Best Category Spending Bonuses from No Annual Fee Credit Cards

In my service providing free credit card advice to travelers, I’ve had several people ask me recently about no annual fee cards. Sure, many cards offer no annual fee in the first year, but that fee will kick in in the second year and you have to make a decision about whether to keep it. For people with lower spend, oftentimes the fee doesn’t make up for the benefits provided.

With that in mind, I thought I would pull together a chart of the best category spending bonuses from credit cards with no annual fee. This list differs pretty significantly from a list where cards with a fee are included (see here). Hope it’s useful

[table id=9 /]


  1. but what about the blue preferred from amex. isn’t that 6% on groceries?

    • Yes, but there’s an annual fee. Granted, most people would have the annual fee covered by the extra 3% cash back.

      • right. i am trying to find out if the 6% on groceries applies on overseas groceries also. although there’d be a 3% foreign currency charge, i’d still come out ahead 3%. would u know?

        • Typically the savings are awarded based on the classification of the merchant account with credit card rewards programs. For example, if you go to a Kroger or Stop & Shop the merchant classification is always right as it will show up as grocery store or something like that. When you go shopping overseas and buy groceries, the merchant classification is almost always different from country to country. I would call Amex directly to see what their policy is for actually awarding the rebates but I’d expect that even if they do that you will have to make a follow-up phone call after the fact when you return from a trip to lobby that you bought something at a grocery store.

          Hope this helps.

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