How to Make the Most of Cash Back Credit Card Bonuses

When you first sign up for a credit card, chances are that you’re going to have the chance to access a sign-on bonus of some kind. Usually, you can access these sign-on bonuses by making a certain dollar amount of purchases within a certain period of time from the day you opened your account. However, it’s not always as simply as just getting a card with a good sign-on bonus. Here are four things you can do to give you access to the best cash back credit cards.

1. Fit the Spending Requirements Into Your General Budget

One of the best ways to get these sign-on bonuses is to fit the spending requirements into your general budget. If your budget has a spending amount of $500 per month, for example, you’ll want to go for a credit card that has a sign-on bonus with requirements of less than $1,500 in the first three months. Just see what the requirement ends up needing per month, then compare that to your budget.

2. Wait Until You Have a Big Purchase Coming Up

Another option that you might be able to take advantage of is to wait until you have a big purchase of some kind coming up. If you’ve already worked this big purchase into your yearly budget, you can use it to get a sign-on bonus that’s much larger than your general purchases without spending yourself into debt. Plus, some cards offer 0% APR for a period of time right after you sign up, offering you simple financing.

3. Make Sure You Have an Annual Fee That Suits Your Budget

Different credit cards will have different annual fees. While it’s tempting to look only at cards that have a $0 annual fee, cards with a larger annual fee may be able to give you more benefits on average. It’s all about finding a card that has the right annual fee for your needs, not necessarily a card with no annual fees at all.

4. Utilize Cash Back Rewards Year-Round

When a credit card has a sign-on bonus, chances are that it’s going to offer cash back rewards on general purchases. It’s very common to see 1% cash back on all your purchases, as well as cash back bonuses on certain categories of purchases like gas, groceries, travel, and dining; some credit cards may have their own categories as well. Make sure that you’re using your credit card for the purchases that have the biggest cash back percentage to get the best rewards.


Cash back credit card bonuses are a great way to save extra money on your purchases. Especially if you’re able to get your sign-on bonus using purchases that you already would have made, this can essentially give you a significant discount on your monthly purchase amounts. As long as you follow these four steps, you’ll be able to get the best cash back credit card bonuses for your needs, no matter what those needs may be.

Jerry Kirkham is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. Jerry encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at Essential Savings, or anywhere else Jerry may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, Jerry is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do.