The Best Credit Card Signup Bonuses (August 2019)

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The value of a credit card comes from a combination of its benefits, reward-earning rates, and signup bonus. Much of this website is dedicated to letting you know about credit cards which are valuable to get, use, and hold onto.

However, the list below only takes into consideration the value of the credit card's signup bonus. While some of these cards may have benefits that might make them interesting additions to your core credit card collection—all of them are worth getting, even if it is only to receive the signup bonus.

If you are new, make sure to look at our Credit Cards 101 guide, and our guide for Dealing with the Chase 5/24 Rule. You need to consider other factors, rather than simply making your way down the list.


Determining which cards are best

There are some basic guidelines for evaluating signup bonuses.

  • You don’t want to sign-up for the cards that gives you the most POINTS, you want to sign-up for the ones that give you the most VALUE, and then move onto the other cards later. Points from different reward programs have radically different values. A Ultimate Rewards point is easily worth more than 1.5 cents per point, due to your ability to transfer them to different frequent flyer programs or the Hyatt hotel program. On the other hand, a Hilton point is worth less than .5 cents per point, because of the large number of points you need for a hotel redemption.
  • For example, a Hilton card may give you 100,000 points, while a Chase Ultimate Rewards card might give you 50,000 points. But, the Chase Points are worth way more than twice the value of a Hilton point. So, even though the Hilton signup bonus provides more points, it is considerable less valuable.

  • Points from foreign airlines are still valuable, even if you never plan to fly on that airline. For example, you may dismiss getting a card that offers British Airways points, because you don’t frequently fly British Airways. However, British Airlines and American Airlines both belong to the Oneworld Alliance, so you can use your British Airlines miles to book award travel on American (as well as a bunch of other partners).
  • In some ways, points on British Airlines can be even more valuable than American Airlines miles. Their program is distance-based, so you use a smaller than normal number of miles when you are taking shorter flights. Even if you are flying on American, you might use fewer miles by booking through British Airways, then you would if you booked with American Airlines’ own miles.

  • Transferable credit card-company points are more valuable than regular frequent flyer miles. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, Marriott, and ThankYou points to a set of different airline and hotel partners. This gives you the ability to book awards on almost any major airline, and take advantage of whichever program offers the most valuable redemptions for any given trip. With Ultimate Reward and Marriott points, you’ll also have good options to use your points for hotel awards, or like cash to make travel purchases. This is usually better than being locked to any given airline program and its partners. Introduction to 'Transferable' Reward Points.
  • The value of a sign up offer depends on your individual circumstances. The values in our table are based on a "typical" value per point. You will need to make adjustments based on how you expect to use the points you earn.
    • If you don’t want to mess with award tickets, Membership Rewards and ThankYou points are worth less than is shown in the table. You’ll typically only get 1 – 1.25 cents per point, when you redeem for options other than frequent flyer tickets. The signup bonuses are still valuable—just less valuable than before. For example, a 60,000-point signup bonus for an Amex card might be worth $600, rather than $900; but $600 is still one of the better offers available. (Ultimate Reward points are still about as valuable as our standard values, even if you don’t use them for frequent flyer tickets).
    • If you highly value premium-cabin award redemptions, transferable award points and frequent flyer miles are even more valuable than shown in the table. If you can accumulate enough points for the award tickets, the points can be worth more than 4 cents each, rather than the 1.5– 2 cents used in the table. In our example, a 60,000 Membership Reward signup bonus may be worth $2,000 or more towards the purchase of an international business or first class ticket.
    • Points for your “local” airline(s) can be somewhat more valuable than the points for other airlines. Having points with the airline that that fly most frequently gives you the opportunity to take advantage of non-saver award tickets. While these awards require a large number of miles, they give you some additional flexibility, when you want to absolutely avoid paying for a ticket.
    • While most hotel points are worth considerably less than airline points, it is far easier to use them for rewards. There are only limited amounts of awards space available for frequent flyer tickets, but most hotel companies will let you use your points for almost any regular room that is still available. And you can use hotel points for more frequent (but less-valuable) redemptions, rather than needing to save up over a long period of time to get an expensive (but valuable) frequent flyer ticket. Once you adjust for the value per point, we prefer an equal dollar value of hotel points to airline miles. 
  • If the card has an annual travel credit, or includes a special credit as part of the signup offer, you can offset some of the charges you make with the card during your initial year. We add that to the net value you would receive by signing up for the card. For example, if you get the Chase Sapphire card, we count the $300 travel credit as part of the signup value.
  • If the travel credit is available on a calendar year basis, you can actually use two credits during the first year. For example, if you get the card in August, you can use one credit between August and December, and another credit between January and your anniversary date.

