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This article was last updated Dec 21, 2018. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
When you’re looking to open a credit card, you most likely will see the same handful of cards recommended on various sites. Cards such as the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and The Platinum Card® from American Express are constantly mentioned as top cashback and luxury travel cards, respectively. But sometimes other great cards are overlooked in the process. With thousands of credit cards available to consumers, there are plenty of cards that offer great benefits, but go relatively unnoticed.
We’ve rounded up 10 of the most underrated cards that can provide you a variety of benefits, such as travel rewards, special financing, instant discounts and more in 2019.
Here’s an overview of the 10 most underrated credit cards in 2019:
|Intro 0% APR credit card||U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card|
|Airline credit card||Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card|
|Balance transfer credit card||The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express|
|Business credit card||The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express|
|Cashback credit card||Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card|
|Hotel credit card||Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card|
|Low interest credit card||Visa Titanium Signature Credit Card|
|Store credit card||Target REDcard Credit Card|
|Student credit card||Discover it® Student Cash Back|
|Travel credit card||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
1. Most underrated intro 0% APR credit card: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
Why it’s a great intro 0% APR card: The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers one of the longest intro 0% APR periods for purchases with a 0%* intro for 18 billing cycles on Purchases* (after, 14.49% - 25.49%* (Variable) APR). This can help you finance new purchases without incurring interest charges. In addition, there’s a $0* annual fee and the same offer for balance transfers — 0%* intro for 18 billing cycles on Balance Transfers* (after, 14.49% - 25.49%* (Variable) APR).
What to look out for: This card is a great choice for paying off new purchases over time, but otherwise there aren’t many added benefits. There is no rewards program or sign-up bonus, though you can benefit from cellphone protection.
The information related to the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
Read our roundup of the longest intro 0% APR credit cards.
2. Most underrated airline credit card: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card
Why it’s a great airlines card: New cardholders can benefit from the ability to get 40,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening, plus alaska's famous companion fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) with this offer. After the first year, the companion fare rises to $121 ($99 base fare plus taxes and fees from $22), which can still represent substantial savings over a full fare price when traveling with a friend or family member. In addition, cardholders are allowed a free checked bag for up to six other travelers on the same reservation — this is often limited to one to four other travelers by other airline cards. Other perks include a higher-than-average earnings rate on Alaska Airlines purchases — Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent directly on Alaska Airlines purchases. Earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
What also makes this card valuable to travelers is its global partner airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways and Aer Lingus, among others. The airline has an extensive number of U.S. destinations, however, and has a lower-than-average annual fee of $75 compared with other airline cards.
What to look out for: The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card has a low miles-earning rate for non-Alaska Airlines purchases of 1 mile per dollar. This is similar to other airline-specific cards, but you can find general miles-earning cards that earn you more miles on popular travel categories, such as dining and hotel stays.
Read our roundup of the best airline credit cards.
3. Most underrated balance transfer credit card: The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Why it’s a great balance transfer card: When trying to save money on a high-interest balance, every penny counts. Most balance transfer cards charge a 3% transfer fee on each transfer you make, which gets added to your balance. While this is often outweighed by the amount you save on interest, you can find cards with no balance transfer fee, such as The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express. This card doesn’t have the longest intro 0% APR period, but offers a good amount of time to pay off debt from a non-Amex card with an intro 0% for 15 months on balance transfers. In addition, there’s an intro 0% for 15 months on purchases. After both intro periods end, a 14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR applies.
On top of the ability to finance new purchases and debt, you can benefit from a $0 annual fee and rewards program. Earn 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases. New cardmembers also earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
What to look out for: This card is a solid offering all around, but if you plan to use The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express’s balance transfer offer, you should be careful to avoid new debt. With an enticing intro 0% for 15 Months on purchases (after, 14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR), it may be tempting to add new debt to an existing balance. However, your primary goal should be to pay off old debt first. Using this card for new purchases may defeat efforts to whittle away a high balance.
The information related to The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
Read our roundup of the best balance transfer credit cards.
4. Most underrated business credit card: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
0% for 12 Months, then 14.99% - 20.99% Variable
Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases up to the annual cap
Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card
- Get rewarded for business as usual. Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.
- 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
- Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
- You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
- More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
- *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
- 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, 14.99%, 17.99% or 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Why it’s a great business card: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has some great features all businesses can benefit from, including a $0 annual fee, flexible credit limit and free employee cards. This card’s rewards program is even tailored to common business expenses — earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
In addition, there is an intro 0% for 12 Months on purchases and an intro 0% for 12 Months on balance transfers (after, 14.99% - 20.99% Variable APR). These special financing offers can help you pay off debt or finance large business expenses.
What to look out for: If you and your employees travel outside the U.S. frequently, this card isn’t the best choice since there’s a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. There are other business cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees and are more suited for travel abroad.
Read our roundup of the best business credit cards.
5. Most underrated cashback credit card: Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card
Why it’s a great cashback card: A flat-rate cashback card is a great way to earn a consistent amount of cash back on all your purchases and the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card offers a high 2.5% cash back on all purchases (3% in the first year). The 3% cashback you earn in year one is unmatched among competing flat-rate cards and helps maximize the amount of cash back you earn.
What to look out for: This card has an annual fee of $99, waived the first year. While this isn’t a high annual fee and can be worthwhile, if you spend less than $12,000 a year (not including the first year of card membership) on the card, you will be better off with an alternative $0 annual fee cashback card such as the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer.
Read our roundup of the best cashback credit cards.
6. Most underrated hotel credit card: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
One-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
Earn unlimited 10x miles on hotels when you pay with your Venture card at hotels.com/venture
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
- Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
- Named 'The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- No foreign transaction fees
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
See additional details for Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Why it’s a great hotel card: While not directly affiliated with a particular hotel chain, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card currently has a partnership with Hotels.com, offering 10 miles per dollar on hotel bookings made via hotels.com/venture (expires 1/31/20). So instead of being tied to a certain hotel chain, you can book or redeem points for stays in a variety of properties. All other purchases earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. In addition, new cardmembers can earn a One-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.
What to watch out for: The partnership promotion with Hotels.com is scheduled to expire Jan. 31, 2020, and reservations must be paid upfront online. Payments made through PayPal are not eligible and bookings cannot be made by phone or via the Hotels.com mobile app. Plus, group bookings or reservations including flights or paid at the hotel property do not qualify. Also, know that this card has an annual fee — $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, which may be worthwhile if you travel frequently.
Read our roundup of the best hotel credit cards.
7. Most underrated low interest credit card: Visa Titanium Signature Credit Card
Why it’s a great low interest card: With average credit card APRs on the rise and the potential need to occasionally carry a balance month to month, the Visa Titanium Signature Credit Card offers an ultra-low APR range of 6.99% - 18.00% variable. This card is offered by the Andrews Federal Credit Union and is limited to members; however, if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months such as a vehicle, apparel or education, you can become a member for free by joining the American Consumer Council. Just use promo code “Andrews.”
What to watch out for: There’s no guarantee you’ll receive the lowest APR once you apply for the card. The APR you receive is based on your creditworthiness, so be prepared to receive an APR anywhere from 6.99% - 18.00% variable.
Read our roundup of the best low interest credit cards.
8. Most underrated store credit card: Target REDcard Credit Card
Why it’s a great retail card: If you’re not an Amazon Prime member and prefer to go on “Target runs,” the Target REDcard Credit Card could be the ticket. This card has a unique rewards program where your receive a 5% discount on Target and Target.com purchases during checkout. You don’t have to wait until your statement to accumulate points or cash back. In addition, the Target REDcard Credit Card carries a lot of perks for regular Target shoppers — benefit from free shipping, 30 extra days for returns, stacking savings with the store’s Cartwheel app and additional access to promotions and offers.
What to watch out for: The Target REDcard Credit Card can only be used in Target stores and online at target.com, and carries a high 24.65% variable APR, so this isn’t a good card to carry a balance month to month.
Read our roundup of the best store credit cards.
9. Most underrated student credit card: Discover it® Student Cash Back
0% for 6 Months*
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*
14.74% - 23.74% Variable*
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
- Good Grades Rewards: $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.
- No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
- Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
- Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
- Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 14.74% - 23.74%.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Discover it® Student Cash Back
Why it’s a great student card: Discover offers two student cards (the Discover it® Student Cash Back and the Discover it® Student chrome ) that are great cards for novice users looking to build credit in college. While the Discover it® Student chrome ’s rewards program is geared toward commuter students and students that often dine out (2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.), the Discover it® Student Cash Back is more suited for any student with a rotating cashback program — 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
There’s also a great incentive for students to achieve good grades. If you maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA, you can receive a $20 statement credit known as a Good Grades Reward for up to five consecutive years.
What to watch out for: You need to activate the 5% cashback categories each quarter, or you’ll only earn 1% cash back. However, Discover lets you set reminders so you don’t miss out.
Read our roundup of the best student credit cards.
10. Most underrated travel credit card: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 bonus points
2X points on travel and dining
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
See additional details for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Why it’s a great travel credit card: Compared with the luxury Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card boasts a much more reasonable annual fee of $95 (compared with $450 for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®) with just a few less perks. Points redeemed for eligible travel at Chase Ultimate Rewards® receive 25% more value. You also have the option to transfer points 1:1 to partner frequent travel partners, such as Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus® and Marriott Rewards®.
What to watch out for: This card is well-rounded and has no major setbacks, but if you plan on making large purchases you want to finance over time, this card doesn’t come with an intro 0% APR offer. While travel cards often lack intro 0% deals, you can find some cards that provide intro 0% APR periods up to 14 months.
Read our roundup of the best travel credit cards.