Business

Best Credit Cards of 2018

Posted April 30, 2018 8:07 p.m. EDT
Updated July 5, 2018 6:00 a.m. EDT

As you look for a new credit card, remember the golden rule of credit cards:

Choose a rewards card for your spending bonuses. Choose a low-rate card for your borrowing and paying off debt. Don’t confuse the two types of cards!

We examined each card type’s fine print to understand fees, rewards rates, interest rates, and more. After digging into the cards, we determined that these are the best credit cards to have in your wallet.

Credit cards offer more than unparalleled consumer protections and an easy way to track your spending. They can offer 2% cash back, 6% category bonuses, and travel miles. Credit card issuers spent more than $22.6 billion on rewards in 2016 alone. That’s 23% more than they spent in 2015. If you haven’t changed your rewards credit card in the last two years, you’re leaving money on the table.

Even if you carry credit card debt from time to time, credit cards can be a tool to help you plow out of debt. No matter what your situation, MagnifyMoney can help you find the credit card that will put money back in your pocket.

Here are the types of credit cards that we will be covering:

Best Cash Back Rewards Cards

Best Cash Back for the Way You Spend

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Best Sign-Up Bonuses

Best 0% APR Purchase Credit Cards

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Best Low Interest (Not 0%) Credit Cards

Best Credit Cards for Building Your Credit Score

Best Credit Cards for Students

Best Credit Cards for Business Spending

Learn More

Best Cash Back Rewards Cards

Best Cash Back Credit Card of 2018

Citi® Double Cash, Double Rewards, No Fee

First Year 3% Back

Alliant Cash Back Visa® Signature

Up to 5% Toward Your Next Vehicle

Capital One® BuyPower Card®

OK for Fair Credit

QuicksilverOne Rewards® from Capital One

Citi Double Cash®

The Citi Double Cash® credit card offers straightforward rewards. You earn 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off your bill. This is a great card for people who don’t want to worry about difficult reward redemptions. It’s also one of the first credit cards that encourages you to pay off your bill in full each month. After all, you don’t get the second half of your reward until you pay off your credit card.

Best Cash Back Credit Card of 2018

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

Read Full Review

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Annual fee$0*Cashback RateEarn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you payRegular Purchase APR15.24%-25.24%

Variable

Credit requiredgood-creditExcellent/Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: Users earn 1% cash back when they buy, and get another 1% cash back when they pay off their bill. For people who pay off their bill each month, this works out to a cash back rate of 2%. The Citi Double Cash® cash back rewards are among the best rates on credit cards today.
  • Easy redemption: Redeem cash rewards in the form of a check, a statement credit, or direct deposit. Citi also offers gift card redemptions through their online portal. You don’t have to mess with rewards programs to find the best deals. The rewards are the same as cash.
  • No annual fee: There is no annual fee for this card, allowing you to enjoy all of the rewards you earn without a pesky fee.

Cons Cons

  • $25 minimum redemption limits: You can’t redeem rewards unless you have at least $25 in accumulated cash back rewards. This means that you'll have to wait a bit before you redeem your rewards, unlike some cards that let you redeem at any amount.
  • You can lose your rewards: You lose your cash rewards balance if you don’t make new purchases on your card at least once every 12 months. To avoid this, mark your card anniversary date on your calendar and make sure to use it at least once a year before that date. You can also lose your rewards if you close your account, so make sure to redeem them first.
Bottom line

Bottom line

Don’t spend much, but still want great rewards? The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is the right card for you. It’s great for casual use, but you have to use it at least once a year to avoid losing your rewards. This is our top everyday spending card of choice for average spenders. You just need to be sure to pay off your bill in full each month. Carrying a balance for more than one month completely erases the value of the rewards you earn on that balance.

Read our full review of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Alliant Cash Back Visa® Signature

With 3% cash back in the first year, and 2.5% all other years, this card offers some of the best pure cash back rates on the market. The $59 annual fee means that you have to spend at least $1,000 per month to come out ahead relative to a 2% earnings rate. Not everyone feels comfortable putting that much on a credit card each month. But if you regularly spend that much (and pay off your debt), this is the right credit card for you.

First Year 3% Back

APPLY NOW Secured

on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

Read Full Review

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Annual fee$59 annual fee, waived the first yearCashback RateUnlimited 3% cash back during the first year; 2.5% cash back afterwardsRegular Purchase APR11.74%-14.74%

Variable

Credit requiredgood-credit

Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 3% back your first year: You’ll earn 3% back on all purchases your first year. No other credit card offers this high of a rate on every single dollar you spend. Plus, you don’t have to pay the $59 annual fee in the first year, so the rewards are money in your pocket. After the first year, you still earn a 2.5% cash back rate on every card. 
  • Easy redemption: Redeem cash rewards in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit into an Alliant checking or savings account.

