The Single Best Credit Card from Each of the Major Banks

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best credit card from each bank

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Before applying I highly suggest reading the following posts: Slow & Steady Doesn't Make You A Loser and A Mandatory Waiting Period to Apply for Credit Cards?. You can find all of our credit card reviews here.

My Favorite Cards and Why

Today I am going to talk about which credit card from each bank I feel is the best. The premise of this post is simple and before I go any further, there are no affiliate links here and I am not trying to sell you on anything. Every card with the exception of one is currently either in mine or my wife’s wallet and the one that is not will soon be!

Some of these cards have publicly available best offers that you can get anywhere. For those cards, I will mention the best offer, but not provide a link. If a card has a special offer that requires a special link, I will provide it so you can get the best deal. As mentioned before, no link provided in this post is an affiliate link.

Bank of America

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature

best credit card from each bank

There are some interesting cash cards from Bank of America, but the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature is my favorite simply because of the valuable miles I can earn when signing up. It also comes with a $99 companion fare which is very good if you live in or near an Alaska Airlines market.

The main reason I love Alaska Airlines miles is that they partner with a ton of other airlines. I personally am saving up Alaska miles to fly on Emirates in first class. They also partner with Cathay, but I can use American miles to fly their first class product.

Best Offer: 25,000 miles after approval and a $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 during the first 3 months. Application Link

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Visa Signature

best credit card from each bank

While the Wells Fargo Propel card is interesting, my favorite card is the Wells Fargo Visa Signature. Why would a card that has no sign-up bonus and only 1% cash back earning be my favorite?

There are two reasons this card is so good. First, it earns 5% at gas, grocery & drug stores during the first 6 months and points are worth an additional 50% when redeeming for airfare. This basically means that you are earning 7.5% back towards airfare during the first 6 months. Oh and this card loves REDbird.

Best Offer: No sign-up bonus, but 5% at gas, grocery and drug stores for the first 6 months.

Citibank

Citi Prestige Card

best credit card from each bank

To be honest, this card isn’t one I have yet in my wallet, but I am applying within the next few days, so I thought I would include it. The Citi Prestige does have a $450 annual fee, but it comes with Priority Pass Lounge Membership including guests, Admiral’s Club access when flying AA or US Airways, an annual $250 airline credit and the ability to redeem ThankYou points for 1.33 cents each or 1.6 cents on American Airlines or US Airways.

The real reason I am excited about getting this card is because of the in-branch sign-up bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after $15,000 in spend which also takes $100 off the annual fee. This offer is simply too good to pass up and will probably mean my Amex Platinum card will be going away.

Best Offer: There is a public 50,000 point offer after $3k in spend the first three months. You can find out more about the in-branch 60k offer here.

Barclay’s

Arrival Plus

best credit card from each bank

I have written plenty of times about the Arrival Plus (My review). I love the $440+ sign-up bonus and I love the ability to earn 2.2% cashback towards all of my travels. I use Arrival points to cover ancillary expenses all of the times like rental car fees, taxes on airlines awards and more. This card is ALWAYS in my wallet to be used for non-bonused spend.

Best Offer: 40,000 points after $3k in spend during the first 3 months.

U.S. Bank

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature

best credit card from each bank

I know this one will be a bit controversial, but I am looking at the overall picture. I think the Cash+ 5% card is very interesting as are the FlexPerks cards, but I still believe the Club Carlson card is the best despite the loss of the bonus award night.

The card still earns 5x Club Carlson points on everyday purchases, comes with an 85,000 point sign-up bonus and gives a 40,000 point bonus every year on the card anniversary date. Oh and there is also gold status which is one step above worthless, although it works better for modest upgrades in Europe.

Best Offer: 50,000 points after first purchase and an additional 35,000 after $2.5k spent during the first three months.

Chase

Chase Ink Plus

best credit card from each bank

This one probably isn’t a surprise either. Between the ability to earn 5x Ultimate Rewards points on “office supplies” and on my cell and internet bills, this card more than makes up for its $95 annual fee. The Chase Ink Plus also earns 2x on gas in a pinch and I love the Ultimate Rewards program and its ability to transfer points. The 50,000 point sign-up bonus is fantastic as well. (Although it has been as high as 70k in the past year.)

Best Offer: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5k during the first 3 months.

American Express

Business Rewards Gold

best credit card from each bank

This is a tough one because I think the Everyday cards provide a ton of value, but I love the Business Rewards Gold. I currently earn 3x points at gas stations and part of my calculation has been the ability to pretty easily get a 75,000 point sign-up bonus.

If you are looking for a no annual fee Amex card then the Everyday card is simply the best, but I feel the Business Rewards Gold card offers enough of a benefit to give it a try given the large sign-up bonus and the waived first year annual fee.

Best Offer: The best offer for this card is currently 25,000 points after $2k in spend, but there are targeted 50,000 and 75,000 point bonus offers. You can see if you have been targeted for the 75,000 point offer here. I wouldn’t apply for less than a 75,000 bonus personally.

Conclusion

As I hope you can tell, this post was not designed to sell anything, but to share my current thoughts on my own personal cards from each bank. Some cards are my favorite simply because of sign-up bonuses while others help me generate massive amounts of points/cash back on a daily basis.

