Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses of October 2019

Whether you’re looking for miles to help pay for your next vacation, cash back to fund a new purchase or a wealth of points for your rewards cache, our list of best credit card sign-up bonuses has some of the biggest deals you can find. These top cards from our partners are so exceptional that you’ll want to keep them in your wallet long after you've earned and redeemed the welcome offer.

Best sign-up bonuses of October 2019:

Need more information?

Skip down to read our card profiles and expert advice.

Best for hotel spending

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture. Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
Welcome Offer:
50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for travelers

Chase Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rewards Rate:
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
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®
Annual Fee:
$95
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.99% - 24.99% Variable

Card Details

  • 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 & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for everyday spenders

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Welcome Offer:
$150 after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
15.74% - 25.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.74%-25.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.74%-25.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for grocery shoppers

Bank of America Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Bank of America's secure website

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice. Earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Regular APR:
15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Card Details

  • No annual fee
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
  • No expiration on rewards
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for flat-rate cash back

Chase Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Welcome Offer:
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for rewards on small purchases

Citi Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Citi's secure website

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro for 15 months on Purchases
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro for 15 months on Balance Transfers
Regular APR:
15.24% - 25.24% (Variable)

Card Details

  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.24% - 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.24% - 25.24% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best unlimited cash back for business

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Rewards Rate:
Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
Welcome Offer:
Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
18.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for rotating cash back categories

Chase Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom®

Rewards Rate:
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. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
Welcome Offer:
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 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!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.


Author: Barry Bridges


 

Credit card sign-up bonus guide

If getting a great sign-up bonus from your credit card is the name of your game, our experts at Bankrate are here to help. Here’s what you need to know about the best credit card sign-up bonuses of October 2019:

Top picks for best sign-up bonus credit cards

Card Name Best for Sign-up Bonus
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Hotel spending 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Travelers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Everyday spenders $150 cash bonus if you spend $500 in purchases within the first 3 months
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Grocery shoppers $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Flat-rate cash rewards $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
Citi Rewards+℠ Card Everyday use 15,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Flat-rate cash back card for businesses $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Chase Freedom Rotating cash back categories $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Deeper analysis of the top sign-up bonus credit cards

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card – Best for hotel spending

What we love: With the Capital One Venture Rewards card, you’ll get 2X miles for every purchase and 10X miles on thousands of hotels booked and paid for through hotels.com/Venture. As a high-tier travel card, you’ll get perks like Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, flexible redemption at any airline, hotel or rental car service, no foreign transaction fees and more. Plus, there’s a pretty sizeable bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

What we wish were different: Miles have to be redeemed within 90 days of making a travel purchase.

Bottom line: With a modest annual fee of $95 (waived the first year), this is a flexible, highly rewarding card that can help you earn big at hotels wherever you go.

Read the full review and apply on Capital One’s secure website.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Best for travelers

What we love: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best travel cards available with 2X points on travel and dining worldwide and 1X points on everything else, plus no foreign transaction fees. Receive a 60,000-point bonus offer when you spend $4,000 in 3 months, equal to $750 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

What we wish were different: If you don’t travel often, this may not be the card for you. Cash back and gift card redemption rates are less than stellar.

Bottom line: Frequent travelers will gain significant rewards with the Sapphire Preferred.

Read the full review and apply on Chase’s secure website.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card – Best for everyday spenders

What we love: If you don’t enjoy keeping track of rotating bonus categories, you’ll love an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with the Capital One Quicksilver Card. There’s no annual fee, and you’ll receive a reasonable $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 in your first 3 months of account opening. Those who frequently travel abroad will appreciate the lack of foreign transaction fees.

What we wish were different: If you’re looking to transfer debt, there’s a balance transfer fee equal to 3% of the amount being transferred for balance transfers made within the promotional APR period. For balance transfers completed after the promotional period, there is no balance transfer fee.

Bottom line: For a no annual fee cash back card, the Capital One Quicksilver scores pretty high for everyday simplicity and a nice cash back sign-up bonus.

Read the full review and apply on Capital One’s secure website.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card – Best for grocery shoppers

What we love: Get 3% cash back in your category of choice (there are 6 to choose from) on the first $2,500 you spend each quarter, 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (also up to the same $2,500 in combined purchases) and unlimited 1% back on every other purchase. Even more, this is a no annual fee card and you’ll get a $200 cash bonus after spending just $1,000 in your first 90 days.

What we wish were different: A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.

Bottom line: If your dream is to be in control of where you earn your rewards, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card is a great choice.

Read the full review and apply on Bank of America’s secure website.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® – Best for flat-rate cash back

What we love: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases. Redeeming your rewards is very easy.

What we wish were different: The 3% foreign transaction fee diminishes its usefulness for overseas travel.

Bottom line: The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a strong choice for a no annual fee rewards card, especially if you’re into simplicity.

Read the full review and apply on Chase’s secure website.

Citi Rewards+℠ Card – Best for rewards on small purchases

What we love: The Citi Rewards+ Card offers 2x ThankYou Points at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year) and 1x ThankYou Points on everything else. You won’t be charged an annual fee, and Citi rounds up your rewards to the nearest 10 points on each purchase (making your $2 coffee worth 10 points). Plus, get a 15,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $1,000 in three months.

What we wish were different: ThankYou Points earned with the Citi Rewards+ Card are considered basic. That means you’ll have less flexibility in terms of point redemption or transferring.

Bottom line: The no annual fee aspect of this card is where its value lies. To get the most out of the card, you could pair it with the Citi Prestige® Card.

