NerdWallet's

Top 10 Credit Card Offers of 2019

See our picks for the 10 best general-interest credit cards, plus the best cards for specific needs.

Paul Soucy
Jan. 16, 2019
Updated June 6, 2019

NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.

People regularly ask us: What’s the best credit card? The answer depends almost entirely on the person asking the question. What kind of credit do you have? How do you spend money? Are you looking to rack up rewards, or save money on interest? Most cards fall into a handful of broad categories, and within those categories, we’ve chosen our 10 best credit card offers for 2019. We’ve supplemented those picks with our selections for the best cards for specific needs.

Top 10 credit card offers for 2019

Best cards for specific needs

2019 NerdWallet Best-Of Awards You deserve the best-of-the-best in 2019
The Best-Of Awards are back. See the best credit cards, banks, lenders and more.

Best flat-rate travel card

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

UPDATE June 6, 2019: Barlcays said the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® will stop accepting applications. For a card with similar benefits and flexibility, consider the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which was a close runner-up in our evaluation. Below is our write-up from when we selected the Barclays card as our 2019 winner.


The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has long run neck-and-neck in this category with the better-known Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Both cards give you an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on purchases, and both let you redeem miles for statement credit against travel purchases. The Barclays card gets the nod this year with a bigger standard sign-up bonus (although both cards rolled out even richer limited-time offers toward the end of 2018) and a redemption bonus that gives you back 5% of your miles whenever you redeem, boosting the effective rewards rate to 2.1%. The card also offers chip-and-PIN functionality, making it more useful overseas, where self-serve kiosks require a PIN with a credit card.


Why you might prefer the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card instead:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent; plus, through January 2020, 10 miles per dollar at Hotels.com/venture.
  • No minimum redemption amount.
  • Annual fee waived the first year.

Learn more about the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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

    • A large bonus
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Cool factor - metal card
    • Earn more points on travel and dining at restaurants
    • Premium travel protection benefits

    Cons

    • $95 annual fee

    Annual Fees

    $95

    APR

    • APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    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®

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • 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®
    • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel

Why you might prefer the American Express® Gold Card instead:

  • Bonus rewards at U.S. supermarkets; at restaurants worldwide; and on eligible flights.
  • Up to $120 a year in credit for eligible dining expenses.
  • $100 annual credit for incidental airline fees.

Learn more about the American Express® Gold Card

 

Best bonus rewards travel card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Years ago, NerdWallet described the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card as a must-have for any traveler, and we stand by that assessment. It earns 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar on all other spending. Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through Chase’s portal — or, for possibly even greater value, you can transfer them on a 1:1 basis to an array of airline and hotel loyalty programs, including United, Southwest, JetBlue, Marriott and Hyatt. You also start with one of the best sign-up bonuses available on a card for its price: 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®.

Best no-annual-fee travel card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

With a complete overhaul in 2018, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card catapulted from meh status to a spot darn near the top of the heap in travel cards. It earns 3X points in a broad array of travel and everyday spending categories, including restaurants and takeout meals, flights and hotels, and gas stations, transit and rideshares. The sign-up bonus is outstanding for a card without an annual fee, and you even get a good 0% introductory APR period. You can easily get more value from this card than from many cards with annual fees of $95 or more.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

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

    • No annual fee
    • Sign-up bonus
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and qualifying Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 16.24% - 28.24% Variable APR

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value

    Intro APR

    • 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value
    • $0 Annual Fee
    • Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
    • Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
    • Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
    • Earn 1X points on other purchases
    • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 16.24%-28.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
    • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions

Why you might prefer the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card instead:

  • Simple rewards: 1.5 points per dollar spent.
  • Points redeemable for statement credit against travel purchases.
  • 10% rewards bonus for Bank of America® banking customers (and up to 75% for those enrolled in Preferred Rewards).

Learn more about the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

 

Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Apply Now on Citibank's secure application
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • No sign-up bonus
    • No 0% APR for purchases
    • $25 minimum redemption

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.49%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 2% cash back on purchases 1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases
    • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time
    • 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% - 25.74% based on your creditworthiness.*
    • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
    • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
    • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*

Why you might prefer the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card instead:

  • Unlimited 3% cash back on all purchases the first year and 2.5% after that.
  • Annual fee waived the first year.

Learn more about the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

 

Best flat-rate cash-back card

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles — no big sign-up bonus, no 0% APR period on purchases, no bonus categories. It doesn’t need them, because its fantastic ongoing rewards rate delivers great value day in and day out. You get an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase: 1% when you buy something and 1% when you pay it off. The annual fee is nice, too: $0. The catch? It’s a small one: There’s a minimum redemption amount of $25.

