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NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus Offers of 2017

With so many websites offering free financial tools, it can be hard to know whom to trust. At NerdWallet, we spend literally 1,000s of hours researching partner offers and following strict editorial integrity to match you with the perfect choice. We even share how we make money so you can enjoy our expert advice and researched recommendations with total clarity and confidence.

Credit card sign-up bonuses offer a quick way to earn hundreds of dollars’ worth of rewards by using your card regularly, but the best deals don’t always stick around. The largest bonuses typically come from travel credit cards — airline- and hotel-branded cards especially, but also general travel cards.

Here are NerdWallet’s picks for the best current sign-up bonuses. Click a card’s name for more information about it:

PREMIUM TRAVEL CARDSSIGN-UP BONUS
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
GENERAL TRAVEL CARDSSIGN-UP BONUS
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardEarn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
HOTEL CARDSSIGN-UP BONUS
Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit CardEarn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressEarn 25,000 Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
AIRLINE CARDSSIGN-UP BONUS
British Airways Visa Signature® CardEarn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.
CASH BACK CARDSSIGN-UP BONUS
Chase Freedom®Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express$200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Discover it® - Cashback Match™Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
Not sure which card is right for you? Let's find the one. Tell us what you most want your new card to do.

Find a breakdown of each card below:

Best bonuses: Premium travel cards
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

 

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

What are the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠’s points worth?

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for cash or gift cards. But for Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ cardholders, points can be redeemed for travel at a value of 1.5 cents each. Travel and dining purchases, which earn 3 points per dollar spent, translate to a 4.5% rewards rate when redeemed for travel. Other purchases, which earn a flat 1 point per dollar spent, have an effective rewards rate of 1.5% when redeemed for travel.

Who is the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ good for?

  • People who spend at least $3,333 on travel and dining per year. That’s how much you’d have to spend to wipe out the $450 annual fee, once you factor in the card’s $300 annual reimbursement for travel expenses.
  • Travelers who enjoy conveniences like the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck programs — the application fee is reimbursed for Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ cardholders. There’s also a complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select, which grants access to more than 900 airport lounges worldwide.

» Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ review here.
» Apply on Chase’s website.

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Best bonuses: General travel cards


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • A large bonus
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Cool factor - metal card
    • Earn more points on travel and dining at restaurants
    • Premium travel protection benefits

    Cons

    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, after that $95 per year

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 16.99% - 23.99% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
    • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to 10 travel rewards programs, including airlines and hotels. 

What are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s points worth?

Ultimate Rewards points are worth a minimum of 1 cent each and can be redeemed for things like gift cards, Amazon purchases or straight cash back. Point value jumps to 1.25 cents when used to book travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Who is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card good for?

  • People who spend on restaurants and travel. It earns 2 points per $1 spent in those categories and 1 point per $1 on everything else.
  • Travelers who aren’t loyal to one airline or hotel chain. Points can be redeemed to book travel through Chase or transferred at 1:1 rate to a variety of branded rewards programs.
  • People who travel internationally. There’s no foreign transaction fee.

» Read the full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review here.
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Best bonuses: Hotel cards

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Rewards only valuable if you frequently stay at Marriott properties

    Annual Fees

    $85

    APR

    • APR: 16.99% - 23.99% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • Plus, earn 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year after your account anniversary date!
    • Earn unlimited Marriott Rewards points and get Free Night Stays faster
    • Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels
    • 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airlines, at car rental agencies & restaurants. Plus 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
    • The fastest way to earn Marriott Rewards Elite Status. Receive 15 Elite Credits guaranteeing Silver Elite Status or better.
    • All for an $85 Annual Fee

Sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

What are the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card’ points worth?

We value Marriott Rewards at 1 cent apiece on average. Redemptions start at 7,500 points for one night’s stay at a Category 1 hotel and go up to 45,000 points for a night at a Category 9 hotel.

Who is the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card good for?

  • People who are loyal to the Marriott hotels.
    • Earn 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott and SPG hotels
  • People who want a large sign-up bonus.
  • Someone who wants to add an authorized user.
    • Earn 7,500 bonus points for adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the first three months the account is open.

» Read the full Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card review here.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • Flexible rewards redemption
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Sign-up bonus

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Rewards program may be changing in 2018 due to Marriott merger
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 16.24% - 20.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 25,000 Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 25,000 Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
    • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
    • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
    • Planning a road trip? Rent your car, fill up your tank, book your hotel, and pay for it with your American Express® Card.
    • Terms Apply.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 25,000 Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.  Use points at Starwood Preferred Guest hotels, or transfer them to airlines like Alaska, American, British Airways, Delta, Virgin Atlantic and more, usually at a 1:1 rate.

What are the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express’ points worth?

We value Starpoints at 2.3 cents apiece on average. They’re worth most when redeemed to book domestic weekday and weekend hotel stays at SPG locations. Starpoints can also be redeemed, at a lower value, for things like rental cars, charitable donations and gift cards.

Who is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express good for?

  • People who stay at SPG properties:
    • It earns 4-5 points per dollar at SPG hotels, 2 points per dollar at Marriott Rewards properties, with 1 point per dollar everywhere else.
    • Starwood provides opportunities to upgrade to Gold and Platinum status, which, if achieved, grants the cardholder accelerated return rates and additional fringe benefits (free upgrades and late checkout, for example).
  • People who fly on different airlines; you can trade in Starpoints at a 1:1 point-to-mile ratio on many popular airlines, making the card more lucrative, on average, than many of those airlines’ own co-branded cards.
  • People who travel internationally. There’s no foreign transaction fee.

