Biggest ‘No Annual Fee’ Credit Card Bonuses in February 2021

Each credit card offers its own unique benefits, but choosing a card with no annual fee means saving money each and every year.

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Rewards Card Bonus Bonus Offer Intro APR
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card $200 Spend $1,000 during the first 90 days New purchases and balance transfers
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card 25,000 Points Spend $1,000 during the first 90 days New purchases
Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card $200 Spend $500 during first 3 months New purchases
Chase Freedom Unlimited® card $200 Spend $500 during first 3 months New purchases
IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card 60,000 IHG Points Spend $2,000 during the first 3 months No
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card $750 Spend $7,500 during the first 3 months New purchases
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card $750 Spend $7,500 during the first 3 months New purchases
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express $200 Spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership New purchases
Cash Magnet® Card $200 Spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership New purchases
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card 10,000 Membership Rewards Points Spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership New purchases
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card 10,000 Bonus Miles Spend $500 in your first 3 months of Card Membership None
Hilton Honors Card from American Express 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points Spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership None
Capital One® Quicksilver® Card $200 Spend $500 on eligible purchases within 3 months from account opening New purchases
Capital One® SavorOne® Rewards Card $200 Spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months from account opening New purchases
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Card 20,000 miles Spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of account opening New purchases
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card 20,000 points Spend $1,000 within the first 3 months New purchases and balance transfers
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card $150 Spend $500 within the first 3 months New purchases and balance transfers

>>Review the methodology our financial experts use to determine which credit cards are the best in category.

*Jump to Frequently asked questions about no-annual-fee credit card bonuses.

Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Card Bonuses in February 2021

Paying an annual fee can negate many of the credit card benefits you enjoy most. Whether you’re trying to maximize cash back, save money with a no-interest offer or simply enjoy the perks of a particular card, we’ve rounded up the best and biggest bonuses for no annual fee credit cards. Luckily, some of the best cards without an annual fee also offer excellent rewards. Here’s a look at our top-rated bonuses for credit cards with no annual fee. Scroll beyond this best card bonuses list to see card details from popular card issuers like American Express, Capital One and Wells Fargo.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card is among the most popular credit cards for people who want a cash-back card without all the bells and whistles of the more complicated premium cards. Not only does it reward you generously with 3% and 2% cash-back options, it doesn’t have an annual fee and even offers an introductory 0% interest rate for the first 12 billing cycles. You’ll also earn a $200 sign-up bonus once you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of your account opening. If you use this card to make most of your budgeted purchases during that time, there’s a good chance you’ll easily be able to meet that requirement. Read our full review of the Cash Rewards credit card.

One of the primary reasons many folks choose a Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card is the ability to earn cash on regular purchases. You’ll earn 3% cash back in one of the following categories of your choosing: gas stations, online shopping, travel, dining, drug stores and home improvement/ furnishings. Review your spending to see which category takes the biggest chunk of your budget, and choose that as your 3% category. You’ll also get a flat-rate 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. This is a great benefit since many other cash-back cards don’t offer a higher cash-back tier for wholesale clubs. If you buy in bulk, this card could really help maximize your rewards. You’ll earn the 3% and 2% cash rewards on the first $2,500 combined spending each quarter. All other purchases earn a flat-rate 1% back.


Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

With the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card, you can earn 1.5x points for each dollar you spend on the card. You don’t have to worry about rotating categories or purchase limits. Each time you swipe, you earn points that can be redeemed for future travel. And once new cardholders spend $1,000 with their new cards during the first 90 days of account opening, they earn 25,000 bonus points—good for $250 worth of travel expenses. Read our full review of the Travel Rewards credit card.

One of the best benefits of the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is the fact that you can easily redeem your points for different travel experiences. You don’t have to worry about blackout dates or special conditions. There’s no need to worry about loyalty to a particular brand, either. Your points are used for a statement credit to pay for travel expenses, including hotels, flights, cruises, vacation packages and rental cars. You can even redeem your points to pay for baggage fees.


Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card

We love that the Chase Freedom Flex® card expands on an already lucrative offering from Chase. The original Chase Freedom® card was already a solid choice for cash-back enthusiasts, and this one raises the bar. As a new cardholder, you’ll also earn a $200 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months. Read our full review of the Chase Freedom Flex Card.

The Chase Freedom Flex® card is an excellent cash-back credit card for people who are looking to maximize rewards-earning opportunities. Cardholders can take advantage of 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories when you activate (up to $1,500 each quarter), 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining, including takeout and delivery, 3% back at drugstores and 1% back on other purchases. New cardholders can also take advantage of a 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months with the card. The Chase Freedom Flex offers all of this without any annual fee.


Chase Freedom Unlimited® card


The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is a great all-around card with no annual fee. New cardholders can take advantage of its big $200 sign-up bonus and an introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months. Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited Card review.

You earn 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back at drugstores, 3% back on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, and a flat-rate 1.5% back on other purchases. There are no rotating categories to track, caps on how much you can earn or excluded purchase categories. This card has no annual fee; so it’s possible to use it with no costs at all as long as you pay off the balance in full by the due date and avoid certain fee-bearing activity.


IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card


If you’re a fan of IHG hotels or its partners like Crowne Plaza, Kipton or Holiday Inn, then this 60,000-point bonus comes in handy. The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card awards 5x points per dollar on bookings with its hotels. That number soars to 15x points per dollar spent if you’re an IHG member. So the more you stay, the more you earn. It also offers 2x points per dollar spent on groceries, gas and dining. This rewards rate comes in handy when you’re trying to earn lots of points quickly. Read our full review of the IHG Rewards Club Traveler for tips on how to maximize this card.


Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card


The Ink Business Cash Card is a great option for entrepreneurs of all types. Earn an impressive 5% cash back on select business purchases. These include the first $25,000 you spend each account anniversary year at office supply stores and on phone, cable and internet services. The card also offers 2% cash back on up to $25,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations. You’ll earn 1% cash back on virtually everything else you buy. As a new cardholder, get $750 in bonus cash back when you make $7,500 worth of purchases within the first three months your account is open.


Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card


Here’s a card that you can use to earn a strong rate of return on all of your business purchases.  The card has no annual fee but offers an incredible $750 cash bonus after you spend $7,500 in the first three months. You’ll also earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The Ink Business Unlimited also doesn’t allow point transfers by itself, but the points can be combined with rewards from other Chase accounts that do allow transfers. It also has travel benefits including an auto rental collision damage waiver, travel and emergency assistance and roadside dispatch.


American Express: Biggest No-Annual-Fee Credit Card Bonuses

Amex Card Welcome Bonus Bonus Eligibility Intro APR
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express $200 Spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership Purchases
Cash Magnet® Card $200 Spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership Purchases
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card 10,000 Membership Rewards Points Spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership Purchases
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card 10,000 Bonus Miles Spend $500 in your first 3 months of Card Membership None
Hilton Honors Card from American Express 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points Spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership None

American Express is among the premier card issuers in the U.S. Not only do many of the best Amex cards have sizable welcome bonus offers, they continue to offer value throughout the year with accelerated Membership Rewards Points earnings and cash-back rewards.

No-fee rewards cards like the Cash Magnet and Blue Cash Everyday offer additional benefits like introductory interest free periods, while co-branded airline and hotel cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees for international purchases.

Similar to the non-bonus Citi® Double Cash Card, American Express cash rewards credit cards don’t make you fuss with quarterly bonus categories. Instead, Amex cards offer accelerated earnings on popular household spending categories like U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

  • Cash Magnet: Get a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make.
  • Blue Cash Everyday: Earn 3% cash back on the first $6,000 spent per calendar year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% back on other purchases.
  • Amex Everyday: Earn 2X Membership Rewards Points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent per calendar year — then 1X) and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • Delta SkyMiles Blue: Earn 2X miles per dollar spent at restaurants and Delta purchases and 1X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Hilton Honors: Earn 7X points per dollar spent on Hilton purchases, 5x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3X points on all other purchases.