Best bonus
rewards cash-back card

Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back earns 5% cash back in rotating categories that you opt into each quarter. The 5% rewards are good on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Bonus categories in recent years have included common expenses such as grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com, so the Discover it® Cash Back can function efficiently either as an everyday card or as one part of a multi-card maximization strategy. You get a decent 0% intro APR period, as well as Discover’s unique new-cardmember bonus, which it describes this way: “Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.”

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

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

    • Cash back match at the end of your first year
    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • Slightly less merchant acceptance for Discover in US - acceptance outside of US can be an issue
    • If you value simplicity, a flat rate cash back card may be better

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months
  • Additional Information
    • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
    • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
    • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
    • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
    • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
    • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
    • No annual fee.
    • View Rates and Fees

Why you might prefer the Chase Freedom® instead:

  • Upfront sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Slightly longer 0% intro APR period.
  • Similar rewards structure but different slate of bonus categories.

Learn more about the Chase Freedom®

 

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is available by applying directly through American Express.


Details of this card’s balance transfer benefits:

  • $0 annual fee.
  • $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days of account opening.
  • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR.

Information about Amex EveryDay® Credit Card was collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

 

Why you might prefer the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever instead:

  • Longer introductory APR period: 0% on Purchases for 12 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 21 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.99% - 26.99% Variable APR. (Note, however, that the balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred or $5, whichever is greater.)
  • No late fees or penalty APRs.

Learn more about the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

 

Best balance transfer card

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Over the past few years, several major issuers have experimented with balance transfer credit cards that offer some version of the “three zeroes”: a $0 annual fee, a $0 balance transfer fee and a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. A card with the three zeroes allows you to transfer and then pay down high-interest debt without paying a penny in interest or fees. Amex EveryDay® Credit Card not only has the zeroes, but it also offers a rewards program and a bonus offer for new cardholders. So unlike a lot of balance transfer cards, it gives you a reason to keep using it even after the promotional 0% APR period is up.

Best 0% interest card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

If you need time to pay off a major expense, a card with a 0% introductory interest rate can save you big money. It’s also safer than those “no interest for 12 months”-type offers from retailers, which can be costly if you’re not careful. When we first chose the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, it offered one of the longest available 0% periods for purchases at 20 billing cycles. They cut back that back to 18 billing cycles for a while. But as of April 2019, the offer is 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 20 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 14.74% - 25.74% Variable APR. Compare that with many cards designed specifically for balance transfers, which offer a shorter 0% period for purchases than for transfers, or don’t have a 0% window for purchases at all.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Apply Now on US Bank's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    719
    Good
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • No rewards

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 14.74% - 25.74% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • 0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles*
  • Additional Information
    • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 14.74% - 25.74%
    • Great offer from U.S. Bank, a 2019 World's Most Ethical Company® - Ethisphere Institute, February 2019
    • No Annual Fee*
    • Flexibility to choose a payment due date that fits your schedule
    • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your U.S.Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card. Certain terms, conditions, and exclusions apply.
    • View Rates and Fees

Why you might prefer the BankAmericard® credit card instead:

  • Paying late won’t automatically void your 0% introductory APR, which can happen with other 0% cards. You’ll still be subject to a late fee, however.
  • Introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR.

Learn more about the BankAmericard® credit card

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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

    • A large bonus
    • High rewards rate
    • High value benefits
    • Cool factor - metal card
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Needs excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $450

    APR

    • APR: 19.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50K 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®

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 50,000 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®
    • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
    • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

Why you might prefer The Platinum Card® from American Express instead:

  • Access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide, including the issuer’s own Centurion and International American Express lounges, as well as Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta) and lounges in the Priority Pass Select, Airspace and Escape networks.
  • 5X points on qualifying flights and hotel stays.
  • Hundreds of dollars a year in credits for airline fees, Uber rides and more.
  • Terms apply.

Learn more about The Platinum Card® from American Express

 

Best premium credit card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides so much value that regular travelers may find its $450 annual fee is a bargain. You get $300 a year in automatic credit for travel expenses, which reduces the cost of carrying the card by two-thirds. Beyond that, you earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar on all other spending. Points are worth 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through Chase’s portal, or you can transfer them on a 1:1 basis to about a dozen airline and hotel loyalty programs. There’s also a tremendous sign-up bonus, reimbursement for the application fee for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, and airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select.