Nerdy Insight

Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood leaves the future value of Starpoints somewhat uncertain. As of January 2017, the SPG program had not been significantly altered as a result of the deal. The biggest changes were actually for the better: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express now earns bonus rewards at Marriott properties, and you can transfer SPG points to Marriott Rewards and vice versa.

» Read the full Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express review here.
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Best bonuses: Airline cards

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios. Use miles for flights on American Airlines and other OneWorld partners, as well as Aer Lingus, Alaska Airlines and OpenSkies.

What are the British Airways Visa Signature® Card’s points worth?

We value Avios at 1.6 cents apiece on average. Business/first class international flights with British Airways can be redeemed for around 1.8 cents per Avios, with some flights providing a value of as much as 3.7 cents apiece.

Who is the British Airways Visa Signature® Card good for?

  • People who fly on British Airways.
    • This card earns 3 Avios per dollar spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios per dollar on all other purchases.
    • Additional bonuses: 25,000 bonus Avios when you spend at least $10,000 on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.
    • Travel Together Ticket: If you spend more than $30,000 with your card, you’ll earn a free companion ticket (good for two years) when you redeem your Avios for a reward seat.
  • Some domestic travelers, too: Avios can be used to book flights with any OneWorld Alliance member, including domestic carrier American Airlines.
  • People who travel internationally. There’s no foreign transaction fee.

» Read the full British Airways Visa Signature® Card review here.
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Best bonuses: Cash back cards

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • 5% rewards on rotating categories
    • Access to Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site to earn more cash back

    Cons

    • If you value simplicity, a flat rate cash back card may be better
    • A foreign transaction fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.99% - 24.74% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Additional Information
    • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
    • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants and drugstores
    • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back
    • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
    • No annual fee

Sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Earns straight cash back — not points — on eligible purchases

What are theChase Freedom®’s points worth?

The Chase Freedom® earns cash back directly; no need to convert points to dollars.

Who is theChase Freedom® good for?

  • A wide range of people; the Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back in bonus categories that change each quarter, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter. All other spending earns 1% cash back. Here are the current categories:
Chase Freedom® bonus rewards categories for 2017
Q1 (Jan. 1 - March 31)Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls or Amtrak)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30)Grocery stores and drugstores
Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)Restaurants and movie theaters
Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)Walmart and department stores

Note: Cardholders must remember to opt in to bonus categories to earn the 5% cash back.

» Read the full Chase Freedom® review here.
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Best bonuses: Cash back cards

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Leading cash-back rewards at U.S. supermarkets
    • Sign-up bonus

    Cons

    • Has annual fee — but if you spend more than $31 per week at U.S. supermarkets, the rewards offset the fee
    • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
    • No 0% APR period
    • $25 minimum redemption

    Annual Fees

    $95

    APR

    • APR: 13.99% - 24.99% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months
  • Additional Information
    • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
    • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) – that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
    • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
    • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 24.99%.
    • Expanding merchant acceptance: Over 1 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.
    • $95 annual fee.
    • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
    • Terms Apply.

Sign-up bonus: $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.  

What are the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express’s points worth?

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns cash back directly; no need to convert points to dollars.

Who is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express good for?

  • People who spend at least $31 a week at U.S. supermarkets. The card earns 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases). The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has an annual fee of $95. Spending at least $31 a week at U.S. supermarkets will offset the annual fee.
  • Commuters and shoppers. The card earns 3% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% on all other purchases.

» Read the full Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review here.
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Best bonuses: Cash back cards

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Apply Now on Discover's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Cash back match at the end of your first year
    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No annual fee
    • 0% on purchases for 14 months and 0% on balance transfers for 14 months

    Cons

    • Slightly less merchant acceptance for Discover in US - acceptance outside of US can be an issue
    • If you value simplicity, a flat rate cash back card may be better

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 11.99% - 23.99% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
    • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
    • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
    • Use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout.
    • No annual fee.
    • View Rates and Fees

New cardmember bonus: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

What are the Discover it® - Cashback Match™’s points worth?

The Discover it® - Cashback Match™ earns cash back directly; no need to convert points to dollars.

Who is the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ good for?

  • A wide range of consumers. The Discover it® - Cashback Match™ offers 5% cash back bonus (on up to $1,500 in spending each quarter) in categories that rotate throughout the year. All other spending earns 1% back. Here are the current categories:

DISCOVER BONUS CATEGORIES FOR LATE 2017 AND 2018
Q4 2017 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)Amazon.com and Target
Q1 2018 (Jan. 1 – March 31)Gas stations and wholesale clubs
Q2 2018 (April 1 – June 30)Grocery stores
Q3 2018 (July 1 – Sept. 30)Restaurants
Q4 2018 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)Amazon.com and wholesale clubs

  • People willing to wait for a bigger bonus. The Discover it® - Cashback Match™ doesn’t have a traditional sign-up bonus for spending a certain amount of money in the first few months. Instead, your bonus comes at the end of your first year, and it depends entirely on your use of the card — the more you use it, the more you’ll get back. The Cashback Match feature essentially turns this into a 2% cash back card for the first year, with 10% back for spending in the bonus categories. That gives it the best flat rate of any cash back card … at least for the first year.

Note: Cardholders must remember to opt in to bonus categories to earn the 5% cash back.

» Read the full Discover it® - Cashback Match™ review here.
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Methodology

NerdWallet’s credit cards team selects cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to win in multiple categories.

Information related to the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Last updated May 8, 2017.

Kevin Cash and Ellen Cannon are staff writers at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ecannon@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ellencannon.