Skip to content

The Best Credit Cards for Everyday Spending

Feb. 22, 2019
12 min read
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.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

Everyday spending is an important piece of the travel rewards puzzle. While it doesn't offer the "get rich quick" feeling of a shiny 100,000-point sign-up bonus, it can help you top off your balance to get that next award or diversify your points into a different program you wouldn't otherwise use much. Here are the cards that offer the best return on everyday non-bonus spending.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

The Candidates

There are many credit cards on the market today, but only a handful are worth considering when it comes to non-bonus everyday spend. Here are seven of the top possibilities, ranked by value in the first year and assuming $20,000 in non-bonus spend during that year:

CardWelcome BonusAnnual FeePoints Earned Based on $20,000 in Non-Bonus SpendTotal Return in First Year (based on TPG valuations)
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card50,000 miles ($700 based on TPG valuations)$95 (waived first year)40,000 miles$1,260
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard70,000 miles ($735 after 5% rebate on redeemed miles)$89 (waived first year)40,000 miles$1,135
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express15,000 Membership Rewards points ($300 based on TPG valuations)$9530,000 points (assuming 30 transactions per month)$805
The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express
Earn 15,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening$040,000 points$800
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card50,000 points ($500)$9530,000 points$705
Citi® Double Cash CardNone$0$400$400

The information for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, Amex Everyday Preferred has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

And here are the same cards ranked by their effective return in the second year and beyond:

CardAnnual FeeEarning on Everyday Spend% Return (Based on TPG valuations)
The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express
$02x Membership Rewards*4%
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card$951x Membership Reward point, 50% bonus points after making 30 purchases in a billing statement. Terms apply.3% (with 50% bonus)
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card$95 (waived first year)2x Venture Rewards miles2.8%
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard$89 (waived first year)2x Arrival miles, 5% rebate when you redeem miles2.11%
Citi Double Cash$02% cash back (1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% when you pay for those purchases)2%
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card$951.5x points (with up to a 75% bonus depending on your status in the Preferred Rewards program)1.5% to 2.625%

Let's break these options down one by one, taking a look at how these returns are calculated and which options might be right for you personally.
*Up to $50,000 spent each year; then 1x

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per dollar spent, and those miles can be redeemed at a fixed rate of 1 cent each as statement credits to "erase" travel purchases you've made in the last 90 days. However, you can also transfer your miles to a selection of airline partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles and Etihad Guest. Based on TPG's valuations, transferring to these partners could get you about 1.4 cents per mile in value, meaning the 2x earning rate on this card equals a 2.8% return.

The card comes with a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), and you'll also have access to one outstanding bonus category — 10x miles earned on all purchases made at Hotels.com with the Venture Rewards card when booked and paid through the special hotels.com/Venture link (ends Jan. 31, 2020).

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

There are no bonus categories on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, but you'll earn 2 miles per dollar for everything you pay for with the card. Arrival miles are only worth 1 cent each, so you won't get oversized value for them, but you can apply them to any travel-related purchases made on your Arrival Plus card and receive a statement credit against that purchase, essentially wiping out the cost. You'll also get a 5% rebate on all redeemed miles, making the effective ongoing return on this card 2.11% for everyday spend.

There's one caveat to note with this card: Although you can use as little as 2,500 miles to offset your account's account annual fee at one cent apiece, the minimum travel redemption amount is $100. So, you'll need to have 10,000 Arrival miles at any given time in order to apply them toward a travel purchase and you can only apply miles toward travel purchases made in the previous 120 days. But with the massive 70,000-mile sign-up bonus currently available and the waived annual fee for the first year, it's probably worth giving the card a shot.

Amex EveryDay Preferred Card

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express can be a lucrative option if you're willing to commit to it. In addition to 2x points at US gas stations and 3x at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year), you'll earn a 50% point bonus after making 30 or more purchases in a billing cycle. If you're able to do this, you'll effectively be earning 1.5 Membership Rewards points on all your purchases, but if you only make it to 29 purchases, you'll be stuck earning 1x on non-bonus spend.

You'll have to take a look at your own spending history and see if you can consistently maximize this card, but even at its best, it still comes up somewhat short of the Blue Business Plus. The Everyday Preferred has a $95 annual fee while the Blue Business Plus has none, and obviously 1.5x is less than 2x. Still, it might be a good choice for those folks who can't get a business card, or who might have more than $50,000 a year in credit card expenses.

Amex Blue Business Plus

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is a relatively new addition to the Amex portfolio, but boy, does it pack a punch. This no annual fee credit card earns 2x Membership Rewards per dollar spent on all purchases, up to $50,000 in a year; then 1x. TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, meaning that this card gives an unparalleled 4% return on all spend. Maxing out this card would earn you 100,000 Membership Rewards points a year, which is enough to unlock some pretty impressive redemption options.

Small business owners will also appreciate that this card borrows some of the best elements of Amex charge cards. Specifically, you have the potential to be able to spend beyond your preapproved credit limit as long as you pay off the balance in full during the next billing cycle. 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).

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

This card becomes extra appealing for non-bonus spending if you have high standing in Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program. If you have more than $100,000 in assets with BoFA (including investment and retirement accounts), you could get a 75% bonus on all points earning — meaning the 1.5x points you earn on non-bonus purchases with the Premium Rewards Card would be boosted to 2.625x points.

If you don't have the requisite $100,000-plus in assets to secure the 75% bonus that comes with the Platinum Honors tier of the Preferred Rewards program, note that there are two lower tiers: Gold ($20,000-$50,000 in assets), which gets a 25% points bonus, equal to 1.875x points on non-bonus spending, and Platinum ($50,000-$100,000), which gets a 50% points bonus, equal to 2.25x points on non-bonus spending.

Citi® Double Cash Card

While earning points and miles toward free travel is the way to earn the most lucrative credit card rewards, some people prefer the simplicity of cash back. For them, the Citi® Double Cash Card is probably a perfect choice. It comes with no annual fee and a total of 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you make a purchase, and an additional 1% when you pay for it on your statement.

This card is as easy as it gets — no bonus categories, no points to redeem and no award space to chase. The one quirk to be aware of is that this card doesn't waive foreign transaction fees, so you'll want to use a different card when you're traveling internationally or making overseas purchases. You also won't earn outsized returns with this card — there's no maximizing your points with cash back. But for folks who just want a solid cash-back card, this is a perfect choice.

Bottom Line

No matter what your shopping habits or travel goals are like, everyone should be able to find at least one card on this list that works for them. Just make sure that no matter where you go, on top of your regular bonus category credit cards, there's also a card in your wallet that's getting you the very best return on your everyday purchases.

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.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees