Best credit cards of March 2024

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There is no single best credit card out there for everyone. But whether you’re looking for cash back or travel rewards, an introductory 0% APR promotion, airline or hotel perks, or a card to help you build your credit history, some cards are better than others.

While it’s important for you to consider your credit score, spending habits, and feature preferences, the Fortune Recommends™ team evaluated dozens of different types of credit cards to give you an idea of what best-in-class credit card rewards and benefits look like. Read on to see our top picks.

Best credit cards

Best flat-rate cash-back card: Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is the epitome of set it and forget it. If you don’t want to worry about categories or spending limits, the Active Cash is for you.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Intro Bonus


Earn $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first three months







0% balance transfer term15 months
Balance transfer fee3% or $5 first 120 days, then 5%
Annual fee$0
Regular APR20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR


Why we like this card: The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers a straightforward 2% back on every purchase, making it easy to predict how much you’ll earn based on your everyday spending habits. There’s also no annual fee, so you don’t have to worry about whether you can get enough value to offset a yearly cost.

The card also offers solid new-cardholder incentives, including an easy-to-earn welcome bonus and a solid introductory 0% APR both purchases and balance transfers.

Best 5% cash-back card: Chase Freedom Flex℠

If you want to squeeze every last penny out of your rewards and are willing to put in some work, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ could be for you.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Intro bonus


$200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within your first three months







0% balance transfer term15 months
Balance transfer fee3%
Annual fee$0
Regular APR20.49%–29.24% Variable


Why we like this card: The Chase Freedom Flex® is a great option if you want to maximize your rewards on a variety of spending categories that change throughout the year. It can be particularly beneficial if you pair it with another cash-back credit card with a high base rewards rate — otherwise, expect to earn a measly 1% back on most of your purchases.

The card also offers an impressive welcome bonus and a 0% intro APR promotion on both purchases and balance transfers.

Best premium travel card: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers premium benefits, and while it does charge a high annual fee, the fee is hundreds less than competing cards with similar perks.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Intro bonus


Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening






Annual Fee$395
Purchase APR19.99%–29.99% variable
Foreign Transaction FeeNone


Why we like this card: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card may charge a steep annual fee like other premium travel cards, but it doesn’t make it too difficult to get that value back in the form of perks. On top of the card’s annual travel credit and miles bonus, you’ll also get access to more than 1,300 airport lounges in the Priority Pass, Capital One Lounge and Plaza Premium networks.

When it comes to redeeming your rewards, Capital One offers more flexibility than other credit card issuers. You can use miles to book travel through the issuer’s travel portal or book on your own and request a statement credit. You can also transfer your miles to select airline and hotel rewards programs, though it can require some effort and attention to detail to maximize your rewards value that way.

Best mid-tier travel card: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With a generous welcome bonus and elevated rewards on travel and dining, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a strong value proposition.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Intro bonus


60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening





Annual fee$95
Regular APR21.49%–28.49% variable


Why we like this card: Despite its modest annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card packs a big punch. The card’s welcome bonus is sizable on its own, but it’s made even more valuable with a 25% boost on travel redemptions through Chase. You’ll also get an annual bonus of 10% of your purchases each year — for example, if you spend $30,000, you’ll get 3,000 bonus points.

The card offers bonus rewards on several different spending categories, plus up to $50 toward hotel stays if you book through Chase. You can also enjoy special perks with select partners, including Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Peloton.

While travel redemptions through the Chase portal give you 25% more value, you can also use your points to get cash back, buy gift cards, and more. You can even transfer your rewards to a variety of airline and hotel rewards programs.

Best no-annual-fee card: Bilt Mastercard®

The marquis benefit of the Bilt Mastercard® is the ability to earn points on rent while avoiding the convenience fee landlords typically charge for paying by credit card. But even without that perk the card offers a compelling set of benefits, all for no annual fee.

Bilt Mastercard

Intro bonus

None






Annual fee$0
Regular APR21.49%, 24.49%, or 29.49% variable


Why we like this card: It can be difficult to earn credit card rewards on rent payments because most landlords either don’t allow credit card payments or charge a hefty convenience fee. With the Bilt Mastercard®, you can make your rent payments through Bilt for free and earn rewards on the monthly bill. Just make sure you use the card at least five times per month to earn rewards. You can also earn double the rewards on the first of every month (excluding rent).

