5 Ways to Earn That Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus

Banks often use sign-up bonuses as a way to get new customers to apply for one of their cards. But are you guaranteed to earn the bonus?

Mar 23, 2014 at 1:15PM

If you've never had your own rewards credit card, chances are that you might be missing out. That's because, as Lauren Gensler recently pointed out in Forbes, some of the biggest banks around are trying to build their credit card customer base by reaching out to their own customers. To make the sale, writes Gensler, they're "revamping their cards and offering extra rewards." And, most banks aren't just going after their own customers -- they're going anyone who is credit-worthy and willing to sign on the dotted line. How are they reeling people in? The answer: sign-up bonuses.

Credit card sign-up bonuses were created to incentivize you to sign up for a particular card. In most cases, customers are required to hit a minimum spending requirement within a certain time frame in order to earn the bonus, with the average time being around three months.

When you sign up for a new credit card with the hopes of earning the bonus, it's important to have a plan. First, you need to know the minimum spending required to earn the bonus. Second, you need to know how much time you have. Once you finally have those details pinned down, you only need to follow through and spend the amount required. But, how do you do it?

Focus on food
With the average family of four with two young children spending anywhere between $554 and $1,080 on food each month, many families might be able to hit a minimum spending requirement just by buying food with their credit cards. If this is your strategy, use your card each time you go out to eat or hit the grocery store. Keeping track of what you've spent and where also helps to ensure that you're staying on track with your budget and plans.

Ensure you're insured
Even though they may not advertise it, a lot of insurance companies will allow you to pay your insurance premiums with a credit card. To find out, give your insurer a ring and ask. If your insurer cooperates, you can get that much closer to hitting your minimum spending requirement by using your card to pay for the various types of policies you may carry, including car insurance, homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance.

Fill the tank
If you or your spouse commute for work, using your credit card for gas is yet another way to inch toward the minimum spending requirement for your card. Just make sure to take your card along any time you think it might be time to gas up.

Pay for a trip
If you have upcoming travel plans, putting them on credit might just be enough to push your spending over the edge. Use your rewards card to book flights and hotel rooms, and for the convenience of not having to carry cash while you travel.

Take advantage of other large purchases
When it comes to earning a sign-up bonus, many rewards enthusiasts try to time their credit card applications around large, planned purchases. For many, this might mean signing up for a new card right before the holidays. For others, this could mean planning rewards around upcoming home improvements or when replacing big-ticket items such as furniture or appliances.

Credit card sign-up bonuses are popular for a reason. And for many, pursuing them is a popular and lucrative hobby. However, if you want to get the most out of your sign-up bonus, it's important to pay your card off, in full every month. Otherwise you'll end up paying interest on your purchases. And in most cases, that's a move that isn't rewarding at all.

This original article: 5 ways to earn that credit card sign-up bonus appeared on cardratings.com

Your credit card is in trouble
The plastic in your wallet is about to go the way of the typewriter, the VCR, and the 8-track tape player. When it does, a handful of investors could stand to get very rich. You can join them -- but you must act now. An eye-opening new presentation reveals the full story on why your credit card is about to be worthless -- and highlights one little-known company sitting at the epicenter of an earth-shaking movement that could hand early investors the kind of profits we haven't seen since the dot-com days. Click here to watch this stunning video.

Additional credit card articles can be found on cardratings.com

8 costly mistakes on your credit card agreement 

6 secrets to managing multiple credit cards

9 stupid things you're doing with your credit card 

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers