Our CardRatings.com research team keeps a list of the very best credit card deals on the market at any given moment. However, even if you look at that list, you might just bounce back here and ask, "No, really, which one's the best?" The answer's different for everyone, based on your financial history, your personal habits, and how you love to spend your free time. Think about which of the following profiles most closely describes you:
- Frugal and debt-free. When you like to use a credit card only in case of dire emergency, look for no annual fee credit cards that still offer quality customer service. Citi and Barclaycard both offer cards with low APRs and extra flexibility for infrequent use.
- "Up in the Air." If you identified with the road warrior lifestyle George Clooney portrayed in his Oscar-nominated film, your best credit card might carry a relatively large annual fee. In exchange, you'll get perks like airport lounge access, shorter security lines, free baggage checks, and plenty of upgrades. Look for some of the strongest deals from rewards credit cards bearing the American Express or Visa Signature logos.
- Sneaky about savings. Cash back credit cards can help you save as you spend, offering an effortless way to stash cash for everything from holiday shopping to retirement expenses. Watch for offers that include bonus rebates on categories where you spend the most money, like groceries or gas. Discover invented this category, but you can now find great cash back cards from most banks.
- Travel hacking globetrotter. Some banks offer their biggest signup bonuses for travel rewards cards. If you can funnel most of your everyday purchases through a single account, you can earn enough rewards points for an exotic trip or even a decadent staycation. Chase and Barclaycard dominate this market.
- Debt digger. Pay down a big balance faster by seeking balance transfer deals, especially from cards that don't charge processing fees. Watch for deals that combine a low introductory rate with an affordable long-term APR.
- Second chance seeker. When you hit a few bumps on your financial road, you can feel shut out from the best credit card offers. Secured credit cards from well-known banks, such as Capital One, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, can help you get control of your credit score without spending much cash on fees.
When looking for the best credit card deal, make sure the value you'll get from each account outweighs its annual fee and potential finance charges. Some otherwise good deals go sour when cardholders miss payments or forget to redeem rewards.