Capital One and Wells Fargo: Biggest No-Fee Credit Card Bonuses

Card Issuer Sign-Up Bonus Bonus Offer Foreign Transaction Fees
Capital One® Quicksilver® Card $200 Spend $500 on eligible purchases within 3 months from account opening No
Capital One® SavorOne® Rewards Card $200 Spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months from account opening No
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Card 20,000 miles Spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of account opening No
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card 20,000 points Spend $1,000 within the first 3 months No
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card $150 Spend $500 within the first 3 months Yes

Capital One and Wells Fargo are both card issuers that feature some of the more exciting fee-free rewards cards on the market. The SavorOne and Wells Fargo Propel provide rewards-earning opportunities in popular bonus categories common in U.S. households, while the VentureOne and Cash Wise cards feature flat-rate rewards earnings for people who don’t want to fuss with spending categories. Both card issuers, however, allow new cardmembers the to earn bonus points and bonus cash from limited-time bonuses.

Methodology

This list does not represent all of the no annual fee credit cards available today, but rather some of our all-around favorites. We took a look at cards that are fee-free while also offering great rewards and cardholder benefits. Many of these benefits make them competitive even against some of the annual fee cards on the market.

Between the cash back offered and benefits provided, these cards can both save you money each year and make life easier every time you spend.

Frequently Asked Questions About No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Credit cards without an annual fee are a good choice for individuals new to the credit card space. These cards can save you money automatically over a card with a fee. We’ve gathered everything you need to know about choosing a no annual fee credit card so that you can make the best decision for your finances.

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What Is an Annual Fee?

An annual fee is a set charge that occurs yearly. For credit cards with annual fees, the charge is applied to your account as soon as you are approved. You will see that same charge on your card anniversary. If you do not pay the annual fee, you will start to pay interest on it.

Since your annual fee is applied to your charge account automatically, that will affect your credit card limit. For example, if you applied for a card with a $5,000 credit limit and the annual fee is $95, your new credit limit will be $4,905 until you pay your bill. Keep this in mind if you are hoping to use your new card for a big purchase right after signup.

Annual fees do not count for sign-up bonuses and they do not earn points or cash back.

Annual fees vary by card, with most fees starting at $95. Some cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, charge a larger annual fee, but the card also comes with more rewards like annual travel credits. Whereas cash-back cards like the Citi Double Cash Card does not charge an annual fee.

When Are Annual Fees Typically Charged?

You should see the charge for your annual fee on your first credit card statement. Some cards waive the annual fee of $95 for the first year. The annual fee for that card would then occur on your first anniversary of opening the card. Usually, you will see a one-time charge on the first day of your anniversary month.

For example, if you opened your new card on January 15th, 2020, you should expect a one-time charge for the annual fee the first week of January 2021. Many cards offer anniversary gifts each year, such as a travel credit. If your card does offer annual credits, they will be available at the same time as your annual fee is charged.

Why Do Some Cards Have Annual Fees?

Many cards offer annual fees so that they can offer more rewards to cardholders. In order to attract new cardholders with spectacular signup bonuses and perks, they need to offset the cost with annual fees.

Compare two of Chase’s credit cards, one with a fee and one without. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee, but you can earn up valuable free travel in your first three months if you hit the spending requirement. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee and offers a cash signup bonus.

In contrast, the Citi Double Cash Card also has no annual fee, but does not offer a welcome bonus to new cardholders.

Are Credit Cards With Annual Fees Worth It?

One of the top questions among credit card users is, “Are annual fees worth it?” When you are trying to save money and stick with a budget, we can see why paying money to use plastic seems like a waste. However, when used wisely, an annual fee card can save money and earn you more cash back than a no annual fee card can.

