10 Best “Signup Bonus” Credit Cards (2016)

10 Best Signup Bonus Credit Cards 2016

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: April 28, 2016
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

Signup bonuses can come in many forms: cash back, travel rewards good toward free flights and hotel stays, or bonus points redeemable for merchandise and more.

Signup bonuses are always changing, so it’s a good idea to know what kind of bonus you want and take advantage while it’s available. But no matter what you’re after, be it complimentary travel or a nice statement credit, signup bonuses are a great way to get free stuff from credit issuers that would normally require you to spend a couple grand before receiving.

We’ve broken down the best signup bonus credit cards into two main categories: cash back and travel rewards. You can read below for cash-back offers or jump right into travel reward bonuses.

4 Best Cash-Back Signup Bonus Cards

These four cards offer nice cash-back bonuses when you sign up for the card. We have two options for consumers and two options for business credit cards.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 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
  • 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 14.24-23.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
15 months
0%
15 months
14.24%-23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $100 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of approval
  • 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 doesn’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 13.24%-23.24% variable APR after that
  • Balance transfers also have a 0% intro APR for 9 months; 13.24%-23.24% variable APR after that; a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 9 months
0% for 9 months
13.24% - 23.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good Credit
Discover it® Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Our Take: "One of our favorite cards, with long 0% intro APRs, low ongoing APRs, awesome cash back rewards, and lots more.
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate quarterly, up to $1,500 per quarter when you sign up for the quarterly bonus
  • 1% cash back on all your other purchases
  • Matches the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers)
  • No limit to the amount of cash back that can be matched"
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
14 months
0%
14 months
11.24% - 23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval
  • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
  • Rewards don't expire, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount, anytime
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Excellent, Good Credit

6 Best Travel Rewards Signup Bonus Cards

These seven cards offer nice signup bonuses in the form of points redeemable for free flights, hotel stays, and more. These cards offer competitive APRs in addition to other perks that put these options ahead of others cards on the market.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval, equal to $400 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles don't expire and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
13.24% - 23.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Excellent, Good Credit

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24%-23.24% Variable
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Excellent Credit

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 12.24%-22.24% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
12.24% - 22.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good Credit

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day
  • Plus, a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval
  • Miles don't expire, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
  • There's no limit to the amount of miles you can earn and miles don't expire
  • Redeem miles for travel, cash back, gift cards and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Excellent, Good Credit
Discover it® Miles – Unlimited 1.5x Rewards Card Review

at Discover'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Our Take: "If you're looking for a card that gives you air miles, your search is over. This card helps you earn free flights with multiple airlines, awards very generous bonuses, and offers a low APR to boot.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar spent
  • Cover travel costs by redeeming the miles in any amount for a statement credit
  • Fly any airline, any time
  • No blackout dates
  • At the end of your first year, the card automatically matches the miles you've earned (only for new cardmembers)"
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0%
14 months
10.99%
14 months
11.24% - 23.24% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® Review

at Barclaycard'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.4

OVERALL RATING

4.4/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Redeem for travel or cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Redemption values vary
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0%
12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)
16.24%, 20.24% or 23.24% Variable
$89 - Waived first year
Excellent/Good

Be Mindful of Spending Minimums

Be sure to take note of how much you’re required to spend in order to receive the signup bonus. If it’s an amount you’re not likely to achieve, there are other credit card options available that offer attractive perks, such as 0 percent intro APRs for up to 15 months. This means you can spend freely without paying any interest. It wouldn’t be a wise financial decision to overspend in order to achieve a signup bonus.

Another thing to consider is if you’re unable to pay the balance in full at the end of every month, the interest you’ll pay can outweigh the bonus earned.

On the other hand, signup bonuses offered would typically take thousands of dollars spent to accrue naturally and can be great deals. You’ll earn bonuses worth hundreds of dollars to use for your next vacation or just for some extra cash in your pocket.