Cons Cons

  • $25 minimum redemption limits: You can’t redeem rewards unless you have at least $25 in accumulated cash back rewards. Since the card targets people who spend $50,000 per year on credit cards, the minimum shouldn’t be a problem. However, it’s good to understand the redemption minimums.
  • You can lose your rewards: Cash back rewards must be redeemed within five years, or you lose them. Five years should be plenty of time to redeem your rewards, but if you get lazy, you’ll lose your rewards. 
  • Annual fee: The $59 annual fee means that this card is best for people who spend more than $11,800 per year. If you don’t spend that much, you’re better off with a 2% cash back card that doesn’t have an annual fee.
Bottom line

Bottom line

Big spenders should make Alliant Cash Back Visa® Signature their card of choice. Rewards are easy to redeem, and you can earn unlimited cash back at a market-leading 2.5% rate. In most cases, lower spenders need to steer clear of this card. The $59 annual fee isn’t worth it unless you spend at least $1,000 per month on the card.

Read our full review of the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Capital One® BuyPower CardTM

This credit card isn’t for everyone, but it offers compelling rewards for GMC devotees. Since GMC doesn’t want to earn money from this credit card, they offer premium rewards and perks to all cardholders. Perks include 5% back on the first $5,000 you spend on the card. If you plan to buy a new GMC vehicle, make this your new favorite credit card.

Up to 5% Toward Your Next Vehicle

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® BuyPower Card®

Annual fee$0Cashback Rate5% on your first $5,000 in purchases, 2% after thatRegular Purchase APR14.40%-24.40%

Variable

Credit requiredexcellent-credit

Excellent/Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 5% back your first $5,000: Earn $250 on your first $5,000 in spending, then earn 2% back on all other spending. Five percent back on all spending is an amazing cash rewards rate.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: This card offers best-in-class secondary auto rental collision coverage. This means that the card will reimburse you for expenses not covered by your personal collision car insurance. If you don’t have collision coverage on your vehicle, this card takes the burden off your shoulders.
  • However, you still need car rental liability insurance. Liability insurance covers bodily harm and damage to other people. People without any car insurance still need to buy either Umbrella Liability Insurance (from a traditional insurance company) or Supplemental Liability Insurance (from the rental dealership) policies. The damage collision waiver only covers damage to the rental vehicle.

Cons Cons

  • Reward redemption: Your rewards can only be redeemed on a new GMC, Cadillac, or Chevrolet vehicle from a dealership. If you don’t want that type of vehicle, you’ll want to skip this card.
  • High interest rates: Simply put, this is not a card for borrowing. Variable APRs will be at least 14.40% and can go as high as 24.40%.
Bottom line

Bottom line

If you know you’re going to buy a new GMC, Cadillac, or Chevrolet, you should pick this card. The Capital One® BuyPower Card® benefits are among the best perks of credit cards today, and you can access them without an annual fee. Of course, a card like this carries some risk. You can’t redeem your rewards unless you buy a new vehicle. 

QuicksilverOne Rewards® from Capital One

If you struggled with credit in the past, but you’re back on track, the QuicksilverOne® Rewards card from Capital One® offers the right rewards at the right price. If you spend at least $225 per month on credit cards, you’ll earn more than you pay in annual fees. Normally, we don’t recommend cards with annual fees and low earning rates. However, this card is an exception if you have fair credit. Once your credit improves, you can call Capital One and ask for a no-fee card with better rewards.

OK for Fair Credit

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Read Full Review

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee$39Cashback RateEarn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every dayRegular Purchase APR24.99%

Variable

Credit requiredfair-creditAverage

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back: If you’ve got fair credit, this is the highest cash back rate that you’ll see. By spending $225 per month on the credit card, you’ll earn more in rewards than you pay in annual fees. If you spend at least $650 per month on the credit card, you’ll beat out the 1% rewards rate that some secured credit cards offer.
  • Access to your credit score: Free access to your credit score is great for those looking to rebuild their credit. You will be able to monitor your credit score using CreditWise as well as take advantage of tools to help you practice good credit behavior. 

Cons Cons

  • Annual fee: This card comes with an annual fee, unlike other cash back rewards card we mentioned. This is important to consider when deciding what credit card is best for you. Plus, you may not be stuck with the fee forever. Capital One has shown willingness to upgrade users to fee-free accounts when their credit scores improve. You will need to call to ask for the upgrade though.
  • High interest rate: This card has a high APR that is similar to most credit cards for people with fair credit. Make sure you pay your bills on time and in full every month to avoid high interest charges. By doing this you will be able to benefit from the cash back rewards.
Bottom line

Bottom line

If you can’t qualify for one of the credit cards above, this is an excellent rewards credit card option. The annual fee isn’t our favorite, but it’s better than the nonsense fees that you see from other lenders. As long as you spend at least $225 per month on this card, you’ll come out ahead. Once you improve your credit, you can consider some of the better rewards credit cards.

