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Credit Cards

The easiest credit card sign-up bonuses to earn for low spenders

All of the cards on this list have welcome bonuses worth at least $200 and require $500 in spending or less to earn.

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One of the best ways to quickly bolster credit card rewards is by taking advantage of welcome bonus offers.

The best credit card welcome bonuses can be worth $1,000 or more, but there's a catch — you'll need to meet the card's bonus requirements. To earn a bonus for the best credit cards you'll usually need to spend thousands of dollars on the card within the first few months after opening it. Even if you have excellent credit and won't have an issue getting approved for a top travel card, the spending requirements might be out of reach.

However, there are plenty of rewards credit cards with easy-to-earn welcome bonuses. Below are CNBC Select's top picks for credit cards with intro bonuses worth at least $100 and a spending requirement of $500 or less.

Best credit card bonuses for low spenders

Best for dining

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024, 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases, earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; Terms apply, 3% cash back on dining and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), 3% cash back on popular streaming services and entertainment, and 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% variable 

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% for the first 15 months; 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Terms apply.

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a perfect card to use for a night out or a night in. It earns bonus cash back on dining, entertainment, groceries and streaming services.

Other great perks: Through Nov. 14, 2024, this card comes with a free Uber One membership and 10% back on Uber and Uber Eats purchases. It has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and grants cardmembers access to exclusive entertainment events through Capital One Entertainment. There's also an introductory 0% intro APR on purchases and eligible balance transfers for the first 15 months. After the interest-free period expires, there's a 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR.

Best for cash back

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

On Wells Fargo's secure site
  • Rewards

    Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate

  • Regular APR

    20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro for 120 days from account opening then BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a simple and lucrative cash rewards credit card. Plus, it has no annual fee, so the cash rewards you earn are straight profit from day one.

Other great perks: When you pay for your cell phone bill with your Wells Fargo Active Cash Card, you can use the card's built-in cell phone protection. It will reimburse you up to $600 ($25 deductible) for damage or theft. It also has a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers; (20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5).

Best for travel rewards

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    5 Miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 1.25X miles per dollar on every purchase

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% for the first 15 months; 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Terms apply.

 

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is a beginner-friendly no-annual-fee travel credit card. What makes this card so valuable is that the Capital One miles it earns can be transferred to a range of airline and hotel travel partners, which is rare for a credit card with no annual fee. This gives you the opportunity to potentially increase the value of the card's welcome bonus.

Other great perks: New card members can take advantage of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies (3% for the first 15 months; 4% at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time. The Capital One VentureOne card also has no foreign transaction fees.

Best for bonus spending categories

Chase Freedom Flex®

  • Rewards

    5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%), 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on drugstore purchases and on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    20.49% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Member FDIC. Terms apply. Information about the Chase Freedom Flex® has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

The Chase Freedom Flex® is a solid cash-back card with an easy-to-earn $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. Plus, earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. That's like earning 30% back. It also offers rotating 5% bonus categories on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter (then 1%).

Other great perks: Cardholders can take advantage of cell phone protection, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty protection on eligible purchases. Plus, cardholders can save on grocery deliveries with up to $10 back each quarter in Instacart statement credits and three free months of Instacart+ (when activated by July 31, 2024), and enjoy waived delivery fees with free months of DoorDash DashPass (when you activate by Dec. 31, 2024).

Best for airline miles

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard

Information about the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by CNBC Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases; 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase within the first 90 days

  • Annual fee

    $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening

  • Regular APR

    21.24%, 25.24% or 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

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

  • Foreign transaction fees

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

Terms apply.

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® has what might be the easiest welcome bonus requirements of any rewards credit card. Once you're approved for the card, you just need to make a single purchase (of any amount) and pay the card's $99 annual fee within the first 90 days of opening the account to earn 70,000 bonus miles.

Other great perks: This card's benefits are geared toward American Airlines travelers. Cardholders get the first checked bag free for themselves and up to four companions, preferred boarding and 25% back on inflight food and beverage purchases. There's also up to $25 in annual credit for inflight Wi-Fi purchases and an annual companion certificate that's earned after spending $20,000+ on the card within your cardmember year.

Find the best credit card for you by reviewing offers in our  credit card marketplace  or get personalized offers via  CardMatch™.

FAQs

The smartest way to use a credit card that has rewards is to use the card responsibly and pay off the balance every month. By doing this, you ensure that you don't pay interest, which can offset the value of any rewards you earn.

Having a low annual income won't necessarily prevent you from opening a credit card. If you keep your credit score high and consistently pay your bills on time, you can greatly increase your chances of being approved for the best travel credit cards. And remember, anyone over 21 can include their entire household income on credit card applications as long as they have a "reasonable expectation of access."

Unfortunately, there are virtually no opportunities to earn credit card rewards without spending money. In rare instances, banks may offer airline miles or credit card reward bonuses for opening an account. However, even in those situations, you may have to complete a certain number of transactions to earn the rewards.

The most common types of credit card rewards you can earn are cash back, airline miles, hotel points and flexible travel rewards points.

Bottom line

Credit card issuers offer welcome bonuses to entice people to sign up for their credit cards. These bonuses can be quite lucrative and may be worth more than $1,000. However, the higher the welcome bonus, the more difficult it usually is to earn.

But there are rewards credit cards with bonuses that have much lower spending requirements. So if you don't anticipate being able to meet the bonus requirements for one of the top travel cards, consider opening one of these cards instead.

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Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every credit card review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of credit card productsWhile CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics. See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best credit card sign-up bonuses.

Our methodology

To determine which cards offer the best value, CNBC Select analyzed over 250 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. that are open to anyone and offer welcome bonuses. We narrowed down our picks by only considering those cards that offer welcome bonuses worth at least $100 and require $500 or less in spending to earn. We compared each card on a range of features, including: rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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