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Before you can get the best travel credit cards, you need to build credit. If possible, the best credit card is one that earns rewards you can use. With so many rewards cards to choose from, the decision can be harder than you realize. So what are the best credit cards to build credit scores?
Best Credit Cards to Build Credit Score
Whether you want to earn cash rewards or the best credit card for travel miles, these two cards can build your credit score. Plus, you earn rewards at the same time.
Always Pay Your Balance to Build Credit
Let’s cover the main rule of owning credit cards.
You must pay your credit card balance in full each month to boost your score. Missed payments remain on your credit report for up to seven years. Also, each missed payment reduces your credit score and your approval odds can be at risk for future credit applications.
The Best Credit Cards to Build Credit Scores
If you just want to start building credit, try getting an unsecured rewards credit card. You won’t pay an annual fee and you earn rewards points on every purchase.
Also, when you’re ready to apply for a different credit card, you can keep this first card for free. Your credit card is made up of several factors. On-time payments are a driving factor, but the age of your credit accounts is important too.
At first, you will want to keep your card as a secondary card. It will still help your credit score grow, even if you only use it for one purchase a year. It’s also a free way to build credit because you don’t pay an annual fee.
The average American credit score is around 695. If you’re a few points below, you have good approval odds with these recommendations.
Option 1: Chase Freedom
The information for the Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Chase Freedom® offers tiered purchase rewards. Each quarter, there are revolving 5% bonus categories on the first $1,500 in combined spending. After that, you earn 1% on all purchases. Plus, you always earn an unlimited 1% on all non-bonus categories.
Some of the bonus categories of the Chase Freedom include:
- Gas Stations
- Grocery Stores
- Digital Wallet Payments
You can redeem your rewards for cash back, award travel, and gift cards.
More importantly, you earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, some of the most valuable credit card rewards points. You can also pool them with your other Ultimate Rewards credit cards.
One of these cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. With the Sapphire Preferred, your points are worth 25% more for award travel. You can transfer them directly to airlines and hotel loyalty accounts. But, you may need a credit score of 740 to qualify for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Since the Freedom is an easy way to earn bonus points on non-travel awards, you can continue to use it on a regular basis. Then, you can redeem the points for award travel with the Sapphire Preferred.
FYI: here’s a comparison post on the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Capital One Venture, another comparable travel credit card that isn’t in the Chase family.
Related: Best Chase Credit Cards
Option 2: Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
The information related to Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has been collected by Johnny Jet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is in the lifestyle rewards credit card categories. You earn bonus points on many common purchases and you have some valuable redemption options too.
If you only want one credit card, it can easily be the Wells Fargo Propel.
You earn unlimited 3 points per $1 on these purchases:
- Transit and Rideshares
- Popular Streaming Services
All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
Your redemption options include travel, cash, and gift card rewards. Although your points are worth 1 cent each for cash and gift cards, they can be worth 1.5 cents each for travel. Also, you get free cell phone protection up to $600 per claim.
Finally, you won’t pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fees with this card either.
Option 3: IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Hotel credit cards are another way easy way to build credit. When you pick one with a reward anniversary night, the reward night usually offsets the annual fee. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one of these cards.
Each card anniversary, you get a reward night. Since most IHG nights cost more than $100, this award is easily worth more than the $89 annual fee (the annual fee is $0 the first year). Some of the places you can enjoy your reward night include Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites, and InterContinental.
If you sit through long security lines when you fly, IHG offers a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. New cardholders can earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
To redeem your points, reward nights start at 5,000 points. An exclusive IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card benefit is getting the fourth-night reward when you pay for your first three nights with points.
Related: Best Hotel Credit Cards
Option 4: Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card
It used to be that airline credit cards were not great for things other than a flight. That’s no longer the case. If you fly Delta, consider the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card.
You earn 2 miles per $1 on all purchases made directly with Delta and at restaurants. All other purchases earn 1 mile per $1. Plus, you get 20% savings on in-flight Delta purchases. There is no annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
When you want a basic credit card that earns miles and builds credit, this is a solid choice. But, you will need to apply for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card if you want free checked bags and priority boarding. However, the annual fee is $99 but it is waived the first year (See Rates & Fees).
With either of these Delta credit cards, you only need a credit score in the mid-600s. Both are some of the best Delta credit cards.
If you’re more of a Southwest Airlines fan, you can learn more about which Southwest credit cards are easiest to get.
What If You Don’t Have Good Credit?
If you don’t have a credit score in the 600s, you still have options to build credit. It’s still possible to get a rewards credit card. But, it may have to be a secured credit card. You won’t have a high credit limit, but you might qualify for an unsecured rewards card in one year. There are different types of credit cards, so you might find that one better suits you than another.
Summary of Best Credit Cards to Build Credit
Any credit card you make on-time payments with will build credit. But, going with a rewards card that doesn’t charge an annual fee lets you do it for free. Plus, you “get paid” to build credit at the same time.
- Easiest Credit Cards To Get Approved For?
- What credit cards have no foreign transaction fees?
- The 4 Best Credit Cards for Millennials
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.