The Best Visa Credit Cards of 2020

Mar 7, 2020

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Most of the time, people categorize credit cards by issuer or type (cash back, travel, cobranded, etc.). The payment network for your card (Visa, Mastercard, Amex or Discover) doesn’t matter that much. However, there are times when it does make a difference. For example, Amex isn’t as widely accepted as other issuers (though that is starting to change) and bill-pay services like Plastiq have limitations for Mastercard, Visa and Amex cards. Not to mention that small vendors in the U.S. and many stores abroad often only accept one type of credit card.

For these reasons, it’s important to have a wallet with a diverse portfolio of both issuers and payment networks. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best Visa credit cards to have in your wallet.

The Best Visa Credit Cards of 2020:

In This Post

Chase Sapphire Preferred

(Image by The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Annual fee: $95

Why you’ll love it: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is arguably the card that made travel points and miles what they are today and there are plenty of reasons why this Visa card should be the next addition to your wallet. The card’s 2x points on dining and a broad description of travel (including airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds, passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, parking lots and garages) will help you pile up points quickly. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable rewards available, since you can get 25% more value on travel when you redeem your points directly through the Chase travel portal. You can also transfer your points to any of Chase’s 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners.

The Sapphire Preferred has no foreign transaction fees and offers valuable trip delay protection, trip interruption and cancellation protection, delayed baggage coverage and primary rental car insurance — all of which became even more of a commodity after Citi eliminated similar benefits from its cards in September.

Check out our full card review for more details.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Annual fee: $95

Why you’ll love it: Although it’s not Chase’s most-premium card offering, the Ink Business Preferred has an excellent sign-up bonus and rewards categories that fit common small-business expenses. The card’s 100,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points are worth a mind-boggling $2,000, based on TPG’s latest valuations.

This is also a great Visa card that business owners can use long term. Your annual fee of $95 will get you access to free employee cards, no foreign transaction fees and cellphone insurance, as well as some strong business-friendly bonus categories, including 3x points for your first $150,000 each account anniversary year spent on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services, social media advertising and search engine advertising.

Check out our full card review to learn more.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

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

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Annual fee: $550

Why you’ll love it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve continues to be one of the best credit cards on the market for travelers. This Visa card’s $550 annual fee is offset by premium benefits — most notably a $300 annual travel credit (good for anything from Uber rides to plane tickets to hotels) that brings your actual out-of-pocket cost down to $250 a year. The Sapphire Reserve also offers 3x points on travel (excluding the $300 travel credit) and dining, which are both loosely defined to include spending on items such as public transit and meal delivery services.

You’ll also get access to a concierge service and travel perks that include a Priority Pass Select membership and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application-fee credit. The Sapphire Reserve also offers travel and car rental coverage similar to the Sapphire Preferred, although the terms are slightly different. Check out our guide to Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which Credit Card to Get for a full comparison.

Check out our full card review to learn more.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Sign-up bonus: $150 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Annual fee: None

Why you’ll love it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a versatile Visa card that can be used alone or paired with other cards.

Earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. However, since Chase lets you pool points between its credit cards, if you also hold one of the first three cards on this list — a Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred or Chase Sapphire Preferred — you can transfer your points from the Freedom Unlimited to these cards, turning them into full-fledged Ultimate Rewards points. This means you can transfer them to Chase’s hotel or airline partners and potentially get much more than just 1 cent apiece. In fact, TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each, and 1.5 points per dollar on everything with the Freedom Unlimited multiplied by 2 cents gives you a consistent 3% return, making the card one of the most compelling cards for everyday spending even after the first year.

Check out our full card review for all the details.

Chase Freedom

Sign-up bonus: $150 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Annual fee: None

Why you’ll love it: Although its earning potential is a lot less than the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Chase Freedom can be a useful tool in your points-building arsenal. Like the Unlimited, the Freedom comes with no annual fee and the ability to maximize the value of your points by combining it with another member of the Chase Trifecta. The major difference lies in its earning power.

