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Best Mastercard Credit Cards of 2019

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

Along with Visa and American Express, Mastercard is one of the largest and most widely accepted credit card networks in the world. Whether you're looking for a cash back or business credit card, there's an option for you on the Mastercard network. Below, we've highlighted our favorite Mastercard offers of 2019.

Continue reading for a detailed look at the benefits and features of each card. You can also head to our credit card comparison tool at the bottom of the page to see which Mastercard works best for your budget.

Best Mastercard for Rewards

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is an excellent option for people who spend money on dining and entertainment. For a $95 annual fee ($0 the first year), you'll earn 4% back on dining and entertainment purchases, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% on everything else.

Top Rewards Rate on Dining and Entertainment

With the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you'll earn one of the highest available rewards rate on dining and entertainment purchases at 4% back. The American Express® Gold Card also earns a 4% rewards rate on restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets(on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X), but it comes with a much higher annual fee of $250 (See Rates & Fees).

Worth It for Moderate Spenders

Though the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card comes with an annual fee of $95, the card is worth it if you spend more than $2,000 per year in the dining and entertainment category and more than $1,000 per year in the grocery store category. Otherwise, you'll be better with a no annual fee Mastercard like the Citi® Double Cash Card.

Best Mastercard for Travel

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Annual Fee
$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $89
Regular APR
18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is one of our favorite travel cards for its high rewards rate on every purchase. You'll earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, with no caps or bonus categories to worry about. Plus, the card also doesn't charge foreign transaction fees when you spend money abroad.

Best for International Travelers

Because the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® charges an annual fee of $89 (waived the first year), it's best for people who spend more than $3,000 per year abroad. If you spend less than this on purchases abroad, the Citi® Double Cash Card is a better choice for you as you'll earn the same 2% rewards rate with no annual fee.

Excellent Welcome Bonus

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has one of the best welcome bonuses available for a card with an annual fee under $100: 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. That's equal to $700 towards a statement credit on an eligible travel purchase. You'll also get 5% of your miles back each time that you redeem.

The information related to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Best Mastercard for Students

On Citi's Secure Website

Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

On Citi's Secure Website
Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening
  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 7 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.49% - 26.49%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • Get 10% Points Back for the first 100,000 ThankYou® Points you redeem per year
  • No annual fee
  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 7 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.49% - 26.49%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • Get 10% Points Back for the first 100,000 ThankYou® Points you redeem per year
  • No annual fee
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.49% - 26.49% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card is one of our favorite student credit cards for its unique rewards structure: rewards earned on every purchase are rounded up to the nearest 10 and the minimum number of points earned purchase is 10. The card has no annual fee and earns 2 Citi ThankYou Points on gas station and supermarket purchases.

Earn More Rewards on Small Purchases

The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card is great for students who make a lot of small purchases, like buying coffee or lunch. This is because the card earns a minimum of 10 points per purchase, so a drink that costs $3.50 will earn you 10 points. In addition, all points are rounded up to the nearest 10, so a purchase of $11 will earn you 20 points.

Redeem Points for Gift Cards

Once you earn enough points, you'll be able to redeem your rewards for gift cards or shop with your points. When redeeming for gift cards, 2,500 points equals $25. You'll also earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. When you redeem your points, you'll also get 10% of the points back for the first 100,000 per year.

Best Mastercard for Cash Back

On Citi's Secure Website

Citi® Double Cash Card

On Citi's Secure Website
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% - 25.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 25.99% based on your creditworthiness.*
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% - 25.99% based on your creditworthiness.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 25.99% based on your creditworthiness.*
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
15.99% - 25.99% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Citi® Double Cash Card is an excellent card for people who value simplicity. For no annual fee, you'll earn 2% back on every purchase: 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay your bill. Most other flat rate cash back cards only offer 1.5% back on purchases.

No Rotating Categories to Manage

One of the best features of the Citi® Double Cash Card is that it offers a strong rewards rate on all purchases without you having to activate rotating bonus categories. With the Discover it® Cash Back and Chase Freedom®, for example, you'll have to activate the bonus categories every quarter to earn 5% cash back on purchases. This works for some people, but the Citi® Double Cash Card is a better option if you'd prefer a simple card.

Competitive 0% APR Introductory Period

The Citi® Double Cash Card also comes with a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 18 months. Although we advise to always pay off your balance in full, the 0% APR gives you the flexibility to take your time paying off a large purchase. Plus, you'll benefit from the card's excellent rewards even after the introductory period ends.

Best Mastercard for Earning Airline Miles

On Citi's Secure Website

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

On Citi's Secure Website
Earn 50,000 miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at restaurants*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • Receive 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at restaurants*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • Receive 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
Annual Fee
$99, waived for first 12 months*
Regular APR
17.99% - 25.99%* (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

Whether you're a loyal American Airlines customer or you fly the carrier a few times a year, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a great choice for earning airline miles. With the card, you'll earn 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar on purchases at restaurants, gas stations and with American Airlines.

