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Families need many things: groceries, diapers, new shoes for growing feet, gymnastics classes, doctor’s appointments — and whenever possible, a relaxing vacation from it all. Thankfully, the things your family needs (like groceries and checkups) can pay for the things you want (like vacations or extra cash back), if you choose the right credit card.
In today’s landscape, the best credit cards for families can do so much more than just present opportunity to charge expenses. However, if you primarily use credit cards for purchases that you couldn’t afford to pay off each month with cash, then we don’t recommend utilizing many of these credit cards, since this list was primarily curated based on rewards and benefits. If you intend to carry a balance on your cards, we instead recommend checking out these credit cards with the lowest interest rates.
How We Chose the Best Cards
While many of the popular credit cards that are generally considered to be best in class for all consumers will also be the same top cards for families to consider, families do have needs that differ a bit from those without children. For example, families often spend more money in certain purchase categories and need more flexible awards.
To determine the best credit cards for families, we looked at the top credit cards in three categories and looked for:
- The most flexible, valuable and easy-to-use rewards.
- Lucrative welcome bonuses.
- Cards that offer more than enough built-in benefits families can really use.
- Cards that earn in everyday categories where families frequently spend money.
Best Credit Cards for Families:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Easy-to-Use Awards
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Great Points Starter Card
- Citi Premier Card: Bonus Points on Family Travel
- American Express® Gold Card: Best for Dining Out and Supermarkets
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card: Best Airline Card
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card: Best for Hyatt Stays
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Great Hotel Card
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: Earn Bonus Points Everywhere
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card: Great for Small Businesses
Best Travel Credit Cards
Summer break, spring break, winter break and good old-fashioned weekend getaways present the perfect opportunities to travel with your family and create some lifelong memories. When curating our top travel cards down to only the ones that are best for families, we went with the cards that offered the simplest (yet still rewarding) options that afforded as much flexibility as possible.
Current Bonus: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months.
Current Bonus Value: $700
Standout Benefits: Earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, and 10 miles per dollar on hotel rooms when booked at Hotels.com through the dedicated link and paid for with the card. This card provides a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years and has no foreign transaction fees. Read the full card review here.
Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)
Why It’s Worth It: You’ve seen the commercials — Jennifer Garner is a fan, and so are we. The Capital One Venture Rewards card has always been an extremely popular choice for family travelers who need to keep things simple and don’t want to worry whether awards will be available during peak family travel seasons. The card’s “Purchase Eraser” feature allows customers to use their Venture Rewards miles to offset the cost of any travel purchases made on their card in the previous 90 days at a rate of 1 cent per mile. The addition of Capital One’s partnership with Hotels.com (through January 2020) has made this card a huge winner when it comes to hotel bookings, since you can effectively earn 20% back on all your hotel stays by stacking the Hotels.com Rewards program with the 10x miles earned on those stays with the Venture Rewards when booked and paid through Hotels.com/venture. This is effectively 20% back in value on hotel stays, which is better for the occasional family traveler than racking up a handful of points in various hotel loyalty programs. Pro tip: This even works on many Disney hotel bookings!
Venture miles are now worth more than ever since they are also transferrable to 15 airline programs, including some family-favorites such as Air Canada’s Aeroplan (great lap infant award prices) and Avianca LifeMiles, which can save you a ton of miles when flying partner carriers, such as United Airlines.
Current Bonus: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Current Bonus Value: $1,200
Standout Benefits: Earn 2 points per dollar on all travel purchases and on dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to more than a dozen different travel partners, including popular programs such as United MileagePlus, World of Hyatt, Southwest Rapid Rewards, British Airways Avios, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, JetBlue, Marriott and more. The card also includes primary auto rental insurance, trip cancellation coverage and no foreign transaction fees. Read the full card review here.
Annual Fee: $95
Why It’s Worth It: It doesn’t offer the bells and the whistles of the similar but more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve card, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a great pick for earning bonus points on travel and dining, and for enjoying some solid travel protections in the process. In fact, the Sapphire Preferred is still my most-frequent recommendation to those new to miles and points!
