70,000 bonus United MileagePlus Miles. This bonus is tiered, which means you can earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months. United MileagePlus Miles can be used for United flights, as well as with partner airlines, upgrades, hotel accommodations, car rentals, gift cards and more. Read our full review of the United Explorer Card.
Perks like free checked bags and lounge passes can more than compensate for its $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. The cardholder and a companion can get one free checked bag each way. Use that once per calendar year for a roundtrip flight and you’ve already saved $140 with the card, more than the annual cost. Additionally, the United Explorer Card awards 2X miles per dollar spent on United purchases, at restaurants and eligible delivery services including GrubHub, DoorDash, Seamless and Caviar. You’ll also earn 2X miles per dollar spent on hotel accommodations when booked directly through the hotel and 1X miles on all other purchases.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card is the entry level card for aspiring Rapid Rewards point earners. Above all, for a modest $69 annual fee, the Rapid Rewards Plus credit card helps you rack up points as cheaply as possible. Additionally, our favorite ongoing Rapid Rewards Plus perk is the 3,000 bonus points that are awarded to cardholders on the anniversary of your account opening. It’s an added incentive to retain the card after you’ve earned the one-time sign-up bonus.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
In addition to perks like no foreign transaction fees and being able to earn A-list flight status, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card also offers a generous 6,000 bonus points every cardholder anniversary, which can often be enough to cover the cost of a one-way domestic flight. It’s these types of benefits that help round out the value of the $99 annual fee. Visit our offer page to learn more about this sign-up bonus.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
When you look at benefits like a $75 annual travel credit, four upgraded boardings each year, free checked bags and discounts on in-flight purchases, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority is probably the most affordable of all the Southwest credit cards. Similarly, the 7,500 bonus points each cardmember anniversary really pack on the value and offset this card’s $149 annual fee. Our offer page has all of the details on this limited-time offer.
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card comes with an attractive offer. For new cardholders, you can earn a valuable 150,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months from card opening. A sign-up bonus like this can go a long way towards free reward nights at participating IHG hotels around the world, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton, Even Hotels, Indigo Hotels and Holiday Inn. Read our full review of the IHG Rewards Club Premier.
This IHG card is a traveler’s dream, especially if you’re already a loyal IHG customer. The perks accompanying this Chase credit card co-brand are worth way more than the $89 annual fee that comes with it. Rewards earning is incredible for IHG purchases, with 25X points per dollar spent at IHG hotels. You’ll also earn 2X points for fuel, dining and grocery purchases and 1X points for other purchases. The IHG card comes with Platinum Elite Status, a free anniversary night every year and a free rewards night for reward stays four nights or longer. It’s great for international travel because there are no foreign transaction fees.
American Express Credit Card Bonuses
Dollar-for-dollar, many consider American Express to offer the most exciting credit cards on the market. American Express bonuses come in the form of high-value Membership Rewards Points, as well as cash statement credits. Whether you’re looking to enjoy travel credits with their flagship Platinum Card or earn accelerated cash-back earnings at U.S. supermarkets, American Express offers some of the best credit card bonuses.
|Card Details||Welcome Bonus||Welcome Bonus Details||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||75,000 Membership Rewards Points||Make $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.||$550||No|
|American Express® Gold Card||60,000 Membership Rewards Points||Make $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.||$250||No|
|American Express® Green Card||30,000 Membership Rewards Points||Make $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.||$150||No|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||$300||Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on your new Card in your first 6 months.||$95||Yes|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||$150||Earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 on your new Card in your first 6 months.||$0||Yes|
|American Express Cash Magnet® Card||$150||Earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 on your new Card in your first 6 months.||$0||Yes|
*Slickdeals updates American Express credit card offers periodically. These details are accurate as of May 2021.
While American Express offers many co-branded airline and hotel credit cards, its travel rewards and cash back credit cards offer some of the best value you can get. In fact, two of Amex’s flagship credit cards don’t charge an annual fee — that’s the Cash Magnet and the Blue Cash Everyday — and the annual fees for the other cards range from $95 to $550. Of course, you can get enough value from each card to make up for its annual fee.
The Amex Platinum Card carries the largest annual fee of any American Express card. However, despite its hefty annual fee, the Platinum Card is a darling among many rewards-earning enthusiasts.
Similar to the Citi® Double Cash Card, American Express cash rewards credit cards don’t make you fuss with quarterly bonus categories. Instead Amex cards offer accelerated earnings on popular household spending categories like U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.
- The Platinum Card: Earn 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights and pre-paid hotels booked through Amex Travel. Also, the Platinum Card offers 1x point per dollar on all other purchases.
- The Gold Card: Earn 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar on all restaurant purchases worldwide with no limit, 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in annual purchases) and 1x points on all other eligible purchases.
- The Green Card: Earn 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and on travel, which includes flights, hotels, transit, subway swipes, taxis and ridesharing services. This card also offers 1x point per dollar on all other eligible spending.
- Blue Cash Preferred: Get 6% cash back on the first $6,000 spent per calendar year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%), unlimited 6% back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit and 1% back on other purchases.