Let’s go back to comparing the Chase Sapphire Reserve with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Both are highly-rated cards, but pack on different benefits. For the sake of this example, let’s say you spent $5,000 in travel and dining during your first year and $5,000 on all other purchases.

For the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you will have paid $95 for an annual fee, but you have the possibility of earning over $937 towards travel after signup bonus and points back. Plus you get other perks like no foreign transaction fees and limited travel insurance and protection. By the end of the year, you pocket $842 worth of travel.

For the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you will have paid $0 for an annual fee and have earned up to $350 back after signup bonus and cash back from spending. By the end of the year, you pocket up to $350 in cash.

Common Benefits of No Annual Fee Credit Cards

In many cases, paying an annual fee is worth it if you use your card wisely and can maximize the card’s benefits. But what is a no annual fee credit card worth? If you are new to using credit cards or are looking for a card to boost your credit, no annual fee cards have many benefits too. Here are the top benefits of no annual fee cards:

  • Rewards: No annual fee cards offer you more back on your spending than if you just use your debit card for eligible purchases. If you switch your main spending to a rewards credit card rather than your debit card, you can earn several hundreds of dollars back each year.
  • Travel: Look for cards that offer travel perks, like $0 foreign transaction fees or travel protection. The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee card offer 1.5X points on eligible purchases along with $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Cash Back: Some cards offer maximum cash back without an annual fee. The Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card has rotating cash back categories that earn 3% back in the category of your choice.
  • 0% APR Introductory Rate: Looking to save on a large purchase? Several no annual fee cards also come with an introductory 0% APR for 12-15 months. This can help you pay off a large purchase without paying extra for interest.
  • Easier to Budget: If you are on a tight budget, a no annual fee card can give you credit card benefits without adding any burden to your existing budget.
  • Building Credit: Many of the top annual fee cards require excellent credit, meaning many applications will be rejected due to not having a well-established credit history. You can build up your credit score and history with a no annual fee card.

Who Should Get a Credit Card With No Annual Fee?

An annual fee rewards card isn’t for everyone, but a card without an annual fee might be a better choice for the following:

  • New Credit Users: If you are just dipping your toe in the credit card game, start with a no annual fee card with a sweet signup bonus.
  • Occasional Credit Card Users: If you don’t whip out plastic for every purchase, then a rewards card with an annual fee might not be worth your time. Instead, keep a no annual fee card in your wallet in case of emergencies or for added protection on online and gas station purchases.
  • People Consolidating Debt: If you are trying to tackle your debt load in 2020, then you don’t need an annual fee card to do so. Instead, look for a card that comes with a 0% intro APR for transfer balances. You will have to pay a fee for the initial balance transfer, but the extended 0% APR can help you pay off your debt without worrying about costly interest charges.

Tips to Improve Credit Scores

If you don’t have a strong credit score, you may be wondering what your chances are of getting approved for a card. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say because credit card issuers don’t disclose their eligibility criteria publicly. However, here are some tips for improving your chances of getting your next credit card.

  • Improve your credit score: If your credit score isn’t in great shape, consider working on improving it before you apply for a new account. Check your credit report to see which areas need work and address them as quickly as possible.
  • Apply within your credit range: Rewards credit cards are appealing, but most of them require good or excellent credit (that’s a FICO credit score of 670 or higher). If your credit score isn’t quite there yet, focus on cards that market to people who are working on building their credit.
  • Don’t give up: If you’ve had a credit card application declined recently, it can be easy to take it personally or get discouraged. In some cases, you may be able to call and ask them to reconsider. If they won’t, just because one card issuer denied you, it doesn’t mean all of them will. While it’s best to avoid applying for multiple credit cards in a short period, don’t be afraid to apply again in the future.

As you follow these steps and consider these tips to improve your credit score, you’ll be in a better position to apply for and get the credit card you want to have.

