Save money on interest while repaying your debt, then earn rewards.
Imagine if you could have a balance transfer card and a rewards card all in one. Fortunately, this exists.
A balance transfer card that comes with rewards means you can pay down your debt at a lower interest rate. Then, after you’ve paid off your debt, you can earn points on purchases to reward your spending. Some cards even offer added travel and purchase benefits.
While these cards sound like a win-win, you may want to consider some factors before submitting your application.
Our pick for balance transfers and rewards
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Compare balance transfer credit cards with rewards
Can you get both a balance transfer and rewards?
Yes, you can. Though you’ll usually need a strong credit score of 670 or higher to qualify. Also, your rewards or your balance transfer welcome offer may not be as strong as a card that specializes in one or the other.
That said, there are plenty of solid rewards cards that have balance transfer offers including 0% intro APRs and no balance transfer fees. You can earn points, miles or cash back with these cards — some with rewards rates of up to 3%.
How to choose the right credit card for balance transfers and rewards
You’ll have to weigh what’s most important when choosing a credit card for balance transfers and rewards. Consider the following:
- Balance transfers don’t earn rewards.
At the time of writing, no credit cards offer rewards points on debt that’s transferred.
- Introductory rate and fees.
Compare how long the introductory rate is, if it’s a 0% intro offer and what the balance transfer fees are. Also, factor in an annual fee if there is one.
- Earn rate.
How much you can earn in points, miles or cash can vary from one rewards card to the next — as do the types of purchases that may give you an accelerated rate. Normally, platinum and premium cards offer better earn rates. American Express usually compares better than Visa and Mastercard when it comes to top-notch rewards cards with additional features.
- The revert rate.
At the end of the promotional period, any outstanding balance from transfers starts attracting the purchase APR or cash advance APR. Keep in mind the cash advance rate will likely be noticeably higher than the purchase rate.
Best credit cards for balance transfers and rewards
Quick look at the best in balance transfers cards with rewards
- Best for US supermarket rewards: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Best for flat-rate rewards: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Best for accelerated rewards you choose: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
- Best for annual bonus: HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
- Best for poor credit: Discover it® Secured
Best for US supermarket rewards: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Cash back on everyday purchases. Earn 3% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases and 1% afterward, and 2% cash back at US gas stations and some US department stores. Earn 1% cash back on everything else.
- Long intro APR on balance transfers. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months. Make the transfer within 60 days of your account opening to take advantage of this offer. A 15.24% to 26.24% variable APR applies after the intro period.
- Annual fee. $0 annual fee for this rewards card.
Best for flat-rate rewards: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Long intro APR. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers in the first 15 months of card membership. After the intro period, the APR reverts to 17.24% to 25.99% variable. Balance transfers must be made within 60 days of your account opening to qualify.
- Signup cashback offer. Earn a bonus 3% cash back for the first year on up to $20,000, then unlimited 1.5% cash back after that.
- Unlimited cash back. Earn 1.5% cashback rewards on everyday spending after the signup offer ends.
Best for accelerated rewards you choose: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
- Cash back. Choose a category to earn 3% cashback and 2% back at eligible grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Your earnings in the 3% and 2% categories are capped at $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter you activate. After that and on everything else, you’ll earn 1% back.
- Intro APR for purchases and balance transfers. Get a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 statement closing dates. A variable APR of 16.24% to 26.24% applies after. Make balance transfers within the first 60 days to qualify.
- Signup bonus. Spend at least $1,000 in your first 90 days of card membership to earn a $200 cash bonus.
Best for annual rewards bonus: HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
- Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months from account opening. After, your APR reverts to 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable.
- Cash back on all purchases. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
- Anniversary bonus on cash rewards. Each year, earn a 10% bonus on all cash rewards you’ve earned.
Best for poor credit: Discover it® Secured
- Intro APR. Enjoy a 10.99% intro APR for 6 months on balance transfers, starting from the date of your first transfer. After your intro APR expires, it’ll revert to 25.24% variable. Balance transfers must post by May 10, 2019 to qualify.
- Cash back. Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on the first $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, and 1% thereafter. Earn 1% cash back on everything else.
- Signup bonus. At the end of your first year, Discover will match all of the cash back you’ve earned.
Can you get rewards on a balance transfer?
Unfortunately, no. At the time of this writing, we’re unaware of any card providers that offer rewards points on transferred debt.
How we selected our top cards
When comparing balance transfer and rewards credit cards, we looked at factors such as balance transfer fees, introductory APRs for balance transfers, annual fees, reward earning categories, points earned per dollar spent, point redemption value, signup bonuses, annual rewards bonuses and other features a cardholder might consider. The cards that stood out above the others in one or several of these factors were selected for highlight.
What’s changed in 2019
Discover and HSBC both joined our list this year by filling a few valuable niches — a secured card for those rebuilding credit and a card with annual rewards respectively. The heavy hitters in Chase, Amex and Bank of America continued to hold strong with their balance transfer card offerings.
If used properly, both balance transfer cards and rewards credit cards can save you money. If you can find a card that offers both, you can score big in travel, shopping and cash back. With so many options and perks, always compare your balance transfer credit card options before deciding on a card for you.
Frequently asked questions