5 Of The Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards For 2017

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Update: This offer for The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express is expired. Learn more about the best available offer here.

Understandably a lot of people want to avoid credit cards with annual fees. Many people make the assumption that cards with annual fees aren’t worth it. Personally I don’t agree with that sentiment, as someone who spends over $2,000 per year in credit card annual fees (yet I think I’m getting great value).

In this post I wanted to look at five of the hottest and all around most rewarding no annual fee credit cards in the market today — three of them are personal cards, and two of them are business cards.

Here are they are, in no particular order:

Citi® Double Cash Card

With airlines constantly devaluing their award charts, there’s more merit than ever before to using a cash back card for your everyday spend. This way you’re not subjected to limited award availability or confusing rewards structure, but rather get money back in your pocket for whatever you’d like.

This card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay your bill. Getting two cents back on each dollar spent without an annual fee is fantastic.

Citi-Double-Cash

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

This was the first no annual fee American Express card to accrue “real” Membership Rewards points. Not only that, but it offers a fantastic return on everyday spend. Specifically:

  • Earn 2x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • Use your card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 20% more points on those purchases

So assuming you make 20 or more purchases per billing cycle, you earn 2.4x points at U.S. grocery stores, and 1.2x points on everyday purchases.

Amex-EveryDay

Personally I have the premium version of this card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, which has a $95 annual fee and offers:

  • Earn 3x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • Earn 2x points at U.S. gas stations
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • Use your card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 50% more points on those purchases

I love earning 4.5x points at supermarkets, 3x points at gas stations, and 1.5x points on everyday purchases.

Chase Freedom® Unlimited

This card offers a flat 1.5x points per dollar spent. On the surface those points can be redeemed for one cent cash back each, meaning it’s potentially a 1.5% cash back card, which isn’t as good as the Citi® Double Cash Card. However, if you have this card in addition to one of the cards that accrues “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer these points to Ultimate Rewards. Cards that accrue “premium” Ultimate Rewards Cards include the:

1.5x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on everyday purchases is fantastic.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

The Ink Business Cash offers huge bonus categories for a no annual fee card:

  • 5x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services, for each account anniversary year
  • 2x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants for each account anniversary year

Much like the Freedom Unlimited, on the surface points earned on this card can each be redeemed for one cent cash back. However, in conjunction with a card accruing “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, those can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points.

 The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express

One of the main things that makes this card so compelling is that it has a very generous sign-up bonus, that can earn you an incremental 64,600 Membership Rewards points, as I explained in a previous post. The card offers the following bonus:

  • 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after making your first purchase on the card within the first three months
  • 10x points at U.S. restaurants on the first $2,000 in purchases for the first six months
  • 2x points on all qualifying purchases on the first $50,000 for the first year (an additional one point per dollar spent)

However, the benefit that most sets this card apart long term is that it offers an annual 30% bonus on base points. That means the card essentially earns 1.3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent, which is excellent for a no annual fee business card.

Bottom line

You don’t have to pay a big annual fee — or any annual fee at all — to get big rewards for your credit card spend. From 2% cash back to up to 5x points on purchases, there are many no annual fee cards that offer big rewards. The above five are among my favorites.


Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the AmEx Everyday Preferred has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. With the Ink Business Cash card, can we take the $300 cash as 30,000 UR points and merge them with our existing balance from Sapphire and Freedom?

  2. since you didn’t answer in your previous CC posts, here it is again. applied for Business Ink and got the “can’t approve” since no documented business address and EIN. even after talking with them saying its a sole proprietor and the EIN is my SSN, no go… any advice? (even though i was able to get one a couple years ago when they still had the ink bold.

  3. British Airways / American Express is superb. A good card with good back-up services from the company and a very fast way of accumulating Avios points.

  4. @ mike — Chase is getting stricter with approving business applications. You can try calling again, but there might not be much that can be done if they’ve said no, unfortunately. 🙁

  5. Love these options, although I’m always a bit baffled by some of the more complicated signup bonuses (they seem to come mostly from Amex). Maybe a way to target people who aren’t just seeking to game the bonuses? As appealing as that Amex offer is, I’m not sure I’d think it’s worth the attention it would need (or maybe I’m just dumb and lazy).

  6. Thanks for your great emails. I always look forward to your daily reads.

    Sometime late last year, you advised us of a promotion that Aeroplan (Air Canada) had where you could get 1,000 points. I clicked on the link that you provided and completed all the information and the last page confirmed that I would get the 1,000 points. I called Aeroplan last week to find out why the 1,000 points was not credited to my account. They had no idea what promotion I was talking about? I don’t remember the details of the promotion as I didn’t keep a copy of the URL address or print screen any of the pages, but I wanted to ask you if you recall this promotion and if so if you could please send me all the links/information so that I can call Aeroplan one more time.

    Thank you again for all your posts.

  7. For those who qualify for USAA, its Limitless Cash Back Visa may be a better cash back option than Citi Double Cash or the other 2% cash back cards — the USAA card offers 2.5% back on all purchases, provided you have a USAA checking account with direct deposit of at least $1,000 per month (no obligation to keep the deposited funds in the USAA account). Without direct deposit, it’s only 1.5% cash back.

  8. Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought the Fidelity 2% visa card is at least as good as Citi Double Cash. No annual fee, straight-forward 2% back on purchase. The second 1% on Citi Double Cash can be missed if you redeem for a statement credit.

  9. I agree with Max…… Run your numbers and see which is best for you. Fidelity 2% Visa was far out in front for me!… 🙂

  10. On January 18 I applied for the Amex platinum card. It was approved instantly as an upgrade from my Amex Gold. Wheeee, I applied for GOES, got it. I have my list of lounges, on and on. The Platinum card made all this easier.
    Today I called shortly before a lengthy trip to ask how much more I needed to charge to receive my miles and by what date.
    The response I have gotten is: “what miles?”
    Since that startling response, I feel like I have experienced a court marshall. I have been asked one probing question after another, all dependent on my memory.
    I have had an Amex card since 1988 (it says that, actually longer) and a sparkling payment history, probably carrying a balance from one month to another once every five years. The response to saying that was: “we are not discussing your payment history.”
    My high regard for American Express has declined by the hour as I have met not only with NO help, but stonewalling and borderline nastiness.
    Their “investigation” will be completed in a month. Lot of help that will be.
    I’m still in limbo wondering what the hell I do, and getting damn-all guidance from them.
    My point in including this experience here is to suggest that customers do well to record/document every aspect of our new credit cards. Documentation and note-taking will reward you in the end, very much like going through a divorce. Lawyers win. And happy reward-givers turn on you in a minute.

  11. If u r looking soley for a 2% cash ack card I would recc Blispay with no AF. Also 6 mo 0 APR on purchases over $250. Have had this card for one year very happy with it.

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