Looking for instant rewards from your credit card? With the economy continuing to improve, credit card issuers are trying harder than ever to attract new customers, even those with credit that isn't perfect. Many credit card lenders are now offering lavish "intro" bonuses and perks to get customers onboard immediately. These usually come in two areas: immediate cash back and 0% intro APRs.
Intro Cash Back Bonuses: This is usually a large amount of cash back points or miles that you get after spending a certain amount of money in the first 3 months. These bonuses can start as low as $50, but now go all the way up to $400 of basically free money. And unlike in the past, some cards, like Capital One Venture Rewards, offer a $400 intro bonus AND may approve people with "good" (often considered a credit score above 660), not just "excellent", credit.
0% Intro APR: This basically means that you won't pay any interest on your balance for however long the intro period lasts. Some cards offer up to a year and a half of no interest, which is great if you are transferring a balance or making a large purchase. And just like the cash back bonus cards, some of these 0% intro APR cards, like Chase Slate, are now available to those with good, not just great, credit.
So which cards offer these great rewards? We put together some of the top credit cards that we think have the best bonuses:
Best Credit Cards with Intro Cash Back Bonus
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard: This card offers 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months, which is equivalent to $400 in travel spending. You simply redeem the miles for a $400 statement credit for any travel purchase. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard also offers cardholders 2x the miles on every $1 they spend on anything at anytime, equivalent to 2% back to spend on travel on every purchase, the highest reward rate we've found. The card also gives you 10% back when you redeem your miles for travel expenses, which is a perk we haven't seen from any other credit card. The only downside is the $89 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. You need excellent credit to be approved for this card.
Capital One Venture Rewards: This card offers the same 40,000 miles intro bonus (worth $400) that the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard does, when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. It also has the same 2x miles on every $1 you spend anytime, anywhere (equivalent to 2% cash back), and the same simple redemption process. It has a lower annual fee than Arrival Plus at $59, which is waived for the first year. Unlike Arrival Plus, you don't have to have excellent credit to be approved for the Venture card. Even those with just "good" credit (typically considered a credit score above 660) have a chance to be approved and earn the impressive $400 intro bonus as well as ongoing 2% reward rate on all spending.
Best Credit Cards with Intro Bonus AND 0% Intro APR
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) offers a great combination of intro bonus, ongoing rewards program and 0% intro APR. It offers an intro cash back bonus of $150 when you spend $1,000 in the first three months. You also get a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months. The card offers 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% back at US gas stations and select US department stores, as well as 1% on everything else. The only downside is the $75 annual fee, but the perks make it worth it. For those that just don't want an annual fee, check out its sister card, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express. It has slightly lower cash back rates but still offers a $100 intro bonus and a 15 month 0% intro APR.
Best Credit Cards with 0% Intro APR
Citi Simplicity: If you are making a large purchase that you want to pay off slowly, this is the card for you. It offers a 0% intro APR for 18 months — a year and a half — which is the longest 0% intro APR period we've seen. It also doesn't charge any fees. No late fees. No annual fee. And no penalty rate for paying late on your card. It does, however, have a balance transfer fee, so if you are looking to do a balance transfer, we recommend checking out the next card.
Chase Slate: This card has no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days. It also offers a 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. The Chase Slate card also has no annual fee, which makes it the perfect card overall if you want to transfer a balance without having to pay for it. And unlike most long 0% intro APR cards, people with good (not just those with excellent) credit have a chance to be approved for Chase Slate.
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