11 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees Under $100 [2021]

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We’ve all seen annual fees for certain credit cards slowly creep up over the years. If you’re looking to make a change to your portfolio, one of the biggest aspects of a credit card you should consider is the annual fee.

Whether you’re considering upgrading from a no-frills credit card without an annual fee or downgrading from an ultra-premium credit card you can’t justify the high annual fee for, there’s plenty of reasons why you would want to stick to a card with an annual fee of around $100.

That’s because banks and credit card issuers have invested billions of dollars to innovate in this space, as the “premium credit card” customer segment with annual fees of under $100 tends to have the most headspace for growth.

So in this guide, we’ll show you the best credit cards with annual fees under $100, whether you’re looking for maximum transferable rewards points, cash-back, or travel perks!

What To Look for in a Credit Card With an Annual Fee Under $100

When you look at a credit card with an annual fee, the most common range of annual fees is within the ballpark of $95 to $99.

And it’s generally pretty well-known that this is the largest segment in the context of credit card rewards enthusiasts.

So while those ultra-premium cards with massive annual fees (and similarly massive benefits) are frequently written about in blogs and articles, the reality is that premium credit cards are more applicable than ultra-premium cards.

When looking for a credit card with an annual fee under $100, you’ll want to make sure that the value you’re getting from the rewards and benefits exceeds the cost of the annual fee.

In this next section, we’ll walk you through our favorite personal cards with an annual fee under $100.

The 5 Best Personal Credit Cards With an Annual Fee Under $100

Credit card wallet
Image Credit: Goumbik via Pixabay

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Our top pick of the best personal credit card with an annual fee under $100 is the legendary Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Also known in the points realm as the best beginner rewards credit card, you’ll find some tremendous value in the perks offered here.

Then, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns according to the following structure:

  • 5x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on Lyft purchases through March 2022
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points on all other travel purchases
  • 1x Ultimate Rewards points everywhere else

According to our valuation of 2 cents per point, your Chase Sapphire Preferred card could net you a return on spend of 10%, 4%, or 2%, depending on what type of purchases you’re making.

Furthermore, you’ll get a complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription, as well as a $60 statement credit through December 31, 2021, on a Peloton Digital or All Access Membership.

One of the biggest perks is the ability to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for 25% more value (1.25 cents per point) on travel booked via the Chase travel portal.

To round out the benefits, you’ll have best-in-class travel insurance and protections, including primary rental car coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay insurance, lost/delayed baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, as well as essential shopping safeguards like purchase protection, extended warranty, and zero fraud liability.

Why We Like Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

The points that you earn on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card are called Ultimate Rewards points; since these are some of the most valuable points in the world, it’s in your best interest to learn how to redeem them for maximum value.

Once you’ve stockpiled enough points, you can then use them for cash-back, travel booked through the Chase travel portal, gift cards, charity, merchandise, and most importantly, premium cabin flights booked through transfer partners.

2. Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier card offers the absolute best earning categories for a mid-tier points credit card. Why?

You can earn 3x ThankYou Rewards Points per $1 spent in many different categories, including airfare, hotels, dining, supermarkets, and gas. You’ll earn 1x ThankYou Rewards Points per $1 spent everywhere else.

We have a huge appreciation for this for a couple of reasons:

  1. Earning 3x transferable rewards points on a credit card with an annual fee under $100 is rare
  2. The sheer variety of bonus categories makes this one of the most attractive cards to keep in your wallet forever

A few other perks include a $100 annual hotel savings benefit, which gets you $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, when your booking is made via thankyou.com or 800-THANKYOU (once per calendar year).

While you won’t get travel protections and coverage like you would with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you will still have benefits like Citi Concierge, Citi Entertainment, and standard World Elite Mastercard benefits like purchase protection, extended warranty coverage, and zero fraud liability protection. There are also no foreign transaction fees.

Why We Like Earning Citi ThankYou Rewards Points

Citi ThankYou Rewards points are among the world’s most valuable types of points — it’s also one of the major transferable rewards points, which means that these points can be transferred to airline partners for award travel.

By doing so, you can unlock some aspirational first and business class travel!

Other ways to redeem points include travel booked with the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal, gift cards, statement credits, charity, Sears Shop Your Way, or even mortgage and student loan payments!

3. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The CapOne Venture card is Capital One’s flagship rewards credit card, offering fantastic rewards with the possibility of redeeming them for more complex uses or sticking to the basics.

It also boasts an unlimited 2x Capital One miles on all purchases without any caps. That means this credit card allows you to earn rewards headache-free on all purchases without worrying about what types of purchases you make!

