Many of the most popular rewards credit cards have been around for more than ten years, but that doesn’t stop card issuers from introducing new options to the market every few months. Sometimes new credit cards are instantly popular with consumers, while others with inferior benefits or rewards schemes quietly fade away. It’s smart to keep an eye on new offers so you can apply when you find the right fit.
We took a closer look at the latest rewards credit cards to be offered and the cards that have been refreshed for 2020 with better rewards or superior perks. If you’re in the market for a new credit card and want to see what’s new on the scene, here are Bankrate’s top picks for new and improved credit cards in 2020:
- Best for travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve® (relaunched in January 2020)
- Best Amex card for travel rewards: American Express® Green Card (relaunched in October 2019)
- Best for frequent flyers: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (relaunched in January 2020)
- Best new premium airline credit card: Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (relaunched in January 2020)
- Best for cash back: Citi Rewards+℠ Card (relaunched in January 2019)
- Best new co-branded credit card: Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card (relaunched in September 2019)
Best for travel rewards
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Earn 50,000 points worth $750 in travel when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening
- Earn 3x points on dining, 3x points on travel (after earning the $300 travel credit), 10x points on Lyft purchases and 1x points on all other purchases
- $550 annual fee
- Enjoy a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass Select membership, a credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck, a DashPass membership and DoorDash credits and a Lyft Pink membership, among other benefits
Why it’s the best for travel rewards
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® raised its annual fee to $550 (up from $450) in early 2020, yet you’ll receive more benefits now that can more than make up for the annual fee. In addition to the $300 annual travel credit that is good for any travel purchase, the credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck and the Priority Pass Select airport membership you already received, you’ll also get a DashPass membership with free delivery for orders over $12, as well as $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020 and again in 2021. A one-year Lyft Pink membership is also included, which is worth $199 and comes with 15 percent off Lyft rides.
As an added bonus, you’ll earn 10x points on Lyft rides on top of the 3x points on travel and dining and 1x points you earn on all other purchases. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth as much as before, this card is a better value than ever before provided you can take advantage of all the travel perks.
Best Amex card for travel rewards
American Express® Green Card
- Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $2,000 within three months of account opening
- Earn 3x points on eligible travel including transit, 3x points on dining worldwide and 1x points on all other purchases
- $150 annual fee
- Benefits include up to a $100 credit for CLEAR membership, up to $100 in statement credits when you purchase a LoungeBuddy membership and more
Why it’s the best Amex card for travel rewards
The refreshed American Express® Green Card offers a generous rewards scheme that might work well for someone who wants to earn American Express Membership Rewards but doesn’t want to pay the $550 annual fee that comes with The Platinum Card® from American Express. With this rewards card option, you’ll earn 3x points on all eligible travel including transit, as well as on dining worldwide. Add in the up to $100 credit for CLEAR membership and the up to $100 LoungeBuddy credit and you’ve more than made up for the annual fee the first year.
We also like the fact this card comes with an array of included travel benefits. As a cardholder, you’ll receive trip delay insurance, secondary auto rental insurance, a baggage insurance plan and more.
Best for frequent flyers
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 on your card within three months of account opening (offer expires 10/28/20).
- Earn 2x miles on dining worldwide, U.S. supermarket purchases and Delta purchases and 1x miles on other purchases
- Get a free checked bag on Delta flights, Priority Boarding and other perks
- $0 annual fee the first year, then $99
Why it’s the best new card for frequent flyers
Delta refreshed all of its credit card offerings with American Express in January 2020, which means you have access to brand new benefits. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card’s welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 within the first three months of membership is enticing on its own (offer expires 10/28/20).
Earning categories were also improved with this card’s new refresh, and you may notice that you’ll earn 2x miles on dining worldwide in addition to U.S. supermarkets. Other cardholder perks to look forward to include 20 percent off Delta in-flight purchases made with your card (in the form of a statement credit), a free checked bag when you fly with the airline and Priority Boarding. This card also comes with no foreign transaction fees, so it’s perfect for travel abroad.
Best new premium airline credit card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Earn 3x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on other purchases
- $550 annual fee
- Receive complimentary Delta Sky Club access when you fly Delta and Centurion Lounge access when you book a Delta flight with your card, potential for more MQMs with Status Boost, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck and other travel perks
Why it’s the best new premium airline credit card
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card came with a $450 annual fee before this refresh, yet the new $550 annual fee comes with considerably more benefits. Not only does this card offer access to Delta Sky Clubs when you fly with Delta now, but you also get complimentary membership into American Express Centurion Lounges when you use your card to book your flight with the airline.
Delta also rolled out a new Status Boost program with this card, which can make it easier to earn elite status. Status Boost lets you earn 15,000 more MQMs each time you spend another $30,000 on your card within a calendar year, up to four times per year. This card also comes with a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck now, as well as perks like Priority Boarding, a free checked bag when you fly Delta, an annual companion certificate, 20 percent back on in-flight purchases (in the form of a statement credit) and a handful of travel insurance and protection benefits. You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees, either.
Best for cash back
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
- Qualify for 15,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening
- Earn 2x ThankYou® Points on the first $6,000 you spend in combined purchases at supermarkets and gas stations each year (then 1x points) and 1x points on other purchases
- All purchases are rounded up to the nearest 10 points
- Get 10% of your points back when you redeem, up to 100,000 points per year
- No annual fee
Why it’s the best for cash back
The Citi Rewards+ Card offers a pretty interesting rewards scheme that makes it easy to earn points good for gift cards, merchandise and more. Not only will you earn 15,000 points worth $150 in rewards when you spend $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening, but you’ll earn 2x points on the first $6,000 spent in bonus categories each year.
Interestingly, all of your purchases will be rounded up to the next nearest 10 points, meaning that a $4 bagel will give you 10 points, while a $23 dinner out with friends will earn 30 points. Since you’ll also get 10 percent of your points back when you redeem in any amounts up to 100,000 points per year, this card is smart to consider if you want to earn cash back with no annual fee.
Best new co-branded credit card
Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card
- Earn 5% back in Walmart stores for the first 12 months when you pay with your credit card using Walmart Pay (unlimited 2% thereafter)
- Earn 5% back at Walmart.com and Walmart app, including grocery pickup and delivery, along with 2% back at Walmart & Murphy USA Fuel Stations, restaurants and travel and 1% back on other purchases
- Redeem your rewards for statement credits, gift cards, travel or purchases made to your credit card
- No annual fee
Why it’s the best new co-branded credit card
The new Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card, which launched in late 2019, is definitely one to consider if you shop at Walmart stores or use Walmart grocery pickup and delivery. This card is offering 5 percent back on all your in-store Walmart purchases for the first 12 months (2 percent thereafter) provided you pay with your credit card in conjunction with Walmart Pay, but you’ll also earn 5 percent back on Walmart online purchases and purchases made with the app, and that includes grocery pickup and delivery.
This card doesn’t come with an annual fee, yet there are plenty of options when it comes to redeeming your rewards. Not only can you cash in points for gift cards, but you can also opt for statement credits to cover purchases made with your card or even travel.
How credit card benefits are changing
Credit card issuers are always trying new benefits and angles to lure in their share of the market, and 2020 is no exception so far. Interestingly enough, not all card issuers are trying the same strategies to improve their offerings or cardholder benefits for consumers.
Some changes have even been bad news for credit card customers. For example, Citi and Discover credit cards both dropped a ton of cardholder benefits over the last year, including travel insurance and protections. Citi in particular dropped a real bomb on customers who relied on insurance from their credit cards. In one fell swoop, they stopped offering trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental insurance, travel accident insurance, trip delay insurance and more from cards like the Citi Prestige Card.
We’ve also seen Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards move toward partnerships with individual brands over the last year, as well as roll out some very specific cardholder benefits. This is mostly reflected in the new DoorDash and Lyft benefits you get with the newly refreshed Chase Sapphire Reserve®, but it’s important to note that these benefits don’t start and end with this card. For example, pretty much all Chase credit cards are offering 5x points or 5 percent cash back on Lyft purchases, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
What will happen with credit card benefits in 2020 and beyond? We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, it’s smart to swoop up all the new credit cards you like while you still have the chance.