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Best credit card sign-up bonuses for February 2024

Updated February 21, 2024

Sign-up bonuses are one of the best perks on a new credit card. As an incentive for opening an account, eligible cardholders can earn a lump sum of cash back, points or miles after spending a certain amount in a set time period. 

The best sign-up bonuses can be worth hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on your issuer and available redemption options, but it’s important to consider more than just the dollar value. The spending requirements to earn these bonuses must fit your budget. You’ll also want to ensure the credit card will provide you with value for years to come, not just your first year.

To make your decision easier, we’ve analyzed credit card sign-up bonuses and provided our top picks, along with tips to help you choose.

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2024 Bankrate Awards Winner
Best for choice of cash back category

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
4.3
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Apply now Lock
on Bank of America's secure site
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
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Recommended Credit
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Intro offer

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1% - 3%

Rewards rate

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Annual fee

Regular APR

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Biggest travel sign-up bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0
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Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
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Recommended Credit
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Intro offer

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$1200

Offer valuation

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1x - 5x

Rewards rate

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Annual fee

Regular APR

Best business sign-up bonus

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2
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Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
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Recommended Credit

Intro offer

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$750

Offer valuation

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1.5%

Rewards Rate

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Annual fee

Regular APR

Best airline sign-up bonus

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7
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Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
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Recommended Credit

Intro offer

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$450

Offer valuation

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1X - 2X

Rewards rate

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Annual fee

Regular APR

Compare Bankrate's top sign-up bonus credit cards

Card Welcome offer Annual fee Bankrate review score
Intro Offer: $200
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Regular APR: 18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
$0

4.3 / 5

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(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Bank of America's secure site
Intro Offer: 60,000 bonus points
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Regular APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
$95

5.0 / 5

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(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site
Intro Offer: Earn $750 bonus cash back
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Regular APR: 18.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0

4.2 / 5

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(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site
Intro Offer: Earn Companion Pass® plus 30,000 pts
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Regular APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
$69

4.7 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site

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

Image of Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Best for choice of cash back category

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Cardholders can select where they earn elevated rewards from the available categories and change their selection once per calendar month. The categories have uniquely broad merchant coverage. For example, the online shopping category is one of the most comprehensive available.

Flexibility seekers will benefit from this card. Consider it if you value a customizable rewards structure, since this card provides plenty of options. 

Cardholders who prefer flat-rate rewards can find more value in the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card. You’ll be able to earn cash back on all your purchases while enjoying a similar welcome bonus and intro APR offer as the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards.

Image of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

BEST TRAVEL SIGN-UP BONUS

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This card provides travelers with great flexibility. Your points are worth an extra 25 percent if you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, or you can transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to Chase’s impressive list of airline and hotel partners.

People looking for a quick influx of points to fund upcoming travel, as the card has an exceptional sign-up bonus. Budget travelers will also get great value, if they don’t mind the annual fee.

If your flights are mostly domestic, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card could be a good option. It includes a strong welcome offer and an anniversary bonus that you can use toward future Southwest flights.

Image of Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Best for business sign-up bonus

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A sign-up bonus as high as the Ink Business Unlimited’s is usually reserved for credit cards with an annual fee. It also comes with an introductory APR offer on purchases.

New small-business owners looking for an easy-to-use flat-rate credit card with no annual fee.

The Chase Freedom Flex is a great choice for business owners looking for a personal everyday card. It has stronger rewards rates, a good intro APR and an accessible welcome bonus that makes this card a well-rounded alternative.

Image of Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

BEST AIRLINE SIGN-UP BONUS

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As a frequent Southwest flyer, you’ll receive many benefits, including reimbursements for lost luggage up to $3,000 per passenger and insurance for delayed luggage up to $100 per day for three days automatically. Plus, you can check your bag for free (size and weight limits apply).

Frequent Southwest flyers looking for a travel card with a low annual fee.

For those who don’t often spend big – travel or otherwise – the Citi Rewards+® Card may be a better fit. On top of its high rewards rates for Citi Travel, it also has a feature that rounds up all cash back earned to the nearest 10 points.

Image of Citi Rewards+® Card

Citi Rewards+® Card

Best for rounding up rewards

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The round-up feature is a unique perk of this card. Cardholders will see points rounded up for every purchase to the nearest 10 points. So, a $3 coffee earns 10 ThankYou points.

Everyday shoppers who make lots of small purchases will benefit from this card. The rewards structure means cardholders earn respectable  rewards through everyday spending.

