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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

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10 Most Underrated Credit Cards of 2021

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.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card details updated Nov. 3, 2021

When you’re looking to open a credit card, you most likely will see the same handful of cards recommended on various sites. Cards such as the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and The Platinum Card® from American Express are often mentioned as top cashback and luxury travel cards, respectively. But sometimes other great cards are overlooked in the process. With thousands of credit cards available to consumers, there are plenty of cards that offer great benefits, but go relatively unnoticed.

We’ve rounded up 10 of the most underrated cards that can provide you a variety of benefits, such as travel rewards, special financing, instant discounts and more.

Most underrated...Card
Intro 0% APR credit card for purchases and balance transfersU.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
Airline credit cardAlaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
Balance transfer credit cardThe Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Business credit cardThe Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Cashback credit cardAlliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card
Hotel credit cardCapital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Low interest credit cardVisa Titanium Signature Credit Card
Store credit cardTarget REDcard™ Credit Card
Student credit cardDiscover it® Student Cash Back
Travel credit cardChase Sapphire Preferred® Card

1. Most underrated intro 0% APR credit card: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Disclosures |
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
on U.S. Bank's secure site
0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles on Purchases*
14.49% - 24.49%* (Variable)
$0*
None
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 14.49% - 24.49%.
  • Great offer from U.S. Bank, a 2020 World's Most Ethical Company® - Ethisphere Institute, February 2021.
  • No Annual Fee*
  • Flexibility to choose a payment due date that fits your schedule.
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your U.S.Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card. Certain terms, conditions, and exclusions apply.
680 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Why it’s a great intro 0% APR card: The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers one of the longest intro 0% APR periods for purchases with a 0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles on Purchases* (after, 14.49% - 24.49%* (variable) APR). This can help you finance new purchases without incurring interest charges.

In addition, there’s a $0* annual fee and the same offer for balance transfers — 0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles on Balance Transfers* (after, 14.49% - 24.49%* (variable) APR).

What to look out for: This card is a great choice for paying off new purchases over time, but otherwise there aren’t many added benefits. There is no rewards program or sign-up bonus, though you can benefit from cellphone protection.

2. Most underrated airline credit card: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Disclosures |
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
on Bank of America's secure site
N/A
15.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases
$75
Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases,
  • 40,000 Bonus Mile + Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ Online Offer 
  • Get 40,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account. 
  • Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™. Every year on your credit card account anniversary you’ll receive a companion fare which allows you to book a companion flight from just $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com. 
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 6 guests on the same reservation – that's a savings of $60 per person roundtrip! 
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts. 
  • With oneworld® Alliance we’ve expanded our global reach to over 1,000 destinations worldwide, bringing you more airline partners and more ways to earn and redeem miles 
  • Flexibility with no blackout dates on Alaska Airlines flights when booking with miles or a companion fare 
  • Plus, no foreign transaction fees and a low $75 annual fee 
  • This online only offer may not be available elsewhere if you leave this page. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
680 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Why it’s a great airlines card: New cardholders can benefit from the ability to earn 40,000 bonus miles with this online offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account. In addition, cardholders are allowed a free checked bag for up to six other travelers on the same reservation — this is often limited to one to four other travelers by other airline cards. Other perks include a higher-than-average earnings rate on Alaska Airlines purchases — Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, and 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

What also makes this card valuable to travelers is its global partner airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways and Aer Lingus, among others. The airline has an extensive number of U.S. destinations, however, and has a lower-than-average annual fee of $75 compared with other airline cards.

What to look out for: The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card has a low miles-earning rate for non-Alaska Airlines purchases of 1 mile per dollar. This is similar to other airline-specific cards, but you can find general miles-earning cards that earn you more miles on popular travel categories, such as dining and hotel stays.

3. Most underrated balance transfer credit card: The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Why it’s a great balance transfer card: When trying to save money on a high-interest balance, every penny counts. Most balance transfer cards charge a 3% fee on each transfer you make, which gets added to your balance. While this is often outweighed by the amount you save on interest, you can find cards with no balance transfer fee, such as The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express.

This card doesn’t have the longest intro 0% APR period, but offers a good amount of time to pay off debt from a non-Amex card with an intro APR 0% for 15 months on balance transfers.

In addition, there’s an intro APR of 0% for 15 months on purchases. After both intro periods end, a 12.99% - 23.99% variable APR applies.

On top of the ability to finance new purchases and debt, you can benefit from a $0 annual fee and rewards program. Earn 2x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), and 1x points on other purchases. New cardmembers can also earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months

What to look out for: This card is a solid offering all around, but if you plan to use The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express’s balance transfer offer, you should be careful to avoid new debt. With an enticing intro APR of 0% for 15 months on purchases (after, 12.99% - 23.99% variable APR), it may be tempting to add new debt to an existing balance. However, your primary goal should be to pay off old debt first. Using this card for new purchases may defeat efforts to whittle away a high balance.

4. Most underrated business credit card: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Disclosures |
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
No annual fee
Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office
  • Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to American Express, and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply
680 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Why it’s a great business card: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has some great features all businesses can benefit from, including no annual fee, a flexible credit limit and free employee cards.

This card’s rewards program is tailored to common business expenses — Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.

