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Can you earn reward points on a balance transfer?

You typically only earn rewards on purchases.

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® Earner℠ Card. The first use of the card for a purchase or balance transfer will earn 30,000 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.

1 - 3 of 10
Name Product Amount saved Balance transfer APR Balance transfer fee Minimum Credit Score Filter values
Chase Freedom Flex℠
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.74% to 24.49% variable)
For each transfer: 3% intro fee ($5 min) in first 60 days, after that 5% ($5 min)
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.74% to 24.49% variable)
For each transfer: 3% intro fee ($5 min) in first 60 days, after that 5% ($5 min)
This solid 1.5% cashback card gets even better with the addition of up to 5% back in categories like travel, drug stores and dining.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.49% to 25.49% variable)
$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
A unique cashback card that automatically awards 5% to your highest eligible spending category each billing cycle, on up to $500 (then 1%).

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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