If you’re almost in the mood to check your Christmas shopping list, you’re certainly not alone. A recent survey found that about half of holiday shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping by October 31 this year.
With that in mind, there’s still time to apply for a rewards card and take advantage of some of the best credit card welcome bonuses available. Some cards also offer a limited-time 0% APR, allowing you to pay off your holiday shopping bills interest-free for up to a year or more.
But what should you look for in a credit card welcome bonus? First, you should know that most of the best cash back credit cards offer bonuses of around $200 if you meet the minimum spending requirements. Travel and business credit cards often offer higher bonuses, up to $600 or more, but have higher minimum spend requirements, making them less attractive as vacation shopping tools.
Here are some of the best credit card welcome bonuses you can get right now. Read on to find out which cards we recommend, what their current offers are, and how to sign up and start earning today.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card: Highest Cash Back Welcome Offer
- Welcome Offer: $350 Statement Credit on $3,000 in Purchases within 6 Months of Account Opening
- Annual fee: $95
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the highest quality welcome offers on the cash back market today. While most cash-back cards currently offer a welcome bonus of around $200, the Blue Cash Preferred offers nearly double that in the form of stated credit.
Let’s say you spent $50 per gift recipient this holiday season — that $350 credit can cover the cost of seven gifts! The only caveat is that you’ll have to pay the $95 annual fee before getting the bonus, but we still think it’s worth it because the Blue Cash Preferred is also a lucrative cash-back card that’s good for the long haul.
The card’s ongoing rewards tiers align with many households’ everyday spending habits, including 6% cash back on U.S. grocery store purchases (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%) and 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions Cash back, 3% cash back on transportation, 3% cash back on U.S. gas station purchases, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
This card also comes with an introductory offer of 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, followed by variable APRs ranging from 16.24% to 27.24%. As such, it’s ideal for interest-free Christmas shopping for the first year.
Chase Freedom Flex: Best for Moderate Budgets
- Welcome Offer: $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within 3 months of account opening
- Annual fee: $0
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a great option for those on a budget, as you can earn a $200 cash bonus on just $500 in three months. This card is a good compromise if you’re nervous about getting a welcome deal that costs thousands of dollars.
With no annual fee, you also get 5% back on up to $1,500 in active quarterly rewards categories (and then 1% back), 5% back on travel booked through Chase, 3% back on restaurant and drug purchases in stores and 1% back % of everything else.
You can use your cash back rewards on bank statements, gift cards, merchandise, mailed checks, travel, and more.
Bank of America Custom Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Online Shoppers
- Welcome Offer: $200 Online Cash Reward after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening
- Annual fee: $0
If you plan to do most of your holiday shopping online, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card may be the way to go. That’s because not only does this card give you a great welcome bonus, but you can also choose your best income category from the following options: Fuel, Online Shopping, Dining, Travel, Drugstore, or Home Improvement. Specifically, cardholders earn 3% cash back on category purchases of their choice and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (3% and 2% quarterly on category purchases up to $2,500 combined, then 1%), and 1% of all other purchases.
So when the holidays are over and you’re no longer shopping online, here’s an opportunity to change your 3% category to something more useful. The flexibility of this card is a huge benefit for the holidays and beyond.
There is no annual fee on this card, and you also get an introductory 0% APR for 18 months. The same rate applies to balance transfers within 60 days of account opening. After the introductory period, the interest rate will reset to a variable APR from 16.24% to 26.24%.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Best for those who travel frequently
- Welcome Offer: 60,000 Bonus Points on $4,000 in Purchases within the First Three Months of Account Opening
- Annual fee: $95.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is perfect for holiday shoppers looking to travel next year, as well as those who don’t mind spending more to earn a bigger cash bonus. These points can be earned through sign-up bonuses, a $600 gift card or bank statement, or a $750 trip. On regular spend rewards, this card offers 3X points at restaurants (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and Wholesale Club), through Chase Ultimate Rewards and travel 5X points on Lyft Rides (Lyft deals through March 31, 2025), double points on other trips, and double points on other purchases.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points also transfer 1:1 to airline and hotel partners, meaning you can convert them into rewards through programs like Southwest Airlines, Marriott Bonvoy or World of Hyatt. The annual fee for this card is $95 and there is no introductory benefit of 0% APR. As such, it’s best for frequent buyers who can get a lot of rewards but plan to pay their balance in full each month.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Credit Card: The Easiest Way
- Welcome Offer: $200 Cash Rewards Bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months
- Annual fee: $0
Finally, if you want big bonuses, easy ongoing rewards and no need to track categories, consider the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. This card has no annual fee, and you can earn a $200 cash bonus when you spend $1,000 within three months of opening the card. All purchases have a 2% bonus rate, so you don’t have to worry about bonus tiers or earning caps.
As an added bonus, cardholders receive an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and funds transfers for 15 months (followed by a variable APR of 17.24%, 22.24% or 27.24%). This makes this card a great option for billing new holiday purchases, earning rewards, and slowly paying off your balance when needed.
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