5 credit card sign-up bonuses that can fund your holiday shopping

If you’re almost in the mood to start checking your holiday shopping list, you’re definitely not alone. A recent Bankrate survey found that around half of holiday shoppers plan to start holiday shopping by October 31 this year.

With that in mind, you still have time to apply for a rewards card and take advantage of some of the best welcome bonuses available on credit cards. Some cards also offer 0% APR on purchases for a limited time, which helps pay your holiday shopping bill interest-free for 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 when you meet a minimum spend requirement. Travel credit cards and business credit cards tend to offer higher bonuses worth up to $600 or more, but they come with much higher minimum spend requirements that make them less appealing as a holiday shopping tool.

Discount rate overview

Some credit cards may issue your welcome offer soon after you reach the minimum spend, but others may take weeks or months. For this reason, it’s best to think of a welcome bonus as a post-holiday discount rather than relying on it appearing before the holidays.

Here are some of the best credit card welcome bonuses you can earn right now. Read on to find out which cards we recommend, their current offers and how you can sign up and start earning right away.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Highest Cash Back Welcome Offer

  • Welcome offer: $350 statement credit when you spend $3,000 on purchases within six months of account opening
  • Annual subscription: $95

The Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express offers one of the best welcome offers in the cash back market today. While most cashback cards currently offer welcome bonuses of around $200, Blue Cash Preferred offers nearly double that in the form of statement credit.

Suppose you spend $50 on each gift recipient during the holiday season; that $350 credit could cover the cost of seven gifts! The only caveat is the $95 annual fee you’ll have to pay before you earn the bonus, but we think it’s worth it, as Blue Cash Preferred is also a lucrative cash back card to keep on the long term.

The card’s ongoing rewards categories are tailored to the day-to-day spending habits of many families, including 6% cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%), 6 % back on select US streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on public transit, 3% back on US gas station purchases, and 1% 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 a variable APR of 16.24% to 27.24%. This makes it ideal for paying your first year interest-free holiday shopping bill.

Chase Freedom Flex: Best for small spenders

  • Welcome offer: $200 bonus cash after spending $500 on purchases within three months of account opening
  • Annual subscription: $0

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a good choice for low spenders since you only need to charge $500 of purchases within three months to earn $200 in bonus cash. If you’re nervous about getting the welcome offers that require spending thousands of dollars, this card is a great compromise.

There’s no annual fee, and you’ll also earn 5% on up to $1,500 spent in activated quarterly bonus categories (then 1% on trips), 5% on trips booked through Chase, 3 % on restaurant and pharmacy purchases and 1 percent back on everything else.

You can redeem your cash back rewards for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, check in the mail, travel and more.

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card: ideal for online shoppers

  • Welcome offer: $200 in online cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening
  • Annual subscription: $0

If you plan to do most of your holiday shopping online, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card might be your best bet. Indeed, in addition to offering a generous welcome bonus, this card allows you to choose your best income category among the following options: gas, online shopping, catering, travel, pharmacies or renovation/furnishing. Specifically, cardholders earn 3% cash back on purchases in any category they choose, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in purchases Category 3 handsets and 2% quarterly, then 1%) and 1% on all other purchases. .

So when the holidays are over and you’re not shopping as much online, you have the option of changing your 3% category to something more useful. The flexibility of this card is a huge advantage for the holidays and beyond.

There’s no annual fee for this card, and you also get a 0% introductory APR for purchases with an 18-month term. The same rate also applies to balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After the introductory period ends, the rate resets to a floating APR of 16.24% to 26.24%.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: ideal for frequent travelers

  • Welcome offer: 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Annual subscription: $95

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is ideal for vacation shoppers looking to travel next year, as well as those who don’t mind spending more to earn a higher cash bonus. Those points you can earn through the sign-up bonus are worth $600 in gift cards or statement credits, or $750 in travel. In terms of rewards on regular spending, this card offers 3X ​​points on meals (including qualifying delivery services), select streaming services, and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart Club, Target Club, and wholesale), 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and Lyft Rides (Lyft offer through March 31, 2025), 2X points on other travel, and 1X points on other purchases.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are also transferred to airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio, meaning you can turn them into rewards with programs like Southwest, Marriott Bonvoy or World of Hyatt. This card has a $95 annual fee and no 0% introductory APR offer, so it’s great for heavy buyers who can earn lots of rewards but plan to pay their balance in full each month.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: the best for simplicity

  • Welcome offer: $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months
  • Annual subscription: $0

Finally, consider the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card if you want to earn a generous bonus and simple, ongoing rewards and no categories to track. This card charges no annual fee, and you can earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. The rewards rate is 2% for all purchases, so you don’t have to worry about bonus categories or earnings caps.

As a bonus, cardholders get an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (followed by a variable APR of 17.24%, 22.24% or 27.24 %). That makes this card a great option for charging for new vacation purchases, earning rewards, and then paying off your balance slowly if you need to.