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Best credit card offers
Earn cash back, points or miles, or get a long 0% intro APR period.
Many credit cards come with a signup bonus after you meet specific spending requirements. Depending on the card, you can earn cash back, points or miles, or you can get a long intro APR period on balance transfers and purchases. But if you’re looking for the best welcome offer from a single card, be ready to pay an annual fee.
What's in this guide?
- Best credit card offers
- Types of introductory credit card offers
- 0% intro APR balance transfer credit card offers
- Credit cards that offer 0% intro interest on purchases
- No annual fee credit card offers
- Bonus reward point credit card offers
- Credit cards that offer bonus frequent flyer miles
- Cashback credit card offers
- Compare credit cards
- Compare the best signup bonuses
- How to compare credit card introductory offers
- Mistakes to avoid with credit card offers
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
Best credit card offers
- Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
How we selected our top cards
We looked at several factors when choosing the credit cards with the best introductory offers, including the total reward, how much you need to spend to earn the offer, how long you have to reach the spending requirements, the rewards category of the card and unique or unusual welcome offers. The cards we chose to highlight below are those that performed exceptionally well in certain categories, or filled a specific niche.
What’s changed in 2020
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card and Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card joined our list this year. These cards both brought a great combination of consistent rewards and strong welcome offers — enough for us to take notice.
Types of introductory credit card offers
0% intro APR balance transfer credit card offers
A 0% intro APR balance transfer credit card can be a useful tool to consolidate and repay debt without paying interest. Once the promotional offer ends, a standard revert rate applies and any remaining debts will begin to collect interest, often at the higher cash advance rate.
Interest-free balance transfers are only available for a limited time, so you’ll be required to apply and receive approval before the offer end date to take advantage of the promotional 0% interest rate. You can usually request the balance transfer and provide the details of your existing account when you apply.
Also, there are limitations to the amount you can transfer. For example, you can make a balance transfer up to $15,000 or up to the size of your credit line, whichever is lower. Make sure you read the card’s terms to avoid any surprises.
Credit cards that offer 0% intro interest on purchases
Purchase rate offers help you save on your spending by giving you a low or 0% introductory interest rate for a limited time. At the end of the introductory period, the promotional rate reverts to a standard interest rate that applies to any balance carried from these purchases.
Purchase rate offers can be useful if you have a lot of planned expenses coming up and want a flexible and affordable way to pay them off over time. To get the most out of low or 0% intro purchase rate deals, you should aim to pay off the new charges before the end of the introductory period.
NOTE: For 0% intro APR credit cards, make sure you pay your balance on time. Otherwise, you may lose the intro APR and incur a penalty APR of up to 32%.
No annual fee credit card offers
This type of introductory offer waives the credit card’s annual fee for the first year. After the introductory period, the standard annual fee will be applied to the account. Pay attention to the standard annual fee when comparing credit cards because that’s what you’ll be paying from the second year onward.
Bonus reward point credit card offers
Many rewards credit cards include bonus points when you apply and are approved for the card. Depending on the offer, you could be able to get up to 100,000 bonus points.
Bonus points offers are usually only available when you meet the spend criteria. For example, spend $3,000 in the first three months to earn 50,000 bonus points. As long as the spend requirement fits within your budget and without outweighing your bonus points’ value, it can be an easy way to boost your points balance as soon as you apply for the card.
Credit cards that offer bonus frequent flyer miles
Similar to bonus reward point promotions, many frequent flyer credit cards offer bonus points on signup. Most cards offer specific airline miles, but many rewards cards also let you transfer points to miles to other airlines. Again, you’re usually required to spend a minimum amount within a set period to qualify for the bonus points offer.
Make sure you know what these terms and conditions are before you apply so that you can decide if the offer is worth it. It’s also important to look at how many miles you’ll usually earn for your spending, as well as any rates, fees and extra features that come with the card.
Cashback credit card offers
This type of introductory offer gives you cash back when you get a new credit card. Like bonus point promotions, you usually need to spend a specific amount of money on the card before you can enjoy a cashback offer. For example, an offer might give you $200 cash bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months you have the card.
Cash, points or miles. Can’t decide which one?
If you’re not sure which type of card could suit you best, check out our rewards guide.
Compare credit cards
What perks can I get as an existing cardholder?
New card members often get a chance to earn a generous signup bonus or use a 0% intro APR period. But existing cardholders can get:
- Cashback offers. Some credit cards, such as the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, may offer accelerated cash back on select categories for a limited time. Unfortunately, not all cardmembers may get the offer.
- Network perks. Card payment networks provide a host of exclusive travel, lifestyle, shopping, dining and entertainment offers to existing cardholders. For example, Visa Entertainment, Mastercard Priceless Cities and American Express Membership Experiences all offer cardholders entertainment perks such as presale concert tickets, event discounts and access to private lounges.
- Program offers. Some card providers, such as the Amex Offers program, let you earn additional points or cash back on everyday purchases. All you have to do is add an offer you find appealing and start shopping.
How to compare credit card introductory offers
While introductory offers can sweeten the deal when you sign up for a credit card, you should also look at the card’s ongoing features. Thinking about the following factors will help you find an introductory offer that suits your short-term needs and a credit card that fits your circumstances in the long run.
- The promotional interest rate. Depending on the card, the promotional offer may have a low or 0% interest rate. Usually, the lower the interest rate, the more savings you’ll make.
- The length of the introductory period. With low purchase rate or balance transfer rate offers, calculate how much you’ll need to pay each month to repay the entire balance before the promotional period ends. Otherwise, any remaining balance will collect the standard interest and begin to counteract your savings.
- The promotional offer end date. Some offers are only available for a limited time, so you will need to apply before the end date to take advantage of them. Check the terms and conditions to make sure any offers you want are still available before you apply.
- The standard interest rates. If you have a card with a low or 0% intro purchase or balance transfer deal, the standard interest rates will apply to any balances remaining at the end of the introductory period.
- Standard annual fees. If you get an annual fee waiver, make sure you check the standard annual fee so that you know how much you will have to pay after the first 12 months.
- Other fees and charges. As well as the annual fee, the card may come with other rates and fees such as balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, foreign transaction fees and late payment fees.
- Interest charges. If you have to meet a minimum spend to earn bonus points or redeem your introductory offer, remember that these purchases will collect interest unless paid in full.
Rewards and extras
- Spending requirements. Some cashback and bonus point offers require you to spend a minimum amount in an introductory period of a few months. It could be as little as $100 or as much as $5,000 depending on the card, so it’s important to check before you apply to make sure you can afford to take advantage of the offer.
- Standard rewards points. As well as the bonus points, make sure the regular rewards program suits your spending behaviors and rewards goals.
- Complimentary extras. Additional, ongoing perks such as international travel insurance, extended warranties and concierge services can bring more value to the card that you choose. However, they can also mean higher annual fees, so make sure these are features you’d take advantage of before you apply.
Mistakes to avoid with credit card offers
While credit card introductory offers can help you get more value from your card, there are some mistakes to avoid to ensure the card costs don’t outweigh the offer’s benefits. Some of the common mistakes cardholders make and how you can avoid them include:
- Ignoring the offer terms and conditions. Introductory offers have specific eligibility requirements you have to meet, so make sure you understand the fine print before you apply.
- Wasting the promotional offer time period. With a balance transfer or purchase rate offer, the promotional period will begin as soon as your application is approved. To avoid wasting the valuable offer, make sure you start consolidating your debt or paying off your purchases as soon as possible to take advantage of the full offer.
- Not looking at the card’s ongoing features. While introductory offers can give you short-term benefits, the standard features of a credit card determine its ongoing value. Always check these features before you apply for a credit card to decide if it’s worth it for you.
- Not checking the offer’s end date. For some offers, you must apply before the end of the promotional period. Regularly comparing credit cards can help you stay up-to-date with all the offers available when you’re considering a new card.
- Not using the card after the introductory period. If you decide you don’t want the card you applied for after getting an introductory offer, you could end up paying more credit card fees and adding to your debt. Make sure you consider this before you apply, choose an appropriate card, or cancel the account if you no longer want to use it.
Introductory offers have the potential to provide you with more value when you get a new credit card. While almost anyone can benefit from these deals, the value they provide really depends on your individual circumstances.
It’s also important to remember that card benefits only last for a set amount of time before reverting to the standard features. So being aware of how credit card offers work and considering both the introductory offer and the ongoing card features means you can choose a card that offers you value now and in the future.Back to top
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