5 of the Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards Right Now

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If you don’t spend a lot on your credit cards it may not make sense to pay an annual fee. And since I evaluate a product’s value at the margin, when considering a card that has an annual fee it makes sense to evaluate how much better that product is than the best you can do without one.

Here are the best no annual fee cards available right now, with no more than one choice per bank:

  • Chase: Ink Business Unlimited(SM) Credit Card has an initial bonus of $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Your ongoing spend will earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business.

    This is 50,000 points and 1.5 points per dollar that can be transferred to airline miles and hotel points if you have Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or similar.

    • Airlines: United, Singapore, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air France KLM, Southwest, Aer Lingus, Iberia, JetBlue
    • Hotels: Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, IHG

    Singapore Airlines Offers a Choice of Dom Perignon and Krug in First Class

  • American Express: The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express earns 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on your first $50,000 in purchases per year (1 point per dollar thereafter). That makes this the best most rewarding card for otherwise-unbonused spend. And the points transfer to miles:

    • Star Alliance: Aeroplan, ANA, Singapore
    • oneworld: AsiaMiles, British Airways, Iberia
    • SkyTeam: Aeromexico, Alitalia, Air France KLM, Delta
    • Non-alliance: Etihad, Emirates, El Al, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic
    • Hotels: Choice, Hilton, Starwood (soon to be Marriott)

    Etihad’s First Apartment is the Best Seat That’s Regularly Redeemable at the Saver Level

  • Citibank: Citi Double Cash 2% cash back (1% back when you make a purchase and another 1% back as you pay off the purchase).

  • Elan Financial Services: Fidelity Investment Rewards Visa Signature Card earns 2% back deposited into a Fidelity account and has no annual fee.

  • Barclays: Uber Visa Card The card offers 4% back on restaurants. It has a $100 signup bonus after $500 spend within 90 days. There’s cell phone protection and a rebate on Netflix or Spotify. The card has no foreign transaction fees — but it’s missing premium benefits from Uber, indeed earning is better with Airbnb than Uber!

    Earning is 4% back at restaurants and UberEATS; 3% back on airfare, hotels, travel agencies, and Airbnb; 2% back for online purchases and Uber; 1% back on everything else

  • PenFed: PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card can earn 4x on travel and 1.5x elsewhere, with points worth up to 1.25 cents apiece towards travel redemptions (though 0.8 is more common). Despite having no annual fee the card comes with a $100 annual travel benefit and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. Is Citi Double Cash feasible for a college student who has never had a credit card (but is an authorized user on someone else’s credit card who has good credit history)?

  2. Gary,

    You forgot the no fee Amex Hilton card – 75,000 point welcome bonus, 3x point earning on all spend, 5x on restaurants and groceries, 7x on Hilton, no foreign transaction fee and Silver status. I believe most of the cards you selected have foreign transaction fees…

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