dcsimg

Best credit cards of 2019 from our partners

Updated, December 11, 2018

Our credit card articles, reviews and ratings maintain strict editorial integrity; however we may be compensated when you click on or are approved for offers from our partners. How we make money.

Best credit cards of 2019Mega welcome offers continue to be popular, and a slate of new card launches and the changing of some credit card terms that make us take notice. Who could blame you if you've had trouble keeping up with what card is the best credit card out there to meet your needs?

Good thing CardRatings editors do the heavy lifting for you. Each year (and, importantly, throughout the year) we dig through the flashy advertisements, celebrity endorsements and fine print to bring you a nicely organized, expertly considered list of the best credit cards in a wide range of categories including Best Travel Rewards Credit Card Without an Annual Fee, Best Luxury Credit Card, Best Small Business Card and so many more. 

And, in case you're wondering, yes, we've crowned and dethroned a few cards this year as those terms have changed and new players have entered the field.

Our goal is to help you find the best credit card for your needs and to un-muddy the murky waters that make it tough to see a clear choice. Don't get stuck with the wrong credit card! Find the best credit card for your lifestyle, credit card rewards dreams and spending habits – we'll help you do it! Read our methodology

Best Credit Card for Travel Rewards

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Why It's the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card: In a word: Flexibility. Chase Ultimate Rewards® points can be redeemed through the Chase travel portal or transferred directly to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs.

The Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth up to $625 in travel) when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. And, since you can transfer Ultimate Rewards® points to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs, you might find that bonus to be worth a lot more when converted to rewards under one of your existing loyalty accounts.

Annual Fee: $0 Intro for First Year, then $95

Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn two points per $1 spent on travel and dining worldwide. Earn one point per $1 on all your other purchases. In addition, your points are worth 25 percent more when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, meaning that each point is worth 1.25 cents. Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Runner Up: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Why We Like It: This is an uncomplicated card with solid rewards-earning and redemption structures. Plus, cardholders can receive a reimbursement for their Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee, a perk worth up to $100.

The Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles (worth up to $500 in travel) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of card membership.

Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Earn two miles per $1 spent on all your purchases, meaning you don't have to keep up with tiered categories or wondering whether you've slipped the right card out of your wallet when you go to pay. BUT, thanks to a special promotion, cardholders who pay for hotel or resort bookings via Hotels.com/Venture will earn 10 times the miles for each $1 spent. That's in addition to the regular Hotels.com rewards program in which you earn a free night for every 10 nights booked through the site. Read our full Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


Best Travel Rewards Credit Card Without an Annual Fee

Winner: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Why It's the Best No-Annual-Fee Travel Rewards Credit Card: This redesigned card came back with a bang that includes features and rewards-earning opportunities normally resolved for travel rewards credit cards with higher-than-typical annual fees – and this one doesn't have an annual fee at all!

The Bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months; that's worth up to $300 in cash redemption.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: You earn three points per $1 spent on dining (eating out and ordering in) as well as on your gas station, rideshare and transit purchases. You also rake in three points per $1 on your travel purchases, which includes flight, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn one point per $1 on everything else. Read our full Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Runner Up: Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Why We Like It: Like its big brother above, this card offers a simple way to earn rewards, but you won't pay the annual fee to carry it.

The Bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles (worth $200 in travel) after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of card membership.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Earn 1.25 miles on every $1 spent. When it comes time to redeem your miles, you simply pay for your travel purchase on your card and then request your miles redemption as a statement credit. Read our full Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


Best Credit Card for Airline Rewards

Winner: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Why It's the Best Airline Rewards Credit Card: We like a card that offers you all the perks you'd expect from an airline-branded card, but also gives you a solid opportunity to earn rewards beyond your airline purchases. (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser)

The Bonus: Earn up to 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles: 40,000 AAdvantage® miles after making $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and 10,000 after making a total of $6,000 in purchases in the first 12 months of account opening.*

Annual Fee: $99, waived for first 12 months*

Foreign Transaction Fees: 0%

Rewards Rate: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants and on eligible American Airlines purchases.* Also earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card.* Read our full Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® review.

