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A credit card with a cool metal design or standout neon hue can be a great conversation starter — it may even be a status symbol among cardholders. But just because a credit card’s appearance may impress your friends when you pick up the bar tab doesn’t mean it’s a good choice for you.
Luckily, some of the most visually-appealing credit cards on the market today offer competitive rewards and benefits, so you won’t have to sacrifice substance for style.
Below, we’ll explore a few of the best-looking credit cards for 2023 and how they may be useful for you.
American Express Gold Card: Best for foodies
Why we picked it: If the traditional yellow gold color of the American Express® Gold Card isn’t stylish enough for your wallet, the card also comes in a rose gold color. This option is available to both new cardmembers and current cardmembers. Previously, the rose gold color was only available through American Express’s referral program or limited-time offers. However, the design proved so popular that American Express decided to introduce the color as a permanent option.
Why it’s best for foodies: The Amex Gold isn’t just gilded in appearance — its benefits meet the gold standard as well, particularly for foodies. As a cardmember, you’ll earn 4X points on restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 4X points on Uber Eats purchases, 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases. Plus, new cardholders will start off with a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first six months of account opening.
Of course, you’ll pay a price for carrying the Amex Gold — its annual fee is $250 — but heavy restaurant spenders will be able to easily make up the cost of membership. You’ll be able to earn up to $120 in dining credits each year ($10 per month; enrollment required) toward purchases at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. You’ll also receive up to $120 in Uber Cash each year ($10 per month) for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders.
Other perks worth mentioning: This card also includes some decent travel perks like no foreign transaction fees, trip delay insurance, baggage insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance. Plus, you’ll get up to a $100 experience credit when you book at least a two-night stay with The Hotel Collection via American Express Travel.
Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best for traveling in style
Why we picked it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® will make a nice visual addition to your wallet thanks to its minimalist and sophisticated style. It features a dark blue design that fades into angular, lighter shades of blue in the upper right corner. The card’s jewel-toned color palette and durable metal design complement this luxury card’s premium perks and travel rewards perfectly.
Why it’s best for traveling in style: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is among the best travel credit cards offered today. New cardholders will start off with a welcome offer of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months. Plus, the Chase Sapphire Reserve boosts your points value by 50 percent every time you book travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which means your welcome bonus could be worth up to $1,200. As for rewards, you’ll earn 10X points on hotel stays and car rentals through Ultimate Rewards, 10X points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards, 10X points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025), 5X points on air travel through Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on general travel and restaurant purchases and 1X points on all other purchases.
Travel benefits include up to a $300 annual travel credit each account anniversary year; up to a $100 credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS; complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge access; 1:1 points transfers to Chase airline and hotel partners; and exclusive Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection amenities. In addition, you’ll get access to top travel insurance benefits like trip cancellation/interruption insurance, a lost luggage reimbursement, a trip delay reimbursement, an auto rental collision damage waiver and emergency evacuation and transportation coverage. All of these perks come with a premium price tag — you’ll pay $550 annually. But if you travel frequently and are able to use most of the card’s benefits, you should have no trouble making up the cost each year.
Other perks worth mentioning: There are additional perks for cardmembers, too. Currently, the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with one free year of DoorDash DashPass (must activate by Dec. 31, 2024) and up to $10 in statement credits from Gopuff each month (must activate by Dec. 31, 2023).
The Platinum Card from American Express: Best for flying in style
Why we picked it: The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a classic platinum color that’s chic and iconic. Plus, since January 2022, the Amex Platinum now has two new eye-catching designs cardholders can choose from. There’s the Platinum x Kehinde Wiley design, which features wildflowers on top of the classic design, and the Platinum x Julie Mehretu design, which has a colorful, abstract design on top of the classic design.
Why it’s best for flying in style: Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Amex Platinum is one of the best elite travel credit cards around — as it should be for a $695 annual fee. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve is well-suited for all types of travel — due to its higher earning rates on Lyft rides and general travel, plus its broad annual travel credit — the Amex Platinum is a better option for frequent flyers thanks to its earning structure, numerous credits and extensive lounge access.
To start with, the Amex Platinum earns 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases. As for flight-focused perks, you’ll get access to over 1,400 lounges in the American Express Global Lounge Collection, up to a $200 airline fee credit for incidental fees, up to a $189 credit for Clear Plus Membership, up to a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, lower fares on international seats (for up to eight tickets on the same booking) through Amex’s International Airline Program, 1:1 points transfers to Amex partners, trip delay insurance, trip interruption/cancellation insurance and baggage insurance. (Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.)
Other perks worth mentioning: The Amex Platinum comes with an incredible number of perks, making it one of the most valuable cards on the market. It includes a welcome offer of 80,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first six months of card membership, which is worth up to $800 when redeemed through American Express Travel. Some other notable perks include up to $200 in credits for prepaid hotel bookings at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties via American Express Travel, up to $200 in Uber Cash per year ($15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December), up to $240 in digital entertainment credits per year, up to $300 in eligible Equinox fitness membership credits per year (credited annually–see offer terms for details) and up to a $155 annual credit for a Walmart+ membership.
Apple Card: Best for no fees
Why we picked it: The Apple Card* has gotten a lot of recognition not only for its no-fee structure and daily rewards redemptions but also for its titanium build and laser-etched engraving. Visually, the card is all white with a silver Apple logo in the upper left corner. It’s minimalist, too — there’s no card number, expiration date or any identifying information besides the cardholder’s name.
However, note that the Apple Card’s rewards structure and integration with the iPhone’s Wallet app reward using your mobile wallet over the actual card. This means you may not get as many chances to show off the card’s sleek design, which may be a drawback if the card’s appearance is among the most important factors for you.
Why it’s best for no fees: In addition to its good looks, the Apple Card shines when it comes to its lack of fees. The card has no annual fee, no late payment fee, no penalty fee, no cash advance fee, no foreign transaction fee, no over-limit fee and no returned payment fee. Plus, there’s no penalty APR and the card comes with a low variable APR of 10.99 percent to 21.99 percent.
Other perks worth mentioning: If you’re a fan of Apple, the Apple Card has a decent rewards structure, especially if you plan on making a purchase with the brand anytime soon. You’ll earn 3 percent cash back on all purchases with Apple, 3 percent cash back at select merchants (including Exxon, Mobil, Nike, Uber and Walgreens, among others), 2 percent cash back on all other purchases made through Apple Pay and 1 percent cash back on everything else.
The Apple Card’s user-friendly structure is also worth noting. It features seamless integration with your iPhone and Apple Pay, smart payment suggestions and the ability to create an Apple Card Family account. All of these features are especially great for someone who has limited experience using a credit card.
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for entertainment and dining
Why we picked it: The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card comes in a burnt orange hue, with a ripple-effect design and metal build. Few cards feature an orange design today, so this card will certainly stand out in your wallet.
Why it’s best for entertainment and dining: The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards doesn’t just satisfy in appearance — it includes strong cash back rates in dining and entertainment, particularly for a no-annual-fee card. You’ll earn 8 percent cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases; 5 percent cash back on hotel and rental cars through Capital One Travel; 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target); and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
If a large chunk of your budget regularly goes toward seeing shows and going out, or if you enjoy picking up the tab when dining out with friends, this rewards rate is tough to beat. Plus, the entertainment category is broad — it includes movie theaters and sporting events (except college sporting events), as well as theme park tickets, aquariums and zoos, amusement parks and more.
Other perks worth mentioning: You’ll also get benefits like a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 within the first three months of account opening; access to exclusive events and dining experiences through Capital One Entertainment; access to the Capital One Shopping portal; no foreign transaction fees; and a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (followed by a variable APR of 19.99 percent to 29.99 percent).
Discover it Cash Back: Best for higher rates of cash back
Why we picked it: If you want to be able to choose your credit card design from a wide range of options, the Discover it® Cash Back allows new cardholders to pick from 25 options. Design options include solid colors like light pink, silver or lime green, a beach or city scene, faded rainbow designs and more. Note that, while most Discover cards allow you to choose your design, the available options will vary depending on the card you have.
