Do you earn rewards on the balance transferred to your card account? The short answer is no, not typically, but balance transfer cards can reward you in other ways.
The Bank of America content was last updated on August 4, 2023
When it comes to points, miles or cash back, these types of credit card rewards can be a lucrative benefit for the right cardholders. Depending on the credit card you choose and your spending habits, there may be the option to earn rewards that can be redeemed for travel, cash, gift cards or other unique perks, just for making your normal, everyday purchases.
But what happens when you choose a rewards card for a balance transfer? Do you earn rewards on the balance transferred to your card account? The short answer is no, not typically. While there are cards that offer the opportunity to earn rewards and complete low interest balance transfers, rewards credit cards generally won’t let you earn rewards on your balance transfer. You typically only earn rewards on your new spending.
And, if you’re carrying a balance, whether you transferred it over from another card or are racking up charges for new purchases, it’s also important to know that you’ll pay interest immediately on any new spending. That said, balance transfer cards can reward you in other ways, like letting you pay off your balance with a low or 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers, which lowers your monthly payment. If you’re considering a balance transfer card with a reward program, here’s what you should know.
Best balance transfer cards with reward programs
If you look at the best balance transfer credit cards, you’ll notice a wide variety of cards from different issuers. The cards on this list tend to have lower interest rates than other cards — as well as introductory balance transfer APRs of 0 percent for 12 to 18 months.
Some of the best balance transfer cards also happen to have rewards programs. These include:
Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash® Card offers a 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months (followed by a variable APR of 19.24 percent to 29.24 percent). You can also earn 1 percent cash back when you spend and another 1 percent when you pay off your purchases. But the card does not offer an introductory APR on purchases.
Chase Slate Edge
The Chase Slate Edge℠ offers a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months (followed by a variable APR of 20.49 percent to 29.24 percent). Other notable features include no annual fee and an annual 2 percent reduction in your APR if you pay your balance on time and spend at least $1,000 by your next account anniversary.
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers a 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers (made within the first 60 days) and purchases for the first 15 billing cycles (then a variable APR of 18.24 percent to 28.24 percent). This card also allows you to earn 3 percent cash back on one of the following categories: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvements and furniture — it’s your choice. It also offers 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1 percent back on everything else. Note that there is a $2,500 combined spend limit on 2 percent and 3 percent categories each quarter.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers a 0 percent introductory APR on qualifying balance transfers (made within the first 120 days) for the first 15 months from account opening (then a variable APR of 20.24 percent, 25.24 percent or 29.99 percent). Additional card benefits include a $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months and a flat-rate 2 percent cash rewards on purchases.
Should you get a balance transfer credit card without rewards?
If you are dead-set on earning rewards, you might want to consider carrying two different types of credit cards: the ones that offer good balance transfer terms and the ones that offer rewards. In other words, don’t try to earn rewards with cards on which you carry balances, because you’ll pay interest on those charges.
Instead, if you qualify for a rewards-earning card, don’t carry a balance on it. Rather, carry the balance on a card with low or introductory 0 percent interest.
There are also some good options that don’t earn rewards among balance transfer cards. For instance, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months and a 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then a variable APR of 18.24 percent to 28.99 percent). Note that you must complete balance transfers within four months of opening the account. It also provides cardholders with VIP access to ticket sales, preferred seating and other perks through Citi Entertainment.
Should you get a balance transfer credit card with rewards?
If you like any of the aforementioned balance transfer cards that offer rewards, by all means, apply for it. But you may want to consider holding off on making any new purchases on the new card until you’ve paid off your transferred balance. So, if you want one of these cards and want to earn rewards now, don’t transfer a balance to it.
Depending on your financial situation and your goals, it may be better to focus on paying down your credit card debt than it is to worry about earning rewards on your spending. But if you absolutely must have a rewards credit card, it’s typically smart to make sure that you’re not paying a high rate of interest, fees or other charges in return for the privilege of earning rewards.