Airline-specific Features: There are no Foreign Transaction Fees* and your first checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation.* Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights* and receive 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights.*

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Runner Up: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Why We Like It: Sure, Southwest is an airline with somewhat limited (though ever-increasing) areas served, but that doesn't mean it's not worth racking up some rewards with the airline if you find yourself on Southwest flights often. Plus, this card will help you work toward that oh-so-important (and valuable!) Southwest Companion Pass.

The Bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year. Then, you'll receive 7,500 bonus miles each year after your account anniversary.

Annual Fee: $149

Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn two points per $1 spent directly with Southwest Airlines and with Rapid Rewards airline and car rental partners and one point per $1 spent elsewhere. Given that rate of earning, you could be on your way to a Companion Pass quite quickly, which is really what makes this card such a popular choice.

In case you're unfamiliar with the Southwest Companion Pass, here's the deal: With a Companion Pass, you'll be able to choose one person to fly with you, paying only taxes and fees, for the remainder of the year in which you earn your pass as well as for the entire following year. That could mean HUGE savings. Earning the pass requires you to fly 100 one-way flights in a calendar year or – and this is where carrying this card can help tremendously – simply earn 110,000 qualifying points in the year. That means the bonus alone will get you more than one-third of the way to the Companion Pass for that year. Read our full Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card review.

Airline-specific Features: Cardholders will receive a $75 Southwest® travel credit each year, which goes a long way toward offsetting your annual fee on its own. You'll also be eligible for four upgraded boardings per year, as available, and you'll save money with 20 percent back on your in-flight drinks, Wi-Fi, messaging and movies.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


Best Credit Card for Hotel Rewards

Winner: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Why It's the Best Hotel Rewards Card: American Express went above and beyond when it launched this new Hilton card in early 2018. So far above and beyond that cardholders get all the great hotel benefits you'd expect with a branded card plus extra points on everyday purchases and some complimentary airport lounge access. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.

The Welcome Offer: Earn 125,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months of card membership. Also, receive a weekend night stay reward after you spend $15,000 on your card in a calendar year.

Annual Fee: $95. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Earn 12 points per $1 spent at participating properties within the Hilton portfolio. Earn six points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and earn three points per $1 on all your other purchases. Read our full Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card review.

Additional Perks: As a cardholder, you're entitled to 10 complimentary airport lounge visits each calendar year after a one-time signup with Priority Pass™ Select. That's an unheard of perk on a card with this low of an annual fee. Plus, the annual opportunity to earn a weekend night stay reward after spending at least $15,000 on your card in a calendar year should more than offset the annual fee.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent


Runner Up: IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Why We Like It: This card was recently revamped and reintroduced by Chase and the changes are solid. From a free night after each account anniversary AND a free night each time you redeem rewards for a four-night or more stay to a reasonable annual fee and high earning potential, this card has a lot to offer.

The Welcome Offer: Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $89

Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 10 points per $1 spent at when you stay at IHG properties. Earn two points per $1 spent at restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores and one point per $1 on everything else. Read our full IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Best Credit Card for Flat-Rate Cash Back

We've broken down the cash-back credit cards into three earning groups: flat-rate, tiered and rotating categories. Each type of cash-back rewards card has its pros and cons and which is right for you will depend largely on your goals for your credit card as well as your willingness to use different credit cards for different types of purchases. Take a look at our Cash-Back Credit Cards 101 article for more information about how these cards work as well as the type of credit card user we recommend consider each type of card.

Winner: Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Why It's the Best Flat-Rate Cash-Back Credit Card: This card rewards you both for making a purchase AND for paying your credit card bill. We always appreciate a card that encourages financial responsibility. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.

The Bonus: There's no traditional rewards bonus, but this card does feature an 18-month, 0 percent interest period for balance transfers made within the first four months of opening an account (then, 15.49% - 25.49%* Variable). That "bonus" could save you a bunch of money if you're currently paying interest on a large balance carried on another card.

Annual Fee: $0*

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of each transaction.

Rewards Rate: Earn 1 percent cash back on every $1 spent. Then, earn another 1 percent when you pay your bill, whether all at once or spread out over a few billing cycles (though, you will pay interest on those purchases if you don't pay them off in full each billing cycle, which will largely negate any rewards you'd earn). Still, you can effectively earn 2 percent cash back on every purchase. Read our full Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Runner Up: HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Why We Like It: Again, it's a simple rewards structure, but this card also comes with some nice annual perk bonus opportunity .

