10 easiest credit card sign-up bonuses to earn

May 22, 2020

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Sign-up bonuses are often one of the major selling points when shopping for a new rewards credit card. Card issuers offer these bonuses as a way 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 a number of sign-up bonuses available right now that are much easier to hit. 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 welcome bonuses to hit

The information about the Chase Freedom, Bank of America Travel Rewards, Bank of America Cash Rewards, Wells Fargo Propel 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

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back on 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.

The information for the Ink Business Preferred card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Essential reading: Chase Freedom Unlimited review

Chase Freedom

(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 (when you apply directly through Chase)

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom 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.

During Q2 2020, you’ll earn 5% back on select streaming services, groceries, gym memberships and fitness clubs. And just like the Freedom Unlimited, you can pair this card with Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for more value.

Essential reading: Chase Freedom 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 bonus: 35,000 miles after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening — 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 & fees)

Welcome bonus: 75,000 points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening — worth $450 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 on everything else — that is a 4.2% return on Hilton stays and a 3% return on restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. The card also comes with a number of 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: $95 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening

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 rewards 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

Welcome 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 purchases). For no annual fee and an easy-to-hit welcome bonus? That’s a stellar return.

Essential reading: Bank of America Travel Rewards review

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, which makes it easy to get value out of your points.

Essential reading: Wells Fargo Propel Amex review 

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

Welcome 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: Bank of America Cash Rewards review

Citi Rewards+ Card

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

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: 15,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Why we like it: The Citi Rewards+ is built for true beginners. The modest sign-up bonus is easy to earn and the card comes with a few unique features. Every time you make a purchase, the points you earn will round up to the nearest 10 points (so a $2 coffee that normally would earn 2 points would earn 10 with this card). This benefit also applies to purchases where you earn 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 in combined bonus spending each year, then 1x ThankYou point). You’ll also get 10% points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year.

Essential reading: Citi Rewards+ Review 

American Express® Green Card

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

Annual fee: $150 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: 30,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Why we like it: The Amex Green is another great travel card for beginners. You’ll earn 3x points on travel and restaurants — and the travel category is broader than your typical Amex Membership Rewards card, including home-share rentals and transit alongside typical hotel and airfare purchases. The card also comes with some solid travel benefits such as a Clear membership worth up to $100 in credit, and up to $100 in LoungeBuddy credit each year.

Essential reading: Amex Green review

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 bonus 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 bonus now. Amex recently implemented a four-card limit on consumer cards. Luckily, Amex also has a tool on its site that will notify you before submitting an application whether you are able to earn the welcome bonus on a specific card.

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

Related reading: 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.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, click here.

Featured image by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy

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.