Read our full review of the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Best Cash Back for the Way You Spend

6% Supermarket BonusBlue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express5% Gas BonusFort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card5x Airfare Bonus

PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card

3% Dining Bonus (And More)

The SavorSM card From Capital One

5% Online Retail

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Everyone needs to eat, but grocery spending can eat into your budget. By using the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you can save 6% at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year) without clipping a coupon. You’ll pay a $95 annual fee, but big grocery spenders will earn that much and more from their annual supermarket spend.

6% Supermarket Bonus

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Annual fee$95Cashback Rate6% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, 1% on other purchasesRegular Purchase APR14.74%-25.74%

Variable

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 6% Supermarket Cash Back: If you spend $500 on groceries every month, you’ll earn $360 in cash back rewards from your supermarket spending alone. The card limits your 6% back to the first $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets, so really big supermarket spenders won’t see additional benefits. Superstores (like Walmart and Target) and warehouse clubs (like BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club) don’t count as supermarkets, so you won’t get 6% back at purchases from these locations.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn $200 statement credit after you spend $1000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. This isn’t the biggest Welcome Offer amount on the market, but it makes an already robust rewards rate even better. Almost every credit card user will manage to earn the $200 Welcome Offer.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months: If you run into some cash flow trouble, this card allows you to borrow for 12 months with 0% interest. You’ll also get a 0% intro interest rate on balance transfers, but those come with either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Anyone who decides to carry a balance on this card should have a plan to pay it off before the 12-month intro rate expires. Between the annual fee and the high interest rates, this is not a card for carrying a balance.

Cons Cons

  • Annual fee: This card charges a steep annual fee if you don’t spend enough money in the grocery category. If you spend less than $250 per month at the grocery store, you’re better off without this card.
  • Limits to 6% back: This card only offers 6% back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year. After that, your supermarket purchases earn just 1%. Terms Apply.
  • High interest rates: Once the 12-month promotional period is over, interest rates run high. Be sure to have your balance paid in full before that happens.
Bottom line

Bottom line

If you spend at least $3,000 per year on groceries, this card will maximize your cash back benefits. The annual fee may be off-putting, but big supermarket spenders will see more in return. Just be sure that this card comes out every time you’re in a U.S. supermarket, and you’ll consider it worthwhile.

Read our full review of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

With an unlimited 5% cash back on fuel purchases, this is one credit card that can lower your pain at the pump. Unlike other credit cards, rewards get applied to your statement balance. This means you don’t have to fiddle around with awards programs. You’ll simply pay less each month.

5% Gas Bonus Cash

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fort Knox Federal’s secure website

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Annual fee$0Cashback Rate5% back on all gas station spending, 1% on all other purchasesRegular Purchase APR10.75%-18.00%

Variable

Credit requiredgood-credit

Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 5% rebate on fuel purchases: The 5% rebate is a boon for road warriors, but you need to understand the fine print to take full advantage of it. The rebate will be applied directly to your statement. This means you’ll see a smaller bill at the end of the month. To get the 5% rebate you need to fuel up at the pump at “real” gas stations. Paying inside the service station or fueling up at Sam’s Club or Costco stations means you won’t get the full 5% rebate.
  • No annual fee: You don’t have to pay extra for this category bonus, so this is one card you can carry in your wallet just to use at the pump. We recommend using a different credit card that offers better rewards for other purchases.
  • Low interest rate: Most credit cards that offer great rewards aren’t good for borrowing. However, the Fort Knox FCU Visa® Platinum has an everyday borrowing rate of just 10%. If you need to borrow money on a credit card, we recommend a 0% intro APR card, but if you’re caught in a pinch, this card offers an OK rate. Just be sure to pay off the card as soon as you can.
  • Automatic redemptions: All rewards get added to your bill as a statement credit. You don’t have to redeem rewards, you simply pay less each month. If you end up carrying a balance, your rewards can actually help you pay off debt.

