"CreditShout is a community of personal finance experts dedicated to helping you save money and make smart financial decisions. Learn how to master your credit card rewards, improve your credit score and start eliminating your debt."
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 2019.
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 cardsusually 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 thetop cash back bonus offers of 2019:
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
$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%
Top Travel Rewards Cards Signup Bonuses
Travel rewards cardsare 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 thehighest yielding travel rewards cards of 2019:
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%
Airline and Hotel Rewards Bonus Offers
Airline and hotel rewards cards are harder to rank.Most airlines have multiple levels of cards (like theJetBlue 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, aDelta Skymiles cardmakes sense just because of the ability to check bags for free.
My top tip to taking out one of these cards it toapply 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, andI 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 credit cards 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:
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.
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.
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.
Last Updated on May 15, 2019
Credit Shout is a community of personal finance experts dedicated to helping you save money and make smart financial decisions. Learn how to master your credit card rewards, improve your credit score and start eliminating your debt.