Best Credit Card Deals 2021: What Are The Top Promotions Available This Month?

Best Credit Card Deals 2021: What Are The Top Promotions Available This Month?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Shopping for the best credit card deals can be a laborious task, especially given how many different banks and cards are currently out there. To help you shortcut this process, our team searched through hundreds of cards and hand-picked some of the top offers available to consumers at the moment. Some of these cards will give you tremendous short-term value through welcome bonuses while others are designed to save you more money over a long-term. Look through our categories below to find the credit card deal that best fits the type of benefits you're looking for.

ValuePenguin's Top Credit Card Deals 2021

We categorized each of the best credit card deals into different buckets that can help in your search for the right card. Here are our picks:

Best Credit Card Deal for 2021: Discover it® Cash Back

Special Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

On its own, the Discover it® Cash Back is a fantastic rewards card. Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. For 2021, the categories include grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March), gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com (October-December). That is a higher rewards rate that you can get with most other credit cards. The card's special offer makes this even better. During your first 12 months, you will be effectively earning anywhere between a 2% and 10% rewards rate on all your purchases.

Best Travel Credit Card Deal: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • On Chase's Secure Website

Special Offer: $300 annual travel credit.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is currently one of the absolute best travel credit cards around. As of 2021, no other credit card throws as many perks at its users as this one. First of, as noted in the special offer, users get a $300 annual travel credit that can be used towards things like airfare, cab rides, hotels or any other purchases associated with travel. This credit helps offset the card's high annual fee of $550. Additionally, as a cardmember you receive access to Priority Pass airport lounges, and a TSA Pre/Global Entry fee waiver. Together, these benefits are worth hundreds of dollars. To top it all off, users get a 4.5% rewards rate on travel and dining, which is a higher reward than most credit cards can provide. You can get 3 points in travel after you use the $300 annual travel credit.

Highlights

  • $550 Annual Fee
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Best Combo Deal: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card + Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • On Chase's Secure Website
  • On Chase's Secure Website

Special Offer: Both cards offer Ultimate Rewards points that can be pooled together, which increases their value.

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offer enough benefits that each could qualify for this list on their own. When combined, however, they become even more powerful. What allows these cards to work in tandem is the fact that both accumulate the same rewards currency — Chase Ultimate Rewards. These points are ordinarily worth $0.01 each. However, when you get a tier 2 Chase credit card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you gain the ability to use them from travel bookings, which increases the value to $0.0125. That, in turn, boosts the rewards rate on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ well past its 5%/3%/1% caps. You may also transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to participating hotel and airline partners that have the potential to increase their value even further.

Highlights

  • Annual Fee on the Chase Freedom Flex℠: $0
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: $95
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Rewards: 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide

Best Credit Card Deal for Students: Discover it® Student Cash Back

Special Offer: For new cardmembers, Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.

The Discover it® Cash Back is one of the best credit card deals, so it only makes sense its student counterpart also makes the list. The Discover it® Student Cash Back is a lot like its non-student version. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. For 2021, the categories include grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March), gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com (October-December).

New cardmembers also have their cash back doubled at the end of their first year: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300. . And users can get a $20 statement credit each school year their GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next five years. Also, you won't pay a late fee on your first late payment. This can be great for a student who is just starting out and getting used to managing a credit card.

Highlights

  • $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next five years

Best Credit Card Deal for Small Businesses: Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website

Special Offer: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has one of the best sign-up bonuses currently available, which is a cherry on top of an already fantastic small business credit card. You can currently earn one of the most valuable all-around sign-up bonuses with the card: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. We estimate the value of this award to be roughly around $1,250 in travel bookings. Outside of the bonus, this card offers a generous rewards rate on select purchases and charges a foreign transaction fee of $0 when used abroad.

Highlights

  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • $95 annual fee
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.

Best Credit Card Deal for Balance Transfers: Chase Slate®

Special Offer: $0 Annual Fee on Transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $0 for the first 60 days that your Account is open, after that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

The Chase Slate® is one of the top balance transfer credit cards on the market right now because of its fantastic intro offer. The card has a 16.49% - 25.24% Variable. Most other credit cards will charge their users anywhere between 3% and 5% for carrying out a transfer. On top of that, the Chase Slate® provides its users 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months of card membership, allowing you to tackle your outstanding debts, interest free, for well over a year.

