It’s that time of year again — time to reevaluate the credit cards you have in your wallet. While you may already own some top-notch cards, there are likely a number of better options on the market. In fact, credit card issuers are offering phenomenal rewards to everyone from those with average credit (usually thought to be a credit score over 670) to those with nearly spotless credit (scores typically 750 and above). By using a card you opened years ago or even in 2016, you could be losing out on earning more generous rewards and enjoying better benefits on your everyday purchases. These impressive offers range from intro bonuses worth $625 or more to 0% intro APRs as long as 21 months, making it a smart time to reconsider what cards will earn you the biggest bang for your purchases.
We’ve carefully reviewed the major cards on the market, and narrowed the list down to the best credit cards of 2017. Our categorized list is below.
Best Cash Back Card: Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
Are you in the market for a cash back credit card that has an intro bonus, offers very generous ongoing cash back rewards and is available to those with just good credit? You’re in luck because the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) hits all the right notes and even has no annual fee, making it the perfect fit for your wallet. To start, you’ll get a $100 intro bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. That’s followed up with an ongoing 3% back at supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases, then it’s 1%), 2% back at gas stations and select department stores like JCP, Kohl’s, Macys and Nordstrom, and 1% back on all other purchases. And if you apply by 5/3/17, you’ll also earn 10% back at U.S. restaurants in the first 6 months you have the card (up to $200 max cash back). This card will particularly appeal to those who tend to spend more on groceries, gas and restaurants, as those are the ongoing purchases that earn you the most. If you’re looking for a card with even more cash back rewards for groceries and gas, consider its sister card the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, which offers 6% on groceries (up to $6,000, then it’s 1%), and 3% back on gas and select department stores, although it does has a $95 annual fee.
Best 0% Intro APR Card: Citi Diamond Preferred Card
Offering an incredibly lengthy 0% intro APR, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card (a NextAdvisor advertiser) is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a stellar low APR card with no annual fee. You’ll enjoy a 21-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, which means you pay $0 in interest fees until almost the end of 2018. Although there is a 3% balance transfer fee for every transfer you complete, this one-time fee is likely a lot lower than the ongoing interest rate you’re paying on your current credit card. With almost 2 years of interest-free time, you can help pay down your balance or just take advantage of the time to make purchases that are basically interest-free loans.
Best Balance Transfer Card: Discover it – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer
If you’re carrying balances on other high-APR cards, this card was made for you. First off, the Discover it – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer card features a 21-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers, allowing you to cruise until practically the end of 2018 without paying a dime in interest on any balances you transfer (note that there is a fairly standard 3% balance transfer fee). You can also take advantage of a 6-month 0% intro APR on purchases. Plus, there is no annual fee and you’ll earn 5% back in categories that rotate quarterly (up to the quarterly max, then 1% back) and an unlimited 1% back on all other purchases. Although you do need to sign up each quarter to get the 5% back, this is made pretty painless via Discover’s emails reminder feature. And if that wasn’t enough, at the end of your first year Discover will double your cash back rewards. So if you earned $300, Discover will match that dollar-for-dollar for a grand total of $600 – a pretty huge first year bonus! As a cherry on top, Discover it – 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer is available to those with good to excellent credit, typically considered to be a credit score above 670.
Best Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred
With an intro bonus worth $625 in travel, great ongoing rewards and the ability to transfer points to other travel rewards programs, Chase Sapphire Preferred is our top travel card recommendation. Let’s start with the good stuff — you’ll get 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, equal to $500 in cash or $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, the largest intro bonus we’ve seen. Next, you’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. On top of all that, you can transfer your earned points 1:1 for free to leading travel programs like Southwest, United, Hyatt and Marriot. This is a great way to make the most of your points; for example, if you move your 50,000 bonus points to the Hyatt Gold Passport program they would be worth $1,086 according to our travel rewards analysis! Or if you choose to redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards, your points are worth 25% more. There is a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year, but this could be more than worth it, depending on your spending patterns. Overall, Chase Sapphire Preferred is an outstanding travel rewards credit card the features some real flexibility in the way you can use your points.
Best Card for Average Credit: Discover it – Cashback Match
If your credit is more in the average range (usually thought to be a credit score above 670), never fear — Discover it – Cashback Match is a great card that features significant cash back rewards to those with average to excellent credit. In fact, this card has benefits usually reserved for those with great credit and it’s also one of our top-rated cards for those with excellent credit. You’ll earn 5% back in categories that rotate quarterly (up to the quarterly maximum each quarter, then it’s 1%), and 1% back on all other purchases. You do need to sign up for the 5% back each quarter, but with Discover’s option for automatic email reminders this is pretty easy. Plus, just like the card name suggests, Discover will match the cash back you earn in your first year! That means if you earn $300, Discover will double it to $600 — a pretty terrific bonus! Additionally, Discover it – Cashback Match features a 14-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (with a 3% balance transfer fee), no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
Best Card for Bad/Rebuilding Credit: Discover it Secured Card – No Annual Fee
If you have a limited credit history or bad credit, but still want a cash back card with no annual fee that offers excellent rewards, you’re in luck. Discover it Secured Card is available to those with current or past credit issues, but it’s packed full of the same cash back rewards that those with good credit would receive. You’ll earn an ongoing 2% back at restaurants and gas stations (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then it’s 1%), and 1% back on all other purchases. Plus, Discover will match the cash back you earn the first year you have the card – literally doubling the amount you receive! So if you earn $200, Discover will double it to $400, a terrific first year bonus! All this, and Discover it Secured Card has absolutely no annual fee or foreign transaction fees to worry about, which make this a pretty darn good card regardless of your credit level and one we highly recommend.
Best Business Card: Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Startups, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies can all benefit from the Ink Business Cash Credit Card‘s rewards. This no annual fee card will earn you a fat $300 intro bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. That’s followed up by an ongoing 5% back on office supplies, cable, Internet and telecom purchases (on the first $25,000, then it’s 1%), 2% back at gas stations and restaurants (on the first $25,000, then it’s 1%) and an unlimited 1% back on all other purchases. Not only does the card have no annual fee, but you can increase your cash back rewards by adding free employee cards. Cardholders will also enjoy a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (there is a 5% balance transfer fee). This card does require excellent credit, so if you have a ding or two on your credit report consider the Capital One Spark Cash for Business which is available to those with just good credit, offers a $500 bonus and features 2% back on all purchases.
Best Card for Students: Discover it for Students
Student cards can sometimes be lackluster, but not Discover it for Students, which is available to those with just fair credit (usually considered to be a credit score of 600+), has no annual fee, features great rewards and has a 0% intro APR. You’ll earn 5% back in categories that rotate quarterly (on up to $1,500 on combined purchases each quarter, then it’s 1%), and 1% cash back on everything else. Plus, Discover will match your cash back rewards at the end of your first year, so if you earned $300, they’ll match it for a total of $600! This is a fantastic offer that we haven’t seen in any other card, particularly student cards. And on top of all the great rewards, there is a 6-month 0% intro APR on purchases and a low intro APR on balance transfers for 6 months (there is a 3% balance transfer fee).
Want to learn more about the cards detailed in this post? Visit our credit card reviews to see how our top picks compare to other cards on the market.
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.