Credit Card Reviews by NerdWallet’s Experts

NerdWallet's experts break down the most popular credit cards on the market — and turn up a few gems you may never have heard of but that deliver outsize value.
Paul SoucyNov 22, 2021

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NerdWallet’s credit cards experts have reviewed nearly all of the major cards on the market, as well as noteworthy products from smaller issuers. Follow the links below for reviews of more than 230 credit cards in all categories.


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CASH BACK CREDIT CARDS


Cash-back cards provide fast savings and easy-to-redeem rewards. Some pay a flat rate on all purchases, while others shell out higher rewards in certain categories, such as gas, groceries, restaurants, or online shopping.

Most popular cash back card reviews

  • Apple Card. It's not the game-changer it was often hyped as, but it does offer some intriguing features. Here's how to know if it's right for you.

  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card. Cardholders get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% in a category of their choice.

  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. You'll earn 6% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year in spending, plus 6% back on select U.S. streaming services and 3% back at U.S. gas stations and eligible transit. (Terms apply.) The catch? A sizable annual fee.

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. You get bonus rewards of 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in spending per year, plus 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. (Terms apply.)

  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. A pioneer in offering unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, this card also gets credit for letting you redeem your cash in any amount — no minimum.

  • Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card earns 4% cash back on dining and a wide variety of entertainment spending, plus 3% at the grocery store and 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats. Big spenders can easily capitalize, but there's a hefty annual fee.

  • Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. Food and entertainment rewards are the centerpiece of this card, which pays an unlimited 3% cash back at restaurants and grocery stores, but also on streaming and more. No annual fee.

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠. It's the best of two worlds: 5% rotating categories, plus fixed bonus categories like dining and some travel.

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Start with a lucrative bonus, add 3% back on restaurants, 1.5% back outside of bonus categories and flexible redemption options, and you have a winner.

  • Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. The card earns 5% cash back (up to a spending cap) in your top spending category each billing cycle. Everything else earns an unlimited 1% back.

  • Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. The combined 2% rewards rate — 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off — is among the best on any cash-back card, especially for an annual fee of $0.

  • Discover it® Cash Back. This card offers a high rewards rate in rotating categories, a good 0% APR offer and an unusual bonus that could become a windfall.

  • PayPal Cashback Mastercard®. The card's high rewards rate on all purchases is among the best you'll find and a great choice if you don't mind associating with the PayPal payment service.

  • Venmo Credit Card. The card offers 3% and 2% bonus categories that can change automatically each month depending on where you spend the most.

  • Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card. The card features unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, a sign-up bonus and a 0% intro APR promotion. Taken together, that's a value proposition that's difficult if not impossible to find on other cards in its class.

Other cash back card reviews


TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS


Travel credit cards fall into two broad categories. "Co-branded" travel cards carry the name of an airline, hotel, cruise operator or other travel provider. The rewards you earn are generally redeemable only with that provider. "General-purpose" travel cards offer more flexible rewards that you can redeem for a wide array of travel, without being locked into a particular airline or hotel brand.

General-purpose travel card reviews

Most popular

  • American Express® Green Card. This card earns bonus rewards on travel and restaurants worldwide, and points can be transferred to other loyalty programs. It also comes with potentially valuable travel credits.

  • American Express® Gold Card. This card features rich benefits for foodies, including high ongoing rewards at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets and an annual dining credit, among other perks.

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express. For a steep price, the original premium card gives you 5X points on certain flights and hotel stays, hundreds of dollars a year in credit for travel and shopping, and a suite of perks for high-end lifestyles.

  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. Earn 1.5 points per dollar on all spending. Redeem points for credit on your statement against any travel or restaurant purchase.

  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card. You get 2X points on travel and dining and 1.5X points on everything else, and points are worth the same no matter how you redeem them — for cash back, travel or something else.

  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on everything. Redeem miles (at 1 cent apiece) for credit on your statement against any travel purchase, with none of the restrictions of airline cards.

  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Earn 2 miles per dollar spent, plus extra rewards on travel bookings through the issuer, and receive a slew of travel-related perks, including airport lounge access.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You get bonus points for spending on travel, dining and some everyday purchases. Points are worth more when used to book through Chase.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®. The card earns bonus points for travel and dining-related spending, which can be redeemed for more value through Chase. It piles on the perks, too, but they come at a price.

  • Discover it® Miles. You get 1.5 miles per dollar spent on everything. Miles can be redeemed for travel or converted to cash back at the same penny-per-mile rate. Annual fee: $0.

