Sign up for your free Credit.com account    Sign Up Now

Best Credit Card Signup Bonuses of 2017

Advertiser Disclosure

sign up bonus

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Credit card issuers have long offered signup bonuses to attract new cardholders. But these days, heavy marketplace competition has led to a few truly sweet —  even outrageous — deals. Over the last year or so, in particular, it’s become commonplace to see issuers offer hundreds of dollars worth of bonus rewards or a full airfare in miles for spending a certain amount of money in your first few months as an account holder. Narrowing down the best signup bonus for you depends on how much you spend or how often you travel, among other things. Still, there are a few strong contenders for the best signup card bonuses of 2017 on the market right now. Let’s break them down.

Expert Intel: Credit card signup bonuses change frequently and can even vary by customer, so it’s a good idea to visit the issuer’s site directly to double-check their latest offers.

Cards With Big Signup Rewards

The best signup bonuses offer huge value when combined with the card’s standard features. Here’s an overview of the better offers on the market right now.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: A big points bonus that gains additional value if you redeem your points for travel with Chase.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred:  If you can’t afford the Reserve’s hefty annual fee, you can consider its little brother, which also touts a sweet signup bonus.
  • Discover it — Cashback Match: Discover is offering a dollar-for-dollar match on all the cash back a new cardholder earns in their first year — to be paid out at the end of it.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: If you’re looking to score a signup bonus without paying an annual fee or hitting an uber-high spend threshold, the Freedom’s got you covered.
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve: Taking a cue from Chase’s Reserve, U.S. Bank is offering a signup bonus that’ll make you do a double-take.    
  • Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card: This card offers points bonus for spending and adding an authorized user, plus a ton of potential hotel benefits.


chase-sapphire-reserveChase Sapphire Reserve

The Signup Bonus: Cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points if they spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Those points are worth $750 when used to book travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal.

Annual Fee: $450; $75 for each authorized user

Purchase Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 16.99% to 23.99%

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Base Rewards: Dining and travel purchases earn three points per dollar, while all other purchases earn one point per dollar.  

The Big Extras: Cardholders get an annual $300 travel credit and $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or an $85 application fee credit for TSA Pre-Check, depending on what program you choose. Plus, the card comes with airport lounge access, special hotel and car rental benefits and a host of other travel perks.  

When Deciding to Apply: Remember, if you want to book travel elsewhere or redeem your points for something else, you’ll lose out on that additional 50% value. (In short, you’re handcuffed to Chase’s travel platform.) Plus, the card carries a hefty $450 annual fee, so you’ll want to do a cost-benefit analysis to determine how much of a bonus you’re actually netting — and whether you’re likely to recoup that annual fee during your second year as a cardholder and beyond.  

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now
on Chase's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A

Ongoing Apr:
16.99% - 23.99% Variable

Balance Transfer:
16.99% - 23.99% Variable

Annual Fee:
$0 Intro for the first year, then $95

Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good
Snapshot of Card Features
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Card Details +

The Signup Bonus: Cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points if they spend $4,000 in their first three months of account opening — that’s worth $625 in travel booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards.

Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year

Purchase APR: Variable 16.99% to 23.99%

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Base Rewards: Dining and travel purchases earn two points per dollar, while all other purchases earn one point per dollar.  

The Big Extras: You won’t get any travel credits, but card does carry some nice ancillary perks, like trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and an auto rental damage collision waiver.

When Deciding to Apply: There is a $95 annual fee, after the first year, so again you’ll need to crunch the numbers to see if you’re likely to recoup it. Plus, $4,000 in three months is a pretty high spending threshold so if that’s out of your normal charge range, consider a card with a bonus that’s easier to qualify for.

Discover it — Cashback Match

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Apply Now
on Discover's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
0% for 14 months on purchases

Ongoing Apr:
11.99% - 23.99% Variable on purchases & balance transfers

Balance Transfer:
Intro: 0% for 14 months

Annual Fee:
$0

Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good-Fair
Snapshot of Card Features
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Target now through December 2017, on up to $1,500 in purchases when you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.

Card Details +

The Signup Bonus: It’s a bit less conventional, but Discover is offering new cardholders a dollar-for-dollar cash back their first year, which gets paid out at the end of it.

Annual Fee: $0

Purchase APR: 11.99% - 23.99% Variable on purchases & balance transfers, after a 0% for 14 months on purchases expires.

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Base Rewards: Cardholders can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in revolving bonus categories, so long as they enroll each quarter. The 5% cash back offer from now until December 31st, 2017, applies to purchases made with Amazon.com and Target. Cardmembers also earn 1% cash back everywhere else.

