January 7, 2021

Edited 01/07/21

Credit Cards That Will Set You Up for 2021

Some of the best credit cards offer rewards on your spending and help pay down large purchases without interest over time. Learn more about how these credit cards can set your retirement up for success.

Silvur has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The offers that appear in this section are from third party advertisers from which Silvur receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). It is this compensation that enables Silvur to provide you with services like retirement planning and goal tracking at little or no charge. Silvur strives to provide a wide array of offers for our users, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products. Learn More.

While it’s true credit cards can be a problem if you’re prone to overspending or you can’t seem to pay your bills on time, they can also be valuable tools to help you reach financial goals. After all, some of the best credit cards come with benefits like 0% APR, which can help you pay down large purchases without interest over time. Many credit cards also offer rewards on all your spending, and some offer valuable consumer perks like travel insurance, extended warranties, or purchase protection against damage or theft.

The bottom line: If you have any number of financial goals for 2021, a credit card could actually help — if you plan to use your card in a responsible way. 

Still, it’s important to pick the right card for your needs and goals. While many of the best credit card offers have been around for years, card issuers still roll out new credit cards all the time. This gives you the chance to compare all options — both new and old — each time you’re ready to sign up for a new credit card.

What should you look for as you compare rewards credit cards for next year? Consider these factors:

  • Rewards rates: Look at the rewards rate each card offers, and consider how it might apply to your regular spending. If you tend to spend a lot of money at grocery stores or gas stations, for example, you can consider cards that offer bonus rewards in those categories. Also consider cash-back credit cards that offer a flat rate of rewards for each dollar you spend.
  • Welcome offers: Also compare credit cards based on the signup bonuses they offer, which are typically doled out when you spend a few thousand dollars on your card within the first three months of account opening. You should pick a card with a generous bonus offer, but make sure you can meet the minimum spending requirement via regular, organic spending and bills. 
  • Introductory APR offers: If you want to save money on interest, then you can also look at cards with introductory APR offers. Many offer 0% APR on purchases, balance transfers, or both for a limited time, and you can use these offers to consolidate and pay down debt or pay off large purchases without interest for a year or longer.
  • Cardholder perks: Compare cards based on the benefits you want the most, whether that includes travel perks, insurance products, extended warranties or purchase benefits like guaranteed returns. 
  • Fees: Finally, make sure you understand any fees associated with the rewards credit cards you’re considering, including any annual fees they charge. Ideally, you’ll wind up with a card with no annual fee, or at least one with an annual fee you can justify based on the rewards and benefits you receive.

Best Credit Card Offers for 2021

We compared many of the top credit cards on the market today to find ones with generous bonus offers, lucrative ongoing rewards, and other benefits worth exploring. The cards below made our ranking. 

Also note the first-year rewards rate we compiled for each card, which includes the bonus offer you can earn as well as ongoing rewards that would accrue if you spent the following amounts on your card for 12 months: $700 per month on groceries, $300 per month on restaurants and takeout, $800 per month on utilities and other bills, $200 per month on miscellaneous purchases.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Simplicity

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card makes earning cash-back easy since it offers a flat rate of 1.5% back for each dollar you spend. There’s no annual fee, and you can also earn a one-time $150 bonus when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening. You also get 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 15.49% to 25.49%. When it comes to redeeming your rewards, you can cash them in for cash-back in any amount or use them for purchases on Amazon.com.

Who this card is good for: Anyone who wants to earn cash-back rewards with no annual fee
First-year rewards: $510 in cash-back

Best for Simplicity

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Best for Grocery Spending

The Blue Cash Preferred Card offers 6% back on up to $6,000 in U.S. grocery spending each year plus streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, 3% back on transit including U.S. gas stations, train fares, tolls, and rides with Uber or Lyft, and 1% back on all other purchases. You can also earn an initial bonus of $300 when you spend $3,000 on your card within three months of account opening. A $95 annual fee applies. However, you also get 0% APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%.

Who this card is good for: Big grocery spenders who don’t mind paying an annual fee in exchange for a lucrative rewards rate
First-year rewards: $960 in cash-back (less $95 annual fee)

Best for Grocery Spending

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for Travel Enthusiasts

If you want to save money on travel once you’re ready to go somewhere, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is worth considering. This card is offering 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 within 12 months of account opening, but you can focus on earning 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months instead. You also earn 2x miles for each dollar you spend, and you get a credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership. A $95 annual fee applies, but you get the chance to redeem your rewards for travel purchases charged to your account, or for Paypal or Amazon.com purchases. You can also transfer your points to Capital One airline and hotel partners.

Who this card is good for: Anyone who wants to earn flexible rewards that can help them save money on travel later on
First-year rewards: 148,000 miles worth $1,480 in travel (less $95 annual fee)

Best for Travel Enthusiasts

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

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Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Dining Out

If you want to earn considerable rewards on restaurant spending, then the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card could be your best bet. This card doesn’t charge an annual fee, yet you’ll earn 3% back on dining out and entertainment, 2% back on grocery store purchases, and 1% back on everything else you buy. You can also earn a $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 within three months of account opening. When it comes to how you can redeem your rewards, you can use them for cash-back in any amount, or you can redeem them for Paypal or Amazon.com purchases.

Who this card is good for: Foodies or frequent diners who want to ramp up their rewards with no annual fee
First-year rewards: $546 in cash-back

Best for Dining Out

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Silvur has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The offers that appear in this section are from third party advertisers from which Silvur receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). It is this compensation that enables Silvur to provide you with services like retirement planning and goal tracking at little or no charge. Silvur strives to provide a wide array of offers for our users, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products. Learn More.