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Can you earn reward points on a balance transfer?

You typically only earn rewards on purchases.

Updated

Fact checked

Our pick for a balance transfer card with rewards: Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card logo

Up to 2%

Cash back

  • An excellent choice for cash back and balance transfers
  • Market-leading 2% back (1% after buying, 1% after paying)
  • No annual fee
Apply now

There are many balance transfer credit cards that offer rewards for spending. Some may even reward you for your balance transfer.

But most cards that offer the longest 0% intro APR period have no rewards program. If you’re willing to sacrifice a few months of 0% intro APR to get a balance transfer card with rewards, it may be worth it in the long run.

Can you earn points on a balance transfer?

Very rarely, yes. Barclays has been known to offer rewards with balance transfers on occasion.

At the time of writing, you can earn rewards on balance transfers made with the Wyndham Rewards® Visa® Card. The first use of the card for a purchase or balance transfer will earn 15,000 points. A similar offer is available for the Carnival® World Mastercard® and other Barclaycard cruise line credit cards.

Does a balance transfer count as a payment?

Yes, a balance transfer does count as a payment. As soon as your balance transfer request is approved, you authorize your new card provider to pay for your old debt. You can see it in your credit card statement or payment history as paid.

But because your card provider makes the payment and not you, you rarely earn rewards on balance transfers.

Can you get a balance transfer card with 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 intro APR period 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%.

Compare balance transfer cards with rewards

Consider opening a rewards card that has a balance transfer offer. This will allow you to keep earning rewards long after you’ve completed the balance transfer.

%
Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Recommended minimum credit score Filter values
Citi® Double Cash Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
740
Get a strong 18 month 0% intro APR on balance transfers AND up to 2% back. This is a rare card that offers both rewards and balance transfers.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.49% to 23.49% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
740
Earn rewards and enjoy a long intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers.
TD Cash Credit Card
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
680
3% on dining and 2% on groceries make this a valuable card for food purchases. Use it while traveling, too, with no foreign transaction fees. Available in: CT, DC, DE, FL, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See issuer's website
300
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
0% intro for the first 15 billing cycles (then 14.99% variable)
$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
700
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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, only a few credit cards offer rewards for making a balance transfer.
  • 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.
  • The revert APR.
    At the end of the promotional period, any outstanding balance from transfers starts attracting the balance transfer APR.

Is it worth earning points on a balance transfer?

If you don’t care much about what kind of credit card you get, or if the card that rewards you on balance transfer aligns with your financial situation — earning points on a balance transfer may be worth it. If nothing more it’ll offset a small portion of your balance transfer fee.

But if you want a credit card with even greater value after the intro APR period expires, then a balance transfer card with a rewards program you will actually use may be the more prudent choice.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, you’ll need to evaluate whether a rewards program or a balance transfer card is best for your situation. If you have a large amount of debt you’re paying back at high-interest rates, a balance transfer card is likely the best solution for you.

However, if your debt isn’t that high, but you spend a lot on everyday purchases or travel a good deal, a cashback card could help you score in a huge way.

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