Best card for fair/average credit

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card pays an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Not only is that a generous rewards rate for a card for average credit, it’s the same rate offered by multiple cards that target people with good or excellent credit (including the issuer’s own Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card). However, this card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus or a 0% intro APR period, and it comes with a high ongoing APR and an annual fee of $39. Even so, it offers a rare opportunity to earn excellent rewards while you work to build your credit. Further helping in that effort: Make your first five payments on time, and Capital One may give you access to a higher credit line.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 630
    689
    Average
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Qualify with average credit
    • High rewards rate
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $39

    APR

    • APR: 26.96% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.96%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
    • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
    • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
    • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
    • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
    • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
    • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
    • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app

Why you might prefer the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card instead:

  • $0 annual fee.
  • Make your first five monthly payments on time, and you may gain access to a higher credit line.

Learn more about the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

 

Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured

Apply Now on Discover's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 300
    629
    Poor
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Reports to the three major credit bureaus
    • Offers rewards and a sign-up bonus
    • Chance to upgrade to unsecured account after 8 months

    Cons

    • Requires minimum deposit of $200
    • Discover cards not widely accepted outside the U.S.

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

    Intro APR

    • 10.99% on Balance Transfers for 6 months
  • Additional Information
    • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
    • It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
    • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit from $200-$2500 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
    • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
    • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
    • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
    • We automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
    • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
    • View Rates and Fees

Why you might prefer the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® instead:

  • Depending on your creditworthiness, you may qualify for a $200 credit line with a deposit of only $49 or $99.
  • Make your first five monthly payments on time, and you may gain access to a higher credit line without depositing more money.
  • Deposit can be paid in installments, making it easier to manage for those living paycheck to paycheck.

Learn more about the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

 

Best card for building credit

Discover it® Secured

The Discover it® Secured has a $0 annual fee, but like other secured cards, it requires you to put down a security deposit equal to your credit line, which the issuer holds as collateral in case you don’t pay your bill. Unlike other secured cards, though, it offers a rewards program — and a pretty good one, too. You earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1% cash back. Perhaps more important, this card offers a clear path to an upgrade. After eight months, Discover automatically begins reviewing your account to see whether you can move up to a regular unsecured card (and get your deposit back).

2019 NerdWallet Best-Of Awards You deserve the best-of-the-best in 2019
The Best-Of Awards are back. See the best credit cards, banks, lenders and more.

Best small-business cash-back card

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business earns unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. That makes it a standout choice for entrepreneurs whose spending doesn’t fall neatly into the bonus categories offered by many business credit cards, such as office supplies or travel. The card does have an annual fee — $0 for the first year, then $95 — but keep in mind that it’s a deductible business expense. And if you’re putting tens of thousands of dollars a year on your card for operating expenses and inventory, the fee is minuscule in comparison to the rewards you’ll rack up. This card also has a great bonus offer: Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

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

    • High rewards rate
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 19.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 31.65%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
    • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
    • $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
    • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
    • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
    • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount


Why you might prefer the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express instead:

  • $0 annual fee.
  • Bonus categories that earn 5% and 3% cash back (subject to spending limits), and you get to choose your own 3% category.
  • An introductory 0% APR period on purchases.
  • Terms apply.

Learn more about the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

 

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

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

    • High rewards rate on certain travel purchases
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Bonus offer for new cardholders
    • Lounge access, airline fee credit

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Other cards offer a higher rewards rate on non-travel spending
    • Complicated rewards structure
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $595

    APR

    • Purchase: N/A

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
    • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
    • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
    • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
    • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
    • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
    • Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
    • Terms Apply
View rates and fees


Why you might prefer the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business instead:

  • Unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases.
  • Miles can be redeemed for statement credit against any travel expense at a value of 1 cent apiece.
  • Annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95.

Learn more about the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

 

Best small-business travel card

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Let’s get this out of the way: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express is not cheap. It comes with an annual fee of $595. But it comes with an extensive portfolio of benefits that make it well worth the investment for entrepreneurs who are always on the road. The card earns 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. When you redeem points for eligible travel, you can get 35% of those points back as a bonus. You have access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide. There’s a $200 annual credit for incidental airline fees, plus reimbursement for the application fee for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. You get automatic elite status with Marriott and Hilton hotels. Terms apply. And that’s not even mentioning the sizable bonus offer for new cardholders. Keep in mind that the annual fee is a deductible business expense, too.

