Advertiser Disclosure

NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for Retirees

Nov. 19, 2019
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
best-credit-cards-for-retirees
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

This page may be out of date

This page includes information about one or more products not currently available on NerdWallet.

  • U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date. See our best credit cards page for updated offers.

Retirement can mean different things to different people. Once you’ve left working life behind, the possibilities can be unlimited. Whether your new priorities include travel, dining out daily, tinkering around the house, or just taking time to stop and smell the roses, here are some of our favorite credit cards to fit your new lifestyle.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Our pick for: Travel

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • Flexible rewards redemption
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Sign-up bonus

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Redemption value for cash is half of value for travel
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 17.49% - 24.74% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 24.74%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
    • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
    • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
    • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
    • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

card details

Rewards: 2X miles on every purchase.

Sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.

Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.

APR: The ongoing APR is 17.49% - 24.74% Variable APR.

Why we like it

Retirement can be a great time to explore. If you plan on doing a lot of globetrotting or even just checking out other parts of the U.S., the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers easy-to-earn and easy-to-use travel rewards that can help cut down on the cost of your adventures. You’ll snag double miles on everything you buy without having to keep track of varying bonus categories or juggling multiple cards. You can take your earnings as a statement credit to “erase” a travel purchase, or transfer your miles to one of many travel partners. There’s also a rich sign-up bonus to get you started. The card has no foreign transaction fees, making it an excellent travel companion, plus you’ll also have access to protections like rental car insurance, travel accident insurance and 24-hour travel assistance services.

Drawbacks

There’s an annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95. Redeeming rewards for options other than travel yields a poor value.

» MORE: Full review of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Our pick for: Home improvement

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Apply Now on Bank of America's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Cash bonus offer
    • Cash rewards

    Cons

    • If you're a big spender with excellent credit and willing to pay an annual fee, there are cards with higher rewards

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR

    Bonus Offers

    $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
  • Additional Information
    • No annual fee
    • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
    • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
    • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
    • No expiration on rewards
    • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 3% back on a category of your choice and 2% back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 spent per quarter in these categories combined (1% after).
  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT

Now that you don’t have to do the 9-to-5 routine, you have more time on your hands to tackle that big project, putter around your garden, or both. With the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, you get to choose a “3% back” category from a list of six, including “home improvement and furnishings.” Bank of America®’s list of what qualifies for this category is quite lengthy and varied — everything from Ace Hardware to Williams-Sonoma (for do-it-yourselfers), and from architectural services and electricians to landscapers and roofing contractors (if you’re paying someone else to do the work for you). Got a green thumb? Lawn and garden supply stores also count, as do florist suppliers. You have the freedom to change your 3% category up to once a month, plus you’ll earn 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, on up to $2,500 in combined spend across 3% and 2% categories each quarter. If you’re an existing Bank of America® customer, you might also be eligible for even higher rewards rates through Bank of America® Preferred Rewards.

DRAWBACKS

That’s a lot of potential bonus categories to keep track of, and the $2,500 quarterly spending cap applies across all of them combined, meaning the card may not be ideal for super expensive projects. You might fare better with a simpler card like the Lowe's Advantage Card. It doesn’t earn traditional rewards, but it offers 5% off every eligible Lowe’s purchase.

» MORE: Full review of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Our pick for: Bulk and prescription savings

Costco Anywhere Visa<sup>®</sup> Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Apply Now on Citibank's secure application
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No annual fee
    • High rewards rates in certain categories
    • Can use card as Costco membership ID

    Cons

    • Requires excellent credit
    • Needs Costco membership to qualify
    • Rewards redeemable once a year and only at Costco

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 16.74% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.74%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Discover one of Citi’s best cash back rewards cards designed exclusively for Costco members
    • 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
    • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
    • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
    • 1% cash back on all other purchases
    • No annual fee with your paid Costco membership and enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases
    • Receive an annual credit card reward certificate, which is redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses, including Puerto Rico
    • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 16.74%. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

card details

Rewards: 

  • 4% cash back on gas purchases (both at Costco and other gas stations) on up to $7,000 in spending a year, then 1% back.
  • 3% back on restaurants and most travel purchases.
  • 2% back at Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Annual fee: None, but a Costco membership is required to apply. (Memberships start at $60 per year.)