The card also offers some solid insurance benefits, including cell phone protection, trip delay protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and auto rental collision damage waiver. That said, there are no new-cardholder incentives.

Best balance transfer card: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

If you’re trying to consolidate your debt, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card gives you over a year and a half to pay off the balance with no interest besides the balance transfer fee.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Intro Bonus


Extended 0% introductory APR period for purchases and balance transfers.







0% balance transfer term21 months
Balance transfer fee3%
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR18.74%–29.74%


Why we like this card: The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers the longest introductory 0% APR promotion currently available for balance transfers. If you need to pay off high-interest debt from another card, this card should be toward the top of your list of options. The card also offers cell phone protection.

That said, there’s no rewards program and also no welcome bonus, limiting the card’s value after the 0% APR promotional period expires.

Best 0% APR card: Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

A large purchase can take a dent out of your wallet, but saving on interest helps lessen the sting. The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card gives you a long runway to pay down your bill without worrying about interest.

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Intro APR


Best in class introductory 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases.







0% balance transfer term21 months
Balance transfer fee5%
Annual fee$0
Regular APR18.24%, 24.74% or 29.99%


Why we like this card: If you want to maximize your interest savings while paying down a large purchase or some emergency expenses, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card should be on your radar. The card offers the longest 0% APR promotion currently available for purchases.

While it doesn’t offer a traditional rewards program, you can earn statement credits when you use the card with select merchants through the My Wells Fargo Deals program. The card also offers cell phone protection.

Best credit card for fair credit: Citi Double Cash® Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card has long been a contender in the cash-back card category. Other cards have upstaged it of late but the Double Cash doesn’t require pristine credit to qualify.

Citi Double Cash Credit Card

Intro Bonus


Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months and get an 18-month 0% introductory APR on balance transfers







0% balance transfer term18 months
Balance transfer fee3%
Annual fee$0
Regular APR19.24%-29.24%


Why we like this card: Most of the best rewards credit cards require good or excellent credit, but if your credit score is in the fair range, you can still get the opportunity to earn a great rewards rate on all of your purchases with the Citi Double Cash® Card. The card also offers a solid welcome bonus and an introductory 0% APR promotion on balance transfers.

Best credit card for bad credit: Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Whether you’re just starting out or you need to get back on track the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card could be an effective tool to help you build credit.

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Who is this card good for?


The Chime Credit Builder Visa card is good for those who don’t want to be bound by minimum deposits.






Annual feeNone
APRNone
Security deposit$0


Why we like this card: If you’re looking to build your credit history, traditional secured credit cards hold your deposit for several months or until you close your account. With the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card, there’s no minimum security deposit, and you can access your deposit account anytime you want. You’ll use that account to pay your bill, though, so you’ll need to add more to have spending power with the card.

The card is also great for people who are worried about bad credit or who don’t want to deal with the dangers of high-interest credit card debt. But while there’s no credit check when you apply, you’ll need a Chime checking account with monthly direct deposits of at least $200 to qualify.

Best airline card: Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card offers more than enough benefits on Delta to offset the high annual fee.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Intro Bonus


100,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months





Annual fee$650
Regular APR20.99%–29.99% variable


Why we like this card: The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card isn’t cheap, but for frequent Delta flyers, it offers extreme value. In addition to a solid welcome bonus, you’ll also get airport lounge access when you fly Delta, an annual companion certificate, annual statement credits on Delta Stays purchases, rideshare, and purchases with Resy, an application fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and much more.

When flying Delta, you’ll also get additional benefits, such as 15% off on award flights, free checked baggage, priority boarding, and inflight discounts.

Best hotel card: IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

The IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card punches way above its weight class with benefits like an annual free night certificate and the fourth night free on award bookings.

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

Intro bonus


165,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening





Annual fee$99
Regular APR21.49%–28.49% variable


Why we like this card: The IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card charges a modest annual fee, but you can get far more value each year, especially if you’re a big spender. You’ll get a free night reward each year worth up to 40,000 points, plus a $100 statement credit and 10,000 bonus points if you spend $20,000 in a calendar year. Other perks include Platinum Elite status with IHG, an application fee credit toward Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS, and many more.

