I don’t think there’s a single “one size fits all” credit card. It all depends on what categories you spend most in, how much you spend, and what kind of rewards you’re looking for.
There are certainly cards that offer a compelling return for a vast majority of consumers, like The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, which offers triple points on U.S. groceries (on up to $6,000 of spend per year), double points on U.S. gas, and a 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle. Cards like that help points add up quickly for the average household.
Then there are cards that offer perks that more than justify the annual fee for a vast majority of consumers. For example, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card offers an annual free night certificate valid at any of IHG’s 5,000+ hotels, which more than justifies the card’s $49 annual fee, in my opinion. You’d be hard pressed to not get $49 of value out of that.