Best Credit Cards of 2017

Is your credit card on this list? If not, you're likely leaving money on the table.

Best Credit Cards of 2017 Photo by pathdoc / Shutterstock.com

The following article contains a report from Les Masterson at partner site CardRatings.com.

If you’ve been around this site for a while, you’re probably familiar with our Solutions Center. It’s a place where you can search for the best financial products, from mortgages to credit cards to savings accounts. It’s also a place to find expert, personal assistance with anything from a debt problem to Social Security.

We recently began partnering with one of the top sites for credit cards, CardRatings.com. They research and rank hundreds of cards and offer a simple search tool so you can quickly find the perfect card for your needs.

CardRatings recently sent us the following list of some of their favorite cards of 2017 in different categories. Hopefully your card is on it! If not, learn more or apply for any card, by going to the Credit Card page of the Solutions Center.

Note: If you do end up getting a credit card through our Solutions Center, we may make a buck or two. That’s one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. But for more than 25 years, our advice has always been objective.

No annual fee travel rewards card: Discover it® Miles

  • Key reasons it’s our top pick: Discover lets you rack up miles quickly by matching all the miles you earn during the first year. The rewards program gives you 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all purchases (thanks to the match, that’s effectively three miles per $1 during your first year).
  • The bonus: Discover matches all the miles you earn the first year.
  • The annual fee: $0
  • The rewards: Cardholders earn 1.5 miles on every $1 purchase every day after the first year. Since the miles aren’t tied to a particular airline or loyalty program, you have flexibility when it comes to redeeming your rewards.

To learn more or apply for this card, visit the Credit Card page of the Solutions Center.

Travel rewards card most worth the annual fee: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Key reasons it’s our top pick: Earn two miles per $1 spent on all your purchases, every day. There are no blackout dates when it comes time to redeem, nor is there an expiration on your rewards for the life of the account.
  • The bonus: You get 50,000 bonus miles (worth $500 in travel) after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
  • The annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)
  • The rewards: Two miles for every $1 on all purchases. You can redeem for statement credits, for flights, hotels and other travel-related purchases.

To learn more or apply for this card, visit the Credit Card page of the Solutions Center.

Airline rewards: Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • Key reasons it’s our top pick: In addition to a generous introductory bonus, the card offers great travel-related benefits. You get a $50 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first three months. Plus, your first checked bag is free, a savings of up to $50 per round-trip flight.
  • The bonus: You earn 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months, plus receive a $50 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase in that same period. Sign up by Nov. 8, 2017, and earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after spending another $1,000 in the first six months.
  • The annual fee: $95 (waived the first year). Terms apply.
  • The rewards: Cardholders earn two miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases and one mile per $1 on other purchases.

To learn more or apply for this card, visit the Credit Card page of the Solutions Center.

Hotel rewards: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

  • Key reasons it’s our top pick: The card offers a generous rewards program for regular Starwood (and Marriott) hotel guests. Plus, in addition to redeeming Starpoints® for hotel rooms, you can transfer Starpoints® to one of 30 major airline loyalty programs and earn a bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints®.
  • The bonus: Earn 25,000 Starpoints® after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
  • The annual fee: $95 (waived the first year). Terms apply.
  • The rewards: Earn up to five Starpoints® per $1 spent at participating Starwood hotels, two Starpoints® per $1 on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Rewards® hotels and one point per $1 for all other purchases. You can redeem your Starpoints® for hotel stays or transfer them to loyalty programs for flights.

To learn more or apply for this card, visit the Credit Card page of the Solutions Center.

Tiered cash-back rewards: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Key reasons it’s our top pick: The card pays you back for grocery shopping and filling up your gas tank — in other words, going about your everyday life. The card also offers zero percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. (Zero percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable APR, 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent).
  • The bonus: Earn a $200 statement credit when you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
  • The annual fee: $95. Terms apply.
  • The rewards: You can earn 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually), 3 percent at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1 percent on all other purchases.

To learn more or apply for this card, visit the Credit Card page of the Solutions Center.

Cash-back card with no annual fee: Discover it® — Cashback Match™

  • Key reasons it’s our top pick: Thanks to a first-year match, you have the opportunity to effectively earn 10 percent cash back on some of your purchases during the first year as a cardholder.
  • The bonus: Discover matches all the cash back earned during your first year.
  • The annual fee: $0
  • The rewards: Earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories each time you activate (the categories are Amazon.com and Target purchases from Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2017) and 1 percent back on all other purchases.

To learn more or apply for this card, visit the Credit Card page of the Solutions Center.

Rewards for gas, groceries and more: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

  • Key reasons it’s our top pick: This card was made for drivers who spend hours on the road, whether that’s going to work or shuttling the kids to practice. You might as well be rewarded for all that drive time.
  • The bonus: Receive a $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first three months of account opening.
  • The annual fee: $0
  • The rewards: Cardholders earn five points per $1 at the pump, three points per $1 at supermarkets and one point per $1 for all other purchases. You can redeem points in the PenFed rewards center where you can purchase many goods and services, though you’ll earn the best return on gift cards or instant e-certificates to retailers like Gap and Amazon.

To learn more or apply for this card, visit the Credit Card page of the Solutions Center.

Cash back and “good grades” bonus: Discover it® Chrome for Students

  • Key reasons it’s our top pick: This card provides an introduction to cash-back rewards for students who may be getting their first credit card. It also offers a “good grades” bonus of $20 annually for five years if you earn a 3.0 or higher GPA.
  • The bonus: Discover matches cash back earned in the first year.
  • The annual fee: $0
  • The rewards: You get 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants up to $1,000 spent each quarter and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. And don’t forget that Discover will match all the cash back you earn during the first year, which effectively means you could earn up to 4 percent back on some purchases.

To learn more or apply for this card, visit the Credit Card page of the Solutions Center.

No-annual-fee small-business card: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

  • Key reasons it’s our top pick: This card gives you the flexibility to choose one of eight categories in which you earn 3 percent back. You also get 5 percent back on office supply purchases and wireless phone charges and enjoy nine months of zero interest on purchases.
  • The bonus: You earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $5,000 on qualifying purchases within the first six months; then you earn another $200 statement credit after you spend an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the first year.
  • The annual fee: $0. Terms apply.
  • The rewards: You get 5 percent cash back for spending at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services, 3 percent cash back on a category of your choice and 1 percent on all other purchases (the 5 and 3 percent rewards apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1 percent). Getting to choose one of eight categories for 3 percent cash back allows you to personalize your card and maximize rewards.

To learn more or apply for this card, visit the Credit Card page of the Solutions Center.

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