Cons Cons

  • 1% foreign transaction fee: If you travel abroad, the 1% foreign transaction fee will essentially negate any cash rewards you earn on regular purchases. It’s still better to use this card for fuel purchases in foreign countries if they have a station that allows you to fuel up at the pump. 
  • You’ll need to join Fort Knox FCU: You don’t have to be a member to apply for this card. If you are approved, however, you will need to join Fort Knox Federal Credit Union. They don’t accept everyone, but most U.S. citizens can join an organization that’s connected to Fort Knox FCU.
  • Low credit limits: Fort Knox FCU claims they grant up to $25,000 credit limits to qualified applicants. In practice, they seem to keep credit limits low if an applicant already has a lot of available credit.
Bottom line

Bottom line

This card gives you automatic rebates off purchases each month. Some people want to keep their rewards aside as a special savings account, but this card doesn’t allow that. Instead, you’ll get the 5% cash back credited to your bill each month. Still, a 5% rebate on fuel is the best rate you’ll see anywhere. Just be sure to pay at the pump. People who frequently drive should strongly consider the Fort Knox FCU Visa® Platinum.

PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card

If you’re constantly in the air, the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards card offers one of the market-leading rates for purchasing airfare. If you want to redeem your rewards for more airfare, you can find rates as high as 4.5%, but if you want cash, the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards card offers the best rate. You’ll earn an effective 4.25% cash back rate whenever you buy tickets directly from an airline.

5x Airfare Bonus

APPLY NOW Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

Read Full Review

PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card

Annual fee$0Regular Purchase APR9.74%-17.99%

Variable

Credit requiredgood-credit

Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • 5x points for airfare: You’ll earn 5 points for every dollar you spend on airfare. Points aren’t directly convertible to pennies. Five points translates to about a 4.25% cash back when you redeem for a Visa gift certificate. Visa gift cards are cash equivalents, so we count this as the highest cash back rate.
  • 20,000 point sign-up bonus: Spend $2,500 in your first three months, and earn a 20,000 point bonus (worth approximately $170). It’s not the biggest intro bonus on the market, but it sweetens the deal for this $0 annual fee card.
  • No annual fee: Unlike most travel rewards credit cards, you won’t pay an annual fee to earn airline rewards. This card is one of the best no-annual-fee travel reward cards.

Cons Cons

  • Worthless perks: Most credit cards that brand themselves as travel credit cards offer some level of trip insurance. This card doesn’t include any trip insurance. If you want trip interruption/cancellation insurance, baggage delay insurance, and other valuable perks, you’ll need to choose a different credit card.
  • Difficult redemption: When you redeem points, you have to redeem at least 1,000 points at a time. You can redeem your points for Visa gift cards, which are 2,950 points for a $25 gift card. Sometimes Visa gift cards are annoying to spend, so the rewards become bittersweet.
  • High interest rates: The interest rates on new purchases aren't as high as other rewards cards, but nonetheless, it’s best to avoid new debt on this credit card. By paying your bill on time and in full every month you will be able to avoid high interest charges.
Bottom line

Bottom line

Even with the limited perks and difficult redemption, it’s hard to argue with a 4.25% cash back rate on airfare. If you’re a big airline traveler, you have many options for credit card churning and sign-up bonuses, but nothing beats the simplicity of high cash back with limited effort. Before you commit to this card, be sure that you feel comfortable booking airline tickets without travel insurance. 

Read our full review of the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card

The SavorSM card From Capital One

It’s easy for restaurant spending to dominate your credit card spending. If you eat out a few times a week or more, the 3% cash back on dining will help you enjoy more rewards after you enjoy your meal. Plus, this no-annual-fee card comes with travel protections that usually require at least a $59 annual fee. Foodies can feel good about having a card that rewards them for the way they spend.

3% Dining Bonus (And More)

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee$0Cashback Rate3% on dining, 2% on groceries, 1% on all other purchasesRegular Purchase APR16.24%-24.99%

Variable

Credit requiredexcellent-creditExcellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Earn 3% cash back for dining: Whether you choose fast food or fine dining, this card offers 3% cash back rewards. The card relies on merchant codes to determine whether a purchase was a food purchase or not, so most truck stop or gas station restaurants won’t qualify for the 3% back. You’ll also get 2% back on all grocery purchases from mainline grocery stores. Grocery purchases at warehouse stores (Sam’s Club, Costco, BJ’s, etc.) don’t qualify for 2% back, nor do purchases at supercenters (Walmart and Target).
  • New Cardmember Offer: This card offers a competitive New Cardmember Offer where you earn a one-time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Cons Cons

  • Low everyday cash back: Outside of dining and groceries, you’ll earn just 1% back on all purchases. Standard cash back rewards cards offer at least 2%, so we recommend reserving this card for dining out (and travel if you don’t have a travel rewards card).
  • High interest rates: Rates run high on this card. You don’t want to borrow money on this card. To avoid interest charges, pay your statement in full and on time each month.