Where the Chase Freedom Unlimited gets a flat 1.5% back on all purchases (3% on the first $20,000 in your first year), the Chase Freedom earns 5% on your first $1,500 spent in rotating quarterly categories (activation required) and 1% everywhere else. The categories change each year, but they’ve included gas stations, grocery stores, Lyft and mobile payments like Apple Pay in the past. If you can max out all four quarterly sets of categories, you’ll earn 30,000 points per year on these purchases. According to TPG valuations, that’s worth $600 if you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards card.

Check out our full card review to learn more.

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 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months

Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)

Why you’ll love it: With this great beginner travel card from Visa, you’ll earn 2x miles on every purchase. The Venture offers a simple way to earn and redeem your miles. You can either redeem them as a statement credit for 1 cent apiece for recent travel purchases made with your card or you can transfer miles earned from the Venture card to 15 airline partners.

Its $95 annual fee is waived the first year, and the Venture offers a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) — a feature many mid-tier travel cards do not offer cardholders.

Check out our Capital One Venture card review.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Annual fee: $95

Why you’ll love it: If you stay at Marriott hotels, or would like to, the Bonvoy Boundless card is attractive because of its 6x earnings at participating Marriott properties. Plus, you get a free-night award on each account anniversary valid at any property charging up to 35,000 points per night. If used well, this free night should more than offset the card’s annual fee, although you won’t get your first free-night award until your first account anniversary. Plus, you’ll get automatic Silver Elite status in the form of 15 elite-night credits each year.

Check out our full card review for more details.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card

(Image by The Points Guy.)

Sign-up bonus: Get a $100 statement credit, 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

Annual fee: $75

Why you’ll love it: Alaska Mileage Plan miles are consistently ranked as the most valuable airline miles in TPG’s monthly valuations. Alaska offers generous routing rules, amazing alliance and non-alliance partners and almost laughably low award rates (such as 70,000 miles for a first-class ticket to Asia). However, Alaska miles are hard to earn outside of frequent sales and its transfer partnership with Marriott. Because of that, its Visa credit card can be a valuable tool in your points-and-miles strategy. Plus, Alaska Airlines announced that it is joining the Oneworld alliance by mid-2021 and has reupped its partnership with American Airlines.

Related reading: Here’s why Alaska Airlines miles are the most valuable

The $75 annual fee is lower than most credit cards for airline miles and the included annual companion certificate can more than make up for the cost.

Check out our full card review for more information.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Annual fee: $95

Why you’ll love it: If you’re looking for cash back more than travel rewards, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card has the potential to be one of the most rewarding options for existing Bank of America customers. In addition to a sign-up bonus worth $500 (as points are worth a fixed 1 cent each), this Visa card has a unique earning structure. You’ll earn 1.5x points back on all purchases except for travel and dining, which earn 2x points. That isn’t groundbreaking, but certain Bank of America customers are eligible for higher bonus rates.

If you have an eligible Bank of America checking account and a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more in Bank of America and/or Merrill Lynch investment accounts, you can sign up for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. This will increase your earnings on the Premium Rewards card by an amount based on your account balance:

Spend Categories Tier 1 – Gold ($20,000 – $50,000) Tier 2 – Platinum ($50,000 – $100,000) Tier 3 – Platinum Honors ($100,000+)
Travel/Dining Earnings 2.5x points 3x points 3.5x points
Other Earnings 1.875x points 2.25x points  2.62x points

 

Even at the high end, this isn’t quite as strong as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offers an equivalent of 6% back on travel and dining. However, remember that the Premium Rewards card has a much lower annual fee. If you’re after a cash-back credit card and all the flexibility it affords, 2.625% for everyday spending is about as good as it gets — if you’re able to reach the Platinum Honors tier.

Check our full card review to learn more.

Bottom Line

It’s worth knowing which payment network your credit cards use. You shouldn’t apply for or use cards based solely on the payment network, but you should try to have a diverse mix in your wallet. Especially before you travel outside the country or try to make any large purchases, you should have a few different types of credit cards available in case a merchant can’t process one of them. There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a meal or a long cab ride in a foreign country, only to find out you don’t have a way to pay your bill.

Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor and Benét J. Wilson.

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
  • 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.