The Bonus: Receive a $150 bonus after you spend $2,500 in the first three months of card membership. Plus, you'll receive a 10 percent loyalty bonus each year on all the rewards you earned during that year after your account anniversary .

Annual Fee: None

Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn 1.5 percent cash back on every $1 spent. Read our full HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card review.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent


Best Credit Card for Tiered Rewards Cash Back

Winner: Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why It's the Best Tiered Rewards Cash-Back Credit Card: This tiered cash-back card rewards foodies (finally!)whether your food adventures have you dining out or experimenting in your kitchen at home. And there's a $500 bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months (yes, you read that correctly – $500!), there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about and the annual fee is reasonable and waived the first year.

The Bonus: Earn a $500 cash-back bonus after you spend $3,000 in your first three months of account opening.

Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Earn an unlimited 4 percent back on all your dining and entertainment purchases as well as an unlimited 2 percent back at grocery stores. You'll also earn 1 percent back on all your other purchases. Plus, receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through December, 2019 with the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card. Read our full Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Editor's Note: If you don't want to pay an annual fee, you might consider the Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card . With this no-annual-fee card, you can still earn a respectable 3 percent cash back on dining and entertainment, 2 percent back at grocery stores and 1 percent back on everything else. Once again, there's no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, but you can earn a one-time $150 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months.


Runner Up: Uber Visa Credit Card

Why We Like It: This is a new card with a lot to like when it comes to the categories for which you can rack up rewards. Even if you aren't a regular Uber user, you could stand to earn some serious cash back with this one.

The Bonus: Earn 10,000 bonus points – worth $100 – after spending $500 within the first 90 days.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Earn 4 percent cash back on your dining out purchases including restaurants, takeout and UberEATS; 3 percent back on hotel and airfare purchases; 2 percent back on online purchases including online shopping like with Amazon.com and department stores as well as on your Uber purchases and video and music streaming; earn 1 percent back on all your other purchases.

Additional Info: You can receive a $50 credit for online subscription services after your spend $5,000 on your card each year. You also receive up to $600 of mobile phone protection when you pay your mobile bill with your card.


Best Credit Card for Rotating Categories Cash Back

Winner: Chase Freedom®

Why It's the Best Rotating Categories Cash-Back Credit Card: This is, in fact, a cash-back rewards credit card; however, it also happens to work on the Chase Ultimate Rewards® system. That means that you can choose to redeem your rewards for cash back OR you can redeem them for travel or even transfer them to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs.

The Bonus: Earn a $150 bonus after you spend just $500 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Rewards Rate: Earn 5 percent back on the first $1,500 spent in rotating quarterly categories each time you activate; earn 1 percent back on all your other purchases and once you've met that quarterly spending cap. Check out the current quarterly categories. Read our full review of Chase Freedom®.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Runner Up: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Why We Like It: You have the ability to choose where you'll earn top cash back with this card, making it a great choice for people who want more control over their rewards earning.

The Bonus: Earn a one-time $150 cash-back bonus after you spend $500 within the first 90 days of card membership.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 2 percent on each purchases in U.S. dollars; 3 percent on every purchase in a foreign currency.

Rewards Rate: Earn 5 percent back in two categories that you choose quarterly (up to $2,000 in combined purchases in those categories quarterly), earn 2 percent back in an "everyday" category that you choose quarterly and earn 1 percent back on all your other purchases.

Editor's Note: If you don't sign in and select your 5 percent and 2 percent categories each quarter, you will only earn 1 percent for those purchases. So, while you could stand to earn a LOT of cash back with this card, it will require a "hands-on" person to maximize the earning; if you prefer a less involved rewards earning process, you'll likely want to consider another card.


Best Credit Card for Families

Winner: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now

Why It's the Best Credit Card for Families: This is the only card we know of that offers you up to 6 percent back in a category that just about everyone uses at one time or another: supermarkets, see terms.

The Welcome Offer: Enjoy a $200 cash-back bonus after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of card membership.

Annual Fee: $95. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees.

