Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.

Let’s be serious. Everyone has a credit card these days. Some people have so many different types of credit cards, they find it hard to keep track of their expenses and their monthly payments. Credit cards are a two-way road. 

While they can help you establish a good credit history and prepare your credit score for a larger loan (maybe a home-equity one), others can lead you straight to a debt consolidation loan, if you’re not careful.

The beauty of different types of credit cards is that they can be rewarding. You can earn points and trade them for cash or you can collect travel miles with different airline companies. 

different types of credit cards

If you already have a credit card with a high-interest rate, a balance transfer credit card could be a good choice in order to gain lower rates. 

The reasons for choosing a credit card are personal. Going with the first online advertisement you find or with offers that seem “too good to be true” is something you need to take a moment and think about. 

Right now, the variety of different types of credit cards offered is so great that you have no excuse in making a poor choice for the best rewards credit card.

Travel Rewards Credit Cards 

Of all the different types of credit cards offered on the market, travel rewards credit cards are the most common. 

There are various unbranded and branded credit card types you can choose from. Adding one in the future needs to be done after considering what are the best credit card offers in this section and which of them will give you the best return on investment, compared to your spending patterns.

These are split into three main categories, each giving the user the best rewards credit card options:

Airline and Hotel Credit Cards 

Airline and hotel loyalty programs have seen an opportunity and now offer their own credit cards, in order to top the best crediting offers on the market. In doing so, they have higher compensation plans which reward your loyalty to their brand.

At the same time, they partner with others in order to make their offers more exciting. Purchases from specific stores and gas stations bring in higher rewards or bonus points.

Having a branded card within these offers can be even more rewarding if your expenses make it worthwhile. Usually, they charge an annual fee. This gives you access to more bonus points, higher rewards, and perks like priority boarding or free checked bags.

Being loyal to a specific airline can prove itself a good investment and business travel usually reinforces this. If you fly often, it is worth it. Partnership with international hotel chains is another advantage you get with branded cards. 

Not only can you receive discounts for booking with them but you can also receive annual membership rewards. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy cards offer a free night’s stay for every annual anniversary and getting upgraded to their mid and top-tier loyalty programs.

Flexible Travel Credit Cards 

There are several banks that offer some of the best rewards credit card plans. Some of the different types of credit cards that cater to the travel industry belong to banks like American Express, Capital One, and Chase.

While they do not have exclusive partnerships with any airline or hotel brand, you get bonus points for every travel-related expenses. 

The advantage of these flexible credit cards is the possibility for the owner to redeem their points in various ways. Some offer the opportunity to make future travel reservations, others enable you to redeem points for travel statement credits.

There are even credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred which enables you to transfer earned points to one of their partners, like IHG, Marriott Bonvoy, United, or Southwest Airlines.

Premium Travel Credit Cards 

One step up involves getting a premium travel credit card which involve annual administration fees of up to $550. This is a somewhat exclusive niche in the travel rewards space. 

If the annual fee rattles you, don’t let it. While these costs seem high, the rewards trump them exponentially. Various benefits are listed on your purchases include but aren’t limited to:

  • Complimentary travel upgrades
  • Free airport lounge benefits
  • Travel credits

Remember that this type of credit card is only suitable for a small percentage of frequent travelers, so make sure to do your research before purchasing one. As for market variety, there are 2 brands that generally dominate this industry:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Platinum Card from American Express

However, multinational hotel and airline brands are starting to become reputable competitors to these two main creditors, launching amazing credit card offers and different types of credit cards in the premium section with better rewards than the aforementioned banks.

While you might want to jump right in and purchase one, these creditors have strict conditions for their premium offers: a credit score of minimum 740 and a previously owned credit card with excellent payment plans.

You might feel discouraged by this disclosure but it’s worth keeping it in your thoughts for the future and work towards achieving this goal.

Cash Rewards Credit Cards 

Another common option among the best rewards credit card variety is the cash rewards version. Most of these cards enable the owner to redeem accumulated purchase points as gift cards, travel points or Amazon and eBay shopping credits. Most of the time, though, customers choose bank account deposits or statement credits as their main cashback option.