In addition, you’ll be able to make use of the $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, which is very rare among credit cards with sub-$100 annual fees. Similarly, you’ll get travel protections such as secondary rental car coverage, lost baggage insurance, roadside dispatch, and travel accident insurance.

Lastly, you can utilize the purchase security, extended warranty protection, zero fraud liability, and, of course, access to the transferable rewards program known as Capital One Miles.

Why We Like Earning Capital One Miles

Although Capital One miles aren’t quite as valuable as Amex or Chase points, they’re still one of the handful of flexible rewards systems out there, and they’re worth around 1.4 cents each, which makes a 2x earning structure equal to a 2.8% return on spend!

But it’s super-easy to get even better value by transferring Capital One miles to travel partners to book luxury flights like Lufthansa first class and American Airlines business class.

4. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

One of our favorite cash-back credit cards happens to be a card with an annual fee under $100.

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card has a ton of benefits and perks going for it. If you’d generally describe yourself as someone pursuing cash-back, who doesn’t eat out much, and who spends a good chunk of money on at-home monthly subscriptions, this card could be an awesome fit for you.

You’ll earn up to 6% following this structure:

  • 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases; then 1%
  • 6% cash-back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash-back on transit (including taxes, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more)
  • 3% cash-back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

Also, be sure to make use of the return protection, fraud protection, and secondary rental car coverage!

5. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

The Hilton Surpass card is a tremendous credit card for those looking to enjoy premium hotel benefits without a huge price tag.

You can easily earn with this card’s massive earning structure:

  • 12x Hilton Honors points per $1 spent for eligible purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio
  • 6x Hilton Honors points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
  • 3x Hilton Honors points per $1 spent everywhere else

The Hilton Surpass card also offers you complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, which makes this card the only credit card with an annual fee under $100 that bestows a free breakfast benefit!

Additionally, if you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card within a calendar year, you’ll earn a free weekend night reward.

You’ll even get purchase protection, return protection, extended warranty, secondary rental car insurance, and the ability to earn Diamond elite status after spending $40,000 on this card in a calendar year.

Why We Like Earning Hilton Honors Points

Although Hilton Honors points are generally much easier to earn than World of Hyatt points; for example, they are still incredibly valuable.

You can redeem Hilton Honors points for luxury stays at some phenomenal properties like the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, and much more.

We value Hilton points at around 0.5 cents each, which makes earning 12x points equal to a return on spend of 6%! But remember, if you redeem points for luxury stays, you can easily double or even triple your redemption value!

The 6 Best Business Credit Cards With an Annual Fee Under $100

Business credit card
Image Credit: Patrick Tomasso via Shutterstock

1. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Credit CardKey Benefits & Info
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 25% more value when redeeming points through Ultimate Rewards® travel
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $95


Must Reads: For more info on the Ink Business Preferred, see our guides on its benefits, 7 things to do as a new cardholder, and our full review. This is our favorite Chase business credit card.

Our top-notch business credit card with an annual fee under $100 is the Ink Business Preferred card. Often referred to as the king of business credit cards, this incredible product is a keeper for numerous reasons.

This card makes earning points easy with 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases across select business categories each anniversary year. After the $150,000 is maxed out, you’ll revert to 1x points per $1 spent.

These business categories are:

  • Advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines
  • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • Shipping purchases
  • Travel

So if you max out the 3x points on $150,000 in yearly spending, you’ll end up with 450,000 Ultimate Rewards points worth around $9,000, according to our valuations.

And for a limited time through March 2022, you can earn 5x points per $1 spent on Lyft.

And while you’ll want to redeem your points with transfer partners most of the time, you can also use Ultimate Rewards points for 1.25 cents apiece for travel booked through the Chase travel portal.

You’ll also enjoy extra benefits like cell phone protection insurance, travel insurance (including primary rental car coverage), purchase protection and extended warranty coverage, no foreign transaction fees, and free employee cards.

2. Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

The earning structure is simple: get 1.5% cash-back on all business purchases with no caps. And if you convert your cash-back to Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll double your return on spend to 3%, thanks to a valuation of 2 cents per point.

That’s because your 1.5% cash-back is now equivalent to 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points with a credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Plus, the Ink Business Unlimited card currently offers a 0% introductory APR promotion, as well as primary rental car coverage, purchase protection, extended warranty, zero liability fraud coverage, and free employee cards.

3. Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

The Ink Business Cash is an impressive business credit card with relevant spending categories for most businesses. If you’re willing to pay attention to bonus categories in return for a higher earning structure, this might be the card for you.

In contrast with the other 2 Ink cards, however, you can earn up to 5% cash-back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year for internet, cable, and phone services and at office supply stores.