Foreign Transaction Fees: 2.7 percent on each transaction.

Rewards Rate: Earn 6 percent cash back for every $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1 percent; earn 3 percent back at U.S. gas stations and earn 1 percent back on all your other purchases.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Editor's Note: Even if you don't buy a lot of groceries at the supermarket, this could still be a great card for you. Many supermarkets sell a wide range of gift cards, so you could earn 6 percent back on your gift card purchases. If you aren't interested in paying an annual fee, but like the rewards structure, consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express instead. With this no-annual-fee version, you'll earn 3 percent cash back on the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets each year (then, 1 percent), 2 percent back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1 percent back on all your other purchases. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees.

Runner Up: Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Why We Like It: It's a simple rewards structure, but this card also comes with some nice ancillary perks AND your cash back will accumulate as Go Far Rewards, which can be combined with rewards you're earning with other Wells Fargo cards. The primary reason we like it for families, though, is that you can receive cell phone protection for the primary line as well as up to three other lines on the same account just by paying your bill on the card – anyone who's ever handed a teenager a cell phone knows just how much of a savings that particular perk could turn out to be.

The Bonus: Receive a $200 bonus after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of card membership. And, for the first 12 months, all your qualified mobile wallet purchases (think, Apple Pay® and Google Pay™) will earn you 1.8 percent back per $1 spent.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%

Rewards Rate: Earn 1.5 percent cash back on every $1 spent. Read our full Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card review.

Additional Info: Pay your monthly cellular bill on your card and the primary line as well as up to the three more phones on the account will be protected against covered damage and theft up to $600 per claim. Terms and a deductible apply.

There is a 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 15.99%-26.99% VariableAPR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


Best Small Business Credit Card

Winner: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Why It's the Best Small Business Credit Card: With a welcome bonus opportunity worth more than $1,000 and plenty of other perks, features and rewards-earning chances to go along with that, this card gave us plenty of reasons to name it our winner.

The Bonus: Earn up to 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards® points. Earn 50,000 points after spending $10,000 and earn the other 25,000 points after spending an additional $10,000 all within the first three months of card membership.

Annual Fee: $450. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees

Foreign Transaction Fees:  None

Rewards Rate: Earn five Membership Rewards® points for every $1 spent on flights and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com. Earn 1.5 points per $1 on every purchase of more than $5,000 (up to 1 million points back each year) and earn one point per $1 spent on everything else. If you Pay with Points for a first or business class ticket through amextravel.com (or for any class ticket on your pre-selected airline), you'll receive 35 percent of your points back (up to 500,000 points each year) to use on a future redemption. Those points back on redemption mean that the welcome offer alone could be worth more than $1,000 in flights – enough value to cover nearly three years of your annual fee. Read our full The Business Platinum® Card from American Express review.

Additional Perks: Cardholders receive up to $200 in statement credit each year to cover incidental fees like check bag fees and in-flight refreshments on a pre-selected airline. Additionally, every four years, you – and each employee with a card – can take advantage of a credit to cover the application fee for the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® programs. On an ongoing basis, cardholders enjoy complimentary access to more than 1,100 airport lounges in 120 countries around the globe. Stay connected with complimentary access to more than 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Runner Up: American Express® Business Gold Card

American Express® Business Gold Card

Apply Now

Why We Like It: Sure, the annual fee is a bit above average, but the perks, features and rewards opportunities will more than offset that fee for many businesses.

Annual Fee: $295. *Terms apply. See Rates and Fees

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Get 4x Membership Rewards® points on the two select categories where your business spent the most each month. (4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*) Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*

Editor's Note: Membership Rewards® points are quite valuable given their flexibility. You can redeem points for travel, gift cards, cash back and more.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent


Best Small Business Credit Card Without an Annual Fee

Winner: Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Why It's the Best Small Business Credit Card without an Annual Fee: The rewards categories are typical business-needs categories, but they're broad. That means you can earn a nice chunk of cash back on a variety of needs and the welcome offer is pretty sweet, too.

