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TPG reader Kupta messaged me to ask about finding a suitable travel rewards card:

“What credit card would you recommend that earns rewards but has no annual fee? I usually only spend about $500 a month on my card, so I’d prefer one that won’t cost me anything.”

Whereas I completely understand why Kupta wants a card with no annual fee, sometimes it makes sense to get a premium card that does have a fee, especially when there’s a large sign-up bonus attached to it (such as 50,000 points or more). Many cards waive their annual fees for the first year, so you can often get the benefits of a premium card without having to pay for it up front. I’d recommend getting one of these cards, which you can then cancel before the second year if you want to avoid the fee, or you can always call the card issuer and ask them to waive it. There’s no guarantee, but it’s worth trying.

I have two favorite no-annual-fee cards.
I have two favorite no-annual-fee cards. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Otherwise, there are some great cards with no annual fee. The two best, in my opinion, are the Amex EveryDay card and the Chase Freedom card.

Amex EveryDay offers a sign-up bonus of 10,000 points after you spend $1,000 in three months. You earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 in spending annually), and 1 point per dollar elsewhere. When you make 20 or more purchases in a billing cycle, you earn 20% more points on every purchase. I love this card because (unlike most cards with no annual fee) it allows you to transfer Membership Rewards points to travel partners such as Delta and Aeroplan. The 2x points bonus on supermarket purchases also makes this a great card, especially if you meet the threshold of 20 transactions per month.

Chase Freedom offers a sign-up bonus of 10,000 points ($100) after you spend $500 in three months. The best feature of this card is the rotating quarterly bonuses that allow you to earn 5 points per dollar in certain categories on up to $1,500 spent per quarter. This quarter (through June), you can earn 5 points per dollar spent at restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M and Overstock.com. You can’t transfer Chase Freedom points to partners, but you can link and combine your accounts for free if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Ink Plus Business Card, and you can then transfer them there.

If you’re looking for cash-back rewards, the Amex Fidelity 2% card is pretty hard to beat, and the Citi Double Cash Card is also a great deal if you pay your bill in full and on time.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Chase Freedom®

It's a stellar Cash Back card on its own, but when paired with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Freedom's 5x Category Bonuses let you rack up Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, transferrable to partners or redeemable via the portal.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.49-24.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Intro APR on Purchases
0% for 15 months
Regular APR
15.49%-24.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.