Bottom line

Bottom line

Gastrophiles will rack up rewards with 3% on dining, 2% on groceries, and 1% on all other purchases. Plus the no-annual-fee card offers amazing travel protections, too. If you eat out regularly, this card offers premium rewards with a low hassle factor. If you’re willing to carry multiple cards, keep this one for dining (and travel, if you need trip protection). You can find better rewards for everyday spending elsewhere.

Also ConsiderAlso Consider

Read Review

Chase Sapphire ReserveSM

If you’re a traveling foodie, you may want to consider the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM Credit Card. The card allows you to earn 3 points for every dollar you spend on dining or travel and 1 point for every other dollar you spend. When you redeem the points for more travel, you get a 50% bonus, which brings the rewards rate up to 4.5 cents for every dollar you spend on dining or travel.

The card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee, but it also comes with a $300 annual statement credit for travel purchases and superior travel protections. Plus, you’ll earn a 50,000 point bonus if you spend $4,000 in three months.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

If you’re already an Amazon Prime customer, you can enjoy an additional 5% off with every purchase. Anyone who is addicted to Amazon’s convenience will love saving even more on their everyday spending. Of course, some people worry they spend too much online. This credit card doesn’t have to make your problem worse. If you choose to remove “instant purchase” from your Amazon account, you’ll force yourself to think before you check out

5% Online Retail

APPLY NOW Secured

on Amazon’s secure website

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Annual fee$0Cashback Rate5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market purchases, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, 1% back on other purchasesRegular Purchase APR15.74%-23.74%

Variable

Credit requiredgood-credit

Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Earn 5% on Amazon purchases: This card requires a $99 Amazon Prime membership. If you’re already a Prime member, this card is a no brainer — get the card and save 5%. If you’re not already a Prime member, you need to spend at least $2,000 per year on Amazon for the 5% discount to start making sense. You’ll also earn 2% back on restaurant, gas station, and drugstore spending and 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Easy redemption: Amazon allows you to pay for orders with cash back points, or you can get a check. The easy connection to your Amazon account is one of the better features of the card.

Cons Cons

  • No longer offering special financing: Unlike Amazon’s other store cards, this card doesn’t offer 6-24 months of 0% financing for purchases greater than $149 on Amazon.com. If you pay off your bill every month, this card offers great benefits, but borrowers should find a 0% purchase offer.
  • Requires a Prime membership: The card has no annual fee, but it requires a $99 Amazon Prime membership. The Prime membership offers benefits like movie streaming and free shipping, but the membership isn’t valuable if you don’t purchase much from Amazon. If you’ve already got a membership, get this card. If you don’t, skip the card.
  • High interest rates: You do not want to borrow money on this card as it charges high interest rates. Make sure you pay your bill on time and in full each month to avoid interest charges.
Bottom line

Bottom line

Prime members who pay their bill in full each month will love getting 5% cash back on all their Amazon.com purchases. The card offers excellent travel perks for people who don’t have another travel credit card. However, the best rewards come when you use this card on Amazon.com. You can find better rewards for your everyday spending from other credit cards.

Also ConsiderAlso Consider

Target REDCardTM

If you’re not already an Amazon Prime member, the Amazon card isn’t a good fit for you. Instead, consider the Target REDCard. As a REDCard holder, you’ll get 5% off all Target and Target.com purchases, free shipping, and an extra 30 days for returns. When it comes to everyday shopping needs, you can’t find a better rate than 5% off. Just don’t carry a balance on this card: REDCard credit cards carry a 23.65% APR. If you want the same discount without another credit card, you can also get a REDCard debit card.

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Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Best Overall

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card

3X Rewards in Your First Year (With No Annual Fee)

Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card

No Fee for International Travel

Priceline Rewards Visa® Card

Triple Your Hotel RewardsThe Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card

Kiplinger named the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card their 2016 “Easiest for flight redemption” credit card. We can see why. Customers can use points

directly with airlines, redeem through the Chase rewards portal, or choose a statement credit. With a huge intro bonus and great perks, this makes a great card for airline travelers.

The information related to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Best Overall

LEARN MORE

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual fee$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95Rewards2 points on travel and dining, 1 point on all other spendingRegular Purchase APR17.49%-24.49%

Variable

Credit requiredgood-credit

Good/Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Earn a $625 travel bonus: When you spend $4,000 in your first three months, you’ll earn a 50,000 point bonus worth $625 when redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This is a great bonus that will earn you a high redemption value when redeemed for travel.
  • Flexible point redemption: What makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred so interesting is its flexibility. The card lets you redeem points three ways. First, you can use points like cash to book travel on the Chase website. When you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® you’ll get a 25% point bonus. This helps you earn rewards faster. Second, you can transfer points into miles at full value with Chase’s travel partners; 1,000 Chase points translates to 1,000 miles with any of Chase’s partners. In many cases, transferring points stretches the value of your points. Finally, you can redeem points for cash back. One point is worth 1 cent.
  • Numerous travel protections: This card comes with baggage delay insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip interruption/cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance and more. These features grant you extra protections when traveling.

