At a Glance
Get ready to embark on a thrilling financial adventure in 2024! Whether you’re already a points and miles enthusiast or a credit card novice, this article will reveal the top cards you should consider applying for this year. Which is the best credit card for 2024, considering rewards, interest rates, and customer satisfaction? Here is what 19 thought leaders have to say.
The total credit card balance among Americans as of the third quarter of 2023.
Experts and their favorite credit cards featured in this article
Choose a card based on your spending habits
Before applying for any card, you must see where you spend most of your money. “If you are choosing a credit card for the year 2024, I would say it will depend on your spending habits and credit status,” says Loretta Kilday, DebtCC Spokesperson, Debt Consolidation Care. “For example, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred is excellent for grocery rewards because of its 6% back at supermarkets. Even though it has expensive annual fees, frequent travelers should look at the Capital One Venture X Rewards, as it provides significant travel benefits.” Kilday continues, “Looking to build your credit? Then, the Discover it Secured is the one you can rely on. This means that one should choose based on their lifestyle and financial goals to achieve what they want!”
Travel credit cards reign supreme
Travel credit cards offer tons of perks, making them excellent investments in the current economic climate. Here are a few reasons you might want to apply for a travel credit card and which could work for you.
Lucrative rewards programs
One of the primary reasons travel credit cards shine as investments is their enticing rewards programs. In 2024, leading credit card issuers offer innovative and generous rewards, including bonus miles, cashback, and exclusive perks. These rewards can be redeemed for travel-related expenses, from flights and hotel stays to rental cars and experiences, providing cardholders significant savings on their journeys.
“The AMEX Green Card and Platinum Card are both excellent options [this year]. The Green Card has low membership fees and a high rewards rate on food, travel, and transportation,” explains Lewis Vandervalk, Owner, of Blue Crocus Solutions. “The Platinum Card is terrific for someone who travels, as there is a huge potential for rewards on flights and hotels, with airport lounge access included as well. Look into the hotel and travel benefits with Hilton and Marriott as well.”
Enhanced travel benefits
Apart from the lucrative rewards programs, travel credit cards offer exclusive access to airport lounges, priority boarding, complimentary travel insurance, and concierge services, which can elevate the overall travel experience. As you continue to rediscover the joy of exploration post-pandemic, these benefits become valuable assets for frequent and occasional travelers alike.
Stephan Baldwin, Founder of Assisted Living Center, recommends The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card. “[It] is my go-to for 2024, especially for frequent Southwest flyers. The rewards on Southwest purchases are generous, and the sign-up bonus can get you closer to earning a Companion Pass,” Baldwin notes. “There’s an annual fee, but the anniversary points and other travel benefits can make it worthwhile for Southwest loyalists.”
If you’re loyal to Delta Air Lines, Gillian Dewar, Chief Financial Officer, Crediful, boasts about the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card. “The rewards on Delta purchases and the welcome offer are attractive, and the free checked-bag benefit adds significant value. The annual fee is waived for the first year, making it a great time to try out the card’s benefits.”
Competitive sign-up bonuses
Credit card issuers are competing fiercely to attract new customers, resulting in increasingly attractive sign-up bonuses. These bonuses often include a large number of bonus points or miles after a certain spending threshold is reached within the first few months. Savvy consumers can capitalize on these bonuses to kickstart their travel savings and enjoy significant benefits.
“In 2024, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is excellent for those loyal to Marriott hotels. The rewards rate on Marriott purchases is impressive, and it offers a free night’s stay every year after your card anniversary,” says Hardy Desai, Founder, of Supple Digital. “The sign-up bonus is substantial, and cardholders get automatic Silver Elite status, enhancing the travel experience. The annual fee is justified by the rewards and benefits for frequent travelers.”
Currency exchange savings
For international travelers, the foreign transaction fees associated with traditional credit cards can be a significant burden. Travel credit cards, on the other hand, often offer low or no foreign transaction fees, resulting in substantial savings when making purchases abroad. This feature alone can make these cards invaluable for those who frequently traverse international borders for business or leisure.