In addition to being able to transfer points to partners such as United and Southwest, you can also redeem the points directly through the Chase travel portal for 1.25 cents apiece. Whether you simply don’t want to spend $450 a year to get the Sapphire Reserve, or if your credit score currently isn’t high enough to qualify for that very premium card, the Sapphire Preferred remains a very solid option — and the 60k welcome bonus is even higher than that of the CSR. If your family does travel a good amount, wants some lounge access, hopes to earn points even faster and wants to redeem them at a higher value via the Chase travel portal, the Chase Sapphire Reserve can be a fantastic option. Read the full card review here.
Current Bonus: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Current Bonus Value: ThankYou points can be worth about $1,020 when utilized for travel via Citi’s transfer partners. However, if you don’t want to mess with transfer partners and award availability, the 60,000-point sign-up bonus is worth $750 in paid airfare booked via the Citi ThankYou travel center.
Standout Benefits: Earn 3 points per dollar on travel purchases and on dining at restaurants. Earn 2 points per dollar on entertainment — which really helps when it comes to buying theme park tickets, lift tickets, concert tickets, sporting event tickets, etc. Unlike with some other cards, 3x on travel even includes gas purchases!
Similar to the American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards programs, Citi has agreements with airline transfer partners so that you can transfer your Citi ThankYou points to various frequent flyer programs, sometimes with periodic transfer bonuses. The lineup of transfer partners isn’t as US-centric as you will find with Chase Ultimate Rewards, but there are some solid programs available such as Avianca LifeMiles, which has award chart sweet spots. You may have read about using LifeMiles to fly Lufthansa first or business class, but there are also closer-to-home uses.
Annual Fee: $95
Why It’s Worth It: At just $95 per year, the Citi Premier has been in my wallet for years. The bonus categories are valuable and relevant to families, with entertainment being an extremely useful and still relatively uncommon bonus category. Unlike with Chase Ultimate Rewards, it’s still possible to use your ThankYou points to book Disney tickets and resorts, which is another win for families. If you don’t want to use points at a fixed value, you can transfer to some valuable partners including Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Avianca LifeMiles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, Garuda Indonesia Miles, Jet Airways JetPrivilege, JetBlue TrueBlue, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Thai Royal Orchid Plus, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
Current Bonus: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. You can potentially even get 50,000 welcome bonus points if you are referred or targeted (offer subject to change at anytime)
Current Bonus Value: $700 for 35,000 Membership Rewards points
Standout Benefits: The American Express Gold Card is a heavy-hitter for families looking to maximize their wallet as it awards 4 points per dollar spent on both dining and at US supermarkets, up to a $25,000 annual cap at supermarkets (then 1 point). The card includes an annual $100 airline fee credit and a $10 statement credit each month (up to $120 per calendar year) when you dine at participating restaurants including GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations (excludes Shake Shack locations in ballparks, stadiums, airports and racetracks). In fact, this card is one of the most recent exciting card revamps for families.
Annual Fee: $250 (see rates and fees)
Why It’s Worth It: The American Express Gold Card beats most other credit cards for both US supermarket expenses and when dining out. The $250 annual fee is higher than some cards, but if you make use of both the $100 airline fee credit and the $120 in annual dining credits, then the fee becomes much more reasonable for families to consider. This is a card you want in your wallet if your family spends a good amount on eating — whether that comes in the form of groceries or restaurants. Read the full card review here.
Current Bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.
Current Bonus Value: $1,200
Standout Benefits: Earn 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airline or Amex Travel and prepaid hotels purchased through Amex Travel. You can transfer the Membership Rewards points you earn with this card to 19 airline and three hotel partners, including Delta SkyMiles, Hilton Honors, Marriott, British Airways, ANA and a host of other. You also get a $200 annual airline rebate for incidental fees, up to $200 in annual Uber credits, up to $100 in credit at Saks Fifth Avenue and a rebate of up to $100 for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. Additionally, the card offers Centurion Lounge and Priority Pass lounge access, plus Delta Sky Club access when you’re flying Delta, along with Airspace and Escape lounges. The Centurion Lounge network is a highlight for families as many of the growing list of locations offer family rooms! Read the full card review here.
