What Are The Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards? Here Are Our Favorites!

8
Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards

When I first got into the miles and points hobby, I wasn’t exactly sold on the idea of paying an annual fee for a credit card. While my understanding has changed completely, I still find myself gravitating to credit cards without an annual fee. Today I want to explore what I consider the best no annual fee cards.

best no annual fee credit cards BB+

American Express Blue Business Plus

The American Express Blue Business Plus is my new favorite card in my wallet. With the ability to earn 2x Membership Rewards points on all purchases on up to $50,000 in spend per year, it provides an excellent return if you know all the savvy uses of Membership Rewards points.

The current welcome offer for this card via referral is:
  • 10,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days
  • Earns 2x Membership Rewards (on up to $50,000 in spend per year)
  • Earns 1x in spend for spend beyond $50,000
  • Access to valuable Amex Offers
  • Referral Link – Select Business Cards

This is a business card, so keep that in mind before you rush off to apply!

Chase Freedom Visa

The Chase Freedom is an excellent no annual fee card that I have carried for years. With rotating 5% cash back categories, it offers a very nice return on up to $1,500 of qualifying spend per quarter. The categories change every quarter, and you have to opt-in to earn the 5x points.

The best feature of the card is that you actually earn Ultimate Rewards points which can be transferred to a premium Chase card. Once transferred, you can use these to transfer to travel partners or use them at higher value to book travel through Chase’s travel portal.

The current welcome offer for this card is:
  • $150/15,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $500 within the first 3 months
  • Earns 5x Ultimate Rewards points on up to $1,500 in spend in rotating quarterly categories
  • Earns 1x on all other spend, and spend beyond the $1,500 quarterly category cap
  • Learn More

Even better: I now have two Chase Freedom cards after downgrading my Chase Sapphire Reserve, letting me net up to 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points per quarter if I can maximize the 5x spend.

It might seem odd that I’d pick this over the Chase Freedom Unlimited due to the cap, but I find that there are enough other great cards among the top no annual fee credit cards that I’d rather earn 5x on $1,500. Spend beyond that can go on other cards.

Ink Cash

The Chase Ink Cash offers the ability to rack up a ton of Ultimate Rewards points if you play it right.  The card has an amazing earning structure and it comes with the best welcome offer of the bunch.

The current welcome offer for this card is:
  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points ($500 cash) after $3,000 in spend within the first 3 months.
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at: Office Supply Stores and on Internet, phone, and cable services.
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at gas stations and restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Learn More

The Ink Cash can be even more valuable when you pair it with a premium Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Preferred.  That makes the Ink Cash’s points transferable which increases the return you get for your spend.

Citi Double Cash Mastercard

The Citi Double Cash card went from a decent standard cashback card for non-bonus spend to one that truly deserves a place in your wallet. Citi recently changed the Double Cash card so that you can turn your cash back into Thank You Points at a 1:1 ratio. With the ability to transfer these to a premium Citi ThankYou Point-earning card and onward to travel partners (hello, Turkish Miles & Smiles), this greatly increases the potential return.

The current welcome offer for this card is:

With recent changes the Citi Double Cash card may be the best card on the list for non business owners. It is also a good downgrade/product change option if you have another Citi card you could change to the Double Cash.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa

If you’re a fan of the Chase Ultimate Rewards ecosystem, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of the top no annual fee credit cards you can put in your wallet. This is especially true if you’re carrying the Chase Sapphire Reserve, as you can transfer Ultimate Rewards to your Reserve account and redeem them for 50% more. This gives you an effective minimum return of 2.25% on all spend, great for anything where you don’t receive any other sort of bonus.

The current offer for this card is:
  • Welcome offer of 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $500 within the first three months
  • Earns 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases
  • Points can be redeemed as cash back. They can also be transferred to travel partners if you have another Chase premium card.
  • Learn More

The Chase Freedom Unlimited used to be my go-to for basically everything. But lately with a newfound love of both American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou points. But if you’re a UR fan, this no annual fee card is a must.

Well Fargo Propel American Express Card

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card (Learn More) is one that I’ve had my eye on for a while, but have yet to apply. I’m doing my best to drop below Chase 5/24 to pull in a couple new Chase cards for the first time in two years. But after that, I might be looking at this fantastic no annual fee credit card.

The current offer and benefits of the Wells Fargo Propel card are:
  • Intro offer of 30,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months
  • 3x points on airfare, hotels, car rentals, gas, ride-share, and restaurants
  • 1x points on everything else
  • Cell phone protection
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Learn More

This card covers many staple categories, with the exception of groceries. It’s hard to argue with a 3x return. Plus, it’s rare for a no-fee card to offer no foreign transaction fees.

Runners-Up: Other No Annual Fee Credit Cards

I know there are some other great no-fee cards out there, including the Discover it with rotating categories like the Chase Freedom, the American Express EveryDay Credit Card, an excellent choice if you have a large number of grocery purchases, and the Uber card. The Citi Costco card is also a winner especially for gas purchases the first year.

Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards – Final Thoughts

These are the best no annual fee cards on the market. No matter which one is in your wallet, it is a winner. I have, or have had, every single one of the five with the exception of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card (Learn More). These no-fee cards are honestly a staple in my spending habits. Hotel and airline cards are nice for stays with the brand and limited other perks. Other premium travel cards might be used for airline tickets and rental car purchases. These are the best no annual fee cards out there. They are where I put much of my general spend too.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by any advertiser or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser. It is not any advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Another card I always recommend: The SDFCU (State Department Federal Credit Union) Premium Cash Back+. 2% cash back on everything. Minimum to redeem is only $5. No annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. Priority Chip-and-PIN (very few U.S. issuers offer priority Chip-and-PIN cards). This card is a Visa card, compared to Citi DC being a MasterCard and WF Propel being Amex. If you have to carry only one credit card to use anywhere in the world, this is a great option.

  2. The BoA Cash Rewards deserves a mention – 3-5.25% on a category of your choice. I have the Visa Signature (just renewed, still a Visa!), wife has the World Mastercard, and so we get 2 categories with differing benefits that we also rotate to complement our Discover ITs and her Chase Freedom. Being a Visa, mine can be used for 2+% at Costco as well. I’ve heard it’s still available for new cardholders as a Visa, either in-branch (by request) or cobranded (in name only, the card’s the same), but I’m too lazy to research those claims.

    • True. I didn’t think about picking out that as the category, but it would be a good return! I’d only be really keen on those BofA cards if we could hit a higher tier of return due to money banked with BofA.

  3. Maybe it’s a targeted offer, but I’m getting e mails for The PayPal 2% Cashback Mastercard (issued by Synchrony Bank) for 4% cashback for the first 90 days.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here