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GOBankingRates’ Best Credit Cards of 2023: Top Cards for Travel, Rewards & More

Choreograph / iStock.com
Choreograph / iStock.com

A credit card can be a powerful financial tool — it can help build your credit score, allow you to earn rewards and travel, and get you cash back on all of your purchases. But with so many options available, it can be hard to choose the best credit card for your needs.

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CardCritics, GOBankingRates’ resident credit card experts, are helping you narrow down your search with our research-backed picks for the best credit cards across a number of categories, including travel, rewards, balance transfer and more. To select the best of the best, CardCritics analyzed rewards offered, fees, interest rates, sign-up bonuses, perks and benefits, and more.

Here’s a look at which credit cards made the cut for our Best Credit Cards of 2023.

Best Travel Credit Card: Capital One Venture X

Frequent travelers can get rewarded handsomely with the Capital One Venture X credit card. The card offers a generous sign-up bonus, anniversary bonus miles, an annual travel credit and credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Although the card does have an annual fee, the perks can cover the fee — and then some — for those who maximize the card’s offerings.

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Rounding out GOBankingRates’ picks for the top 10 Best Travel Credit Cards are:

  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards

  • Barclays JetBlue Plus Card

  • Wells Fargo Autograph Card

  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

  • U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card

  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

  • Capital One Venture Rewards

  • TD First Class Visa Signature Credit Card

  • American Express The Platinum Card

Methodology: CardCritics identified the Best Travel Credit Cards by analyzing the following factors: (1) annual fees; (2) APR for purchases; (3) promotional APR; (4) sign-up bonuses; (5) rewards and features; (6) foreign transaction fees; (7) travel perks; and (8) individual point valuations. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some bonus offers may no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how one accesses the web page. All data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material and is accurate as of Aug. 18, 2022. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account. In order to be considered, the card had to be sponsored by an airline or have travel be an option in redemption for points/cash back.

Best Rewards Credit Card: Chase Freedom Unlimited

With no annual fee, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is an attractive option for anyone who wants to earn cash back on all of their purchases. In addition to offering a higher cash back rate than most rewards cards on all purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers extra cash back on restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services; drugstore purchases; and travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Cash back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open, and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.

GOBankingRates’ other top picks for Best Rewards Credit Card include:

  • American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card

  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards

  • Wells Fargo Autograph Card

  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards

  • Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card

  • U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card

  • Regions Prestige Visa Signature Credit Card

  • U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card

  • Citi Rewards+ Card

Methodology: CardCritics identified the Best Rewards Credit Cards by analyzing the following factors: (1) annual fees; (2) APR for purchases; (3) promotional APR; (4) sign-up bonuses; (5) rewards and features; (6) accessibility; and (7) reward point valuation. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some bonus offers may no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how one accesses the web page. All data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material and is accurate as of Aug. 11, 2022. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.

Best Cash Back Credit Card: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Thanks to its high level of cash back rewards across a number of categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is GOBankingRates’ pick for the Best Cash Back Credit Card in addition to the Best Rewards Credit Card.

Here’s a look at the other cards that made the cut in this category:

  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards

  • American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card

  • Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card

  • PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card

  • Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Discover it Cash Back Credit Card

  • American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card

  • BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard

  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

Methodology: CardCritics identified the Best Cash Back Credit Cards by analyzing the following factors: (1) annual fees; (2) APR for purchases; (3) promotional APR; (4) sign-up bonuses; (5) rewards and features; and (6) accessibility. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some bonus offers may no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how one accesses the web page. All data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material and is accurate as of Aug. 10, 2022. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account. Rewards had to be in form of cash back to qualify.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Card: Union Bank Platinum Visa Credit Card

The Union Bank Platinum Visa Card is GOBankingRates’ pick for the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card thanks to its long introductory offer periods. It offers a low introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months after account opening as well as a low introductory balance transfer fee for transfers completed within 60 days of account opening. There’s also no annual fee to worry about.

Rounding out the top 10 in the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card category are:

  • BankAmericard Credit Card

  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards

  • Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Credit Card

  • Fifth Third Bank Truly Simple Credit Card

  • American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card

  • Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card

  • Amex EveryDay Credit Card

  • Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Truist Future

Methodology: CardCritics identified the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards by analyzing credit cards offered by all banks with over $100 billion in total assets, as well as the three largest credit unions along the following factors: (1) length of 0% intro APR for balance transfers; (2) length of 0% APR for purchases; (3) balance transfer rate; (4) balance transfer fees; (5) annual fees; (6) purchase APR; (7) sign-up bonus ratio; (8) any perks associated with a card that might extend its value past the promotional APR period; and (9) accessibility. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some offers may not be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how you access the web page. All data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material and is accurate as of Aug. 8, 2022. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account. To be considered the intro APR on balance transfers had to be 0%.

Best Airline Credit Card: Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card allows cardholders to earn miles for every dollar spent, with extra miles earned for Delta purchases, hotels, dining and groceries. You’ll also get extra perks when you fly Delta, including a free checked bag on every flight, priority boarding, discounted lounge access and an annual companion certificate. Although there is an annual fee, it does come with a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, so you can get your money’s worth between that and the aforementioned perks.

If Delta isn’t your airline of choice, consider these other top options in the Best Airline Credit Card category:

  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

  • Chase United Quest Card

  • Chase United Gateway Credit Card

  • Chase United Explorer Card

  • Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

  • Chase United Club Infinite Card

  • Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

  • Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

Methodology: CardCritics identified the Best Airline Credit Cards by analyzing the following factors: (1) rewards earn rate; (2) any foreign transaction fees; (3) annual fees; (4) regular APR for purchases; (5) sign-up bonuses; (6) airline destinations totals; (7) 2019 enplanned passengers total; (8) total destination locations; (9) fleet size; and (10) number of important travel benefits. Travel benefits include priority boarding, free checked bags, access to airport lounges, companion certificates and any in-flight discounts. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some offers may no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how you access the web page. All data was sourced from each financial institution’s or airline’s website or promotional material and is accurate as of Aug. 9, 2022.  Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: GOBankingRates’ Best Credit Cards of 2023: Top Cards for Travel, Rewards & More