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Many may be unaware of how many perks come with no annual fee cards. Some of the best no annual fee travel credit cards in 2021 let you earn airline miles, rewards for everyday purchases, and cash back. This can be an ideal option in 2021—earn rewards now, so you can use them for travel later.
You can earn rewards on every purchase and build your credit score by raising your debt to credit utilization and building positive monthly credit activity. Plus, not having to worry about an annual fee makes this an easy option to have in your wallet.
Of course, travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card do have an annual fee, but they provide higher rewards, like its 60,000 point bonus. The Sapphire Preferred bonus is worth $750 in award travel or $600 statement credit and can be earned after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Additionally, new cardholders can earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
But, there is an annual fee of $95. So, depending on what you’re looking for in a card, this may be worth the fee. However, checking the no annual fee options is still worthwhile.
This no annual fee credit card list is divided into personal and business cards (including a few that made it onto our best small business credit cards list) to help you pick a rewards credit card for your purchases. Although these credit cards don’t come with a lot of extra benefits, you can still rack up the rewards points quickly! So what are the best travel credit cards with no annual fees?
Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site.
The Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Cards 2021
- $200 Cash Back: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
- Chase Freedom Flex℠: Cash Back Credit Card
- Shopping and U.S. Grocery Purchases: Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
- Earn Delta SkyMiles: Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
- Free Hilton Hotel Nights: Hilton Honors American Express Card
- Business Cash Rewards: Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card – $200 Cash Back
The information for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Best For: Millennials and streaming services
Sign-up Bonus: Earn 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months
You get 3x points for every dollar you spend on dining (both at restaurants and with ordering services such as UberEats), as well as every dollar you spend on Uber and Lyft, car rentals, flights, hotels, gas, and select streaming services.
Even better, there’s no annual fee, which is a big bonus if you’re not quite looking to drop extra cash on a credit card at the moment. This also gives you a chance to get your feet wet so to speak, without having to worry about a yearly fee. This option, as well as the potential to earn points for many everyday purchases, make this one of the best credit cards for millennials.
The current bonus is 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months (an easy enough target to hit), which translates to $200 in a cash redemption.
Learn more: No Annual Fee Credit Cards
Chase Freedom Flex – Best Travel Credit Card With No Annual Fee
Best For: Cash Rewards
Sign-Up Bonus: New cardmembers have the opportunity to earn a $200 cash bonus after making $500 in purchases during the first 3 months of account opening.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 5% cashback on up to $1,500 in combined purchases on quarterly rotating bonus categories. But you must activate them (usually through an email or on the app).
These are the Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus categories:
- 5% cashback on the first $1,500 on quarterly bonus categories you activate (then 1% back)
- 5% cashback on travel purchases in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- 3% cashback on restaurants, including takeout and delivery services
- 3% cashback on drugstore purchases
Cardholders earn an unlimited 1% on all remaining purchases.
Furthermore, although the Chase Freedom Flex is ideal for getting cashback rewards, you can redeem your points or transfer them to your favorite airline or hotel loyalty program if you own a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred product. Additionally, an Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card will also let you combine your points and use them with Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, or, toward free travel booked through the Chase portal.
Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Cards 2021: Personal Rewards Credit Cards
These best no annual fee travel credit cards for personal use are a good option as a secondary credit card or to replace your current daily credit card. They each have their own perks and benefits, depending on what you’re looking for and where you spend your money. Here are 5 travel credit cards with no annual fee.
Amex EveryDay Credit Card
The information for the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Best For: Shopping and using at U.S. Supermarkets
Welcome Bonus: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points after $1,000 in qualifying purchases in your first three months
It’s not every day that you come across a no annual fee (See rates and fees) rewards credit card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points. These points can be redeemed for cash statement credits, gift cards, or 1:1 airline and hotel point transfers.
This is all possible with the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card that boasts the following purchase rewards:
- 20% bonus with 20 or more monthly card transactions (terms apply)
- 2x points at U.S. supermarkets (Up to $6,000 per year, then 1x point per $1)
- 1x points on all remaining purchases
There is a foreign transaction fee (See rates and fees) with the Amex EveryDay though. However, you can avoid this fee and earn even more on your travel purchases with the Platinum Card® from American Express (which can be hard to get). You will still earn Membership Rewards with every purchase and if you use the benefits fully, you can easily offset the $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
If you are set on an Amex card, you can learn more about the best American Express credit cards to find the best option for you.
Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card
Best For: Earning Delta SkyMiles without worrying about annual fees or foreign transaction fees (See rates & fees)
Bonus Offer: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.
You won’t enjoy free checked bags with the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, but you’ll still earn 2x miles on eligible Delta purchases and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. In addition, eligible in-flight purchases receive a 20% statement credit and you’ll earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all non-bonus categories. It’s definitely one of the best Delta Air Lines credit cards.
Your Delta SkyMiles never expire as long as you own this card. Furthermore, you can begin redeeming them for award flights starting at 5,000 SkyMiles.
Learn more: Airline Credit Cards
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Best For: Hilton Purchases
Bonus Offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you use your card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of account opening; Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after your first purchase on the Hilton Honors Card within your first 3 months
- 7x points on eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands
- 5x points on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets
- 3x points on all remaining eligible purchases
- Automatic Hilton Honors Silver status
This no annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Card is a good option if you spend less than $15,000 in annual card purchases. However, if you spend more than $15,000, upgrade to the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card to earn a free weekend night after spending $15,000 each card membership year.
Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
Best For: Cash Back, U.S. Supermarkets, U.S. Gas Station purchases
Welcome Bonus: Earn $200 back after spending $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months of account opening
If you buy your groceries from a supermarket (not a discount store like Walmart or Target), the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express gives you 3% back on the first $6,000 spent annually at U.S. supermarkets (then 1% once you hit the $6,000 threshold). That’s $180 in statement credits from grocery purchases alone plus unlimited:
- 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
- 1% back on all other purchases
Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits. After maxing out the 3% grocery rewards, all remaining U.S. supermarket purchases will earn 1% until your next card anniversary with this no annual fee (See rates & fees) credit card.
Learn more: Cash Back Credit Cards
Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Cards: Business Rewards Credit Cards
Business spending can get expensive very quickly. While this isn’t always good for the bottom line, the additional rewards points can maximize every purchase. Similarly, these are the best no annual fee travel credit cards for business use.
Here are some of the best no annual fee travel credit cards for business rewards. However, if you want more options, check out some of the best small business credit cards options.
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card – Best Business Travel Credit Card No Fees
Best For: Cash rewards for office supplies and internet, cable, and phone services
Sign-Up Bonus: $750 cash back bonus after spending $7500 in purchases in the first three months
With the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, you have the opportunity to earn 5% or 2% back on your business purchases each account anniversary year. Earn 5% back on the first $25,000 in combined spending on these purchases:
- Office supply stores
- Internet, cable, and phone services
You’ll also get 2% back on the first $25,000 combined spending for these purchases:
- Gas stations
Further, all remaining purchases and any bonus category spending in excess of $25,000 will earn 1% back. The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card also comes with primary rental car collision damage waiver protection. Employee cards come at no additional cost and you can place a spending limit on the cards (which still earn rewards).
Redeem your rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel, and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Capital One Spark Select for Business
Best For: Cash or Travel Rewards On Any Purchase
Sign-Up Bonus: $200 after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening with the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business; or 20,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening with the Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business
You might prefer a flat-rate rewards credit card if you don’t spend enough money in the bonus categories to benefit from tiered purchase rewards. Every business is different and thankfully there’s a wide selection of credit cards to maximize your spending habits.
There are several different versions of the Capital One Spark business cards, but you’ll need to decide if you want to earn cash back or travel miles. Choose the Spark Cash Select for cash back or the Spark Miles Select for reward miles that can be used to book award travel or travel statement credits.
Other than the different award redemption, you’ll earn 1.5 miles or cash back on every dollar spent. Further, you’ll never pay a foreign transaction fee or annual fee!
With either Spark Select credit card, each mile is worth 1 cent each. To clarify, that means every 1,000 miles is equal to $10 in rewards. Note that these are also some of the best Capital One credit cards for travel.
Learn more: Business Credit Cards
Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Cards 2021
The beauty of having some of the best travel credit cards with no annual fee is that they are free to own. This is regardless of how often or little you use them. Furthermore, you may only want to add one of these cards to maintain your rewards points balance so it doesn’t expire. On the other hand, you might want to earn the most cash back possible without paying an annual fee.
It doesn’t matter why you want rewards credit cards with no annual fee. To maximize the card, choose one that offers the most useful rewards for you.
There are more options than ever to help you maximize rewards for little to no cost. Lucrative no annual fee credit cards are making a name for themselves in 2021. And, there are plenty to choose from. Whether your focus is on travel dining, hotels, everyday spending, or all of the above, there is a credit for you, all with no annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
We mentioned the Chase Freedom above (it earns 5% cash back for every purchase or 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter, as well as unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases).
- 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
- 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
There is no annual fee with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. There is also no minimum to redeem for cash back. Plus, there is no caveat of earning more for bonus categories. Where this card really shines is the return on spending.
New cardholders have the ability to earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
You can combine your Freedom Unlimited card points with your points from your Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred card. Then, you can redeem the cash back as points for Ultimate Rewards.
Citi Double Cash Card
For a simple, no-fee card that requires no extra effort on top of swiping it through a credit card machine, the Citi® Double Cash Card is as straightforward as it gets. This card will earn you 2% cash back on every purchase, every day. You will receive 1% cash back upon making the purchase, and another 1% upon paying off your statement.
However, even if you carry a balance, you will still earn 1% on payments towards purchases. You just need to pay the minimum balance on time.
In a world of having to keep track of bonus categories and points, this card is refreshing in its simplistic nature. There is no earning cap or confusion around points redemptions, just cash back earning. The only restriction you will find on the Citi Double Cash Card is a minimum of $25 in cash back before you can redeem your rewards.
This is also one of the best Citi credit cards to have in your pocket.
The Bottom Line
As with any new credit card, make sure to view the security benefits before opening an account. Chase, for example, offers quality protection and extended benefits for cardholders. However, foreign transaction fees can be quite high when it comes to no annual fee credit cards (consider one of the best credit cards for international travel instead).
To find the best no annual fee credit cards 2021, analyze your spending. Decide what will earn you the most rewards, then go from there. Hopefully, this list has helped you narrow down your options.
- Best Hotel Credit Cards
- The Best Credit Card Offers
- Best Credit Cards For Road Trips
- The Best Contactless Credit Cards
Rates and fees of the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
Rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.
And for rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
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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.