  • U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card. For fee-averse foodies, this card's huge rewards rate on dining makes it essentially best in class. It also earns 2X back at grocery stores, gas stations and on eligible streaming services.

Other general-purpose travel card reviews

Airline credit card reviews

If you fly regularly on a particular airline, carrying its branded credit card can earn you miles and unlock loyalty perks — not least of which is a free checked bag for you and possibly others traveling with you. Major airlines typically offer a suite of cards — the higher the fee you're willing to pay, the more perks you'll enjoy.

American Airlines credit cards

For business travelers: 

Delta Airlines credit cards

For business travelers:

JetBlue credit cards

  • JetBlue Card. You don't get free checked bags, and the bonus won't get you very far, but you can earn extra miles for everyday purchases with no annual fee.

  • JetBlue Plus Card. Earn bonus points on travel and everyday purchases. Money-saving perks and travel-friendly features can potentially make up for the annual fee.

For business travelers:

  • JetBlue Business Card. It's very similar to the "Plus" consumer card, but you'll want it if you spend more at office supply stores than you do on groceries.

Southwest Airlines credit cards

For business travelers:

United Airlines credit cards

  • United Gateway℠ Card. This entry-level option offers a free way to test an airline card, but given its lack of perks, devoted United flyers might soon want to upgrade.

  • United℠ Explorer Card.  The valuable benefits — free bags, limited lounge access — and expanded bonus categories can easily make up for its fee, even if you fly United only occasionally.

  • United Quest℠ Card. The annual fee is not for everybody, but frequent United flyers who use the airline credit should be able to extract plenty of value.

  • United Club℠ Infinite Card. Get unlimited access to United's airport lounges, along with free checked bags and a very good rewards rate. High fee, though.

  • First Hawaiian Bank United® Credit Card. Eligibility is highly limited, and while it has some decent perks, most United loyalists will be better off with a different card.

For business travelers:

  • United℠ Business Card. Cardholders get a checked-bag benefit and limited airport lounge access, plus bonus spending categories that are useful to small-business owners.

  • United Club℠ Business Card. If you consider lounge access a must-have and you frequently fly (and check bags on) United, then this card's hefty annual fee can be a relative bargain.

Other airlines' credit cards

For business travelers:

Hotel credit card reviews

With a branded credit card from your preferred hotel group, you can earn points toward your next stay with every dollar you spend. The better cards can give you free nights every year, room upgrades, loyalty status and other perks.

Best Western credit cards

Hilton credit cards

For business travelers:

Hyatt credit cards

  • World of Hyatt Credit Card. The rewards and perks, including an automatic free night each year and bonus rewards on everyday spending, can easily cover the annual fee.

For business travelers:

IHG credit cards

Marriott credit cards

For business travelers:

Radisson credit cards

  • Radisson Rewards™ Visa® Card. Unlike higher-tier Radisson credit cards, this one doesn't come with an anniversary bonus, and ongoing rewards are meager. A general travel card would offer more value.

  • Radisson Rewards™ Platinum Visa® Card. You'll be considered for this card only if you don't qualify for the "Premier" version. You'll pay a lower annual fee, but also earn lower rewards and smaller bonuses.

  • Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature® Card. This card is a good choice for loyal Radisson customers, but the big point totals mask a low per-point value, and the Radisson footprint isn't as big as that of other hotel chains.

Wyndham credit cards

For business travelers:

Other hotel credit cards

  • Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card. This card allows you to earn and redeem points at hotels in the budget-oriented Choice portfolio at a relatively fast clip.

  • Hotels.com Rewards Visa. ​​It's a fine choice if you're already a devotee of the Hotels.com loyalty program, but most people will find the card’s rewards system too much effort.

Credit cards for other travel brands

  • Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard. It earns decent rewards for Amtrak regulars, but its biggest selling point may be its lucrative perks — including a companion coupon — that can deliver big savings.

  • Carnival Cruises World Mastercard. The card is generous with sign-up incentives, but far less so with ongoing rewards. A general travel card will be more flexible and less complex.

  • Expedia credit cards. If you're not loyal to one airline or hotel chain, an Expedia credit card may fit you. But point values are low, so casual Expedia users have better options.

  • Norwegian Cruise Line Credit Card. The card offers reasonable rewards, but a general-purpose cash-back or travel card might be better if you don’t cruise frequently with Norwegian.

