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The best in credit cards for 2022

The Bankrate Awards

Bankrate Awards: Best credit cards badge
Published January 2, 2022
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The best choices in credit cards for 2022

Bankrate Awards - Best credit cards video

Bankrate's Jane Butler discusses how we chose the Best Credit Cards of 2022

It can be tough to know where to start when you’re searching for a new credit card. You not only have a ton of cards and card types to choose from, but also countless card features to sort through. From rewards rates to sign-up bonuses, APRs to annual fees, how are you supposed to know which card is the best fit for you?
 
That’s where we come in. Our credit card experts reviewed over 250 of the top cards on the market and chose the very best as Bankrate Award winners. Using a rigorous, objective card scoring system, we picked winners across a variety of categories to help you find the card that makes sense for you based on your goals and spending habits. Whether you want to travel the globe in style, reward your inner foodie, build credit or chip away at debt, we’ve got a card for you.
 
These are the winners of the 2022 Bankrate Awards for Best Credit Cards.
How we picked these cards
  • Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, sign-up bonus value, average APR, annual fee, redemption flexibility and other relevant features against those of other cards in its primary scoring category (cash back, rewards, balance transfer, etc.). 
  • We assigned each of these elements a score based on how it stacked up, weighted these scores based on the top priorities of a cardholder in the card's primary category and combined them to give the card an overall rating.
  • We compared each card's overall rating against the ratings of all other cards in the relevant Bankrate Awards category (for example, "Everyday use" or "Jet-setters").

Best credit card for everyday use

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Chase Freedom Unlimited

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Boosted rewards on nearly all spending Great perks for no annual fee Excellent pairing potential

Few cards offer more than 1 percent back on both general purchases and in popular spending categories like dining and travel. Add in ultra-flexible redemption and the chance to boost the value of your points by pairing with a premium Ultimate Rewards card and the Freedom Unlimited makes for a terrific all-purpose rewards card.

  • Minimum 1.5 percent cash back offers solid value for everyday spending
  • Offers one of the most flexible redemption programs in its category
  • Points worth up to 50 percent more when paired with a premium Ultimate Rewards card
  • The card’s sign-up bonus is one of the best you can get for no annual fee

The Freedom Unlimited stood out for its high average rewards rate, uniquely flexible redemption options and solid sign-up bonus, which make it a top choice as a standalone no annual fee rewards card.

Best credit card for foodies

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American Express® Gold Card

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Stellar rewards rate Annual dining-related credits Easy-to-offset annual fee

The Amex Gold boasts one of the best rewards rates in food-related categories, and its dining credits alone are nearly enough to recoup the $250 annual fee. The card also earns some of the most valuable travel points out there, making it a great option for jet-setting foodies.

  • Excellent rewards rate for restaurant-lovers and home cooks alike
  • Earns bonus points on eligible flights, a category often missing on dining rewards cards 
  • The card’s up to $240 per year in dining perks nearly cover its annual fee
  • Flexible points can be used for travel with Amex or transferred to partner airlines
The Amex Gold earned high marks with its many perks, lucrative rewards categories and valuable rewards currency, all of which should help foodies enjoy terrific long-term value.

Best credit card for jet-setters

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Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Terrific base rewards rate Accessible, practical perks Easy-to-offset annual fee via travel

Forgoing the hard-to-use, ultra-niche perks you’ll find on many competing (and more expensive) luxury cards, the Venture X focuses instead on first-class rewards value and practical benefits for travelers, including a terrific base rewards rate and annual bonuses that easily cover its annual fee.

  • Less expensive than its luxury competitors while potentially offering better value
  • Easily recoups its annual fee with 10,000 bonus miles each account anniversary and up to $300 in Capital One Travel statement credits per year
  • You can redeem miles for travel through the issuer’s portal, to cover outside travel purchases or transfer to many partners at a 1:1 rate
  • Its sign-up bonus is one of the highest currently available on a travel credit card
The Venture X scored highly thanks to its generous rewards rate, flexible rewards redemption and practical, valuable perks, which should make covering its annual fee a cinch for jet-setters.

Best credit card for cash back

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Chase Freedom Unlimited

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Solid mix of bonus categories Great perks for no annual fee Bonus offers top-notch return on spend

The Freedom Unlimited’s low cost, solid perks, pairing potential and rare combination of popular bonus categories and boosted flat-rate rewards make it a terrific cash back card for low-maintenance cardholders and rewards strategists alike.

  • One of the few cards that earns bonus rewards in popular bonus categories and general purchases
  • Solid mix of perks including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, an intro APR and more
  • Features unparalleled rewards flexibility and points become more valuable when you pair with a premium Ultimate Rewards card
  • Its sign-up bonus offers one of the best returns on spend available at no annual fee
The Freedom Unlimited scored highly in the places that matter most for cash back cardholders, including with its rewards rate, sign-up bonus value, category variety and redemption flexibility.