Cons Cons

  • Annual fee: You will be charged an annual fee for this card, which is waived the first year. This is only worth paying if you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s airline and hotel point transfer feature. It’s true that Chase offers excellent travel protection, including primary auto rental collision damage waivers. In fact, the travel protection drives many people to hold onto the card. If you’re willing to settle for a card with secondary auto rental collision coverage, you can find similar protection from no-fee cards like the Capital One® Premier Dining Rewards or the Merrill+ Visa Signature.
  • The best value takes some effort: Getting the most value out of this card happens when you transfer points to airline or hotel partners. That means dealing with the rules and restrictions of frequent flier programs. This might be too much work for some people.
  • Mediocre ongoing rewards: Everyday spending on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card yields 1 point for every dollar you spend. That translates to a 1.25% rewards rate when you use the points to book travel via the Chase website. If you don't spend in the high 2 point travel category, then you are better off with another card that has a higher flat-rate.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card offers great reward flexibility and a large intro bonus. With this card, you can earn enhanced value of real airline miles without being stuck with just one airline program. The numerous insurance protections make the annual fee worth the money for many people and if you redeem for travel you will earn a great 25% bonus. Keep in mind, you need to spend around $7,600 annually to break even on the card.

Also ConsiderAlso Consider

Capital One® Venture® Card

Capital One® Venture® Card allows you to earn a 50,000 point bonus when you spend $3,000 in your first three months. You’ll also earn an unlimited two miles for every dollar you spend. With just a $95 annual fee, waived the first year, this is one of the few travel rewards cards that might be worthwhile to lower spenders. The card also comes with all Visa Signature® benefits. Those benefits include secondary auto rental collision damage waivers, hotel upgrade options, and free extended warranties. If you can’t justify a high annual fee, consider this Venture® card for your travel credit card needs.

Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card

The Discover it® Miles card offers one of the best rewards rates for travel credit cards without an annual fee. You’ll earn unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar, and Discover will match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Points are worth 1 cent each, so your first year you earn an effective rate of 3% on all your spending. You can redeem your rewards at any time for any type of travel.

3x Rewards Your First Year (With No Annual Fee)

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Discover it® Miles

Annual fee$0RewardsUnlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee. We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year.*Regular APR13.74%-24.74%

Variable

Credit requiredgood-creditGood / Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Earn up to 3% in your first year: In your first year, you’ll earn 1.5 Miles for every dollar you spend. At the end of the year, Discover will match all the Miles you've earned. If you earn 18,000 Miles during the first year, you’ll get an 18,000 Miles bonus on your anniversary. After the first year, you’ll continue to earn 1.5 Miles for every dollar you spend.
  • Easy redemption: Miles don’t expire even if you close your account. You don’t need to mess with rewards program rules because the miles are basically cash back points worth 1 cent each. You can redeem any amount of miles for a statement credit or as a direct deposit. 
  • Late payment protection: Paying late won’t raise your interest rate, and you won’t pay a late fee on your first late payment. This generous policy will help you if you’re just getting started with credit cards.
  • 0% purchase APR for 14 months: This is one rewards card that can also help in a cash flow pinch. With a 0% introductory purchase APR, you can consider using the Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card to make a big purchase. Just be sure to pay off the whole purchase before the end of the promotional period. Interest rates on this card are too high to justify carrying a balance once the promo period ends.

Cons Cons

  • No travel perks: Discover it® Miles is a travel card in name only. You don’t get any of the travel insurance or perks that you normally associate with travel credit cards.
  • Mediocre rewards after first year: A 3% rate is hard to beat, but after the first year, your real rate is just 1.5%. Most people with good or excellent credit will want to move onto a new credit card at the end of their first year.
  • High interest rates: Rates run high when the promo period ends. You don’t want to carry a balance on this card. Make sure you pay your bill on time and in full each month to avoid interest.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Discover it® Miles offers a great cash back rate for people who will not pay an annual fee. After your first year with this card, you may want to look at one of the everyday cash back cards that offer higher everyday spending bonuses. This card comes with one huge caveat: We generally recommend booking flights, cruises, etc. on travel credit cards that offer trip interruption/cancellation insurance and lost luggage protections. Since this card doesn’t offer those protections, you should not pay for travel with this card if you have another option.

