Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses of November 2020

The Most Valuable Current Offers for New Cardholders

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The best sign-up bonuses available on credit cards stand out for their superior value. They can be worth hundreds of dollars—or even more than $1,000. Credit card issuers offer them as an incentive to apply for an account and use it regularly. If you’re looking for a credit card with a lot of upfront value, here are our top choices based on how much you can earn.

Best Sign-Up Bonus Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best Overall

,

Best for Flexible Travel Rewards

Our Rating Among Cards With a Sign-up Bonus
4.3
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Current Offer

50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3x points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 3X points on dining at restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The bonus on this card confirms its place among the elite. If you spend $4,000 in your first three months, you’ll get 50,000 points worth $750 when redeemed for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The points may be worth even more if you transfer them to a partner airline or hotel program with higher-value points or miles (like Hyatt or British Airways, our research shows.) In fact, the option to convert your points at a 1-to-1 ratio is one of the best things about this card. Plus, the generous rewards, big annual travel credit, and airport lounge membership more than make up for the steep annual fee.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Earn extra points for travel and dining purchases
    • Many different purchases count as travel spending, which makes earning rewards easier
    • Several valuable ways to use points, including transfers to partner loyalty programs
    • Jam-packed with valuable travel credit and travel insurance benefits

    Cons

    • Massive annual fee
    • High ongoing APR
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Receive 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • Get an annual $300 travel credit for eligible purchases charged to your card each anniversary year.
    • Earn 3 points on travel (excluding purchases eligible for the travel credit), restaurants, and dining. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.
    • Points are worth 50% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase's Ultimate Rewards portal.
    • Transfer points 1:1 to eligible Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partner programs.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

Best Airline-Specific Card

Our Rating Among Cards With a Sign-up Bonus
4.5
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
Current Offer

Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $99
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2X miles for every one dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 1X miles for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    This card’s bonus is not just valuable, but incredibly easy to earn. Make just one purchase within 90 days of opening your account (and pay the $99 annual fee, of course), and you’ll get 50,000 miles. Other cards may require you to spend thousands to earn a bonus worth far less. Plus, The Balance has found AAdvantage miles are among the most valuable offered by a frequent flyer program (2.26 cents each, on average), so the miles alone are worth a whopping $1,130 if used for flights.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • American Airlines miles are worth more than most airline miles, according to The Balance’s valuations
    • Excellent and super-easy-to-earn welcome bonus
    • Good array of travel perks, including free checked bags
    • Optional program to increase number of miles earned per purchase

    Cons

    • Annual fee isn’t waived for the first year
    • Few purchase categories that earn extra miles
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.
    • Get up to $25 back as statement credits on inflight Wi-Fi purchases every anniversary year on American Airlines operated flights.
    • Each anniversary year, earn a Companion Certificate good for 1 guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees) after spending $20,000 on purchases and your account remains open for 45 days after your anniversary date.
    • Receive 25% inflight savings as statement credits on food and beverages when you use your card on American Airlines operated flights.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

Best Hotel-Specific Card

Our Rating Among Cards With a Sign-up Bonus
3.9
World of Hyatt Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4X points for Hyatt stays, 2x for eligible transit, restaurants, gym memberships, and airfare purchased directly from the airline. 1x on other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    For a hotel card, this one is jam-packed with rewards and benefits. It starts with a stellar bonus: Spend $3,000 within three months of opening an account to earn 25,000 bonus points, and a total of $6,000 within six months to get another 25,000 points (that's 50,000 bonus points in total). The total bonus is worth $1,005, thanks to the exceptional value of Hyatt points (2.01 cents each, on average, based on The Balance's calculations). This card also offers a free hotel stay annually (and a second if you can spend $15,000 each year), a variety of ways to earn points, and several nice hotel perks, thanks to automatic World of Hyatt elite status.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Outstanding two-part bonus for new cardholders
    • Points are worth more than any other major U.S. hotel chain’s, according to The Balance’s calculations
    • Fitness club, restaurant, and local transportation expenses also earn extra points, unlike other hotel rewards cards

    Cons

    • World of Hyatt rewards program includes earning two types of points, which can be complicated to track
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 points after spending $6,000 total within 6 months of account opening.
    • Earn a free night certificate valid at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort each year on your cardmember anniversary.
    • Receive automatic Elite status as long as your account is open.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Best Travel Card With No Annual Fee

