10 Best Credit Cards for Balance Transfers and Rewards (2017)

Best Credit Cards for Balance Transfers and Rewards

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: September 23, 2017
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.

As of June 2017, the average American household with credit card debt had a total revolving debt of $10,955. If each card with a balance charges the market average 16.7% interest rate, then the typical household will pay approximately $1,830 a year in interest on their credit card debt.

Thankfully, those with good to excellent credit can take advantage of balance transfers to avoid forking over thousands in interest fees. A balance transfer does exactly what it says: it transfers your balance from one credit card to another credit card. When you transfer your balance to a balance transfer credit card with a 0% APR introductory offer, you can carry that balance interest-free for the length of the introductory terms.

Given the variety of balance transfer card offers, selecting the best one for you may come down to the fringe benefits more than the specific intro offer. Many of the best balance transfer cards also offer rewards, and while you won’t earn rewards on your transferred balance, you can still earn cash back, points, or miles, for every qualifying purchase you make with your card.

0% Intro APR | Cash Back | Miles | Points

Best Balance Transfer Cards with 0% Intro APRs

If your primary concern is finding the best balance transfer offer, regardless of perks and rewards, you’re likely more concerned with the length of the card’s introductory period than its cash back rate. At the same time, since so many great balance transfer intro offers will also apply to new purchases (to varying extents), you may want to consider the purchasing power of your card.

Regardless of the specific nature of your card, you should look into any applicable fees before you apply. The vast majority of credit cards charge a flat-rate balance transfer fee, typically 3% to 5% of the total transferred balance. Many cards will also charge an annual fee, particularly if the card offers valuable rewards. Our top-rated picks for balance transfer cards include a number of annual-fee-free options.

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Our Take: "With a ridiculously good deal on balance transfers, low APR's, and a generous cash-back program, we can see why this card is so popular.
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 5% cash back in rotating 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% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
11.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.99% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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
  • With Cashback Match you could turn $200 into $400, as the card 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% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
11.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Balance Transfer Cards

Another thing to investigate before you apply is the default balance transfer interest rate, which is what you’ll be charged for any remaining balance after the introductory period has ended. These default rates tend to be fairly high (especially when compared to 0%), and can catch you unawares if you’re not careful to repay your transferred balance in time.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Cash Back

Your options for cash back programs will include cards that offer only a flat-rate cash back percentage, or programs that offer bonus cash back for purchases in specified categories. While programs with bonus categories tend to have relatively low rewards rates for non-bonus purchases, these programs can be very valuable if your spending falls into the right categories.

Discover currently has the lowest balance transfer fee of our top picks for cash back cards with balance transfer offers, charging only 3% of your transferred balance. All of our favorite cards come sans annual fees, as well, so you can enjoy your interest-free period without fear of added fees.

Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Our Take: "With a ridiculously good deal on balance transfers, low APR's, and a generous cash-back program, we can see why this card is so popular.
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 5% cash back in rotating 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% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
11.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.99% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.9

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
  • With Cashback Match you could turn $200 into $400, as the card 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% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
11.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Cash Back Cards

Another thing to keep an eye out for are lucrative signup bonuses, which can earn you hundreds in bonus cash back. Discover has a unique program available to new cardholders that doubles the rewards you earn during your first year. For example, if you earn $500 in cash back with your new Discover it® – 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer credit card during your first year, Discover will award you an additional $500 cash back on your anniversary.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Airline Miles

Whether you like sandy beaches or snow-capped peaks, the only thing that can really top a destination vacation — is a free destination vacation. Enter the magic of travel miles. As with other types of credit card rewards, cards offering miles allow you to earn a specific number of miles for each dollar spent on your card. Miles are often redeemable for airline fare, hotel stays, and a variety of other travel expenses.

Although some credit card programs that use miles limit you to specific airlines or partners, our favorites come with flexible redemption options (in addition to awesome balance transfer offers). When comparing cards that come with travel rewards and a balance transfer offer, you will likely need to choose between having a higher balance transfer APR or paying an annual fee.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Review

at Barclaycard'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

4.4/5.0
  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • 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 purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)
16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable
$89 - Waived first year
Excellent
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★
3.8

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% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
11.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Airline Miles Cards

Many cards offering travel rewards will also come with signup bonuses, which can be worth tens of thousands of points if you can meet the spending requirement. But remember not to make purchases you can’t pay off simply to earn a signup bonus, as you can quickly end up in the red once interest fees start piling up.

Best Balance Transfer Cards with Rewards Points

The best of both rewards worlds, credit cards that offer rewards points tend to have the most flexible redemption options. In many cases, points can be redeemed for cash back and gift cards, or for travel-related expenses — or for something else entirely. Most points programs provide a flat-rate point-per-dollar earnings system, though some will award bonus points for specified categories, such as gas station or restaurant purchases.

Although the per-point value of your rewards will vary by issuer, it may also vary by how you redeem your rewards. For instance, redeeming for cash or gift cards may provide more per-point value than redeeming for merchandise through the issuer’s redemption portal. Choosing between our top picks will be a matter of deciding which points program you prefer, as both offer similar balance transfer terms and annual-fee-free card use.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 3X points at U.S. gas stations, 2X points at U.S. restaurants, 1X point on other purchases
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, cash redemption options or merchandise through Go Far® Rewards
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
  • Earn an annual relationship bonus of 10% on non-bonus rewards points if you maintain a qualifying Wells Fargo account
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 13.99%-25.99% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
13.99%-25.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR on purchases for 15 months from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer*
  • Points are redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers, restaurants and department and home stores. 2,500 ThankYou® Points can be redeemed for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • Earn 2X Points on dining out and entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on all other purchases
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No annual fee*
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent

+See More Rewards Points Cards

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about your rewards points is that you need to spend them to get the value out of them. While this may seem like an obvious part of the process, nearly one-third of cardholders don’t redeem their card rewards, which simply wind up back in the pockets of the issuers.

Save a Fortune with the Right Balance Transfer

No matter how well-balanced the budget, most of us can definitely use an extra $1,830 a year to put toward paying off debt or to save for retirement. So, rather than spend that money on those high-interest credit cards, qualified consumers can enjoy a year or more interest-free with the right balance transfer credit card offer.

The key to successfully using balance transfer offers to avoid interest fees is to pay off your balance before the end of your introductory period. This will ensure you aren’t stuck paying inflated interest fees when the default interest rate kicks in. Another option is to transfer the balance to a new balance transfer credit card with a 0% APR offer. Just remember that each balance transfer will likely incur a new balance transfer fee.