The Ascent's 2023 Credit Card Awards
How we chose the winners
To determine the best credit card award winners for 2023, The Ascent’s experts evaluated accounts focusing on industry factors and user benefits, including:
- Annual fee
- Rewards and perks
- Sign-up bonus
Top-rated offerings were selected that we think represent the top pick for most people. Our final awards winners were determined by vote to ensure objectivity, with a final Golden Rule check: Would we recommend them to a family or friend? Special attention was also paid to:
- Intro 0% APR periods
- Intro Balance Transfer periods
- FICO score access
- Rewards redemption options
We have also included some editors' choice awards. These awards are favorites from our team, tailored to unique consumer needs, allowing us to explore a more diverse range of offerings and user experiences.
Best Cash Back Credit Card
Blue Cash Preferred? Card from American Express
While not quite a one-size-fits-all, this card comes pretty close with everything it offers. Its annual fee is $0 for the first year, and very reasonable after that. It earns colossal high cash back at U.S. supermarkets and unlimited cash back at U.S. gas stations. The welcome offer and intro APR offer just sweeten the deal.
Best No Annual Fee Credit Card
Wells Fargo Active Cash? Card
This card comes with a little bit of everything! It offers rewards, a sign-up bonus, balance transfer and purchase intro APR periods, and even cell phone protection. It somehow packs all that in without an annual fee.
Best Travel Credit Card
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
The king of travel cards? Maybe. This card offers a travel credit and bonus miles every year that could pay for the card itself. Earn top-of-the-market points on travel purchases and even enjoy airport lounge access.
Best 0% Intro APR Credit Card
Chase Freedom Flex?
This card doesn’t offer the longest 0% intro APR period on the market, but used correctly it can earn the most value. Because this card offers a sign-up bonus, you can come out on top instead of getting another few months of 0% interest.
Best Balance Transfer Credit Card
BankAmericard? credit card
The strong transfer period here is the winner. It’s pretty simple. When needing to use a balance transfer, you want one of the longest options to pay off your balance. When refinancing debt it’s important to be smart and perks and sign-up bonuses just aren’t as important.
Best Hotel Credit Card
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
If you enjoy things like sign-up bonuses, high-tier status, free nights, and more then this card is probably for you. It can easily pay for itself by utilizing its benefits and those benefits span hotels, resorts, and flights!
Best Secured Credit Card
Bank of America? Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card
This card manages to pack in incredible value while being a secured card. It has competitive cash back rates for any type of card on the market. And the cash back categories are ones you actually use frequently.
Best Credit Card for College Students
Discover it? Student Cash Back
The race here is quite close, but the rotating cash back categories for this card are ones that college students will probably like more. Students can earn cash back on their regular spending and also have a great card to use if they study abroad.
Best Credit Card for Gas
Wells Fargo Autograph? Card
This one is pretty straight to the point. It earns an incredible cash back percentage on gas as well as a ton of other categories. And it has no annual fee to boot.
Best Credit Card for Groceries
Blue Cash Preferred? Card from American Express
This card offers market-leading cash back at U.S. Supermarkets. Tack on to that a ton of other perks you use in your everyday life, there is simply no beating this card here.
Best Credit Card for Dining Out
American Express? Gold Card
Fantastic cash back is earned with this card when eating out. Along with some other travel credits, and competitive fees, it’s almost a no-brainer in this category. The bonus spending categories are pretty great as well.
Best Business Credit Card
American Express Business Gold Card
The rewards structure here really shines through with more than one chance to earn top tier points. With some excellent protections for business owners and a sign-up bonus, this card is a winner.
Best Airline Credit Card
United? Explorer Card
With a competitive annual fee, cash back on travel categories, free and discounted travel perks, as well as an annual fee, there is nothing not to like about this card.
Editors’ Choice: Best Credit Card Rewards Program
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Still holding this spot, Chase is the winner again for travel rewards programs. Other issuer rewards programs keep improving, but with its long list of hotel and airline loyalty partners, high point values, and quick transfers, Chase takes the top spot.
Editors’ Choice: Best Credit Cards App
American Express Credit Card App
There are a ton of great credit card issuer apps, but American Express just continues to shine. You can manage a wide range of account needs, check your credit score, spend and split payments, access American Express offers and more.
Experts You Can Trust
Our financial experts are constantly testing products to bring you the best. With decades of industry experience, our experts provide honest first-person reviews whenever possible to inform our selections.
Jake FitzGerald | Editorial Strategist
Jake is an Editorial Strategist for The Ascent. He specializes in product ratings and all things credit cards, and wants to make sure each person has the best card for them!
Product ratings, credit cards, and content production.
Natasha Etzel | Writer
Natasha is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance, credit card, credit card rewards, and travel hacking content.
Personal finance, credit cards, credit card rewards, travel rewards, travel hacking
B.A., Advertising and PR
- Marketing Associate
- English as a Foreign Language Instructor
Has Written For
NerdWallet, The Points Guy, Orbitz, FlyerTalk
- Getting the chance to travel to 30+ countries while being a freelance writer
- Transitioning from reader to writer for some of her favorite websites
- Writing content that helps others improve their finances
Lyle Daly | Writer
Lyle Daly is a freelance writer who has been covering personal finance since 2016.
6 years in credit cards, cryptocurrency, investing, travel, travel rewards, banking industries
- Rideshare driver
Has Written For
Motley Fool syndication partners: USA Today, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Fox Business
- Living as a digital nomad and being able to explore the world while writing
- Being one of the first Ascent writers and seeing it grow from an idea to an amazing personal finance site with dozens of awesome team members
- Hearing from and about people who used my articles to help decide on their next credit card
Brittney Myers | Writer
Brittney is a data-obsessed finance nerd whose personal credit card collection is in the double digits. She has been sharing personal finance advice with readers since 2016.
Personal finance, credit cards, travel rewards, crypto
B.S. Physics, University of Florida
- Content Developer
- Graphic Designer
- Test Developer
Has Written For
National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Reader's Digest, CardRates.com, CreditSoup
- Receiving feedback from readers who have used her advice to make smarter financial decisions
- Building and running a profitable small business
- Finishing her first book
About the Author
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
For rates and fees for the American Express Business Gold Card, click here
For rates and fees for the American Express? Gold Card, click here
For rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred? Card from American Express, click here
For rates and fees for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, click here
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