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They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but if you carry the right plastic, you might earn free lunches. You might also get free flights, free hotels, free cash back and interest free loans. The key is finding the credit card that gives you the biggest bang for the bucks you’re already spending.
Best travel card
Why we like it: An early spending bonus offer of 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 within the first three months is worth $750 in travel.
What to know:
- Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of membership.
- Earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
- Earn 2 miles per dollar on every other purchase with no annual cap or expiration.
- Get up to a $100 credit on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
- $95 annual fee.
Note: This card has a $95 annual fee. The Capital One VentureOne card does not, but doesn’t have the same early spending bonus offer and offers a lower rate of return.
Best cash-back card
Why we like it: This is a great all-around credit card with 1.5% cash back on every purchase. It also offers a $200 cash bonus after you spend just $500 within the first three months of opening the account.
What to know:
- Get 1.5% cash back on every purchase — no limits, and no expiration on cash-back rewards for the life of the account.
- Get a $200 statement credit after spending $500 on the card within the first three months.
- Pay 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers within the introductory 15-month period.
- No annual fee.
- No foreign transaction fees.
Best zero percent card
Why we like it: The Blue Cash Everyday card lives up to its name as a great value all the time — but especially for new cardholders. You can earn $100 back by making $2,000 in purchases in the first six months. You can also earn 20% back on purchases made through PayPal in the first six months for up to $150 back.
What to know:
- 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets per year, and 1% cash back after that amount.
- 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in U.S. online retail purchases per year, and 1% cash back after.
- 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in purchases per year at U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back after.
- 1% cash back on other purchases.
- 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months. (See rates and fees)
- No annual fee. (See rates and fees)
Note: Cash back is redeemed as statement credits.
Editor’s note: One of the ways we keep the lights on around here is with referral fees, so we might make a buck or two when you sign up for these cards. But we never let that influence our judgment. You’ll always get our honest advice.
See rates and fees for Blue Cash Everyday from American Express.