  • However, we don't always use the full face-value of the credit. If the credit is extremely easy to use, like the Sapphire Reserve's annual travel credit, we value it at full value. If the credit is harder to take full advantage of, like the Amex Platinum card's incidental airline credit, we value it at half-value. If you think you can get more or less value from the card's annual credit, you should raise or lower the net signup value. Technically, we should value all credits as being less valuable than their full value, as they all require at least some effort to use.
Value per Dollar

Most credit card signup offers have an initial spending requirement. For example, to earn the signup bonus, you may need to spend $3,000 with the card, during the first three months.

The number of signup offers you can qualify for is constrained by the amount of money you can spend with your credit cards.

Rather than concentrating on earning the most valuable overall signup bonuses, you can focus on first earning the signup bonuses that deliver the most "value per dollar spent". In other words, if you can naturally spend $12,000 per year on your credit cards, you can initially receive more value by signing up a larger number of cards, which have smaller spending requirements, rather than a smaller number of cards, which have higher signup bonuses, but require a larger amount of initial spending.

On the other hand, you are somewhat limited by the total number of new credit cards you can get, so you'll still want to concentrate on getting cards that have a high total net sign-up value. Alternatively, you can take advantage of some tricks to increase your credit card spending, without increasing the amount of money you are spending each year. Advanced Strategies for Collecting Signup Bonuses.

The best signup offers

These are all the credit cards with a net signup value of around $450 or higher.

CNB Crystal Infinite
With maximized credits
More typical value

$1,900
$410

.38/$
.08/$
30,000 Crystal Infinite points, valued at $375 ($5,000 initial spend). $400 annual fee. This card comes with a $250 airline incidental credit, that you can use twice during your initial year. What makes this card unique is that you can add 3 authorized cardholders for free, and each cardholder gets their own airline credit. Because the credit can be hard to use, our "normal" net value only includes half the face value, and assumes you can take advantage of the credit for a total of two people.

If you work to get full value from the credit, and maximize the number of authorized cardholders, you can earn up to $2,000 in airline credits during the first year. Combined with the points, this is one of the most valuable signup bonuses of any card. Unfortunately, this card can be difficult to get.

BOA Amtrak $1380 .55/$
Promotional offer of 40,000 Amtrak points, worth 2.9 cents each towards Amtrak travel plus $100 credit. ($2,500 initial spend). You also get a companion ticket, upgrade certificate, and single-visit lounge pass, which we value at a total of $200. $79 annual fee. This is nearly twice the normal offer and a fantastic deal if you can use over $1000 in Amtrak points.
Chase Ink Preferred (Business Card Only) $1,225 .25/$
80,000 Ultimate Reward points, valued at $1360. ($5,000 initial spend). $95 annual fee. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Southwest Performance Business $950 .19/$
80,000 Southwest Airlines points ($5,000 initial spend). This may be an introductory offer or it may be the standard offer for this card. $199 annual fee. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Chase Sapphire Preferred $890 .22/$
From a strictly signup bonus perspective, the Sapphire Preferred is a better option than the Sapphire Reserve, and you can only have one of these cards at a time. But, if you are looking to hold onto one of these cards for its ongoing benefits, the Sapphire Reserve is usually the better of the two options. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.