  • The Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card . If you already use Priceline.com to get deals, the Priceline credit card could stretch your dollar even more.

  • Princess Cruises Rewards Visa® Card. Frequent cruisers may find some benefit, but the card's redemption rules are complex and its rewards rates are bested by other travel credit cards.

  • Royal Caribbean Visa Signature. Those who spend big with the cruise line brand may get some value out of the card. But a general travel card will prove more flexible and rewarding for most.


OTHER REWARDS CREDIT CARDS


These rewards cards might not fit neatly into either the "cash back" or "travel" category. Some offer versatile points. Some advertise "cash back" but require you to deposit it in a specific account to get the best rate. Some are designed to benefit charity. And some issuers are getting into the cryptocurrency game.

Most popular

Others


BALANCE TRANSFER AND 0% CREDIT CARDS


Save big on interest charges by moving debt to a card with a 0% introductory APR or by putting major purchases on a 0% card.

  • Alliant Visa® Platinum Credit Card. The card’s value lies in its introductory APR period and a transfer fee that's slightly lower than usual.

  • BankAmericard® credit card. You won't get ongoing rewards or perks, but it's a decent option for paying down debt or financing a large purchase. Plus, there's a sign-up bonus.

  • CareCredit Card. This specialty card for health care expenses offers deferred interest rather than a true 0% period (learn the difference here). You can get time to pay off a medical bill, but it could end up costing you a lot.

  • Chase Slate Edge℠. The card features a 0% intro APR period, and comes with a small cash bonus. Cardholders also have the opportunity to lower their ongoing interest rate and increase their credit limits.

  • Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card. It can help make a dent in your debt, but because the card doesn't earn rewards, it may not earn a long-term place in your wallet.

  • Citi Simplicity® Card. The card's defining features include a lengthy 0% intro APR period on balance transfers, plus a forgiving nature when it comes to late payments.

  • Discover it® Balance Transfer. You expect a balance transfer card to offer a lengthy introductory APR period. But this card also gives you cash back — and a reason to hold on to it long-term.

  • HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card. You'll get a lengthy 0% intro APR period and a forgiving policy on late payments, but you won't get any rewards.

  • Navy Federal Credit Union® Platinum Credit Card. It's a no-frills card that's decent for balance transfers. But you must be a Navy Federal Credit Union member to get it, and it earns no rewards.

  • SunTrust Prime Rewards Credit Card. The introductory APR isn't 0%, but it's really, really low (the prime rate) and it lasts a really, really long time. Plus, you can earn rewards and a bonus.

  • U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card. The card offers a generous introductory interest-free window. But if you want rewards, bonuses and other spoils, look elsewhere.

  • Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card. The card offers an extra-long introductory 0% intro APR period for balance transfers and purchases.

HSBC Cash Rewards Card Offers 3% Back in Year 1; Gold Card Trims Intro APR

STORE AND RETAILER BRAND CREDIT CARDS


Some store- and retailer-branded cards give you big rewards or deep discounts at the places you shop the most. Some let you turn all of your spending — everywhere — into rewards you can use in the store. Some let you do both.

Most popular retailer brand credit cards

  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. Earning 5% back at both Amazon (which basically sells everything) and Whole Foods makes this perhaps the ultimate store card, but you can't get it without an Amazon Prime membership.

  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. Costco members can turn their everyday spending on gas, travel and dining out into rich rewards at the wholesale club, but you won't get big discounts at the store itself.

  • Disney credit cards. The cards offer some fan perks, but a general-purpose cash-back or travel card will likely be a better choice in terms of financing a Disney vacation.

  • The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card. There's special financing on big purchases. But it's not a true 0% offer, and you won't earn any ongoing rewards.

  • Lowe's Advantage Card. You get an automatic 5% discount on almost everything in the store. There's no annual fee.

  • Sam's Club® Mastercard®. It offers rich rewards on gas and dining, and Sam's Club "Plus" members can also earn a high rate on shopping with the wholesale club. But the card is less appealing for basic Sam's Club members.

  • Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card. For hardcore coffee lovers only: You get a high effective rewards rate and multiple freebies, but there's an annual fee.

  • Target REDcard™ Credit Card. For Target devotees, this card hits the bull's-eye. You won't earn traditional rewards, but you'll get upfront savings. Just make sure you pay in full each month.

  • Verizon Visa® Card. Get 4% back on groceries and gas, 3% at restaurants and 2% at Verizon. Use your rewards to pay your bill or buy a new phone — or even toward travel or gift cards.

  • Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard®. If you shop online, the rewards are among the best in its class. Get 5% cash back on purchases at Walmart.com and through the retailer's app, plus 2% at Walmart stores, at restaurants and on travel.

Other retailer brand credit cards


CREDIT BUILDER CREDIT CARDS


Those looking to build or rebuild their credit with a credit card have an increasing number of options. Secured credit cards require a cash deposit and are easier for people with low scores to get approved for. Other cards don't require a deposit but may charge high fees and interest. Some cards use alternative risk-assessment models that make approval easier for people with no credit history.

Secured credit card reviews

Unsecured credit builder card reviews

  • AvantCard Credit Card. This card's issuing bank will consider factors aside from credit scores to determine eligibility, but other alternative cards and even some secured cards could be a better fit.

  • Blaze Mastercard. The Blaze Mastercard offers a chance to work on your credit score without having to pay excessive fees.

  • Capital One Platinum Credit Card. A straightforward card for folks on the way up: It charges no annual fee and offers the opportunity to boost your credit limit with responsible behavior.

  • Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. People with fair credit can earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase. That's the same rewards rate that the issuer offers to those with excellent credit, although this card has a fee.

  • Horizon Gold. What seems like an easy way to build credit is actually a store card with high fees you can use at only one place.

  • Indigo Platinum Mastercard. An option "for those with less than perfect credit,” as the card’s website states — but it may not be an ideal one.

  • Opportun Visa Credit Card. The card stands out as an option for credit beginners that doesn't require a Social Security number or bank account.

  • Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card. This card can offer a path to credit — and even rewards — for people with a less-than-ideal cash flow or credit history. The issuer can look beyond just credit scores to determine eligibility.

  • Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card. Petal's issuing bank may opt not to rely solely on credit scores to determine eligibility, and the card promises "no fees of any kind," making it an excellent starter product.

  • Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card. This is a costly credit card with flimsy benefits, even for those with bad credit. Plenty of better options exist.

  • Surge Mastercard. The Surge card offers some qualities that may appeal to those seeking a second chance at building credit, but its fees far outweigh its benefits.

  • Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards. Make charges to your card or borrow against your credit line. Either way, you can pay off the balance in equal monthly installments at a fixed rate. It earns rewards, but it lacks certain other incentives.

  • Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®. Earn 3% cash back on home, auto and health purchases. Plus, a carried balance or loan against your credit limit becomes a fixed-rate loan with equal monthly payments.

  • Grow Credit Mastercard. This card can help you build credit with qualifying subscriptions or bill payments. It doesn't charge fees or interest. Plus, it skips the credit check.

  • Tomo Credit Card. With no credit check, fees or interest, the Tomo Card can help you build credit and stay out of debt — though you'll have to link a bank account to get it.


COLLEGE STUDENT CREDIT CARDS


  • Journey Student Rewards from Capital One. Earn 1% cash back on all spending, plus another 0.25% back for any month when you pay on time; pay on time your first five months, and you might get a higher credit line.

  • Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card. This student card works like the regular version of Capital One's popular 1.5% cash-back card, although without a sign-up bonus or 0% intro APR period.

  • Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card. This student card works like the regular version of Capital One's popular dining and entertainment card, although without a sign-up bonus or 0% intro APR period.

  • Chase Freedom® Student credit card. It earns 1% cash back on purchases. And with responsible use, you may also qualify for "Good Standing" rewards, a potential credit limit increase and, perhaps eventually, access to a higher-tier Chase card.

  • Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases with no annual fee. Students can qualify with no credit history. A Social Security number isn't required for international students.

  • Discover it® Student Cash Back. This no-annual-fee card offers the same rewards and new-cardholder bonus as Discover's regular cash-back cards.

  • Discover it® Student chrome. This student card earns 2% cash back on up to $1,000 per quarter in combined spending on gas and at restaurants, plus 1% on everything else.

  • Sallie Mae Cards. Sallie Mae's no-annual-fee cards — the Ignite, Accelerate and Evolve — are for students and young adults, but they underwhelm in terms of rewards and fees.


SMALL BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS


Most popular small business card reviews

Other small business card reviews


DEFUNCT OR UNAVAILABLE CREDIT CARDS


It's just the nature of the business: Credit cards come and go. The cards in this section have either been pulled off the market permanently, or they have stopped accepting new applications. Interested in what they used to offer? Take a look. Where applicable, we've identified a successor card.

The information related to the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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