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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card, Chase Freedom Unlimited

Some of the best travel rewards credit cards come with lucrative welcome bonuses — as high as 100,000 points or miles — but they usually require spending several thousand dollars in the first few months to earn them. If that’s out of reach for you, don’t despair — you still have some solid options, including among airline cards and hotel cards. And cash-back cards in particular generally don’t require spending too much to earn their welcome offers.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Current welcome bonus: Earn $150 cash back after spending $500 within the first 3 months. The bonus isn’t available to those who currently have this card or have received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.

Other benefits: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, making it a good choice for spending when you wouldn’t otherwise earn a category bonus. Shopping benefits include purchase protection and extended warranty.

Annual fee: $0

Quick Take: This card pairs well with Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, since then you can convert your 1.5% cash-back points to more valuable UR points. If you don’t have a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, the Chase Freedom Unlimited still earns cash back that you can redeem to offset your statement balance.

Chase Freedom

Current welcome bonus: Earn $150 cash back after spending $500 within the first three months. The bonus isn’t available to those who currently have this card or have received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.

Other benefits: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 purchases in a new category each quarter and 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases. Shopping benefits include purchase protection and extended warranty.

Annual fee: $0

Quick take: Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, this card pairs well with Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred since then you can convert your cash-back points to more valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you don’t have a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, the Chase Freedom still earns cash back that you can redeem to offset any purchases. TPG’s Nick Ewen believes the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Cash Credit Card make the perfect quartet for getting the most out of the Ultimate Rewards program.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Current welcome bonus: Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first three months. The bonus may not be available for existing or previous account holders.

Other benefits: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The cash back is easy: It’s simply a 1.5% return on all your spending given in the form of a check or statement credit. Shopping and travel benefits include no foreign transaction fees and extended warranty.

Annual fee: $0

Quick take: The combination of no foreign transaction fees and unlimited 1.5% cash back make this our favorite cash-back card for international travel.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Current welcome bonus: Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 within the first three months.

Other benefits: Earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Shopping and travel benefits include price protection, extended warranty, no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and baggage delay insurance.

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Quick take: This relatively new credit card has already become our favorite cash-back options for dining due to its unlimited 4% back in this category.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Current welcome bonus: Earn 20,000 miles (equal to $200 in travel) after spending $1,000 within the first three months.

Other benefits: Earn 10x miles on Hotels.com bookings made at hotels.com/venture and an unlimited 1.25x miles on all other purchases. Miles are simple and flexible to use; they can be redeemed at 1 cent apiece for statement credits against travel purchases. Shopping and travel benefits include no foreign transaction fees and extended warranty.

Annual fee: $0

Quick take: This card’s main benefit is 10x miles at Hotels.com, but the welcome bonus is also good for a no annual fee card, with low minimum spend required.

Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card

Current welcome bonus: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 within the first 90 days. The bonus is only offered to new customers.

Other benefits: Earn 3% on gas and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 in combined grocery, wholesale club and gas purchases each quarter. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn a 10% bonus when redeeming your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account and a 25% to 75% bonus if you’re a Preferred Rewards client.

Annual fee: $0

Quick take: If you’re a Bank of America banking client — and especially if you’re a Preferred Rewards client — this card could make sense due to the cash-back bonus from your banking relationship.

Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card

Current welcome bonus: Earn a one-time bonus of 25,000 points (equal to $250 in travel) after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days. Bonus only offered to new customers.

Other benefits: Earn unlimited 1.5x points on all purchases. Points are worth 1 cent apiece toward eligible travel purchases, so you’re basically getting a return of 1.5%. This card stands out if you have a banking relationship with Bank of America: bonuses to banking customers range from 10% (for checking and savings accounts) to as high as 75% for Preferred Rewards clients. Travel benefits include no foreign transaction fees.

Annual fee: $0

Quick take: Like the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card, this card makes particular sense if you’re a Bank of America banking client.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Current welcome bonus: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months.

Other benefits: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualifying mobile wallet purchases during the first 12 months. One neat perk of this card: up to $600 damage and theft protection on your cell phone as long as you use the card to pay your monthly cellular telephone bill.

Annual fee: $0

Quick take: Other cards provide better earning than this card. The 1.8% cash rewards on mobile wallet purchases is unique, though.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Current welcome bonus: Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 within the first three months.

Other benefits: 6% cash back at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 3% cash back at US gas stations and 1% back on other purchases. Cash back is given in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Shopping benefits include extended warranty, return protection and purchase protection.

Annual fee: $95 (See Rates & Fees)

Quick take: This card is our favorite cash-back card for US supermarket purchases. As long as you spend more than more than $3,166.66 each year at US supermarkets, this card will be better than the next most lucrative US supermarket cash-back card: the no annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, which earns 3% at US supermarkets up to $6,000; then 1%.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here.

Feature image by Guilherme Stecanella via Unsplash.

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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.

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