Our Rating Among Cards With a Sign-up Bonus
3.6
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The VentureOne offers a nice bonus for new cardholders, and it has an unusual feature for a no-annual-fee travel card: the option to transfer your miles to eligible airline and hotel programs. If you spend $500 within three months of opening your account, you’ll earn 20,000 miles worth at least $200. But if, for example, you transfer your miles to Air Canada, you may be able to get an even better value, according to our valuation of Aeroplan miles. Plus, earning rewards is simple and unlimited: You’ll get 1.25 miles on every purchase. We like that this card comes with a few nice travel insurance benefits, too.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Simple and predictable rewards
    • Rare option (for a no-annual-fee card) to transfer miles to eligible airline and hotel partner programs
    • Flexible redemption options
    • Travel insurance not common with a no-annual-fee card

    Cons

    • Low rewards-earning rate
    • Limited number of travel partners, especially U.S. airlines
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • 1.25X miles on all purchases. Earn unlimited miles with no caps.
    • Earn 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
    • Use miles as a statement credit against any airline or hotel booking with no blackout dates. Or, transfer miles to eligible travel loyalty programs.
    • Enjoy an introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Best for Cash-Back Rewards

Our Rating Among Cards With a Sign-up Bonus
3.5
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
Current Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months ($200 cash redemption value).

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.49% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in, gas stations, rideshares, transit, for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals, as well as popular streaming services. Earn 1X points on other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    If you spend $1,000 within three months of opening your account, you’ll earn a 20,000-point bonus that’s worth $200—a good value compared to many other cash-back card offers. Even those with comparable bonuses don’t have the same rewards proposition. This no-annual-fee card generously rewards travel and many routine expenses, which makes it very versatile. You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on gas, dining out or ordering in, streaming service bills, ride-hailing, transit, flights, hotels, rental cars, and even homestay expenses, such as an Airbnb stay.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Generous rewards rate on many common expenses
    • No annual fee

    Cons

    • Longer 0% APR offers on purchases and balance transfers exist
    • Cash back can only be redeemed in $20 or $25 increments
    • If you’ve received the bonus or interest deal before, you may not be eligible again
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – a $200 cash redemption value.
    • Earn 3 points on the following: eating out/ordering in, gas, rideshares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals, and popular streaming services.
    • $0 annual fee.
    • No limit to points you can earn, and points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
    • Cell phone protection offers insurance against your cell phone from damage or theft.
Find Your Credit Card Match We believe the rate at which you earn rewards, as well as the overall cost of the card, are the most important factors to consider when choosing a rewards card, but we know you might have different priorities. See what suits you best.
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What Are Sign-Up Bonuses & How Do They Work?

Sign-up bonuses are incentives that rewards credit cards offer to encourage consumers to open a new credit card account. They can be in the form of cash back, points, or miles, or as a discount on a store credit card.

Depending on the card, you may get the offered bonus (also known as a welcome offer) as soon as you’re approved, after you make your first purchase, or—most commonly—after you spend a certain amount within a specified period. 

Bonuses can be a great way to gain value from a credit card fast. While some cards offer them with less than $100 in value, others offer cash back, points, or miles worth much more—sometimes in excess of $1,000. 

Credit card issuers sometimes change the bonuses on their cards. Depending on when you apply, you may get a limited-time offer that’s worth more than the card’s typical incentive.

What Are the Different Types of Bonuses?

You can break bonuses down by the type of rewards you earn:

Cash Back

If you’re applying for a cash-back credit card, you’ll typically receive the bonus as a direct deposit, statement credit, or paper check. Cash-back bonuses are usually represented as the actual cash value you’ll receive.

Points or Miles

Some credit cards, primarily travel cards, offer bonuses in the form of points or frequent flyer miles. Depending on the rewards program, however, the value of each point or mile can vary. This means that a larger bonus in terms of points or miles doesn’t necessarily mean more value.

Store Discount

Some cards, usually store credit cards, give you a bonus in the form of a discount, which applies to your first purchase with the card or to your immediate purchase if you apply at the cash register.

What Are Some Pros & Cons of Bonuses?

Focusing on getting the best credit card bonus can be a good thing, but there are also some drawbacks to thinking only of the short term.