While the roundup feature is nice, travelers may not get the most value out of the card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best travel cards on the market, featuring a strong welcome bonus, $50 annual hotel credit when booking through Chase’s travel portal and 10 percent anniversary bonus.

Image of Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Best for rotating cash back categories

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It’s one of the few cards with an elevated rewards rate on drugstore purchases, plus it comes with quarterly bonus categories. It also offers a solid rewards rate on dining.

People who like to earn boosted cash back in multiple categories will find it offers the opportunity to earn rewards in many areas.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card has cash back similar to the Chase Freedom Flex but has some key differences that add to its value. Cardholders can change their cash back category once per calendar month, giving it additional flexibility. You also have potential to get a lower APR after a generous intro APR period.

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

 

What to know about sign-up bonus credit cards

A sign-up bonus — also known as a welcome bonus, intro bonus or welcome offer — is a competitive incentive a credit card issuer offers potential applicants to sign up for a credit card. A sign-up bonus can come in the form of cash back, points, travel miles or another perk offered by the credit card issuer. To receive a sign-up bonus, a cardholder usually has to spend a certain dollar amount on purchases within a specified period (usually three months, sometimes more). 

Credit card sign-up bonuses can offer great rewards for those who take the time to research and compare offers. When signing up for a credit card, make sure you understand the terms and conditions so you know what kind of bonus you'll receive and how much spending is necessary to qualify. With careful planning and budgeting, you can use a sign-up bonus to your advantage and reap the benefits.

If you fulfill the issuer's spending requirements within the time frame specified, you can expect to see your sign-up bonus reflected in your account within six to 12 weeks, depending on the issuer. If you’ve met the requirements and still haven’t received your sign-up bonus, contact your issuer.

Pros and cons of sign-up bonus credit cards

There are good and bad sides to using a credit card with a sign-up bonus. Before you apply, consider the pros and cons:

Pros

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    Competitive offers: The credit card market is highly saturated, which works in the consumer’s favor, as card issuers are willing to offer strong sign-up bonuses to make their credit card more attractive to applicants.

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    Versatile redemptions: Depending on the card, a sign-up bonus can be a lump sum of cash back, points or miles. That means the right card can help you reduce balances or trim the costs of future purchases.

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    Added value: When used responsibly, a credit card helps you build or maintain your all-important credit score and credit history. A sign-up bonus takes the value of a credit card even further by allowing you to earn extra rewards worth hundreds of dollars.

Cons

  • Spending requirements: To earn the sign-up bonus, you’ll have to spend a certain amount on the credit card in a limited time. Make sure the spending requirement fits your budget before applying for a card.

  • Higher interest rates: Rewards credit cards typically carry higher interest rates. If you carry a balance from month to month, the interest you pay will diminish the value of the rewards and sign-up bonuses you earn.

  • Requires good credit: Most credit cards with sign-up bonuses require good or excellent credit. Not there yet? Making on-time payments and keeping your account balances low are two of the most important ways to build credit fast.

Types of welcome offers

Sign-up bonuses are typically distributed as additional cash back, points or miles. However, there are several types of welcome offers that can be just as valuable — if not more so — than traditional, straightforward offers.

Common welcome offers

The most common welcome offers have simple terms with relatively easy-to-meet spending requirements that when met, reward you with a set amount of cash back, miles or points. These offers range in value from $50 to over $500, depending on your annual fee and spending requirement. Here are some examples of the most common offers:

  • Bonus points, miles or cash back: These offers are the most straightforward to earn and are available on several credit cards. They’re great for anyone who wants to earn a lump sum payment for their short-term spending. The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great example of a card with outsized first-year value for low initial spending.
  • Additional perks, credits and other limited-time offers: These offers are often found on co-branded airline or hotel credit cards. New cardholders can earn credits, perks or limit-time offers for meeting spending requirements. One example is the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card, which often includes Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ as part of its limited-time welcome offer. 

Less common welcome offers

These types of welcome offers are more uncommon than the straightforward options listed above, but they still carry some great value for the right cardholder. You’re likely to find these on co-branded cards or as promotional offers from certain issuers.