The Bonus: Earn a $500 bonus after spending $3,000 within the first three months of card membership.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Rewards Rate: Rack up 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent each account anniversary year in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular, landline, internet and cable television services. Earn 2 percent back on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year and earn 1 percent back on all your other purchases. Read our full Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Runner Up: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Why We Like It: There's opportunity here for healthy (and flexible) cash back without that pesky annual fee to eat into your rewards.

The Welcome Offer: Enjoy 15 months of no interest on purchases (then, 14.24% - 21.24% Variable).

Annual Fee: No annual fee. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees

Foreign Transaction Fees: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Rewards Rate: Earn 5 percent back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless phone service purchased from U.S. providers (on up to $50,000 spent annually); 3 percent cash back on a category of your choosing from a list that includes, among other categories, airfare, hotels, restaurants and shipping (on up to $50,000 spent annually); and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. Read our full SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express review.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent


Best Credit Card for a 0 Percent APR Period

Winner: Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card

Why It's the Best Credit Card for a 0 Percent APR Period: A lengthy 0 percent APR period combined with some nice perks, such as easy access to your FICO® Credit Score with Wells Fargo Online®, make this a favorite for us.

The Bonus: The bonus is really that you can take 18 months to pay off your purchases and balance transfers interest-free (then, 13.49%-26.99% Variable). Note that transfer fees apply and transfers made within 120 days qualify.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%

Rewards Rate: You won't earn rewards, but you will enjoy 18 months to pay off your balances without racking up interest charges. Read our full Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Card review.

Additional Perks: If you pay your mobile bill with your card, you'll be protected for up to $600 in covered damage or theft on your mobile phone. Not a bad perk for a no-annual-fee card.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


Runner Up: HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

Why We Like It: This was a choice related to nothing more than the length of the 0 percent APR offer for both purchases and balance transfers. At 18 months, this can certainly go the distance; plus, it's ongoing APR is possibly quite low depending on your creditworthiness.

The Bonus: The "bonus" here is the lengthy period of time during which you can pay off your purchases and balance transfers interest-free.

Annual Fee: None. See Rates and Fees

Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

Rewards Rate: This isn't a rewards card, but it does offer you 18 months no interest on purchases and on balance transfers (then, Variable APR of 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% will apply after the Introductory Period). You could consider your reward the fact that you have a year-and-a-half to pay off your balances without drowning in interest charges. Read our full HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card review.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Best Balance Transfer Credit Card

Winner: The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why It's the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card: A combination of a decent zero-interest period along with no balance-transfer fees on transfers made within the first 60 days PLUS the chance to earn rewards on everyday purchases make this a winner for us this year.

The Bonus: New cardholders can earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. Plus, you can earn 20 percent more points each billing cycle you use your card 20 or more times.

Annual Fee: $0. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees

Rewards: Earn two points per $2 spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent each year, then one point per $1) and one point per $1 spent everywhere else. Remember, too, that if you make at least 20 transactions in a billing cycle you'll receive a 20 percent bonus that cycle on your rewards. Read our full The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express review.

Foreign Transaction Fees: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Balance Transfer Details: You can take advantage of 15 months no interest on purchases and balance transfers (then, 14.99% - 25.99% Variable). That's a long time, but the truly unique feature of this card is that you won't pay a balance transfer fee if you make your transfer within the first 60 days of card membership – usually 3-4 percent of the transfer amount – so you save that money PLUS whatever you'd otherwise be paying in interest.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Runner Up: BankAmericard® credit card

BankAmericard® credit card

Why We Like It: The BankAmericard® credit card is a solid card if you want to buy something big or transfer a lot of debt--thanks to a lengthy period where there's zero interest collecting on it. For 15 billing cycles, you get a zero percent APR on purchases, as well as on any balance transfers made within the first 60 days from opening an account.

The Bonus: Paying late won't automatically raise your APR. Be aware, though, that there is still a late fee (up to $38) for late payments.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 3%

Rewards Rate: There are no traditional rewards offered with this card, however, you could easily consider the extra money you'll save on interest charges thanks to that 15 month no APR period, as a reward. Read our full BankAmericard® credit card review.

Balance Transfer Details: Enjoy 0 percent APR on any balance transfers made within 60 days of opening your account. After 60 days, there will be a balance transfer fee of 3 percent, or $10, whichever is greater. The APR jumps to 14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR on purchases after the intro period ends.

