Sun. May 22nd, 2022
Best Credit Card Welcome Bonuses for March 2022

A welcome bonus, or sign-on bonus, can be a compelling reason to apply for a new credit card. Welcome bonus offers typically reward new cardholders with a one-time lump sum of cash back, bonus points or extra miles when you meet a certain spending threshold within a designated time frame. It’s an easy way to earn extra rewards, but only if it doesn’t lead to overspending. 

Still, what may initially seem like a tempting offer of free money can instead leave you with mediocre rewards and hefty annual fees. To help you avoid these pitfalls, we’ve listed our favorite welcome bonus credit cards below. Note that we periodically update these partner offers to ensure you find the best opportunities.

Intro OfferIntro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back!

APR14.99% – 23.74% Variable

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 1.5% on all other purchases

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Balance Transfer APR14.99% – 23.74% Variable

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

Penalty APR Up to 29.99%

  • Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 1.5% on all other purchases

Our Take

One of our top cash-back credit cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, offers a sign-up bonus in the form of additional cash back, unlike most other sign-on bonuses, for up to a value of $300. You earn an additional 1.5% cash back on all purchases for your first year, on up to $20,000 of spending. Most credit cards have a minimum spending threshold to earn a welcome bonus, so this card offers more flexibility. The Chase Freedom Unlimited also features top-notch rewards with 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on other purchases.

Intro OfferIntro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

APR11.99% – 22.99% Variable

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APR0% for 15 months

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 15 months

Balance Transfer Fee 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

Balance Transfer APR11.99% – 22.99% Variable

Late Payment Fee None the first time you pay late. After that, up to $40.

Foreign Transaction Fees None

  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Our Take

The Discover it® Cash Backcard offers a unique proposition: The sign-on bonus is an unlimited cash-back match for the first year the account is open. Not only do you earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories upon activation (on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1%) and 1% on all other purchases, but at the end of your first year Discover will match — dollar for dollar — all the cash you’ve earned back in the previous 12 months. Effectively, this means you can earn 10% cash back on the rotating quarterly categories, and 2% on all other purchases for the first year. The student version of this credit card, featured among our best student credit cards, offers the same sign-on bonus.

Intro Offer25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening – that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

APR13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases

Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Balance Transfer APR13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees None

Penalty APR up to 29.99% APR

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire

Our Take

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit cardoffers a substantial welcome bonus redeemable for statement credits for travel or dining purchases. You have to make $1,000 worth of purchases within the first 90 days of account opening to secure this bonus, which will come in the form of 25,000 bonus points posted to your account. While there are higher-value welcome bonuses available on premium travel cards, they generally also carry a hefty annual fee. For the traveler on a budget, this is the right card to maximize your welcome bonus value.

Intro OfferEarn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

APR15.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee$95

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Balance Transfer APR15.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees 0%

Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)

  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Our Take

The Citi Premier® Card offers the best sign-on bonus value with respect to annual fee, points value and spending threshold. The sign-on bonus nets you 60,000 ThankYou® points when you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening the account — this can be redeemed for travel rewards or $600 in gift cards at Thankyou.com. Alternatively, these points are also valued at $0.01 per point for statement credits, and so are worth the same amount in the form of “cash back.” This card is also a strong contender for our best gas credit cards, as well, and has a $95 annual fee. See our full review of the Citi Premier Card for more details and benefits.

Intro Offer$150 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval

APR14.24% to 22.24% Variable

Recommended Credit N/A

Reward Rates

  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Balance Transfer APR14.24% to 22.24% Variable

Late Payment Fee Up to $39

Foreign Transaction Fees None

  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*

Our Take

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature cardis unique in that there is no minimum spending threshold to earn the bonus. Upon approval of your application, you’ll receive an Amazon gift card for up to $150 without ever even using the card. The catch is that this welcome bonus isn’t redeemable for statement credits or travel like with many other rewards cards. It is simply a gift card for use on Amazon.com. Note that you must have Amazon Prime account ($119 annually, increasing to $139 after March 25, 2022) to get this credit card.

Read more: Best Credit Cards for Shopping at Amazon

FAQs

What is a sign-on bonus/welcome bonus?

A sign-on bonus, or welcome bonus, is a one-time reward offered to card holders after signing up for a new card. Bonuses always require users to spend a certain amount within a set time period, like $500 in purchases in the first three months, in order to “unlock” the bonus. 

So should I sign up for lots of credit cards to take advantage of welcome bonuses?

This is a risky and time-consuming gambit that could adversely affect your credit. Though a welcome bonus is worth considering, we recommend taking a comprehensive look at the overall value of a credit card and choosing one that fits your spending habits and financial situation.

What is considered a ‘good’ welcome bonus?

In our view, a good welcome bonus is one that doesn’t require you to contort your existing spending habits and offers a return that’s higher than the card’s annual fee. Many rewards credit cards offer a welcome bonus of $200, so anything higher than that is noteworthy.

We also prefer cards with bonuses that feature other perks or multiple rewards tiers, increasing the usefulness of the card beyond the bonus. 

What does the ‘x’ mean in reward rates?

The x means “times” — a way of referring to the multiple rewards points or miles you’ll get for every dollar spent. For example, a 2x mile card gives you 2 miles for every dollar spent. A 10x point card gives you 10 points for every dollar spent. 

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer credit cards. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles — with the understanding that everyone’s financial situation is different — and the designated function of a card. 

For cash-back credit cards, for example, key factors include the annual fee, the “welcome bonus” and the cash-back rate (or rates, if they differ by spending category). For rewards and miles cards, we calculate and weigh the net monetary value of a card’s respective perks. And with balance transfer credit cards, we analyze specs such as the duration of the introductory 0% APR period and the balance transfer fee, while acknowledging secondary factors such as the standard APR and the length of time you have to make a balance transfer after you open the account.

Read more:  Best Credit Cards for Good Credit

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*All information about the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, Discover it Cash Back and Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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