Here’s a list of the year’s best credit cards, compiled by CardHub.com
• Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (Initial Rewards Bonus): While there are cards that offer more points/miles via an initial bonus than the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, it’s hard to argue against this card being the best given the ultimate value and versatility of its rewards. The 40,000 bonus points you get after spending $3,000 during the first three months can be redeemed for a $400 statement credit, which is clearly more useful to the average consumer than a free flight or a couple of complimentary hotel nights.
• Blue Cash Preferred from American Express (Ongoing Rewards – Everyday Spending): This is one of the best everyday rewards cards on the market given its exceptional earning rates in important spending categories. It offers 6% cash back at supermarkets (up to a $6,000 annual spending limit), 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores, and 1% cash back everywhere else. Some might be turned off by the $75 annual fee, but that’s a moot point for two years if you manage to spend at least $1,000 during the first three months and thereby qualify for its $150 initial bonus.
• Capital One Venture Card (Ongoing Rewards – Travel): The Venture Card has long been one of the most popular and rewarding credit cards for travel enthusiasts. As long as you redeem for travel-related expenses, it will provide you with the equivalent of 2% cash back across all purchases, and spending $1,000 during the first three months will score you a $100 initial rewards bonus. Its $59 annual fee doesn’t take effect until the second year either.
• PenFed Platinum Rewards (Ongoing Rewards – Gas): This is one of the best gas credit cards on the market, as it offers the equivalent of 5% cash back on every dollar you spend at stand-alone gas stations and doesn’t charge an annual fee. Don’t be scared off by the fact that it’s issued by a credit union either because anyone can join the Pentagon Federal Credit Union for a $15 fee.
• PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Credit Card (Ongoing Rewards – Airline Miles): This card offers the miles equivalent of 5% cash back on airfare purchases, regardless of which company you fly, and enables you to redeem for either cash or travel. It therefore saves you from having to peruse rewards flights in order to see how much your miles are worth and provides far more redemption flexibility than most other cards in its class.
• Citi Diamond Preferred Card (Paying Off Upcoming Debt): This card offers the longest 0% introductory term on the market, at 18 months. While the 0% rate applies to balance transfers as well as new transactions, it’s best suited for the latter purpose given its 3% balance transfer fee.
• Slate Card from Chase (Paying Off Existing Debt): This is what’s known as a free balance transfer credit card, as it offers a 0% introductory rate and charges neither a balance transfer fee nor an annual fee.
• Capital One Cash Rewards for Newcomers (Non-Students): This card is ideal for inexperienced consumers, as it doesn’t charge an annual fee – which enables low-cost credit building – and offers 2% cash back on travel as well as 1% on everything else.
• BankAmericard for Students (Students with Upcoming Big-Ticket Purchases): It’s rare for a student credit card to offer terms comparable to the best credit cards for people with excellent credit, but the 15-month 0% intro term this card provides on new purchases is only three months shorter than the longest 0% period on the market.
• Journey Student Rewards from Capital One (Everyday Student Expenses): Not only does this card offer straightforward, lucrative rewards without charging an annual fee, it also promotes good habits. On top of the 1% base rate you earn on all purchases, you get a 25% rewards bonus each month you make an on-time payment.
• Harley Davidson Secured Credit Card (Fully Secured): Don’t let the branding fool you, this is one of the best secured cards on the market given that it offers rewards and doesn’t charge an annual fee – both of which are rare features for cards targeted at people with bad credit. After 12 months of responsible use, you may also be considered for a bump up to an unsecured credit card.
• Capital One Secured MasterCard (Partially Secured): This card charges a $29 annual fee, which makes it the cheapest partially-secured card on the market. With a partially-secured credit card, you may get a credit line that is in excess of your security deposit, giving you more available credit and expediting the credit building process.