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2016 Credit Card Signup Bonuses

Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Credit card companies roll out the red carpet to get new card members. From cash to points to miles, signup bonuses abound from top card issuers. It’s for that reason that I complied this exhaustive list of credit card signup bonuses, deals, and promotions for 2016.

The list starts with the highest bonuses, and then is organized by type of bonus (cash, points, or miles) and by type of card (business and student cards).

As you review this list keep a few things in mind:

  • The signup bonus, while certainly a nice perk, is only one factor to consider when comparing the cards;
  • The higher the signup bonus, the higher then spending requirement you’ll need to meet to get it;
  • The higher the signup bonus, the higher the annual fee; and
  • The value of points or miles can vary depending on how you use them.

With that, let’s get to the list:

Best Signup Bonuses

Here are the cards that offer some of the highest bonuses currently available:

Credit Card Signup Bonus Spend Requirement Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 50,000 Points $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Intro $0 the first year, then $95
Value: $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Ink Plus Business Credit Card  60,000 Points $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. $95
Value: $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Cash Signup Bonuses

As the saying goes, cash is king. The following credit cards pay a cash bonus when you spend a set amount within a certain period of time. Keep in mind that many of the points and miles offers can be converted to cash or statement credits.

Credit Card Signup Bonus Spend Requirement Annual Fee
Chase Freedom $150 $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. $0
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express $150 $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. $95 ($75 if application is received by 8/3/16)
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card $100  $500 on purchases within the first 3 months  $0
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express $100 $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. $0
BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card $100 $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. $0
Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® $100 $500 on purchases within the first 90 days after account opening. $0

Miles Signup Bonuses

Here you’ll find the top miles bonuses, followed by the top points deals in the next section. There really is, however, no practical difference between points and miles.

Airlines typically call their rewards “miles,” although there are exceptions. British Airways calls them “Avios.” Go figure. Southwest Airlines calls them points, but we know Southwest just likes to be different (remember how they board planes). Most hotel cards and non-branded travel cards call rewards points, but again, their are exceptions. The Capital One Venture Rewards card calls its rewards “miles.”

So why did I divide them between miles and points? Simplicity. With that said, here are the Miles promotions:

Credit Card Signup Bonus Spend Requirement Annual Fee
Citi®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® 30,000 Miles $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. $95, waived for first 12 Months
Value: Round-tip award travel starts at 25,000 miles (Source: AAdvantage Mileage Chart)
United MileagePlus Explorer Card 30,000 Miles  $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. $0 intro for the first year, then $95
Value: Round-trip award travel starts at 20,000 miles (Source: United Mileage Chart)
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express 30,000 Miles $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months. (limited time offer) $0 for the first year, then $95
Value: Round-trip award travel starts at 20,000 miles (Source: Delta Mileage Chart)
British Airways Visa Signature card 50,000 Avios $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. $95
Value: Round-trip award travel starts at 9,000 Avios (Source: Avios Award Map) Note: This will go up to 15,000 Avios starting Feb. 2, 2016 (Source: British Airways)
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® 50,000 Miles $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. $89 (waived the first year)
Value: $500 travel statement credit

Points Signup Bonuses

Here are the points promotions. As with miles, it’s not enough to simply compare these bonuses in absolute terms. You need to understand the value of the points when you redeem them. Often, the value depends on how you redeem the points.

Credit Card Signup Bonus Spend Requirement Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 50,000 Points $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Intro $0 the first year, then $95
Value: $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Value: $500 in gift cards, $625 for airfare, or other great rewards.
Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card 80,000 Points $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening $85
Value: Free night stays start at 7,500 points for Category 1 properties (Source: Marriott Rewards Chart)
IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card 60,000 Points $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. $0 for first year, then $49 annually
Value: Free night stays start at 10,000 points (Source: IHG Reward Chart)
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card 50,000 Points $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open $99
Value: Varies based on flight.
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card 40,000 Points $1,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening. $0
Value: Free night stats start at 5,000 points (Source: Hilton)
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve® Card 75,000 Points $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. $0
Value: Free night stats start at 5,000 points (Source: Hilton)
Citi Prestige® Card 40,000 Points $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. $450
Value: Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card-Earn 20,000 Bonus Points 20,000 Points $1,500 in card purchases within 3 months of account opening. $0
Value: $200 in gift cards.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express 35,000 Points $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and an additional $2,000 in purchases within the first six months. $0 intro annual fee for first year, then $95
Value: Free night stats start at 3,000 Starpoints (Source: Starwood)
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express 25,000 Points $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Intro $0 for first year, then $195
Value: Up to $250 depending on method of redemption
The Platinum Card® from American Express 40,000 Points $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. $450
Value: Up to $400 depending on method of redemption
The Amex Everyday® Credit Card from American Express 10,000 Points $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. $0
Value: Up to $100 depending on method of redemption
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® card 20,000 Points $3,500 in Net Purchases (purchases minus credits and returns) on your Card within the first four months of account opening. $0 intro* for the first year, then $49*
Value: Up to $400 if used for an airline ticket.

Business Card Signup Bonuses

As a small business owner, I know the value of a good credit card. These deals span all categories, cash, miles and points.

Credit Card Signup Bonus Spend Requirement Annual Fee
SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express $400  $5,000 or more in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership + $10,000 spent in the first year $0
Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business $200 $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months $0
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business $500 $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months $0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business  50,000 Miles $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months  $0 intro for first year; $59 after that
Ink Cash Business Credit Card $200 $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening $0
Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business 20,000 Miles $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months $0
Ink Plus Business Credit Card 60,000 Points $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  $95
Bank of America® WorldPoints® Travel Rewards for Business Visa® credit card $100 $500 in purchases within 60 days of account opening $0
Bank of America® Cash Rewards for Business MasterCard® credit card $100 $500 in purchases within 60 days of account opening  $0
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN 25,000 Points $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership  $0 for the first year, then $175
The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express OPEN 20,000 Points 10,000 points after making a purchase within the first 3 months $0
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN 75,000 Points  (50,000 points) – $10,000 spent in the first three months (25,000 points) – $10,000 additional spent in the first three months $450
CitiBusiness® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® 50,000 Miles $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening $95, waived for first 12 months
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card From American Express 35,000 Points $5,000 in purchases within the first three months and an additional $3,000 in purchases within the first six months.  $0 intro for first year, then $95

Student Card Signup Bonuses

Finally, for college students, here are some signup offers on cards with no annual fees.

Credit Card Bonus Spend Requirement Annual Fee
Discover it® for Students – New! Good Grades Rewards $20  Each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.  $0
Discover it® chrome for Students – New! Good Grades Rewards $20  Each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.  $0
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students 2,500 Points $500 within the first 3 months of cardmembership.  $0

 

Balance Transfer Credit Cards