The Big Extras: Discover skips the penalty APR and waives the late fee on your first missed payment (which you’ll still want to avoid). Plus, there’s a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfer for the first 14-months. Your APR will be a variable 11.99% to  23.99%, after that, depending on your credit.

When Deciding to Apply: The dollar-for-dollar match isn’t contingent on meeting any spending threshold, but you’ll have to wait for it — it’s paid out at the end of your first year. Plus, you’ll need to monitor bonus categories and make sure to enroll once a quarter ends.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Apply Now
on Chase's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
0% for 15 months on purchases

Ongoing Apr:
15.99% - 24.74% Variable

Balance Transfer:
Intro: 0% for 15 months

Annual Fee:
$0

Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good
Snapshot of Card Features
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase – it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee

Card Details +

The Signup Bonus: Cardholders earn $150 when they spend $500 in the first three months of account opening. Plus, they’ll earn $25 if they add an authorized user who goes on to make a purchase in the same time period.

Annual Fee: $0

Purchase APR: Variable 15.99% to 24.74%, after a 15-month 0% introductory APR expires.

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Base Rewards: Cardholders earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.

The Big Extras: The card comes with purchase protection, price protection and an extended warranty. Plus, there’s also a 15-month 0% introductory APR on balance transfers, too; after that, your APR will be a variable 15.74% to 24.49%.

When Deciding to Apply: You will pay a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5% (whichever is greater), if you take Chase up on that offer. Plus, if you don’t mind considering what card to use at the register or enrollment dates, you might earn more rewards with a revolving category 5% cash back card.

altitude_card-artU.S. Bank Altitude Reserve

The Signup Bonus: Cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points if they spend $4,500 in the first 90 days. The bonus is equivalent to $750 in travel.

Annual Fee: $400; $75 for each authorized user

Purchase APR: Variable 16.74%

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Base Rewards: Cardholders earn three points per dollar spent on eligible net travel purchases and mobile wallet spending.

The Big Extras: The card also touts $325 in annual travel credits, 12 complimentary Gogo inflight Wi-Fi passes, airport lounge access, a $100 credit for Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre-Check credit, depending on what program you choose and a host of other travel perks.

When Deciding to Apply: Like other elite rewards credit cards, the Altitude Reserve carries a big signup bonus, but also comes with a hefty annual fee. Plus, spending $4,500 in 90 days is a high threshold that not everyone will find easy to meet, so be sure you — or, more pointedly, your budget — can handle it. As for choosing between the two Reserves, well, you can go here to learn more.

lg_marriott-rewards-premier-cardMarriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

The Signup Bonus: Cardholders earn 80,000 bonus points after they spend $3,000 in the first three months, and 7,500 bonus points for adding the first authorized user who goes on to make a purchase in the same time frame.

Annual Fee: $85

Purchase APR: Variable 16.99% to 23.99%

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Base Rewards: Every dollar spent at more than 5,700 participating Marriott and SPG hotels earns five points. Every dollar spent on dining, car rentals and airlines earns two points. All other purchases earn one point per dollar.

The Big Extras: Points can be redeemed for reservations and purchases at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels (redemption costs range from 7,500 points for Category 1 hotels to 45,000 points for Category 9 hotels), concerts, VIP access to events and many other perks. And every year you’ll get a free night’s stay for a Category 1 through 5 Marriott hotel. Plus you’ll get the best rates, free Wi-Fi and many other special perks at participating properties.

When Deciding to Apply:The card is designed to reward Marriott or SPG customers, so if If you want a greater variety of options, a general travel card may be a better fit.

How to Choose a Card With a Great Signup Bonus

Most cards with strong signup bonuses charge annual fees. Any time you evaluate a card, you’ll need to weigh the value of the bonus against the fees. If the perceived benefits don’t meet or exceed the annual fee, you might want to keep looking.

You’ll also want to pick a card that offers benefits you’ll actually use. Travel rewards are most valuable to frequent travelers, so if you tend to stay put you may be better off with a cash-back card. Cards tied to specific companies such as Southwest or Marriott will only deliver the best value to loyal customers, so if you like to shop around you’re better off with a general rewards card.

Finally, most sign-up bonuses require you to spend a specific amount in the first few months of the card. If the spending requirements are far outside your normal spending behavior, it likely isn’t worth it to sign up for the card.

What Is Required to Get a Card With a Signup Bonus?

Cards with big signup bonuses generally require a good to excellent credit score. If you aren’t sure where your credit stands, you’ll want to view your credit score, available free on Credit.com, before you apply. A hard inquiry into your credit can ding your score a little bit, so you probably shouldn’t apply unless you’re reasonably confident you can get approved.

At publishing time, are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

This article updated October 2nd, 2017. 


Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.


Sign up for your free Credit.com account. Learn More

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.