Q: I’ve had my credit card for a few years now, and I just saw a review on your website advertising 12 months of 0% intro APR for this same credit card. Is there any way I can take advantage of this offer as an existing cardholder?
This is a question that we see a lot, and it’s no surprise that people ask since the majority of credit card advertisements and reviews you see talk about the amazing introductory bonuses and perks offered to new cardholders. But what about those who already own a credit card? Is there any way to take advantage of these special offers, and if not, why is that? We explore the answers to these questions.
Why are limited-time offers focused on new customers?
Although many people might not think of them as such, credit cards are a product just like anything else that people use. The goal of credit card issuers and banks is to open new accounts, and one of the best ways to entice someone to open a new credit card is to make it worth their while. Thus, many credit cards feature introductory bonuses and offers, such as a 0% intro APR for a period of time after account opening, that only reward new customers for opting for that credit card. Chances are, when you first got your current credit card(s), you were offered some sort of bonus or perk for signing up as well. Unfortunately, these offers are usually limited time, which means after the set period of time is up (usually a year or so), you probably won’t be able to benefit from them anymore. Of course, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing — depending on what credit card you own, the long-term benefits like a low ongoing purchase APR or top-notch rewards could keep you satisfied for years to come.
That doesn’t seem very fair to existing customers
It might seem unfair, but the important thing to remember about credit cards is that you are never locked into one card for life. If you are carrying a balance and want to transfer it to a new credit card with a long 0% intro APR period, there are plenty of credit cards out there you can try (just remember that balance transfers usually don’t apply within the same bank). Not so sure you’re getting the most out of your rewards credit card anymore? You’re almost guaranteed to find a different credit card on the market that’s offering generous rewards to suit your tastes and spending habits.
Which credit cards have the best intro offers right now?
If you’re thinking it’s time to try out a new credit card, the good news is that there are plenty of great options out there right now. We rounded up the credit cards with the best intro offers right now and separated them by category to help you decide.
Cash back credit cards
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) has a lot to offer new cardholders, including a $100 bonus for spending $1,000 within the first 3 months and a long 0% intro APR. The perks don’t end there, though — this card is a cash back machine, earning you 3% at U.S. grocery stores (on up to $6,000/year, then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, you’ll enjoy 12 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee), as well as a $0 annual fee. Want even more rewards? Its sister card, Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express ups the ante with 6% cash back at U.S. grocery stores (on the first $6,000 in purchases/year, then 1%), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores and a $150 cash back bonus after you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months. It should be noted, though, that the Blue Cash Preferred Card has a $95 annual fee to consider.
Combining unlimited cash back with a generous intro bonus and long 0% intro APR is Chase Freedom – $150 Bonus. Not only do you earn an unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase you make with this credit card, but you can also earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in quarterly rotating categories — and so you don’t forget to sign up, Chase has a helpful reminder feature that texts or emails when the categories change. These rotating categories include things like gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores and more. In addition to these rewards, when you spend $500 within the first 3 months of owning this card, you’ll earn a cool $150 cash back bonus. There isn’t an annual fee to worry about with Chase Freedom – $150 Bonus, and you’ll enjoy a lengthy 15-month 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers (with a 5% balance transfer fee). This card also shines when it comes to rewards redemption — you can redeem for cash as a statement credit or direct deposit into your bank account, use your rewards to pay for your Amazon.com purchases at a 1:1 ratio or redeem them for a wide selection of gift certificates.
The Discover it – Cashback Match is a great rewards credit card for anyone with not-so-perfect credit, as it accepts applicants with average to excellent credit (usually a credit score above 670). In fact, this card has benefits usually reserved for those with great credit and it’s also one of our top-rated cards for those with excellent credit. Cardholders can earn 5% cash back on purchases made in rotating categories every quarter they activate (up to the quarterly maximum, then 1%) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. What makes this card stand out from the rest is that all cash back earned in your first year will automatically be doubled at the end of the year. That means if you earn $250 cash back throughout the year, you’ll receive another $250 when the year is up! New accounts will also benefit from 14 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee). Rounding out this card are free TransUnion FICO scores printed on your monthly statements, which is great for keeping an eye on your credit health, and no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
Travel rewards credit cards
If you’d rather earn points toward free flights and hotel rooms, a travel rewards credit card like Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is an ideal choice. Not only does this credit card have a stellar $2.19 combined average hotel and flight redemption value for every $100 spent, but it features an amazing intro bonus potential of 55,000 bonus points — 50,000 when you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months and an additional 5,000 after adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the first 3 months. These bonus points are worth up to $1,195 combined, depending on how you choose to redeem them. Purchases made with this card will earn 2X points per $1 spent on travel and dining and 1X point on everything else. There aren’t any foreign transaction fees with Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and you won’t have to pay an annual fee your first year (it’s $95/year afterward). The flexibility in reward redemption with this credit card is hard to beat — you can transfer your points 1:1 to other popular travel rewards programs, or redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards for 25% more value.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard also offers generous rewards to its cardholders, featuring an average hotel and flight value of $2.10 for every $100 spent. You earn a straightforward 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases, a 5% miles bonus when you redeem your miles and a jaw-dropping 50,000 miles bonus after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of card ownership (equal to a $500 bonus)! You can redeem your miles for a statement credit, gift cards and merchandise, and you don’t have to worry about paying any foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad. There is an $89 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year, and you also get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months (with a 3% balance transfer fee), which is not something all travel rewards credit cards offer.
Rounding out travel cards is Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which offers users a $2 average hotel and flight redemption value per $100 spent. On top of 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases, if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months after getting the card, you’ll get a bonus of 40,000 miles — equal to $400 in travel! While this card does have an annual fee ($59), it’s waived the first year, and much lower than some other travel rewards credit cards with comparable benefits. You pay no foreign transaction fees when making purchases abroad, and you can redeem your rewards for cash, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise and more.
Balance transfer credit cards
If you’re looking to transfer a balance from one or more existing credit cards, Chase Slate is one of your best choices, as it not only offers 15 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, but any transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening won’t be charged a balance transfer fee (after 60 days, it’s 5%). That’s not an offer you see often, so it’s worth going for! In addition, Chase Slate doesn’t charge an annual fee or a penalty APR if you pay late and you will get free monthly Experian FICO credit scores to help keep an eye on your credit health.
The Citi Simplicity Card – No Late Fees Ever (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is an ideal credit card for anyone who has a habit of forgetting when their payments are due. In addition to never charging late fees, this credit card also has no annual fee or penalty APR. Plus, it’s a fantastic choice for balance transfers, offering an amazing 21-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases. There is a balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum), but if you’re currently carrying a balance on your credit card(s), chances are you’ll save more in the long run by transferring than you will paying the interest on your current credit card(s). Finally, to help you stay on track, you can set up your own payment dates and alerts to remind you when your bill is due as well as when you hit certain thresholds with your balance.
The Discover it – 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer credit card combines a lengthy 0% intro APR period with cash back rewards for a pretty solid card — plus, it accepts applicants with average to excellent credit (usually a credit score above 670). In addition to getting 18 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee), you’ll also get 6 month of 0% intro APR on purchases. On top of that, you’ll earn 5% cash back rewards in rotating categories every quarter you activate (up to quarterly maximum, then it’s 1%) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Plus, all the cash back you earn during your first year as a cardholder will automatically be doubled at the end of the year. Rounding things out are no foreign transaction fees, no annual fee and free TransUnion FICO scores printed on every monthly statement.
Not sure any of these are right for you? Check out our credit card reviews to find detailed information on these and many more credit cards.
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.