Pros
  • You can get hundreds of dollars of value fast

  • Value can help negate the card’s annual fee

Cons
  • You may miss out on other features

  • Temptation to overspend

Pros Explained

  • You can get hundreds of dollars of value fast: Most of the best credit card bonuses require you to spend a certain amount of money in the first few months with the card. Once you meet that requirement, you can get hundreds of dollars worth of cash back, points, or miles to use whenever you want.
  • Value can help negate the card’s annual fee: Many cards that offer big bonuses also charge annual fees. If you want to “test drive” a card before choosing whether to hold onto it long-term, the card’s bonus may cover the cost of the annual fee several times over while you make your decision.

Cons Explained

  • You may miss out on other features: If you focus solely on a credit card’s bonus for new cardholders, you may miss out on valuable rewards and benefits that come with another card. For example, one card may have an excellent bonus but a mediocre ongoing rewards program and few extra credit card perks. If you’re planning on keeping a card for a long time, look at it holistically instead of focusing on just one feature.
  • Temptation to overspend: If you’re required to spend thousands of dollars to qualify for a bonus, it could tempt you to spend more than you normally would. Before you apply for a credit card, check your budget to make sure you can meet the minimum spending requirement with your normal spending habits.  

How Should You Choose a Card Based on Its Bonus? 

There’s no single credit card bonus best for everyone, so you’ll need to consider a few things before you make a decision:

  • Your spending habits: If you don’t spend a lot each month, it may not be worth trying for a bonus that requires that you spend thousands of dollars in the first few months. Check your budget and consider cards that won’t cause you to overspend.
  • Real bonus value: Figuring the value of a cash-back bonus is simple, but it can get more complicated with travel rewards cards. Check out our list of best travel cards to find links to reviews that contain point-valuation information. That can help you determine the real value of a particular bonus.
  • Your preferences: While some cards offer higher bonuses than others, there may be other features that are deal-breakers for you. Check each card’s annual fee and the options you have for redeeming your rewards. If you prefer cash back, for example, a travel card with less flexible redemption options may not be worth it to you, even if it has a higher bonus.

Some of the best credit card bonuses for new cardholders require that you have good or excellent credit. If your credit history needs some work, it's best to focus on that first before applying for a card you're unlikely to be approved for.

If a bonus is an important factor to you as you look for a new credit card, take another look at the cards we consider to have great bonuses:

Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses
Credit Card Category Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Best Overall $550
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard Best Airline-Specific Card $99
World of Hyatt Credit Card Best Hotel-Specific Card $95
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card Best Travel Card With No Annual Fee $0
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card Best for Cash-Back Rewards $0
Chase Sapphire Reserve Best for Flexible Travel Rewards  $550

How Do You Redeem Rewards?

Rewards redemption options can vary by credit card, but here are some general options you might get based on the type of credit card you choose:

Cash Back

You can typically redeem cash-back rewards as a statement credit, direct deposit, or paper check. With some cards, you may also be able to use rewards to buy gift cards, shop online, book travel, and more.

General Travel

These credit cards usually allow you to either use your points or miles to book travel through the card issuer’s travel portal or book travel directly with any travel merchant and use your rewards to get a statement credit for that purchase. You may also have the option to transfer your points or miles to other travel loyalty programs for more flexibility.

Co-Branded Airline or Hotel

Rewards earned with airline and hotel credit cards are deposited into a loyalty program account with the co-branded partner. If you have an airline card, you may be able to use your points or miles for several things, but you’ll usually get the most value with free flights. The same goes for hotel credit cards, which typically get the best value when you redeem points for free hotel stays.

Store

If you have a store credit card, you may be able to redeem your rewards as a certificate for use with the retailer, a credit for online or in-store purchases, gift cards, or even cash back.

Methodology

We collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances. We do this because it's our mission to give you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews.

Our reviews are always impartial. No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive.

About This List

We reviewed more than 100 credit cards that offer one-time bonuses to new cardmembers, and these are the cards that made the cut for this list.

What We Score

We look at the number of points or miles earned in a bonus, and convert those bonuses to a dollar value using our analysis of credit cards rewards programs and Americans' travel habits. We also evaluate bonuses based on the amount of time a cardholder has to earn the bonus and how much they have to spend to earn it.

Beyond that, we evaluate cards' rewards-earning rates, regular APR, rewards flexibility, and perks. For more information about how The Balance evaluates credit cards, see our full credit card review methodology