The best credit cards for everyday spending

Mar 26, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Whether you are filling up your car with a tank of gas or grabbing a quick bite to eat, an everyday credit card rewards you for daily purchases such as gas, groceries and dining out. When it comes to choosing the right credit card for these expenses, consider which one is going to give you the most bang for your buck.

Want more credit card news and advice from TPG? Sign up for our daily newsletter.

What’s the best card to use for everyday purchases — when you are not working on meeting minimum spending requirements on a top travel credit card that unlocks a generous sign-up bonus? From an uncomplicated cash-back card that earns 2% on all expenses to valuable rewards cards, here’s a list of the cards that offer the best return on everyday non-bonus spending:

Best credit cards for everyday spending in 2020

Here’s a rundown on the best cards, assuming $10,000 in non-bonus spend in the first year.

In This Post

Comparing the best cards for everyday spending

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Annual Fee Points Earned Based on $10,000 in Non-Bonus Spend Total Return in First Year (based on TPG valuations)
Chase Freedom Unlimited $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within your first three months of cardmembership $0 15,000 points $600 minimum (assuming you also have a full-fledged Chase Ultimate Rewards card)
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 50,000 miles (worth $700, based on TPG valuations) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within your first three months of card membership $95 20,000 miles $980
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express 15,000 Membership Rewards points (worth $300, based on TPG valuations) after you spend $1,000 in qualifying purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership $95 30,000 points (assuming 30 transactions per month) $900
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
None $0 (see rates and fees) 20,000 points $400
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card 50,000 points ($500) after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of cardmembership $95 20,000 points $700
Citi® Double Cash Card None $0 20,000 points $340 minimum (up to $680 when converting your cash back to ThankYou points)
Chase Ink Business Unlimited 50,000 bonus ($500) after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of cardmembership  $0 15,000 points $1,300 (assuming you also have a full-fledged Chase Ultimate Rewards card)
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express $250 bonus after spending $1000 on purchases within your first three months of card membership $95 (see rates & fees) $100 $350

The information for the Capital One Venture Card, Amex EveryDay Preferred 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.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Not to be confused with the regular Chase Freedom that offers 5x points on certain quarterly bonus categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything, with no bonus categories to memorize. Points earned from the Chase Freedom Unlimited can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points if you have a premium Chase credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. If not, you can redeem your cash back as a statement credit and direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts, or in the Ultimate Rewards portal for travel, for shopping at Amazon.com or buying gift cards.

TPG values Ultimate Rewards points conservatively at 2 cents each, making the Chase Freedom Unlimited welcome offer of $150 worth at least $300 or 30,000 points when transferring to one of Chase’s full-fledged Ultimate Rewards cards.

The Freedom Unlimited is a perfect starter card and a perfect pairing with one of Chase’s premium cards but it is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule — which means that you’ll be automatically denied if you’ve opened five or more new cards in the previous 24 months.

Read our full card review for more information.

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)

With a great earning rate of 2 miles per dollar spent on everything, a solid 50,000-mile welcome offer, the Capital One Venture is a popular mid-tier travel card that also happens to be a favorite of The Points Guy, Brian Kelly. Now that Capital One has airline and hotel transfer partners, this card is even more compelling for anyone looking to earn bonus rewards on every purchase.

If transferring to an airline seems too cumbersome, you can redeem your miles at a fixed rate of 1 cent each as statement credits to “erase” travel purchases you’ve made in the previous 90 days. However, based on TPG’s latest monthly valuations, you may do better by transferring your miles to these airline partners and netting a 2.8 cents per mile return (1.4 cents per point valuation x 2 points per dollar spent).

Read our review of the Capital One Venture card for more details.

Amex EveryDay Preferred Card

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

The Amex EveryDay Preferred card is a lucrative everyday card if you can commit to 30 transactions monthly. That’s because, in addition to earning valuable Membership Rewards points on popular everyday bonus categories (1 point per dollar spent on non-bonus spending), you’ll earn 50% more points in each billing cycle if you make 30 or more purchases.

If this is your only credit card or one of only a few and you use for everyday purchases, you should be able to earn 50% bonus points every month for the life of the card. You’ll effectively be earning 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on everyday non-bonus spending.

Despite the $95 annual fee, you can earn even more points thanks to the card’s popular everyday bonus categories such as 3x points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar spent) and 2 points per dollar spent at U.S. gas stations, making it a solid choice for an everyday card.

