The October issue of Money Magazine has once again named their picks for the best credit cards of 2015-2016, and cards from Citi, Discover, and Barclays have taken top honors in the cash back, shopping, and travel categories.
Fourteen cards were deemed best-in-class, in categories like best cash back card, best frequent flyer card, best hotel rewards card, best card for carrying a balance, best card for students, and best business credit cards. They considered factors like introductory and ongoing interest rates, sign-up bonuses, fees, and reward offerings.
Here’s the rundown on Money’s choices, along with key features of each:
• Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer – best cash back card, with great balance transfer offer, no annual fee, and 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.
• Discover it® Cash Back – best online shopping card, with 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (after that the ongoing APR will apply), no annual fee, and 5% cash back in certain categories that change each quarter (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate).
• American Express Blue Cash Preferred – best for maximizing cash back, with 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, a $75 annual fee, and 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in grocery store purchases.
• Chase Sapphire Preferred and Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® – tied for best frequent flyer card, these cards have annual fees of $95 (Chase) and $89 (Barclays), both waived for the first year. Chase offers a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, and Barclays offers a bonus of 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
• Starwood Preferred Guest – best hotel rewards card, with an annual fee of $95 and a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days.
• Northwest FCU FirstCard – best student card, with no annual fee, an ongoing APR of 10%, and a fixed credit limit of $1,000 designed to keep students from getting too deep into debt.
• Discover it® Student chrome – best student cash back card, with no annual fee, a 0% APR for the first six months (after that the ongoing APR will apply), and 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants each quarter.
• Digital Credit Union Visa Platinum – best card for carrying a balance, with an APR starting at 8.5% and no balance transfer fee.
• Chase Slate – best for balance transfers, with 0% on transfers for the first 15 months and no fee for transfers in the first two months.
• Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever – best card for big purchases, with a 0% APR on purchases for 12 months (when the introductory interest rate is over, the ongoing APR will apply) and no annual fee.
• Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business – best card for small businesses, with no annual fee and 1.5% cash back on all purchases.