In addition, there is an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening, (after, 13.24% - 19.24% variable APR). These special financing offers can help you finance large business expenses.

What to look out for: If you and your employees travel outside the U.S. frequently, this card isn’t the best choice since there’s a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. There are other business cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees and are more suited for travel abroad.

To see the rates and fees fort he The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

5. Most underrated cashback credit card: Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

Why it’s a great cashback card: A flat-rate cashback card is a great way to earn a consistent amount of cash back on all your purchases and the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card offers up to 2.5% cash back on your first $10,000 of qualifying eligible purchases (1.5% for purchases over $10,000).

What to look out for: The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card has a tiered rewards program. You’ll only qualify for the 2.5% rate if you meet requirements for Tier One Rewards (which requires having a Alliant High-Rate Checking account and maintaining an average daily balance of $1,000 or more in that account), otherwise you’ll fall into Tier Two and will earn just 1.5% back on all purchases.

6. Most underrated hotel credit card: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Disclosures |
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
on Capital One's secure site
N/A
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$95
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
680 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Why it’s a great hotel card: Instead of being tied to a certain hotel chain, you can book or redeem points for stays in a variety of properties. All other purchases earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. In addition, new cardmembers can earn a enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel.

What to watch out for: Group bookings or reservations including flights or paid at the hotel property do not qualify. Also, know that this card has an annual fee — $95, which may be worthwhile if you travel frequently.

7. Most underrated low interest credit card: Visa Titanium Signature Credit Card

Why it’s a great low interest card: If you need to occasionally carry a balance month to month, the Visa Titanium Signature Credit Card offers an ultra-low APR range of 6.99% - 18.00% variable. This card is offered by the Andrews Federal Credit Union and is limited to members; however, if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months such as a vehicle, apparel or education, you can become a member for free by joining the American Consumer Council. Just use promo code “Andrews.”

What to watch out for: There’s no guarantee you’ll receive the lowest APR once you apply for the card. The APR you receive is based on your creditworthiness, so be prepared to receive an APR anywhere from 6.99% - 18.00% variable.

8. Most underrated store credit card: Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Why it’s a great retail card: If you’re not an Amazon Prime member and prefer to go on “Target runs,” the Target REDcard™ Credit Card can help offset the cost of those purchases. This card has a unique rewards program where you receive a 5% off at Target. In store. Online. Every time. You don’t have to wait until your statement to accumulate points or cash back.

In addition, the Target REDcard™ Credit Card carries a lot of perks for regular Target shoppers — benefit from free shipping, 30 extra days for returns, stacking savings with the store’s Cartwheel app and additional access to promotions and offers.

What to watch out for: The Target REDcard™ Credit Card can only be used in Target stores and online at target.com, and carries a high 22.90% variable APR, so this isn’t a good card to carry a balance month to month.

9. Most underrated student credit card: Discover it® Student Cash Back

Disclosures |
Discover it® Student Cash Back
Discover it® Student Cash Back
on Discover's secure site
0% Intro APR for 6 months on purchases
12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR
$0
5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like
  • INTRO 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! 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.
  • 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. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99% applies.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
600 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Why it’s a great student card: Discover offers two student cards — the Discover it® Student Cash Back and the Discover it® Student chrome — that are great cards for novice users looking to build credit in college.

While the Discover it® Student chrome’s rewards program is geared toward commuter students and students that often dine out (2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically), the Discover it® Student Cash Back is more suited for any student with a rotating cashback program — 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.

Disclosures |
Discover it® Student chrome
Discover it® Student chrome
on Discover's secure site
0% Intro APR for 6 months
12.99% - 21.99% Variable APR
$0
2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000
  • INTRO 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! 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.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Earn rewards while building your credit history that can help you after graduation. And, get your free Credit Scorecard that includes your FICO® Credit Score and important details that help make up your score.
  • No annual fee. No late fee on first late payment. No APR change for paying late.
  • Refer-a-Friend: Once you become a Discover it® Student cardmember, you can earn a statement credit each time you refer a friend and they’re approved. Over half a million students got Discover Cards from their friends' recommendations.
  • Freeze It® on/off switch for your account that prevents new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers in seconds.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, then the standard variable purchase APR of 12.99% - 21.99% applies.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
600 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

What to watch out for: You need to activate the 5% cashback categories each quarter, or you’ll only earn 1% cash back. However, Discover lets you set reminders so you don’t miss out.

10. Most underrated travel credit card: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Disclosures |
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
on Chase's secure site
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
750 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Why it’s a great travel credit card: Compared with the luxury Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card boasts a much more reasonable annual fee of $95 (compared with a $550 annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®) with just a few less perks.

Disclosures |
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
on Chase's secure site
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
750 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Points redeemed for eligible travel at Chase Ultimate Rewards® receive 25% more value. You also have the option to transfer points 1:1 to more than a dozen travel partners, including Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus® and Marriott Rewards®.

What to watch out for: This card is well-rounded and has no major setbacks, but if you plan on making large purchases you want to finance over time, this card doesn’t come with an intro 0% APR offer. While travel cards often lack intro 0% deals, you can find some cards that provide intro 0% APR periods up to 14 months.

The information related to , Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card, Visa Titanium Signature Credit Card, and Target REDcard™ Credit Card have been independently collected by LendingTree and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.