*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Dec 11, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
A credit card issuer announces a lucrative sign-up bonus or welcome offer that’s tempting enough for you to apply. But once you get it and do the required spending to qualify for that bonus, exactly how long do you have to wait before those points show up in your account?
The short answer is that it depends on the credit card. It’s a good question to ask, because you may have plans to redeem your rewards for travel, merchandise, gift cards, statement credits or unique experiences. American Express®, Barclays, Capital One and Chase are among the top issuers that offer sign-up bonuses or welcome offers to new cardmembers and ask that you wait anywhere from six to eight weeks, or two billing cycles, for the points to be credited to your account once you meet the minimum spending requirement.
Here are some current top bonuses and welcome offers for reward and cashback cards, how long it takes for them to post to your account once you do the required spending and pitfalls to avoid if you take advantage of these them.
Bonus/welcome offers for select points and miles cards
These cards offer new cardmembers a generous amount of points or miles that are usually enough to cover a flight, hotel stay or merchandise or be applied as statement credits. Both the bonus points you receive and the amount you need to spend to get them vary, so always check the card’s terms and conditions before you start swiping your card.
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express*: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Up to 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases
Earn Hilton Honors Diamond status
- Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
- Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
- Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
- Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
- Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
- $95 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card*: Earn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card*: Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card!
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®*: Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
Top cashback reward bonuses
With these cards, you’re getting cash back either as a check, direct deposit or statement credit. Again, read the card’s fine print to ensure that you’re not charging large amounts while chasing after what is a small return.
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card: Earn a $150 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.
Wait times for select credit card sign-up bonus and welcome offers
|Credit card||Wait time|
|Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express*||up to 6-8 weeks|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||up to 6-8 weeks|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card*||up to 8-12 weeks|
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||up to 6-8 weeks|
|Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®*||Bonus appears on the next billing statement after meeting spending requirements.|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||up to 6-8 weeks|
|Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card||Bonus is applied to rewards balance within two billing cycles.|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||up to 6-8 weeks|
|Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card||Bonus appears on an account within 1-2 billing periods after it’s earned.|
The bottom line
While these cards offer ample bonuses and welcome offers for new cardmembers, the Wall Street Journal in January reported on how card issuers are pumping the brakes on this practice as more savvy customers have learned to game the system. However, they are still a good way to give your account an instant boost once you complete the required spend before the deadline.
But make sure you balance the points earned with how much you’ll need to spend to get it, especially if you can’t pay the bill off in full every month.
If you’re going to use your points for a flight to a dream destination or that cash back for something such as those noise-canceling headphones you’ve been coveting, remember to factor in how long it will take to get your bonus.
For example, if you apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and plan on using your welcome offer points for a hotel stay, you need to plan far enough in advance to do the spending needed to get them, plus have enough time for those points to be deposited to your account.
When signing up for any of these cards, you want to be comfortable meeting the spending requirement to get the bonus/welcome offer points. If you don’t pay the balance within the same billing cycle, they will cost you in interest payments. You may be better off finding offers with lower required spending or just forget them entirely.
*The information related to these offers has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. These offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or are no longer available. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.