Highlights

  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Balance transfer fee of $0 for the first 60 days that your Account is open, after that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months. After, a 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR applies.

Best Credit Card Deal for Online Shoppers: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Special Offer: Unlimited 5% back at Amazon and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership*. 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*. 1% back on utilities, rideshare, and all other purchases.

Amazon and Chase recently rolled out the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card and it's currently one of the best ways to shop for things through the online giant. If you are someone who has Amazon Prime membership, we can't stress enough how much of a good deal this card is. You get an unlimited 5% back at Amazon and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership*. 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*. 1% back on utilities, rideshare, and all other purchases. That's a generous cashback rate on your Amazon purchases. If you don't have Amazon Prime, you can still get a good deal with the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card . The non-Prime card earns 3% cash back on all your Amazon.com purchases, and 2% cash back at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores (1% back elsewhere).

Highlights

  • 5% back at Amazon and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership*. 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*. 1% back on utilities, rideshare, and all other purchases.
  • Exclusively available to Amazon Prime members

The information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

List of the Top 8 Credit Cards For 2021

In case you want another reminder of our top 8 credit card deals, below is a quick table that summarizes all the important details about each pick.

Deal
Card
For new cardmembers, Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.Discover it® Cash Back
$300 annual travel credit.Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Use both cards to earn Ultimate Reward Points.Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card & Chase Freedom Flex℠
For new cardmembers, Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! So you could turn $50 cash back into $100. Or turn $100 into $200. There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.Discover it® Student Cash Back
Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Balance transfer fee of $0 for the first 60 days that your Account is open, after that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.Chase Slate®
Unlimited 5% back at Amazon and Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership*. 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores*. 1% back on utilities, rideshare, and all other purchases.Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

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How To Find The Best Credit Card Deals?

If you are unsatisfied with the list of cards we presented above, you can always seek out credit card deals on your own. In certain circumstances, better offers may be available to you as we'll explain below. Doing your own research may be an involved process and will likely require some effort on your part. This section of our guide will focus on cutting down the time you have to spend sifting through contracts, and help you get the right framework for finding card deals.

Look through e-mail and ordinary mail offers. The best credit card deals out there are not publicly available to consumers. Instead, a bank may present you with a special discount or promotional offer that is only available to you. These are referred to as "targeted offers," due to their nature. Many people have trained themselves to immediately treat such offers as spam. However, if you are on the hunt for a good credit card deal, you shouldn't ignore these mailings.

Know what benefits you want, before you search. Credit cards can have a ton of different purposes and features that make them geared towards very specific users. While a multitude of features is great for consumers, it can also lead to a paralysis when they are presented with an overwhelming amount of options. This is why you should try to have at least a rough outline of what you want your credit card to have, in terms of benefits, before you even begin your search.

Know that the net value of rewards can outweigh an annual fee. Some people shy away from a whole world of possible credit card deals just because they come with an annual fee attached. This is a wrong mindset to have. Consumers should, instead, focus on the net value. Sometimes, one particular credit card deal may give you a better net return, even if it has an annual fee and another one doesn’t. Use credit card comparison tools to help you figure out the best net rewards for your particular spending habits.

Shopping portals often have the best deals. Many of the major credit card issuers offer their users special discounts when they buy things through online shopping portals. These are often several magnitudes better than the promotional rewards you get from simply using the card in-store. Unfortunately, you cannot cross-compare shopping portals between different cards – they are almost always locked behind a log-in that requires you to be a cardmember. However, you should still be aware of their existence, since they are worth looking at once you apply for a certain card.

Methodology

For the purposes of this article, we examined 300+ credit cards found in our card database. This database includes cards from all 10 major credit card issuers in the United States – American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, Discover, Barclays, Synchrony Bank, Citibank, Wells Fargo and US Bank. We use cards from these banks because they are, for the most part, available nationwide to customers. Even if there is no branch near you, you can apply for most of the cards from these banks online. For the purposes of completeness, our database also contains information on cards from major credit unions, and large regional banks such as Key Bank.

Deals were chosen on a basis of their value and compared to the relative cost of each card. Therefore, a card that offers consumers a deal we estimate to be worth at most $200 would not make the list if it had an annual fee that eats up most, if not more, of that deal value.

The information related to the Discover it® Cash Back, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Freedom®, Discover it® Student Cash Back, Chase Slate® and the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).