Best credit card sign-up bonuses right now

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Best credit card sign-up bonuses right now
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Rewards credit cards don’t just offer you valuable points, miles and cash back when you make new purchases — these cards can also give you hundreds of dollars in sign-up bonuses.

Generally, you must open a new account and meet a minimum spending requirement to earn a one-time bonus.

Card issuers offer these attractive welcome bonuses as an incentive to get you to try their products, with the hope that you’ll decide to be a long-term customer.

RELATED: Clark Howard’s credit card philosophy 

Top 5 credit card sign-up bonuses: Team Clark’s picks

I’ve looked at all of the cards offered by the major card issuers and narrowed them down to the five best sign-up bonus offers available now:

Quick links

  1.  Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
  2.  Savor® Rewards from Capital One®
  3.  Chase Sapphire Preferred®
  4.  Capital One® Venture® 
  5.  Citi Premier Card

Remember, rewards credit cards are for people who avoid interest charges by always paying their statement balance in full.

If you ever need to carry a balance, then you shouldn’t worry about earning rewards and should instead focus on finding a low-interest credit card. This aligns with Clark’s credit card philosophy.

You should also avoid using a credit card to make unnecessary purchases or incur debt, especially in pursuit of a bonus.

Some of the credit cards with the best sign-up offers also have annual fees, which may be waived for the first year. I recommend giving these cards a fair chance to earn your business.

When the annual fee comes due, decide whether the card should be a long-term part of your wallet.

If you decide not to keep it, card issuers will always waive the annual fee if you close your account within 30 days of it being billed, and they may even offer to waive it if you agree to keep your account open.

Read on to compare our picks for best credit card sign-up bonuses and let us know your favorite in the comments below…

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®

If you’re tired of dealing with traditional airline miles, then you’ll like being able to redeem these rewards for any airfare, hotel, car rental or other travel expenses.
Sign-up bonus 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within 90 days of account opening; worth $735 in travel statement credits once you include the 5% rebate on miles redeemed
Rewards
  • Double miles on all purchases, and miles are worth one cent each as statement credits toward any travel purchase
  • 5% rebate on rewards redeemed, for a net 2.1% return
Annual fee $89, waived the first year
Advantages
  • Large sign-up bonus
  • Strong rate of return on all spending, with no categories to worry about
Drawbacks $89 annual fee, waived the first year

Learn more: Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard review


Savor Rewards from Capital One

Savor® Rewards from Capital One®

A great card for those who spend enough on dining and entertainment to justify the annual fee.
Sign-up bonus  $500 after spending $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
Rewards
  • 4% cash back or dining and entertainment
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • 1% elsewhere
Annual fee $95, waived the first year
Advantages
  • Huge sign-up bonus
  • High rates of cash back on dining and at grocery stores
Drawbacks
  • High annual fee
  • 1% cash back outside of bonus categories

Learn more: Savor Rewards from Capital One


Chase Sapphire Preferred® 

A popular travel rewards card that offers you valuable rewards that can be transferred to airline miles and hotel points. 
Sign-up bonus 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening; points are worth $625 in travel reservations
Rewards
  • 2x points for all travel and dining purchases, 1x elsewhere
  • Points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Chase, or transferred to airline and hotel partners
Annual fee $95, waived the first year
Advantages Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points offers excellent value when used for travel and dining; great flexibility to realize plenty of value from airline and hotel partners
Drawbacks $95 annual fee, waived the first year

Learn more: Chase Sapphire Preferred


Capital One Venture

Capital One® Venture®

This card makes sense for those who want travel statement credits, but also the option to transfer rewards to airline miles. 
Sign-up bonus 50,000 bonus miles, worth $500 in travel statement credits, after spending $3,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening
Rewards
  • Double miles on all purchases
  • Miles can be redeemed for travel statement credits or transferred to airline partners
Annual fee $95, waived the first year
Advantages Card now offers the chance to redeem rewards for travel statement credits or transfer them to miles with airline partners; $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
Drawbacks $95 annual fee and airline transfer partners are mostly smaller foreign carriers

Learn more: Capital One Venture


Citi ThankYou(R) Premier Card - One of Citi's Top Credit Cards to earn ThankYou Points on Travel

Citi Premier Card

A versatile travel rewards card with points that can be redeemed for airfare or transferred to airline miles. 
Sign-up bonus 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening; points are worth $625 in airfare on any airline
Rewards
  • Earn 3x on travel including gas
  • Earn 2x on dining out and entertainment purchases
  • 1x elsewhere
  • Points can be redeemed for travel reservations or transferred to miles with airline partners
Annual fee $95, waived the first year
Advantages
  • Valuable sign-up bonus
  • Strong rewards for spending on travel, gas, dining and entertainment
Drawbacks Annual fee

Learn more: Citi Premier Card

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Jason Steele About the author:
Jason Steele is a journalist who specializes in covering credit cards, award travel, and other areas of personal finance. You can check out his website at JasonSteele.com.
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