10 easiest credit card sign-up bonuses to earn

Oct 7, 2020

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new card details and information.

Sign-up bonuses are often one of the major selling points when shopping for a new rewards credit card. Card issuers offer these bonuses to entice new customers and promote spending on their new cards.

The best sign-up bonuses are worth hundreds of dollars (and a few even over $1,000), either in cash back or in travel rewards, depending on the type of credit card. But those bonuses are typically accompanied by spending thresholds of $3,000 or more that you must hit within the first few months of having the card.

Luckily, there are several sign-up bonuses available right now that are much easier to earn. Today, I’m walking through sign-up bonuses that have a spending requirement of $2,000 or less. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these are the best overall credit cards that still have easy-to-earn bonuses.

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Best cards with the easiest sign-up bonuses to hit

The information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex, Bank of America Travel Rewards, Bank of America Cash Rewards and the Wells Fargo Propel cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. It has not been reviewed or approved by the issuers. 

Chase Freedom Unlimited

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: $200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, plus 5% back at the first $12,000 spent at grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target) in the first 12 months.

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited recently got an upgrade — the card now earns 5% cash back on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. It’s a great card for non-bonus spending — especially if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. You can pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with any of those three Chase credit cards to convert your cash back into valuable Ultimate Rewards points. You can then use them to book travel through the Chase travel portal with a redemption bonus or transfer to partners for potentially even more value.

Essential reading: Rotating 5x earning and a key member of the Chase Quartet: Chase Freedom card review

Chase Freedom Flex

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: $200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, plus 5% back at the first $12,000 spent at grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target) in the first 12 months.

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom Flex is similar to the old Chase Freedom (which is no longer open to application), but with added bonus categories. It earns 5% cash back across quarterly rotating categories. There is a $1,500 cap on bonus spending each quarter, but that still means you could earn up to $300 per year in 5% bonus spending each year.

Categories are random throughout the year, but common categories like dining, groceries and gas stations occur frequently. You’ll also get 5% back on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal and 3% back on dining and drugstores.

During the fourth quarter of 2020, you’ll earn 5% back on PayPal and Walmart. And just like the Freedom Unlimited, you can pair this card with Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for more value.

Essential reading: Why I switched from the Chase Freedom to the all-new Chase Freedom Flex

United Gateway Card 

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months — worth $260 according to TPG valuations.

Why we like it: United’s new entry-level cobranded credit card offers a simple way to earn United miles across several bonus categories. You’ll earn 3x at grocery stores (on up to $1,500 per month) through Sept. 31, 2021, and 2x on United purchases, gas stations and local transit and commuting. Additionally, you’ll get a 25% bonus on all in-flight purchases and trip cancellation/interruption insurance. It’s a solid option for beginners looking to earn United miles without paying an annual fee.

Essential reading: United launches new United Gateway Card with no annual fee

IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening — worth $500 according to TPG valuations.

Why we like it: If you want a no-annual-fee hotel credit card, there is a lot to like about the IHG Traveler Card. You’ll get 5x on IHG stays (which ends up being 15x because of the 10x base points on stays) and 2x on gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. You’ll also get the fourth award night free benefit, a 20% discount when you buy points and a pathway to earn Gold elite status after spending $10,000 on the card in a calendar year.

Essential reading: IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card review 

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $99, waived the first year (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. — worth $420, according to TPG valuations.

Why we like it: The Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex is an entry-level credit card into the SkyMiles program. You’ll earn 2x miles on Delta, restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, plus 1x on everything else.

The card comes with a few elite-like benefits, including first checked bag free and priority boarding. You can also earn a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year. If you are a casual Delta flyer or beginner just getting into the points and miles game, this a great card to consider.

Essential reading: Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex review 

Hilton Honors Card from American Express

(Photo courtesy of American Express)
(Photo courtesy of American Express)

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: 80,000 points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening — worth $480 based on TPG valuations

Why we like it: The Hilton Honors Amex is a no-annual-fee, entry-level card into the Hilton Honors hotel program. You’ll earn 7x on eligible Hilton purchases; 5x at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, and 3x points on all other eligible purchases — that is a 4.2% return on Hilton stays and a 3% return on restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. The card also comes with several solid perks, including complimentary Hilton Silver elite status and the chance to earn Gold through $20,000 in card spending.

Essential reading: Hilton Honors Amex review 

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020 (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. Offer Expires 12/10/2020

Why we like it: The Blue Cash Preferred is one of the best cash-back credit cards out there. You’ll earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%) and select U.S. streaming services, 3% on transit and U.S. gas stations, and 1% on everything else. With a reasonable annual fee, a 6% return is an excellent reward rate if you spend a solid portion of your budget on groceries at U.S. supermarkets and with select U.S. streaming services each month.

Essential reading: Blue Cash Preferred review

Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Why we like it: You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5x on all purchases, and those points can be redeemed for a fixed value for travel purchases. But you can supersize your earning potential if you are a member of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. At the highest level, you’ll earn up to 75% more points on every purchase (meaning 2.625x on every purchase). For no annual fee and an easy-to-hit sign-up bonus? That’s a stellar return.

Essential reading: Stop ignoring Bank of America Preferred Rewards

Wells Fargo Propel American Express card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: 20,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Why we like it: The Wells Fargo Propel is an excellent card for beginners to the credit card rewards game. You’ll earn a solid 3x points across travel, dining (eating out and ordering in), gas stations, transit and popular streaming services. The card also comes with perks like an intro APR period and cellphone protection coverage. You can redeem points for eligible purchases at a fixed value of 1 cent each, making it easy to get value out of your points.

Essential reading: Frequently asked questions about the Wells Fargo Propel Amex

Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Why we like it: The Bank of America Cash Rewards card lets you customize your rewards structure. You’ll earn 3% cash back on the category of your choice, plus 2% cash back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then 1%). All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Just like the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, being a member of the Preferred Rewards program means you’ll earn even more cash back on every purchase.

Essential reading: The best Bank of America credit cards of 2020

Are you eligible for a sign-up bonus?

Not everyone is eligible for a credit card sign-up bonus. Each issuer has its own set of rules regarding when you’re able to earn a bonus.

American Express, for example, limits you to one welcome offer per card, per lifetime. So if you’ve ever had certain cards in the past (even if it was a long time ago), you won’t be eligible to earn a welcome offer now. Amex also has a four-card limit on consumer cards. Luckily, Amex also has a tool on its site that will notify you before applying whether you are eligible for the welcome offer on a specific card.

You’ll want to pay attention to the offer details for each bonus to ensure you can take advantage of the welcome bonus opportunity.

Related: Ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions 

Bottom line

Sign-up bonuses are a great way to get a jump start on a redemption you’re aiming for. Even the easiest bonuses to hit are typically worth at least a few hundred dollars. Just make sure you know the terms and conditions for earning and keeping those bonuses before you apply.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Amex card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred card, click here.

Featured photo by Fishman64/Shutterstock

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.