“The American Express Gold Card appears to be a leading choice in 2024 based on its rewards potential, APR offers, and customer experience. The welcome bonus alone nets 60,000 Membership Rewards points. You earn 4x back on dining worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets, 3x on flights booked directly with airlines,” says Eric Lam, Head of Business Strategy, Energy Credit Transfer. “The $250 annual fee is worth it for credits [the card offers] like up to $120 on Uber. APRs are competitive for a premium card, and Amex ranks highly for service. For foodies and travelers, this card will be hard to beat.”
Riley Beam, Managing Attorney, Douglas R. Beam, P.A., echoes these sentiments. “The American Express Gold Card not only offers a wide array of perks, but it also gives users a lot more flexibility in how they can enjoy and redeem their rewards, making it a standout choice for 2024,” says Beam. “American Express Gold Card members can easily redeem points for gift cards, merchandise, travel, and more. This caters to diverse consumer preferences, making it an appealing choice for those seeking a rewards credit card with comprehensive benefits. To top it off, it has a range of benefits, such as airport lounge access, hotel and travel credits, and car rental upgrades with Hertz.”
Flexible redemption options
Cardholders can use their points or miles for travel-related expenses, from booking flights and accommodations to covering the cost of rental cars and activities. This flexibility allows individuals to tailor their redemptions to their specific travel preferences and needs.
“For 2024, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is excellent, especially for its travel rewards. You earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase, and the miles don’t expire,” explains Shawn Plummer, CEO, of The Annuity Expert. “The card also offers a significant one-time bonus of miles if you meet the initial spending requirement. Its Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit is a nice touch for travelers, and the customer service is consistently good.”
Cash back cards have a place in any wallet
Cash back credit cards benefit almost anyone for several reasons, making them a versatile and attractive financial tool for a broad range of individuals. They are simple to use, many have no or low annual fees, and you earn money on your everyday spending.
Earn while you spend
Cash back credit cards provide a simple and effective way to earn money on everyday purchases. With so many cards on the market, you can find something that suits your spending and gives you the highest percent back, ranging from 1% to 5% or even higher on specific categories such as groceries, gas, dining, and more. With strategic planning, individuals can turn routine expenditures into a passive income stream, essentially getting paid for purchases they already planned to make.
“The Amex Blue Cash Preferred is my choice for the best card in 2024 due to high rewards on everyday spending. With 6% back on groceries and 3% on gas and transit, the cash-back on this card is simple and generous,” says Bradley Fry, Owner, of PinProsPlus. “Despite earning strong rewards, APRs are reasonable, and customer satisfaction is high based on surveys I’ve seen. With an effective $95 annual fee, this card makes it easy to earn an outsized amount of rewards that offset the cost.”
For foodies, the SavorOne Rewards from Capital One is an excellent choice. “The cashback on dining, entertainment, and grocery stores is lucrative, and there’s a decent sign-up bonus,” explains Jonathan Feniak, General Counsel, LLC Attorney. “With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, it’s a great card for both everyday spending and travel.”
According to Jim Pendergast, Senior Vice President, altLINE Sobanco, “the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a top pick for 2024, offering a solid cash-back rate on all purchases with no caps. The card also has bonus cash-back in certain categories and a great sign-up bonus. With no annual fee and an introductory APR offer on purchases, it’s a versatile card for everyday spending.”
Use your cash rewards as you want
Unlike other types of rewards, cash back is as flexible as it gets. Cardholders can typically redeem their cash rewards in various ways, including statement credits, direct deposits, checks, or even as a credit toward their outstanding balance. This versatility allows users to tailor their redemption strategy to align with their financial goals, whether reducing debt, building an emergency fund, or funding a future vacation.
“It offers unlimited cash rewards on purchases, which is straightforward to manage. There’s no annual fee; the card includes cell phone protection as a bonus,” says Sells. “The introductory APR offer on purchases and balance transfers is another attractive feature, making it a solid choice for everyday use.”
Donadio adds, “The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is the best credit card for 2024 in terms of rewards, interest rates, and customer satisfaction. It stands out for those who prefer cash back with a flat 2% cash-rewards rate on all purchases. The lack of an annual fee adds to its allure, making it a low-cost way to earn cash rewards.” Donadio continues, “Despite the flat rate’s simplicity, the card ensures flexibility and ease of use by providing cash back on all purchases. The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is a top choice for 2024 because it excels at balancing rewards, affordability, and customer satisfaction.”