- Blue Cash Everyday: Earn 3% cash back on the first $6,000 spent per calendar year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% back on other purchases.
- Cash Magnet: Get a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make.
Non-cash back American Express cards offer rewards in the form Membership Rewards points. The value of these points vary according to how you redeem them. But American express currently allows cardmembers to use Membership Rewards points for
- Gift cards
- Statement credits
- Points with transfer partners, including airlines and hotels
- Donations to charity
American Express Membership Rewards points generally range in value between 0.5 cents and 1 cent each, depending on how you redeem them.
Capital One Credit Card Bonuses
|Card Details||Bonus||Spending Requirement||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Card||20,000 bonus miles||Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.||$0||No|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Card||$200||Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.||$0||No|
|Capital One® Savor® Rewards Card||$300||Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.||$95||No|
|Capital One® SavorOne® Rewards Card||$200||Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.||$0||No|
Methodology: How We Picked the Best Credit Card Bonus Offers of 2021
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bonus Offers
What Is a Credit Card Bonus Offer?
Many credit cards will offer a bonus for new cardholders who spend a specific amount in their first three months. This amount varies by card, but typically card with higher sign-on bonuses require users to spend $4,000 to 5,000 in qualifying purchases in their first three months. Balance transfers, cash advances and annual fees will not count toward this bonus minimum. Credit card bonus offers can come in the form of cash back, miles or points. For some cards, the initial point bonus will qualify them for more perks, such as the use of an airline companion pass.
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 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.
Which Credit Cards Give You a Bonus?
Rewards credit cards and branded-travel cards typically have the best sign-up bonuses. Many cards are very similar in the everyday spending rewards they offer. Therefore, they might offer an enticing sign-up bonus to attract more users. Popular cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Platinum Card offer two of the biggest and most valuable bonus offers for frequent travelers.
Look for a rewards credit card that not only gives you an awesome sign-on bonus, but also a card that rewards you for how you spend money. If you don’t spend a lot of money on travel, research cards that offer more rewards back on groceries and gas instead of travel.
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.
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.
Are Bonuses Taxable?
Thankfully, most credit card bonuses are not taxable. As long as you earn your bonus through meeting a spending limit and it’s for a personal account. The same rule applies for any money, points or miles earned through everyday spending.
Individuals using credit card bonuses for business purposes should consult a tax expert to ensure they are claiming bonuses correctly. If a credit card rewards you points, miles or a cash bonus just for signing up, then your bonus would be considered taxable.
How to Compare Bonus Offers
Still not sure about which rewards cards are right for you? We get it. Choosing a credit card that meets your needs is important, which is why Slickdeals’ Credit Card Hub helps you compare the benefits of different cards, search credit cards by rewards categories, and explore cards by their issuers — all to find the best fit for your wallet.
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.
What Is Chase Ultimate Rewards?
If you are excited by the idea of free and discounted travel, then you should know about Chase Ultimate Rewards. Among credit card rewards programs, Chase Ultimate Rewards is considered one of the best.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are a valuable currency you can use to purchase flights, hotels, cruises, vacation rentals, travel activities and more. Chase offers multiple credit cards that earn Chase points with every dollar you spend. They may even come with a sign-up bonus worth tens of thousands of points worth enough for multiple round-trip flights. Read our full review of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program to get started and maximize the value of your Chase rewards.
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.
What Is a Foreign Transaction Fee?
A foreign transaction fee is a charge your credit card issuer imposes anytime you make a transaction with your card in a foreign currency or through a foreign financial institution. In processing these international transactions, your card issuer levies an extra transaction fee at a certain percentage of the amount of your total transaction. This percentage usually falls somewhere between 1% to 3%.
Typically, travel credit cards do not charge a foreign transaction fee as part of the suite of benefits provided to cardholders. However, many cash-back cards, like the Citi Double Cash Card, do charge a foreign transaction fee.
What Is a Balance Transfer Credit Card?
Unlike travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Platinum Card by American Express, a balance transfer card is a credit card specifically focused on encouraging consumers to move their debt. A balance transfer card usually offers a 0% APR for a limited period of time to attract borrowers who are tired of a high interest rate. In many cases, it’s possible to find a balance transfer card that will offer 0% APR on credit card balances for 12, 15, 18 or 21 months.
Generally, your new card issuer pays off your debt with the other creditor and you make payments to your new creditor instead.
Visit Slickdeals guide to the best balance transfer credit cards to see how much money you can save with a zero-interest offer.
What Is a Balance Transfer Fee?
Many credit card issuers charge a fee to handle the process of moving your debt from your old creditor to the new card. It’s common for balance transfer fees to be between 3% and 5% of the amount you transfer. Some creditors might also impose a minimum fee of $5 or $10. This fee is typically added to your credit card balance.
For example, if you transfer $2,000 to your new card, and the balance transfer fee is 5%, you’ll end up paying $100 to move the money. That amount is added to your balance, making it $2,100. However, the interest savings from moving your money could easily make up for your balance transfer fee.