If you are collecting signup bonuses, probably your best strategy is to sign up for this card and convert it to the Sapphire Reserve when you start shifting your spending away from meeting initial spending requirements (and towards cards with higher ongoing reward rates).

UBS Infinite Card $890 .18/$
Promotional offer of 85,000 points, valued at up to 1.4 cents each. $495 annual fee, but $250 travel credit drops effective fee to $245. You need to call in to apply and it can sometimes be difficult to get the promotional offer if you are not a UBS customer.
Chase United Explorer (business)
full $25,000
initial $3,000

$875
$560

.04/$
.19/$
Promotional offer of 50,000 United Miles with $3,000 initial spend, plus an additional 50,000 miles for $25,000 total spend in the first six months. Annual fee is waived the first year. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Amex Delta Platinum (personal and business) $870 .29/$
Promotional offer of 50,000 Delta miles ($3,000 initial spend) plus 50% off on Delta purchases during the first 3 months (maximum of $500). If you aren't taking a flight, you can always stock up on Delta gift cards for later. $195 annual fee.
British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus
full $20,000
initial $3,000

$850
$470

.04/$
.16/$
All 3 cards offer 50,000 points after $3,000 initial spend and an additional 50,000 points with a total of $20,000 of spending during the first year.
Chase Ink Cash (Business Card Only) $830 .28/$
Promotional offer of 50,000 Ultimate Reward points ($2,000 initial spend). No annual fee. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Chase Ink Unlimited (Business Card Only) $830 .28/$
50,000 Ultimate Reward points ($2,000 initial spend). No annual fee. This is probably a promotional offer, but because the card is new, we don't know for sure. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Barclay Aviator Card
Personal
Business

$825
$730
Promotional offer of 60,000 American Airlines miles plus a companion certificate (on first purchase) on personal card. The companion certificate is good for a $99 fare on domestic economy travel when less expensive fare classes are still available. We are valuing it at $200, but you could get considerably more value. $95 annual fee. Business card has promotional 60,000 mile offer ($1,000 initial spend), plus 10,000 more points for first purchase on an employee card.
BOA Alaska Airlines (Personal and Business) $810 .41/$
Promotional offer of 40,000 Alaska Airlines miles ($2,000 initial spend) plus $100 statement credit. You also receive a companion certificate when you sign up, but unlike the new "standard" offer, you'll pay the normal $99 companion fee. As a result, we value it at $250. Business version doesn't come with statement credit (or waived 1st year certificate fee). $75 annual fee.
Chase Southwest Premier Business $770 .26/$
60,000 Southwest Airline miles ($3,000 initial spend). Southwest operates a fixed-value rewards program, where you can get around 1.2 - 1.6 cents per point, without having to worry about award availability. $99 annual fee. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule
Amex Hilton Ascend and Business $760 .19/$
Promotional offer of 130,000 Hilton points plus a free weekend night certificate (that we value at $300. This is the best ever offer for these cards. $4,000 spending requirement for personal card, $5,000 spending requirement for business card. Because of the extra $1,000 spending requirement, the business card bonus is worth about $10 less. $95 annual fee. You might possibly get an extra $100 statement credit if you apply during the reservation process.
Amex Hilton Aspire $730 .18/$
Promotional offer of 150,000 Hilton points, valued at $680 ($4,000 initial spend). You also get a free weekend night certificate good at any Hilton hotel, which we value at $300. In addition, you get a $250 Hilton resort credit, and up to two $250 airline incidental credits, during your initial year. We value the airline credit at only 25% of its face value and the resort credit at half of its face value (for at total of $275). If you are willing to make the effort, you can get full value from these credits (an extra $475).
Citi AAdvantage
personal
business