Best credit card for families

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Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Top-tier cash back variety Easy-to-earn sign-up bonus Well-rounded set of perks

Along with the SavorOne’s exceptional 3 percent cash back rate on a variety of household staples like dining,entertainment and at grocery stores, busy families will love how low-maintenance the card is, featuring no annual fee, foreign transaction fees or category spending limits.

  • Rewards key family spending categories of dining, grocery stores, streaming services and entertainment
  • Boasts fantastic first-year value with its intro APR offers and easy-to-earn sign-up bonus
  • You won’t have to worry about offsetting an annual fee with card rewards or perks
  • Should carry more cash back potential for the average family than many flat-rate cards
The SavorOne scored highly thanks to its low cost, flexible rewards, lucrative rewards rate and category variety, which should offer the average family terrific long-term value.

Best credit card for building credit

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Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Strong rewards and welcome offer Opportunity to graduate to an unsecured account Low startup cost

The Discover it Secured comes at a minimal cost while offering unique everyday rewards value, award-winning customer service and even a first-year bonus on par with Discover’s full-fledged unsecured cards—a rare combination given the many pricey, bare-bones credit-building cards out there.

  • One of the only secured cards to offer rewards (in practical categories, no less)
  • Discover matches all of the cash back you earn at the end of your first year — a generous offer that could even beat some unsecured card bonuses
  • Its $0 annual fee and low minimum deposit requirement make it accessible to credit builders of all stripes
  • Your account will be reviewed to see if you can transition to an unsecured line of credit in just seven months — one of the shortest account review periods available
The Discover it Secured rated highly in two key scoring categories: ease of building credit and cost of membership, making it a smart choice for credit-builders who want a chance to work on their score without drowning in fees.

Best credit card for students

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Discover it® Student Cash Back

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Low APR and and minimal fees High-rated customer service Top-notch rewards

Credit newbies won’t have to compromise with the Discover it Student Cash Back. The card not only carries perhaps the highest cash back rate available on a starter card, but also minimal fees, an intro APR period and a low ongoing APR, all of which could offer first-time cardholders extra peace of mind.

  • Offers terrific cash back potential and variety with its quarterly rotating bonus categories
  • One of the few student cards with a welcome offer: Discover matches all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year
  • Carries no annual fee, foreign transaction fees or penalty APR, and a forgiving late fee policy
  • Outstanding customer service ratings bode well for for students learning the credit ropes
The Discover it Student Cash Back card’s impressive rewards rates, first-year welcome offer, low cost, APR and forgiving fees earned it the highest rating among credit cards designed for students.

Best credit card for debt consolidators

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BankAmericard® credit card

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Chance at low ongoing APR Rare intro bonus Great intro APR offer

The BankAmericard may not have the longest intro APR period on the market, but its unique cash welcome bonus could easily save you more on your balance transfer than a card with a few extra months of 0 percent APR. Indeed, this bonus could entirely cover the card’s already-low balance transfer fee.

  • Features a low average ongoing APR, making it a bit less costly to carry a balance beyond your intro APR period
  • Comes with a bonus offer of a $100 statement credit online bonus after you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days — a rare perk for a balance transfer card
  • Charges a relatively low balance transfer fee, which could be offset via the card’s bonus
  • Features an equally long intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers
The BankAmericard earned a high rating thanks to its combination of a lengthy intro APR period, low average ongoing APR, lack of a penalty APR and unique intro bonus offer, which could make your balance transfer much more affordable.

Best credit card for business

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The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Leading intro bonus Valuable perks Luxury travel benefits

The Amex Business Platinum card comes with five-star travel rewards and benefits that make covering its annual fee a cinch, including thousands of dollars’ worth of annual credits, bonus cash back in popular business spending categories and on eligible large purchases, as well as top-notch airport lounge and expedited security screening perks.

  • You can take advantage of thousands of dollars worth of benefits, including statement credits for eligible tech purchases, airline fee credits and more
  • Its 35 percent Airline Bonus redemption perk (500,000-point annual cap) makes it one of the most lucrative rewards cards for business travel
  • Bonus cash back on large purchases and no preset spending limit 
  • Unlike most premium business cards, it offers an intro purchase APR (on eligible Pay Over Time purchases)
The Amex Business Platinum snagged the top spot among business rewards cards thanks to its hugely valuable perks, impressive welcome  bonus and intro APR offer, which make it easy to justify the card’s annual fee.

Best credit card for airline loyalists

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Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Solid category variety Annual companion certificate Convenient perks

Rarely can you justify the cost of a luxury travel card with a single perk, but the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card arguably does just that, offering all cardholders an annual companion certificate after their first year, with no spending requirement beyond the card’s annual fee. That’s not to mention its lucrative welcome bonus and solid mix of everyday rewards categories.

  • The card can easily pay for itself thanks to the annual companion certificate
  • Comes with useful perks for frequent travelers, including a free first checked bag for you and eight companions, credits for TSA Precheck or Global Entry and more
  • Earns rewards in practical, popular categories like restaurants and U.S. supermarket purchases
  • Can fast-track you to elite status with Delta and perks like complimentary first class upgrades
The Delta SkyMiles Platinum card earned top marks among co-branded airline rewards cards thanks to its lucrative annual and welcome bonuses, as well as its valuable rewards currency, which helps stretch every mile earned a bit further.

