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Is a $300 targeted cash back offer worth it?

It’s easy to compare sign-up bonuses on cash back cards, but examine other features, too

Summary

While a $300 targeted welcome bonus might sound tempting, be sure to look at other features of the card. Does it offer perks you’ll use? Does it have an annual fee? Keep other factors in mind before you apply for that card.

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Dear Cashing In,

I just got an offer in the mail to sign up for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. I wasn’t that interested in it but the offer said that you get $300 when you sign up. That sounds like a lot of money for signing up for a card. Is it worth it? – Kenny

Dear Kenny,

Credit card marketers know that consumers respond to big offers. There might be a credit card you come across that has a ton of features you might find attractive – such as category bonuses or perks like checking a bag on a flight.

But issuers know that in order to really grab your attention (and get you to apply for a card), they need to come up with something big. That usually comes in the form of a welcome bonus.

For many travel and point-earning cards, those bonuses can look almost astronomical: 50,000-, 75,000- and even 100,000-point offers. It’s tough to compare the bonuses of cards that have different programs – you don’t always know which is a better deal. However, when it comes to cash back cards, introductory bonuses are in a currency everybody can understand: cash.

Check out all the answers from our credit card experts.

Ask Tony a question.

See related: Reward card sign-up bonuses not all created equal

Compare more than just the offer

It’s much easier to see which cash back cards have the best offers – though you still need to take other factors into account, such as annual fees, earning rates and category bonuses.

CreditCards.com recently rounded up some of the best sign-up bonuses. Here’s how they break down for cash back cards:

CardCash back amount
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card, Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card$500 after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card$200 after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom$200 after you spend $500 in the first 3 months
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card$150 after you spend $500 in the first 3 months

The biggest bonuses on cash back cards are on two business cards from Chase, which each give $500 in statement credits after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Although you don’t necessarily need to operate a business to apply for a business card, many people might not want one.

See related: Pros, cons of getting a business card for personal use

In that case, the targeted $300 welcome bonus from the American Express Blue Cash Preferred would seem to be one of the more compelling offers out there for cash back introductory bonuses. (The card’s standard welcome bonus is $250 after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months).

However, be aware that the Blue Cash Preferred – while it does have a strong welcome bonus – is also different from many cash back cards because it has an annual fee of $95. It tends to be one of the highest-earning cards in a couple of categories:

  • It gives 6% back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 a year in purchases, then it’s 1%) and 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • The $300 bonus might be a special offer since the normal bonus on the card is $250.

Before you apply for a card, of course, be sure to check out all of its features. You don’t want to be lured in by a big welcome bonus if the rest of the card’s features don’t work for you.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: September 23rd, 2020
Business
13.91%
Airline
15.48%
Cash Back
15.94%
Reward
15.78%
Student
16.12%

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