Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses for 2020

Credit card sign-up bonuses can help you earn thousands of travel miles, hundreds of dollars in cash back and more. Check out the best bonuses available from our credit card partners and get Bankrate’s expert advice on making the most of sign-up offers.

Best sign-up bonus offers for 2020:

Need more information?

Skip down to read our card profiles and expert advice.

Best overall for travel

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 unlimited 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:
17.24% - 24.49% (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 unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • 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 15+ leading travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Biggest travel sign-up bonus

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:
Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel. 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
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.49% - 24.49% 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.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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:
15.49% - 25.49% (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; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% 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 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:
13.49% - 23.49% (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 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • 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 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for American Airlines loyalists

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® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
Welcome Offer:
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Annual Fee:
$99, waived for first 12 months
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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 | bbridges@bankrate.com


Bankrate’s guide to credit card sign-up bonuses

If getting a great sign-up bonus from a new credit card is your goal, our experts at Bankrate are here to help you do it the right way.

When it comes to sign-up bonuses, credit cards can offer anything from hundreds of dollars in cash back to several thousand travel miles. Each offer has real value, but which ones are the most valuable for you, your spending habits and the goals you want to accomplish with your new credit card?

Here’s what you need to know about the best credit card sign-up bonuses for 2020:

Our picks for top sign-up bonus credit cards

Card Name Best for Sign-up Bonus Bankrate Score
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Overall travel 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening 4.7 / 5
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Biggest travel sign-up bonus 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening 4.8 / 5
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Everyday spenders $150 cash bonus if you spend $500 in purchases within the first 3 months 4.7 / 5
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card (not currently available) Grocery shoppers $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days 4.4 / 5
Chase Freedom Unlimited® (not currently available) Flat-rate cash rewards $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening 4.6 / 5
Citi Rewards+℠ Card Rewards on small purchases 15,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening 4.6 / 5
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business (not currently available) Unlimited businesses cash back $500 cash bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months 4.7 / 5
Chase Freedom (not currently available) Rotating cash back categories $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening 4.5 / 5
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® Best for American Airlines loyalists 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening 4.2 / 5

A closer look at the top sign-up bonus credit cards

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card – Best for overall travel

What we love: With the Capital One Venture Rewards card, you’ll get 2X miles for every purchase with no limit as to how much you can earn. 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 generous 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 biggest travel sign-up bonus

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 (not currently available) – Best for grocery shoppers

What we love: Get 3% cash back in your category of choice (there are 6 to choose from), 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined 3% and 2% category spending per quarter) 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.

The information about the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card  has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® – Best for flat-rate cash back (not currently available)

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.

The information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card  has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

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 (not currently available)

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 $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.

The information about the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Chase Freedom® – Best for rotating cash back categories (not currently available)

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.

The information about the Chase Freedom® credit card  has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® – Best for American Airlines loyalists

What we love: The signup bonus is a good place to start: spend $2,500 in your first three months to earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage Miles. Apart from the bonus, the card earns 2 AAdvantage Miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and at gas stations and restaurants, plus 1 mile per dollar on everything else.

What we wish were different: Using your Miles might come with a few strings attached, including blackout dates on some rewards flights.

Bottom line: Frequent American Airlines flyers looking for a card to help them maximize their travel purchases should find a lot to like about this card, starting with the generous sign-up bonus.

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

Learn the basics of the credit card sign-up bonus

What are sign-up bonuses on credit cards?

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.

Here are the three categories that sign-up bonuses typically fall into:

Rewards 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.

Travel 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 vary 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

In some ways, judging the best sign-up bonus involves the Goldilocks strategy — finding the one that’s just right. To that end, don’t impulsively apply for a credit card based solely on an attractive bonus. Make sure it’s worth your while before deciding.

Here’s a list of steps on how to choose the right card with the right bonus for you.

1. Know your financial goals

Do you use credit cards to earn cash back, travel miles or another kind of reward? Answer that question and choose a sign-up bonus accordingly. If you don’t travel much, it doesn’t make sense to get a travel rewards card that offers extra miles as a sign-up bonus.

2. Stay within your spending habits

Is your normal spending routine in line with what you would have to spend to earn the bonus? Here’s a quick illustration: If you usually spend $500 a month with your card, look for a sign-up bonus with a 3-month spending requirement of $1,500 or less. If you can’t realistically meet the spending requirement without overextending your budget, it’s best to avoid the temptation.

3. Consider your credit score

Each credit card available through Bankrate has a recommended credit score to help make your application process go more smoothly.Credit card applications require a hard credit inquiry, which has a temporary effect on your credit score. If you apply for a card that’s out of your credit score range, you could hurt your credit score while being denied. Each credit card available through Bankrate has a recommended credit score. If you don’t know the exact state of your credit, you can check your score for free by signing up with Bankrate.

4. Check for pre-qualified offers

Make sure to take advantage of any pre-qualification checks a credit card issuer may offer. This preliminary “soft” credit inquiry doesn’t guarantee eligibility, but it doesn’t have the same effect on your credit score as a hard inquiry.

Which credit card has the biggest sign-up bonus?

A generous sign-up bonus, sometimes called a welcome offer, is one of the marks of a high-quality rewards credit card.

In comparing credit card sign-up bonuses, a lot depends on how you define “biggest” and “best.” A lot of cards offer lucrative bonuses of different kinds, including travel miles, cash back or multi-purpose rewards points.

When it comes to credit cards available from our partners, the competition for largest and most valuable sign-up bonus breaks down as follows:

Category/card  Bonus Spending requirement
TRAVEL

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

60,000 bonus points Spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 50,000 miles Spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening
CASH BACK

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card (not currently available)

$200 online cash rewards bonus Make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
BUSINESS CASH BACK

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business (not currently available)

One-time $500 cash bonus Spend $4,500 in the first 3 months

FAQs about credit card sign-up bonuses

Here’s a list of frequently asked questions, and answers, about sign-up bonuses on new credit cards.

Should you get a sign-up bonus credit card?

A sign-up bonus or welcome offer can provide an alluring incentive to get a new credit card. How do you know if it’s the right decision for you? Consider some of the possible advantages and disadvantages before you apply.

Pros:

The bonus itself is an obvious financial incentive. Depending on the card and the offer, you could be in line to earn a generous cash back bonus, a bundle of travel miles or whatever specific reward the offer entails. These things have real monetary value.

Getting a sign-up bonus credit card can also be an opportunity to upgrade from the card you’re currently using. In addition to the bonus, the newer card might offer a better rewards program, more perks and so on.

Cons:

On the other hand, opening a new credit account is a big commitment. A hard-inquiry credit check that accompanies a card application can temporarily reduce your credit score. If the new card has an annual fee in addition to a bonus, you’ll need to factor in that cost as you consider applying for it.

The overriding goal of having credit is to use it responsibly. Sign-up bonuses can be lucrative, but always be sure to weigh any short-term gains against your overall credit health.

How do you judge the value of a sign-up bonus?

Not all bonuses are created equal, and sometimes you need to dig deeper into the numbers to figure out how much they’re worth. Follow these tips to get a clearer picture:

  • Calculate the value of points/miles — When the value of a bonus isn’t spelled out, resources like The Points Guy’s monthly valuations can come in handy. As The Points Guy explains: “These valuations are based on a combination of what I would pay to buy points if given the opportunity and the overall value I could get from redeeming them, factoring in variables like award availability, fees and change/cancellation policies.”
  • Look at the proportions — An overly large spending requirement could reduce the value of a bonus. For example, a $300 bonus after spending $2,000 in 3 months could make more sense economically than a $500 bonus that requires spending twice as much in the same amount of time.
  • Avoid getting overextended — Spending more than you normally would just to meet the bonus requirement could come back to haunt you. If your bonus quest results in carrying a big balance, APR charges could negate the benefits of the welcome offer.

How do you know when you’ve earned the sign-up bonus?

Depending on your card issuer, you might receive emails notifying you of your progress. In other cases, the issuer might provide a “tracker” feature with the online customer portal for your account. However, if your issuer doesn’t provide email notifications or trackers, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Fortunately, the information you need should be available through the customer portal. Your “dashboard” will probably include a running tally of how many rewards points, miles or cash back you’ve earned, plus the dates when they expire.

If all else fails, contact the issuer’s customer service department and ask a representative.

All in all, expect some amount of lag time between earning the bonus and seeing it show up in (or “post to”) your account. It could be as short as a few business days or a matter of several weeks, depending on the issuer and the specific bonus offer. Look for those details when you read the terms and conditions before applying.

Which purchases don’t count toward the spending requirement?

Most kinds of everyday purchases should bring you closer to meeting the spending requirement for a sign-up bonus. On the other hand, credit card issuers make exceptions for certain transactions that don’t qualify. Ineligible purchases and payments typically include:

  • Cash advances
  • Balance transfers
  • Lottery tickets
  • Wire transfers
  • Fees, including annual fees

In many cases, these purchases don’t earn rewards either.

Check the terms and conditions of any credit card you’re interested in to get a better understanding of what counts as an eligible purchase in relation to a sign-up bonus, as well as other important information about using the card.

Should you keep the card after earning the bonus?

Once they’ve snagged the sign-up bonus, some cardholders might question the value of hanging on to the card. Unfortunately, canceling a card out of hand can be problematic.

First, keeping multiple credit accounts open for extended periods of time tends to have a positive effect on your credit score. Canceling a credit card could reduce your credit utilization ratio, the relationship between how much credit you have and how much of it you’re using. Credit bureaus take notice of credit utilization and other factors in calculating your score, and your score carries a lot of weight with lenders.

A 2019 Bankrate.com survey found several reasons why people cancel credit cards, including lack of use and concern about fees. However, if you cancel a card after earning the bonus just to pursue a bonus with a new card, that strategy might not prove to be profitable.

Can you open multiple cards at once to get more sign-up bonuses?

The short answer is: You could try, but it’s not advisable.

In recent years, credit card issuers have taken steps to prevent cardholders from racking up multiple bonuses over a short period of time. Those who try to start a cycle of apply-bonus-cancel could run into stricter eligibility rules — meanwhile, damaging their credit score with each application.

Think twice before ditching a credit card just because you’ve achieved the goal of the sign-up bonus. The potential damage to your credit score might not be worth the fresh start.

How we chose our list of top sign-up bonus credit cards

Our criteria for including a card on this list include:

Bonus value

The bonus, whether cash back, travel rewards or multi-purpose points, should be well worth the time and effort of applying for the card. The bonus value should also compare favorably with the card’s cost of ownership (annual fees, etc.).

Ease of acquiring the bonus

The spending requirement to qualify for the bonus should be proportional to its value.

Overall quality

The card should have a Bankrate Score that puts it in the upper tier of credit cards available from our partners.

Learn more about credit cards with sign-up bonuses

For more information, read our expert reviews for individual cards and check out more resources from Bankrate.com:


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.