Additionally, you’ll earn up to 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year at gas stations and restaurants. After that, and on all other purchases, you’ll earn 1% cash-back.

With an Ultimate Rewards credit card, though, you can even convert your 5%, 2%, and 1% cash-back to 5x, 2x, and 1x Ultimate Rewards points, for a return on spend of up to 10%!

Other impressive benefits include primary rental car insurance, travel insurance, purchase protection, and free employee cards.

The Ink Business Cash card doesn’t have an annual fee.

4. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Amex Blue Business Plus card is one of the best everyday carry cards in Amex’s portfolio because if you hold this credit card, you will earn 2x Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases (up to $50,000 in purchases per year, 1x points thereafter).

Without any bonus categories, this card offers seamless flexible rewards. It’s also one of the rare $0 annual fee cards that allow you to transfer points to airline and hotel partners! Do be sure to utilize access to Amex Offers, secondary car rental insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty, and even a feature called expanded buying power that allows you to spend past your normal credit limit. Plus, employee cards don’t come with additional fees (see rates and fees).

The only drawback is that your earnings get cut in half after hitting the $50,000 in spending every calendar year.

Why We Like Earning Amex Membership Rewards Points

According to our valuations, Amex Membership Rewards points are the most valuable points available, which is why Amex is a leader in the world of rewards.

Sure, you can redeem your points for cash-back, gift cards, Amex Travel bookings, statement credits, and merchandise, but the real appeal of Amex points is that you can transfer them to travel partners for some phenomenal first and business class flights.

5. Capital One Spark Miles for Business

The CapOne Spark Miles card is Capital One’s flagship business credit card. You’ll earn an uncapped 2x Capital One miles on every purchase — no bonus categories required. You can also earn 5x Capital One miles on hotel and rental car bookings made through Capital One Travel.

In addition, this is one of the few cards the offers its members a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit! Plus, enjoy roadside assistance, extended warranty, purchase protection, zero fraud liability, and free employee cards. Plus, this card has no foreign transaction fees.

6. United℠ Business Card

The United Business card offers an impressive suite of United-centric travel benefits with a shockingly low price tag!

With this product, you’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United purchases, at restaurants including eligible delivery services, gas stations, office supply stores, and on local transit and commuting. On all other purchases, you’ll earn 1 mile per $1 spent.

This card comes with a first free checked bag, 2 United Club 1-time passes per cardmember year, priority boarding privileges, unlimited deliveries for 1 year with DoorDash DashPass (activate by December 31, 2021), and more.

Interestingly, if you have both the United Business card and a personal United credit card, you’ll also receive a 5,000-mile “better together” anniversary bonus!

Included travel coverages include primary rental car coverage, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay coverage, and more.

Plus, shop at ease with purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and free employee cards.

Why We Like Earning United MileagePlus Miles

The United Business card allows you to earn United miles directly, and if you’re looking for a frequent flyer program that offers easy redemptions, does not pass on fuel surcharges, and is approachable, United MileagePlus is a great fit.

In general, you’ll probably end up redeeming more miles, but you’ll likely save a lot of time when trying to figure out how to use them. We value United miles at approximately 1.6 cents each, which makes your return on spending up to 3.2%.

Final Thoughts

Just because your credit card has an annual fee of less than $100 doesn’t necessarily mean that the rewards you earn and the benefits you enjoy will be substantially less than that of an ultra-premium card.

In this guide, we’ve shown you the best credit cards that offer massive rewards without a corresponding gigantic price tag.

In addition, by signing up for some of these credit cards, you’ll get nifty perks like primary rental car insurance, hotel elite status, generous bonus categories, and much more.

The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, and Capital One Spark Miles for Business was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best annual fee credit card?

The best annual fee credit cards under $100 are the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, followed by the Citi Premier card, the CapOne Venture card, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, and the Hilton Surpass card.

The best annual fee business credit cards under $100 are the Ink Business Preferred card, the Ink Business Unlimited card, the Ink Business Cash card, the Amex Blue Business Plus card, the CapOne Spark Miles card, and the United Business card.

Is it good to get credit cards with an annual fee?

In almost all situations, yes. Paying a small annual fee like $100 is absolutely worth it because you’ll get much more back in rewards, as long as you are making regular purchases on the card and are using the card’s other benefits.

Do you have to pay the annual fee on credit card if you don't use it?

Yes, you do. You have to pay for all annual fees as long as the card is open.

How can I avoid paying my credit card annual fee?

The best way to avoid paying a credit card’s annual fee is to close it altogether or downgrade it to a card with no annual fee. For example, if you have a CapOne Venture card with a $95 annual fee and don’t use the card, you can downgrade it to the CapOne VentureOne card, which has no annual fee but fewer benefits.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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