Credit Needed: Excellent/Good


Best Luxury Credit Card

Winner: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Why It's the Best Luxury Credit Card: If you're paying this much of an annual fee, it better be worth it. And, trust us, this card is worth it in perks alone – and that's before you even talk about the rewards.

The Welcome Offer: You'll get 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $550. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Earn five Membership Rewards® points for every $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel. Earn one point per $1 spent elsewhere. Read our full The Platinum Card® from American Express review.

Additional Perks: Cardholders receive complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection of airport lounges. Additionally, cardholders are eligible for up $200 annually in statement credit to cover incidental airline charges like baggage fees or in-flight refreshments and either $100 or $85 in credit every five years to cover your Global Entry or TSA✓® application fees, respectively. These perks are in addition to numerous other perks and features you'd want to see with a luxury card.

Editor's Note: This isn't not a credit card, it's a charge card. That means that you'll be expected to pay your statement balance in full each billing cycle. If you anticipate needing or wanting to carry a balance from month to month, this isn't the card for you.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

Runner Up: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Why We Like It: Again, this card offers the perks and features you'd expect from a luxury card. Plus, it's a metal card, which is just really fun to have in your wallet.

The Bonus: Receive 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® bonus points – worth up to $750 in travel – after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $450; an additional $75 for each authorized user.

Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

Rewards Rate: Earn three points per $1 spent on dining and on travel that isn't eligible for the annual $300 travel statement credit reimbursement and one point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Read our full Chase Sapphire Reserve® review.

Additional Perks: Cardholders have complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide as well special benefits at the Luxury Hotel and Resort CollectionSM. You'll also be eligible for up to $300 in statement credit to cover travel purchases each account anniversary year and statement credit to cover your Global Entry or TSAPre✓® application fees every five years.

Editor's Note: Your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 50 percent more when you redeem them for travel and are transferable at a 1:1 rate to a number of airport and hotel loyalty programs. Also nice: This card was named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine.

Credit Needed: Excellent


Best Student Credit Card

Winner: Discover it® Student Cash Back

Discover it® Student Cash Back

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why It's the Best Student Credit Card: There aren't many cards that offer this kind of rewards-earning opportunity to students. In fact, we think this is the only one.

The Bonus: Discover will MATCH all the cash back you rack up during your first year of card membership. Earn $250 in cash back and you'll actually pocket $500 in cash back. Plus, Discover will reward you with a Good Grades $20 statement credit each year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next five years.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Earn 5 percent back on up to $1,500 spent in rotating categories each quarter you activate. Once you hit the spending cap, you'll earn 1 percent back. You'll also earn that 1 percent back on your other purchases. Read our full Discover it® Student Cash Back review.

2018 Categories Calendar: January-March 2018: gas stations and wholesale clubs; April-June 2018: grocery stores; July-September 2018: Restaurants; October-December: Amazon.com and wholesale clubs.

Credit Needed: Fair

Runner Up: Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Why We Like It: You'll be rewarded when you make your purchases but also when you pay your bill on time. We appreciate a student credit card that encourages (and rewards!) financial responsibility.

The Bonus: Boost your rewards earning from 1 percent to 1.25 percent when you pay your bill on time each billing cycle.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Earn a simple 1 percent cash back on all your purchases; however, pay your bill on time and boost that cash back earning to 1.25 percent on every $1 spent. Read our full Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® review.

Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited


Best Low Interest Credit Card

Winner: Simmons Visa®

Why It's the Best Low Interest Credit Card: If you're looking for low ongoing interest, this card is nearly impossible to beat AND it's consistently been so.

The Bonus: This isn't a rewards card so you won't earn a traditional bonus with this card; however, paying a low ongoing interest rate on a balance could feel like a bonus to you. Read our full Simmons Visa® review.

Annual Fee: None

Foreign Transaction Fees: 2% of amount in US dollars

Ongoing Interest Rate: 10.25% variable

Credit Needed: Excellent

Runner Up: PenFed Gold Visa® Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why We Like It: This card actually offers an even lower APR than our winner card for those that qualify. It's our runner up because you must qualify to be a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union in order to get this card. You can read more about how to do that here.

