The Ascent's 2023 Credit Card Awards award banner The Ascent's 2023 Credit Card Awards

How we chose the winners

To determine the best credit card award winners for 2023, The Ascent’s experts evaluated accounts focusing on industry factors and user benefits, including:

  • Annual fee
  • Rewards and perks
  • Sign-up bonus
  • APR

Top-rated offerings were selected that we think represent the top pick for most people. Our final awards winners were determined by vote to ensure objectivity, with a final Golden Rule check: Would we recommend them to a family or friend? Special attention was also paid to:

  • Intro 0% APR periods
  • Intro Balance Transfer periods
  • FICO score access
  • Rewards redemption options

We have also included some editors' choice awards. These awards are favorites from our team, tailored to unique consumer needs, allowing us to explore a more diverse range of offerings and user experiences.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Best Cash Back Credit Card

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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While not quite a one-size-fits-all, this card comes pretty close with everything it offers. Its annual fee is $0 for the first year, and very reasonable after that. It earns colossal high cash back at U.S. supermarkets and unlimited cash back at U.S. gas stations. The welcome offer and intro APR offer just sweeten the deal.

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Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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This card comes with a little bit of everything! It offers rewards, a sign-up bonus, balance transfer and purchase intro APR periods, and even cell phone protection. It somehow packs all that in without an annual fee.

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Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Best Travel Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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The king of travel cards? Maybe. This card offers a travel credit and bonus miles every year that could pay for the card itself. Earn top-of-the-market points on travel purchases.

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Chase Freedom Flex℠

Best 0% Intro APR Credit Card

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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This card doesn’t offer the longest 0% intro APR period on the market, but used correctly it can earn the most value. Because this card offers a sign-up bonus, you can come out on top instead of getting another few months of 0% interest.

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BankAmericard® credit card

Best Balance Transfer Credit Card

BankAmericard® credit card

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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The strong transfer period here is the winner. It’s pretty simple. When needing to use a balance transfer, you want one of the longest options to pay off your balance. When refinancing debt it’s important to be smart and perks and sign-up bonuses just aren’t as important.

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BankAmericard® credit card is unavailable on The Ascent. All information was collected independently and not reviewed for accuracy or provided by the credit card issuer. Some items may be out of date.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Best Hotel Credit Card

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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If you enjoy things like sign-up bonuses, high-tier status, free nights, and more then this card is probably for you. It can easily pay for itself by utilizing its benefits and those benefits span hotels, resorts, and flights!

Read full review
The information for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by The Ascent. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card

Best Secured Credit Card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured credit card

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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This card manages to pack in incredible value while being a secured card. It has competitive cash back rates for any type of card on the market. And the cash back categories are ones you actually use frequently.

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Discover it® Student Cash Back

Best Credit Card for College Students

Discover it® Student Cash Back

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
5.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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The race here is quite close, but the rotating cash back categories for this card are ones that college students will probably like more. Students can earn cash back on their regular spending and also have a great card to use if they study abroad.

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Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Best Credit Card for Gas

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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This one is pretty straight to the point. It earns an incredible cash back percentage on gas as well as a ton of other categories. And it has no annual fee to boot.

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Best Credit Card for Groceries

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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This card offers market-leading cash back at U.S. Supermarkets. Tack on to that a ton of other perks you use in your everyday life, there is simply no beating this card here.

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American Express® Gold Card

Best Credit Card for Dining Out

American Express® Gold Card

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Fantastic cash back is earned with this card when eating out. Along with some other travel credits, and competitive fees, it’s almost a no-brainer in this category. The bonus spending categories are pretty great as well.

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American Express Business Gold Card

Best Business Credit Card

American Express Business Gold Card

Rating image, 4.25 out of 5 stars.
4.25/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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The rewards structure here really shines through with more than one chance to earn top tier points. With some excellent protections for business owners and a sign-up bonus, this card is a winner.

Read full review
The information for the American Express Business Gold Card has been collected independently by The Ascent. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
United℠ Explorer Card

Best Airline Credit Card

United℠ Explorer Card

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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With a competitive annual fee, cash back on travel categories, free and discounted travel perks, as well as an annual fee, there is nothing not to like about this card.

Read full review
The information related to United℠ Explorer Card has been collected by The Ascent and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
Chase Ultimate Rewards

Editors’ Choice: Best Credit Card Rewards Program

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Still holding this spot, Chase is the winner again for travel rewards programs. Other issuer rewards programs keep improving, but with its long list of hotel and airline loyalty partners, high point values, and quick transfers, Chase takes the top spot.

Read more
American Express Credit Card App

Editors’ Choice: Best Credit Cards App

American Express Credit Card App

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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There are a ton of great credit card issuer apps, but American Express just continues to shine. You can manage a wide range of account needs, check your credit score, spend and split payments, access American Express offers and more.

Read more

Experts You Can Trust

Our financial experts are constantly testing products to bring you the best. With decades of industry experience, our experts provide honest first-person reviews whenever possible to inform our selections.

Jake FitzGerald

Jake FitzGerald | Editorial Strategist

Jake is an Editorial Strategist for The Ascent. He specializes in product ratings and all things credit cards, and wants to make sure each person has the best card for them!

Expertise

Product ratings, credit cards, and content production.

Natasha Etzel

Natasha Etzel | Writer

Natasha is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance, credit card, credit card rewards, and travel hacking content.

Expertise

Personal finance, credit cards, credit card rewards, travel rewards, travel hacking

Education

B.A., Advertising and PR

Past Experience

  • Marketing Associate
  • English as a Foreign Language Instructor

Has Written For

NerdWallet, The Points Guy, Orbitz, FlyerTalk

Career Highlights

  • Getting the chance to travel to 30+ countries while being a freelance writer
  • Transitioning from reader to writer for some of her favorite websites
  • Writing content that helps others improve their finances
Lyle Daly

Lyle Daly | Writer

Lyle Daly is a freelance writer who has been covering personal finance since 2016.

Expertise

6 years in credit cards, cryptocurrency, investing, travel, travel rewards, banking industries

Past Experience

  • Ghostwriter
  • Rideshare driver

Has Written For

Motley Fool syndication partners: USA Today, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Fox Business

Career Highlights

  • Living as a digital nomad and being able to explore the world while writing
  • Being one of the first Ascent writers and seeing it grow from an idea to an amazing personal finance site with dozens of awesome team members
  • Hearing from and about people who used my articles to help decide on their next credit card
Brittney Myers

Brittney Myers | Writer

Brittney is a data-obsessed finance nerd whose personal credit card collection is in the double digits. She has been sharing personal finance advice with readers since 2016.

Expertise

Personal finance, credit cards, travel rewards, crypto

Education

B.S. Physics, University of Florida

Past Experience

  • Editor
  • Content Developer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Test Developer

Has Written For

National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Reader's Digest, CardRates.com, CreditSoup

Career Highlights

  • Receiving feedback from readers who have used her advice to make smarter financial decisions
  • Building and running a profitable small business
  • Finishing her first book
The Ascent's 2023 Credit Card Awards award banner

About the Author