The 8 Best Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses of 2019

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Over the past few years, credit card companies have come up with increasingly appealing incentives to attract new cardholders. Sign-up bonuses—just one such incentive—are a lump sum reward you receive after spending a minimum amount on your credit card in the first three months following its opening. Occasionally, there’s some fine print to take into account, but for this list, we’ve considered both the amount of the bonus and the spending requirement to reach it. The cards that made our list include:

  • Best Overall: Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Best Travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Best Small Business: Chase Ink Business Preferred
  • Best Airline: Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
  • Best Hotel: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
  • Best for Groceries: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
  • Easiest to Earn: Capital One Quicksilver
  • Best Flat Rate Cash Rewards: Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

In some cases, the annual fee, promotional interest rate, and other credit card perks make one card more attractive than another. Read on to find the right card—and sign-up bonus—for you. 

01
Best Overall: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Courtesy of Chase

What we like: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is packed with benefits for frequent travelers. The signup bonus is worth up to $750 when you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which is Chase’s online travel booking tool.

On top of the sign-up bonus, you’ll receive a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or PreCheck, a $300 annual travel credit, access to airport lounges, and special rental car privileges with partner agencies if you use your credit card to book.

Ongoing, you'll earn You can earn three points for every dollar you spend on travel; three points per dollar on dining worldwide; and one point per dollar on everything else.

What we don't like: The annual fee is particularly high - and isn't waived in the first year - which means this credit card is ideal for heavy spenders who can earn enough rewards to offset the fee.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent
  • Annual Fee: $450 for the primary cardholder; $75 for additional authorized users
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 19.24% to 26.24% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Signup Bonus: 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months

02
Best Travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred

What we like: The Chase Sapphire Preferred also pays 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account. The bonus is worth $750 when you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Sapphire Preferred has a much lower annual fee than its bigger brother - the Sapphire Reserve - which makes it the better choice for some consumers.

The card pays two points for every dollar you spend on travel and dining purchases and one point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.

What we don't like: You may not qualify for the signup bonus if you've opened more than five credit cards in the past 24 months. That goes for all credit cards, not just Chase credit cards.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 18.24% to 25.24% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Signup Bonus: 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months

03
Best Small Business: Chase Ink Business Preferred

Chase Ink Business Preferred
Courtesy of Chase

What we like: The Chase Ink Business Preferred has an amazing signup bonus for small business earners. The card pays 80,000 bonus points for the business with a minimum spend of $5,000 in the first three months after opening their card. The bonus worth up to $1,000 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Ongoing, the card pays a generous three points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in specific business categories each year, including travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and social media/search engine advertising purchases. All your other card purchases earn unlimited one point per dollar.

What we don't like: There's no introductory APR, which would be a plus for a small business who needs to pay off an existing credit card balance at a lower interest rate.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 18.24% to 23.24% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $15 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Signup Bonus: 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months

04
Best Airline: Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
Courtesy of American Express

What we like: The Gold Delta Skymiles offers great perks for Delta frequent fliers. Get your first checked bag free for you an up to 9 travelers on your reservation and save 20% on eligible in-flight purchases. Earn 30,000 miles after making $1,000 in spend within 3 months of account opening and receive $50 cash back as a statement credit after making a purchase directly with Delta in the same time frame.

The card offers a generous signup bonus and ongoing rewards that are perfect for Delta frequent fliers. Ongoing, you’ll earn two miles for every dollar you spend on purchases made directly with Delta and one mile for every dollar you spend on other credit card purchases. 

What we don't like: Your purchases won't earn Medallion Qualification Miles which you'll need to get Delta Medallion status. There's no introductory interest rate for purchases or balance transfers.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: $95, waived in the first year
  • Intro APR: Not offered
  • Ongoing APR: 17.74% to 26.74% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $5 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: 30,000 Miles after making $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months, and receive $50 cash back in the form of a statement credit after making a purchase directly with Delta with your new Card within the first 3 months. 

View details about this credit card

05
Best Hotel: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend
Courtesy of American Express

What we like: The Hilton Honors has the best welcome offer of any credit card on our list plus it offers the best signup bonus among hotel branded credit cards. Hilton property lovers will earn 12 Hilton Honors Bonus Points for every dollar you spent with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio; six points for each dollar you spend at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations; and three points for every dollar spent on all other purchases.

Your card gets you access to complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status plus a bonus weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on your card in a calendar year.

What we don't like: Unlike many other hotel rewards credit cards, the Surpass doesn't offer a free award night on the cardmember's anniversary.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 17.74% to 26.74% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a free weekend night reward after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 4 months of Card membership.

View details about this credit card

06
Best for Groceries: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

 Courtesy of American Express

What we like: The American Express Blue Cash Preferred offers great rewards for families who are big time grocery shoppers. The card pays 6% cash rewards at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year. That's $360 in cash rewards if you max out spending on groceries alone.

You'll also earn $3% cash rewards on purchases at U.S. gas stations, 3% back on ground transportation, 6% back on select US TV and music streaming services, and 1% on everything else, including groceries past the $6,000 threshold.

What we don't like: The 6% rewards rate doesn't include superstores like Target and Walmart or warehouse stores like Costco. Some shoppers will have to change shopping locations to earn the higher rewards on your grocery purchases.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent/Good
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.99% to 25.99% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 2.7% of the amount after conversion to U.S. dollars
  • Welcome Offer: $250 back when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months

View details about this credit card

07
Easiest to Earn: Capital One Quicksilver

Courtesy of Capital One

What we like: The Capital One Quicksilver has one of the easiest signup bonuses to earn. Spend a minimum of $500 in the first three months of opening your account and you'll earn a $150 cash bonus.

Purchases on the Capital One Quicksilver earn an unlimited 1.5%. You can redeem your rewards at any time for any amount.

What we don't like: The Quicksilver has a simple rewards structure that's easy to keep up with, but with the excellent credit you need to qualify, you may be able to earn more rewards with another credit card.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Ongoing APR: 16.24% to 26.24% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the transfer amount for the first 15 months; None after the first 15 months.
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Signup Bonus: $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 in the first three months.

08
Best Flat Rate Cash Rewards: Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

Generic orange credit card
 Courtesy of Getty Images

What we like: Earning rewards with the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa is fairly simple. Every time you swipe your card, you'll earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards. You don't have to sign up or keep up with any categories. 

Aside from the ongoing rewards rate, you can also earn 1.8% cash back on qualified mobile wallet purchases for the first 15 months of having an account. Plus, your purchases and balance transfers have a 0% APR for the first 15 months.

What we don't like: The APR on the higher end of the range, which you'll qualify for if you don't have the highest credit score, is fairly high. A high APR makes carrying a credit card balance expensive.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 15 months on qualifying balance transfers and 15 months 0% intro APR on purchases
  • Ongoing APR: 25.99% to 27.99% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount for 120 days from account opening; $5 or 5% after that
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 3% of the purchase amount in U.S. dollars
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months

View details about this credit card.

Our Process

Our writers spent 12 hours researching the most popular sign-up bonuses on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 44 different credit cards overall. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust. We are committed to researching and recommending the best financial solutions and products for our readers. The Balance has partnered with CardRatings and may receive commissions from links within our content, but these have no bearing on our reviews or recommendations. The above content has not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any card issuers prior to publishing.