The best credit cards to apply for in July 2019

best credit cards
Image credit: Shutterstock
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

One could easily argue that the credit card is one of the best bits of tech to come to the world of shopping in the last forty-odd years...and it's still going strong. In fact you can now use credit cards in more places, get greater benefits and do it all with the most ease ever. But you probably already know that as you're here looking for the very best credit card for you.

That's a smart move as you may have noticed there are a lot of options out there – you've come to the right place to find the best credit card for your needs. You might be in the market for a new TV, want to buy a smartphone outright to avoid a contract, or perhaps you're simply collecting air miles for that free holiday.

Whatever your goal there is likely a credit card to apply for perfectly suited to offer you more for your spend. Get it right and you could end up swimming in what feels like free money and all you have to do is buy the thing you wanted to get anyway. So here's what you need to know.

TechRadar has partnered with The Points Guy Affiliate Network for our coverage of credit products. TechRadar and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

Overall best credit cards

The best all-round card options for use in varying situations so you get maximum benefits no matter what you're doing.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
$1,200 bonus value* | $95 annual fee
This Chase credit card is an absolute crowd pleaser across the board. The stand out feature is that you'll automatically earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening - that's at least $750 towards travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. There's also double points available on travel and dining worldwide and no foreign transaction fees. 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
$700 bonus value* | $95 annual fee (waived for the first year)
This top pick from Capital One keeps things nice and simple - generally speaking you're looking at handsome redemption of points against travel purchases. We particularly like the way you can get 10x miles when booked and paid via Hotels.com/venture. And that's all after the welcome bonus for this card, which comprises 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

The Platinum® Card from American Express
$1,200 bonus value* | $550 annual fee
The benefits of the Amex Plantinum Card seem to just keep on coming. In addition to the 60,000 points you'll get after you spend $5,000 in the first three months (terms apply), other perks include up to $200 airline fee credit to cover incidental fees, up to $200 annual Uber credits, up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit and $250 lounge access (terms apply).

Best business credit cards

Regularly spending on the company account could mean you're entitled to benefits that these cards can offer you.

(Image credit: Chase)

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
$1,600 bonus value* | $95 annual fee
Chase leads the way in our list of recommended best business credit cards, especially if you're a small business owner - the reasons are many. It starts with the meaty 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months - estimated to be worth $1,600. And there are plenty more points to be earned when you spend on travel, taxis, shipping, internet, phone services, advertising...the list goes on!

(Image credit: American Express)

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
$1,500 bonus value* | $595 annual fee
Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.

(Image credit: Capital One)

Capital One Spark Cash for Business
$500 bonus value* | $95 annual fee (waived for first year)
Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. Additional perks include free employee cards, no foreign transaction fees and, primary car rental coverage (if your rental is for business purposes).

* Bonus value is based on valuations from The Points Guy 

Best credit cards for air miles

Build up free air miles using these credit cards so you can save money on future flights and even get in the skies for free.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
30,000 bonus miles | $0 introductory annual fee for the first year then $95
Earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Plus, $50 statement credit after first Delta purchase on the card in the first three months.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
35,000 bonus miles | $195 annual fee
Earn 35,000 bonus miles, plus 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Plus, $100 statement credit after first Delta purchase on the card in the first three months.

(Image credit: United)

United Explorer Card
40,000 bonus miles | $95 annual fee (waived for first year)
40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. 2x miles on United purchases and at restaurants and hotels and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. One free checked bag when you use the card to pay for your United flights and priority boarding also available.

Best credit cards for cash back

Ideal cards for making big purchases where you want to get a percentage back as a reward for spending on these cards.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
1% flat-rate cashback | $95 annual fee (waived for first year)
When it comes to the best cashback credit cards, we love the many and varied ways that this Capital One card lets you rack it up. 4% on dining and entertainment; 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. Sit back and watch the cashback roll in.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
1% flat-rate cashback | $0 annual fee
3x points on dining, travel and select streaming services (points are worth 1 cent apiece).

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
1% flat-rate cashback | $95 annual fee
6% on purchases at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending each reward year, then 1%) and on select US streaming subscriptions; 3% on transit and at US gas stations.

Credit cards FAQ

Is a credit card a good idea? What are the pros and cons?

A credit card can be a great idea if used responsibly. You are essentially taking a loan which you have to pay back. So the best advice is to say that unless you have the money ready to pay this back on time then don't get a credit card. Presuming you do have the money, or know you'll have it in time to pay back the amount borrowed before interest is taken, then a credit card can be very good.

A credit card can offer rewards for spending including air miles, hotel stays, cashback, priority entry, spa days and plenty more. If you were already going to be making a purchase anyway, with cash, then you might as well do so with a credit card and reap some rewards at the same time. 

The only hassle is that you must remember to pay off the credit card before interest begins to be charged as then you could end up paying more than you would have if you'd just used cash up front.

Is it worth getting a credit card - what are the benefits?

If you're going to make a purchase anyway then it could be a good idea to do so using a credit card so you get some benefits. If you're going on holiday, or a business trip, and want to earn air miles then a credit card that offers these is a great way to build up miles so next trip you could fly for less, or even free. Book your hotel using a hotel specific credit card and get benefits like extra nights, complementary treatments and more.

Perhaps you're about to buy that top-spec best TV you've had your eye on since TechRadar broke the news on its release.?If you buy with a cashback credit card then you may end up getting back a percentage that means you save money where you wouldn't have using cash alone.

How should I choose the best credit card for me?

You've probably already worked out that different credit cards offer different benefits. So the first thing to do is narrow down what you are using this for. There are special credit cards that offer more benefits if you use them for their specific purchase. These include air miles, hotels, cashback and business purchases. 

Once you've got the category you want, or multiple, then you need to look at things like the best rate for you, if there is a charge for the card, where you can spend the points, any limits that apply and specific benefits. Some cards do offer a more all-round selection of benefits for things like fuel, groceries and big purchases so that could also be a consideration as a more day-to-day card. 

How do air miles and travel rewards work with credit cards?

There are quite a few air miles and hotel rewards credit cards. These convert the amount you've spent into air miles or staytime in hotels. There are benefits if you stick to the same airline or hotel when you spend as this can often mean you get a better rate and can enjoy things like priority boarding, lounge access or fast check-in. 

Many cards do let you transfer air miles to different airlines which can be invaluable if you don't have a specific trip in mind at the time of spending. Some cards also offer free extra bag check-in, preferred boarding and discounts on larger amounts spent, so do keep that in mind when picking the right card for you.

How are business credit cards different?

Business purchases can be big so there is huge potential to save money and earn rewards by using a business credit card. Aside from things like managing credit, having purchasing power immediately and keeping spending secure, there are plenty more business credit card benefits. While these cards do offer rewards like air miles, they also have more business specific advantages like savings on fuel, advertising and even stationary.

Card suppliers work with companies to offer business focused benefits from things like office space supplier WeWork credit to computer maker Dell savings. Lots of business cards also offer greater rewards for larger amounts spent, and since that is likely for a business, these cards could be very beneficial. 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.