MoneyGeek's Take

Best Rewards Credit Cards for No Annual Fee in 2022

The best rewards credit cards with no annual fee give you the ability to earn higher-than-usual rewards without needing to overcome a yearly fee. Several of the top cards come with sizable welcome bonus offers too.

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This article is part of our larger series on Best Rewards Credit Cards

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The top no-annual-fee rewards credit cards typically offer high reward rates on spending across specific categories such as travel, dining, groceries and gas. Some also come with higher-than-standard reward rates on all purchases. A number of these cards give you the means to earn spend-based welcome bonuses in the form of cash back, points or miles.

If you favor using a particular airline or group of hotels, you might benefit from getting a co-branded rewards credit card. Examples of cards from this segment that make the cut include the American Express Hilton Honors Card and the Chase IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card.

If you plan to use your no-annual-fee rewards credit card outside of the U.S., look for ones that do not charge foreign transaction fees. Other factors to consider when selecting a card that works well for you include APRs and added benefits.

This article is part of our larger series on
Best Rewards Credit Cards

MoneyGeek’s Take: Top 5 Rewards Credit Cards With No Annual Fee

Quick Summary

Upon going through our list of the best rewards credit cards with no annual fee, you’ll notice that reward rates vary based on the card you get and the bonus categories on offer. We have taken this into account and also have paid attention to APRs, welcome offers and foreign transaction fees to make our selections. To view more options, scroll further down the page.


  • Hilton Honors American Express Card

    A good travel rewards card for people who are casual guests at Hilton hotels and resorts


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 3–7 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 7xRewards Rate at Hotels
    • 5xRewards Rate on Dining

    Terms, rates and fees apply

    Compare this credit card with other top-rated cards from our partners.

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited

    An excellent no-annual-fee card that lets you earn unlimited cash back


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1.5–5% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 3xRewards Rate on Dining
    • 5xRewards Rate on Air Travel

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • Citi® Double Cash Card

    A great no-annual-fee card that offers up to 2% cash back


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 2% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Gas
    • 2xRewards Rate on Groceries

    Terms, rates and fees apply

    Compare this credit card with other cards with no annual fees from our partners.

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠

    An easy-to-use cash back card with quarterly rotating bonus categories


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1–5% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 5xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 3xRewards Rate on Dining

    Terms, rates and fees apply

    Compare this credit card with other top-rated cards from our partners.

  • IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card

    Great card for earning points fast for IHG loyalists


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1–2 Points per $1Rewards Rate
    • 15xRewards Rate at Hotels
    • 2xRewards Rate on Gas

    Terms, rates and fees apply

    Compare this credit card with other top-rated cards from our partners.

Summary of the Best Rewards Cards for No Annual Fee

Find out how all the top cards from this category fare against each other based on aspects such as APRs, welcome offers and reward rates by going through this no-annual-fee rewards card comparison table.

  • Credit Card
    Best For
    Avg. Reward Rate
    Annual Fee
    Credit Needed
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card
    A good travel rewards card for people who are casual guests at Hilton hotels and resorts
    3–7 Points per $1*
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
    An excellent no-annual-fee card that lets you earn unlimited cash back
    1.5–5% Cash Back
    $0
    Excellent
  • Citi® Double Cash Card
    A great no-annual-fee card that offers up to 2% cash back
    2% Cash Back*
    $0
    Excellent
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠
    An easy-to-use cash back card with quarterly rotating bonus categories
    1–5% Cash Back*
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • IHG® Rewards Traveler Credit Card
    Great card for earning points fast for IHG loyalists
    1–2 Points per $1
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
    A great no-annual-fee card that comes with rewards
    3% Cash Back*
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • American Express Cash Magnet® Card
    A great no-annual-fee card that comes with unlimited 1.5% cash back across categories
    1.5% Cash Back
    $0
    Excellent
  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
    Best cash back rewards credit card for everyday spending
    1.5% Cash Back
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
    One of the best cards available for Costco members who spend a lot on gas
    1–4% Cash Back*
    $0
    Excellent
  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
    The best travel rewards card with no annual or foreign transaction fees
    1.25 Miles per $1
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • Citi Rewards+® Card
    An excellent no-annual-fee rewards card with a 0% intro APR offer
    1–2 Points per $1*
    $0
    Excellent
  • United Gateway Card
    A great no-annual-fee rewards card for people who fly United
    1 Mile per $1
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
    A great miles rewards card with no annual fees
    2 Miles per $1*
    $0
    Excellent
  • American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
    A great travel card with no annual fee for frequent flyers on American Airlines
    1–2 Miles per $1
    $0
    Excellent
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
    Great no-annual-fee card for earning points at Marriot properties
    1–2 Points per $1
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • Simmons Rewards Visa Signature®
    A great no annual fee card that offers rewards and travel benefits
    1.25 Points per $1
    $0
    Excellent
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
    An excellent no-annual-fee cash back card with 0% intro APR on purchases
    1–3% Cash Back*
    $0
    Good-Excellent
tip icon
MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

No-fee does not mean no-frills. Many cards today offer attractive benefits and rewards without having to pay an annual fee to use them. -- Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com.

How to Compare Rewards Credit Cards & Intro Offers

Given the significant number of good no-annual-fee rewards credit cards to choose from, paying attention to different factors is important when making a selection.

1

Co-branded or not

If you are a frequent flyer or regularly use any particular group of hotels, you may benefit from getting a co-branded no-annual-fee rewards credit card. Some of the top options include the Amex Hilton Honors Card, the Chase IHG Rewards Club Traveler Card, the Chase United Gateway Card and the Citi American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard.

2

Rewards rate

Depending on the card you get, you might stand to earn higher rewards on category-based spending. For instance, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card offers 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You earn 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, and on drugstore purchases. All other purchases come with 1.5% cash back. The Citi Double Cash Card, on the other hand, lets you earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you make purchases and an additional 1% when you make your payments on time.

3

Welcome offer

Several of the top cards from this category come with welcome offers. For example, the Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card offers a one-time early spend cash bonus of $200 if you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first three months.

4

APR

Not all cards from this segment come with similar APRs. Pay particular attention to this aspect if you plan to maintain revolving balances in your account from one billing cycle to the next. In such a scenario, you might be better off getting a low APR card. Some no-annual-fee rewards cards also come with time-based 0% APR offers.

5

Foreign transaction fees

If you use a credit card with foreign transaction fees outside of the U.S., expect to pay up to 3% extra on each international transaction. Some of the rewards cards with no annual fees that waive foreign transaction fees include the Amex Hilton Honors Card, the Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card and the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card.

6

Added perks

Features and perks tend to vary from one no-annual-fee rewards card to the next. Some of the card-specific benefits you may get include free additional cards, $0 fraud liability, purchase protection, extended warranty and basic travel insurance coverage.

*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity.
Advertiser Disclosure: MoneyGeek has partnered with CardRatings.com and CreditCards.com for our coverage of credit card products. MoneyGeek, CardRatings and CreditCards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. To ensure thorough comparisons and reviews, MoneyGeek features products from both paid partners and unaffiliated card issuers that are not paid partners.