The five best credit cards for young adults in 2020
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If you’re a young professional, chances are you want to have a credit card that… you know, doesn’t have pictures of cats or something on it (I used to have a tie-dye-printed debit card. I feel your pain). After all, you don’t want to be the person at a bar who whips out a debit card to pay for drinks, do you? Now that you (hopefully) have a real job, your own apartment and the like, it’s time to grow up and get a credit card that matches your spending habits and travel goals.
After all, your credit card is the key to making your dream vacation happen — and we know how badly you need one of those. Without further ado, we present to you our list of the best credit cards for young professionals.
Best credit cards for young adults in 2020
- American Express® Gold Card
- American Express® Green Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Citi Premier® Card
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. — worth $1,200 based on TPG’s latest valuations.
Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)
- 4x on dining at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (4x on up to $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each calendar year; then 1x)
- 3x on airfare, either booked directly with the airline or through
- 1x points on everything else
This is a really great credit card (no, Amex isn’t paying me to say this). I spend most of my money on food, and this card gets you 4x on global dining at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases each calendar year; then 1x) — a great plus for travelers and home chefs alike.
It also offers 3x points on airfare, either purchased directly from an airline’s website or from according to TPG valuations. You should also check the CardMatch Tool for a potential better offer (targeted and subject to change at anytime). Here’s a closer look at what you can do with your stash.. It’s currently offering a welcome offer of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, which is worth $1,200
Read our full Amex Gold Review here.
Welcome offer: 30,000 points after you spend $2,000 within the first three months of card membership. TPG values this at $600 — Cha-ching.
Annual fee: $150 (see rates and fees)
- 3x points on travel, including hotels, flights, transit, tours, taxis and ridesharing services.
- 3x on restaurants worldwide. This also includes takeout and delivery.
- 1x on all other purchases.
I’m not lying when I say that my mom has had the Amex Green card for 33 years. You read that correctly. There’s a reason why she has held onto it for so long, especially with perks that were upgraded in September 2019, including 3x on dining worldwide and travel. There is also an up to $100 annual Clear® credit which makes travel easier and faster. This is a great card keep in your wallet… maybe you’ll even have it for the next 33 years.
Read our full Amex Green Review here.
The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Sign-up bonus: 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus earn a $50 statement credit on grocery purchases in the first year of account opening. TPG values this bonus at $1,650, depending on how you redeem the points — either by transferring them to an airline or hotel, or directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Annual fee: $95
- 5x on Lyft through March 2022
- 2x points on travel (flights, ride shares, etc.) and restaurants
- 1x points on everything else
No, you’re not imagining it: Everyone you know has this card — and for good reason. If you want to get into points and miles, it earns you 2x points on dining and travel. So yes, every time you go to Sweetgreen or Starbucks, those 2x points will add up very quickly. There is also a complimentary one-year DoorDash DashPass membership, which is especially relevant right now since I keep ordering carry-out. The sign-up bonus is solid, too: 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus earn a $50 statement credit on grocery purchases in the first year of account opening. There’s a $95 annual fee, but for what you are getting, this is a great value, especially for a young traveler.
Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred Review for more details.
Sign-up bonus: 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. We value this bonus at $1,020.
Annual fee: $95
- 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels; includes gas stations
- 3x points per dollar at restaurants
- 3x points per dollar at supermarkets
- 1x points per dollar on everything else
With an updated rewards structure that went into effect June 2, 2020, this Citi card has some added benefits that are especially applicable right now: I’m talking about the 3x at supermarkets since all I do is raid my pantry while I’m working from home. Plus, the annual fee is conservative when compared to other cards, so you are getting great value for the card, especially with the $1,020-valued welcome bonus.
Read our full Citi Premier® Card review for more details.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Annual fee: $95
- 2x unlimited miles on every purchase
This card made waves when it added airline and hotel transfer partners. It offers a 100,000 miles after spending $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months of account opening (valued up to $1,400, according to TPG valuations) and it’s a solid pick for young professionals. It also earns you 2x miles on every purchase, which is a great perk.
Read our full Capital One Venture Rewards Card review for more details.
Committing to a credit can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t been in the credit card game for a long time. We know you have a lot of options to choose from, but the key here is to pick one that matches your travel goals and spending habits. You really can’t go wrong with any one of these five cards. With everything from huge welcome bonuses to dining benefits, you’ll feel like a boss of credit in no time.
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael for The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.