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Best Credit Card Welcome Bonuses for October 2022

Welcome bonuses give new cardholders an additional incentive to make charges.

Welcome bonuses are often used by credit card issuers as promotions to get people to apply for their credit cards. They hope to get new credit card users so that they can earn interest from any balances left on the card, but if you use a credit card responsibly and pay the balance off in full each month, a welcome bonus can be all upside. 

Most credit card welcome bonuses are structured so that you unlock a set amount of cash back, points or miles if you reach a certain spending threshold within the first few months of getting a credit card. Not all credit cards offer welcome bonuses, and some offer better value than others. It's important to remember that welcome bonuses are ephemeral -- once you're past the deadline to unlock the welcome bonus, you won't get a chance to again. Below are the most accessible and high-yielding welcome bonuses on the market.

Best welcome bonus value for your spending

9.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
APR17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR17.24% - 25.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Our Take

The Chase Freedom Flex has the simplest, most accessible welcome bonus. You earn a $200 cash bonus by spending $500 in the first three months of opening your account. While there are a handful of credit cards with no annual fee that offer a welcome bonus equivalent to $200, they often require you to spend $750 or $1,000 to earn it. Similarly, other credit cards might offer nominally higher welcome bonuses, but they may require several thousands of dollars of spending over a few months' time. As far as the ratio of spending threshold to bonus goes, the Chase Freedom Flex is a great welcome bonus.

For more details, see our full review of the Chase Freedom Flex.

Unlimited Cashback Match at the end of your first year

7.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferIntro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
APR14.99% - 25.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR0% for 15 months
Recommended Credit Good/Excellent
Reward Rates
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% for 15 months
Balance Transfer APR14.99% - 25.99% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
Late Payment Fee None the first time you pay late. After that, up to $41.
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Our Take

The Discover it® Cash Back* card offers a unique proposition: The sign-on bonus is an unlimited cash-back match for the first year the account is open. Not only do you earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories upon activation (on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1%) and 1% on all other purchases, but at the end of your first year Discover will match -- dollar for dollar -- all the cash you've earned back in the previous 12 months. Because there is no cap or limit on this promotion, you can potentially earn more cash back than with other credit cards, depending on your spending. All Discover credit cards offer some sort of variation of this welcome bonus.

Check out our full review of the Discover it Cash Back for more details.

Travel welcome bonus with no annual fee

6.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro Offer25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
APR16.99% - 26.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.
Balance Transfer APR16.99% - 26.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Late Payment Fee See terms
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Penalty APR up to 29.99% APR
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.

Our Take

This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers a substantial welcome bonus redeemable for statement credits for travel or dining purchases. You have to make $1,000 worth of purchases within the first 90 days of account opening to secure this bonus, which will come in the form of 25,000 online bonus points posted to your account. While there are higher-value welcome bonuses available on premium travel cards, they generally also carry a hefty annual fee. For the traveler on a budget, this is the right card to maximize your welcome bonus value.

For more details, see our full review of the Bank of America Travel Rewards card.

Best sign-on bonus with a small annual fee

7/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferFor a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
APR18.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Annual Fee$95
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.99% - 26.99% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Late Payment Fee Up to $41
Foreign Transaction Fees 0%
Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Our Take

The Citi Premier® Card offers the best sign-on bonus value with respect to annual fee, points value and spending threshold. The sign-on bonus nets you 80,000 ThankYou® points when you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening the account -- this can be redeemed for travel rewards or $800 in gift cards at Thankyou.com. Alternatively, these points are also valued at 1 cent per point for statement credits, and so are worth the same amount in the form of "cash back." While advertised as a travel credit card, the Citi Premier offers strong rewards rates across multiple popular everyday spending categories, like restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets.

See our full review of the Citi Premier Card for more details and benefits.

Earn an instant welcome bonus

9.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferUp to a $150 Amazon gift card instantly upon approval
APR16.49% - 24.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR16.49% - 24.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Late Payment Fee Up to $39
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership*
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*
  • 1% back on all other purchases*

Our Take

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card* is unique in that there is no minimum spending threshold to earn the bonus. Upon approval of your application, you'll receive an Amazon gift card for $100 or $150 without ever even using the card. The catch is that this welcome bonus isn't redeemable for statement credits or travel like with many other rewards cards. It is simply a gift card for use on Amazon.com. Note that you must have an Amazon Prime account ($139 annually) to get this credit card.

See more details in our full review of the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card.

FAQs

What is a sign-on bonus/welcome bonus?

A sign-on bonus, or welcome bonus, is a one-time reward offered to card holders after signing up for a new card. Bonuses always require users to spend a certain amount within a set time period, like $500 in purchases in the first three months, in order to "unlock" the bonus. 

So should I sign up for lots of credit cards to take advantage of welcome bonuses?

This is a risky and time-consuming gambit that could adversely affect your credit. Though a welcome bonus is worth considering, we recommend taking a comprehensive look at the overall value of a credit card and choosing one that fits your spending habits and financial situation.

What is considered a 'good' welcome bonus?

In our view, a good welcome bonus is one that doesn't require you to contort your existing spending habits and offers a return that's higher than the card's annual fee. Many rewards credit cards offer a welcome bonus of $200, so anything higher than that is noteworthy.

We also prefer cards with bonuses that feature other perks or multiple rewards tiers, increasing the usefulness of the card beyond the bonus. 

Our methodology

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer credit cards. We take into consideration the typical spending behavior of a range of consumer profiles -- with the understanding that everyone's financial situation is different -- and the designated function of a card. 

For cash-back credit cards, for example, key factors include the annual fee, the "welcome bonus" and the cash-back rate (or rates, if they differ by spending category). For rewards and miles cards, we calculate and weigh the net monetary value of a card's respective perks. And with balance transfer credit cards, we analyze specs such as the duration of the introductory 0% APR period and the balance transfer fee, while acknowledging secondary factors such as the standard APR and the length of time you have to make a balance transfer after you open the account.

Read more: Best Credit Cards for Good Credit

*All information about the Discover it Cash Back and Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.