The best credit cards for young professionals

Oct 7, 2019

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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 cats or something on it. After all, you don’t want to be the person at a bar whipping 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 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.

New to TPG? See our Beginner’s Guide.

Without further ado, we present to you our list of the best credit cards for young professionals.

In This Post

American Express® Gold Card

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)

Welcome Offer: 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months — worth $700 based on our latest valuations.

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)

Rewards:

  • 4x on dining worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (4x is on up to $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year; then 1x)
  • 3x on airfare, either booked directly with the airline or through amextravel.com
  • 1x points on everything else

This is my personal favorite 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 and at U.S. supermarkets — the most out of any card out there, save for the Amex EveryDay Preferred, where you can get up to 4.5x on groceries. It also offers 3x points on airfare, either purchased directly from an airline’s website or from amextravel.com. It’s currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, which is worth $700 in our book. Here’s a closer look at what you can do with your stash.

Read our full Amex Gold Review here.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. We value this bonus at $1,200, depending on how you redeem the points — either by transferring them to an airline or hotel, or directly through Chase’s travel portal.

Annual fee: $95

Rewards:

  • 2x points on travel (flights, Uber, 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. The sign-up bonus is solid, too: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in three months. There’s a $95 annual fee.

Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred Review for more details.

 Chase Sapphire Reserve®

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. We value this bonus at $1,000, again, depending on how you redeem the points.

Annual fee: $450

Rewards:

  • 3x points on travel (flights, Uber, etc.) and restaurants
  • 1x points on everything else

I know what you’re thinking — $450 for a credit card? Absolutely. First off, you get a $300 travel credit that covers everything from flights and hotels to Uber and train tickets. You also get a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee credit of $100. Add that all up, and you’re looking at a net annual fee of $50. You’ll also get Priority Pass lounge access, which costs $99+ a year. I’m by no means a math wizard, but clearly this card pays for itself right there, not to mention all the points you’ll earn on food and dining and travel protections. You’re looking at the cream of the crop for young professionals.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000-mile bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

Rewards:

This card made waves recently due to the addition of airline transfer partners. While it’s now offering a lower 50,000-mile bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, it’s still a solid pick for young professionals. It earns you 2x miles on every purchase, but you’ll earn 10x miles on Hotels.com through Jan. 31, 2020 when you book at Hotels.com/venture. In other words: You’re about to be the person who wants to put all the money for any hotels for bachelor and bachelorette parties on your credit card. This card has a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year, and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

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. Now the real question is: What are you going to set your “Out of Office” message to?

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, please click here.

Featured image Corinne Kutz/Unsplash.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

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.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 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, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.