Best Credit Cards for Everyday Spending
We’ve covered the best credit cards for both grocery shopping and gas purchases. There are some great products to stick in your wallet for these staple categories. But we haven’t yet covered the best credit cards for everyday spending, for purchases that don’t fall into a bonus category.
Now, there may be cards out there with oddball bonus categories, such as home improvement stores, medical bills, and auto repair. But these aren’t the norm. In many cases, you’re looking at a purchase that doesn’t fall within a bonus category of any of your cards. In that case, you’ll want any of these five best credit cards for everyday spending to give you the best return.
American Express Blue Business Plus
The American Express Blue Business Plus continues to be the card I go to for everyday spending. If you listened to the Miles to Memories Podcast segment where Shawn, Mark, and Joe talk about the best no-fee cards, you’ll know that that Mark considers the Blue Business Plus to be one of the best credit cards for everyday spending.
Earning 2x Membership Rewards points on all purchases up to a total spend of $50,000 per year is an excellent return on general spend. With American Express‘ fantastic array of transfer partners, you can easily get more than a 4% return on everything you buy. This no-fee card is an excellent choice whenever your purchase doesn’t fall within any bonus category for another card.
Here is the current welcome offer and benefits of the American Express Blue Business Plus:
- There is a welcome offer via referral only for 15,000 Membership Rewards points after $5,000 in spend within the first 3 months.
- Earn 2x Membership Rewards points per dollar, on up to $50,000 annual spend
- No annual fee
- Learn More
If I had to pick one card on which to put all my spend, it might be the BBP.
Before I had the Blue Business Plus in my wallet, my wife’s Chase Freedom Unlimited was the card we broke out for any purchase that didn’t fall in a more lucrative bonus category of another card. The Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5x Ultimate Rewards on all spend, which is equivalent to 1.5% cash back.
This isn’t all that hot at face value, but the real magic happens when you pair it with a premium Chase UR-earning card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Chase Ink Preferred. Transferring your Ultimate Rewards from the Chase Freedom Unlimited to any of these accounts let’s you use them for 1.25/1.5 cents each through the travel portal or transfer them to partners.
When I had a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, I often redeemed my points at 1.5 cents each for travel directly through Chase. This gives me an effective return of 2.25% back on all purchases made with my Freedom Unlimited. However, I’m now without a Sapphire Reserve, so the Freedom Unlimited sees a whole lot less use. Still, if you’re a fan of the Ultimate Rewards ecosystem, it’s a great card.
Here is the current welcome offer and benefits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card:
- Welcome offer of 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points worth $150 after spending $500 within the first three months of card membership.
- Earn an uncapped 1.5x Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent
- Ability to transfer points to a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card in the same household
- No annual fee
- Learn More
For those who are major Ultimate Rewards fans, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a must-have.
Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash is what I consider a “baseline” card. It earns 2% cash back on all purchases, which is often hard to beat on everyday spend. Although I’m much more fond of points currencies, I find that having a little cash back is always nice to cover incidental trip expenses.
However, the Citi Double Cash found some new life with the added ability to transfer the cash back to ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio. With some excellent transfer partners, this is just added value to an already decent card, making it one of the best credit cards for everyday spending in my wallet.
Here are the current benefits of the Citi Double Cash:
- No welcome offer (Citi is currently offering a welcome offer in branch)
- Earn 2% cash back / 2x ThankYou points per $1 spent
- No annual fee
With a few good transfer partners (and one amazing one in Turkish Airlines), the Citi Double Cash is a potentially excellent choice for some folks.
CLICK HERE to compare cashback credit cards
American Express Everyday Preferred
If you’re without a business and cannot pick up a the Blue Business Plus, the American Express Everyday Preferred might be a great everyday card (pun intended). It offers a bonus on gas and grocery, but only 1x Membership Rewards points on all other purchases. However, if you make more than 30 transactions per month, you receive a 50% bonus on all points earned. This means you can get a minimum of 1.5x MR on your spend.
With 3x points earning on groceries (up to $6,000 per year) and 2x points on gas, it’s a great card if you are a fan of the Membership Rewards program and don’t want to have to juggle multiple cards.
Here is the current welcome offer and benefits of the Everyday Preferred card:
- Welcome Offer of 15,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 in qualifying purchases within the first three months of card membership
- 3x Membership Rewards per $1 spent at U.S. grocery stores (up to $6,000 per year)
- 2x Membership Rewards per $1 spent at U.S. gas stations
- 1x Membership Rewards per $1 spent everywhere else
- Earn a 50% boost on Membership Rewards if you make 30+ transactions in your billing cycle
- $95 annual fee
- Direct Link
Chase World of Hyatt Visa
A hotel card among the best credit cards for everyday spending? Hear me out on this one. This card is a personal favorite, and I do break it out often for everyday purchases.
The World of Hyatt card only earns 1 point per dollar for spend that doesn’t fall into any of the bonus categories. This is an approximate return of 1.5%, assuming Hyatt points are worth about a cent and a half. You could easily do better with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which earns 1.5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar, which can then be transferred to Hyatt points.
But there are other reasons to put spend on your Hyatt card. First, you can earn an additional free night by spending $15,000 per year. Now, I don’t have $15,000 in Hyatt stays or other travel spending planned, so much of this spend won’t be in bonus categories. However, it’s worth getting 1x for the free night. Assuming you use the free Category 1-4 night for a value of at least $150 (which is super easy and below the average value you will get), your effective return is now 2.5% on that first $15,000.
The other reason I put spend on my World of Hyatt Visa is to earn elite nights. This is the only way I will be able to achieve Globalist status this year, and I’m more than willing to earn 1x Hyatt points if it means hitting Globalist. The card even comes with a pretty decent lineup of travel protections.
Here is the current welcome offer and benefits for the World of Hyatt Visa:
- Get 25,000 World of Hyatt bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership
- Earn an additional 25,000 World of Hyatt bonus points after spending an additional $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months (total of 50,000 points for $6,000 spend)
- 4x points at Hyatt hotels
- 2X at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships
- 1x points on everything else
- Annual Category 1-4 free night award
- Earn an additional Category 1-4 free night award after spending $15,000 within your membership year
- $95 annual fee
- Learn More
Best Credit Cards for Everyday Spending: Honorable Mentions
The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature might sound like an excellent option, offering an uncapped 2.5% cash back on all purchases. However, it’s primary drawback is the annual fee of $99. If you are a big spender it is an excellent card to have. Just know you’ll need to spend an additional $19,800 to break even between this card versus putting everything on a Double Cash.
The Hilton Surpass card is another option like the World of Hyatt Visa where you can earn a free night by spending $15,000 per cardmember year. You will be better off getting a bit of a bonus on your spending by using it for gas and groceries, but even earning 3x Honors points per dollar on some general spend isn’t too bad if you factor in the value of the free night. I wouldn’t use this card for general spend once you hit the $15,000 threshold, though. I put the World of Hyatt card above it because of the anniversary night you get with the Hyatt card that doesn’t come with the Surpass.
The Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa isn’t all that great of an option at face value, earning 1.5x points on all purchases (1.5% back on travel). But if you bank with BofA and can deposit some serious cash, the earning rate on the card improves dramatically. Hitting the top deposit tier will give you a return of 2.625x points per dollar on all spend. That is hard to beat.
Picking a best credit card for everyday spending really depends on the loyalty currencies you like most. It also depends on the value you place on the points. There are great options for Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, and Thank You points, as well as some good cash back cards as well. You should be able to find at least one great go-to credit card among these.