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This article was last updated Dec 30, 2019. 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.
Here’s an overview of the 10 most underrated credit cards in 2020:
|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 APR for 20 billing cycles on Purchases* (after, 13.99% - 23.99%* (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 APR for 20 billing cycles on Balance Transfers* (after, 13.99% - 23.99%* (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.
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 a $100 statement credit, 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. 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 12.99% - 23.99% 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, 12.99% - 23.99% 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.
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% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable
Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases up to the annual cap
Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card
- Earn up to $300 back to boost your business. You can earn up to $100 in the form of statement credits at each of the following merchants: Dell Technologies, DocuSign or FedEx after you make an eligible purchase on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- 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.
- 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening.
- No Annual Fee
- Terms Apply
- 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 no 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% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening and an intro N/A (after, 13.24% - 19.24% 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.
To see rates & fees for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express please click here.
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. 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
Why it’s a great hotel card: 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 Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
What to watch out for: Group bookings or reservations including flights or paid at the hotel property do not qualify. Also, know that this card has an annual fee — $95, 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 22.90% 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% intro for 6 Months*
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*
12.99% - 21.99% Variable*
- INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
- Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when 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 12.99% - 21.99% applies.
- 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 — Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when 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
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 $550 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.
The information related to The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.