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Best Credit Cards of 2018

The Best Credit Cards in the Universe?*

*The known universe, of course. Also, we didn't technically review every credit card in the known universe to pick the best one. But here is an unbiased sampling of the cards we think deserve recognition for their star power in a variety of categories.

Best Cash Back Card - Flat Rewards



2% all day, everyday. This one is pretty simple. Earn 2% on every purchase. The 6 month financing on purchases over $199 is also a terrific benefit. You'll also pay no annual fee. Blispay easily wins a top in our top 3 cash back cards. The biggest downside is the lack of a new customer bonus. If you're looking for a flat rate cash back earning card with no annual fee, check out the Bank of America Cash Rewards card. That'll allow you to earn a $150 welcome bonus while earning 1.5% cash back on all purchases.  To compare additional cash back cards, check out our top 3 picks here.

Best Cash Back Card - Rotating Categories 

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom

Isn't there more to life than 2% cash back? Yes. The Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back in categories that rotate quarterly. Since many entry level cash back cards offer a $0 annual fee, it makes sense to carry a general purpose card and a rotating category card. Part of maximizing the cash back you earn to fill your penny jar up means having a plan and a cash back card with increased category bonuses is never a bad plan. Bonus feature - points earned from the Freedom can be transferred to the Chase Sapphire Preferred points program if you carry both products, meaning that you are earning 5x points in rotating categories that can be used for travel if you play your cards right.

Best Intro APR - Balance Transfers

Citi Simplicity

The Citi Simplicity offer boasts one of the longest 0% APR periods of 21 months for balance transfers made in the first 4 months of account opening. The APR after that is 15.99% - 25.99%. You'll pay a 3% fee for transferring your balance. The unfortunate thing about Simplicity is that it doesn't offer rewards on purchases. The Discover it is a nice alternative with an 18 month intro period and cash back earning power. We admittedly have nothing else witty to say here. Carrying existing balances are nothing to joke about. Just ask Navient how much we cry when we talk to them. If you have a lot of debt to consolidate, you may also want to consider a personal loan. There are some great low interest options there to help you streamline your finances. 

Best Rewards for Travel 

US Bank FlexPerks Gold

U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold

Goldmember once said "I love gold" and Goldmember deserves more quoting. By name, the U.S. Bank Flexperks is a flexible travel card that will serve you well. Earning 3 points at restaurants, 2 points on travel and gas, and 1 point on everything else, you should be able to bank a fair amount of points in your first year. The welcome bonus alone is worth $600 in travel. The annual fee is offset the first year by Global Entry or PreCheck membership, which is a must have for anyone traveling more than twice a year. Lines are for suckers. Our runner up for a travel card is the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card.

Best Rewards for General Use

American Express® Gold Card

Do you think travel is the best? Aren't gift cards the greatest? You know what I love? Cash back. Have we mentioned we have commitment issues? Don't worry. There is a card for that. The Amex Gold card offers a flexible point rewards system. Points you earn can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, travel, or even transferred to over a dozen hotel and airline partner reward programs. 

While the card carries a $250 annual fee, you'll receive a $100 annual airline credit at one qualifying airline of your choosing, as well as a $120 ($10 a month for a year) credit to use on qualifying restaurants like grubhub. The annual fee also offers some pretty generous rewards rates. Earn 4x points at U.S restaurants and dining out, and 3x points on airfare booked directly with airlines or at AmEx travel. 1 point per dollar on everything else. 

This is really a great card for people who don't remain loyal to a hotel or airline chain, and sometimes like to redeem points for gifts or cash back, a perk that is especially useful around holiday shopping season. If you're looking for a runner up, the AmEx Everyday runs a similar rewards program without carrying an annual fee but leverages the same rewards program. Looking for another rewards card? Our list of best rewards cards is here.

Best Airline Credit Card

AAdvantage Aviator Mastercard

I want to fly like an eagle....with American Airlines? Barclaycard offers 60,000 bonus miles after your first purchases on this card, plus you'll get 10% miles back every time you make a reward booking. Add in that your first checked bag is free and you'll tack on some additional value. American also offers a flexible rewards network of travel partners, so you can catch a flight out of most airports. At the end of the day, the best airline card is going to be for the airline that has the best flight ability at the airport closest to you. Find additional airline cards here.

Best Hotel Credit Card

Hilton Honors Ascend Card

With the automatic gold status that comes with complimentary breakfast during stays, room upgrades, and more the Surpass is excellent for families that have weekend trips. The Embassy Suites large rooms are a great place to spend a weekend! Our runner up is the Marriott card, with it's complimentary annual night at a category 1-5 hotel. Just keep in mind that if you value price over hotel loyalty and status when booking, a hotel card might not be the best fit for you. Take a look at our rewards page for other more flexible options. 

Best Luxury Card for Travel

Chase Sapphire Reserve

We're so fancy, but you already know that. The Sapphire Reserve takes the thrown in our book, after Citi stopped taking applications for its Prestige card. The Reserve offers perks like a $300 annual statement credit that can be used for virtually any travel, including tolls, airport parking, and even uber. You'll also receive membership to Priority Pass lounges for you and 2 guests. The card offers a flat 1.5 cent point value if you redeem your hoard of points for travel through the Chase portal, but you can also transfer points to over a dozen travel partners like Hyatt, Marriott, and United. 

Penny for your thoughts?

There you have it. Our list of the best credit cards. Are we missing something? Did our list make you sad? E-mail us and let us know.

Best Credit Cards in the Universe?
Card Best for
BlisPay Cash Back - Flat Rewards
Chase Freedom Cash Back - Rotating Categories
Citi Simplicity Intro APR - Balance Transfers
U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold Travel Rewards
American Express Gold Card General Use Rewards
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard Airline
Hilton Honors Ascend Hotel
Chase Sapphire Reserve Luxury Card for Travel