That said, the card’s rewards program is limited in flexibility and value. You can rack up points quickly but stays also require a lot of points. And while you can technically use your rewards for more than just hotel stays, you may get less value with the alternatives.

What are the different types of credit cards?

There are several different types of credit cards, each one specializing in certain benefits. As you consider your situation and needs, one type of credit card may be a better fit than the others. Here’s a quick summary of what’s available:

  • Cash-back credit cards: These cards offer cash-back rewards on your everyday purchases.
  • Travel rewards credit cards: With these cards, you can earn general travel rewards, often with flexible redemption options.
  • Airline credit cards: These co-branded credit cards allow you to earn rewards and enjoy perks with a specific airline.
  • Hotel credit cards: With these cards, you can earn points and take advantage of benefits with a single hotel chain.
  • 0% APR credit cards: These cards offer an introductory 0% APR promotion on purchases made within the first 12 to 21 months, depending on the card.
  • Balance transfer credit cards: Balance transfer cards allow you to transfer debt from another credit card and pay it off interest-free, usually over 12 to 21 months.
  • Student credit cards: These cards are designed specifically to help college students establish credit and develop good credit habits.
  • Secured credit cards: Made for people with bad credit or no credit history, these cards require a security deposit, typically equal to your desired credit limit, which will be returned to you when you close the account or qualify for an upgrade to an unsecured card.
  • Starter credit cards: Some card issuers offer unsecured cards that offer basic benefits and a chance to build credit. In some cases, these cards may have alternative requirements beyond your credit score.
  • Business credit cards: These cards are made for small business owners and often offer rewards and perks that align with common business expenses and needs.
  • Store credit cards: Also called retail or private-label cards, these cards are issued in partnership with retailers. In some cases, you can’t use the card anywhere else.

Note that some credit cards fit into different categories. For example, many cash-back credit cards offer 0% APR promotions on purchases, balance transfers or both. Additionally, some travel credit cards allow you to redeem rewards for cash back.

How to choose the best credit card for you

Credit cards offer a wide range of rewards and other benefits, making it difficult to choose just one that’s best for everyone. To determine which credit card is the best for you, consider the following factors:

  • Credit score: Most of the best credit cards require good or excellent credit. But if your credit score needs some work, your options may be limited to the ones for which you have good approval odds. Check your credit score before you apply for a credit card to get an idea of where you stand, then evaluate your options based on your credit profile.
  • Spending habits: If you’re looking for a rewards credit card, take a look at your expenses over the last few months to determine your biggest budget categories. Then, try to find a credit card that offers rewards that align with those categories.
  • Preferences: As you compare the best credit cards, review non-rewards features, such as welcome bonuses, 0% APR promotions, travel perks, insurance protections, and annual fees, to get an idea of what you’re looking for in a credit card. Also, consider whether you want to maximize rewards with tiered or rotating bonus categories or whether you’d prefer a flat rewards rate on everything.

How many credit cards should you have?

As you evaluate your options, you may also notice that there’s no single credit card that meets all your criteria. In that case, it can make sense to get multiple credit cards to make the most of all of your everyday spending.

That said, it’s important to avoid opening too many credit cards. The more cards you have, the more difficult it can be to keep track of payment due dates, rewards rates, and benefits. Adding more available credit can also increase your chances of overspending.

To determine the right number of credit cards for you, consider your spending habits and organizational skills. Also, consider whether the potential benefits of adding another card to your wallet are worth the added stress of managing multiple accounts.

Methodology

The best credit cards were chosen as the top pick in their respective categories. For more detail on how they were chosen, check out the respective list:

Frequently asked questions

What is the best type of credit card to own?

Ultimately, the best type of credit card depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider those, along with your credit score, to determine which type of credit card is best for you.

Which credit card is easiest to get?

Some credit cards don’t require a credit check when you apply or may determine your eligibility based on other factors, such as how you manage your income and expenses or your banking relationship with the card issuer.

If you’re new to credit or have poor credit, look for credit cards that don’t focus solely on your credit history.

What is the most difficult credit card to get?

The American Express Centurion Card, also known as the Black Card, is the most exclusive credit card on the market. The card is available by invitation only, and you typically need to have a high net worth and spend several hundred thousand dollars on American Express credit cards each year to get an invite.


Fortune Recommends™ has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Fortune Recommends™ and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefits guide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.

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