- Whether it’s ordering grocery deliveries, relying on Amazon more, or turning to meal delivery options like UberEats more than in the days pre-coronavirus, the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 virus that’s resulted in quarantines and stay-at-home orders has us all using credit cards more for daily purchases.
- If you find yourself turning to plastic more these days instead of opening your wallet for cash, these are our recommendations for the best credit cards to use right now to make some of those everyday purchases.
One of the things I’ve noticed myself doing more of on the rare instances when I venture out of my apartment during the coronavirus crisis is that I’m either reaching for a credit card more often, or using Apple Pay, instead of paying for items with cash. Doing the latter means getting change, and it feels like more of a risk when you’re handling money back and forth while we’re all supposed to be practicing social distancing (which is why Apple Pay and contactless payment options are an especially great service right now).
Bottom line, right now is a great time to take stock of your credit card situation and consider whether you’ve got the right piece of plastic that rewards you for daily purchases such as gas, groceries and dining out. When it comes to choosing the right credit card for these expenses, consider which one is going to give you the most bang for your buck.
What’s the best card to use for everyday purchases, when you’re not necessarily working toward meeting minimum spending requirements on a travel credit card that unlocks a generous sign-up bonus? From an uncomplicated cash-back card that earns 2% on all expenses to valuable rewards cards, here’s a list of the cards that offer the best return on everyday non-bonus spending.
Keep in mind: There’s no single “best” card for everyday spending — just whatever the best one is for your situation. Every card on this list is valuable for everyday spending, it’s just a matter of choosing the one that fits your own spending habits and goals.
Best credit cards for everyday spending in 2020
Capital One Venture® Rewards Credit Card
With an earning rate of 2 points per dollar spent on everything, a 50,000-mile welcome offer (once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening) and a waived annual fee for the first year, the Capital One Venture is a popular mid-tier travel card. Now that Capital One has airline and hotel transfer partners, this card is even more compelling for anyone looking to earn bonus rewards on every purchase.
In addition to transferring your points to an airline, you can redeem your miles at a fixed rate of 1 cent each as statement credits to “erase” travel purchases you’ve made in the previous 90 days.
Amex EveryDay Preferred Card
The Amex EveryDay Preferred card is a lucrative everyday card if you can commit to 30 transactions monthly. That’s because in addition to earning Membership Rewards points on popular everyday bonus categories (1 point per dollar spent on non-bonus spending), you’ll earn 50% more points in each billing cycle if you make 30 or more purchases.
If this is your only credit card or one of only a few and you use for everyday purchases, you should be able to earn 50% bonus points every month for the life of the card. You’ll effectively be earning 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on everyday non-bonus spending.
The card comes with a $95 annual fee, but you can earn even more points thanks to the card’s popular everyday bonus categories such as 3x points per dollar spent at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar spent) and 2 points per dollar spent at US gas stations.
The Blue Business Plus card earns 2 points per dollar spent on all purchases, up to $50,000 in a year, then 1 point per dollar spent. The Points Guy values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, meaning this card provides a 4% return on all spending.
You could potentially earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points a year by spending $50,000, and there are many ways to redeem Membership Rewards points for maximum value. However, as a reminder, this is a business card, so many people won’t be able to apply for it (though you may be more eligible than you think).
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
The Bank of America Premium Rewards card comes with an excellent sign-up bonus worth 50,000 points, and it also includes a $100 annual airline incidental-fee credit.
Points earned can be redeemed for things like travel, cash back or even a cash deposit into a linked Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account. The card earns 1.5x on non-bonus spending and 2x points on travel and dining, and the card becomes even more attractive when combined with Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program.
To greatly increase the value of your spending return, you’ll need an eligible Bank of America checking account with an average daily balance of at least $20,000. The largest bonus is available to customers with a balance of $100,000 or more — at that level, you’ll earn 3.5 points per dollar spent on dining and travel, and 2.62 points per dollar spent on non-bonus spending.
Citi® Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash card offers 2% cash back on everything — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. Citi also allows the cash back earned from the Double Cash card to convert into Citi ThankYou Points.
The card has strong stand-alone value, but paired with Citi’s more premium cards, you could extract incredible value for travel since Citi allows you to transfer points to their airline partners and book flight awards.
This card earns 1% cash back on everyday expenses, which isn’t much — but the real reason we think the Blue Cash Preferred is a top everyday spending card has to do with its lucrative bonus categories. They include:
- 6% back on US streaming subscriptions (Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc.)
- 6% back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 a year) then 1% after that
- 3% back on transit (parking, tolls, ride-share, subway, etc.)
- 3% back at US gas stations
- 1% everywhere else
Note: This card does have a $95 annual fee and is best for US-based purchases, since it imposes a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.