long-term benefitsGetting a new credit card to take advantage of its 0% intro APR on balance transfers can be a smart financial move, especially if you are currently paying high interest on the balances of one or more credit cards. That said, what happens after you pay off the transferred amount? If the card isn’t one with any rewards, it might just sit in your wallet, taking up space and not offering you a whole lot of incentive to use it. However, a credit card offering long-term rewards in the form of cash back is something that’ll keep you using it for years to come. It isn’t always easy to sort out which cards are going to be a good fit for both the present and the future, so to help you out, we dug into our credit card reviews to determine which balance transfer credit cards offer the best long-term rewards.

Important reminder: balance transfer payments don’t earn rewards

Before we get to the cards, it’s important to remember that when you’re considering a credit card for both its balance transfer options and cash back rewards, you won’t earn rewards for making payments — even in the case of a card like Citi Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (a NextAdvisor advertiser), which earns 1% for every purchase made and an additional 1% when those purchases are paid off. While this might be frustrating or seem unfair, not all purchases or transactions made with your card are going to earn rewards. Understanding the terms of your credit card’s benefits is a key aspect to getting the most out of it in the long run. Additionally, remember that if you’re working on paying off a balance transfer, you may not be making enough purchases (or any at all) to take advantage of any limited-time intro bonus offers, so that shouldn’t be a significant factor in your choice. That said, if the card also offers a 0% intro APR on both balance transfers and purchases and you can afford to pay down the transferred balance and the purchases before the 0% intro APR period expires, an intro bonus might be something to consider.

Which balance transfer credit cards offer the best long-term rewards?

Ideally, you want to find a credit card that offers the perks you need to complete a successful balance transfer — a long 0% intro APR period and a low balance transfer fee — as well as long-term rewards which will make it worth using long after you pay off the transferred balance. It should be noted that there are a couple of travel rewards credit cards with balance transfer benefits, like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, but cash back rewards credit cards offer more appealing and competitive balance transfer offers, which is why we noted them below:

Discover it – 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer

long-term rewards Why it’s a great balance transfer card: This card offers a whopping 18 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers, which is one of the longest of the balance transfer cards we review. There is a balance transfer fee of 3%, but unlike other cards, there is no minimum so whatever 3% of your transferred amount is, that’s the fee you’ll pay.

Why you want it in your wallet long-term: Discover it is a superb rewards card, earning cardholders 5% cash back in purchases made in quarterly rotating categories, such as restaurants, Amazon.com purchases or ground transportation, on up to the quarterly maximum, currently $1,500, as well as 1% cash back on everything else. You do have to activate each quarter to be sure you receive your 5% rewards, but doing so is easy and you can sign up to receive reminders from Discover in your email. As an added bonus, first-time Discover customers can take advantage of a special bonus that matches all the cash back earned within the first year at the end of the year — this means if you earn $500 in the first year, Discover will match that and give you a total of $1,000 back. Bear in mind, if you aren’t using this card for purchases the first year while you pay off your balance transfer, you might not get much out of this bonus — but the 5% cash back is a long-term perk that will benefit you year after year.

Other important features: Cardholders won’t pay annual or foreign transaction fees, and you also get a 6-month 0% intro APR on purchases. Unlike many other balance transfer credit cards with similarly generous perks, Discover it – 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer only requires average credit or better to apply (typically considered a credit score of 670 or higher). You will also get access to monthly FICO credit scores to keep an eye on your credit.

Citi Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

long-term rewards Why it’s a great balance transfer card: Another credit card offering 18 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers is the Citi Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. Note that there is a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater, but that’s a relatively small price to pay when it comes to what you’ll save if you’re currently paying interest on a high balance on one or more credit cards.

Why you want it in your wallet long-term: All purchases made with this card earn an unlimited 1% cash back, and then when you pay off those purchases, you’ll earn an additional 1% — effectively earning you 2% cash back on every purchase you make. The best part is, you’ll get that extra 1% whether you pay immediately or wait until later, which is a pretty nice feature to ensure you get an ongoing 2% cash back.

Other important features: In addition to no annual fee, the Citi Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer provides free Equifax FICO credit scores every month and won’t charge you a late fee for the first time you miss a payment. You can also rest assured that you’ll get the best price on purchases made with this card, thanks to the Price Rewind feature which looks through hundreds of online merchants for the lowest price on registered items for 60 days after you make a purchase and refunds you the difference if a lower one is found.

Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard

long-term rewards Why it’s a great balance transfer card: You’ll enjoy 15 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers made within 45 days of opening your account (plus a 3% or $5 balance transfer fee, whichever is greater), along with 15 months of 0% intro APR on purchases made during the full 15 months.

Why you want it in your wallet long-term: In addition to an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limits or rotating categories to worry about, each time you redeem your rewards, you’ll get 5% back to use toward your next redemption — meaning your total effective earnings are about 1.575%! There is also a generous $200 cash back bonus you can earn if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days.

Other important features: The Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard does not charge an annual fee for ownership, but you must have excellent credit to be approved, so keep that in mind.

Chase Freedom – $150 Bonus

long-term rewards Why it’s a great balance transfer card: Although this card does have a slightly higher balance transfer fee than the others (minimum 5% or $5, whichever is higher), it balances that out with a lengthy 15-month 0% intro APR on both balance transfers and purchases.

Why you want it in your wallet long-term: If you’re a fan of the rotating cash back categories (if not, check out Chase Freedom Unlimited), then this is a superb choice as it offers 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Chase sends reminders by text, email or through your calendar so you remember to sign up to earn 5% each quarter. Plus, if you spend $500 within the first 3 months, you’ll get $150 back. Another great thing about this card is the flexibility for reward redemption, including transferring your rewards to other Chase credit cards to combine rewards, using them to pay for purchases at Amazon.com at a 1:1 ratio and more.

Other important features: There is no annual fee with this credit card, and you need good credit or better to be approved, so a couple of dings in your credit reports won’t count you out.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

long-term rewards Why it’s a great balance transfer card: When you transfer a balance to this credit card, you’ll get 12 months of 0% intro APR to enjoy while you work on paying it down. As you might guess, there is a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater, with this card, and the 12-month 0% intro APR also extends to purchases.

Why you want it in your wallet long-term: If you’re looking for a credit card that earns crazy amounts of cash back, this is it. First, you’ll get 6% cash back on up to $6,000/year in purchases at U.S. grocery stores (1% after the maximum), followed by 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores and 1% on everything else. Basically, if you’re spending $60 a week at the grocery store, you could be earning more than $180 a year on just those purchases. There’s also a $150 bonus for spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.

Other important features: This credit card does have a hefty $95 annual fee, so if that’s a deal-breaker, consider its sister card, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, which has similar benefits without the annual fee. You need good or excellent credit to be approved for this credit card. Rounding it out are some extra perks, such as purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

long-term rewards Why it’s a great balance transfer card: You’ll get 12 months of 0% intro APR to pay off balance transfers made within the first 60 days of owning this credit card, in addition to a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases. Note that there is a balance transfer fee equal to 3% of the transferred amount or $10, whichever is greater.

Why you want it in your wallet long-term: Wholesale club shoppers rejoice, because this card earns 2% cash back at wholesale clubs and grocery stores, in addition to 3% cash back at gas stations (up to a combined wholesale club/grocery store/gas station maximum of $2,500/quarter in purchases, then it’s 1%) and unlimited 1% on everything else. Bank of America customers earn an ongoing 10% customer bonus when they redeem their rewards into their Bank of America checking or savings account, and Preferred Rewards clients can increase that bonus to 25% to 75%. To round all of this out, if you apply online, you can earn a nice $150 cash bonus after spending $500 within your first 90 days.

Other important features: This card is available to those with good or excellent credit, and you won’t have to worry about an annual fee because there isn’t one. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card also provides cardholders with their monthly FICO credit score for free.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

long-term rewards Why it’s a great balance transfer card: Finishing up our list is the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card, which offers a 12-month 0% intro APR for both balance transfers and purchases. You’ll also get a special intro balance transfer fee of 3% for 12 months, after which it’s 5%, so take advantage sooner than later.

Why you want it in your wallet long-term: Card members earn a flat 1.5% cash back rate on every purchase, plus a special $200 bonus if they spend $1,000 within the first 3 months. As an added bonus, for your first 12 months you’ll get a boosted 1.8% cash back earned when you use the card through Android Pay or Apple Pay mobile wallets.

Other important features: In addition to its $0 annual fee, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card offers users cell phone protection, which is a fairly unique benefit. So long as you pay your phone bill with your card, Wells Fargo will reimburse you up to $600 for covered theft or damage (subject to a $25 deductible).

Still not sure? Take a look at our complete list of the best balance transfer credit cards and use our free Balance Transfer Calculator to find the right card for you.

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.