Offers vary in this niche as well, with different banks giving different cash rewards plans. Some of them choose to establish a specific percentage based on the amount, no matter what type of purchase you make. 

The most well-known offer is the Citi Double Cash which rewards the credit card owner with 2% back for every spent dollar. Another popular choice among the different types of credit cards is the Chase Freedom Card. On special quarterly bonus categories, you can earn up to 5% back on the first $1500 spent. Any other purchase returns a stable 1%, no matter the category.

This tiered schema is also embraced by the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card. This one helps the owner earn 4% on entertainment and dining, 2% back for grocery shopping and the same, stable 1% on any other type of purchase.

Balance Transfer Credit Cards 

Most often credit card interest rates are a hassle to go through. They are high, they impact your balance every month, they are ruthless and they usually affect your credit score. Paying off a credit card balance interest fee (minus the 3% balance transfer fee) can be done using a balance transfer credit card. It even includes cash and travel rewards card with a 0% introductory offer.

These are amazing options if your credit score is excellent (above 740). They still allow you to earn reward points on new card purchases. Other different types of credit cards are specially designed to balance transfers and while you don’t earn reward points, they come with longer 0% terms. To make them even better, they are usually more lenient in their requirements.

Currently, there are two main offers worth looking into on the market:

  • Chase Slate: 15 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • Citi Simplicity: 21 months of 0% APR on balance transfers starting with your first transfer

These are both options to consider if you are trying to eliminate other, more expensive, credit cards and to consolidate your debt.

Business Credit Cards 

Business cards are a special category, as they don’t necessarily help individuals, but business owners. The variety of credit card offers in this category is in itself quite large. You can get rewards in any domain, like physical purchases for travel, gas station and office supply stores and you can get online rewards, like social media advertising marketing tools.

It is true that for every business need there is a solution. And different types of credit cards can include no annual fees, travel points, cashback solutions or even a mix of these.

Student Credit Cards 

Being a college student has perks beyond getting a student discount at local businesses. Although college student credit card spending limits are kept small, college students can enjoy better rewards than non-college students with similar credit profiles. Some student credit cards offer a statement credit by maintaining a minimum 3.0-grade point average. 

Looking at student loan costs, it is only common sense for banks and creditors to create best rewards credit card options for students. And this doesn’t just include local business discounts. Admittedly, student credit cards will have low spending limits. However, even a little extra influx in cash flow can sometimes make a difference in your life. If student cardholders maintain a minimum 3.0-grade point average, some banks even offer a statement credit.

Student credit card offers have another advantage. They are designed to discipline and educate young people about managing finances. They are an amazing opportunity to create a positive payment history in college. This payment history can then help you qualify for better offers after graduating, even in the home-equity loan category.

One of the best offers on the market right now it the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One. Even though it is an unsecured card and you don’t have to pay a deposit fee, you can access a higher credit card limit that comparable credit card offers on the market.

This card comes with a 1% cashback on every purchase. If your payments are on time, the bonus gets you a 25% boost, which means the next month you get 1.25% cashback. It also doesn’t charge an annual fee and or any type of foreign transaction fee, ideal for the average student’s desire to travel.

Secured Credit Cards 

The majority of credit card offers come with no upfront requirements. However, there are different types of credit cards for which a deposit is required, and these are called secured credit cards. 

Sometimes, these are the best options for people with credit scores under 620. They enable you to access a specific amount that you have established and previously funded.

Most cards in this category allow you a maximum of $500. They do force you to replenish the amount you use. And this is a good thing because it gives you the opportunity to create healthy financial discipline. It also counts towards improving your credit score, so you can reach better offers in the future.

Choosing the Best Card for You

The variety of credit card offers on the market is so wide, there is something for everyone. However, among these different types of credit cards, you need to choose the right one for you. A credit card involves responsibility and the opportunity to open the door for better financial offers. It can also lead to payday loans and scam lenders if you ruin your credit score by not keeping your payment plan perfect. The choice is yours!

Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the listings that appear on this website are from companies which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

Trending Now

Your compare list