Last updated on November 2nd, 2021
Examining the best credit card signup bonus for 2020 if you’re in the market for rewards cards can ensure that you pick the most rewarding card. Many rewards cards will entice you with huge points bonuses on top of introductory 0% APRs, waived fees, and glamorous perks. However, it can sometimes be difficult to see what the real value of these bonuses are. And some credit cards can offer such a large package of deals with so many terms and conditions, that you may end up signing up for something you don’t really want.
At first glance, for instance, you might think that a credit card that offers $700 worth of bonus rewards and a low annual fee is a better bargain that another card that offers the same bonus but with a much larger fee. If you factor in all the additional perks, however, you may see that the card with the higher fee actually provides much more value.
Let BestCards.com break it down for you, so you’ll know exactly what’s in store when you sign up for a big-bonus card. Below is our curated list of the top five signup bonuses for 2020.
Starting this list of the best credit card signup bonus for 2020 is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card. It offers you 60,000 bonus points when you apply and spend $4,000 in the first three months. This spending requirement is very accessible for the majority of consumers. You only need to spend about $1,300 per month to rake in those bonus points.
Points are normally valued at $0.01 (one cent) per point. However, Chase gives more value to your points when you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program for airfare or hotels. In fact, your points are worth 25% more through Ultimate Rewards® than if you were to redeem them for cash back.
Those 60,000 bonus points you earn convert to a $750 credit if you go this route. And this is on top of earning 2X points on dining, airfare, and hotels. If you’re a frequent traveler, you can cover the spending requirement in two trips, especially if you’re taking long-haul flights. You’ll also be earning 8,000 additional points, which comes out to $100 in Ultimate Rewards credits.
For a limited time, cardholders also earn 5X points on Lyft rides. This can really help you rack up points if you don’t own a car and use this ride sharing service to commute to, and from, work. If your average fare comes out to $20 each way, you’ll end up spending around $1,200 a month. You can get closer to meeting the bonus spending requirement and earn 18,000 points along the way.
One of the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s benefits is its comparatively low annual fee of $95. Many rewards cards that offer huge signup bonuses can charge several times this amount (including some of the cards on this list). If you factor in the annual fee, the Sapphire Preferred card still gives you one of the biggest bonuses around.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is another darling among credit card aficionados. This travel rewards card gives new cardholders 50,000 bonus miles in their first 90 days.
This is lower than what the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers, but the spending requirement is not as high. You only have to spend $3,000 in your first three months to qualify for these miles. Each mile has a value of just over $0.01 (one cent), which is about the same as the Sapphire Preferred Card.
However, given the lower spending requirement, you’re earning one extra point per dollar spent with this card over the Chase card. Additionally, you can earn five miles for every dollar spent through the Capital One Travel Portal.
In total, you could be earning 65,000 miles in your first three months of owning this credit card. Furthermore, this Capital One card covers the fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, valued at a maximum of $100. This brings the total potential rewards value up to $750.
This credit card normally features a $95 annual fee, but new cardholders don’t need to pay it their first year. As such, you don’t need to worry about your rewards offsetting the cost of the annual fee. That’s up to $750 in your pocket.
Right now, the Platinum Card® from American Express offers new cardholders 75,000 bonus points when they sign up. This is 15,000 points more than what the Amex Platinum Card usually awards new cardholders. However, you do have to spend $5,000 in your first three months to earn this bonus, which comes out to around $1,666 per month.
What’s more, if you book airfare or hotel stays through American Express Travel, you’ll be earning 5 points for every dollar you spend. You can meet your bonus points spending requirement this way and earn 25,000 additional points. In total, new cardholders can earn up to 100,000 points in their first three months.
American Express places different values on points depending on how you redeem them. Cardholders get the most value for their points when they redeem them for one of the following:
- Gift cards
- Hotels or airfare purchased through American Express Travel
- Flight upgrades
With the above redemption options, points are worth around $0.01 (one cent) each. That means that you have the potential to earn up to $1,000 in rewards.