  • Limited-time bonus categories: Cards with this offer are sometimes co-branded with major retailers and offer boosted rewards in categories that would otherwise earn that card’s base rewards rate. The Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard® is one example of a co-branded card that incentivizes Walmart shoppers with a boosted rewards rate for the first 12 months.
  • Increased rewards rates: Some issuers occasionally include boosted rewards rates as part of a welcome offer. These cards may earn twice as many rewards in certain categories up to a certain amount spent, before reverting to their ongoing rewards rates. 
  • Two-stage bonuses: These welcome offers operate like traditional sign-up bonuses, However, you may be able to double that value by reaching a larger total spend within the first six months. The World of Hyatt Credit Card is one example.

Unique welcome offers

The most uncommon welcome offers are typically exclusive incentives that are unique to a specific issuer or type of credit card. Some non-traditional credit cards usually have special offers for being approved, while more traditional cards may rarely have offers that match your cash back or points.

  • Reward-matching offers: This welcome offer doesn’t state an upfront value but matches the rewards you earn within a set period, making it a valuable opportunity for big spenders. The most famous example is Discover’s first-year Cashback Match offered on all of the issuer’s rewards cards.
  • Approval bonuses: Rarely, a credit card may provide an upfront bonus the moment you’re approved for the card instead of requiring you to spend a certain amount in a set period. An offer like this is more likely among store credit cards, such as the Amazon gift card usually granted with the Prime Visa card.

Best sign-up bonus by issuer

When it comes to credit card sign-up bonuses, different issuers offer a variety of enticing rewards. Whether you're looking for cash back, travel points or other perks, it's important to know which issuers provide the best sign-up bonuses. Here are some of the cards that offer top welcome offers from each issuer. 

Tips on choosing the best sign-up bonus card for you

When considering a credit card with a sign-up bonus, be especially mindful of the spending requirement and how it will impact your budget. If you’re looking to snag a welcome offer, there are some questions you should keep in mind:

  • Make sure you can meet the spending requirement. If a sign-up bonus requires spending more than you usually would, it may be wise to think twice before applying. Overspending on a credit card to meet a welcome offer requirement could lead to debt and consequently, make the card’s sign-up bonus far less valuable to you by incurring interest payments.
  • Take a look at your redemption options. While sign-up bonuses can help cover the cost of an annual fee, it’s important to consider how you’ll be able to use the rewards you receive. With certain issuers, you’ll want to evaluate their list of transfer partners to get maximum value when redeeming your bonus. With others, using the proceeds to cover a balance may be more worthwhile.
  • Decide if this card will be in your wallet long-term or short-term. If you anticipate canceling your card after receiving the sign-up bonus, familiarize yourself with your issuer’s terms and conditions. In some cases, the issuer will take back the bonus if the card is canceled within a certain period, so plan to keep the card open for at least as long as the policy stipulates.
  • Determine the sort of spender you will be. It’s important to consider how well the card and its benefits match your spending habits and lifestyle and strategize accordingly. For example, frequent travelers should apply for a new travel card months ahead of a trip to allow the sign-up bonus earnings to be put toward travel costs. 

Expert tips & tricks for sign-up bonuses

Making the most of any sign-up bonus you choose will come down to how you use your card. You should continue to make wise credit decisions and avoid debt to keep your balance manageable, or you might offset the value of your new sign-up bonus with interest charges. It’ll pay to research your card well; the more you know about your redemption options the more valuable your offer can end up being.

  • Calculator

    Calculate the value of the bonus

    It’s important to calculate the value of a sign-up bonus through the lens of your own financial goals. Although there are many different kinds of welcome offers, you can analyze many of them prior to applying to give you a better idea of which one fits your financial needs more. Here are some quick tips for certain offers:

    • Rewards cards: If you love travel and want to earn points toward travel rewards, look for a card that offers a sign-up with bonus points or miles and calculate the value of those points. It may be helpful to explore Bankrate’s points and miles valuation page when calculating the value of any potential sign-up bonus.
    • Cash back cards: Calculating a cash back sign-up bonus is straightforward since the dollar amount is already determined. Still, it may help to evaluate the offer based on a value-to-spending requirement ratio if you want the best value (and aren’t worried about the spending requirement). If you're more interested in cash back rewards, you might want to focus more on the cash back redemption value of the sign-up bonus.
    • Limited-time bonus categories: If you want to calculate a limited-time bonus category's welcome offer value, multiply your spending in that category or the category’s spending cap by the rewards rate to determine how much you can earn.  

    Make sure to review specific card terms before calculating any potential bonus or the value of that bonus. 

