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Best Credit Cards iMore 2021
This year has seen a huge reimagining of a bunch of older credit cards. New rewards, perks, and features have been added to a number of credit cards to make them even more enticing and earn you more cash or points on the purchases that you care about the most. We've seen huge upgrades to existing cards that earn exciting new rewards in growing spending categories, and the most successful credit card launch in history. There are also some incredible cards out there for traveling, for earning cash back, for small businesses, and for taking advantage of huge welcome bonuses and other introductory offers. After a year of reporting on all of the newest cards, the newest bonuses, and the newest updates, these credit cards have earned the title as being the best in their category in 2020.
- Best Overall: Apple Card
- Everyday Purchases: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- The Travel Card: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- For Staying Over: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Best Overall: Apple Card
Apple Card may have only been released in the back half of last year, but it quickly took its place as the breakout credit card of not only the year, but the biggest credit card launch in history. Despite some of the controversy surround Goldman Sach's approval process and some bumpy bugs and odd user experiences after its rollout, it is undeniable that Apple Card revolutionizes the credit card experience in a number of important ways.
With it's ridiculously easy to earn rewards program, Daily Cash, you get your rewards deposited the day after the purchase posts into your Apple Pay Cash Card which you can use to send friends money, transfer to your bank, or even pay your bill. Apple continues to expand where you can earn 3% Daily Cash as well, now offering the highest tier of rewards at merchants like Uber, Nike, Walgreens, Duane Reade, and T-Mobile.
The Wallet app automatically tracks your spending and displays all of this information to you in beautiful, easy to understand summaries to educate you on your spending habits and promote better financial decisions. It even shows you in real-time how much interest you'll be charged if you don't pay the full amount due on the card, and encourage you to increase the payment, showing you the effect it will have in lowering your interest charged.
Apple Card is also the most private card in the industry. Apple will never know how much you spend, where you spend it, or what you spend it on. Its partner on the card, Goldman Sachs, has also promised not to share any of your information with advertisers.
- Daily Cash
- Money management features
- That titanium physical card
- No joint accounts
- No online portal
A card built for everyone
Apple Card provides tremendous value with a rewards program designed for anyone to benefit from, and the most impressive money management tools that have ever existed for a credit card.
Everyday Purchases: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a card built to reward you the most for the purchases you make every day. Grab a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Then, earn 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more, and 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. This card also features a low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%. The only downside is the $95 annual fee, but if you do the math, you'll earn more than enough to justify it.
- Newly added cash back on streaming
- Recently added cash back on ridesharing
- The best cash back on groceries
- Solid cash back for gas
- Annual fee
- Some places don't accept Amex
A card built for the staples.
From the long-standing solid rewards on groceries and gas to new additions like streaming services and ridesharing, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is making itself known as the card to use for living your regular day.
The Travel Card: The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the most well known travel cards, and for good reason. New cardholders earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months, 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
This card is full of additional benefits. Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, $20 in December, for up to $200 in annual Uber savings, and access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world. You'll also receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts, as well as a $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline. The card does come with a $550 Annual Fee, but if you are using the perks, you are more than making up for it.
- High rewards on flights and hotels
- Free Uber rides
- Yearly flying credits
- High annual fee
- Amex isn't accepted as many places as others
The Travel Card
The iconic travel card.
This card has been a long-standing favorite for travel with its exceptional rewards on flights and hotels as well as its newer additions like free rides with Uber.
For Staying Over: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
If you enjoy traveling, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a great option for you. Grab a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. After that, you'll earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
This card also offers up to $100 of the application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. You can fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; there are no blackout dates with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Plus, transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs. This card has no foreign transaction fees and $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 after that).
- The most standard points on hotels
- Solid welcome bonus
- No blackout dates
- Annual fee
For Staying Over
Hotels, hotels, hotels.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a great straightforward travel card with a simple rewards program that's easy to earn and easy to use.
While there isn't one card to rule them all, the Apple Card is the best all around credit card we've seen in awhile, especially for Apple users. With its expanding rewards program, its simple and easy to use app, and money management tools backed by a level of privacy previously unseen in the industry, it earns its spot as the breakthrough card of the year.
That said, if you are looking to earn in specific categories like spending on your staples, catching the next flight, or collapsing into a bed at your hotel, there are much better cards made to make the most out of those specific needs. Figure out where you spend and where you want to earn, and choose the best card for you.
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