Why It’s Worth It: The Amex Platinum Card may seem like a strange choice to include in a roundup of the Best Travel Credit Cards for Families, but the more you dig into this card, the better it gets. (Here’s why it isn’t crazy at all to have a card like this.) It’s not just the 60k bonus that lands it near the top of this list. But even apart from the $200 annual airline fee credit, the $200 in Uber credits awarded each year, the recently added $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit and the various lounge access options, the Amex Platinum is a stellar premium card that can pave the way to some amazing award flights and other redemptions that allow families to stretch their miles. This includes economy flights on American Airlines from just 7,500 points transferred to British Airways, round-trip business-class awards to Europe on Star Alliance partners for 88,000 points transferred to ANA, and more.
Other highlights include an amazing 5 points per dollar on airfare (equal to a 9.5% return on these purchases), complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and the ability to add three authorized users for a total of $175. This step is key if your family has four or more people who want to use the Centurion Lounge network as each Platinum cardholder can only guest in two people. However, each authorized user can bring in their own two guests. You can even have your children designated as authorized users once they are 13 years old.
If the Amex Platinum isn’t the right fit for your family, another good option to explore within the Amex Membership Rewards point family is the no-annual-fee Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express. (The information for the Amex EveryDay 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.)
Current Bonus: Earn 50,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
Current Bonus Value: $650
Standout Benefits: You’ll get 6 points spent on purchases with JetBlue; 2 points at restaurant and grocery stores; and 1 point per dollar on everything else. As a cardholder, you’ll enjoy receiving 10% of your redeemed JetBlue points back and getting a free checked bag for you and up to three companions on the same reservation. Save 50% on eligible in-flight purchases like cocktails and food on JetBlue-operated flights. No foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee: $99
Why It’s Worth It: The JetBlue TrueBlue program is unique in that it permits family members to pool their miles together in order to earn award flights faster. The onboard JetBlue experience is top-notch for families, as it offers complimentary assigned seats, the most economy legroom among US airlines, a free snack basket and both free DirecTV and gate-to-gate Wi-Fi for all passengers. Families that want to take advantage of JetBlue’s family-friendly programs and policies will benefit from having a JetBlue Plus credit card, both for the points it earns and for the savings it can provide on JetBlue award flights, bag fees and onboard purchases. You can also earn JetBlue Mosaic elite status for one year if you spend $50,000 or more on the card annually. Read the full card review here.
Current Bonus: Earn 40,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $1,000 on the card in the first three months of account opening. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card is a small business card, but if your family has a small business, it is offering a great welcome bonus of 80,000 bonus points after $5,000 spent in the first three months.
Current Bonus Value: $600 for the bonus points on the personal card, $1,200 for the small business card
Standout Benefits: While the Southwest Priority Credit Card offers the most perks for families, there are a total of three personal Southwest cards that all give you the opportunity to earn the Companion Pass with enough spending each year. Having that Companion Pass allows you to designate a friend or family member to join you on Southwest flights for just the cost of taxes. The Southwest Priority card awards a $75 Southwest travel credit each year, 7,500 bonus Rapid Rewards points at each anniversary, 20% back on in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi as well as four updated A1–A15 boarding positions each year.
Annual Fee: varies per card, but $149 for the Southwest Priority Credit Card
Why It’s Worth It: Southwest Airlines is the winner of The Points Guy’s Best Airline for Families study, in part because its Rapid Rewards program is extremely straightforward for families to use. You can simply log on to southwest.com, easily spot the cheapest dates to fly using your Rapid Rewards points thanks to the calendar view and secure the award flights you need. If your plans change, you can redeposit your award without penalty, making the points earned by the Southwest credit cards extremely useful for families tied to school schedules or who have plans that may change.
Both the welcome bonus points earned by this card and the everyday spending charged to the card count toward the 110,000 Rapid Rewards points you need to earn in a calendar year in order to secure a Companion Pass. Read the full card review here.