Complimentary benefits and perks
Cash back credit cards often come with a host of additional benefits beyond the cash rewards. These may include travel insurance, purchase protection, extended warranties, and exclusive access to events or discounts. As credit card issuers continue to compete for customers, these extra perks are likely to become even more enticing in 2024, adding further value to the overall package.
Tony Mariotti, CEO, RubyHome, says “The Discover It Cash Back card is my choice for 2024. It offers great cash-back rewards, especially with its rotating quarterly categories. The dollar-for-dollar match of all cash back earned in the first year is a huge bonus.” Mariotti continues, “There’s no annual fee, which is a significant advantage, and their U.S.-based customer service is highly responsive. For those who want straightforward cash back without a high annual fee, this is a great option.”
If you already bank with Bank of America, The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a great pick for 2024. “It allows you to choose your top cash-back category from a list, which you can change monthly. This customization, combined with no annual fee, makes it very user-friendly,” says Ryan Zomorodi, COO and Co-Founder, of Real Estate Skills. “The card also offers an introductory APR period and a decent cash rewards bonus opportunity.”
Store cards can also be helpful for avid shoppers
Store credit cards can be worth considering, but their value depends on individual preferences, spending habits, and financial goals. Store credit cards often come with specific perks, like discounts, cash back, or rewards points, when used for purchases within the affiliated store. If you frequently shop at that particular store, the rewards and discounts can add up, providing tangible financial benefits. Additionally, some cards offer additional benefits like extended warranties or purchase protection. If these features align with your needs and preferences, they can add value to the overall package.
Exclusive financing offers
Store credit cards may offer special financing options, like zero-interest financing for a certain period. This can be advantageous for large purchases, but it’s crucial to understand the terms and conditions, including the interest rates that may apply after the promotional period ends.
Dr. Scott Katzman, Orthopedic Surgeon, NJ Spine & Orthopedic, says, “The Apple Credit Card is a fantastic choice for 2024, especially for Apple enthusiasts. It offers cash back on Apple purchases, as well as daily cash back on all other purchases made with the card.” He continues, “The integration with Apple Pay makes it incredibly user-friendly, and there’s no annual fee. Plus, the focus on privacy and security is a big draw.”
If you are a loyal customer of a particular store and frequently make purchases there, a store credit card can enhance your overall shopping experience. This is especially true if the card provides exclusive access to sales, events, or additional customer perks.
“In 2024, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi is ideal for Costco members. The cash-back on Costco purchases, gas, restaurants, and travel is competitive,” says Rex Huxford, Director of Demand Generation, MD Clarity. “There’s no annual fee with your Costco membership, and the cash-back rewards can be substantial for regular Costco shoppers.”
Debt management is an attainable goal in 2024
Using a credit card responsibly can contribute to building and maintaining a positive credit history. Timely payments and responsible credit usage can positively impact credit scores, opening doors to better loan terms, lower interest rates, and improved financial opportunities in the future.
Ryan Hammill, Executive Director of Ancient Language Institute, recommends the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card for managing existing debt. “It offers one of the longest introductory APR periods on balance transfers and purchases. While it doesn’t offer rewards, its appeal lies in debt management and no annual fee,” Hammill explains. “The card is especially beneficial for those looking to make a large purchase or transfer a balance and pay it down.”
If you’re less concerned with paying off debt and more concerned with building a credit history, Stephen Hasner, managing partner of Hasner Law PC, speaks highly of the Petal 2 Visa Credit Card. “It doesn’t require a credit score to apply and offers cash back on all purchases, which can increase over time,” says Hasner. “There’s no annual fee, and the card focuses on helping users build credit, making it an excellent starter card.”
Picking the right credit card in 2024 boils down to understanding your spending habits and financial goals. This year’s top credit cards bring a mix of cool rewards, user-friendly tech, decent interest rates, and sweet perks. It’s all about finding a card that fits your lifestyle. So, with the information from these experts, you can make a smart choice and get the most out of your credit card in the ever-changing world of 2024.