$680
$730

.23/$
.18/$
Promotional offer of 60,000 American Airlines miles ($3,000 initial spend) for the personal card or 65,000 miles ($4,000 initial spend) for the business card. For both cards there is an alternative offer of 40,000 points and a $200 statement credit ($2,000 initial spend), that is worth slightly less, but with less spend. In addition, you can probably call in and get that offer matched to 60,000 points, making it significantly more valuable. Annual fee is waived the first year.
Barclay Hawaiian Airlines (personal and business) $720 .36/$
Promotional offer of 60,000 Hawaiian miles ($2,000 initial spend). You also receive a half-priced companion ticket, that we value at $250, making this a pretty valuable signup offer, if you can use the companion certificate to fly to Hawaii. The business version of the card has the same promotional offer, but with only $1,000 initial spend, making it about $15 more valuable.
Chase IHG $710 .24/$
Highest ever promotional offer of 125,000 IHG points, plus $50 statement credit, plus bonus points on all purchases for the first year.
Chase Hyatt $700 .12/$
50,000 Hyatt points ($6,000 initial spend). $95 annual fee. The signup offer of two free nights is no longer available. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Citi Premier $700 .18/$
60,000 ThankYou points ($4,000 initial spend). $95 annual fee. The Prestige version is usually a better option, but from a pure signup bonus perspective, you get a bit more from this offer for the Premier card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve $670 .17/$
The signup offer for the Sapphire Preferred version is better, and you can only have one of these two cards. However, the Sapphire Reserve card is a more interesting card for the long term. $450 annual fee. The $300 travel credit is valued at full value. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
Citi Prestige $660 .17/$
50,000 ThankYou points ($4,000 initial spend). $495 annual fee, but gives you $500 in travel credits the first year you have the card. Lower annual fee for Citigold customers.
Amex Delta Gold (personal and business} $650 .65/$
Promotional offer of 30,000 Delta miles ($1,000 initial spend) plus 50% off on Delta purchases during the first 3 months (maximum of $300). If you aren't taking a flight, you can always stock up on Delta gift cards for later. Annual fee waived first year.
Chase United Explorer (personal)
full $5,000
initial $2,000

$635
$550

.13/$
.28/$
Promotional offer of 40,000 United Miles with $2,000 initial spend, plus an additional 10,000 miles for $5,000 total spend in the first six months. Annual fee is waived the first year. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve $630 .14/$
50,000 points, worth 1.5 cents each ($4,500 initial spend). $400 annual fee, but a $325 airfare credit brings the effective annual fee down to $75.
Wells Fargo Visa Signature $620 .05/$
Earns 4x extra points, worth 1.5 cents each, on the first $12,500 of gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases, during the first six months you have the card. If you can maximize the bonus, probably via gift card purchases, you can earn 50,000 extra points. No annual fee.

The Wells Fargo Reward card has an identical bonus, but if you don't also have the Visa Signature, the points are only worth 1 cent each (rather than 1.5 cents).

Barclay JetBlue (personal and business) $590 .59/$
Promotional offer of 50,000 JetBlue points ($1,000 initial spend).Business card is 40,000 points ($1,000) plus an additional 10,000 points for a purchase on an employee card. $99 annual fee.
Amex Platinum (Multiple Versions Available)
Promotional offers
Normal offer

$1,175
$575

.24/$
.12/$
The Platinum card's normal signup bonus of 60,000 points is very generous. At 1.5 cents per point, the points are worth $900. But, you can get offers as high as 100,000 through targeted mailings, the "card match" tool, and private browsing. The card's annual fee is $550, but it comes with a $200 airline incidental credit that you can receive twice during your initial year, and a $50 Saks credit that you can receive three times during your initial year. You can also receive $200 worth of Uber credits each year. But, because these credits can be hard to use, we value the Saks and Uber credits at 50% of face value and the airline incidental credits at 25% of face value (for a total of $275). If you are willing to make the effort, you can get close to full value of these credits (for an extra $475).

You can earn signup bonuses from multiple different versions of the Platinum card, although only the "regular" version typically has higher-than-normal signup offers.