Travel Benefits on American Airlines

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is a great option if you value perks while flying. On any American Airlines itinerary, you'll get preferred boarding, a 25% discount on eligible inflight food and beverage purchases and one free checked bag for you and up to four companions. The checked bag benefit alone is a savings of $120 on a round-trip flight for you and a partner.

Decent Welcome Bonus for New Cardmembers

As with all good rewards cards, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers a competitive welcome bonus to new cardmembers. You'll be able to earn 50,000 American Airlines bonus miles after spending $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Best Mastercard for People with Bad Credit

On Capital One's Secure Website

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

On Capital One's Secure Website
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One and is not part of our independent analysis.

  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
26.99% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Limited, Bad
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a great option if you're looking to rebuild your credit. If approved for this card, you'll be able to access your own line of credit after putting down a security deposit. Unlike some credit cards designed for people with bad credit, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has no application fee or annual fee.

Higher Initial Credit Limit

With the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, you'll be eligible for an initial credit limit that is up to four times the security deposit you put down. Depending on your credit, you'll be required to make a deposit of either $49, $99 or $200, and you'll get a $200 credit limit. Most other secured cards will only give you an initial credit limit equal to your security deposit.

No Rewards

Unlike the other Mastercard options on this list, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® doesn't earn rewards on purchases. This isn't out of the ordinary, as most secured cards don't earn miles or cash back. However, if you're looking for rewards on your secured card, the Discover it® Secured is a better choice.

Best Mastercard for Small Business Owners

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening
  • Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening – with no annual fee and cash rewards don't expire.
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back on dining and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • You'll get 3% and 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter.
  • 0% Introductory APR on purchases for your first 9 billing cycles.
  • Redeem your cash rewards as a statement credit, check, or have cash deposited into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.
  • Get 75% more cash back on every purchase when you’re a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member. That means you will earn 5.25% on your selected choice category, 3.5% on dining and unlimited 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening – with no annual fee and cash rewards don't expire.
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back on dining and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • You'll get 3% and 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter.
  • 0% Introductory APR on purchases for your first 9 billing cycles.
  • Redeem your cash rewards as a statement credit, check, or have cash deposited into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.
  • Get 75% more cash back on every purchase when you’re a Preferred Rewards for Business Platinum Honors tier member. That means you will earn 5.25% on your selected choice category, 3.5% on dining and unlimited 1.75% cash back on all other purchases.
Annual Fee
$0.00
Regular APR
14.49% - 24.49% Variable APR on purchases
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card has one of the best rewards rate on business-related purchases, especially for a card with no annual fee. You'll earn 3% cash back on your choice of one of the following six categories: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services, 2% cash back on dining (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Unrivaled Rewards for a Card with No Annual Fee

If your business has expenses at gas stations and office supply stores, or one of the otehr 6 categories, the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card will earn you one of the best rewards rate possible on those purchases. Other business credit cards, like the American Express® Business Gold Card, earn a higher rewards rate but charge an annual fee.

Relationship Bonus

One of the best features of the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card is the relationship bonus for small business owners who bank with Bank of America. When you enroll in the Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program, you can qualify for an extra 25% to 75% cash back. This means that you could potentially earn a 5.25% rewards rate on gas station and office supply store purchases.

Best Mastercard for Balance Transfers

On Citi's Secure Website

Citi Simplicity® Card

On Citi's Secure Website
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.74% - 26.74%, based on your creditworthiness
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 16.74% - 26.74%, based on your creditworthiness
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day — just say "representative"
  • Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month
  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.74% - 26.74%, based on your creditworthiness
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 16.74% - 26.74%, based on your creditworthiness
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day — just say "representative"
  • Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month
Annual Fee
$0*
Regular APR
16.74% - 26.74%* (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Citi Simplicity® Card is an excellent choice for people looking to get rid of high-interest credit card debt. The card's 21 month 0% APR balance transfer period is one of the longest available, and it also comes with a 12 month 0% intro APR period on purchases.

No Unnecessary Fees

Aside from the introductory balance transfer period, the Citi Simplicity® Card is great because it will never charge you any late fees, penalty rates or annual fees. While we suggest to always pay your credit card bill on time, it's great to have the added cushion if you make a mistake and forget to submit a payment.

No Rewards

The one downside to the Citi Simplicity® Card is that it doesn't earn rewards on purchases. If you want a balance transfer card that also earns rewards, you'll have to sacrifice the length of the 0% APR period. One option for this would be the Discover it® Balance Transfer, which offers an 18 month balance transfer period (then a 14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR applies) and 5% back on rotating categories that you activate each quarter.

Compare Mastercard Credit Cards

You can use our card comparison tool to evaluate how each card works for your budget and spending habits. Browse the options below and click on the gear icon to adjust the spending inputs for each category.

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Yowana Wamala

Yowana is a product analyst at ValuePenguin, specializing in credit cards, rewards programs and travel. He previously covered mortgages, banking and insurance for the website. Yowana graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Political Science.

Comments and Questions

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).