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Holly D. Johnson - Contributor Updated: 24 January 2023 12 Min Read
Reviewed By Bestcovery - Editorial Team
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The best credit cards on the market today offer something for everyone, whether their greatest benefits come in the form of rewards for spending, 0% APR for a limited time, or exclusive travel perks. However, different cards are built with different consumer profiles in mind, which means the best card option for an individual varies from one person to the next.

With that in mind, consumers should think long and hard about what they hope to gain from a credit card before they apply. Where one person might be better off earning rewards, another might benefit more from a 0% APR credit card or a credit card for their small business.

To help in that respect, we created this list of the best credit cards for a variety of different purposes. Before you sign up for a new credit card, consider our top picks for 2022.

Our picks for the best credit cards

Best Credit Cards of 2023

Side-by-side comparison of top cards
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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Best for Grocery Stores

Rates & Fees

Why we like it

With the chance to earn 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back), the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives users the chance to earn $360 in cash rewards at U.S. supermarkets alone every 12 months. This can be combined with bonus rewards on other purchases in everyday spending categories such cash back on gas and public transit expenses.

Apart from this, there is a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, which goes to a variable rate of 18.49% to 29.49% after the first year.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

PROS

  • Top rewards at U.S. supermarkets and on select U.S. streaming services
  • No annual fee the first year
  • Comes with a handful of consumer protections
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months

CONS

  • Rewards can only be redeemed for a statement credit
  • $95 annual fee after the first year
  • Earns cash back instead of American Express Membership Rewards

Earning rewards

This rewards credit card offers excellent cash rewards at U.S. supermarkets as well as on other purchases. Cardholders earn 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back), 6% back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, and 1% back on other purchases.

Earn $250 when you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Best for Rewards

Why we like it

Aside from the fact this card offers a generous welcome bonus and ongoing rewards, it’s important to note that you’ll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This credit card loyalty program is typically considered the best one available today due to its flexibility. You can redeem your rewards for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise. These options can be helpful if you’re not traveling right now due to COVID-19.

You can also get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase, and you can transfer your points to Chase airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 miles-for-miles transfer ratio.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

PROS

  • Earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points
  • Generous bonus categories
  • Lucrative welcome offer

CONS

  • $95 annual fee
  • Fewer travel benefits than some premium travel credit cards
  • Excellent credit required to qualify

Earning rewards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers bonus rewards in an array of everyday spending categories, which can help you rack up a huge points balance faster. Currently, cardholders earn 5x points on travel through Chase, 3x points on dining, online grocery purchases and select streaming services, and 1x points on other purchases.

Even better, the sign-up bonus this card offers is worth $750 in travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within three months
of account opening.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best for Travel Rewards

Why we like it

This rewards card also earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can redeem for travel purchases through Chase for 50% more value or transfer to Chase airline and hotel partners. You also get travel benefits that make travel more comfortable, including airport lounge membership, access to expedited airport security programs, and more.

This rewards credit card also comes with the most robust selection of travel insurance benefits of any travel credit card on the market today, including rental car insurance, baggage insurance, trip cancellation insurance, and much more.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

PROS

  • Flexible rewards options within the Chase Ultimate Rewards program
  • Generous earning categories
  • Generous travel insurance benefits and perks
  • No foreign transaction fees

CONS

  • $550 annual fee
  • Smaller bonus offer than some comparable cards
  • Excellent credit score required to qualify

Earning rewards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers exceptional rewards for travel purchases as well as an excellent selection of travel-related benefits. Cardholders get the chance to earn 10x points on Chase dining, 5x points on flights booked through Chase, 3x points on travel and dining, and 1x points on all non-bonus spending. 

Card holders can earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Best Welcome Offer

Why we like it

This rewards card won in this category due to its generous sign-up bonus of 100,000 points after you spend $10,000 on your card within six months of opening an account. This bonus is worth $1,000 in travel purchases through Capital One or elsewhere, but you can also transfer your miles to Capital One airline and hotel partners.

Separately, this card offers a ton of fruitful benefits for a lower annual fee than other premium travel credit cards.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

PROS

  • Huge welcome offer
  • Flexible rewards you can use in more than one way
  • Comes with powerful travel benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees

CONS

  • Excellent credit required
  • Inferior transfer partners when compared to other flexible programs
  • $395 annual fee

Earning rewards

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card makes it possible to rack up a ton of rewards if you travel often and are willing to book airfare, hotels, and other eligible purchases through the Capital One portal. This card offers 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel and 2x miles on all other purchases.

