9 no annual fee credit cards that earn transferable points
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Transferable points are some of the most valuable rewards currencies in the travel world. The best ways to redeem these points is typically to book travel or to transfer them to airline and hotel partners. While there are many attractive rewards credit cards with annual fees, today we’ll focus solely on no-fee credit cards that earn transferable points to help you start accruing travel rewards at minimal cost.
Personal no-fee credit cards that earn transferable points
Six personal cards made our list for the best no-fee credit cards that earn transferable points. These cards earn a variety of rewards while providing numerous other benefits for cardholders.
American Express designed this card to be used for everyday expenses. It earns 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets per calendar year and 1 point per dollar after, as well as on other eligible purchases. You can also earn 2 points per dollar when booking prepaid hotel stays, vacation packages, and cruises through Amex Travel. To encourage regular use of the card, you’ll receive a 20% bonus on the points earned when you use the card for 20 or more transactions in a billing period.
New cardholders can earn a welcome bonus of 10,000 points after making $1,000 in purchases within three months of opening their account. The best way to redeem your Amex points is through transfer partners. The Membership Rewards program’s partners include 18 different airlines, such as ANA, JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic. You also have the option to transfer your points to three hotel chains: Hilton, Marriott and Choice Hotels.
American Express recently announced a record number of transfer bonus promotions where you can get additional miles or points when transferring to eligible partner loyalty programs.
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.
The Capital One VentureOne credit card earns an unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar spent on every purchase that you make with no bonus categories to worry about. Plus, you can earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending just $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. There are no caps to the number of miles you can earn and the miles never expire as long as your account stays open.
Miles can be used to offset travel purchases, book travel through the Capital One travel portal, or you can transfer them to 15+ hotel and airline loyalty programs. Participating programs include British Airways, Etihad Guest, Qantas and Aeroplan.
Chase has two Freedom cards to choose from – the Chase Freedom Flex and the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Chase Freedom Flex earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in select categories each quarter (activation required), 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on restaurant and drug store purchases, and 1% on all other purchases.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on restaurant and drug store purchases, and an unlimited 1.5% cash back on other purchases. Neither carries an annual fee and each is a valuable asset when combined with other premium Chase cards (such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card) to form the so-called Chase Trifecta.
Both cards are currently offering introductory terms where you can earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Plus, earn 5% cash back on the first $12,000 you spend on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart purchases).
If you also carry one of the following other Chase cards: Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points on a 1:1 transfer ratio to 11 airline programs (Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways, Flying Blue, JetBlue, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic, Aer Lingus and Iberia) and three hotel programs (Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott). By doing so, you’ll get a lot more value from your points this way than you would from redeeming for cash back or gift cards.
While the other cards on this list earn flexible points, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card earns hotel points. However, Marriott Bonvoy has one of the best airline transfer programs of any credit card, including the others on this list.
Flexible points programs generally have a handful of partner airlines to choose from. Marriott Bonvoy has 43 current transfer partners and nearly half of them are unique to Marriott, meaning they’re not found among the airlines that partner with Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards or Capital One Miles. The transfer ratio is 3:1 in most cases, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred.
The Bonvoy Bold card earns up to 14 points per dollar when staying at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (including up to 10 for being a member plus an extra 3 per dollar spent at Marriott Bonvoy properties with the card, and another 1 for the complimentary Silver elite status the card confers). You’ll also earn 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases, like flights and taxis, and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.
The Citi Rewards+ Card is the perfect card for small-dollar purchases. It earns 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent at gas stations and grocery stores on up to $6,000 per year (and 1 per dollar thereafter) and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. The points earned are rounded up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase. This means that a $1 purchase will earn 10 points. Best of all, there is no cap on purchases that are rounded up. You can earn a welcome bonus of 20,000 points when you spend $1,500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.
If you also have the Citi Prestige® Card or the Citi Premier® Card, you can move points from your Citi Rewards+ account to your Prestige or Premier account and transfer them to partners such as Avianca LifeMiles and Etihad Guest. This increases the value of the points you earn with the Citi Rewards+ from 1 cent each to approximately 1.7 cents each. Plus, Citi Rewards+ cardholders get 10% of their redeemed points back (up to 10,000 max) per year, stretching their value even further.
The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
With the Citi Double Cash Card, cardholders earn 1% cash back when making purchases and another 1% cash back when they pay it off. This is a total of 2% cash back, with no caps on how much you can earn. This card does not have a welcome bonus. However, you can convert your cash back into ThankYou Points if you have another Citi card that earns transferable points, like the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, much as you would with the Citi Rewards+.
No-Annual-fee business credit cards that earn transferable points
Small business owners also have the opportunity to earn transferable points on their business expenses without paying an annual fee. Business owners can add complimentary employee cards for each of these cards. Here are three small business credit cards that earn transferable points.
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (see rates and fees): Earn 2 American Express Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $50,000 you spend per calendar year with the Amex Blue Business Plus. After that, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar. New cardholders can earn a welcome offer of 15,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership. Membership Rewards points transfer to 21 airline and hotel loyalty programs.
- Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business: The Spark Miles Select earns an unlimited 1.5 miles on every dollar you spend, with no caps. It includes a welcome bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases during the first three months of account opening. These points transfer to 15+ airline and hotel partners.
- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: Business owners earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases with the Ink Business Unlimited. Plus, there is a welcome bonus of $750 when you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Your cash back rewards become transferable when you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred. Chase has 14 hotel and airline partners to choose from.
The information for the Capital One Spark Miles Select 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.
You don’t have to pay an annual fee to earn transferable points. Whether you’re a consumer or small business owner, multiple credit cards earn rewards and provide valuable benefits without paying a fee. Many travelers pair these no-annual-fee cards with their other cards to maximize the points they earn on everyday purchases and applicable category bonuses. The Chase Trifecta and Amex Trifecta are perfect examples of how to do this.
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Plus card, click here.
Additional reporting by Juan Ruiz.
Featured photo by Stokkete/Shutterstock.
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