Best No Annual Fee Rewards Cards

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If you don’t spend a lot on your credit cards it may not make sense to pay an annual fee. And since I evaluate a product’s value at the margin, when considering a card that has an annual fee it makes sense to evaluate how much better that product is than the best you can do without one.

Here are the best no annual fee cards available right now. Some of these cards are so good they beat out the cards that charge high fees – you should consider them even if you’re a high spender.

  • Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the absolute strongest cash back cards. It has no annual fee and earns 2% back on purchases (1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases).

    This card’s points have become transferable to ThankYou points. That means if you have a Prestige or Premier card you can move Double Cash points over and then they become transferable to airline miles. The upshot is a no annual fee card that is both 2% cash back and if you prefer earns a minimum of 2 airline miles per dollar on all spend (on your choice of a variety of airlines). That’s a powerful combination and top earning for all your unbonused spend.

  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is the strongest points-earning no annual fee business card (See rates and fees). You earn 2 points per dollar on your first $50,000 in purchases per year, and those are full Membership Rewards points that transfer to airline miles.

  • American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is the strongest no annual fee airline card in my view. It offers 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 in purchases within the first three months after account opening.

    Earning is 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases and at grocery stores and 1 full mile per dollar everywhere else. This no annual fee card is arguably the best card for grocery store spend earning a full two miles and not capping bonus earning in the category.

  • Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card a no annual fee Visa card that has an initial bonus offer to earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Your ongoing spend will earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business.

    If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred you can move the Business Unlimited’s points over to one of those cards and they become transferable to airline miles or hotel points through the Ultimate Rewards program. That means using this card as a one-two punch you never have to earn less than 1.5 transferable points per dollar.

For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. I’m surprised you didn’t include Chase Freedom Unlimited with its 1.5% cash back on all purchases and also the ability to transfer points to Sapphire Preferred. Since we only fly on Southwest, the Citi Thank You points are not our thing. And the ability of the Chase card to transfer points to Sapphire and then redeem those points for Southwest air travel is awesome.

  2. The Wells Fargo Propel card is also worth a look. Solid sign up bonus, 3x points back on all travel (including gas), dining, streaming services, and free cell phone protection. It also comes with access to some AMEX offers, which can land savings on hotels and cruises and such.

  3. American Express Everyday (2 pts grocery stores), Chase Freedom (5%), Discover (5%), Chase Freedom Unlimited may be other good possibilities.

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