Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses in April

By Adam Levy Markets Fool.com

Credit card companies give away billions of dollars in cash back and travel rewards to new customers every year. Many banks are even willing to lose money on new sign-ups for the first year of their relationship with customers in order to establish a good long-term credit card holder. Smart consumers can take advantage by signing up for new credit cards with lucrative bonuses, then ensuring they never pay unnecessary fees like late fees or interest.

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With that in mind, here are a few of what we think are the best sign-up bonuses for April.

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Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

The Barclaycard Arrival Plusis currently offering 50,000 bonus miles to new customers that spend $3,000 within the first 90 days following approval. That's an increase from the standard offer of 40,000 miles. The annual fee of $89 is waived the first year as well.

Each mile can be redeemed for $0.01 in travel, making the bonus worth $500. (Cardholders can also opt to receive cash back, but at only half the rate of travel redemptions.) The card also offers 2 miles per dollar spent on regular purchases, so cardholders get 2% back in travel spending. Additionally, customers receive 5% back on each miles redemption, so when they redeem those 50,000 bonus miles, they get 2,500 miles (worth $25) back for a future purchase.

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New cardholders also have the option of transferring balances on other credit cards to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and paying 0% interest for the first 12 months. The standard balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% (whichever is greater) applies. Note, balance transfers do not count toward the $3,000 spending requirement.

If you love to travel, the 50,000 mile sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus may be for you. (Read our full review to learn more.)

Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you can spend $1,000 more in three months, you might be interested in the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Chase currently offers new applicants 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months following approval. The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year.

Cardholders will also receive an additional 5,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user in the first three months for a total of 55,000 points. Cardholders also earn 2 points per dollar spent on restaurants and travel, which is effectively 2.5% back for travel. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar.

Points can be redeemed for $0.0125 through Chase's travel portal, making the bonuses worth a combined $687.50 in travel spend. Points can also be redeemed as a statement credit for $0.01 per point. Another lucrative way to use points is to transfer points to Chase's various travel partners like Southwest Airlines or Hyatt Hotels, some of which can offer much higher redemption values than $0.0125 per point.

If you spend a little bit more (or have a big expense coming up) and love to travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be for you. (Read our full review to learn more.)

Chase Freedom Unlimited

If you're not interested in paying another annual fee, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a compelling sign-up bonus. New cardholders will receive a bonus of $150 after spending just $500 in the first three months following approval. Actually, it's 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for a $150 statement credit. The Chase Freedom Unlimited also earns 1.5 points per dollar on everyday spending.

What makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited even better is that cardholders can combine the points they earn from the card with points earned on other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. The latter offers $0.015 per point for travel redemptions, which means Chase Freedom Unlimited Cardholders could earn as much as 2.25% back in travel spend for everyday purchases by combining two Chase credit cards. That's better than any other credit card we've reviewed.

New cardholders also benefit from a 15-month 0% APR introductory interest rate for new purchases and balance transfers. The standard balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% (whichever is greater) applies. Note, balance transfers do not count toward the $500 spending requirement.

If you already have one of the high-end Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, or you're looking for a big cash sign-up bonus, the Chase Freedom Unlimited may be for you. (Read our full review to learn more.)

BankAmericard Cash Rewards

If you're strictly interested in a cash-back card, the BankAmericard Cash Rewardsoffers new cardholders $100 after spending $500 in the first 90 days. Additionally, there's no annual fee.

The real value of the BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card is its bonus spending categories. Cardholders earn 3% cash back at gas stations and 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 bonus spending per quarter). All other purchase earn 1% back.

But Bank of America banking customers could earn up to a 75% bonus on cash-back rewards through its Preferred Rewards program. That means cardholders can effectively earn 5.25% back on gas purchases, higher than any other card we've reviewed. It also boosts the cash back on regular spending to 1.75%, making it a very good card for people interested in holding just one credit card.

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards also offers 0% interest on balance transfers for 12 months if cardholders make the transfer within 60 days of approval. The standard balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% (whichever is greater) applies. Note, balance transfers do not count toward the $500 spending requirement.

If you qualify for the upper tiers of Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program and you're interested in getting more cash back on your everyday purchases, the BankAmericard Cash Rewards may be good for you. (Read our full review to learn more.)

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Adam Levy has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Barclays and Hyatt Hotels. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.