The Best Credit Cards for Everyday Spending
Get more value out of your everyday spending by using a credit card that rewards you for swiping. Evaluate which choice is best for you based on your credit history, spending style, and reward preferences.
In a typical day, you probably do at least some spending, between the gas you put in your car, your morning coffee run, the grocery store on the way home, and the online shopping you do late at night.
If you're not already putting those purchases on plastic, you could be losing out on some benefits, including consumer protections, cash back rewards, and more.
For the everyday shopper, credit cards can be a great tool, especially if you choose cards that align with your spending style to boost your reward potential.
In other words, some credit cards are better than others depending on the types of purchases you tend to make.
Plus, if you apply for a credit card that isn't a good fit for your wallet, the card's best perks might prove useless to you.
Depending on your credit history and the level of card for which you can qualify, you can even rake in some big rewards by spending strategically.
If you're like many consumers, you're most likely not taking full advantage of all the benefits credit cards have to offer.
You're in luck because we did some digging to highlight the top credit cards for serial swipers who use credit cards for their daily purchases.
How we picked these 5 cards for everyday spending
In order to come up with our list, we looked for cards with one or more of the following criteria:
High rewards potential. If you're an everyday user, it should mean that the more you spend, the more benefits you earn.
Simple redemption. Whether you choose a cash back card or one that offers more in the way of points and miles, it should be easy to redeem your earnings without jumping through hoops or worrying about expiration dates or exclusions.
Some built-in bonuses and perks. Whether it's an appealing sign-up bonus or a really long 0% interest introductory period, we looked at some of the extras that can serve as a tie-breaker when choosing from among similar credit cards.
With those attributes in mind, we compiled this list of five cards that are ideal for everyday spending.
See which one (or more) might be right for you:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The card boosts jet-setting rewards with everyday purchases
If you're someone who loves to travel and dine out, you'll be well on your way to free flights and hotel stays with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
That is, if you know how to maximize it.
For starters, you'll earn steady 2X points on travel and dining purchases, and one point for all other spending when using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Then, if you book travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you'll get another 25% in value.
So if you redeem $500 worth of points toward a cruise booking through the portal, it will bump up to a $600 redemption value.
Other cool benefits include:
Use it all over the globe. With no foreign transaction fees, you need only pack this card when you travel abroad.
Lots of ways to use your points. You can transfer points to a variety of travel programs, such as United MileagePlus or Marriott Rewards at a 1 to 1 value.
It's hard to find a better sign up bonus
You do have to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening in order to qualify, but you'll get 50,000 points, which is equivalent to $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Boost your bonus. Time your application for when you have to book a trip anyway (and make sure you pay off your balance in full each month) so you can meet the minimum spend, and earn 2X points while you're at it.
Redemption is super flexible
Yes, you can redeem for cash or gift cards, but as mentioned, booking travel through Chase or transferring the points to other programs will allow you to squeeze out more value.
But what about the annual fee?
While the fee for using the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is waived the first year, you're on the hook for $95 per year after that.
If you take advantage of the sign-up bonus, though, you've out-earned the fee for the next six years.
If your credit is awesome, this card is for you
Before you apply, you'll want to be sure you're in a strong credit score range, with at least a 690 or above FICO Score.
Plus, you'll need to have a good handle on your self-control if you're going to meet the sign-up bonus spending without getting in over your head.
If you're aiming to reap rewards in the form of travel benefits, doing all of your daily purchasing with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card–especially dining out for the 2X points—will help fund your next getaway.
Barclay Arrival Plus Elite World Mastercard
The card is perfect if you want no-brainer, travel-focused rewards
You'll get consistent 2X miles on all purchases (great for everyday card users!) with this card.
Plus, you can book your travel however you like and get reimbursed for your miles.
In other words, the Barclay Arrival Plus Elite World Mastercard is ideal for those who like to shop around for the best flight and hotel deals without being tied to particular programs.
Not only that…
You'll get a 5% redemption bonus. Every time you cash in, the Barclay Arrival Plus Elite World Mastercard will give you a head start on your next earnings—5% back of whatever you redeemed.
So if you use 10,000 miles, you'll start over with 500 instead of zero.
A concierge is at your service. Hate dealing with travel itinerary details?
In addition to Mastercard's already awesome customer service, you'll get a 24/7 travel assistant who's there to help.
Tap into the big bonus
If you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days, you'll score 40,000 miles, equivalent to a $400 travel statement credit.
That makes the $89 annual fee a bit easier to swallow (and you don't have to worry about that for a while since it's waived in year one).
Redeem at your leisure, your way
You can get a travel statement credit on pretty much any travel-related purchases you make with the Barclay Arrival Plus Elite World Mastercard card as long as you redeem within 120 days of booking.
Or, you can choose to redeem for cash back, gift cards, or merchandise.
Can you transfer a balance?
Indeed! Another benefit of this card is its 12-month, 0% introductory APR for balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening.
Apply if you've graduated to stellar credit
Because most cardholders have a 720 FICO or better, you'll want to be sure you're in great standing before you apply.
All in all, the Barclay Arrival Plus Elite World Mastercard card offers the best of both worlds: elite benefits and rewards for top-tier consumers, without the complex rotating categories or confusing redemption options of other programs.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The card is strong on all-around rewards for all-around spenders
Not everyone is a travel buff — if you have more varied spending, consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
Another selling point: A nice zero-interest cushion.
If you want to make a large purchase that's slightly outside your budget, but don't want to pay interest, this card's 0% intro APR is 15 months from account opening on purchases is a big plus.
