Whether you’re hoping to save money on travel or looking for the best cash back rewards, these top family credit cards will help you handle the everyday tasks that keep your family going.
If you’ve got kids, you’ve probably spent a lot of time researching everything from the best brand of diapers to the best after-school activities – but you might not have asked yourself whether you’re currently carrying one of the best credit cards for families. There are numerous rewards credit cards that offer family-friendly benefits, from cash back on groceries and gas to the opportunity to earn rewards from your Amazon.com purchases.
Whether you’re hoping to save money on travel or looking for the best cash back rewards, these top family credit cards will help you handle the everyday tasks that keep your family going. Remember, every penny counts when you’re raising a family – and these credit cards can help you both save and earn money on nearly every purchase.
Best credit cards for families
Best credit card for new parents
Our rating: 3.6 out of 5
Our take: If you’re looking for a good way to save on ongoing purchases for your new family (hint, hint – diaper subscriptions) the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card’s 5% back on Amazon purchases can score you low prices on a lot of baby essentials.
Whether you’ve just welcomed a new baby into your home or you’re preparing for the challenge of parenthood, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card can help you save money on baby essentials – and buy a few treats for yourself as well.
The Amazon Prime Rewards card offers 5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases, whether you’re grabbing cupcakes for the baby shower or signing up for a diaper subscription. (If you haven’t checked out all of the discounts available to new parents through Amazon Family, you’ll want to take a look.) You also earn 2% back on restaurant, gas station and drug store purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Plus, you’ll get a $70 Amazon.com gift card as soon as your application is approved.
You’ll need an eligible Amazon Prime membership in order to apply for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, so if you’re not interested in using Amazon Prime, this might not be the best card for you. However, many new parents swear by Amazon, using its Amazon Family discounts and its Subscribe and Save options to get baby products shipped directly to their door – and this card can help you save even more money on your Amazon purchases.
Best credit card for family travel
Our rating: 4.6 out of 5
Our take: The Sapphire Reserve card’s rewards and perks can cut the cost of travel for families with a lot of members in tow. Not to mention, you can transfer points to family-friendly Southwest Airlines.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the top travel credit cards on the market – and yes, it comes with a $550 annual fee. However, it’s still a good choice for families that travel on a regular basis because of all the points and perks that come with card ownership.
Let’s start with the points. You’ll earn 3x points on travel and restaurants, 1 point per dollar on general purchases and 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. These points increase in value by 50% when you redeem them for travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. If you have the Chase Freedom® or the Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card, you can transfer the rewards you earn on those cards to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to get even more value out of your points.
You can also transfer your Chase points to select frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio, including family-friendly Southwest Airlines. With enough points, your family could fly for nearly free.
The card’s perks, including the $300 annual travel credit that applies to most travel purchases, can easily offset its annual fee each year. If you want to raise a savvy traveling family, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card can help you along your journey.
Best credit card for groceries
Our rating: 4.3 out of 5
Our take: Despite its high ongoing annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred card is one of our favorite cards for families: It offers a generous point bonus on U.S. gas station spending and one of the highest cash back bonuses you can get on U.S. supermarket purchases.
If you spend a lot of money on groceries and gas – and most families do – the Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express is ready to reward your spending. With 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets for up to $6,000 in purchases per year, 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit, you can put a significant amount of cash back in your pocket.
In addition to earning one of the highest cash back percentages available on groceries, for a limited time you’ll also earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in your first six months of card ownership (offer expires 12/10/20). Plus, any purchase that doesn’t come with a better cash back reward automatically earns 1% cash back.
Yes, this credit card has a $95 annual fee ($0 in first year for a limited time until 12/10/20), but it’ll only take $1,584 in grocery purchases to earn that back in cash back rewards. Any rewards you earn after that will be gravy – or lunch meat, sandwich bread and cereal. We consider it one of our favorite cash back cards for families.
Best credit card for everyday spending
Our rating: 4.1 out of 5
Our take: If you’re too busy with family life to worry about credit card rewards, the Citi Double Cash may be the card for you: It lets you earn a consistently high rate of cash back on all your purchases.
While travel rewards and cash back cards with bonus categories can be a great way for families to maximize rewards on household purchases, let’s face it: A lot of families (especially those with young children) may be too consumed with juggling a surplus of responsibilities to throw a complicated rewards card into the mix. Plus, if you’re focused on raising kids or preparing for a new baby, jets-setting around the world on credit card points may not be in the plans for the moment. That’s where the Citi Double Cash card comes in.
The Citi Double Cash card is a great rewards card for busy families because it allows you to earn a high flat-rate of cash back on all your spending: 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% cash back if you pay off your purchases by the due date. This give you an incentive to pay your bill on time, and you can use all those cash rewards to shave some dollars off your expenses.
Best credit card for military families
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5
Our take: The Amex Platinum card boasts some of the best perks around, including access to a luxurious line of airport lounges and up to $200 in Uber credits each year. Best of all, its annual fee is waived for military members.
With a $550 annual fee, the Platinum Card® from American Express might seem like one of those travel credit cards that’s only for frequent flyers or big spenders, but it’s also an excellent credit card for military families. Why? Because American Express waives its annual fees for military members, which makes this high-rewards travel card a lot more affordable.
