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When the Credit CARD Act of 2009 was being debated, many predicted that this law would force card issuers to impose annual fees on all of their cards. While there are still many no-annual-fee credit cards, many of the top rewards credit cards have an annual fee.
But if you don’t have much of a need for the high-end rewards and benefits offered by these cards, or you simply refuse on principle to pay a fee to use a credit card, you still have some excellent rewards cards to choose from.
Here are five of the best rewards cards that don’t require an annual fee.
1. NFL Extra Points Credit Card
Instead of offering award flights or free hotel nights, this card features exclusive rewards from the National Football League. Cardholders earn double points for NFL and team purchases including tickets and merchandise, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. You can also receive 20% off of purchases from NFLShop.com, and points can be redeemed for exclusive NFL rewards and team experiences that vary by team. These rewards can include game-day tickets, pre-game passes to the sidelines and admission to the post-game press conference. New cardholders also receive a 10,000-point sign-up bonus after making $500 in purchases within 90 days of account opening, as well as six months of 0% APR financing on eligible ticket purchases, and 15 months for balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, with a 3% balance transfer fee.
2. CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards
This card (compared to the annual-fee version here) offers 1.25 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, and each mile is worth a penny as statement credits towards travel rewards, with no limits. New cardholders receive 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. In addition, new account holders receive 0% APR promotional financing on new purchases until October 2016. Other benefits include extended warranty coverage and shopping discounts.
3. AmEx Everyday Credit Card From American Express
This card features double points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent each year, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. In addition, cardholders receive a 20% points bonus each statement period when they make 20 or more transactions. Points are earned in the Membership Rewards program and can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise and travel reservations. Or, points can be transferred to miles with more than a dozen airline programs. Other benefits include extended warranty coverage, a purchase-protection policy and return protection. Finally, this card features 15 months of 0% APR introductory financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee.
4. Citi Double Cash
This card (reviewed here) offers a total of 2% cash back rewards on all purchases, with 1% cash back at the time of purchase, and another 1% cash back upon payment, with no limits or category restrictions. In addition, it also offers 18 months of 0% APR introductory financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. Other benefits include extended warranty coverage, damage and theft purchase protection, and Citi’s price protection program called Price Rewind, which automatically refunds the difference in price to cardholders when a lower price is found for eligible purchases.
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
- Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – it's automatic
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.24-24.99%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- No minimum to redeem for cash back
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
- No annual fee
Card Details +
Chase’s Freedom (reviewed here) is a popular rewards card that offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending each quarter at featured merchants or categories of merchants, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. For example, in the fourth quarter of 2015 (October through December), the featured merchants are Amazon.com, Zappos.com and Diapers.com. In addition, new cardholders earn a $100 bonus after making $500 in purchases within three months of account opening, and another $25 bonus when adding an authorized user who makes a charge within the same three-month period. This card also offers 15 months of 0% APR introductory financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. Finally, cardholders have access to Chase’s Blueprint program, which allows them to avoid interest charges by paying for some purchases in full, while carrying a balance on others.
Before you apply for any credit card, it’s important to compare credit cards that you’re likely to qualify for based on your credit score to make sure you don’t apply for cards that you’re unlikely to get. You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand.
At publishing time, the NFL Extra Points from Barclaycard, CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards, Citi Double Cash, AmEx Everyday Credit Card From American Express and Chase Freedom cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
More on Credit Cards:
- Credit.com’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
- An Expert Guide to Credit Cards With Rewards
- How to Get a Credit Card With Good Credit