The card comes with a $300 annual travel credit through Capital One Travel, and a $200 credit toward eligible vacation rental bookings.

Citi Premier® Card

Best for Hotels and Gas

Why we like it

This rewards credit card offers 3x points in an array of popular categories including select travel purchases, gas stations, supermarkets, and dining. Note that rewards earned with this card come with plenty of flexibility as well. You can redeem your points for a statement credit, gift cards, or even a payment to a mortgage or student loans.

You can also redeem your points for travel purchases through the Citi travel portal, or you can transfer them to Citi airline and hotel partners. This card gives you plenty of rewards options for a relatively low annual fee of $95.

Citi Premier® Card

PROS

  • Generous rewards in plenty of bonus categories, including gas stations and hotels
  • Lucrative welcome offer worth $800 in gift cards
  • Points can be transferred to hotels and airlines

CONS

  • $95 annual fee required
  • Excellent credit required
  • You don't earn hotel loyalty points with this card

Earning rewards

The Citi Premier® Card rewards cardholders generously with 3x points at restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets, 3x points on air travel and hotels, and 1x points on other eligible purchases.

You can earn 80,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within three months of account opening.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for Dining and Entertainment

Why we like it

This rewards credit card offers the best cash rewards for dining and entertainment purchases among all other cards. Rewards are also flexible, and this card has a relatively low annual fee of $95. You can redeem rewards for a statement credit, gift cards, purchases made through PayPal, purchases made through Amazon.com, and more.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

PROS

  • Generous rewards for dining, entertainment, and groceries
  • Flexible redemption options
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

CONS

  • Excellent credit required

Earning rewards

The SavorOne from Capital One offers the most generous rewards for dining and entertainment purchases of all cash rewards credit cards. Once you sign up, you can earn 4% back on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services, 3% at grocery stores, and 1% on other purchases. You can also earn 8% back on eligible purchases made through Vivid Seats. Cardholders can earn a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.

Compare the Best Credit Cards of 2023

Learn about the top credit cards
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How we selected our best credit cards

To find the best credit cards on the market today, we looked for different types of cards to suit a variety of circumstances and spending styles.

We also looked closely at all the credit cards on the market today to compare them based on their annual fees, balance transfer fees, transaction fees, regular APR, and intro APR.

Overall, we sought out rewards cards and other types of cards that offer the best perks and features among all cards in their niche.

Which credit card provider is best?

There is no one-size-fits-all credit card, much like there is no “best” credit card provider. Each is dependent on your needs and what you want most out of your card.

Some of the most popular credit card providers are American Express, Chase, Citi, Discover, and Capital One, each of which has a variety of options for you to choose from.

American Express

American Express is one of the most popular credit card companies, and it’s easy to see why consumers and small business owners gravitate toward them.

With generous rewards on flights, groceries, and restaurants, Amex members can earn points and cash back with their Amex Membership Rewards account. These generous rewards don’t come easily, though, as American Express requires excellent credit to apply. They also have high annual fees in comparison to other issuers, but for users who are looking to rack up specific rewards like airline benefits or grocery rewards, it’s a small price to pay.

Chase

Chase is known for their cash back and exceptional Chase Rewards program, making them one of the best credit card providers around.

With generally lower annual fees than American Express and easily earned points, Chase is a top contender for the best credit cards. While good to excellent credit is still required for many of their cards, they also offer cards to help build or rebuild your credit, so there are options for everyone.

Citi

For co-branded cards with airlines or grocery stores, Citi wins hands-down.

Cards like the Costco Anywhere Visa and Citi AAdvantage cards are highly rated, co-branded cards that offer exceptional rewards on grocery and gas purchases from Costco and American Airlines flights, respectively. Citi has rewards that only they offer, like Citi ThankYou points with flexible redemption options and competitive rewards rates. Most of their cards require excellent credit, much like American Express, so be sure to check if you qualify before applying.

Discover

Discover takes the cake when it comes to variety, with a card for every credit score, rewards preference, and demographic.

With multiple options for students, secured credit cards, rewards cards, and even an NHL-specific branded card, they quite honestly have something for everyone. Discover has perks such as low to no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no fee on your first late payment, giving consumers peace of mind and making Discover a great choice for a credit card.

Capital One

If you’re currently rebuilding your credit or have an average but not excellent credit score, Capital One offers cards for that.

