Best Credit Card Signup Bonuses
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Top 4 Best Credit Card Signup Bonuses (September 2021)

Last updated: October 04,2021
Originally Published: September 06,2021
by Matt Collins

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If you’ve been shopping around and are looking for the best credit card signup bonuses, chances are you’ve noticed that these bonuses are at an all-time high. 

It seems like every card these days comes with great sign-up bonus offers for new customers, which is excellent for us consumers, but it can also make it a lot more challenging to choose the perfect card. Especially once you start comparing all the first-year perks, cashback options, loyalty programs, and of course, all the different ways to earn points and miles. 

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To help make these decisions a little bit easier, we took a deep dive into the credit cards with the best sign-up bonus offers and identified 5 cards that stand out above the rest.

We’re going to go over everything you need to know about choosing between all of these best offers on the market right now, and then we’ll go over our top picks for new cardholders this year.

The credit cards with the best sign-up bonuses right now are: 

You can also go straight to our card analysis if you don’t want to wait.

Why Sign-Up Bonuses And Other Bonus Offers Are So Important

The first year of ownership is crucial for anyone trying to maximize the value of their rewards credit card truly.

Many of a card’s best features are only available for the first year, whether that’s a waived annual fee for the first year, interest-free balance transfers, low intro APR, or bonus points/bonus miles. We’ll primarily be focusing on the latter today. 

These are all additional bonuses you get on top of your regular membership rewards. They’re often labeled a “welcome bonus” or “welcome offer,” They typically consist of travel rewards or additional cashback on specific spending categories.

They typically have some spending requirements where you have to spend X amount with the card within the first few months of account opening, so we’ll be taking that into account when we evaluate our top picks as well.  

Understanding Spending Requirements

When you choose a card based on the sign-up bonus, make sure you consider how much you need to spend and how long you have to meet the spending requirement to qualify for the welcome bonus.  

Typically, you’ll need to spend $3,000-$4,000 within the first few months of owning a card to earn the welcome bonus, so make sure you read the fine print in the card details to understand what you need to do to qualify for the bonus.

Making the Most Out of Your Points

The best cards will earn you points on everyday purchases and a bonus multiplier on eligible purchases in specific bonus categories (grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, hotel and airline booking, etc.). So it’s essential to see what categories for increased reward rates your card might offer. 

It’s not uncommon to see 2x miles or points rewards rates on specific spending categories that change from month to month, so be sure that your card has additional rewards in categories you’ll actually use. 

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Finally, make sure you look at your credit card issuer’s travel partners. Most of the time, transferring your points to an airline or hotel partner can get you the best value for your money, especially with travel credit cards.

If you fly frequently and are trying to either qualify for elite status or airport lounge access, then choose a card that allows you to redeem for airfare with your airline of choice. 

With major airlines, you often won’t get the same value as you would with a smaller transfer partner, but you will earn progress towards elite status and those sweet, sweet complimentary upgrades. 

The Cashback Option

Of course, you can also turn points in for statement credits or even just straight cash them out and deposit them in your bank account. However, this will never give you the same value as spending them with a partner or even redeeming them directly through your card’s rewards portal.

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Cashback rewards sound nice until you realize you can often get double the value by booking travel or hotel stays that you were going to be paying for anyway. Or use it as an excuse to take that vacation you’ve been putting off. 

Criteria: How We Identified the Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses 

Eligibility

Most of the time, any rewards credit card will require an excellent credit score, but there are some other eligibility requirements as well. For some of the higher-value cards, you’ll need to have another card from the same issuer for a certain amount of time. 

Be sure to consider this when evaluating your potential new credit card, but don’t worry. Most of the cards on this list only require a credit score in the “good” to “excellent” range. 

You’ll also need to consider income requirements, and while these are not published generally, most of the time, you’ll see good approval odds for the cards here if your income is $60k/year or more, though some entry-level cards will readily accept income much lower than that. 

Sign-Up Bonus Value

Next up, we have to look at the actual value of the sign-up bonus in question. 

