I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
Here are the best of the best in each category of credit card, think of it as an award of sorts. My basic value proposition for each card and why it’s among the top of each category.
Best No Annual Fee Cards
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: earns 1.5 points per dollar on all spending. (The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card has been collected by View from the Wing and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.)
I think the card gets even better if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card because you can move your Chase Freedom Unlimited points to your Sapphire Preferred account and from there to airline miles or hotel points. Since I value Sapphire Preferred’s points at 1.9 cents apiece, earning at 1.5 points per dollar on Freedom Unlimited means this strategy nets you a 2.85% effective rebate on spend without any other bonus. That’s unparalleled for earning on an ongoing basis.
Maybe you’re not ready to get Sapphire Preferred. Maybe you don’t spend a lot, and even though the Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee is $0 the first year you aren’t ready to get a card that’s going to cost $95 per year after that. So you spend on this card, save your points, and when you do get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card later all of a sudden your points will be much more valuable because they’ll be transferrable to a variety of airline and hotel programs.
Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great card to start with. Earn points at a fast rate. Just don’t spend the points right away at a penny apiece. Save them until you ‘graduate’ to Sapphire Preferred, and those points will become even more valuable.
- Amex Everyday: This seems like the easiest undisputed best no annual fee miles and points card because it’s the only no fee card whose points transfer 1:1 into a variety of airline and hotel programs (it’s a full American Express Membership Rewards points-earning card). What’s more, if you use the card 20 times in a month you get a 20% bonus on all points earned, so you’ll earn 1.2 points per dollar across the board — for a free card. It also earns double points at supermarkets up to $6000 per year.
The card is also a good option if you have a premium American Express Membership Rewards card like the Platinum, Premier Rewards Gold and you decide it no longer makes sense to keep a card with an annual fee. Instead of transferring your Membership Rewards points to miles (to avoid losing your points if you don’t keep a card), just get an Amex Everyday card. It’s a no annual fee card, you keep your Membership Rewards points, and the flexibility to decide where to transfer them to later.
- Citi Double Cash earns 1% back when you make a purchase then another 1% when you pay your bill.
Best Cards for Earning Points Quickly
- Chase Sapphire Preferred has a strong bonus (50,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months,) and for many has the most useful spend bonuses — double points on travel (air, hotel, car, taxi, toll, etc) and dining. Those are my biggest spend categories since I travel heavily. And this is the best broadly available offer for the card I’ve ever seen (50,000 without the bonus for additional cardholder was the norm prior to April 2002.) It’s also the card you should get first because reports are that Chase doesn’t seem to approve cards for folks with 5+ new credit card applications in the past two years.
Transfer Points and Redeem for Singapore Airlines A380 Suites
- Citi Prestige earns triple points on air travel and hotels and double points on dining and entertainment. You’ll be surprised at what counts as ‘entertainment’ and earns you double points. Points transfer to a variety of airlines like Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles, Etihad Guest, and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer.
Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles is a Citi transfer partner.
- American Express Premier Rewards Gold. This was the strongest American Express Membership Rewards-earning card by a mile before the Amex Everyday Preferred was introduced. Now it depends on what you spend the most on. If you can leverage 3x on airfare and double points at US gas stations and US groceries stores and at US restaurants then you may earn more with this card.
Best Premium Cards
- American Express Platinum is the traditional premium credit card — that now comes packed with so many benefits that I keep it year in and year out. It gets me lounge access (Delta lounges when flying Delta, Priority Pass Select which means Alaska lounges and lounges around the world, plus the outstanding American Express Centurion lounges). It comes with Hilton Gold status, Starwood Gold status and National Car Rental Executive status. It comes with unlimited Boingo wireless internet, and rebates the fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. And there’s a $200 airline fee credit which makes the annual fee much easier to handle.
- http://vftw-links.com/citiprestigeCiti Prestige is definitely the ‘it’ card of the moment, the richest mix of benefits, and the best (lowest net cost) way for American flyers to get lounge access — a signup bonus up to 50,000 points [Offer expired], this $450 annual fee card comes with a $250 airfare credit that you can even use directly on an airline ticket. Your Priority Pass Select membership comes with two free guests into participating lounges. It gets American Admirals Club access when flying American. They’ll rebate the fourth night of a hotel stay when you book through their agents. You even get 3 rounds of free golf each year at participating courses. And of course they rebate the $100 Global Entry fee. Here are 15 Things I Love About the Citi Prestige Card.