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BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

The standard rewards rate for this fee-free credit card is 1.5 miles per dollar spent. However, you’ll also earn a 20,000 point bonus if you spend $1,000 or more in your first 90 days. High net worth individuals also have an opportunity to boost their rewards. If you have at least $20,000 in assets at Bank of America or Merrill Edge, you’ll earn 25% more rewards. At $50,000 in assets, you’ll boost your earnings by 50%. With $100,000 in assets, you’ll get 75% more rewards. That’s the equivalent of 2.63 miles for every dollar spent. For high net worth individuals, this card offers higher earning potential than some of the best cards with fees.

Priceline RewardsTM Visa® Card

When traveling abroad, you need a credit card with Chip + PIN technology and no foreign transaction fees. Many international merchants, hotels, and restaurants can accept the more common Chip + Signature technology featured on U.S. credit cards, but automated kiosks at train stations and other travel hubs require the PIN technology. Thankfully, the Priceline RewardsTM Visa® Card has the required technology, and it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Plus, you’ll earn a few rewards when you spend with this card. It’s not the best credit card for earning rewards, but it’ll save your money and your sanity when you’re abroad.

No Fee for International Travel

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Priceline Rewards Visa® Card form Barclays

Annual fee$0Rewards5 points on eligible priceline.com purchases, 1 point on all other purchasesRegular Purchase APR16.24%-26.24%

Variable

Credit requiredexcellent-credit

Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Chip + PIN technology: For Asian, South Pacific, or European travel, this is a must because it lets you use your card in places that don’t accept a signature. For example, most train station kiosks require the Chip + PIN technology. The Priceline Rewards Visa® Card is one of a select group of U.S.-based cards that offers both chip and PIN.
  • 5,000 intro bonus: Earn 5,000 bonus points after you make your first purchase. This is worth $50 that can be redeemed for travel-related purchases. It’s not a huge bonus, but it’s easy to earn.
  • 10% travel redemption bonus: Get 10% points added back to your account whenever you redeem more than $25 for travel or Priceline.com purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees: There are no foreign transaction fees to worry about when you make purchases outside the country. Visa credit cards are widely accepted internationally, so you won’t have to carry much cash on you when you travel.
  • Easy rewards: You can redeem your points for cash back via statement credit for any purchase of $25 or more you make on the card. Even though it’s a Priceline card, you can use your points for any purchase, not just at Priceline. 2,500 points translates to a $25 statement credit. 

Cons Cons

  • Points restrictions: If you make a late payment on your account, you can’t redeem your points during that billing cycle. If you become severely delinquent, you give up access to your points altogether. Most credit cards allow you to redeem points until the account is closed.
  • Mediocre points: You get 1 point per dollar you spend on most purchases, and 5x points on any Priceline.com purchases. Points are worth 1 cent each, and they can’t be transferred to airlines or hotel chains. 
  • No travel protections: Unfortunately, this card doesn’t offer any travel protections. They don’t even offer special privileges when you book travel through Priceline. Priceline itself offers some travel protection, but their bookings are completely nonrefundable and unchangeable. The 5x Priceline rewards shouldn’t induce you into booking travel through the Priceline platform unless that’s something you would do anyway.
Bottom line

Bottom line

International travelers need the Chip + PIN technology that this card offers. The rewards aren’t the best, but you earn $50 worth of points just for signing up with Priceline Rewards Visa® Card. We recommend that international travelers should carry this card in their wallet, even if they don’t use it for everyday spending. Since it has no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee, it costs nothing to keep it on hand.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood points are among the most valuable points on the market. They are transferable to many airlines, and you can even trade 1 Starwood point for 3 Marriott points. Thanks to flexibility in transferring and redeeming points, this is our favorite card for earning free hotel stays. Many users can get at least 2.5 cents per point in value on their redemption.

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Rates & Fees

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Annual fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.Rewardsup to 5x pointsRegular Purchase APR16.74%-20.74%

Variable

Credit requiredgood-credit

Good

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Reach elite privileges faster: Cardholders receive credit for five nights and two stays to reach Starwood elite privileges faster. Travelers need 25 nights or 10 stays to reach Starwood Gold status. Is it worth it to earn Starwood Gold status?

Starwood hotels offer significant upgrade perks to their elite members. As a Starwood Gold member you receive free late checkout, 3 Starpoints® for every dollar you spend at the hotel, enhanced rooms, free internet, and more. 

  • Hotel redemption: Cardholders can redeem Starpoints® for valuable free hotel stays. Starwood properties include Westin, Sheraton, Four Points, W Hotels, St. Regis, Aloft, Element, Le Meridien, and Design Hotels. Starwood also has two portfolios of independent hotels that focus on unique luxury experiences. These hotels are part of the Luxury Collection and the Tribute Portfolio. The majority of hotels in the United States are classified at a Category 3 or higher. 