Which cards are your favorites? Am I way off on anything? Let me know in the comments!


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17 COMMENTS

  1. Nice post, but 1 correction on the Prestige card. You don’t get Admirals Club membership – they will only let you in if you have a ticket on AA/USair that day. Not nearly as good.

  2. Hi Shawn,

    You said “Wells Fargo Visa Signature loves redcard”. Does it mean load money to redcard usign Wells Fargo Visa Signature is coded as grocery purchase? That would be awesome. Some other card, like Amex everyday/bluecash, they also get 3X point or 6% cash back for grocery purchases. However, target is coded as warehouse, not a grocery store in Amex system.

  3. Funny you made this blog post as I’m just about to pull the trigger on the WF Signature card. I hadn’t yet applied because I wanted written confirmation that my current Platinum credit card wouldn’t disqualify me for their 5% cash back offer. I’ve had this Platinum card for more than 5 years and haven’t used it in the last few years because the rewards stink.

    After several emails, I finally got the response I was looking for. They noted that they could manually add the offer to my card in the event that the system doesn’t qualify me for the 5% cash back. At the very least, if I waste a hard pull and have a card that has no benefit to me, I’m going to push hard and use that email as a bartering chip.

    Here are the last two relevant emails sent to me:

    “I understand you would like to know if you would be eligible to receive
    the 5% cash rewards if you applied for the Wells Fargo Cash Back Visa
    Signature Card since you already have a Wells Fargo credit card.

    Mr. XXXXX, please be assured that having an existing card with us does
    not disqualify you from being eligible for the bonus rewards.

    I personally contacted our Application Line at 1-800-932-6736 to verify
    this information as I was unable to find anything stating you would be
    disqualified from this bonus promotion online.”

    I replied back and wanted written confirmation that in the event the system didn’t automatically give me the 5% cash back that it could be manually added to my account. I explained I didn’t want to waste a credit inquiry without having this information first.

    Here’s the final email:

    “If you apply for a Visa Signature Credit Card and for any unknown reason
    the 5%, 6 month cash back isn’t automatically added to the card, it can
    be manually added so there is zero risk in your using a hard pull/credit
    inquiry when applying.

    To apply for a credit card, we welcome you to visit your local Wells
    Fargo banking location. You may also apply online at wellsfargo.com .”

    Sean, how comfortable would you be with the above assurances? I’ve read data points all over the place, and many suggest they won’t honor the 5% cash back offer. I don’t know if having WF banking accounts since I was 17 years old (and a mortgage) would make a difference, but I would hope so!

    The Target near me is coded 5411, i.e. grocery according to Visa’s list. My plan would be to do small loads at Target initially and scale up, obviously as quickly as possible considering it’s only a 6 month promotion.

    • Bah, there’s no edit feature! Sorry I misspelled your name SHAWN! You know how your brain functions when you have a little one to care for!!

        • What were your thoughts on their assurances and do you have any overall data points to suggest there will be no complications with applying for the WF when you have the Platinum?

          • Sorry I missed this reply. I have no data points, but with that email I would be confident in applying. If they chose not to honor it despite that email then they would have some serious regulatory issues I believe. (Of course I’m not a lawyer.) My guess is you won’t have any issues and if you do it will be a simple fix as they say.

  4. Shawn,
    I get the offer for the WF Signature quite often. Actually tore one up that came in the mail today. Have a mortgage w/ WF. Could probably do about $150K in 6 months. How do you get 7.5% for travel?

    • With the Visa signature you get a 50% bonus when redeeming the points for flights. Each point is then worth 1.5 cents instead of the 1 cent cash value.

  5. Question Shawn,
    Do you know if the 5,000.00 credit card load on the target prepaid red card is ending? We heard it was ending mid April but I haven’t seen anything in print!
    I saw on my serve card you can no longer make the 1,000 transfer from a credit card. I believe that ended 2 days ago! Any new Amex products
    You know of?

  6. @anthonyjh21: I am in the exact situation as yours. I would greatly appreciate if you let me know the WellsFargo email address where you sent your question and got the response you posted.

    • It was their internal e-mail system from within my WF bank/cc login page.

      I think I selected account related questions and I linked my platinum cc account. It did take several emails to get to the point they were able to assure me I’d get the promo.

      I’m still not fully confident, but it’s as good as it gets for now. I’m going to wait a few weeks so I can figure out an optimal way of utilizing the 6 months so I can hit the ground running.

      I’m not planning on being a ‘heavy hitter.’ There’s people that recycle their 10-20k credit limit WEEKLY. Loading RB coded as grocery is a must, but outside that it’ll be a bit more work (for the personal time I’m limited to). I’m going to taper down cc applications after this one, so the 5% return for RB loads is enough to please me since I won’t have minimum spend requirements for a bit.

      I’ve read varying reports of WF slowing you down with fraud checks and also low credit lines. Seems it’s best not to pay with Serve/RB though, as they put a hold on your credit line while they process the payment. Lots of little things and with a small window for MS I’d rather learn from others mistakes rather than commit them myself!

Comments are closed.