Credit card promotions help banks compete for new customers, while savvy cardholders soak up signup bonuses, perks, and other rewards. Some credit card issuers may tempt you with signup bonuses, like free flights and exclusive experiences. Other lenders might reel you in with cash back rebates that match your purchasing patterns. 
The very best credit cards offer you real value, long after their promotion periods have expired. Use our credit card tables to find credit cards that back up their initial bonuses with strong service and special rewards.
Credit Needed

  • No annual fee
  • 2X cash back rewards on purchases for gas, groceries and utilities
  • 1X cash back rewards on all other purchases
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Credit Needed

  • 20,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 within the first 3 months of opening the Card account
  • Earn 5 points on airfare purchases
  • Earn 1 point on all other purchases
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Disclaimer:*These quotes are from credit card issuers which have paid for a link to their website. Offers are subject to change without notice and may not be the same for all consumers.

Find the Best Credit Card Deals

Credit card promotions often target a type of customer that banks want to see more of in their portfolios. For instance, when market conditions force banks to preserve capital, expect to see a lot of special deals on charge cards or short term small business credit cards. On the other hand, if banks have plenty of money to lend, look for some major balance transfer and low interest deals. When tied to special events or seasonal cycles, credit card promotions also offer consumers a memorable excuse to think about switching banks.

Balance transfer credit cards

The best balance transfer credit cards tend to surface right after the holidays and just around tax season. Lenders expect that you're looking for an easy way to consolidate your seasonal purchases onto a single card, or that you're trying to reduce your finance charges on a big buy with a tax refund. Look for special promotions that eliminate or reduce balance transfer fees, while still offering low or no interest for a year or more.

Category-themed credit card promotions

Some banks have developed more complex promotions for their cash back credit cards, tying extra rewards to specially-timed purchases. A handful of popular credit cards use quarterly cycles that highlight buying categories like restaurants, grocery stores, department stores and travel providers. Try to find a credit card deal that will offer you the best rewards for your everyday spending, in addition to any major purchases you've planned for the next year.

Special sports and entertainment credit card promotions

Credit card issuers work hard to differentiate their brands from the competition. Getting cardholders access to VIP entertainment and sporting events has become one of the personal lending industry's favorite ways to add value, especially when trying to lure new customers.

For instance, Visa's sponsorship of the Olympics makes their card more attractive to global sports fans who often also use their cards for business travel. Discover's hockey and college football ties result in several special offers during the fall and winter. American Express' support for Fashion Week and for film festivals can inspire last-minute signups.

Lifestyle-based credit card promotions

Other credit cards bank on your desire to treat yourself to a trip, a meal, or an experience that falls well outside your ordinary household budget. For instance, one major card recently offered a $150 restaurant gift card as a signup bonus, enough to treat the whole family to a great meal out on the town. Airline credit cards sometimes offer free round trips, while hotel-branded accounts let new cardholders book free room nights.

Credit card promotions change often, usually in response to competitors' deals. Bookmarking an offer won't work for long, since some deals last for only weeks or even days. We continually update our interactive credit card comparison tool to help you keep track of the best credit card offers on the market right now, but you may have to act quickly to earn the biggest signup bonuses or the lowest interest rates.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company.