Category 1 rooms cost as little as 3,000 points on weeknights or 2,000 points on weekends. As an added bonus, you get a fifth night free when you book at least five nights using Starpoints® (Category 3-7 only).

  • Transfer to airlines: Starpoints® transfer to over 30 partner airlines at a 1:1 ratio, including American AAdvantage, Alaska Mileage Plan, and Delta Air Lines SkyMiles. On top of that, you’ll get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points that you transfer. Since frequent flyer miles redeem for much higher values than other points, this can be the most valuable use of your Starpoints®.
  • Transfer to Marriott points: You can transfer one Starpoint® for 3 Marriott points at any time. This allows you to book free nights at all of Marriott’s resorts and hotels for a great price.
  • Double point potential: When you book with this credit card, you’ll get 2 more points for each dollar you spend on Starwood and Marriott hotel properties. That’s on top of the 2-3 points you can earn as a Starwood Preferred guest. You’ll also earn 1 point for every dollar you spend.

Cons Cons

  • Annual fee: This card charges an annual fee, but it doesn’t offer much in exchange. For example, you won’t get trip interruption/cancellation insurance if you book a flight with this card. The value of this card is in the points you earn. You have to be a regular in Starwood hotels for this fee to make sense to you.
  • Some hotels have service charges: When you redeem your rewards, you may still pay a “resort fee.” Resort fees ostensibly cover specific amenities offered by a resort. Resort fees are most common in tourist destinations like Florida, Las Vegas, and Hawaii. Some Starwood hotels waive fees for award redemptions, so be sure to ask if you see one of these fees.
  • No category bonuses: The only bonus you’ll get is when you book on Starwood or Marriott properties. Other travel cards have more generous category bonus rates on travel and dining experiences. 
Bottom line

Bottom line

Frequent travelers who enjoy staying in upscale properties will see the value in this card. Starwood points are worth double the industry standard (at least 2 cents each), and they can be used at Starwood and Marriott properties. Because Starpoints® are so valuable, this is one card that savvy travelers could use for everyday spending. Keep in mind there is an annual fee which only offers value to people who want Starwood Gold status.

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Best Sign-Up Bonuses

Best Travel Bonus – $625

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card

Earn $500 cash or $625 in travel credits when you spend $4,000 in your first three months. This isn’t the largest sign-up bonus available today. However, the flexible points redemption options and great travel protections make this our top choice for travel sign-up bonuses.

The information related to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Best Travel Bonus - $625

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual fee$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95Rewards2 points on travel and dining, 1 point on all other spendingRegular Purchase APR17.49%-24.49%

Variable

Credit requiredgood-credit

Good/Excellent

Magnify Glass Pros

  • Earn a $625 travel bonus: When you spend $4,000 in your first three months, you’ll earn a 50,000 point bonus worth $625 when redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This is a great bonus that will earn you a high redemption value when redeemed for travel.
  • Flexible point redemption: What makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred so interesting is its flexibility. The card lets you redeem points three ways. First, you can use points like cash to book travel on the Chase website. When you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® you’ll get a 25% point bonus. This helps you earn rewards faster. Second, you can transfer points into miles at full value with Chase’s travel partners; 1,000 Chase points translates to 1,000 miles with any of Chase’s partners. In many cases, transferring points stretches the value of your points. Finally, you can redeem points for cash back. One point is worth 1 cent.
  • Numerous travel protections: This card comes with baggage delay insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip interruption/cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance and more. These features grant you extra protections when traveling.

Cons Cons

  • Annual fee: You will be charged an annual fee for this card, which is waived the first year. This is only worth paying if you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s airline and hotel point transfer feature. It’s true that Chase offers excellent travel protection, including primary auto rental collision damage waivers. In fact, the travel protection drives many people to hold onto the card. If you’re willing to settle for a card with secondary auto rental collision coverage, you can find similar protection from no-fee cards like the Capital One® Premier Dining Rewards or the Merrill+ Visa Signature.
  • The best value takes some effort: Getting the most value out of this card happens when you transfer points to airline or hotel partners. That means dealing with the rules and restrictions of frequent flier programs. This might be too much work for some people.
  • Mediocre ongoing rewards: Everyday spending on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card yields 1 point for every dollar you spend. That translates to a 1.25% rewards rate when you use the points to book travel via the Chase website. If you don't spend in the high 2 point travel category, then you are better off with another card that has a higher flat-rate.
Bottom line

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card offers great reward flexibility and a large intro bonus. With this card, you can earn enhanced value of real airline miles without being stuck with just one airline program. The numerous insurance protections make the annual fee worth the money for many people and if you redeem for travel you will earn a great 25% bonus. Keep in mind, you need to spend around $7,600 annually to break even on the card.

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