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Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
You might be hesitant to pay annual fees on credit cards, especially if you’re new to the hobby of points and miles.
Some cards are well worth paying the annual fee! That’s because they come with valuable perks, free hotel nights, or other travel benefits.
But there are other cards that are free to keep year after year that can also help get you Big Travel with Small Money!
And having a no-annual fee credit card is a great way to improve your credit history, credit score, and build a relationship with a bank.
Many of the cards in this post don’t earn us a commission, but we’ll always tell you about the best deals!
Here is my list of 10 of the top no-annual-fee credit cards.
1. Chase Freedom
Link: Chase Freedom
The Chase Freedom card is my favorite no annual fee card, and 1 of the Chase cards I keep in my wallet . You’ll earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150 in cash back) after signing-up and spending $500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months.
You can also earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (or 5% cash back) on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating categories like gas stations, restaurants, or commuter transportation each quarter.
I like the Freedom card because you can either redeem the points earned for cash back, OR you can transfer the Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold (no longer available), or Chase Ink Plus.
And from there to airline or hotel partners such as Hyatt, Southwest, British Airways, or United Airlines!
2. Discover It
Link: Discover It
The Discover It card is another great choice for a no-annual-fee card. You’ll earn $50 cash back when you sign-up and make a purchase within the 1st 3 months.
If you’re a new cardholder or previously registered, Discover will also double all your cash back after your 1st 12 billing cycles!
So you’ll get an effective 2% back on every purchase for your 1st year. And a total of 10% cash back in the rotating quarterly categories when you register.
You can get additional discounts through Discover Deals and there are NO foreign transaction fees!
3. Discover It Miles
Link: Discover It Miles
The Discover it Miles card is similar to the Discover It card, but it has no bonus categories to track. That’s great if you don’t want that hassle!
With the Discover It Miles card you’ll earn 1.5 miles per $1 you spend on all purchases. However, there is NO sign-up bonus.
You’ll also get up to $30 credit per card anniversary year for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases made with your card.
Discover will double your miles at the end of your 1st 12 billing cycles. So you’ll get effectively 3% back!
There are no foreign transaction fees. Just remember Discover cards are not as widely accepted as other cards, especially outside the US.
4. Citi Double Cash Card
Link: Citi Double Cash
With the Citi Double Cash card you’ll earn 1% cash back on purchases. And you’ll earn another 1% when you pay them off.
There’s no limit to the rewards you can earn and no category restrictions. But there’s NO sign-up bonus.
This is a good no-annual-fee option if you don’t want the hassle of tracking rotating bonus categories!
There IS a 3% foreign transaction fee so this is not a good card to use when traveling abroad.
5. Barclaycard Arrival
You won’t pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fees with the Barclaycard Arrival card. And you’ll earn 2 Barclaycard Arrival miles per $1 you spend on travel and dining, and 1 Barclaycard Arrival mile per $1 on all other purchases.
You’ll earn 20,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles after spending $1,000 in the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
Barclaycard Arrival miles are worth 1 cent each towards travel purchases of $25 or more. So your sign-up bonus is worth $200 towards travel (20,000 X 1 cent). And you’ll earn a 5% miles rebate when you redeem miles for travel.
The Barclaycard Arrival also includes chip-and-PIN technology, which makes it a terrific card to have when you’re traveling in Europe!
Note: This is different from the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card. You’ll earn 40,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles when you sign-up for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and meet the minimum spending requirements. But there IS an $89 annual fee (waived 1st year).
You’ll also get 2 Barclaycard Arrival miles per $1 spent on all purchases. That’s double what you’ll earn with the Barclaycard Arrival card, so it could be worth paying the annual fee.
6. AMEX EveryDay Card
With the AMEX EveryDay card, you’ll earn 10,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of account opening.
You’ll also earn 2 points per $1 at US supermarkets (up to $6,000) per year, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
And when you complete 20 or more purchases each billing cycle, you’ll get an 20% bonus on the points you earn, giving you:
- 2.4X AMEX Membership Rewards points at US supermarkets
- 1.2X AMEX Membership Rewards points on all other spending
And with the AMEX EveryDay card, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners for Big Travel!
This card offers a lot of flexibility and rewards for a no-annual-fee card!
7. Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card
The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature card is a good no-annual-fee card because of its simple rewards system. The card offers 2% cash back on all purchases with no limits on rewards.
You DO need a qualified Fidelity account if you want the full 2% back. With a qualified account your 2% cash back will be automatically deposited into that account.
And you’ll earn interest with your Fidelity account. That’s another great way to increase your savings!
If you redeem your Fidelity Rewards for anything else like gift cards, statement credits, or travel, you won’t be guaranteed the full 2%.
There’s a 1% foreign transaction fee, so this isn’t the best card to use overseas.
8. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Update: This offer is no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
The Blue Cash Everyday Card is another no-annual-fee card with a simple rewards system. You’ll earn up to $300 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the 1st 3 months of account opening.
You’ll earn 3% cash back at US supermarkets for up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), along with 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores.
Beyond those categories, you earn 1% cash back on everything else. Your cash back rewards can be redeemed in the form of a statement credit.
9. AMEX SimplyCash Small Business Card
For a limited time there’s a $250 statement credit when you sign-up for the American Express SimplyCash small business card after spending $5,000 on purchases in the 1st 6 months.
This card currently has no annual fee.
This is a small business card, but even if you don’t think you have a business, read my post about ways you might qualify for a business credit card!
You’ll also get 5% cash back for up to $25,000 in purchases a year at US office supply stores and on US wireless phone services.
That said, there’s a different version of this card coming this spring (although some folks have already been targeted with an offer).
The current targeted sign-up bonus is a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening an account. So if you’re considering this card, you might want to wait to apply!
You don’t normally see such good sign-up bonuses on a card with no annual fee! Here’s my full review of the card.
10. Chase Ink Cash Business Credit Card
Link: Chase Ink Cash
You’ll earn $200 (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account. And get 5 points per $1 you spend (5% cash back) on the 1st $25,000 spent per year at office supply stores and on cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services.
You’ll also earn 2 points per $1 you spend (2% cash back) on the 1st $25,000 spent per year in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations. And 1 point per $1 you spend (1% cash back) on everything else.
What makes this card EXTRA special is that if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold card, you can transfer the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Ink Cash to airline and hotel partners!
That’s a great option for folks who don’t like annual fees, like cash back, and love Big Travel with Small Money!
Having a no-annual fee credit card is a great way to improve your credit history, credit score, and build a relationship with a bank.
My top pick for a no-annual-fee card is the Chase Freedom card. With this card you can earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (5% cash back) on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating categories like gas stations, restaurants, and movie theaters each quarter.
The Discover It card is another great choice if you prefer cash back. You’ll get 1% cash back on all purchases. You’ll also earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in spending on rotating categories each quarter. And new card members (or folks who previously registered) get their cash back doubled at the end of their 1st year!
Emily and I will always tell you about the best deals, even if they don’t earn us a commission, as is the case with many of the cards in this post!
Which no-annual-fee cards would you add to my list?
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