The cards on this list have a sign-up bonus value of between $300 and $2000, depending on the offer’s specifics and where you can redeem the bonus. In general, we tried to aim for cards with a value of $500 or more to give you the biggest return on your money. 

Yearly Fees

Rewards cards typically come with yearly fees in the $99-$500 range, which will usually be offset by the rewards you earn, but you should definitely make sure that you will be getting enough value out of the card to offset the fees. 

Best Credit Cards Signup Bonuses (September 2021)

Now that you know what to look for when evaluating sign-up bonuses let’s look at the best bonuses available right now. These are all cards we know, trust, and have experience with ourselves, and they’re all offering extremely attractive welcome bonuses.

Chase Sapphire Preferred – Best Overall Travel Sign-Up Bonus

First up, we have our preferred (pun intended) travel option; the Chase Sapphire Preferred card

The Sapphire Preferred card is one of the most popular travel cards on the market today and with good reason. It offers unparalleled flexibility when it comes time to cash in your points. And, of course, it has a stellar sign-up bonus. 

Right now, that bonus is at an all-time high of 100,000 points. The intro offer is worth around $1,250 by itself if redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Portal, but if you transfer those points to one of Chase’s hotel or airline partners, it’s worth closer to $2,000. 

On the lower end, you can redeem your bonus for a statement credit at 1 cent per point, making it worth $1,000.

After Sign-Up 

Once you’re approved, you’ll get 5x rewards on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x rewards on dining out, and 2x rewards on all other travel purchases. You also get access to Chase’s travel protections for trips purchased with the card, no foreign transaction fees, and 1x points on everything else.

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You’ll also get a $50 Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit each calendar year, trip cancellation insurance, auto rental collision damage waivers, lost luggage insurance, and free deliveries from Door Dash for one year. 

The annual fee is on the low end at $95/year. 

Spending Requirements:

To earn the bonus, you’ll need to spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Best Redemption Options

The best value is to transfer your points to one of Chase’s travel partners, which will get you around $2,000 in value with various hotels and airlines.

Chase has one of the best Rewards Programs around, making this one of the best credit card offers around right now, especially if you fly a variety of airlines or are looking for free nights at hotels.

Who’s Eligible for The Bonus?

As long as you’re approved for the card and haven’t received another Sapphire card welcome bonus within the last two years, you’ll be eligible to receive the bonus. You also can’t receive the bonus if you’re already a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder.

The Platinum Card® From American Express – Best For Delta Airlines Flyers

Next up, we have another great general-purpose travel card, this time from American Express. The Platinum Card® also comes with a 100,000-point sign-up bonus. The annual fee is a relatively high $695, but it comes with a host of great benefits and credits to make up that cost.

Like the Chase offer above, 100,000 Amex points are worth in the neighborhood of $2,000 when redeemed through loyalty program partners like Delta Airlines, Aeroplan, and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer. However, you can sometimes find 4x redemption options that’ll allow you to get as much as $4,000 in airfare and hotel bookings with your points.

After Sign-Up 

After you have your card, you’ll get 5x rewards on flights purchased through Amex Travel or directly with partners, for up to $500,000 worth of purchases per calendar year, plus 10x rewards on eligible purchases for the first 6 months after you become an Amex Platinum card member

You will also get $200 back as a statement credit towards purchases made with certain hotel partners, up to $240 back on digital entertainment like Audible and other streaming services, $200 back on Uber purchases (eats and rides), more. 

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The annual fee is very high at $695/year, but we think it’s worth it for high-usage customers, especially if you can get the most out of all the many statement credits Amex offers on certain purchases.

The additional travel benefits like complimentary elite status with Marriot and Hilton, plus access to the American Express Travel Portal, make it even more worth it.

Spending Requirements:

You’ll need to spend $6,000 within the first 6 months of card membership to earn the bonus.

Best Redemption Options:

The best value is to transfer your points to one of Chase’s travel partners, which will get you around $2,000 in value with various hotels and airlines.

Who’s Eligible for The Bonus?

