How signup offers work
Credit card signup bonuses come in a variety of flavors, including cash back, statement credits (which you can apply to almost any purchase on your card, depending upon the terms and conditions), and travel rewards. But regardless of the type of reward, all signup bonuses work in a similar fashion.
Here are a few signup bonus fundamentals you should consider as you choose the one that benefits you the most:
- Signup bonuses usually have a minimum spending requirement. The majority of credit card signup bonus offers require that you hit a minimum spending requirement within a fixed amount of time after opening the account (usually three months). For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card awards 50,000 bonus points to cardholders who spend at least $4,000 within the first three months.
- You may have to pay an annual fee. A really generous signup bonus is often indicative of an annual fee — the fee you have to pay each year to maintain your account. These fees range anywhere from around $50 to $450, but they are oftentimes waived for the first year. If you’re considering a card with a fee, make sure to evaluate how paying the annual fee could impact the benefit of your signup bonus.
- There may be additional terms and conditions. On top of the minimum spending requirement (and possible fee), you might have to perform other specific tasks to qualify for your signup bonus. For example, certain co-branded hotel loyalty credit cards might require that you sign up for the loyalty program before you can begin to earn your bonus.
Best credit card signup bonus offers for 2018
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card : Best overall
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express : Best for families
- The Platinum Card® from American Express : Best for luxury travelers
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express : Best hotel card
- Chase Freedom® : Easy-to-earn signup bonus
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card : Flexible travel rewards
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card : Best business card
- SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express : Flexible cash back business rewards