Best credit cards for online shopping
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One of the best tips we can offer to anyone looking to earn free travel with miles and points is to maximize the rewards you earn with every purchase you make. With so many different credit cards available, including the ones we consider to be the best cards for travel, determining which card to use for a particular purchase can be confusing.
We’ve put together a list of the best credit cards for online shopping because we know that’s a top spending category for a lot of readers, myself included! In the past few years I’ve shifted to buying whatever I can online. I love the convenience and time I save in avoiding a trip to the store.
Let’s take a detailed look at each card to help you choose the right one for your spending habits.
Best credit cards for online purchases in 2020
- Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card: Best for bonus cash back on online shopping
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for easy rewards
- Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for overall cash back
- Chase Freedom® (no longer available): Best for rotating bonus categories
- American Express® Gold Card: Best for purchase protection
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for flexible travel rewards
- Chase Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: Best for Amazon purchases.
Bank of America Cash Rewards
Best for bonus cash back on online shopping
The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card offers a welcome bonus of $200 cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening.
This card is unique in that you can choose a 3%* cash back category from a list of six:
- Online shopping
- Drug stores
- Home improvement/furnishings
When you open your card, the 3%* category defaults to gas. However, you can change your category once per calendar month, which is handy if you know you’ve got a large purchase coming up in a specific category — like online shopping!
*on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
There’s no annual fee on this card.
The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card might not come with a bunch of benefits, but it’s still a decent cash-back credit card. Earning the welcome offer requires a low spending requirement, and if you do a lot of online shopping, it’s hard to beat earning 3% cash back on your purchases.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Best for cash back
With Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You also can combine the points you earn with other eligible Chase cards, which helps you save money on travel.
The main Chase Freedom Unlimited benefit is the ability to earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases, with no minimum redemption amount. You’ll also get 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Freedom Unlimited cardmembers are eligible for three months of complimentary DashPass, which normally costs $9.99/month and gets you waived delivery fees on DoorDash orders of $12+ at participating restaurants. You must activate this benefit by March 31, 2022 to qualify and after the first three free months you can continue the membership at a 50% discount for the next nine months.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee.
If you don’t want to bother with bonus categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a great way to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points or cash back.
Citi® Double Cash Card
Best overall cash-back card
The Citi Double Cash card does not have a welcome bonus offer.
The Citi Double cash card earns a straight forward 2% cash back (1% cash back when you make a purchase and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase). To earn the cash back you’ll need to pay at least the minimum amount due on time.
In addition, you can convert the cash-back rewards you earn with the Citi Double Cash card into Citi ThankYou points at a ratio of $1:100 points, so each penny is worth one ThankYou point. If you have either the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card you can combine your Citi ThankYou points together and then transfer them to any of Citi’s 15 airline partners. That makes the Double Cash card the best way to earn Citi ThankYou points on non-bonus category spending.
Any time you can earn 2% cash back (1% when you buy, plus 1% when as you pay) on a no-annual-fee card it’s nearly impossible to go wrong. But, having the possibility of being able to take advantage of the Citi ThankYou transfer partners allows you to greatly increase the value of your rewards. For example, you can transfer 15,000 Citi points to Turkish Airlines and book a round-trip United Airlines partner award from the continental U.S. to Hawaii. Normally, 15,000 points would be worth $150 cash back, but even a cheap flight to Hawaii would cost you three times that much.
The information for the Citi Prestige and the Citi Double Cash Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Best no-annual-fee card
You can earn a $200 bonus with the Chase Freedom card after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Chase Freedom benefits are top notch for a no-annual-fee cards because you can earn 5% cash back (5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating categories each quarter when you activate the bonus. If you spend the maximum each quarter, you can earn $300 in bonus cash back during the year. You’ll also get 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Freedom cardmembers are eligible for the same DoorDash perks as Freedom Unlimited cardholders. You can get three months of complimentary DashPass, which normally costs $9.99/month and gets you waived delivery fees on DoorDash orders of $12+ at participating restaurants. You must activate this benefit by March 31, 2022 to qualify, and after the first three free months you can continue the membership at a 50% discount for the next nine months.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Chase Freedom card are worth one cent each toward cash back or travel. But your Chase points have more value if you have cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
When you have one of these cards, you can combine your points and transfer them to lots of great airline and hotel partners, like Hyatt and Southwest. That’s why being able to transfer your points is so powerful.
American Express® Gold Card
Best for purchase protection
The American Express® Gold Card has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.
The reason this card is so good for online shopping is for its purchase protection and extended warranty benefits.
Amex will extend the original manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year on U.S. warranties of five years or less when you purchase an item with your Amex Gold Card.
Any purchases made with the card are protected from accidental damage, theft or loss for up to 90 days, up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year.
You’ll also get benefits and perks like (terms apply):
- Up to $120 dining credit ($10 monthly) each year at participating restaurants (enrollment required)
- No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
There’s a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), but the credits you’ll earn will offset most of that cost.
With the Amex Gold’s earnings rates and perks, this is a great card for those who love dining out and shopping online. Plus, the $250 annual fee is quickly covered when you eat out and shop for groceries at U.S. supermarkets and account for the value of the statement credits you can earn. You’ll find our detailed review here.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
When you open a Capital One Venture card, you can earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. These miles are worth up to $600 toward travel expenses, but can be worth much more if you transfer them to airline partners.
The Venture card earns an unlimited 2x Venture miles on all purchases.
If you’d like to get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, this card will reimburse you for the application fee (of one or the other, but not both) once every four years. That’s a savings of up to $100. As a Visa Signature card, it also offers secondary rental car insurance for damage from collision or theft, travel accident insurance and lost luggage insurance.
With the addition of airline transfer partners, Venture miles have become much more valuable without losing any of the simplicity that they had before.
If you don’t want to bother with airline award charts and routing rules, this card’s bonus is still worth up to $600 in travel. How can you not be happy with that? For more details, take a look at our full Capital One Venture review.
Chase Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Best for Amazon purchases
When you apply for this card, you’ll get a $100 Amazon gift card upon approval (with no minimum spending requirement).
The no-annual-fee Chase Amazon Prime card earns 3% cash back on every purchase you make on Amazon and at Whole Foods. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you’ll earn 5% cash back. You’ll also earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back everywhere else.
If you’re a big Amazon and Whole Foods shopper, the cash back can really add up when it comes to those particular online purchases.
How we chose the best cards for online shopping
With a variety of excellent credit cards available, it can be overwhelming to know which card to use for a particular purchase. It’s important to understand the details of each card, including bonus categories, annual fees and benefits. You could spend hours doing research and still not end up with the best card for you — luckily, we’ve done the work so you don’t have to.
We’ve looked at everything you need to know including:
- Bonus: Banks entice folks to apply for their credit cards with generous bonuses — and a big welcome bonus can be the difference between the “right” or “wrong” card.
- Minimum spending requirements: You generally won’t earn an intro bonus without meeting a minimum spending requirement. This is a big factor in deciding whether or not you should get a card. It’s not a good idea to spend more than you normally would just to meet a minimum spending requirement.
- Cash-back rate: How much cash back will you earn per dollar spent? And which, if any, categories of purchases will earn bonus cash?
- Perks and fees: Each card has different benefits, such as purchase protection. Some cards have an annual fee, although their perks will quite often offset the cost. You’ll want to make sure the benefits of a card outweigh any fees before you make a decision.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)
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