The same intro period goes for balance transfers, too.
Yes, there's even a bonus!
While you can find a higher everyday reward rate on other cards, the $150 bonus you'll get with the Chase Freedom Unlimited provides an impressive short-term payoff.
Just spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening to qualify.
Plus, if you add an authorized user who also makes a purchase in those first three months, you'll score an additional $25 bonus.
Redeem anytime you want so no waiting months to reach a minimum
Unlike most cards, you don't have to hit a $25 or $50 plateau in order to redeem your rewards - you can do it whenever! Better yet—there is no cap on how much you can earn.
Can you transfer points?
Many advanced card hackers like to use this card in tandem with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, since points earned here on everyday, non-travel or dining purchases like groceries earn a higher 1.5% rate and can be transferred over.
Once converted to Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll have even more redemption options and a boost in value.
Applications are welcome for those who don't abuse credit
At one point, you had to apply for this card at Chase branches, but now you can do so online.
If you're in the good credit score range (around a 690 or above FICO Score), you should be golden.
One caveat–if you've applied for more than five cards in the last 24 months, you will not be approved.
It's rare to get a $150 bonus without an annual fee, which is the big selling point that sets the Chase Freedom Unlimited apart from other cash back cards.
Blue Cash Everyday
The card is great for daily supermarket runs
If you spend a lot on groceries, you can earn 3% cash back by using the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card–more money in your pocket and it requires less effort than clipping coupons.
Plus, you'll earn 2% at gas stations and 1% on all other purchases.
Other reasons this card makes our everyday list:
Lots of wiggle room. If you have a balance you want to knock out from another card, or you want to make a big purchase for which you don't have the cash on hand, the Blue Cash Everyday card's 0% APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers will come in handy.
Just be sure to pay it down before the period is up.
Opt-in for AMEX Offers as you spot them. You'll have to log into your account and activate offers to take advantage, but it's worth the effort.
For example, you might get a $25 statement credit if you spend $125 at the Banana Republic.
The signup bonus is easy to earn
All you have to do is spend $1,000 in the first three months (you can do that just spending $80 or more in groceries per week), and you'll score $150 statement credit.
Redemption is seamless
Every time you reach $25 inReward Dollars, you can cash them in for a statement credit, or you can select from among gift card or merchandise choices.
So if you were only using the card exclusively for groceries, you'd reach $25 for every $750 you spend.
Plus, you can accelerate those earnings by using the card for other purchases.
But is this a travel-worthy card?
Putting it bluntly, no.
If you're a travel buff, there are better everyday cards for you.
First off, this card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it's not ideal for travel abroad.
And, if you book a lot of flights and hotels, you'll only earn 1% back.
You'll need respectable credit to qualify for the card
Most cardholders who qualify for the Blue Cash Everyday card have a credit score of 650 or above.
To truly maximize the Blue Cash Everyday card, start by committing to using it on supermarket and gas spending, and make sure you qualify for the sign-up bonus.
Then, keep watch for those rotating AMEX Offers—they could be a great way to save, especially during periods of higher spending like the holidays.
Citi Double Cash
The card rewards those who spend and use credit responsibly every day
The Citi Double Cash card is essentially a 2% cash back card—you earn 1% when you spend and another 1% when you pay your bill.
It's ideal for credit card users with varied spending who want a steady flow of simple rewards–no categories to track, no fine print, just some of your cash coming back to you.
If you spend $1,000 a month (ditch your debit card—it's easier than you think!) and pay it back, you'll earn back $240 during the course of the year.
Bang out that lingering balance for good. You won't find a longer 0% intro APR period on balance transfers than with this card, which is 18 months.
That should be ample time to pay down a debt.
Just be mindful that there's a 3% fee, and you'll need to move the balance over within four months.
Leniency on your first late payment. Everyone has that one month where life gets in the way and you forget to schedule your credit card payment.
Citi gives you a free pass the first time. (Just don't do it again!)
You get a redemption check, you get a credit statement, you get a gift card…
Every time your rewards balance hits $25, you can redeem it however you'd like.
Here's a tip, though—if you use it towards your balance, you'll lose out on the 1% payback rewards, so you're better off with a check or gift card.
But seriously, no sign-up bonus?
Sorry, you won't get an upfront perk with this card.
That could be a deterrent when you've got great offers hitting your mailbox, but it's still a rock-steady everyday card over the long term.
If you have so-so credit, you'll pay higher interest
When applying for the Citi Double Cash card, keep in mind that the APR will range from 14.49-24.49% based on your credit history.
Of course, you should aim to pay on time and in full each month.
If you tend to spend on a variety of random things and rarely carry a balance, the Citi Double Cash card's steady 2% rewards rate is a good choice for you.
With these solid choices, you can power up your everyday spending
When choosing the best card for everyday spending, think about the type of rewards that are most appealing to you, and consider where you stand credit-wise.
Will I qualify? High-level cards, like ones here that have annual fees attached to them, are earmarked for people with top-notch credit scores.
But even if you're not there yet, you can choose an entry-level card that provides perks for frequent swiping.
What do you spend money on? Grocery store shoppers and world travelers have very different spending styles.
Or maybe your spending changes from month to month — either way, there's a choice for you.
Don't forget—no matter which card you're using for your everyday spending, you'll only truly benefit if you pay the balance in full each month.
If you're comfortable putting most of your everyday purchases on credit, and responsible enough to manage that debt, then it's in your best interest to choose one of these cards.
Do you use any of these cards for your everyday spending?
How's it working for you?
Let us know in the comments below.