Best card for college students

Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students

The Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students can help college students get past some of the obstacles that prevent young people from qualifying for a credit card. If you don’t have a credit history, Deserve can evaluate your application using its own underwriting algorithm that takes into account such factors as your school, major and likelihood of graduating (and getting a job afterward); your bank account balances and other assets; and even your contact information. For international students, Deserve allows you to apply without a Social Security number (although you’ll need a student visa, passport ID and school documents such as an I-20 form or DS 2019). Once approved, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases.

Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students

Deserve® Edu Mastercard for Students

Apply Now on Deserve's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 630
    850
    Average - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Qualify with limited credit
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • Purchase: 20.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • No SSN required for International students.
    • Available to students (enrollment verification is required).
    • Amazon Prime Student on us (get reimbursed for subscription fees up to a lifetime total of $59).
    • 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases.
    • Credit limits up to $5,000.
    • $0 annual fee & no foreign transaction fees.
    • No security deposit or co-signer required.
    • Helps students build credit history and gain financial independence.
    • Use anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted.
    • Includes Mastercard Platinum Benefits like Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Roadside Assistance, Travel Assistance Services, Price Protection, Extended Warranty and ID Theft Protection.
    • Complimentary cellphone insurance up to $600.

Why you might prefer the Discover it® Student Cash Back instead:

  • Same rewards program as Discover’s regular cash-back cards: 5% cash back in rotating categories that you activate (on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending) and 1% on all other purchases.
  • $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher, for up to five years.
  • New cardholder bonus and a 0% APR period on purchases.

» While Discover notes that no FICO history is required for this card, keep in mind that simply being a college student is not enough to qualify for a student credit card like the Discover it® Student Cash Back. Approval depends on your creditworthiness and ability to pay for your charges. Learn more about student credit cards.

Learn more about the Discover it® Student Cash Back

 

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

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

    • Sign-up bonus
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Miles don't expire on active accounts
    • Free checked bag

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $75

    APR

    • APR: 18.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR
    • Cash Advance APR: See Terms

    Bonus Offers

    Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • NOW - 40,000 Bonus Mile + Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ Offer.
    • Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
    • Save with a free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other guests on the same reservation.
    • Get Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ every year! EACH YEAR on your account anniversary get a companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska flights booked on alaskaair.com with no blackout dates.
    • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don't expire on active accounts.
    • NEW! Enjoy 50% off day passes at the Alaska Lounge and 20% back on all Alaska Airlines inflight purchases when you pay with your new card.
    • Redeem miles with no blackout dates on any of Alaska's 1,200 daily flights or choose from over 900+ destinations with more than a dozen global airline partners. Plus, get exclusive access to discounted redemption levels when you redeem miles for hotel stays at over 400,000 properties using Alaska Airlines Hotels.
    • Plus, no foreign transaction fees and a low $75 annual fee.

Why you might prefer the United℠ Explorer Card instead:

  • As a national carrier, United has much wider reach.
  • Two one-time passes to United Club airport lounges each year.
  • Primary rental car insurance.

» Don’t fly Alaska or United? See other options.

Learn more about the United℠ Explorer Card

 

Best airline credit card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

We admit that the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is not going to be a feasible option for everyone. Seattle-based Alaska Airlines’ operations are concentrated mostly on the West Coast, and even after its acquisition of Virgin America, it doesn’t serve every state. Still, its credit card is a best-in-class product that deserves recognition — especially if it prods the bigger carriers to consider adopting some of its features. It comes with an annual Companion Fare deal that allows you to bring someone with you on a flight for as little as $99 plus taxes and fees. The savings from that perk alone can pay the $75 annual fee, but you also get a free checked bag benefit, 3X miles on airline purchases and a solid sign-up bonus. Read more about why we chose it.

Best hotel credit card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
(previously known as Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card)

We chose Marriott’s consumer card as our winner back when it was still known as the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card. In February 2019, the hotel chain introduced a new suite of credit cards under the name Marriott Bonvoy. The Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card became the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. This card lets you earn and redeem rewards at thousands of hotels worldwide in a portfolio of around 30 brands, from budget lodging to high-end resorts. Earn 6X points at participating hotels and 2X points everywhere else; enjoy a free night every year; receive automatic Silver elite status (and a boost toward Gold); and get the ball rolling with a great sign-up bonus.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

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

    • High rewards rate
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $95

    APR

    • APR: 18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • An additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
    • Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 6,900 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
    • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
    • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
    • No foreign transaction fees.
    • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.


