No Annual Fee Rewards Credit Cards
Scoring rewards like cash back, points or miles sounds great. But not if you have to pay costly annual fees to offset those rewards. The best credit cards offer bonus earning potential with no annual fee.
In this guide, we’ll highlight popular no-annual-fee rewards cards across categories like cash back, travel, dining, groceries, and more. We’ll compare bonus structures, redemption values, and additional perks to maximize rewards without ongoing costs.
Benefits of No Annual Fee Rewards Cards
Here are the advantages cards with no annual fee offer compared to pricier premium rewards cards:
- Avoid annual costs eating into your rewards earned
- Give flexibility to switch cards as spending needs change
- Allow opening multiple cards to earn new member bonuses
- Appeal to average credit applicants avoiding premium cards with high fees
- Simplify keeping your accounts open indefinitely since no renewal fees
While rewards may be lower than premium cards in some cases, not paying an annual fee makes the rewards you do earn more valuable.
No Annual Fee Cash Back Cards
Here are some top no-fee cashback credit cards:
Wells Fargo Active Cash®
- 2% cash rewards on all purchases
- $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 in first 3 months
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- 5% back on travel booked through Chase, 3% dining and drugstores, 1.5% other purchases
- $200 bonus after spending $500 in first 3 months
Citi Custom CashSM Card
- 5% back on top eligible spend category each billing cycle (up to $500)
- $200 cash bonus after spending $750 in first 3 months
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa
- 5% back on your choice of 2 categories per quarter
- $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in first 120 days
These cards provide opportunities to earn bonus cashback without charging an annual fee.
No Annual Fee Travel Rewards Cards
Here are some top no-fee travel rewards credit cards:
Capital One VentureOne Rewards
- 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel
- 1.25X miles on all other purchases
- 20,000 mile signup bonus after spending $500 in 3 months
Penfed Pathfinder Rewards
- 3X points on travel categories including airfare, hotels, rental cars
- Application fee waived for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
Wells Fargo AutographSM Card
- 3X points restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, streaming
- 30,000 point signup bonus after spending $1,500 in 3 months
Bank of America® Travel Rewards
- 1.5X points on all purchases with no caps
- 25,000 point signup bonus after spending $1,000 in 90 days
No-fee travel cards make it affordable to earn points or miles for your next vacation.
No Annual Fee Cards for Dining and Groceries
Top no-fee cards for dining and grocery rewards include:
Amex Blue Cash Everyday® Card
- 3% back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 annually)
- 2% back at US gas stations and select department stores
- $200 back after $2,000 spend in 6 months
Capital One SavorOne®
- 8% back on tickets from Vivid Seats through January 2023
- 3% back on dining, grocery stores, and entertainment
- $200 cash back after spending $500 in 3 months
Citi Custom Cash Card
- 5% back on groceries or dining for up to $500 each month
- $200 cash back after spending $750 in first 3 months
Chase Freedom FlexSM
- 5% back on groceries in first year up to $12,000 spent
- 3% back on dining and drug stores
- $200 bonus after spending $500 in first 3 months
The right dining, grocery or streaming card helps maximize everyday spending.
Other Benefits Beyond Rewards
While rewards are central, no annual fee cards also offer additional perks like:
- 0% intro APR on purchases and/or balance transfers
- Cell phone protection against damage or theft
- Extended warranty protection
- Rental car insurance
- Purchase protection
- Valuable travel protections
- Credit score and account management tools
- Contactless checkout
- Referral bonuses
Review all the benefits and features beyond just rewards rates when comparing cards.
Who Do No Annual Fee Cards Benefit?
No annual fee rewards cards appeal to:
- New credit users looking to build history responsibly
- Those with average credit seeking approval for rewards cards
- Anyone who wants to avoid long-term card commitments
- People who switch cards routinely to earn sign-up bonuses
- Debt consolidators using 0% intro APR offers short-term
- Smart spenders who maximize bonus categories for bigger returns
- Infrequent travelers not needing premium airport lounge access and credits
While rewards may be higher on premium cards, avoiding annual fees allows earning some rewards at no cost long-term.
Final Thoughts on No Annual Fee Rewards Cards
The right credit card with no annual fee minimizes barriers to earning cashback, points or miles. While rewards structures may be more basic than premium cards, you avoid annual costs eating into your redemptions.
Look for cards offering bonus rates on your largest spending categories that align with your financial habits. Use the cards responsibly, pay balances off each month, and redeem rewards regularly to get ongoing value from a no-fee rewards program.