6 Top Credit Cards for Summer 2018

These cards are some of the best out there -- whether you're looking for travel rewards, cash back or zero percent interest.

6 Top Credit Cards for Summer 2018 Photo by AboutLife / Shutterstock.com

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but if you carry the right plastic, you might earn free lunches. You might also get free flights, free hotels, free cash back and interest-free loans. Or maybe you would be better served by cash back on purchases, or a zero percent introductory rate. The key is finding the credit card that gives you the biggest bang for the bucks you’re already spending.

For a full list of every kind of credit card, see the of our Solutions Center. But here are six cards that recently caught our eye to meet different needs. See how they compare to what’s now in your wallet.

Best rewards cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Why we like it: This card offers a whopping 50,000 signup bonus points (worth $625 in travel) after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. And it earns two award points for every $1 spent as you travel and dine around the world, one point per $1 on other purchases.

More details:

  • Redeem your rewards points on other major airline and loyalty programs on a 1:1 basis.
  • Get 25 percent more value when you redeem rewards points through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fee for the first year.

Capital One Venture

Why we like it: This card has it all: Two points for every dollar spent, a 50,000-point signup bonus (worth $500 of travel) no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee for the first year. Note, however, that you have to spend $3,000 within the first three months to get the bonus, and the annual fee after year one is $95. Still, if you travel, charge a lot and pay off your balance every month, this one is hard to beat.

More details:

  • Higher bonus than usual for this card: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 within the first three months.
  • Earns 2x miles for every $1 spent with no caps.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Redeem your rewards on any airline or hotel with no blackout dates.
  • No annual fee for the first year, $95 after that.

Best cash-back cards

Capital One Quicksilver

Why we like it: Most cash-back cards give you 1 percent back on purchases; this one gives you 1.5 percent. That’s 50 percent more free money. It also gives you a cash bonus, and you only have to spend $500 within the first three months to get it. Finally, there’s no annual fee.

The details:

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase.
  • $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within your first three months.
  • Zero percent APR on purchases for the first 15 months.
  • No annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction fee.

Chase Freedom

Why we like it: This card is a good one if you want to save as you spend. You get a $150 bonus after spending just $500 in the first three months. There’s 5 percent cash back for some purchases and unlimited 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.

The details:

  • Spend $500 in the first three months of opening this account and earn a $150 bonus.
  • Earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 of purchases in “bonus categories” each quarter.
  • Get 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
  • Pay zero percent APR for the first 15 months from account initiation on purchases and balance transfers. (Note: 5 percent fee applies on balance transfers; $5 minimum.)
  • No annual fee.

Best zero-percent cards

Amex EveryDay

Why we like it: If you’re carrying a balance, finding a card with a zero percent interest rate is a no-brainer way to pay it off a lot faster. Unfortunately, there’s often a hefty fee to transfer an existing high-interest balance to a zero percent interest card. But not this one. As long as you make any balance transfers within 60 days of opening the account, Amex doesn’t charge a transfer fee, and the zero percent interest lasts 15 months.

The details:

  • Transfer balances without a fee during the first 60 days after account opening.
  • Both purchases and balance transfers get a zero percent introductory APR for 15 months.
  • No annual fee.
  • 10,000 rewards points after using the card to make $1,000 in purchases in the first three months.

Wells Fargo Platinum Visa

Why we like it: This card offers zero percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for a full 18 months. For transfers, be sure you weigh the transfer fee against that nice long interest-free period of time to pay off the debt. This card has some other unique features, including up to $600 protection on your cellphone.

The details:

  • Zero percent introductory APR on purchases for 18 months.
  • Zero percent intro APR for balance transfers (transfer fee applies) for 18 months.
  • Up to $600 coverage for damage or theft of your cellphone ($25 deductible applies) if you use this card to pay your monthly cellphone bill.
  • Free access to Wells Fargo’s budgeting and money tracking tool, My Money Map.
  • Free access to your FICO credit score.
  • No annual fee.

Most of the cards featured here require a good to excellent credit score. If that’s not you, no worries! Explore the many alternatives on the of our Solutions Center.

Got a great credit card you’d like to crow about? Tell us about it in the comments below or on

Editor’s note: One of the ways we keep the lights on around here is with referral fees, so we might make a buck or two when you sign up for these cards. But we never let that influence our judgment. You’ll always get our honest advice.

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