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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.
|Best For||Credit Needed||Annual Fee|
|Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card||Rewards||Excellent/Good||$0 intro for first year; $95 after that|
|Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®||Travel||Good/Excellent||$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $89|
|Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card||Students||Good||$0|
|Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer||Cash back||Excellent||$0|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||Airline miles||Excellent||$99, waived for first 12 months|
|Capital One® Secured Mastercard®||Limited/Bad||Limited/Bad||$0|
|Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card||Business||Excellent||No Annual Fee|
|Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever||Balance Transfer||Excellent/Good||$0|
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. You'll earn 4% Cash Back on dining; 4% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
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.
Worth It for Moderate Spenders
Though the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card comes with a$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $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 – 18 month BT offer .
Best Mastercard for Travel
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 $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $89, 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 – 18 month BT offer 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.
Best Mastercard for Students
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 $0 annual fee and earns 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.
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. 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
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is an excellent card for people who value simplicity. For no annual fee, you'll Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. 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 – 18 month BT offer 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. In addition, both cards have a $1,500 cap on the purchases you can earn rewards on each quarter. This works for some people, but the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is a better option if you'd prefer a simple card.
Competitive 0% APR Introductory Period
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer also comes with a , then a 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR thereafter. 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
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $99
15.99% - 24.99% Variable
- 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 and 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
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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 for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
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: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening of account opening.
Best Mastercard for Small Business Owners
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 other six 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.
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
The Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is an excellent choice for people looking to get rid of high-interest credit card debt. The card offers one of the longest intro offers for balance transfers available: 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening and 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer, then a 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) APR applies.
No Unnecessary Fees
Aside from the introductory balance transfer period, the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever 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.
The one downside to the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever 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 where you can earn 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.
The information related to the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card, Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever and the Citi® Double Cash Card have been independently collected by ValuePenguin and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.