Nowadays, it is easy to score a generous introductory bonus on a credit card. Just by meeting eligibility requirements and a specified spend threshold, you can bring home hundreds of dollars in extra pocket change when you sign up for a new card.
While cash back cards typically offer less valuable introductory bonuses than rewards cards offering points or miles, these bonuses come with a big advantage. Rather than having to redeem points a certain way to stretch their value, you can use a big cash back bonus to make a huge dent on any kind of purchase.
Plus, cash back cards are offering higher and higher bonuses to compete with other rewards currencies â even up to $500 or more.
Right now, $500 (or higher) intro bonuses are limited to business credit cards â but offers change regularly, so a personal card boasting an inflated bonus could be around the corner. Personal cards, including the Capital OneÂ® SavorÂ® Cash Rewards Credit Card, have offered intro bonuses up to $500 in their history. Though the sign-up offer on the Savor is not at its peak, keep an eye out for future limited-time offers on this and other cards.
Which cards are currently offering $500 introductory bonuses?
At the moment, only small business credit cards are offering intro bonuses of $500 or more. Take a look at four current offers below:
|Ink Business Cash® Credit Card||$750 if you spend $7,500 in first 3 months|
|Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card||$750 if you spend $7,500 in first 3 months|
|Capital One Spark Cash for Business||$500 if you spend $4,500 in first 3 months|
|U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World Eliteâ¢ MastercardÂ®||$500 if you spend $4,500 in first 150 days|
As you can see, each of these generous intro offers requires a fairly high spend threshold to reach it. Before you sign up for one of these cards, ensure you can spend enough to earn the bonus without overextending your budget.
See related: How business credit cards can help you run a business from home
Who is eligible to earn these bonuses?
Before jumping at one of these generous offers, you should ensure you are eligible to earn the bonus. Issuers often have restrictions on who can take home a sign-up bonus.
For example, the Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited cards from Chase are subject to the 5/24 rule. This means if youâve opened five or more credit cards with any issuer in the last 24 months, you likely wonât qualify for either card.
On the bright side, Chase business cards will not count against your 5/24 standing for future applications.
For the Capital One Spark Cash card and U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards card, the sign-up bonus is limited to new account holders. If you currently have or have previously had one of these cards, you might not be eligible for a new bonus on the same card.
Cash bonuses vs. points bonuses
The possibilities for a $500 sign-up bonus are endless â allowing you to book a trip, buy yourself a special something, offset your next major bill and so much more. It is easy to see how an extra $500 is valuable â but is it the best offer you can find?
The short answer is no. Points-based sign-up bonuses can offer incredible potential value when you redeem rewards strategically. Because the value of points and miles shifts depending on how you spend them, you can often get much more than the estimated cash value of a sign-up bonus by redeeming your points for well-priced flights, hotels or other promotions.
For example, check out some top points-based introductory offers and our estimated value. At first glance, the following bonuses seem to offer a similar value to a $500 cash bonus. But when you redeem your points for travel, they can actually take you much further.
|Card||Introductory offer||Estimated value of introductory offer|
|IHGÂ® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||140,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months||$770|
|Chase Sapphire ReserveÂ®||50,000Â points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months||$750 (when redeemed for travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal)|
Chase Sapphire PreferredÂ® Card*
|60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months||$750 (when redeemed for travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal)|
|IHGÂ® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card||100,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months||$550|
But there is a big drawback â point bonuses are typically only worth their full value when you redeem them for a specific kind of purchase. If a card offers an 80,000-point bonus â but points are only worth a full 1 cent each when redeemed for travel â then that bonus is only ideal for cardholders who already spend a significant amount on travel. If youâd sacrifice half the value of your bonus offer to redeem it for another kind of purchase â such as a statement credit to cover your bills â then you are better off opting for a more flexible cash back offer.
Should you sign up for a $500 bonus offer?
Before jumping at a high bonus offer, you should always consider the spend requirement. If you will have to charge more than you can afford to pay off in order to earn the bonus, it might not be worth it.
See related: Card APRs are at a record high. Is a sign-up bonus still worth the risk?
Additionally, cash bonuses donât always offer as much potential value as a points-based introductory bonus. Consider how you want to spend your rewards and which cardâs earning rate works best for you before you apply.
*All information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This offer is no longer available on our site.