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Credit Cards

The best credit card sign-up bonuses of October 2022

We analyzed the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. that are open to anyone and offer welcome bonuses to find the best of the best based on your spending habits.

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Credit card welcome bonus offers are an easy way to earn extra rewards during the first few months after you open an account. You typically need to meet spending requirements that range from $500 to $5,000, within the first three months after opening your account in order to earn the bonus.

Cash-back cards tend to have the lowest spending requirements with the best return rates, while travel rewards cards usually offer larger bonuses after you reach higher spending requirements. You should consider your budget before you sign up for a card with a good bonus offer and only take advantage of one if you're able to pay off your balance on time and in full. You don't want to pay big interest charges on your balance just because you were hoping to earn some extra bonus points.

The good news: There are a few cards that waive spending requirements altogether and reward you with a bonus following account approval or after you make your first purchase.

Select analyzed over 100 cards that offer welcome bonuses and rounded up the best deals that can earn you up to $1,000, if you meet the requirements.

This month's top credit card welcome bonuses

Winner

Chase Freedom Flex℠

On Chase's secure site
  • 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

    $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

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

  • Regular APR

    17.24% - 25.99% 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

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Opportunity to earn up to 5% cash back in select categories upon activation
  • Rewards can be transferred to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card

Cons

  • Bonus categories must be activated each quarter
  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $852
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,844

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The Chase Freedom Flex℠ has one of the best welcome bonuses around: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. That's like earning 40% back.

This card can help you maximize cash back in a variety of rotating categories. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The cash-back calendar changes every quarter. (Learn more about how Chase classifies bonus category purchases.)

In addition to rotating rewards 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, 3% cash back on dining at restaurants and at drug stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Beyond rewards, you can take advantage of no annual fee and a competitive no-interest period for the first 15 months from account opening on new purchases and balance transfers (after, 17.24% - 25.99% variable APR). There's an intro balance transfer 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 it's either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

The Freedom card also provides cell phone protection and select partner benefits, such as 5% cash back on Lyft purchases through March 2025 and up to $10 back each quarter in statement credits for using Instacart, plus three free months of delivery through Instacart+ when activated by July 31, 2024.

Best for travel

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    18.24% - 25.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

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

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Transfer points to leading frequent travel programs at a 1:1 rate, including: IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy™ and World of Hyatt®
  • Travel protections include: auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No introductory 0% APR

Who's this for? The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a loyal following among travelers looking for a travel-centric rewards program and a robust suite of perks. This card also has a generous welcome bonus offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The bonus is worth $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® or more when redeeming points through Chase's transfer partners.

The rewards program offers 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® or through "Pay Yourself Back." You can also get more value from the rewards program by taking advantage of Chase's airline and hotel transfer partners, including United, British Airways, World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and more.

Beyond rewards, this card comes with a number of helpful benefits, such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, no foreign transaction fees and baggage and trip delay insurance.

Best for premium perks

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within six months of card membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

  • Annual fee

    $695

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit Needed

    Excellent/Good

Pros

  • Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits
  • Up to $200 in annual Uber savings
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card®  on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times (enrollment required)
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.

Cons

  • $695 annual fee
  • No special financing offers on new purchases

Who's this for? The Platinum Card® from American Express is for those looking to travel in luxury and benefit from high rewards on eligible airfare and hotel expenses. It is currently offering a phenomenal welcome bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within six months of card membership. Many rewards experts value Amex points at 2 cents each when transferred to travel partners, making this offer is worth a whopping $2,000.

In addition to the welcome offer, this card offers 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases.