Anyone who hasn’t owned this or a previous version of the Platinum card is eligible, though Amex may also consider the number of other Amex cards you have or have closed in the past. In addition, you’ll want an income of around $60,000/year or more to have the best odds at acceptance in general.

The Capital One Venture Card – Best For Earning Points on General Spending

We love the Capital One Venture Card for a general-purpose card because you earn 2x on every single purchase, with no rotating categories to worry about. The entry bonus is only 60,000 miles, which translates to around $800 in value. 

The only drawback is that Capital One doesn’t have any direct transfer options for major US airlines, which makes this one a bit of a letdown if you’re trying to transfer points  United, Southwest, or Delta. But you do have a wide range of partner airlines to choose from. With so many options available, your miles can be leveraged for some excellent redemption options.

You can also redeem points as a statement credit against purchases with any airline or hotel, which means this is still a very versatile card, even if you can’t transfer points directly to a big airline.

Finally, you’ll get a $100 credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry application, and miles won’t ever expire as long as you keep the account open. If you’re not a fan of limited-time offers, this may be the card for you.

After Sign-Up 

Once you receive your card, you’ll earn 2x miles on every single purchase made with the card. Benefits beyond that are relatively minimal, but you don’t have to worry about rotating categories, and you’ll have an easy option for redeeming your points through Capital One partners.

The annual fee is low at just $95/year. 

Spending Requirements:

To earn the bonus, you’ll need to spend $3,000 within 3 months from the date of account opening. 

Best Redemption Options

Although some of the transfer ratios are less than stellar, you can transfer your Capital One miles to 16 airline programs. 7 of the 16, including Cathay Pacific, Avianca, Aeromexico, and Etihad transfer at a ratio of 1:1, making them an excellent choice for transferring Capital One miles.

Who’s Eligible for The Bonus?

Anyone who hasn’t received a Capital One Venture welcome offer before is eligible to receive the bonus miles, assuming they’re accepted and meet the spending requirements.

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express – Best for Household Spending and U.S. Supermarkets

Finally, we have a non-travel-based card, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, which is one of the best cashback credit cards around. You get a considerable amount back on purchases with many U.S. supermarkets, select streaming services, and a good bit back on transit costs as well.

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This makes it one of the best all-around cards for helping you get cashback on everyday purchases, so if travel isn’t your primary goal, or you want to supplement a travel card with a household spending card, this is definitely the one to go with, in our opinion.

After Sign-Up 

With the Blue Cash Preferred Card, you’ll receive 6% back on spending at U.S. supermarkets, 6% back on most U.S. streaming services, 3% cashback on transit (taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more), 3% back at U.S. gas stations, and 1% cashback on everything else.

You’ll also get 0% APR for the first year, with a variable APR following that. The annual fee is waived for the first year and then is a low $95/year after that.

Spending Requirements:

You’ll get a $300 statement credit when you spend $3,000 or more within the first 6 months, making this one of the easiest cards to meet the spending limits.

Best Redemption Options:

Since you’re just getting cash back, you don’t have to worry about redemption options here.

Who’s Eligible for The Bonus?

Amex has specific rules based on what offers you’ve received in the past, so you’ll want to check with any current Amex cards you have to make sure you’re eligible. 

Read More: How to Get to Hawaii using points and miles.

Final Thoughts

Sign-up bonuses are a great bonus for signing up for new credit cards (which is the whole point), but some bonuses are way better than others. These are the best bonus offers on offer right now, but be sure to check back to see if things change. 

Ultimately you need to figure out what your travel goals and financial objectives are. Then marry those up to the various credi9t cards out there to select which one is the right card for you!

Top 4 Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses (August 2021)

Welcome Offer: 100,000 Membership Reward Points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months of your membership when you sign up for the New American Express Platinum

Special Bonus: Earn 10x on restaurant spend worldwide in the first 6 months of your membership, up to 225,000 additional points, this is in additional to the record high welcome bonus.

Every traveler should have this card in their wallet, and the welcome offer of 100k is the highest offer Points Panda has seen in many years!

Annual Fee: $695

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Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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