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For parents juggling the costs of kids’ activities, grocery store visits, gas and countless other monthly expenses, a credit card that helps stretch your budget with cash back or rewards can be an essential tool. And since parents generally don’t have a lot of free time on their hands, it also helps if the rewards are easy to earn and redeem.
With those factors in mind, we picked the best credit cards for families, organized by the spending categories parents find themselves frequently using: everyday expenses, grocery stores and restaurant meals, travel, and shopping.
Top credit cards for families
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
For groceries and gas
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year in spending (then 1%). It also earns 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit, another category where families tend to drop a lot of dough each month. It also offers 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. Non-bonus-category spending earns 1% back. Terms apply (see rates and fees).
The card has an annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95. If you spend more than $31 at the grocery store each week — an easy threshold for most families — then the rewards you'll earn will outweigh the annual fee.
New cardholders will be eligible for a welcome offer: Earn up to $350 in statement credits: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back. Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits. Terms Apply. The card also offers an intro 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
For dining rewards
If dining out is a way of life for you and your family, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card offers a tantalizing combo: massive rewards on dining purchases with an annual fee of $0*. The card earns:
4 points per $1 spent on dining, including takeout and delivery.
2 points per $1 spent at grocery stores (including grocery delivery), gas stations and streaming services.
1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
You simply can't find dining rewards that rich on other no-fee cards — although some of those other products do also feature bonus rewards on "entertainment spending," while the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card does not. It does, however, offer an annual $15 credit on popular streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify and more.
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
For dining/grocery/entertainment rewards, no annual fee
Families who frequently enjoy restaurant meals along with a night out might want to consider the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns a well-rounded 3% back on dining, eligible streaming services, grocery stores and entertainment (and 1% back on all other purchases).
That's an impressive (and hard-to-find) rewards combination — especially for an annual fee of $0. It can cover a wide swath of popular family spending categories.
The card comes with a sign-up bonus, too: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
For everyday spending
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer earns 1% back when you make a purchase and an additional 1% back when you pay it off, earning an effective rewards rate of 2% on all eligible purchases.
That rate is hard to beat, especially when you consider the annual fee is $0, and you don’t have to add to your to-do list by opting in to rotating categories every month or quarter. For busy families, that kind of simplicity can be appealing.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
For seasonal spending
While the rewards structure of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is more complicated than what you'd find with a flat-rate cash-back card, the earnings potential might make it worthwhile.
The card earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly spending on bonus categories that rotate every three months (activation required); 5% on travel purchased through Chase; 3% on dining at restaurants and purchases at drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases. Those rotating bonus categories tend to be popular with families and in the past have included things like gas stations and wholesale clubs. (Here's the list of current bonus categories.)
While you have to opt in to the bonus categories each quarter, parents organized enough to remember to do so will reap rich rewards.
The card's annual fee is $0, and it comes with an introductory APR: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR. There's also a sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
For general travel
If you’re looking for a general travel card that allows you to earn and redeem rewards across multiple airlines and hotel chains, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a solid choice. It earns:
5 points per $1 spent on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3 points per $1 spent on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout).
3 points per $1 spent on select streaming services.
3 points per $1 spent on online grocery purchases (not including Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).
2 points per $1 spent on travel not purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.
There's also a rich sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The annual fee is $95.
If you’re a bigger spender with a bigger family travel budget, then you might want to consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve® instead, which has a higher annual fee but also larger rewards.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
For Hilton lovers
For families that love staying at Hiltons, the Hilton Honors American Express Card can help stretch their travel budgets: Cardholders earn 7 Hilton Honors bonus points for purchases at Hilton hotels or resorts; 5 points for purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3 points for all other eligible purchases (see rates and fees). There is also a welcome offer: Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months. Terms Apply.
Families who are bigger spenders might want to consider the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. It has an annual fee of $95, but it also offers more generous rewards, as well as airport lounge access.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
For Amazon and Whole Foods devotees
Maybe your family already enjoys the convenience of Amazon Prime, with its two-day free shipping and access to Prime Video — which contains plenty of kids’ programming, among other benefits. If so, then applying for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card can be a relatively easy decision. Cardholders enjoy:
5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.
2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores.
1% back on all other purchases.
The card's annual fee is $0, although you must be an Amazon Prime member, and standard membership costs $119 a year.
Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®
For devoted Walmart fans
If you shop frequently at Walmart online or through the app for your household items, the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard® will help you save big: You earn 5% back on both Walmart.com and the app, which includes grocery pickup and delivery. You also earn 5% back on in-store purchases using Walmart Pay for the first 12 months (and 2% back for in-store purchases after that, which includes Walmart fuel stations), as well as 2% back on restaurants and travel. All other purchases earn 1% back.
You can redeem your rewards for statement credits, to put toward purchases (at Walmart or elsewhere), for gift cards, or for travel. That gives you a lot of family-friendly redemption options.
Target REDcard™ Credit Card
For Target loyalists
If Target is your go-to store, the Target REDcard™ Credit Card can help you save.
Cardholders get 5% off nearly all of their Target and Target.com purchases (some exclusions apply), along with free shipping. It also offers you extra time to make returns. The card's annual fee is $0.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
For Costco customers
If you rely on wholesale clubs for your family’s household purchases, getting a card specific to your club of choice could pay off. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi offers 4% back on gas purchases (on up to $7,000 of spending a year, then 1% back); 3% back on travel and dining; 2% back on Costco purchases; and 1% back on everything else.
The annual fee is $95, but you must be a Costco member, and membership starts at $60 per year.
Information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by NerdWallet and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuers of these cards.