Sign-Up Bonus Credit Cards

Sign-up bonus credit cards come with attractive offers like bonus points, complimentary flights, $0 annual fees, promotional interest rates and other perks.

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Although sign-up bonuses may draw you towards applying for a credit card, sometimes these cards charge higher interest rates and fees compared to cards that don’t offer sign-up bonuses. Some credit cards temporarily waive the fees as part of a welcome offer but may not offer very good rewards, while others offer low APRs on balance transfers plus higher cash back rates or extra travel miles for a limited time.

If a sign-up offer can help you pay down debt faster or chunk down on your everyday expenses, then it could be a great option. But you need to weigh your options carefully before applying, because you could end up paying more in interest and other fees than yo do with your current credit card.

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

19.99 % APR

Purchase interest rate

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

Apply today and earn up to 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months.

  • Purchase interest rate: 19.99%
  • Cash advance rate: 22.99%
  • Balance transfer rate: 22.99%
  • Annual fee: $120
  • Credit rating: 650+
  • Minimum age: Age of majority in province/territory of residence
  • Minimum income: $12,000
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Do American Express cards have a sign-up bonus?

In a sense, yes. Except you don’t get a bonus for signing up. You get a welcome offer for joining the Amex family. However, you still have to earn the offer by meeting minimum spend requirements.

Compare credit cards with bonus points on sign-up

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Benefits with this card Description
American Express Cobalt Card
19.99%
22.99%
$120
N/A
Earn 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at eligible grocery stores, restaurants, bars, cafés and food delivery services, and earn 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at eligible gas stations, and on transit and travel purchases, and earn 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 spent elsewhere. Terms apply
Earn up to 40,000 Membership Rewards points. In the first year, earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each billing period when you charge at least $500 in eligible purchases to your card (for a total earn of up to 30,000 Membership Rewards). Plus, earn up to 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend a total of $3,000 in purchases in your first three months
BMO World Elite Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
$80,000
Get 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining and entertainment purchases (up to $50,000 spend annually), and get 2 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases (and once you reach the $50,000 annual spend).
Earn a bonus of up to 35,000 BMO Rewards points with a minimum spend of $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership ($250 travel value to be used towards a flight booked through bmorewards.com). Plus, get the $150 annual fee waived in the first year.
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
11.9%
11.9%
$25
N/A
Earn 2 Points for every $1 spent on eligible dining or entertainment purchases.
Earn a Sign Up Bonus of 5,000 Points ($25 in travel rewards) when you keep your account open and active for 90 days.
Scotiabank Passport  Visa Infinite Card
19.99%
22.99%
$139
$60,000
Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery store, dining, entertainment and daily transit purchases, and earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to a total bonus of 40,000 Scotia Rewards points (up to a $400 travel value) in your first year. Earn 30,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months. Apply by July 1, 2020. Plus, earn 10,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points each year when you spend at least $40,000 annually on eligible purchases (and earn 2,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points for every additional $10,000 in purchases thereafter).
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
19.9%
22.9%
$149
$80,000
Earn 3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases (6 Points per $1 spent) and earn 1.5% in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases (3 Points per $1 spent).
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Points ($100 in travel rewards).

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Cards to consider with cash back offers

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Cash Back Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Reward
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
19.99%
22.99%
2%
$99
N/A
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
Earn 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in your first six months (up to a maximum spend of $6,000, or $300 in cash back).
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card
20.99%
22.99%
4%
$120
$60,000
Earn 4% cash back for every $1 spent on eligible grocery purchases & recurring bill payments, 2% per $1 spent on eligible gas purchases & public transit, and 1% per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
Get 10% cash back on all eligible purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, pay no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards. (A total Welcome Offer value of $350). Apply online by April 30, 2020.
SimplyCash Card from American Express
19.99%
22.99%
1.25%
$0
N/A
1.25% cash back rate on all purchases when your welcome offer ends. No cap
Earn 2.5% cash back on all eligible purchases in your first three months (up to a maximum spend of $6,000, or $150 in cash back).
Scotia Momentum  Mastercard Credit Card
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
1%
$0
$12,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and get 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
1%
$0
$12,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and get 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.

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Things to consider with sign-up bonus credit cards

Is a sign-up bonus credit card right for you?

If you plan to pay off a $5,000 high interest credit card in less than a year, then you could save by switching to a card offering a 1.99% promotional balance transfer APR for 6 months. If you spend a lot and repay your balance faithfully, then a card offering a high promotional cash back rate or bonus travel miles with a minimum spending requirement might be a good for you. On the other hand, if you already have a low interest card with low fees, then you might not gain much by switching to another card.

What is the size of the offer?

If you’re looking to get the highest value, check out general travel rewards cards, hotel cards or airline cards. These cards often come with a sign-up bonus worth $500 or more.

Can you clear the spending requirement?

Some credit cards have a high spend ceiling to clear the sign-up bonus. For example, some require you to spend $5,000 in the first three months of card membership to be eligible. There are ways to earn the offer, but if you find it hard to meet the spending requirement, don’t force it – you could end up paying more than it’s worth.

What is the interest rate?

If you struggle to make payments on time, then late payment fees and penalty APRs could quickly eat up your rewards. And a card with an impressive introductory APR may revert to a higher-than-average rate when the introductory period is over. When comparing credit cards, make sure you always consider sign-up rates, revert rates and interest charges that apply to other types of transactions like cash withdrawals.

Are there any additional features?

Some credit cards come with a low introductory APR period on balance transfers and purchases. If you’re looking to make a balance transfer or make a large purchase and carry the balance interest-free, this could be a solid option.

How and where can I apply for my sign-up bonus credit card?

The simplest way to obtain a sign-up bonus credit card is to look at the existing options available in the comparison table above. After comparing the credit cards and identifying the best one for you, click on the Apply now button and continue to complete the form. One thing to keep in mind: if you’ve signed up for the same card once before, you’re unlikely to get approved for the same card once again, or at least enjoy the same sign-up bonus.

Once approved, how long does it take before I can receive the sign-up bonus credit card?

After approval, the specific bank will post your new credit card and you should receive it in 5-10 business days. For security purposes, the credit cards are not activated until they are safely received. As soon as you activate it you will be able to immediately use your credit card and earn reward points.

Bottom line

A sign-up bonus credit card can be a great way to use your purchasing power to your benefit, as it can get you great rewards or save you from high interest rates. If you look at an offer and feel that you can utilize the card effectively, a credit card with a sign-up bonus can be great. But make sure you don’t sign up without weighing in all the pros and cons, or you could be paying more at the end of the day.

Check out our guide to rewards credit cards to learn more about getting bonuses, travel perks, cash back and more by making your everyday purchases.

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