CardRatings’ experts announce top credit cards of 2024

Cardratings Staff
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Cardratings Staff
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Best credit cards of current year

Each year CardRatings’ staff breaks down the top card picks for popular categories announcing a winner for each category. In addition to this, we’ve polled thousands of actual cardholders over the years so you can see what real cardholders think alongside what our editors think.

In September 2023, CardRatings polled over 1,800 actual credit cardholders to get their opinions on 89 different credit cards. To determine which cards to poll, we examined website analytics to find the most popular cards on the site in terms of organic traffic – that is, people searching for a term via Google and then clicking through the link to visit that card’s unique review on CardRatings – from Jan. 1, 2023-Aug. 31, 2023.

In order to poll multiple cards in each of the “best of” categories, CardRatings added some additional cards to the list based on their past inclusion as expert picks.

The survey asked respondents to rate their cards on a scale of 1-10 as they considered various aspects of using their card or interacting with the card’s issuing bank. The survey questions fell into five broad topics: satisfaction with the card’s rewards/primary feature, customer service, usability of the card’s website/mobile app, likelihood the cardholder would renew the card and likelihood the cardholder would recommend the card to a friend/family member.

Respondents’ scores were then averaged with the response to “How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?” counting twice in order to determine an overall score.

“It’s one thing to use a card yourself, but another entirely to recommend that card to someone you care about,” said Jennifer Doss, executive editor of CardRatings.com. “That’s why we doubly weighted the question of whether respondents would recommend the card to someone else.”

When the dust settled, the survey results revealed actual cardholders tend to agree with the experts’ picks, but there were some notable exceptions.

For instance, for 2023 as well as for many years past, the CardName has been the CardRatings’ experts’ pick for the best travel rewards credit card; however, the overall rating for the CardName beat out the Chase Sapphire Preferred card by a full three points in this year’s cardholder survey. Capital One also did well with cardholders this year with the CardName, which earned the crown with both cardholders and our experts in the best premium travel rewards credit card category, replacing longtime frontrunner, the CardName.

Chase travel cards have long been cardholder favorites, but this year’s survey results were telling. The Venture cardholder rating lead wasn’t enough to dethrone the CardName as this year’s expert pick for the best travel card category; however, the CardName score dropped 7.6 points from last year’s overall rating, which couldn’t be ignored. Both the CardName and CardName had lower marks in the “rewards program satisfaction” category, which communicates that people might be searching for a simper way to cash in on their rewards – an area Capital One excels in.

In the 12 categories CardRatings’ experts choose “best” cards for, experts and survey respondents agreed on the top cards for only three categories. However, much of the difference came down to rating the ease of use of the card issuers’ websites/apps and their personal experience with customer service. Both of these topics are inherently more easily assessed by everyday cardholders than by experts who are generally able to base recommendations on close readings of the fine print and assessments of “best practices” when it comes to rewards and the value of other features.

“CardRatings experts personally hold many of the cards that make our best of lists each year, but we don’t have them all,” said Doss. “Even if we did, polling everyday cardholders to see how they feel about a wide range of cards and card features means CardRatings can offer more perspective to consumers as they make a personal choice for their own credit cards.”

Cardholders and experts agreed on the top cards in the following categories

  • Best for premium travel rewards: CardName
  • Best for dining out and delivery: CardName discontinued
  • Best student credit card: CardName

Survey respondents and experts differed on the top cards in the following categories

  • Best for flat-rate cash back: Cardholder pick: CardName; Expert pick: CardName
  • Best cash-back card with rotating/tiered categories: Cardholder pick: CardName; Expert pick: CardName
  • Best for general travel rewards: Cardholder pick: CardName; Expert pick: CardName
  • Best for groceries: Cardholder pick: CardName discontinued; Expert pick: CardName discontinued
  • Best for gas: Cardholder pick: CardName; Expert pick: CardName
  • Best for small businesses: Cardholder pick: CardName; Expert pick: CardName
  • Best for balance transfers: Cardholder pick: CardName; Expert pick: CardName
  • Best for luxury perks: Cardholder pick: CardName; Expert pick: CardName
  • Best for building credit/low credit scores: Cardholder pick: CardName; Expert pick: CardName

See full card details as well as updated cardholder scores in this year’s best credit cards of 2024 list. For additional card options, check out our full catalog of the best credit cards by category, which highlights all winners – both cardholder and expert picks – on the subcategory level. Here you’ll find additional options for the best travel credit cards, the best cash back credit cards, and more.

Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September 2023 to conduct surveys among 1,869 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2023-Aug. 31, 2023 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were included to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents’ scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to “How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?” was double weighted.

At CardRatings.com we discuss the most up-to-date news and trends within the credit card space. Since we first pioneered the concept of online credit card reviews in 1998, our team of financial experts has provided comprehensive and unbiased credit card reviews for more than 175 cards, plus hundreds of additional resource articles to help educate everyday cardholders so they can feel more confident about their card choices. All our content is written and reviewed by industry experts. Though our content may occasionally contain references to products from our partners, we maintain strict editorial integrity and advertiser relationships and compensation never influences ratings, reviews or featured products. The difference between editorial content and advertising must always be clearly stated. Learn more.

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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.

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