Now, the Platinum Card from American Express does feature one of the highest annual fees on this list at $550. Superficially, this fee might appear to eat away at over half of the rewards you earn in your first year. However, you also need to factor in the value of all the other perks you get with this card.
American Express Platinum benefits include:
- $200 yearly Uber credit
- $200 yearly airline fee credit
- $100 credit for Global Entry application
- $100 hotel credit per two-night stay at an American Express Hotel Collection property
- $550 per year in complimentary hotel amenities
- $100 yearly credit at Saks Fifth Avenue
The above perks have a combined value of $1,250, and there are still many other valuable perks included in this card. Combine the value of these perks with the value of the points you earn in your first 90 days, and you’re looking at $2,250 worth of benefits. When you take this into consideration, the $550 annual fee is a drop in the bucket.
Even still, the Platinum Card is a jet setter’s credit card. In order to get the most value from this card, you will need to do a lot of higher-end traveling. In fact, many of the rewards you’ll earn on this card apply to luxury retail and five-star accommodations. If you don’t normally travel in this style, the American Express Platinum may have you spending beyond your means.
Bringing the list of best credit card signup bonus for 2020 back down to a more widely accessible level is the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® card. This credit card awards new cardholders 50,000 bonus points when they spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. This bonus is on par with that of the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, and points have the same value on this card (about $0.01 per point).
However, you only earn a maximum of two points for every dollar you spend. Additionally, you receive 2X points on only travel and dining purchases. As such, you earn 56,000 points in your first three months versus 65,000 points with the Venture Card.
However, your earning rate increases if you have a certain balance in a Bank of America checking or savings account over three months. This is part of BOA’s Preferred Rewards Program that consists of three tiers:
- Gold Status
- $20,000 – $50,000 balance
- 25% rewards bonus
- Platinum Status
- $50,000 – $100,000 balance
- 50% rewards bonus
- Platinum Honors Status
- $100,000+ balance
- 75% rewards bonus
If you qualify for Platinum Honors status, you’ll essentially earn 3.5 points for every dollar you spend on dining and travel. That will potentially bring your total points up to 60,500, which has a cash value of $605.
Just like the Venture card, the BoA Premium Rewards Visa features a $95 annual fee. However, there is no fee waiver for your first year. This slightly lessens the value of your bonus, but there are some additional perks that make up for this.
Cardholders receive up to $100 in credits to cover TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees. Additionally, this BoA Visa issues cardholders up to $100 in credits to cover any airline incidentals. These include baggage fees and seat upgrades. In total, new cardholders can receive up to $805 in rewards with this card.
The Hilton Honors Surpass® card from American Express® rounds out our list of best credit card signup bonus of 2020. New cardholders can earn 150,000 bonus points when they spend $3,000 in their first three months.
Bonus points have a value of a little over $0.005 (half a cent) for every dollar you spend. However, cardholders earn 12X points on hotel reservations they make directly through Hilton’s portfolio of hotels and resorts. That means that you earn about six cents for every dollar you spend, which is significantly more than with other cards on this list.
That being said, those 150,000 bonus points have a cash value of about $750. If you use your card to buy groceries, gas, or pay for dining at restaurants, you’ll earn about three cents per dollar spent (or 6X points). You can potentially earn over $900 in rewards in your first three months when you sign up for this card.
Now, the Aspire® Card from Hilton offers the same signup, but the annual fee is several times higher at $450. Compare that to the Surpass® Card’s $95 annual fee. Additionally, you won’t earn extra points on everyday essentials like groceries and gas. The Aspire® Card’s highest earning tiers only reward you for Hilton hotel stays and travel purchases.
The Aspire® Card does offer cardholders a $250 Hilton Resort Statement credit and a free weekend night stay after each account anniversary. These perks can have an average value of about $500, which will cover the cost of the high annual fee with a little money to spare. But after that, the rewards you earn with the Aspire® Card versus the Surpass® card are practically the same.
In the end, you get more bang for your buck with a lower annual fee, 12X points, and 150,000 bonus points. Deducting the annual fee amount, you can come away with over $800 in rewards in your first three months.