Hotel Credit Cards
Hotel credit cards can help your family score better rooms, eat free breakfast, enjoy resort credits or simply provide some automatic elite status that makes the stays away from home a bit more enjoyable whether you simply need a room near the grandparents house or you want to head off to resorts in Hawaii and beyond.
Current Bonus: 130,000 bonus points plus a free night certificate after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first four months from account opening.
Current Bonus Value: $780
Standout Benefits: Earn 12 points per dollar on eligible charges at Hilton properties, 6 points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x elsewhere. The card also gives you Hilton Gold status, which can translate to free breakfast or Hilton lounge access at select properties.
Annual Fee: $95 (see rates and fees)
Why’s It Worth It: Hilton has around 8,000 properties, including many family-friendly brands and resorts such as Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and a slew of fun resorts. It’s great to have hotel points earmarked for family getaways so your cash can stay safely tucked in your wallet. The automatic Gold status with this card can save you money, and the weekend award night can be maximized at high-end Hiltons such as the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego or the Grand Wailea in Maui.
If you aren’t scared off by a higher annual fee, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, at $450 (see rates and fees) has a 150,000-point bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening your account — and it might be an even better match than the Surpass card. According to TPG’s latest valuations, the 150,000 Hiltons Honors bonus points that are available with the Hilton Aspire are worth an impressive $900.
The Aspire card also provides top-tier Hilton Diamond status, a $250 annual Hilton resort credit (that can even be used to cover your reservation costs) and $250 to use each year toward airline incidental charges. That’s more than $500 in benefits right there. The card also comes with unlimited Priority Pass lounge access and a free weekend award night each year of card membership (and another one after you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year).
When staying on Hilton points, you avoid paying resort fees, which can result in hundreds of dollars saved on a resort vacation.
Current Bonus: Up to 50,000 bonus points — 25,000 bonus Hyatt points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening and an additional 25,000 after you spend a total of $6,000 in the first six months.
Current Bonus Value: $850
Standout Benefits: Earn 4 points per dollar on purchases at Hyatt properties; 2 points per dollar at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased direction from airlines, on local transit and community and on fitness clubs and gyms; 1 point per dollar on other purchases. The card includes Hyatt Discoverist status, but for those chasing a higher Hyatt elite status tier, the card also includes five elite nights and the ability to earn an additional two elite nights with every $5,000 spent on the card with no cap, making it possible to earn Globalist status just with spending on the card. The World of Hyatt Credit Card provides all cardholders an annual Category 1–4 free night at each account anniversary as well as the ability to earn a second Category 1–4 free night by spending $15,000 on the card in a cardmember year.
Annual Fee: $95
Why It’s Worth It: What makes this card a particularly great fit for families is that Hyatt offers some of the best resorts in the world for those after high-quality family vacations at reasonable award rates. The Grand Hyatt Kauai, Hyatt Regency Maui, Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point and the Andaz Costa Rica are all popular family favorites that can be booked for 15,000 to 25,000 Hyatt points per night. With Hyatt, resort fees are waived for everyone staying on award nights booked purely with World of Hyatt points. Hyatt has also been known to launch special promotions just for its cardholders that can save you points or money.
You can supplement your World of Hyatt account balance with 1:1 transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards, but earning up to 50,000 bonus Hyatt points from the card’s welcome bonus, receiving up to two Hyatt Category 1–4 awards per year and getting a jump-start toward earning Hyatt elite status all make this card a winner for both Hyatt loyalists and those families who only need the occasional Hyatt award stay. Read the full review here.
Current Bonus: 75,000-point welcome bonus after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.
Current Bonus Value: $600
Standout Benefits: Earn 6 points per dollar at Marriott properties, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, 2x elsewhere. At each account anniversary, receive a 50,000-point anniversary award night. Cardholders also get $300 in annual statement credits for Marriott purchases charged to your card — including room rates.
Annual Fee: $450 (see rates and fees)
Why It’s Worth It: It is not hard to get several hundred dollars in value from an annual 50k Marriott certificate. Some great places for families to use these certificates include the on-property Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Delta Hotels Whistler Village and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The card offers automatic Marriott Gold status and the ability to earn Platinum status after spending $75k in a calendar year.