Read our review of the Amex EveryDay Preferred card for more details.

The information for the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit 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.

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Blue Business Plus card is a favorite no-annual-fee card (see rates and fees) among Membership Rewards enthusiasts. The credit card earns 2 points per dollar spent on all purchases, up to $50,000 in a year; then 1 point per dollar spent. TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, meaning this card provides a 4% return on all spending.

Potentially, you could net 100,000 Membership Rewards points a year by spending $50,000, which TPG values at $2,000. There are many ways to redeem Membership Rewards points for maximum value.

The only downside of this card is that it’s a business card, not a personal card, so not everyone will be able to apply for it (though you may be more eligible than you think).

Read the full Blue Business Plus card review for more details.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

As the lone Bank of America card on our list, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card packs a punch with a booming sign-up bonus worth 50,000 points ($500). It also includes a $100 annual airline incidental-fee credit.

Points earned can be redeemed for a variety of things, including travel, cash back or even a cash deposit into a linked Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account. The card earns 1.5x on non-bonus spending and 2x points on travel and dining, which means this is a decent but not exceptional card for everyday purchases. However, the card becomes more attractive when combined with Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program.

To greatly increase the value of your spending return, you’ll need an eligible Bank of America checking account with an average daily balance of at least $20,000. The largest bonus is available to customers with a balance of $100,000 or more — at that level, you’ll earn 3.5 points per dollar spent on dining and travel, and an impressive 2.62 points per dollar spent on non-bonus spending. The card has a $95 annual fee.

Read the Bank of America Premium Rewards review for more details.

Citi® Double Cash Card

(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Citi Double Cash card comes with a competitive 2% cash back on everything — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. With no annual fee to worry about, you can keep it forever. The card increased in value when Citi allowed the cash back earned from the Double Cash card to convert into Citi ThankYou Points.

The card has strong stand-alone value, but paired with Citi’s more premium cards such as the Citi Premier℠ Card or Citi Prestige® Card, you could extract incredible value for travel since Citi allows you to transfer points to their airline partners and book flight awards. With the added flexibility, the Citi Double Cash is a strong option for everyday expenses.

The information for the Citi Premier and the Citi Prestige 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.

Read the Citi Double Cash card review for more details.

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase. The card is a great addition to the Chase small-business lineup and currently offers a large sign-up bonus of $500 that is unusually large for a cash-back card with no annual fee.

You can qualify for a business credit card whether you sell stuff online or work as sole proprietor. Many freelance jobs or side hustles are considered businesses and eligible for a business credit card.

What makes the Ink Business Unlimited a phenomenal everyday card is that beyond earning 1.5x points, you can also combine your rewards with Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards (Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Preferred). This gives you the ability to transfer points to travel partners, or receive between 1.25-1.5 cents (depending on whether you have the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve) when you redeem points toward travel reservations made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Center.

Read the Ink Business Unlimited card review for more details.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

This card only earns 1% cash back on everyday expenses. However, the real reason the Blue Cash Preferred is a top everyday spending card is for its incredibly lucrative bonus categories that hit home with many people.

The categories are as follows:

  • 6% back on U.S. streaming subscriptions (Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc.)
  • 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 a year) then 1% thereafter
  • 3% back on transit (parking, tolls, ride-share, subway, etc.)
  • 3% back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% everywhere else
  • Terms apply

If you are looking for a true cash-back card and have everyday expenses typical for an American household today, the Blue Cash Preferred card might be a suitable card for you. Keep in mind it has a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees) and is best for U.S.-based purchases. It imposes a 2.7% foreign transaction fee (see rates and fees).

See the Blue Cash Preferred card review for more details.

Bottom line

There is no single best card for everyday spending — just the best one for your situation.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a wonderful starter card to begin accruing treasured Ultimate Rewards points. The Blue Business Plus offers an impressive 4% return on general spending with a limit of $50,000 each year to earn 2x points, while the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a valuable sign-up bonus paired with more than a 2% return on everyday spending long-term.

The Citi Double Cash card card earns 2% cash back (1% when you buy, plus 1% as you pay) which can be converted to ThankYou Points via a linked ThankYou account. And the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is a superb option if you have high-balance relationship in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program.

Ultimately, all cards on this list are valuable for everyday spending. Which one you choose will be determined by your spending habits and goals.

Related credit card guides

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card, please click here.

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael for The Points Guy.

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.

Apply Now
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
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% 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.