What Does ‘Other Purchases’ Mean?

With rewards cards, the term “other purchases” typically refers to eligible purchases made outside of bonus categories or spending categories. As an example, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express earns 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% back on other purchases. Cash rewards rates are usually lowest on spending categorized as “other purchases.”

What Is a Statement Credit?

A statement credit is money paid to your account by your card issuer. It essentially works the same as a cash payment to your account. Some rewards card issuers like American Express often offer statement credits as a payout for cash rewards or other point redemption. Statement credit can be used to pay down your card balance or they can remain on your statement as a positive account balance for future purchases.

Now that you know how no annual fee credit cards work, you can decide if you should have one in your wallet. Take a look at our Credit Card Hub to see the most recent reviews and card offers.

What Is a Foreign Transaction Fee?

A foreign transaction fee is what your credit card issuer — such as Chase or American Express — charges when a transaction you make with your rewards card processes in a foreign currency or passes through a foreign bank. To process these foreign transactions, your card issuer charges you a percentage of the amount of this transaction, typically 3%. You’ll commonly see foreign transaction fees listed on your card statement as a separate charge.

What Is a Balance Transfer Credit Card?

Unlike travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, a balance transfer card is a credit card specifically focused on encouraging consumers to move their debt. A balance transfer card usually offers a 0% APR for a limited period of time to attract borrowers who are tired of a high interest rate. In many cases, it’s possible to find a balance transfer card that will offer 0% APR on credit card balances for 12, 15, 18 or 21 months.

Generally, your new card issuer pays off your debt with the other creditor and you make payments to your new creditor instead.

What Is a Balance Transfer Fee?

Many credit card issuers charge a fee to handle the process of moving your debt from your old creditor to the new card. It’s common for balance transfer fees to be between 3% and 5% of the amount you transfer. Some creditors might also impose a minimum fee of $5 or $10. This fee is typically added to your credit card balance.

For example, if you transfer $2,000 to your new card, and the balance transfer fee is 5%, you’ll end up paying $100 to move the money. That amount is added to your balance, making it $2,100. However, the interest savings from moving your money could easily make up for your balance transfer fee.

What to Look for in a Balance Transfer Offer

When considering a balance transfer credit card, it’s important to pay attention to what matters to you, and what is likely to help you to reach your goals. Some features to pay attention to include:

  • Introductory period: Pay attention to how long the intro period lasts. Many of the best balance transfer credit cards come with a period of 15 months. If you need longer, though, you can look for a card with an 18-month or 21-month intro period.
  • 0% APR: Most balance transfer offers come with a 0% APR, but there are some with low rates of up to 3.99%. Try first for balance transfer offers that don’t charge interest so your entire payment goes to principal.
  • No or low balance transfer fee: Your best results come when there’s no balance transfer fee. However, cards that don’t charge a balance transfer fee are few and far between. If you have a big balance, look for a card with no fee, or one that charges a lower 3% fee instead of a 5% fee.
  • 0% APR purchase APR: When possible, look for a card that also offers 0% APR on new purchases. You might not get a purchase period as long as the balance transfer offer, but it can be a way to put off paying interest on eligible purchases, especially if you’re making a large purchase.
  • Rewards program and signing bonuses: Don’t forget to consider rewards programs and signing bonuses that can make cards more efficient. You can earn cash back that can then put toward paying down your debt. As long as you work toward paying off what you spend each month and have a plan to pay off your balance before the end of the intro period, you should come out ahead.

Prioritize different features based on your immediate needs so that your most pressing issues are handled first. You might have to make trade-offs in order to get the best result.

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Stephanie Colestock

Stephanie is a personal finance writer and editor, who is passionate about teaching others to successfully manage their financial futures. She holds a degree from Baylor University and is currently pursuing her CFP® certification. Her work is regularly seen on sites such as Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, and Quicken, among others. She can be contacted through her website, StephanieColestock.com.

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