When you factor in the $300 in annual statement credits for Marriott purchases charged to your card and annual award night, the $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) is significantly less painful. The card also comes with a Priority Pass Select membership and provides a statement credit for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee (up to $100) once every four years.
Cash Back Cards
Points and travel perks are great, but sometimes cash is king. If your family doesn’t want to muddle with points, it is hard to argue with cash back. While cash itself can be simple, there are many different card options, even within the realm of cash back.
|Card||Bonus Rates||Flat-Rate Cash Back||Annual Fee|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||2% on all purchases (1% when you make purchases, 1% when you pay your bill)||2%||$0|
|Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card||4% on dining and entertainment; 2% at grocery stores||1%||$95 (waived the first year)|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card||3x points on dining, travel and select streaming services (points are worth 1 cent apiece)||1%||$0|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||6% on purchases at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending each reward year, then 1%) and on select US streaming subscriptions; 3% on transit and at US gas stations||1%||$95 (see rates & fees)|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||5% at office supply stores*; 2% on gas and restaurants**||1%||$0|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||1.5% on all purchases***||1.5%||$0|
|Chase Freedom||5% on up to $1,500 in purchases in rotating categories each quarter||1%||$0|
|U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card||5% on your first $2,000 in purchases each quarter in two categories you choose; 2% on your choice of another category you choose||1%||$0|
*On the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account year.
**On the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account year.
***3% on the first $20,000 in spend your first year. After that, 1.5% on all purchases.
One of the simplest and most rewarding cash-back cards out there is the Citi® Double Cash Card. This card gives you 1% when you use it for purchases and then another 1% as you pay. You only need to make the minimum payment each month to earn the second reward, but remember that paying your balance in full is always strongly recommended.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited normally offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which isn’t at all bad for non-bonus category spending, but the current sign-up bonus provides 3% cash back on the first $20,000 you spend in your first year. If you also have a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can combine the points and make them worth more toward travel, but on their own, these points are worth 1 cent each in cash back.
Welcome bonus: $150 cash back after $500 in purchases during the first three months
The Chase Freedom offers a standard 1% cash back on most purchases, which isn’t that exciting. However, this earning rate jumps to 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter at merchants in the card’s quarterly bonus categories. Previous quarters have awarded bonus points on mobile wallets, gas stations and cable purchases or Walmart and department stores, giving you a variety of options throughout the year.
Like the Freedom Unlimited, this card becomes more lucrative when it’s paired with a card that accrues Ultimate Rewards points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. If you link that card to the same Chase online account as the Chase Freedom, you can actually transfer the cash-back points from the Freedom to convert them into much more valuable (and transferable) Ultimate Rewards points. While the conversion is a manual process, it essentially means that you can earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent at a variety of merchants throughout the year.
Welcome bonus: $300 cash back once you spend $3,000 on purchases in first three months
The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great choice for eating out as well as for purchasing tickets to a variety of family-friendly events or theme parks due to its 4% back on dining and entertainment. Plus, the card offers 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on everything else.
The card does have a $95 annual fee, but it is waived the first year. There are no foreign transaction fees, plus the card features extended warranty protection and price protection. See our full card review for more information.
Welcome bonus: $250 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express aligns very well with where families spend their money. With it, you’ll get 6% cash back on purchases on select US streaming subscriptions and at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending at supermarkets each reward year, then 1%) plus 3% cash back at US gas stations and on transit and 1% cash back everywhere else. These earnings accumulate as reward dollars and can be redeemed for statement credits when you have a rewards balance of at least $25.
No matter which credit card your family decides is best for your situation, it is entirely possible to turn everyday expenses into rewards and perks that your family can enjoy together. Just ensure that you use the included benefits and don’t start paying interest and fees that offset the value of the rewards you can earn.
Featured image by Shelby Soblick for The Points Guy
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant, please click here.
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NEW INCREASED 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.
- 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