We all want the credit card with the best rewards. But even the most enticing rewards may be linked to a credit card that does not meet our needs.

Years ago, I signed up for an airline-rewards credit card hoping the points would earn me a free flight every year. But as the years passed, I only redeemed a ticket or two – hardly enough to justify the annual fee. And booking on points was a drag. Between black-out dates and needing to book way in advance to nab the seats set aside for points travelers, I felt so limited.

The truth is, it wasn’t a bad credit card. My friend had the same one and consistently redeemed one free ticket per year. The reason: His spending and travel patterns helped him get the most out of his card. My lifestyle didn’t. I needed a new credit card – one that rewarded my unique spending style.

If you also find the plastic in your wallet lacking, there’s good news. Among the vast selection of credit cards, there is probably a card or two tailored just for your needs. Maybe you want to see your rewards in cold, hard cash. Or perhaps you want the simplicity of a card with no annual fee.

No matter what kind of plastic you need, this month, Money Magazine and NerdWallet.com have ranked the year’s best credit cards for you. Some offer hefty cash-back rewards for essentials like grocery shopping, gas or cell phone bills. Others offer handsome sign-up bonuses, high mileage rewards and flexibility when redeeming airline miles.

The full list can be found at Money Magazine. It includes pertinent details like APR, annual fees, rewards, and the card’s specific advantages and drawbacks. It also explains why it can be helpful to carry a few cards, and which combinations help you reap the biggest rewards. And if you’re currently shopping for a credit card and want to quickly find your best options, try Money Magazine’s Credit Card Matchmaker. Answer a few questions about what you’re looking for, and it will narrow down which options might suit you best.

Cash-back &Best flat-rate rewards (tie)

Citi Double Cash Card

Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express

Best for essentials

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

Best 5% card (tie)

U.S. Bank Cash Plus

Chase Freedom

Travel & Best travel rewards/best for travel abroad

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite

Best for miles hounds/best sign-up bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best for hotel perks

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest

Best for rewards

Chase Ink Cash

Best for business borrowing

U.S. Bank Business Edge Platinum

Best for 0% balance transfer

Chase Slate

Lowest APR

Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Visa

Best for 0% on new purchases

Citi Simplicity


Northwest FCU FirstCard

Best card for online shopping

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