Best Credit Cards for Families of 2020

These cards make it easy to earn and redeem points across categories where families spend the most, including food and travel.

Kimberly PalmerJuly 9, 2020

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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

  • U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

  • Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

  • Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

  • Chase Freedom®

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®

  • Target REDcard™ Credit Card

  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

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.

The card has an annual fee of $95. But 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: $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. 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.

Nerd tip: American Express excludes wholesale clubs and superstores from its definition of supermarkets, so if you tend to shop at those locations, you might want to consider a different card.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

For dining rewards with no annual fee

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® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

For dining and entertainment

Families who frequently enjoy restaurant meals along with a night out might want to consider the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns 4% cash back on dining and entertainment spending, as well as 2% back at grocery stores (and 1% back on all other purchases).

The annual fee is $95. The card comes with a sign-up bonus: Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

If you’re not sure about that annual fee but like the sound of the dining and entertainment rewards, take a look at the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which has an annual fee of $0. Cardholders earn 3% back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at the grocery store and 1% back on everything else. There's also a signup bonus: Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

For dining and in-home entertainment with no annual fee

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card can be a great fit for moms or dads who see a lot of their dollars go toward restaurant meals or ordering in, but who don't want to pay an annual fee. The card earns:

  • 3 points for both dining out at restaurants and ordering in.

  • 3 points for spending at gas stations, on rideshares and on other forms of transit.

  • 3 points for travel spending, which includes flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals.

  • 3 points for streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify Premium.

  • 1 point for all other purchases.

The annual fee is $0. The card has a generous welcome offer, which the issuer phrases this way: "Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value."

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®

For seasonal spending

While the Chase Freedom®’s rewards structure is a bit 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 purchases in bonus categories you activate each quarter (1% back on all else). Those rotating bonus categories tend to be popular with families and in the past have included things like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, drugstores 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% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR. There's also a sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

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 2 points on travel and restaurant dining and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

There's also a rich sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel 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. There is also a welcome offer: Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. 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 has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this page. To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please visit this page.

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