Once you’ve got the Platinum Card in your wallet, you’ll get 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets (up to $15,000 in combined purchases) during your first six months, and 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines. You’ll also get 5x points on flights and eligible hotels booked through Amextravel.com. You’ll earn 1 point per dollar on the rest of your purchases, plus 75,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 in the first six months. You’ll also get access to a mountain of valuable travel credits, including a $200 airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits each year, which can help cut both the costs of traveling and getting around town.
If you’re a military family that does any kind of travel – whether you’re visiting the grandparents or taking the kids to Walt Disney World – this credit card is a must-have.
Best credit card for student families
Our rating: 4.2 out of 5
Our take: For student families, the Discover it Student Cash Back is easy to qualify for and offers student-friendly rewards, including 5% cash back on rotating purchases and a $20 good-grade reward each year.
If you’re raising a family while getting a degree, you’re going to want a student credit card that rewards your hard work and your good grades. The Discover it® Student Cash Back card offers a $20 statement credit every year you keep your grades above a 3.0, and you can earn that credit for up to five consecutive years.
Plus, you’ll earn 5% cash back when you activate quarterly rotating categories like gas stations, grocery stores and Amazon.com, for up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
At the end of your first year as a card member, Discover’s Cashback Match program will automatically match all of the cash you’ve earned over the course of the year – so if you max out Discover’s 5% bonus category in the first year, you’ll earn $600 in bonus cash: $300 through the 5% bonus, plus $300 in matching cash.
With a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first six months (12.99% – 21.99% variable APR thereafter) and no penalty APR if you miss a payment, the Discover it Student Cash Back card can help you balance family, work and studies while earning high-level rewards in the process.
Compare best credit cards for families
|Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card||$0 (but $119 Prime membership required)|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||$550|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020 ($0 first year for a limited time until 12/10/20)|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||$0|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$550 (waived for military members)|
|Discover it® Student Cash Back||$0|
How to choose a credit card for your family
- Ask yourself what you hope to get out of your credit card. Do you want to save money on Amazon purchases or would you rather earn points on travel? Look at your spending history to see where your money goes, and then look for a card that rewards that type of spending.
- For that matter, keep an eye out for cards with bonuses on spending categories that are especially family-friendly. Gas and grocery cards can be very lucrative for families.
- Get familiar with different types of credit card rewards. The best credit cards for child care costs might be different than the best credit cards for Disney trips.
- Learn which credit card are most appropriate for your current stage of family life. Invest in a travel credit card when your kids are old enough to enjoy family trips. When they get a little older, look for a card that lets you add teens as authorized users.
- A travel credit card is an excellent choice for frequent travelers; if you only travel once or twice a year, you might be better served with a cash back credit card.
- When looking at travel credit cards, consider the perks as well as the rewards. For instance, an airline card with a free baggage benefit can save you hundreds of dollars in baggage fees if you travel often with your family.
- Look for flexible travel rewards programs – especially ones that don’t charge booking fees – to boost your likelihood of finding multiple seats available during busy flight times. (The Southwest Rapid Rewards program is especially flexible.)
- Airline credit cards with companion passes can also save you money on flying with family members.
- Look for cards with credits toward TSA Precheck and Global Entry – this family-friendly perk can help your family get through security lines faster. (Plus, everyone gets to keep their shoes on.)
- Remember that you can always apply for both a travel credit card and a cash back credit card!
Is an annual fee worth it?
- Annual fees work well if you earn enough rewards to cover the cost of the fee (and then some).
- Take a look at your spending history to see how many credit card rewards you might earn during a typical month or year. Often, the value of rewards and perks can easily make up for the annual fee.
- If you won’t earn enough rewards to cover the annual fee, many credit issuers offer a no-fee version of their most popular cards. These no-fee cards earn fewer rewards than the annual fee versions, but they’re still great options.
Tips for maximizing cash back rewards
- Keep track of which credit card offers the best cash back rewards by category. If you have a card that earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases and another card that earns 6% cash back on groceries, use the 6% cash back card when you go grocery shopping. Use the 1.5% cash back card on any purchase that won’t get a higher yield from another card.
- If your card offers a cash back bonus for customers who make a certain number of purchases in the first few months of card ownership, make sure you spend enough money to earn your bonus. These sign-up bonuses are often the most valuable rewards that come with your card.
- If you have a cash back card with rotating quarterly bonus categories, make sure to activate those categories every quarter. Otherwise, you won’t earn your bonus cash back on those purchases.
How to make the most of a travel rewards card
- If you want to bank as many rewards as possible, use your travel credit card for every purchase – and make sure you earn your sign-up bonus.
- Get really familiar with the way points and miles work. Can you transfer your rewards to another loyalty program? Will you get the most out of your rewards if you book travel through your credit card’s rewards portal?
- Don’t put off your trips. Even if your points “never expire,” you won’t reap the benefits of a travel rewards card unless you actually travel – so take those vacations.
- Enroll all your family members in your frequent flyer program to ensure you earn points/miles on every seat on your reservation.
The bottom line
There are many excellent credit cards for families, so take advantage of these high-reward credit card offers and start saving money on groceries, gas, Amazon.com and more. Whether you sign up for a diaper subscription or book holiday travel with points, there are plenty of ways to use credit cards to simplify your family’s shopping and spending.
Just make sure you use your new credit cards responsibly – and if you need a little extra incentive to sign up for one of these top cards and start incorporating it into your day-to-day life, remember that you’re setting a good financial example for your children.