Best Credit Card Signup Bonus Offers of 2017

best credit card signup bonus offers of 2017

Have any major purchases coming up? Most major credit card issuers offer sign-up bonus offers to bring in new cardholders. These bonus offers are usually the most lucrative way to earn rewards points, travel, or cash back. In fact, by targeting the top rewards credit card bonus offers available, you can make your spending go father than ever in 2017.

Getting Started with Signup Bonuses

Our favorite metric in deciding the benefit of a bonus offer is to determine its cash value (less any annual fee) as a percentage of the required minimum spending to get the offer. We call this the "yield". (Our calculations of the bonus reward yields do not include the regular points you earn from your spending, as these can vary depending on your spending patterns.)

We find that travel cards often have the biggest bonuses. However, there are a few cash back credit cards on this list that deliver the best bonus offers as a percentage of required minimum spending. And the minimum spending thresholds are often lower with the cash back card.

Also, signup bonuses change frequently. So it's a good idea to take advantage of the best offers while they're available.

Before you get started, though, we have some words of caution: Be sure you take note of any spending requirement to receive the signup bonus and whether the card has an annual fee. It can be easy to go overboard if you are not careful! You never want to spend more than you can pay back, because credit card interest will eat up any benefits from those bonus offers.

Top Cash Back Card Signup Bonuses

Cash back credit cards usually don't offer the highest signup bonuses. However, you can usually earn $100 to $150 by spending $500 in three months. This provides you a bonus yield of 20% - 30%, which is sold, and a rather low spending threshold  to hit that bonus. For that reason, we think cash back cards will give you the most bang for your buck.

So let's take a look at the top cash back bonus offers of 2016:​

Chase Freedom

About This Card:*

  • Earn $150 after you spend $500 during the first 3 months.
  • Earn an additional $25 by adding an authorized user in the first 3 months.
  • Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter in rotating bonus categories.
  • Earn 1% back on all other spending.
  • No annual fee.
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 35%
Chase Freedom Unlimited

About This Card:*

  • Earn $150 after you spend $500 during the first 3 months.
  • Earn an additional $25 by adding an authorized user in the first 3 months.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% back on all your spending.
  • No annual fee.
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 35%
Ally CashBack Credit Card

About This Card:*

  • $100 bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 billing cycles
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 10% Bonus CashBack Reward if you redeem your cash rewards into your eligible Ally Bank account.
  • No annual fee.
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 24%
Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®

About This Card:*

  • ​Get a $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase
  • Every time you redeem, get a 5% cash rewards redemption bonus to use toward your next redemption
  • Redeem your cash rewards for a deposit into your bank account, a statement credit or gift cards. Redemptions start at $50
  • Cash rewards do not expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Enjoy a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases. Plus, you'll get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers for each balance transer made within 45 days of account opening. After that a variable APR will apply.   See Terms.  Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers
  • No annual fee
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

About This Card:*

  • Earn $100 after you spend $500 during the first 3 months.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% back on all your spending.
  • Introductory 0% APR offer on new purchases and balances for first 9 months.
  • No annual fee
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 20%
BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Card

About This Card:*

  • Earn $100 after you spend $500 during the first 3 months.
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter.
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%.
  • Introductory 0% APR offer on new purchases and balances for first 12 billing cycles.
  • No annual fee
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 20%
Blue Cash Preferred from American Express

About This Card:*

  • $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 during the first 3 months.
  • Earn Cash Back: 6% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% at U.S. gas stations & select U.S. dept stores, 1% on other purchases.
  • $95 annual fee
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 15% (before annual fee)
Blue Cash Everyday from American Express

About This Card:*

  • $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 during the first 3 months.
  • Regular Cash Back: 3% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases; 2% at U.S. gas stations & select U.S. dept stores; 1% on other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 10%
Discover it Cashback Match

About This Card:*

  • Cash back earned during the first year is doubled for new cardholders
  • Earn 5% cash back in new bonus categories like gas, restaurants, Amazon and more - up to $1500 every quarter you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 2% to 10%; but is not capped and is for an entire year

Top Travel Rewards Cards Signup Bonuses

Travel rewards cards are a good choice for bigger spenders because they offer among the best signup bonuses in terms of total dollar value. But that comes with a catch - you are usually required to spend more to get these rewards, and the yield is lower than what you get from cash back cards.