Why it’s best for higher rates of cash back: The Discover it Cash Back offers 5 percent cash back on activated, rotating categories each quarter (on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent) and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. Common quarterly categories include grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, Amazon and Target.
If you’re able to maximize your cash back each quarter, you’ll earn $300 in cash back over the course of the year. New cardholders will also receive Discover’s automatic Cashback Match, which will double that $300 to $600 at the end of the first year. Of course, you’ll still earn 1 percent on purchases after you reach the quarterly cap, plus 1 percent on all other purchases, so your first-year rewards will likely be even higher. That’s not bad at all for a card that includes no annual fee.
Other perks worth mentioning: You’ll also receive cardholder perks like no foreign transaction fees, no penalty APR or late fee on your first late payment (then up to $41) and a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then a variable APR of 16.74 percent to 27.74 percent).
How to choose the best-looking credit card
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so the best-looking credit card will always be a matter of personal preference. A metal credit card can add some pizazz to your payments and impress your friends, while a brightly-colored card may stand out among the other options in your wallet. Or, maybe the unique flair of a credit card with a personalized image might be just your style.
That said, you should be careful not to choose a card based on looks alone. Make sure that the best credit card for you aligns with your needs and spending habits. Be sure to consider:
- Your credit history. The first step to take when looking for the right credit card is to evaluate your credit history and credit score. Both of these aspects will determine which cards are available to you.
- Your spending habits. Look back at your past statements and receipts to figure out which categories you spend the most in. For example, do you spend a lot on restaurants and groceries? If so, you’ll want to look for a credit card that offers higher rewards for restaurants and grocery spending.
- Annual fees. Paying an annual fee is only worth it if you’ll be able to recoup the cost of card membership through rewards and benefits. For example, if you don’t travel frequently, or if you know you won’t use a card’s travel credits, then a travel credit card with a high annual fee won’t be worth it for you.
- Card benefits. In addition to varying rewards structures, many credit cards also include additional benefits like welcome offers, merchant credits, limited-time promotions, purchase and travel protections and more. Elite travel credit cards, which tend to come with high annual fees, typically offer the most luxurious benefits like travel credits, lounge access, elite hotel status or great travel insurance.
- Any debt or upcoming purchases. Do you plan on making a large purchase soon, carrying a balance or paying off debt? Many credit cards come with a 0 percent intro APR on purchases or balance transfers for a limited time, which can help you to pay off a large purchase over time or pay down debt without paying interest.
FAQs about credit card design
Some credit card issuers (like Wells Fargo) let you customize your credit card with a personal photo (like a photo of a pet or loved one) or a photo from its library. Other issuers, like Chase and Discover, may let you choose from a series of images. Additionally, issuers may occasionally have alternate card art choices tied to limited-time offers. Remember that the Amex Gold Card’s rose gold design used to appear as a limited-edition option only available via referral, but it’s now offered year-round. However, sometimes, you can only apply specialty designs to certain credit cards. For example, the Star Wars brand is only available on co-branded Disney credit cards (which are issued by Chase). If you’re serious about having a credit card with an image you select, compare cards from issuers that offer this option.
As mentioned, Wells Fargo lets you design your own credit card with an image of your choosing, which can be a fun option if you want a credit card with a specific logo or even a picture of your spouse or your favorite pet. Note, however, that some exceptions apply. Wells Fargo states that it “reserves the right to accept or reject any artwork, images, or logos,” which include “any third-party trademarks, copyrighted materials, or name, image, and likeness of any public figures.”
The bottom line
Many top credit cards on the market have standard designs set by the issuer which may be to your taste or not, but there are some issuers that allow you to personalize your card with a custom image or design. No matter what, don’t select a card solely for its looks; make sure that whatever card you choose aligns with your habits and needs. Think of a beautiful design as simply the cherry on top.
*The information about the Apple Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.