Avianca Vuela $560 .56/$
Promotional offer of 60,000 Avianca miles. 40,000 on first purchase, an additional 20,000 with $1,000 initial spend. Must use code SB4060 when you apply. $149 annual fee.
Barclay Miles & More (Lufthansa)
full $20,000
initial $3,000

$550
$470

.03/$
.16/$
Promotional offer of 50,000 Miles & More points ($3,000 initial spend) plus an additional 25,000 points with $20,000 in total spending during the first year. $89 annual fee.
Capital One Venture $540 $.18/$
50,000 points, which can now be transferred to airlines (for 37,500 miles), with $3,000 initial spend. Waived first year annual fee.
Capital One Spark (Cash or Miles, Business Card Only) $535 .11/$
50,000 points after $5,000 initial spend. Points from the Cash version are worth a little less because they can't be transferred to airline partners.
Amex Business Platinum
75,000 point offer
Targeted offer max

$530
$1,650

.03/$
.08/$
75,000 Membership Reward points ($20,000 spend), valued at $1130. You'll get 50,000 points if you spend $10,000, and an additional 25,000 points if you spend a total of $25,000 in the first three months. Targeted offers can be available for up to 150,000 points. Comes with a $200 airline incidental credit that you can use twice during your first year, and a $200 per year Dell credit. But, because these credits can be hard to use, we value the Dell credits at 50% of face value and the airline incidental credits at 25% of face value (for a total of $200). If you are willing to make the effort, you can get close to full value of these credits (for an extra $400). $595 annual fee.
Chase Southwest Airlines (Personal) $520 .52/$
40,000 Southwest points. ($1,000 initial spend). The Plus version of the card has a $69 fee, versus the Preferred version's $99 fee, making it a slightly better option. Affected by the Chase 5/24 rule.
BOA Sonesta $500 .50/$
60,000 Sonesta points valued at .8 cents each, plus an extra 5,000 points for an additioinal cardholder. Annual fee waived first year.
Cathay Pacific $500 .06/$
Promotional offer of 50,000 Asia Miles. 30,000 miles with $2,000 initial spend plus an additional 20,000 miles with a total of $8,000 of spending in the first six months. Stopping at the first part of the offer has a net value of $330 (.17/$). $95 annual fee.
Amex Gold $490 .25/$
Referral offer of 40,000 Membership Reward points ($2,000 initial spend). You also get up to two $100 airline incidental credit during your initial year, and $10/month credit at participating restaurants, but because these credits can be hard to use, we only value them at half their face value. $250 annual fee. If you can get the 50,000 point "private browsing" offer, the net signup bonus rises to $640.
Bank of America Premium Rewards $460 .15/$
50,000 points, worth 1 cent each ($3,000 initial spend). $95 annual fee. You can receive the card's $100 airline incidental credit twice during your initial year. But, we only valued the credit at half of the potential $200 value. If you have $100,000 in combined assets with Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, you'll earn 2.625% on every purchase, so there is no opportunity cost for using the card to qualify for the bonus. $95 annual fee
US Bank Business Cash $430 .10/$
Promotional offer of $500 with $4,500 spend. No annual fee.

Additional great offers that require little or new spending

The following offers are all worth at least $350, and don't have a high initial spending requirement. In many cases, you'll qualify for the signup bonus after making your first purchase. In other cases, you may need to spend $500-1000.

Amex Green $360 .36/$
Promotional offer of 25,000 Membership Reward points ($1,000 initial spend) may be available when browsing in incognito mode.
BOA Amtrak No-annual-fee $350 .35/$
12,000 Amtrak points, worth 2.9 cents each on Amtrak travel ($1,000 initial spend). No annual fee.
Bank of America Spirit Airlines $350 .71/$
Promotional offer of 30,000 Spirit miles ($500 initial spend). No annual fee.

Taking advantage of promotional offers

Banks occasionally offer higher-than-normal signup bonuses for their cards. Sometimes, these promotional offers are available to everyone. Sometimes, they are only available to specific people who have been targeted by the bank.

