Best Credit Card Sign up Bonuses

What do we want? Instant gratification! When do we want it? Already answered that! Yes, credit card signup bonuses are awesome because:

  1. They are super simple for us to explain and
  2. You get the value right off the bat.

We will rate on this page the best sign up bonuses based on their value minus the annual fee charged for the card.

The 3 Best Credit Card Sign up Bonuses

AMEX Gold Rewards
$250 Apply NowReview
Capital One Aspire Mastercard
$400 Apply Now
WestJet MasterCard World Elite
$250 Apply NowReview

In the event of a tie, the card with the lowest annual fee will win, for obvious reasons. We do not really discriminate based on breadth of usage – so it does not matter where exactly the signup bonus may be used, all that matters is the equivalent value in good old Canadian dollars. And so, without further ado…

Three words: No annual fee. A number and two more words: $250 welcome bonus. How can this be possible? Well, you will need to spend $1,500 within the first three months of receiving the card, but if one were to plan ahead a bit and apply before an anticipated large purchase, you get exceptional value for free.

Cashback & More

This top rated sign up bonus is attached to an all around fantastic card. You get up to 2% back on spend which can be used as cash on any purchase you make on the card, no limitations. This makes the AMEX Gold one of the best cash back credit cards in the entire market, annual fee or not.  You get the exceptional benefits and insurance expected from AMEX. And you get a host of warranty and purchase protection benefits which will automatically make you a smarter, better consumer. Really, this is one of the absolute no-brainers in the Canadian credit card market, it is hard to come up with a reason not to take advantage.

The Aspire card gives you $400 worth of points after spending $1,000 in three months. A few downsides though – first, the annual fee is $150, which means the welcome bonus is the same effective rate as the AMEX gold, but without the year one fee waiver. Second, you must have a minimum annual income of $80k or a household income of $150k to get the card. And last, unlike the AMEX gold, your points must be spent on travel related expenses, although you can book wherever and however you would like.

Why Aspire?

If you can look past these issues, the Aspire card is awesome. It offers a flat 2% earn rate on miles on all your spend, and the insurance, protections and benefits are arguably better than those with the AMEX gold. Essentially, the $150 annual fee is a wash in year one because the bonus is exactly that much higher, and if you can live with restricting your point spend to travel expenses, you’ve got a better long-term value.

This little sweetheart provides superior value if you play your cards right. We have shown elsewhere how one may immediately save (at least) $425 for the annual sign up fee of $99, when factoring in a combination of $250 Westjet bucks, a free annual companion ticket, and complimentary bag check service. The downside is limitation in terms of where and how your cash is used – you obviously must fly WestJet, and optimal savings requires taking someone along with you for the ride.

You also get a straight 1.5% reward on spend, 2% if you happen to be spending on WestJet-related things. You need to bring home $70k in personal income or $120k in household income to qualify.

Hotel Cards

Hotel cards are basically forced to provide amazing value because there aren’t many shoppers out there that want to restrict their reward spending to hotel rooms. If you count yourself as potentially one of the few, the Marriott Rewards Premiere Credit Card offers up to four nights for free after one purchase on your new credit card – with NO annual fee. Craziness, we know. If you are willing to invest some purchasing firepower – $1,500 in three months to be exact – you can get twice the equivalent points as Starwood preferred guests – these points are transferable between Marriott and Starwood due to a merger. Amazing value on both cards, have a look at our comparison for more information.

RankCredit CardBonusRatingApply
1 Marriott Visa 4 Free Nights!!! Apply NowReview

Closing Balance

There is an enormous amount of value out there designed to entice applicants to try out new credit cards. Think of credit cards like a new car – you wouldn’t buy a car without giving it a test drive, particularly if the sales agent was paying you for the privilege, would you? So to summarize the best credit card offers, here is what is being offered:

  • $250 from AMEX for free
  • $425+ in value from WestJet for $99
  • $400 from Capital One Aspire for $150
  • 4+ hotel nights free just for signing up at Marriott

These cards represent the best value in the market, why not give them a try?

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