While the rewards rates of Capital One aren’t as grandiose as other issuers, they offer opportunities for every credit profile and give you a chance to get your credit to a better place so you can apply for “fancier” cards later on. They even offer cards for students who are looking to start building their credit and do have some competitive rewards on certain cards, making Capital One a great option for many users.

How do credit cards work?

Credit cards work by extending a line of credit you can use to make purchases or pay bills.

In most cases, applicants who are approved will be assigned a credit limit. This is the amount of money you can have charged to your credit card at any given time. If you use your card responsibly, over time you may be eligible to increase your credit limit.

Credit card interest

If you want to understand how to best utilize your credit card, you need to know how credit card interest works.

Credit cards give you the opportunity to pay your credit card charges in full every month, in which case you won’t be charged any interest on your purchases. On the other hand, you can also pay what is called a minimum payment, or the minimum amount your credit card provider will accept as payment in any given month. You can also pay any amount over the minimum payment if you prefer.

If you don’t pay your balance off entirely by your credit card bill due date, you’ll be charged interest on your purchases. While credit card interest rates vary, the average credit card currently charges a variable APR that is slightly over 16%.

Types of credit cards

There are quite a few types of credit cards out there, each of which is designed to target a different type of consumer.

As you look for the best credit card for your needs, consider the following types of cards and how they might help you meet your goals.

Credit-building credit cards

Credit cards for building your credit can come in the form of unsecured or secured credit cards. Either way, these cards are targeted at individuals with poor credit or no credit, and they tend to offer scarce benefits as a result.

Since these cards are geared to individuals with no credit or bad credit, they tend to charge higher fees and higher variable APRs.

Travel credit cards

Travel credit cards tend to offer more points on travel purchases, as well as travel benefits like airport lounge access and expedited airport security. Some travel credit cards also come with annual travel credits, automatic elite status, and generous travel insurance perks.

The most popular travel credit cards also let you transfer your points to airline and hotel partners. Examples include rewards credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Amex Membership Rewards points.

Cash back credit cards

Cash back credit cards focus on offering monetary rewards instead of travel rewards. However, some cash back cards let you redeem your rewards for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, travel, and more.

Most rewards cards in this niche don’t charge an annual fee.

0% intro APR credit cards

Cards that offer 0% intro APR can work well for balance transfers, yet some also extend their introductory APR offers to purchases as well. Cards in this niche don’t typically offer rewards, although you will find cash back cards that come with 0% APR offers.

While 0% APR credit cards typically do not charge an annual fee, you will have to pay a balance transfer fee if you use one of these cards to consolidate debt.

Reasons to get a credit card

While you may be able to get by in life without ever having a credit card, there are plenty of reasons to pick one up anyway — even if it’s just a one-time move.

After all, credit cards can work as a valuable tool, and they can even save your finances if you find yourself in a cash crunch at the worst possible time.

Some of the most common reasons to get a credit card include:

How to build credit with no credit history

If you don’t have any credit at all, there are credit cards geared specifically to your needs.

Most likely, you’ll need to start building credit with a secured credit card — a type of credit card that requires a cash deposit as collateral.

With a secured credit card, you will likely need to put down around $200 in cash as collateral, which would equal your new credit limit. From there, you could make purchases and pay them off every month. As your card issuer reports your on-time payments to the credit bureaus, you get the chance to build a valuable credit history that can improve your score.

While secured credit cards may not sound ideal, they are often the best way to build credit when you have none. And remember, you can get your security deposit back when you upgrade or close your account in good standing.

How to improve bad credit

If your credit isn’t great, you may think another credit card is the last thing you need.

However, credit cards can help you build credit or improve a bad credit score — that is if you use one wisely.

Credit cards FAQ

Holly D. Johnson
Holly D. Johnson Contributor

Holly D. Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer who covers topics like insurance, investing, credit and family finance. As a leading voice in the travel and loyalty space, Johnson has traveled with her family to more than 50 countries over the last decade. 

The author has also written extensively on the power of household budgeting, and she even co-authored a book on the topic. Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love was originally published in 2017, and it teaches families how to use zero-sum budgeting to reach their financial goals. She is also the co-owner and founder of the family finance and travel website, ClubThrifty.com.

Johnson’s 10+ years of writing have focused on helping families make important financial decisions at each stage of their lives. The author also applies the financial principles she teaches to her own life, and she is currently on track to retire in her late 40’s with her partner. She currently lives in Central Indiana with her husband and children, and she is a regular contributor for Bankrate, CNN, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report Travel and many other notable publications.