To walk the fine line between maximizing rewards and minimizing costs, you’ll want a credit card with no annual fee. Of course, you won’t get a huge sign-up bonus or a ton of benefits, but these low-cost cards can still hold a lot of value.
For a more comprehensive list, see our best credit card bonuses here.
We have created a series of guides for the best credit cards for earning points and miles by spending category. In this guide, we’ll go over our favorite no-annual-fee credit cards, so you can decide which ones are worth signing up for.
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||Best for rotating bonus categories|
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card||Best for airlines|
|Hilton Honors American Express Card||Best for hotels|
|Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card||Best for dining & entertainment|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card||Best for credit card newbies|
|Ink Business Cash® Credit Card||Best for small businesses|
|Discover it Student Cash Back||Best for students|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Best for flat-rate rewards|
|Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card||Best flexible rewards structure|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card||Best for travel|
Best Credit Cards With No Annual Fees
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ has quarterly bonus categories that reward you with a high cash back earning rate. The categories rotate every three months, and you have to remember to activate them to earn your bonus cash back.
The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is best suited for beginner travelers who want a low-cost card to earn miles on every purchase. We especially like it because you can transfer these miles to airline partners, boosting your rewards value potential.
The Hilton Honors American Express Card takes our top spot for hotel cards for excellent reasons. It’s got a relatively high welcome bonus, it has plenty of bonus spending categories, and it gives you automatic Hilton Honors elite status.
The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card gives excellent return on dining, entertainment, and groceries for a no-annual fee card. Plus the dining and entertainment categories are broadly defined and includes restaurants, takeout, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions and more.
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a straightforward cashback card, so it’s perfect if you’re just getting into the rewards world. The earning structure is easy: you’ll get a flat rate cash back on every purchase, no matter what it is.
The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card caters to small businesses that spend big on office supplies or telecom services. It also sports a big sign-up bonus and a 0% APR introductory period.
Like Chase Freedom, the Discover it Student Cash Back has rotating bonus categories that earn cash back at a generous rate. Plus, at the end of your first year, Discover will match all the cash back you earned.
The Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t come with any bells or whistles. But if you’re seeking a simple rewards card, it’s definitely worth considering.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card has a flexible rewards structure that lets you choose your cashback bonus category every quarter.
Like other BofA cards, you can take advantage of the Preferred Rewards program to give your earnings a boost. In fact, if you’re a Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors member, there isn’t a more rewarding cashback card out there, especially with no annual fee.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is the most generous travel rewards card on the market without an annual fee. You’ll get a solid sign-up bonus, a 0% intro APR period and points on a wide variety of spending.
While we focused on no-annual-fee credit cards in this post, you’ll want to choose a card with additional earning potential that matches your spending behavior. Click here for our guide on the best credit cards in other categories or check out these other posts: