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10 Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards – All With a 2% or Better Return

Everyone should have at least 1 credit card without an annual fee. When a card is free to keep forever, you never have to second-guess it. And the card works its powers on your credit report to increase available limits, decrease utilization, and help boost the average age of all your accounts.

My oldest credit card is from 2002 and has no annual fee. No matter how many new cards I open, I’ll always have a 16-year-old card to raise the average age of my accounts higher and therefore, my credit score.

When a card has a fee, it’s harder to justify keeping it – unless you get outsized value.

But having a card without an annual fee doesn’t mean you have to give up solid returns. All of the cards on this list can get you 2% back or better.

best no annual fee credit cards

Discover It is one of the best no annual fee cards – up to 10% cashback the first year. I’ll share my top 10 faves!

Here’s my list.

10 best no annual fee credit cards

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3 Chase Ink Small Business Cards: Which Is Right for You? (One Bonus Is Worth $1,000)

Chase has 3 Ink cards targeted at small business owners:

  • Preferred
  • Cash
  • Unlimited

Each accomplishes a different business goals by way of awarding bonus points in certain categories. And they all earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points – one of, if not the, most valuable rewards currency.

But only 1 of them gives you direct access to Chase’s travel transfer partners (it’s also the only one with an annual fee – the Ink Preferred).

chase ink business cards

The Chase Ink Preferred (formerly called the Plus) is the only Ink card with transfer partners

Let’s look at what makes these cards compelling.

Chase Ink Business Cards – What’s Alike and Different

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Is It Worth Getting (or Converting to) the Chase Ink Business Preferred Just for 3X Plastiq Payments?

Update 8/19/18: 3X on Plastiq payments with the Chase Ink  Business Preferred stopped working on 8/16/18. So the method below doesn’t work any more. I’m glad I kept my trusty Chase Ink Plus after all!

There’s a bit of a known secret about the Chase Ink Business Preferred card – you earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on ALL Plastiq payments (that is, the ones you can use a Visa card for).

I currently have the old Chase Ink Plus card (no longer available) that earns 5X at office supply stores, and on cable, internet, and phone service.

But month after month, I find myself spending way more on Plastiq payments than on “office supplies” or my internet bills. I’m heavily considering converting to the Ink Business Preferred to get that sweet 3X. When I run the numbers, I know I can earn more Chase Ultimate Rewards points this way. But, I’m afraid:

  • Chase will change the 3X any second now
  • Of losing the Chase Ink Plus card – once I convert, I can never go back

Is it worth a risk long-term for a short-term gain? Ah, isn’t that always top of mind with this hobby (and everything, really)?

chase 3x plastiq

I’ve had the Chase Ink Plus since it was a MasterCard… but if I convert, it’ll go the way of my Blockbuster card: SO TOTALLY OVER

Along the same thinking, would it be worth opening the Chase Ink Preferred to earn 3X on Plastiq payments… for as long as the gettin’s good?

Chase 3X Plastiq payments

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Which Chase Card Is Best When You’re Starting With Points?

In general, I tell most peeps to start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It’s the quintessential points card, even after all these years. And you can transfer the points you earn directly to airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio – most of them instantly.

If you spend a lot in travel & dining, or if you want lounge access, spring for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Here’s how to find the break even point with the annual fees ($95 for the Preferred and $450 for the Reserve, but you get a $300 annual travel credit).

which chase card is best

I transferred Chase points to Hyatt to stay 3 free nights at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

Already have one or the other? Then get the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited. The only difference is the bonus categories. Freedom has 5% rotating quarterly categories. Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 points per $1 spent – and you can combine the points with your Sapphire card points. So they’re an easy way to boost your Ultimate Rewards points balance fast. And both cards have a $0 annual fee!

If you’re looking for a small business card, get the Ink Business Preferred or Ink Business Cash. The former earns points that transfer directly to travel partners and has a $95 annual fee; the latter requires you to have a premium Chase card to access travel partners, but a $0 annual fee.

If you just want to earn cashback, spring for any of the cards with a $0 annual fee (Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, or Ink Business Cash).

But to get awesome travel (think international Business Class flights, upscale hotels, and cheap flights to Hawaii), you want one of the annual fee cards (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred). The annual fees are worth it for the huge travel savings you can get. It’s how I got a $2,000+ Mexican vacation for $90!

Which Chase card? Here’s a flowchart

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7 Easy Tricks to Use 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Cheap Travel

Right now, a few Chase cards have sign-up bonuses with 50,000 Chase Ultimate Ultimate Rewards points. These are by far my favorite kind of points. And the ones I focus on collecting above all others.

The Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Business Cash all offer a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements. That got me thinking how I’ve used Chase points in the past.

use chase rewards

I’ve used Chase points to spend time in Austin via British Airways, Hyatt, and Southwest

Here’s more about each card, as they all have different fees and earning rates. And ideas for how to spend those bonus points!

3 Great Chase Offers

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12 Ways to Save Money (And Have Fun!) on Your Next Road Trip

I recently took a road trip from Dallas to Albuquerque to Colorado Springs to Denver – and back to Dallas. It was 1,925 miles and 29 hours of pure asphalt that took us through plains, mountains, and prairies.

I spent time preparing for the week-long journey. And figured how to save cash and have fun on the way. Because that’s a lot of time in a car!

If you don’t plan it right (or at all), you’ll likely spend too much, miss cool opportunities, or generally have a miserable time. And no one wants that. 😾

ways to save on road trips

A little planning = big savings and fun on your road trip

Here are tips to make your next road trip smooth as asphalt.

12 Ways to Save on Road Trips

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Get an Extra 3X on Gift Cards at Staples (So 8X If You Have a 5X Office Supply Card)

Update: Wow, instant response! Chuck from Doctor of Credit let me know this may or may not work. So for now, I think the best thing to do is start slow at your local Staples (like try $5 and see if it works) and go from there, should you decide to try this. Thanks all for any info you want to add!

I was poking around as I am wont to do and assembled an 8X combination that I think will work.

Now, I haven’t done this myself, but it seems totally do-able.

What you’ll need to get started is:

  • The MileagePlus X app (which I’ve written about) AND
  • If you want 8X points, a Visa or MasterCard that earns 5X at office supply stores

Such as:

You can also get 5X on top of what you’ll earn from any other card with the exception of a couple of Amex cards.

Or, if you’re trying to meet a minimum spending requirement and want to get an extra 3X at office supply stores, this should work nicely.

Stack 3X through MileagePlus X with 5X on another card

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Chase Ink Plus Vs. Ink Cash: What Are the Differences?

Also see: 

I haven’t written about the Chase Ink cards very much, but I’ve been thinking about picking up a Chase Ink Cash lately. I already have a Chase Ink Plus. It’s possible to get both because they’re technically different card products.

They have a lot in common. But there are a few differences that make or break the value you’ll get from them.

Biggest similarities

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Chase Is Crackin’ Down on Churners

While reviewing the new T&Cs of the:

  • Chase Ink Cash
  • Chase Ink Plus
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred

…I noticed some new language I hadn’t seen before:

Chase cardmembers who currently have or have had a Chase credit card in any Rewards Program associated with this offer, may not be eligible for a second Chase credit card in the same Rewards Program. Chase cardmembers currently receiving promotional pricing, or Chase cardmembers with a history of only using their current or prior Chase card for promotional pricing offers, are not eligible for a second Chase credit card with promotional pricing.

Here’s a screenshot:

asdad

It’s under “Replying to this offer”

Why this is interesting

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No Annual Fee Cards + Personal Finance: Why You Need (At Least) One

Also see: 

Like it or not, in this country you need good credit. It’s as avoidable as death or taxes. As in, not at all.

Starting out with credit cards, you’ll encounter a catch-22: you need good credit to get a credit card, but you need a credit card to build good credit.

No annual fee cards are NOT boring. In fact, they have some innovative rewards!

No annual fee cards are NOT boring. In fact, they have some innovative rewards!

A good place to start is no annual fee cards.

For beginners

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