The Bonus: Again, there's no bonus. Use the money you save on interest to give yourself a "bonus" of some kind. Read our full PenFed Gold Visa® Card review.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Ongoing Interest Rate: 8.99% to 17.99% when you open your account, based on your credit worthiness.* Your APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good


Best Credit Card for Gas Rewards

Winner: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why It's the Best Gas Rewards Credit Card: If you're looking for gas rewards, this can't be beat. Plus, there are a nice slate of other perks that go along with those gas rewards to make this a well-rounded card. Once again, you must qualify to be a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union in order to get this card. You can read more about how to do that here.

The Bonus: Earn a $100 bonus after you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days.

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Earn five points per $1 spent at gas stations and three points per $1 spent at supermarkets. All your other purchases earn one point per $1 spent. Read our full PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Runner Up: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Why We Like It: Great gas rewards are nice, but it's also good to find a high gas rewards rate in a card that offers useful other rewards.

The Bonus: There's no bonus with this card.

Annual Fee: $0**.

*No annual fee with your paid Costco Membership.

Foreign Transaction Fees: 0%

Rewards Rate: Earn four percent back on the first $7,000 you spend at the pump annually; earn 3 percent back at restaurants and on travel; earn 2 percent on your Costco and Costco.com purchases; and earn 1 percent on all your other purchases. Read our full Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi review.

Credit Needed: Excellent


Best Secured Credit Card

Winner: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Why We Like It: The security deposit to establish your line of credit could be as low as $49 depending upon your creditworthiness (more on this below).

The Bonus: There's not a traditional bonus with this card, but you will get the benefit of having your credit card use reported to the credit bureaus, which is what you need if you're working to rebuild your credit.

Annual Fee: $0. You will be required to make a security deposit of $49, $99 or $200, depending on your creditworthiness, in order to establish your initial credit line of $200.

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: There are no rewards offered with this card; however, make your first five payments on time and Capital One will evaluate your account for a possible credit line increase with no additional deposit required. Read our full Capital One® Secured Mastercard® review.

Credit Needed: Limited, Bad

Runner Up: Discover it® Secured

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why It's the Best Secured Card: This is the rare secured card that offers cardholders the chance to earn rewards. Racking up some cash back while you rebuild your credit is a nice option to have. Plus, after eight months, Discover will automatically begin reviewing your account to determine whether you can be upgraded to a non-secured card.

The Bonus: Discover will MATCH all the cash back you earn during your first year of card membership. Earn $200 cash back and you've effectively earned $400 back.

Annual Fee: $0. You will be required to make a security deposit of at least $200 in order to establish your line of credit. This deposit is fully refundable assuming your account remains in good standing and fully paid.

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Rewards Rate: Earn 2 percent cash back on the first $1,000 combined spending at restaurants and gas stations each quarter, then 1 percent. Earn 1 percent on all your other purchases. Read our full Discover it® Secured review.

Credit Needed: Please refer to issuer's website


Methodology: CardRatings editors have been rating and reviewing credit cards for nearly 20 years. We bring that two decades of experience to our review process as we consider the rewards, rates, fees, perks and features of each card and how those things relate to each award category. Sometimes the categories and their criteria are straightforward as in, for example, the “Best 0 percent APR credit card.” In others we consider such features as the ease/flexibility of the rewards redemption process in addition to the earning of the rewards themselves. We’re constantly reviewing our list as credit card terms change often – if there’s a better card that rises to the top, we update our lists to reflect that change. Our goal is ensuring the consumer has the most up-to-date information so he/she can make the best possible credit card decision for their lifestyle and needs.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

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. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