The card comes with a steep $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) but there are a number of perks that help offset it, including:

  • Up to $200 annual hotel credit
  • Up to $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Up to $300 annual Equinox credit
  • Up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit
  • Up to $189 credit to enroll in CLEAR®
  • Up to $240 annual digital entertainment credit
  • Up to $155 annual Walmart+ credit.
  • Worldwide airport lounge access, including Delta SkyClubs and Amex Centurion Lounges
  • Up to $200 annual Uber credit
  • Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Automatic hotel elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy
  • Comprehensive travel insurance
  • Complimentary Amex concierge service
  • Terms apply

Don't miss: Here's how these 5 new credit card welcome bonuses from American Express, Capital One and Chase compare

Best for cash back

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's secure site
  • Rewards

    3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 3% on eligible streaming services, 3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®) and 1% 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

    17.99% - 27.99% variable 

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • 3% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases
  • Ability to redeem rewards at any amount, unlike some other cards with $25 minimums
  • Competitive special financing offer on both new purchases and balance transfers
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • 3% balance transfer fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months

Who's this for? The best cash-back credit cards have some of the simplest welcome bonus offers that provide great rewards with minimum spending requirements. The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. That's like earning 40% cash back.

Foodies and entertainment gurus will be pleased that this card earns 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, as well as 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, cardholders earn 8% cash back on Vivid Seats ticket purchases through January 2023. Cash back can be redeemed at any time and for any amount.

There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee associated with this card, and you can benefit from introductory no interest on purchases for the first 15 months your account is open. After, there's a 17.99% - 27.99% variable APR (3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months).

This card also comes with numerous added perks, such as access to exclusive entertainment events (concerts, food experiences, sporting events), extended warranty protection and may include travel accident insurance.

Best for no annual fee

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's secure site
  • Rewards

    1.5% cash back on every purchase

  • Welcome bonus

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

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

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

  • Regular APR

    17.99% - 27.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Low spending requirement for the welcome bonus
  • Redeem cash back for any amount at any time
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • 3% balance transfer fee during the first 15 months your account is open
  • No bonus rewards categories

Who's this for? The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great choice for consumers looking for a no-annual-fee credit card that has a generous welcome bonus. Cardholders earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within three months from account opening. Just like the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card mentioned above, the Quicksilver card's bonus provides a 40% return.

This card has a straightforward cash-back program where you can earn 1.5% cash back on everything you buy. Cash back can be conveniently redeemed at any time and for any amount.

In addition to rewards, you can finance new purchases or transfer debt with a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months from account opening (then 17.99% - 27.99% variable APR; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months).

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has no foreign transaction fee and may include travel accident insurance, 24-hour travel assistance, extended warranty protection and access to premier culinary, entertainment and sports event experiences.

Best for no spending required

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

On Amazon's secure site
  • Rewards

    5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; 1% back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $100 Amazon.com gift card upon approval

  • Annual fee

    $0 (but Prime membership is required)

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    15.74% to 23.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • $100 Amazon.com gift card upon approval, with no spending requirements
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • Prime membership is required
  • The 5% back on groceries only applies to groceries bought on Amazon.com or at Whole Foods Market
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $590
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,352

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, issued by Chase, is one of few cards that awards a welcome bonus automatically after account approval. If you're approved for this card, you'll instantly receive a $100 Amazon.com gift card. This welcome bonus is a great way to fund an Amazon purchase or offset the cost of your Prime membership, which is required to open this card and currently costs $139 annually or $14.99 a month.

This card doesn't have an annual fee (except for the Prime membership requirement) and also has no foreign transaction fees.

The rewards program is great for loyal Amazon shoppers and people who like to grocery shop at Whole Foods: Earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; 1% back on all other purchases.

Our methodology

To determine which cards offer the best value, Select analyzed 117 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. that are open to anyone and offer welcome bonuses. We compared each card on a range of features, including cash-back rewards, annual fee, 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.

Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them. When we calculated the estimated returns, we assumed that cardholders are redeeming cash back for a typical maximum value of 1 cent per point or mile. (Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value.)

Our final picks are weighted heavily toward the highest five-year returns, since it's generally wise to hold onto a credit card for years. This method also avoids giving an unfair advantage to cards with large welcome bonuses.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.

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For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Information about Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer prior to publication; if you purchase something through Select links, we may earn a commission.

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.
Enjoy an intro APR on purchases plus, Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
Plenty of rewards and benefits including 4X points per dollar for dining at restaurants worldwide