Intro APR: N/A, and then the ongoing APR of 16.74% Variable APR.

why we like it

Full-time retirement means you’ll no longer get a full-time paycheck. If you’re being more mindful of your spending and you live near a Costco, consider the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. Although the card itself does not cost anything to carry, you do have to have a Costco membership, which isn’t free. But in exchange, you’ll get economy-size savings on just about everything you buy. Retirees who spend a lot on prescriptions will also find that Costco’s pharmacy prices are among the lowest around, and you’ll earn 2% back on Costco pharmacy spending with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. That can help you stretch your savings even further.

drawbacks

Actual Costco purchases earn a relatively low rewards rate. You’ll get your earnings only once a year, and you’ll have to go in person to a Costco customer service counter to receive them. If you spend a lot of money on prescriptions, you might find the aforementioned Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is a better pick, as drugstores are among its 3% bonus category options.

» MORE: Full review of the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Our pick for: Ditching debt or financing a big buy

card details

Rewards: None.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 24.99% Variable APR.

why we like it

Maybe you have some big bills you’re trying to pay off, or you’re planning a celebratory retirement splurge. In either scenario, it can be a boon to have some extra breathing room on a hefty expense. Consider what the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card can do for you. It’s got an annual fee of $0 and comes with a hard-to-top introductory offer: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 24.99% Variable APR. Plus, if you pay your monthly cell phone bill every month with this card, you’ll get coverage for up to $600, with a $25 deductible, for up to two claims for a total of $1,200 per 12-month period. That can shave a few bucks off your cellular statement if you’ve been paying for this coverage out of pocket.

Drawbacks

Beyond the introductory 0% period, you won’t get any rewards or other ongoing benefits with this card aside from the cell phone insurance. Other cards offer ongoing rewards and more robust perks. If you’re transferring a balance to this card, you’ll also have to pay a balance transfer fee of 3%, which can eat into the savings benefit.

» MORE: Full review of the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Our pick for: Everyday spending

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Leading cash-back rewards at U.S. supermarkets
    • Bonus offer for new cardholders
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • Has annual fee — but if you spend more than $31 per week at U.S. supermarkets, the rewards offset the fee
    • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
    • $25 minimum redemption

    Annual Fees

    $95

    APR

    • APR: 14.49% - 25.49% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.74%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • 0% intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months
  • Additional Information
    • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
    • NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
    • NEW 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
    • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
    • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
    • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%
    • $95 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.

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

card details

Rewards:

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year in spending, then 1%.
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit, including taxis, rideshares, trains, buses, parking and tolls.
  • 1% cash back on other spending.
  • Terms apply.

Welcome offer: $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Annual fee: $95.

APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 25.49% Variable APR.

why we like it

If you want to be rewarded for purchases on household staples like groceries, gas and getting around, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express may be for you. You’ll also get rewards for binge-watching your favorite shows, something you’ll probably have more time to indulge in now that work isn’t getting in the way. There’s also a rich welcome bonus that you can likely put to good use: Get a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

drawbacks

Unlike many other cash-back credit cards, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a sizable annual fee of $95, although you’ll earn that back if you spend at least $31 a week on groceries. But if you do most of your household shopping at discounters or warehouse clubs, those purchases won’t be eligible for the elevated earnings rate.

» MORE: Full review of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

AARP® Credit Card from Chase

Our pick for: Driving and dining

card details

Rewards:

  • 3% cash back on restaurants, from fine dining to fast food.
  • 3% cash back on gas station purchases.
  • 1% cash back on all other spending.

Sign-up bonus: $100 Bonus Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening*.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: The ongoing APR is 17.74% - 24.49% Variable APR.

why we like it

Although you don’t have to have an AARP membership to get the $0-annual-fee AARP® Credit Card from Chase, it does pair nicely with one. That’s because you can use the earnings from the card to pay for or renew your AARP membership, which starts at $12 a year. You can also take those unlimited rewards right to the bank by having them directly deposited into a checking or savings account, or using them for a statement credit. You can also redeem them for travel or gift cards. If letting someone else do the cooking is part of your retirement plan, it’s nice to know that in addition to the unlimited 3% you’ll earn on eating out, the AARP® Credit Card from Chase will make a donation of 10 cents for every restaurant purchase made with the card in support of the Drive to End Hunger campaign, up to a cap of $1 million.

Drawbacks

Earning 3% cash back on dining and gas stations is a respectable rewards rate, especially for a $0-annual-fee card. But other cards on the market offer that and also 3% in other categories too. And even though this card is issued by Chase, it doesn’t earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, so you can’t combine them with points from other Chase cards.

» MORE: Review of the AARP® Credit Card from Chase

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

Information related to the AARP® Credit Card from Chase has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.