Read the full review and apply on Citi’s secure website.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business – Best unlimited cash back for business

What we love: You’ll earn an unlimited 2% cash back on all spending with the Capital One Spark Cash for Business. There’s a one-time $500 cash bonus when you spend $4,500 within three months of account opening and you’ll receive perks like free employee cards, auto damage and collision protection, emergency and travel assistance services and more.

What we wish were different: Unlike similar small business cards, the Spark Cash for Business doesn’t offer an introductory APR period.

Bottom line: This is one of the best business rewards cards on the market. Better yet, employee cards will earn the same cash back rate (deposited into the main cardholder’s account).

Read the full review and apply on Capital One’s secure website.

Chase Freedom® – Best for rotating cash back categories

What we love: You’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, plus a $150 cash back bonus when you spend at least $500 within the first three months of card ownership.

What we wish were different: If you forget to activate your 5% bonus category, you’ll earn 1% cash back for the quarter.

Bottom line: For a no annual fee rewards card, the Chase Freedom is a great pick. There’s a lot of redemption flexibility, too – redeem for cash-back deposit, statement credit or transfer your rewards to an eligible Chase card.

Read the full review and apply on Chase’s secure website.

What are sign-up bonus credit cards and how do they work?

A sign-up bonus is a one-time credit card rewards bonus earned from hitting a certain spending threshold within an allotted amount of time. Most sign-up bonuses have spending thresholds that need to be met within 3 months of account opening. Then, the bonus is received 2 to 3 billing cycles after the threshold is met.

You’ll normally get the most bang for your buck from a sign-up bonus offering points or miles rather than cash back. Here are the 3 categories sign-up bonuses can fall under:

Points

With a sign-up bonus offering points, you’ll usually see a range as low as 10,000 and as high as 100,000 points after meeting the qualifying spend.

Miles

Sign-up bonuses involving miles usually run between 20,000 and 100,000 miles and may require $5,000 or more in purchases within several months of account opening.

With most cards, you’re able to redeem your miles for cash back, gift cards, merchandise and more, but it is typically more advantageous to use for travel rewards.

Cash back

Cash-back sign-up bonuses tend to waver between $100 and $500, depending on the card, and are great in terms of convenience. In order to receive your cash back bonus, you usually have to spend between $500 and $3,000 within 3 months.

How to choose the best sign-up bonus

Sign-up bonuses are great, but it’s important to make sure you’ll still receive value from the card when the bonus is earned and gone. Know how and where you spend money, have a solid budget in mind and take your credit score into account when searching for the perfect sign-up bonus.

Know your spending patterns

What do you spend the most on? Where? Having a good idea of your spending patterns is important when looking into new credit cards. The worst situation you could get yourself into would be applying for a card that you can’t afford. For example, if you don’t spend much on travel, it doesn’t make sense to get a co-branded airline card that offers miles as a sign-up bonus.

Don’t overspend – know your budget

It’s crucial to have a full understanding of your budget and what you can reasonably afford to spend with a credit card. Sign-up bonuses can be tempting, but always make sure you can afford the minimum spending requirement that comes with it.

Consider your credit score

Credit card applications require a hard credit check, which has a direct and temporary impact on your credit score. That means if you apply for a credit card that requires a higher credit score than you have, you could ding your credit score while being denied.

In order to minimize the chance of your application being denied, always do your research before applying. Each credit card lists the credit score required to qualify, or just check Bankrate credit card reviews for the information.

Make sure to take advantage of any pre-qualification checks a credit card issuer may offer. These checks won’t guarantee your qualification for a card, but it’s a good precautionary step.

Which credit card has the best sign-up bonus?

The best credit card sign-up bonus for you depends on a few factors:

  1. What type of rewards you’d like to earn (i.e., cash back, points, miles)
  2. The rewards structure of the card
  3. Whether or not you can afford to meet the qualifying spend of the sign-up bonus

If you’re most interested in earning a cash back bonus and usually spend $500 a month on your card, look for a cash back sign-up bonus with a $1,500 or less qualifying spend.

How to maximize your sign-up bonus

In order to maximize your card’s sign-up bonus, it’s important to know if your issuer offers the chance to boost your rewards value.

Travel and shopping portals

Did you know you can boost the value of your sign-up bonus by using a travel or shopping portal? Some credit card companies offer the chance to boost the value of your rewards by redeeming through the issuer’s portal.

Who offers these programs?

Pretty much every bank has their own travel or shopping portal. For example, Chase‘s travel portal is called Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel. Citi also offers a 25% bonus on airfare travel booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center.

How do these programs work?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example, offers a 60,000-point bonus when you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months. And when redeeming your bonus, you’ll get a 25% boost in redemption value through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. That means your sign-up bonus, which started out with a value of $600, would be worth $750 when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal.

When is it best not to get a sign-up bonus credit card?

Just because a card doesn’t offer a traditional sign-up bonus doesn’t mean it’s of lesser value. In fact, some cards offer an alternative incentive. For example, in lieu of a sign-up bonus, the Discover it® Cash Back card will automatically match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Further, cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card reward you as you pay off your purchases. With the Double Cash, you’ll earn 2% back for each dollar you spend — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off.

Starter credit cards like the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card typically don’t offer sign-up bonuses and instead will offer perks like no annual fee. These cards can help you to build your credit and sway you away from spending more than you can afford.

Additional reviews and research

For more information on the best sign-up bonus credit cards for summer 2019, read our expert reviews for individual cards.


Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and other personal finance products since 2017. Before joining Bankrate, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to bbridges@bankrate.com.

Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.