9 Comments

  1. PB July 26, 2018 - 3:14 pm
    Ducks Unlimited 5% cash back on gas and sporting goods.
      Reply »  
    1. Brooklyn Lowery July 26, 2018 - 6:00 pm
      Thanks for pointing out this card. It certainly is a good choice if sporting goods stores and gas purchases are where you spend the bulk of your money. Do be aware the the APR is relatively high, so you'll definitely want to pay your balance off in full each billing cycle.
        Reply »  
  2. Sam September 09, 2015 - 2:57 pm
    Mr. Labe, life happens. I had to urgently leave the US when my mom passed away and my disabled father was left by himself. I wasn't able to pay of about $450 in CC balances. I had over $15 000 available but didn't spend a dime in Europe, knowing that without a job I will not be able to pay my monthly payments. It was hard for 3 years. Then, my father died and about 4 weeks later I was back in US. I cannot tell you how horrified I was when I found that my previous landlord placed me on collection, plus public record because it was stated that I was evicted from my apartment. None of that was true. While I did leave in a day notice, I wasn't under long contract with my landlord, I was paying "month-by-month", with a little higher cost than without contract. I moved out on March 7th 2007 in the morning, giving keys to the apartment to leasing agent with the explanation. That whole month was already paid for. But I didn't give them the 60-day notice, since I did not plan on leaving suddenly. So, they had it right about "no-notice" charge. But, I have no idea why and what they were trying to do, they sued me, "evicted" me and I was faced with $4800 (?) in charges and a public record of civil judgement against me. I couldn't rent the apartment even when I tried to put 2-3 rents in deposit...

    Eventually, in my travel bag, I found old, rarely used Capital One CC which had $750 limit when it was active. I called Capital One (also I had $8000 PayPal CC but they wouldn't give anything after they closed it, I owed them nothing). Capital One immediately reinstated my previous limit to $750.

    Everything started from there. They approved me for another card and in about 6 months raised my limit on first card to $2750. I was spending and paying of my CC like before and offers started to come in regularly. Public record was off my report and now I am at 786 FICO. All thanks to capital One readiness to give me a second chance. So, please, try to understand that behind a lot of bankruptcies there is a story that you don't know about and that those people didn't stand a chance against a set of circumstances that put them in position where they became no longer able to pay anything...
      Reply »  
  3. Rick Wise July 04, 2015 - 1:31 am
    Yeah...what Amber and especially what LULU said...till you know each circumstance it is silly or worse to make a blanket statement.
      Reply »  
  4. PIERRE LABBE May 30, 2015 - 11:54 pm
    WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE A CARD RECOMENDATION FOR PEOPLE WITH BAD CREDIT? ITS LIKE THE CAR SALES -HUCKSTERS THAT PRACTICALY GUARANTEE A CAR LOAN TO PEOPLE WITH BAD CREDIT.HAVENT WE HAD ENOUGH PROBLEMS WITH PEOPLE WHO CAN'T PAY THEIR MORTGAGES ? NO CREDIT IS ONE THING BUT BAD CREDIT IS NOT SOMETHING WE SHOULD TRY TO HELP BY ENCOURAGING CREDIT CARD USAGE.
      Reply »  
    1. Amber Stubbs June 16, 2015 - 9:19 pm
      I respectfully disagree. I rebuilt my credit with the help of a secured card and it was well worth the nominal annual fee. Although there are still cards out there with too many fees and other "gotchas" (e.g. no grace period on purchases), it's pretty easy to find a card that will only cost you a small annual fee as long as you pay in full each month. Credit cards can be a valuable, cost-effective tool for building or rebuilding credit and definitely can't be compared to a car loan for someone with poor credit which is likely to cost thousands in interest even if you are able to pay the car off early.
        Reply »  
    2. lulu June 15, 2015 - 4:02 pm
      Obviously you missed the point that some of these people are working hard to rebuild their credit and this is an important way to do it. Poor credit can be caused by many circumstances some of which are not due to being irresponsible ( job loss,illness with loss of income, huge medical bills, divorce with a spouse who does not help with mortgage)Although I have not had to go through these hardships, as a landlord I have been able to hear their stories and see that some of them are working hard to get back on track. You shouldn't be passing judgment and having such a superior attitude if you haven't walked in their shoes.
        Reply »  
  5. Andrea Listening Deer May 10, 2015 - 4:50 am
    How does Wells Fargo secured credit card rate
      Reply »  
    1. Amber Stubbs June 16, 2015 - 9:55 pm
      The interest rate on purchases is about average for a secured card, but you can definitely find lower. The annual fee is fairly low ($25 as of today, but always check terms before applying). Overall it's a good secured card, but not the best.
        Reply »