Credit Card Bonuses up to $1,600 for New Cardholders

With credit card bonuses, you can make banks pay for your business. Here are the best sign-up deals.


This article reviews our picks of the best rewards credit cards. We may get compensation if you visit partner links on our site. We may not cover every available offer. Our relationship with advertisers may impact how an offer is presented on our website. However, our selection of products is made independently of our relationship with advertisers. 

Credit card bonuses really can get you a free airline ticket or line your pocket with some extra cash. But as is the case with many rewards credit cards, the devil is in the details. Since you want to keep your credit cards active and avoid having them closed by the issuer, you should only sign up for credit cards that you want for the long term.

Here are the personal cards that will land you the biggest sign-up bonuses as measured by cash back or the value of miles or points (as calculated by Bankrate). Each card offers the top value in the categories of general travel credit cards, hotel cards, airline cards and cash back cards

Some cards have low annual fees, while others have high fees that we have deemed worth the cost. 

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Best General Travel Card Bonus: $1,600 for Amex Platinum


The Platinum Card® from American Express 

Annual fee: $695. 

Sign-up bonus: Worth $1,600. Up to 80,000 points if you spend $8,000 in the first six months.

Frequent travelers can offset the card’s hefty annual fee by taking advantage of its bountiful perks and valuable points structure. For example, you can get yearly credits of up to $200 for incidental fees with one airline you choose, $200 for select hotel bookings through Amex, $189 for membership with the CLEAR airport security screening program, $200 in Uber Cash (for Uber Eats orders and Uber rides) and $155 for a Walmart+ membership (which provides free shipping from Walmart, among other benefits). 

Travelers enjoy access to airport lounges, including Amex’s Centurion lounges, Airspace, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Plaza Premium, and Priority Pass Select networks. Plus, you get up to $100 in fee reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. 

Cardholders earn five Membership Rewards points per dollar for flights booked with airlines or through American Express (on up to $500,000 per year spent) and on prepaid hotel bookings through Amex; two points per dollar spent on other qualifying Amex Travel reservations (such as cruises); and one point per dollar on other spending.

Interest rates: Pay over time 21.24% to 29.24% APR, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening. Terms Apply. See rates and fees.

For more on this and other general travel cards, read Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards.

Best Hotel Card Bonus: $1,050 from Marriott Bonvoy


Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: Worth $1,050. Earn Three Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from your account opening. You'll also enjoy a Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary.

Frequent guests of Marriott hotels can get good value from this card from Chase; redeem points for Marriott stays or transfer them to the frequent-flier programs of nearly 40 airlines. You can also transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned on other Chase cards to your Bonvoy account.

You can rack up points quickly on this card. Earn up to a total of 17x bonus points by layering reward categories. Earn six Marriott points per dollar spent at Marriott properties, ten points for being a Marriott Bonvoy member, three points per dollar on up to $6,000 spent yearly at grocery stores, gas stations and dining, and two points per dollar on all other spending. 

Interest rate: 21.49% to 28.49% variable.

Read the full review: Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Offer: Three Nights Free

Best Airline Card Bonus: $770 + free ticket from Alaska Air


Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card

Annual fee: $95.

Sign-up bonus: For a limited time, new cardholders get a free companion pass and 70,000 Bonus Miles (worth about $770) after spending $3,000 or more on purchases within the first 90 days of opening the account. 

This card offers three points for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines travel, two points on gas, cable, streaming and local transit, and one point on all other purchases. 

Interest rates: 20.24% to 28.24% variable APR for purchases and balance transfers.

Read our article detailing the Alaska Airlines credit card for more details.

Best Cash Back Card Bonus: $250 from Amex Blue Cash Preferred


Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express 

Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Intro bonus: $250 back if you spend $3,000 in the first six months.

This intro bonus is high when compared to other cash back cards, most of which offer $0 to $200 as a welcome offer.

Many consumers could benefit from this card's exceptional 6% cash back on up to $6,000 of supermarket spending annually. (Big-box stores such as Walmart and Costco are excluded.)

The card also offers 6% back on select streaming subscriptions, 3% at gas stations and on transit (such as ride-sharing services and tolls), and 1% on other spending. Redeem cash back for statement credits.

The Card has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so select another credit card for travel abroad. See rates and fees

Interest rate: Low Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 19.24% to 29.99%. Variable APRs will not exceed 29.99%. See rates and fees. Terms apply.

For more on this and other general travel cards, read Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards.

Other sign-up bonus offers

Rewards Cards Dos and Don'ts

As with any rewards credit card, be sure to weigh these benefits against fees — a $150 annual fee in this case — and make sure you understand how to use the card effectively. That said, $150 may be more than offset by those maxing out the benefits. 

In addition, while reward credit cards are great if you use them wisely, always pay them off in full and on time each month to avoid interest, which can dwarf any rewards you earn. Don't change your spending habits to earn extra points. That's a slippery slope that can lead to overspending.

If this is your first foray into credit cards, or you just want a refresher, make sure you know how to choose a credit card. And ensure you are familiar with what counts as a good credit score


All information about the Platinum Card from American Express and the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has been collected independently by Kiplinger. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit to learn more.  As an independent publication dedicated to helping you make the most of your money, the article above is our view of the best deals and is not the opinion of any entity mentioned such as a card issuer, hotel, airline etc. Similarly, the content has not been reviewed or endorsed by any of those entities.

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Ellen Kennedy
Personal Finance Editor,

Ellen writes and edits personal finance stories, especially on credit cards and related products. She also covers the nexus between sustainability and personal finance. She was a manager and sustainability analyst at Calvert Investments for 15 years, focusing on climate change and consumer staples. She served on the sustainability councils of several Fortune 500 companies and led corporate engagements. Before joining Calvert, Ellen was a program officer for Winrock International, managing loans to alternative energy projects in Latin America. She earned a master’s from the U.C. Berkeley in international relations and Latin America.