Here are the highest yielding travel rewards cards of 2016:

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

About This Card:*

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee
  • No annual fee
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 20%
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Visa Card

About This Card:*

  • Earn 50,000 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®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases such as airfare and hotels charged to your card
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • $450 annual fee (Yikes!)
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 18.75% (before annual fee)
  • Bonus Points Yield (after annual fee and $300 travel benefit): 15%

Editor's Note: Chase will be rolling back the welcome offer for the Sapphire Reserve to 50,000 bonus points. This rollback starts January 12, 2017 for online applications. But you have until March 13, 2017 to apply in a Chase branch and receive the 100,000 point bonus offer.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

About This Card:*

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user. That's $62.50 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 17.2%
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

About This Card:*

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Redeem for travel or cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Redemption values vary
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply.  See Terms.  Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers
  • Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $89.

The bonus rewards yield for this card is 17%.

Capital One Venture Rewards

About This Card:*

  • 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 during the first 3 months - redeemable for $400 in travel credits.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases.
  • Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $59.
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 13%
Discover it® Miles

About This Card:*

  • We'll automatically match all the Miles you earned at the end of your first year. So 50,000 Miles could turn into 100,000 Miles with Discover Match®. Only for new cardmembers.
  • Unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • Bonus Rewards Yield: 3%; but for all your spending for a year

Airline and Hotel Rewards Bonus Offers

Airline and hotel rewards cards are harder to rank. Most airlines have multiple levels of cards (like the JetBlue and JetBlue Plus credit cards). The better airline cards (you know - the ones that let you check your bags for free) usually come with an annual fee. On top of that, it is very difficult to value airline miles and hotel points.

My recommended strategy is to only use the fee based airline and hotel rewards cards where you can earn a benefit each year greater than the fee. For example, if you live in Atlanta, a Delta Skymiles card makes sense just because of the ability to check bags for free.

My top tip to taking out one of these cards it to apply when booking your ticket. This is because you will often get a better signup bonus offer at that time. I just booked a flight on American, and I received a $100 statement credit in addition to the regular bonus offer of 30,000 miles if I spend $1,000 in the first three months. Plus I'll get to check by bags for free and the annual fee is waived the first year.

You need to avoid these cards though if you cannot use them enough to justify the annual fee. You do not want to be spending more for the fee than you can save in checked bag fees or earn in free hotel stays.

Valuing Signup Bonus Rewards

As you can see, collecting sign up bonus rewards can be quite valuable. And I love the idea of taking out a new card when I know I have a big purchase coming up. If I can complete a bonus rewards offer from that one purchase, I feel like I am spending a little less.

But I always make sure to look at three things before taking out any new rewards card:

  1. ​How much do I have to spend for the bonus offer? I prefer not to be encouraged to spend more than I need to or am able to spend. No amount of bonus points will overcome the cost of credit card interest.
  2. How much am I getting for my spending? For this, we calculate the "yield", or ratio of the value of the bonus points to the minimum spending requirement (expressed as a percentage). The larger this number, the greater value I get for each dollar I spend.
  3. Is there an annual fee? If a card has an annual fee, it can decrease the value of the card. And I may not be able to spend enough money on the card to justify the fees. Plus, you can see that the best bonus rewards yields tend to be with card without annual fees.

Follow these rules of thumb, and you will get the most value from your signup bonus offers.

And please avoid the game of just signing up for new cards to collect the bonus offer. This will just encourage you to spend more than necessary. And I want you to avoid the trap of credit card debt. No amount of rewards will be worth that.

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