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    Don’t overspend to earn your bonus

    It's essential to use credit responsibly by making timely payments and staying within your budget. If you spend beyond your means then you risk running up interest charges that quickly outpace the value of any welcome offer you earn. Deciding on the right card means choosing one that won’t pressure you to spend money you don’t have. Spending requirements on sign-up bonuses can often be a good gauge of whether or not the card is a good fit for you. If you need to spend money you can’t pay off right away to earn a one-time bonus, it might not be a good fit.

  • Rewards

    Redeem your bonus wisely

    If your sign-up bonus rewards you with points or miles, redeem your rewards wisely to make the most of your welcome offer. You can research redemption methods online or through your issuer’s app when looking at your account information. Familiarize yourself with the range of value that your points carry and always shake out the math before redeeming to make sure you’re getting a great value for your points.

  • Credit Card Search

    Don’t apply exclusively for the sign-up bonus

    While sign-up bonuses can be attractive incentives, they should not be the sole reason for choosing a credit card. Consider all aspects of the offer before making a decision that suits your financial goals and needs, and always remember to manage your credit responsibly by paying off balances in full each month and keeping track of any annual fees (or additional fees) associated with maintaining one or multiple cards.

    If you don’t plan on keeping the card long-term, then it also might not be a great card to apply for. Especially if it has an annual fee. To protect your credit score, you should plan to keep the card open. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose a card that fits your spending habits and individual needs, rather than opening a card purely for the sign-up bonus. You should also look for recurring benefits, such as annual credits, to make sure that the card maintains its value beyond the sign-up bonus.

In the news: How to use a sign-up bonus to pay for your vacation

Some issuers have upgraded their sign-up bonuses for their cards just in time for winter travel. With travel prices increasing, a strong sign-up bonus can help recoup some of your expenses. This is especially true with travel cards, which often have the best bonuses and redemptions for airfare and hotels.

Former Bankrate expert Meredith Hoffman navigates the top strategies for using a sign-up bonus to fund your trip, how long a bonus may take to earn and the best credit cards and rewards programs for getting you to your destination. Using a reference such as Bankrate’s travel toolkit can also help you find the best tips and guidance on travel credit cards, travel hacks and more. 

How we assess the best sign-up bonus credit cards

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250+
cards rated
Congrats
50+
rewards programs valued
Search
5000
data points analyzed
Credit Card Reviews
40+
perks evaluated

When evaluating the best credit card for sign-up bonuses, we take into account several factors, including how cards score in our proprietary card rating system and whether they offer features that fit the priorities of a diverse group of cardholders, from earning rewards to scoring a large sign-up bonus to saving on interest. 

We analyzed over 250 of the most popular credit cards and selected standouts with sign-up bonuses. We scored each card based on the factors most relevant to its primary category, including its rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, intro APR period, ongoing APR, perks and more to determine whether it belonged in this month’s roundup. 

Here are some of the key factors that we considered:  

Frequently asked questions about credit cards with sign-up bonuses

Ask the experts: Should I continually look to apply for new cards, so that I can keep earning sign-up bonuses?


Contributor, Credit Cards

Sign-up bonuses are fabulous. They enable you to earn cash back, points, or miles after you hit the minimum spend. However, many credit card companies have rules in place that prevent you from earning the bonus each time you open a new account with them. Check the issuer’s restrictions before you keep opening new credit card accounts. Still, even with an attractive bonus, you should only pursue the credit cards you need and will use. After all, every card you have must be managed, so if you have too many, you may unnecessarily complicate your life!

Financial Educator, Debt and Credit

There’s nothing wrong with opening a new account to earn a bonus, but keep in mind two factors that can negatively impact your credit score. First, frequent hard pulls of your credit report, which are required as part of a new account application process, may lower your score. Second, having too many accounts with a short length of credit history, may also have a negative effect. For these reasons, it’s typically not a good idea to constantly open new lines of credit. Opening one or two new lines per year is usually fine, but take care to pay off balances in full every month so that you don’t negate the benefit of the sign-up bonuses by paying high interest rates on revolving balances.

Contributor, Personal Finance

Sign-up bonuses are a great benefit of some new credit cards, but you’ll want to be strategic about how often you’re applying for new cards just to get the big bonus points. Opening new lines of credit does affect your credit score, so apply wisely — especially if you’re considering applying for a large line of credit like a mortgage where your score plays an important factor. Many banks have also instituted rules about frequent bonus earning. You may not be able to get a bonus more than once in a lifetime, or within a lengthy time period, on a specific card, so you’ll want to check these rules first. It’s not bad to have multiple cards, but it’s important to consider your short and longer term earning plan before you start applying.