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Can you earn rewards with a balance transfer credit card?

Some balance transfer cards have rewards, but think about your finances first

Summary

You can earn rewards on balance transfer cards but you won’t earn rewards on your transferred balance. You can still earn cash back, miles or even points on new spending – but you’ll accrue interest immediately.

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The Bank of America content was last updated on April 1, 2022.

Credit card rewards can be a helpful and lucrative benefit. You can earn cash back or frequent flyer miles or points that are redeemable for travel or other perks.

Before you choose a balance transfer rewards card, you should know you do not earn rewards on the amount of a balance transfer. You earn rewards only on new spending. And if you’re carrying a balance, you’ll pay interest immediately on any new spending. Instead, focus on paying off your balance and on lowering that monthly payment by finding a balance transfer card with a 0% introductory APR.

There are cards that offer both low-interest balance transfers and rewards. But you shouldn’t let the promise of rewards be the deciding factor in choosing a card.

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% for 12 to 18 months.

Some of the best balance transfer cards also happen to have rewards programs:

  • The Citi® Double Cash Card offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months (followed by a variable APR of 14.74% to 24.74%). You can also earn 1% cash back when you spend and another 1% when you pay off your purchases. But the card does not offer an introductory APR on purchases.
  • The Chase Slate Edge℠ offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months (followed by a variable APR of 15.24% to 23.99%). Other notable features of the card include an annual 2% reduction in your APR if you pay your balance on time and spend at least $1,000 in the first year after opening the card and no annual fee.
  • The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 15 billing cycles (then a variable APR of 14.24% to 24.24%). This card also allows you to earn 3% cash back on one of the following categories: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement – it’s your choice. It also offers 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% back on everything else. Note that you’ll earn bonus cash back on up to a combined $2,500 in spending in the 3% and 2% categories each quarter.
  • The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers a 0% introductory APR on qualifying balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening (then a variable APR of 15.74%, 20.74% or 25.74%). Additional card benefits include a $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months and a flat rate 2% 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 separate the cards that have balances from those that have rewards. In other words, don’t try to earn rewards with cards on which you carry balances, because you will 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% interest.

And there are some good non-rewards-earning options among balance transfer cards. For instance, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months and a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then a variable APR of 14.49% to 24.49%). Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening. 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.

Bottom line

It’s better to focus on paying down your debt than worry about rewards. But if you absolutely must have a rewards card, make it one that you’re not paying interest for the privilege of earning rewards.

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.

Credit Card Rate Report
Reward
16.39%
Student
17.07%
Airline
16.04%
Business
14.62%
Cash Back
16.51%

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