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The Best Credit Cards with General Bonuses

Credit card companies continue to innovate in their ongoing campaign to attract new business. Over the past few years, market leaders have started offering appealing bonuses designed to entice consumers to open new accounts. These bonuses take many forms, from cash back or travel miles, to rewards points and other freebies.

In evaluating the many available offers, you should consider your spending habits, lifestyle, and personal priorities. While some credit card companies automatically offer welcome bonuses to new account holders with no strings attached, others require you to meet minimum spending limits. It’s essential that you carefully consider what you need to do to earn each reward. The fine print can sometimes turn a seemingly enticing offer into something that’s too good to be true.

To that end, we’ve done some of the tough digging for you. The credit card bonuses we’ve rounded up here are practical, attainable, and deliver real value if you manage your account properly. Here’s a collection of the top offers we were able to find.

Score Some Cash with American Express

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card is a great option for consumers looking for a healthy cash back bonus. It delivers a nice $250 bonus credit if you spend at least $1,000 on qualified purchases within the first three months. The perks continue, too. Card holders get six percent cash back on up to $6,000 per year in supermarket spending. You can also score a further six percent cash back on entertainment streaming purchases from preferred providers.

Looking for more? Earn an additional three percent cash back on gas station purchases and ground transportation services, along with 1% on all other spending. However, remember that this card carries a $95 annual fee. The zero percent introductory interest rate also expires after 12 months and gives way to a variable rate that can reach a lofty 26.24 percent.

“Chase” Down Huge Bonuses

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card holds particular appeal for leisure globetrotters and people who travel frequently on business. Account holders have the option of redeeming their introductory bonus of 60,000 points through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. That turns into a handsome $750 that can be used on travel-related expenses. Chase will also waive foreign transaction fees and deliver double points on restaurant purchases. Consumers also get one point for every dollar they spend on other purchases, and enjoy a 1:1 ratio when transferring points from affiliated hotel and airline rewards programs.

If you hate travel restrictions and blackout dates, this credit card is also a good option for you. There are no such limitations associated with its rewards. The annual fee is a relatively affordable $95, and the APR varies from 18.24 percent to 25.24 percent.

Enjoy a Boost From Your Everyday Spending

Multiple sources characterize Capital One’s Quicksilver Cash Rewards card as offering the easiest, most straightforward path to lucrative bonuses. Once you open your account, all you need to do is spend $500 on purchase within the first three months and Capital One will pay you a one-time credit of $150. You’ll also get 1.5 percent cash back on all other purchases with no restrictions for as long as you hold the card.

You don’t have to sign up for any additional programs to earn or cash in your rewards. Categories never rotate and cash back earnings never expire. The card doesn’t carry an annual fee, and you won’t be charged extra on your out-of-country transactions if you go abroad. Capital One also offers a generous 15-month zero percent interest period on purchases and balance transfers.

Get “Wise” With Your Cash

Some credit card bonuses can be difficult to earn. Some come with confusing terms and conditions that require consumers to track purchases across changing categories to keep tabs on their progress. The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa eliminates these hassles and simplifies everything. You’ll get 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, every time you use the card, every day. If you have a mobile wallet set up on your smartphone, you can also score an additional 1.8 percent cash back on qualified spending.

This card has no annual fee and offers an introductory zero percent APR on balance transfers and card purchases for the first year, after which it rises to 16.24 percent to 28.24 percent. The higher end of that range is pretty pricey, which makes it costly to carry a balance, but there’s a lot to like about this card. Oh, and if you spend $1,000 within the first three days of opening your account, you’ll also score an additional $200 cash reward.

Small Business Owners Can “Ink” Lucrative Rewards

Here’s a more specialized offer designed for small business owners. However, the rewards are so appealing that it merits mention. The Chase Ink Business Preferred card delivers a whopping bonus of 80,000 points to those who spend at least $5,000 within the first three months. If you choose to redeem those rewards through Chase’s travel program, you will enjoy $1,000 in cash savings on qualified expenses.

Business owners also enjoy the opportunity to earn a points at a fantastic rate of three per $1 spent on categories like utilities, shipping services, business travel, and digital advertising. This rate applies to the first $150,000 you spend each year. If you max it out, it translates to as much as 450,000 points annually. The only real downside to this card is that Chase didn’t include a reduced introductory interest rate. That limits the card’s appeal to account holders who were hoping to refinance an existing balance at a reduced rate.

Take Advantage of Dining and Entertainment Rewards

If you use your credit card for purchases like meals at restaurants and tickets to entertainment in your city, you could take advantage of some impressive rewards and a great bonus. The Capital One Savor Rewards credit card offers you the opportunity to earn rewards on activities you already do, like dining out. You’ll earn four percent cash back rewards on all dining and entertainment purchases, as well as 2 percent at grocery stores. And there’s a 1 percent cash back reward on all other purchases.

In addition to these great perks and rewards, the Capital One Savor Rewards card also comes with a bonus. New cardholders can get a cash bonus of $300. You’ll need to spend $3,000 within the first three months after opening the card. You will need excellent credit in order to qualify for the Savor Rewards card, and it does come with a variable APR ranging from 15.99 percent to 24.99 percent.

Other Things to Consider

As you’ve seen, terms and conditions vary widely among cards and companies. When you assess each rewards program, be sure to factor in aspects like annual fees and interest rates. These charges can nullify your bonuses if you don’t manage your account with care.

The best way to maximize value is to promptly pay off your monthly balances to avoid accruing interest. That strategy also doubles as a sound way to protect your credit rating. Don’t be tempted to open a new credit card account simply to collect a reward unless you’re sure you have the cash flow to stay on top of your balance. Maintain a healthy relationship with your credit cards and avoid the pitfalls associated with excessive spending.