Best credit card for hotel loyalists

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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Automatic elite status Great sign-up bonus Largest hotel network

If you spend a lot of time in hotels and are eager to earn rewards and perks for your brand loyalty, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is a terrific option. Marriott boasts the world’s largest hotel network and the card comes at a relatively low cost that could easily be offset via annual perks like a Free Night Award for stays that cost less than 35,000 points per night.

  • Comes with a potentially best-in-class sign-up bonus if maximized (3 Free Night Awards valued at 50,000 points each after you spend $3,000 in your first three months)
  • Value of annual Free Night Award alone covers the already-low annual fee 
  • Gets you automatic Marriott Silver Elite status benefits and a jump on Gold status
  • Earns bonus rewards not only on hotel stays, but also on general purchases
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless ranked at the top of our list of brand-specific hotel rewards cards due to its high sign-up bonus value, rewards rate, annual credits and relatively low annual fee, which come together to make this card a great entry point for hotel loyalists.
 
The information about Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer. 

Best credit card for large purchases

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BankAmericard® Credit Card

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Unique intro bonus Streamlined features Great intro APR

If you need some breathing room to chip away at large purchases, you should find a match with the BankAmericard. Not only does the card’s streamlined structure encourage you to focus on paying down your new balance, but its unique bonus offer could also earn you money back on that spending: You’ll snag a $100 statement credit online bonus after spending $1,000 in your first 90 days.

  • Includes a 0 percent intro APR on new purchases and on balance transfers made within the first 60 days (0 percent for 18 billing cycles). A 3 percent fee (min. $10) applies.
  • Carries a relatively low ongoing variable APR of 12.99 percent 22.99 percent after that
  • Few cards with an intro APR offer on both balance transfers and new purchases also offer a welcome bonus
  • No penalty APR if you miss a payment due date
The BankAmericard earned top marks as a 0 percent APR card with its generous intro APR periods, low ongoing APR, forgiving penalty APR and intro bonus offer, which make it a smart, streamlined option for financing large purchases.

Best credit cards for stacking

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Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Sapphire Reserve

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Unmatched rewards flexibility Incredible category coverage Rewards redemption value boost

Few card combinations offer as much rewards value, category coverage and redemption flexibility as the Freedom Unlimited, Freedom Flex and Sapphire Reserve. You’ll not only earn at least 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases, but also 3 to 10 points per dollar in a variety of popular bonus categories. Best of all, the Sapphire Reserve lets you pool points across all three cards and redeem for travel with Chase at a 50 percent higher point value.

  • You’ll earn 1.5 points per dollar to 10 points per dollar by juggling these three cards for different types of spending
  • You can pool points across all three cards and enjoy a 50 percent higher redemption value when you book travel with Chase
  • Better category coverage, redemption flexibility and point value than competing stacks
  • Total annual fee is only $550 for all three cards — less than rival card combos
Scored collectively, this Chase card combo earned top marks due to its rewards potential, redemption flexibility, valuable perks and relatively low cost, which make this a powerful stack for travel-minded cardholders.

Best credit card for shoppers

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Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Swappable bonus categories Diverse shopping categories Solid intro bonus and APR

Bargain hunters will love the Customized Cash card’s flexible “choose your own bonus category” style rewards program, which lets you earn rewards across a wide variety of merchants and swap your choice category once per calendar month to match your needs. You’ll also enjoy consistent cash back on everyday staples at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.

  • You can swap your bonus category once per calendar month to maximize your rewards
  • Online shopping category offers terrific variety for shopaholics
  • Features a long list of popular bonus categories, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, home improvement, grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • The issuer’s Preferred Rewards program can boost your cash back rate by up to 75 percent depending on your membership tier
The Customized Cash card earned a high score among cards with shopping rewards and perks due to its impressive mix of popular and practical bonus categories, flexible redemption, high cash back potential and top-notch issuer customer service ratings.

Best credit card for streaming

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Top-rate rewards on streaming Diverse list of streaming services Terrific everyday rewards value

The Blue Cash Preferred offers a best-in-class rewards rate on select U.S. streaming services and one of the most inclusive lists of eligible services, including popular options like Netflix and Spotify as well as others that often fall through the cracks, like Prime Video, Audible and Kindle Unlimited.

  • Chart-topping 6 percent cash back rate on 31 select U.S. streaming subscriptions — one of the largest rosters available
  • One of the best cash back rates available at U.S. supermarkets — a whopping 6 percent back on up to $6,000 in annual spending (then 1 percent)
  • Impressive and easily attainable welcome bonus of a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in your first six months
  • Also comes with an intro APR offer on new purchases, allowing you to pay off large purchases over time
The Blue Cash Preferred took the top spot among cards that feature ongoing rewards or credits on streaming services thanks to its top-tier cash back rates, generous welcome bonus and easy-to-offset annual fee.
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