  • The table above reflects publicly available promotional offers. It shows you you the most valuable signup offers, that are available right now. In many cases, any promotional offer will be displayed directly on the bank's website. In other cases, you'll need to click on a special link that leads you to the higher-than-normal offer. These links are available on our credit card guide pages.
  • Before applying, you may want to check elsewhere to see if you can find an even better offer. It is always possible that we've missed something. As discussed in more detail in our step-by-step guide, if you want to be sure that you are getting the best offer, take the time to check some other websites. The whole process should only take a few minutes, and can let you earn tens of thousands of extra points for the same sign-up. Step-by-Step Guide: Getting a New Credit Card.
  • USCCGuideGraph.png
  • To see better Amex signup offers, you often need to browse in Private mode. When you visit the Amex website, any promotional offers are individually targeted to you. If Amex hasn't targeted you for a better offer, you won't see it. This is true, even if you aren't actually signed-in.
  • Better offers are often available to anonymous users. To see these offers, you need to open a private browser window, which ignores all your cookies and other identifying information. Each web browser uses a different name for this feature. You may also need to refresh the page a few times, before the better off shows up. In some extreme cases, you'll need to use a Virtual Private Network to make it look like you are visiting Amex from a foreign country. Of course, when you actually sign up, you would still be using your real information on the application form.
  • To receive better offers from other cards, you may need to use the "checkout trick". When you are using a credit card that is associated with an airline, hotel, or store, you will sometimes receive a better-than-normal credit card signup offer when you are in the middle of "checking out". To get this offer, you start the process of buying something, wait till you receive the offer, and then, if you want, cancel your purchase. We recommend always trying this approach, before applying for one of these cards.
  • For example, if a better offer is available for the Alaska Airlines card, you would go to the Alaska Airlines website and start buying an airline ticket. You aren't going to complete the purchase, so any airline ticket will do. Partway through the process, the website will ask you if you want to sign up for a new Alaska airlines credit card. Click to apply for the card. Then, when you return to the check-out page, you can cancel the original purchase, and enjoy the benefits of the enhanced signup offer.

How we calculate the "Net Value" of signup offers

The “net sign-up value” for each of these cards is determined by calculating the value of the signup offer, and then subtracting the costs involved with earning the bonus. If you are interested, you can see our calculation details at the end of this article.

CalculateMoney.jpg
  • The real value of each signup bonus depends on your individual travel patterns and circumstances. The value we calculate is based on our base value for each type of credit card point. But, depending on how you plan to use your points, how many points you already have, and other factors, you may need to adjust our base values up or down (more details below). How Much are Points Worth?
  • There are two costs involved with earning a signup bonus: the initial year's annual fee (if it isn't waived for the first year), and the opportunity cost of spending enough money with the new card to qualify for the signup bonus. For every dollar you need to spend, we assume that you could have earned 2.5 cents in value from your general-purpose reward card, and then subtract the value of the points that you would receive by using the new card instead. For example, if you have to spend $3,000 to earn the bonus, and you receive 1.5 cents per dollar for spending with the card, you are giving up $30 in rewards you could have earned by using your general-purpose reward card instead. To keep things simple, we don't factor in bonus rewards, either from the new card, or from the existing cards that you could have been using. Your exact opportunity cost will depend on your bonus category mix, and the rate you earn with your collection of cards.
  • We don't consider the value of the card's other benefits. Many of these cards come with additional benefits, like elite status benefits. There is a good chance that you'll get at least some value from these benefits, during the initial year that you hold onto the card. For example, the Cit Prestige card comes with a 4th night free benefit that can save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars, during your initial sign-up year. For anyone who can make use of this benefit, the card becomes even more valuable. /li> Since it can be hard to determine the value of these ongoing benefits, we only focus on benefits that you only receive when you first get the card, and are specifically mentioned in the table above.



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