Some of the most popular credit cards out there offer big welcome bonuses, generous bonus categories, travel perks…and high annual fees. Sometimes paying $450 per year for a card that offers $300+ worth of travel credits can be worthwhile.
What most people don’t realize is that you don’t have to pay through the roof to enjoy big category bonuses and recurring travel perks. Below are seven of the most rewarding credit cards without annual fees:
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back on all spending. Sounds unexceptional, right? Except, these rewards are doubled during the first year of card membership. Best of all, if you have another Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred, you can convert your cash back rewards to Ultimate Rewards points.
Chase Ultimate Rewards are one of the most valuable currencies out there, with 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United and Southwest. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent during your first year. That can add up to a lot of points!
Citi Double Cash
The Citi Double Cash card is a great option if you’re looking for a generous cash back card with the flexibility to convert your rewards into points. The card earns 2% cash back on all spending: 1% when you charge purchases to it and 1% when you pay it off.
That’s pretty solid in and of itself, but now you can also convert your rewards to Citi ThankYou points. Essentially, that means you can earn 2 ThankYou points for every $1 spent. That’s phenomenal for a $0 fee card!
Uber Visa Credit
The Uber Visa credit card is one of the most underrated credit cards on the market. Not only is this a $0 annual fee card, but the category bonuses and perks offered are pretty lucrative:
- 4% cash back on restaurants, takeout, bars and UberEats.
- 3% cash back on airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals.
- 2% back on online purchases including Uber, video and music streaming services.
- 1% back on all other purchases.
Those are all common spending categories for most of us, so there is potential to earn a substantial amount of cash back every year.
Another feature that makes the Uber Visa so unique is that cardholders who spend $5,000 or more during a 12-month period earn a $50 statement credit towards digital music, video, and shopping subscriptions. That’s just an average of $417 per month, which most of us can meet by charging household bills and purchases to the Uber Visa Card.
This is a very useful perk since digital music and video subscriptions (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Spotify) are such a common thing these days. I don’t know about you all, but getting some of these expenses covered just for channeling my daily spending on this card is a huge plus. Especially since the card has no annual fee.
Aside from that, the Uber Visa offers $600 in mobile phone protection. Have you ever cracked your phone screen or discovered that “water-resistant” has its limits? With the Uber Visa Card your phone is covered against theft and damage, assuming you don’t have any other coverage and pay your monthly cell phone bill with the Uber Visa Card,
Marriott Bonvoy Bold
Earlier this year, Chase introduced the Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card, which has no annual fee and a few notable benefits. For starters, new cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in 3 months. Beyond that, the card earns 3 points per $1 at Marriott hotels, 2 points on travel purchases and 1 point everywhere else.
These aren’t super impressive earning rates compared to the other co-branded Marriott cards, but solid for a card with no annual fee. The card also comes with 15 elite night credits every year, which is enough for Silver elite status. If you’re short 15 nights of earning your desired elite status tier with Marriott, the Bonvoy Bold is a great way to top complete your elite-qualifying requirements without incurring additional expenses.
Radisson Rewards Visa Card
When people hear “Radisson” they often think of low-end airport hotels and bed bug infestations. That’s actually not the case, especially if you travel abroad. Radisson has some incredible, high-end properties in places like Paris and Dubai. It’s absolutely worth it to accrue points in this program and the Radisson Rewards Visa Card is a great start.
The card comes with an annual free night certificate when you spend $10,000 on the card. You can earn up to three free nights this way. Not bad for a card with no annual fee!
Navy Federal More Rewards American Express Credit Card
If you can qualify for the Navy Federal More Rewards American Express Credit Card, it’s definitely worth considering. The card earns 3 points per $1 spent on groceries, gas, transit and restaurants.
That covers pretty much every major daily spending category for most people, so imagine how lucrative this could be for the average person. All other spending earns 1 points per $1 spent
Points get converted to cash back at a 1:1 ratio. In other words, those 3 points per $1 bonuses are equivalent to 3% cash back.
To qualify for this card, you’ll need to become a member of Navy Federal Credit Union. Be sure to read up on the eligibility requirements to find out if you are able to join.
The Citi Rewards+ is very much under the radar, compared to other Citi Thank You-points earning credit cards. What makes it so unique is that all earnings are rounded up to the nearest 10 points per $1 spent. For example, if you purchase a $2 cup of coffee you will earn 10 points on your purchase as opposed 2 points.
Additionally, cardholders get 10% of their redeemed points back on the first 100,000 every year. So if you earn and redeem 100,000 Citi ThankYou points, you’ll get 10,000 back. Transfer those points to JetBlue and you can sometimes score a one-way ticket between the West Coast and New York on JetBlue.
This card doesn’t get much attention but is absolutely worth considering if you’re in the market for a rewarding $0 annual fee card. Especially since it earns 2 points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent annually at supermarkets and gas stations.