Why you might prefer the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card instead:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent, and 10 miles per dollar at Hotels.com/venture.
  • Redeem miles for statement credit against any travel purchase, with no minimum redemption amount.
  • Annual fee waived the first year.

Learn more about the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

 

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is available by applying directly through Amazon.


Rewards offered by this card:

  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market.
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores.
  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Information about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card and the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card was collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards.

 

Why you might prefer the Chase Freedom® or the Discover it® Cash Back instead:

  • Each card earns 5% cash back on quarterly categories that you activate (on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending), and 1% back on all other purchases. Bonus categories in recent years have included common merchants such as gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores.
  • Each card has a sign-up bonus and a 0% APR period.
  • No annual fee (or required membership fee) on either card.

Learn more about the Chase Freedom®
Learn more about the Discover it® Cash Back

 

Best store credit card

Amazon Prime rewards visa signature card

If you must carry a store card, it might as well be for the store that carries everything. The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, issued by Chase, earns 5% back at Amazon.com and Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; and 1% everywhere else. There’s no limit to the rewards you can earn, and you can redeem them directly for Amazon purchases. The card has no annual fee, but you need to be a member of Amazon Prime, which costs $119 a year. (Non-Prime members can apply for a different card, the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, which earns 3% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; and 1% everywhere else.)

Best gas card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

The best gas credit cards usually aren’t those with a gas station or oil company brand on them. They’re general-purpose cards that give you bonus rewards for gas purchases. That’s because they earn rewards regardless of where you buy gas, and they earn rewards based on how much you spend rather than how many gallons you buy. As the price of gas goes up, so do your rewards, unlike with gas station cards that give you a flat discount of, say, 5 cents per gallon. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card gives you an unlimited 3 points per dollar spent on gas. Points are worth 1 cent apiece. (Try our calculator below to see how that translates into savings.) With an annual fee of $0 and 3X rewards in an array of categories in addition to gas, it’s a gas card that’s also an outstanding everyday card.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

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

    • No annual fee
    • Sign-up bonus
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and qualifying Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 16.24% - 28.24% Variable APR

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value

    Intro APR

    • 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value
    • $0 Annual Fee
    • Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
    • Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
    • Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
    • Earn 1X points on other purchases
    • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 16.24%-28.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
    • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions

Why you might prefer the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer instead:

  • No points, just straight cash back: 3% on a category of your choice (which can be gas) and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/chosen-category purchases each quarter; 1% on all other purchases.
  • Choose your own 3% category: gas, dining, travel, online shopping, drugstores, or furniture/home inprovement stores.
  • Solid sign-up bonus, decent 0% intro APR period, and a $0 annual fee.
  • Bank of America® Preferred Rewards customers can earn rewards bonuses of up to 75%.

Learn more about the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer

 

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: 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.49%, 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% 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.
    • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
    • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%
    • $95 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.

Why you might prefer the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express instead:

  • $0 annual fee.
  • It’s generally a better deal than the annual-fee version if you spend less than $60 a week at the supermarket.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% everywhere else (terms apply).

Learn more about the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

 

Best card for families

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

For families that spend a lot on groceries and gas, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a must-have. It pays an industry-leading 6% — six percent! — at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 a year in spending, then 1%), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including such things as taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains and buses); and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Terms apply. Unlike most cash-back cards, it comes with an annual fee: $95. But you’ll make up for it with just $31 a week in supermarket spending. Everything above that is just rich, satisfying gravy. Throw in a nice bonus offer for new cardholders and a not-bad 0% intro APR period, and you’ve got a workhorse card for a busy household.

Best card for dining and entertainment

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

The no-annual-fee version of Capital One’s relatively new dining and entertainment card is actually better than the standard version for most people. The Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card pays an unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% everywhere else. What’s especially nice is that unlike many cards that focus on dining rewards, your rewards come as cash rather than points that you have to figure out how to redeem (“I guess I could use a $25 Staples gift card …”). There’s a solid sign-up bonus and a great 0% intro APR, too.

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

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

    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Additional Information
    • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
    • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that
    • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • No annual fee

Why you might prefer the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card instead:

  • Although it has an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95, if you spend more than $9,500 a year on dining and entertainment, you’ll come out ahead on this card, compared with the no-fee version.
  • Unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% everywhere else.
  • Big-time sign-up bonus: Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Learn more about the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

 

2019 NerdWallet Best-Of Awards You deserve the best-of-the-best in 2019
The Best-Of Awards are back. See the best credit cards, banks, lenders and more.


Methodology

NerdWallet’s credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.