The 14 Best Visa Credit Cards [Travel Rewards, Cash-Back, Business]

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Our topic today focuses on some of the best credit cards issued specifically using the Visa network. The network is one of the world’s largest, processing transactions on over 3 billion (yes, billion) credit cards with over 46 million merchants worldwide.

When you glance at any credit card, you may immediately notice the issuing network to which that card is affiliated. This network is important as it serves as a link between the card issuer and the accepting merchant to facilitate the transactions you make with the card. The network will also be the foundation for some of the benefits you receive on your credit cards.

You’ll find popular card networks such as Mastercard or Visa facilitating transactions for a variety of bank-issued credit cards, however, you’ll also find that all Mastercard and Visa credit cards are not created equal and do not offer all the same features and benefits.

In an effort to sort out some of the best cards available that use the Visa network, we’ve researched a long list of credit cards and zeroed in on some of the best Visa cards in each category.

But before we share our list with you, we want to talk briefly about how the Visa network works, in general, and its relationship to your credit card. This overview will only take a quick minute then we’ll be ready to dive into our take on some of the best Visa credit cards available.

How Does the Visa Network Work?

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom
Financial institutions, such as Chase, use card association networks such as Visa to facilitate transactions. Image Credit: Jeramey Lende via Shutterstock

It’s not necessary to know all the ins and outs of credit card networks, also called card associations, but it is good to have basic knowledge when selecting a credit card as not all networks are accepted universally.

First, Visa is not a credit card issuer but a link between the financial institution that issued your card and the merchant from which you make a purchase. When you use your Visa card, the associated VisaNet payment processing network kicks in and facilitates the transaction.

Visa also offers a collection of core benefits that serve as a menu from which the credit card issuer may choose to offer on each of the individual cards it issues. For example, Visa may offer a roadside dispatch benefit on its menu of available benefits but the card issuer may or may not choose to offer it as a card benefit.

There are 3 levels of Visa benefits — Visa Traditional core benefits, elevated Visa Signature benefits, and the highest level Visa Infinite benefits.

The card issuer (the financial institution) will ultimate decide which of these benefits it will pass along to the cardholder. In addition, it will add its own level of benefits. For example, a card issuer may choose to offer additional benefits such as statement credits for specific purchases, food delivery subscriptions, or airport lounge access membership.

Finally, Visa (and Mastercard) network associations do not issue credit cards but, just so you’re aware, there are other card networks, such as American Express, which serve as both card issuers and as payment processing networks.

We’ll talk about that dual relationship in a subsequent article, but for now, let’s look at some of the best credit cards available that are issued with Visa as the associated network and the benefits you can expect from those cards.

Bottom Line: Visa is a card association network that does not issue credit cards but functions as a payment processor between the merchant from which you make your purchase and the financial institution that issued your card. Visa also offers core benefits that the card issuer can choose to include, or not, on each specific credit card issued. 

The Best Visa Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Priority Pass Home Screen
Travel rewards credit cards may come with perks that can make your travel more comfortable. Image Credit: Priority Pass

Travel rewards credit cards may offer elevated earnings on travel purchases, redemptions that focus on travel, and benefits that can make your travel more comfortable, cost-effective, and with travel-related protections. Also, a good travel rewards card should not charge foreign transaction fees.

Here are some of the best Visa travel rewards credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of our favorite travel rewards credit cards because of its generous welcome bonus and the fact that it earns valuable Ultimate Rewards points. Additionally, you’ll find flexible redemption options that maximize the value of those rewards and a long list of travel and shopping benefits/protections.

Here are just some of the card’s additional key features and benefits:

  • Lower annual fee
  • 5x earnings on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • Earns Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for travel at 1.25 cents per point or transferred to airline/hotel partners for greater potential value
  • Pay Yourself Back at the rate of 1.25 cents per point for grocery store, home improvement, and dining purchases through September 30, 2021 (also eligible charity donations through December 31, 2021)
  • $60 back on qualifying Peloton purchases through 2021
  • Primary collision damage waiver car rental insurance
  • Trip interruption, trip cancellation, and trip delay coverage
  • Baggage insurance
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card shines as a premium travel rewards card with a collection of equally premium travel benefits. While the card does come with a higher annual fee than most of the Visa cards we’re covering here today, you’ll find stellar benefits that, if utilized, can make the card an excellent value.

  • Access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership
  • 10x earnings on Lyft rides and a free year of Lyft Pink membership
  • $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit
  • Earns Ultimate Rewards that can be redeemed for travel at 1.5 cents per point or transferred to airline/hotel partners for greater potential value
  • Pay Yourself Back at the rate of 1.5 cents per point for grocery store, home improvement, and dining purchases through September 30, 2021 and eligible charitable donations and the annual fee through December 31, 2021
  • DoorDash DashPass plus $60 in DoorDash credits in 2021
  • $120 back on qualifying Peloton purchases through 2021
  • Primary collision damage waiver car rental insurance
  • Emergency medical evacuation coverage
  • Trip interruption, trip cancellation, and trip delay coverage
  • Baggage insurance
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Capital One® Venture Rewards® Card

Let’s continue with a rewards-earning card perfect for those who want simplicity when it comes to earning rewards but also want flexibility at redemption time.

Hot Tip: See if you have any pending offers before you apply with the Capital One pre-qualification tool.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Card

While not marketed as a travel rewards card specifically, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card offers several travel-related benefits.

We like the card’s simplicity when earning and redeeming rewards, as well as the elevated earning levels for existing Bank of America customers in the Preferred Rewards program.

The card also comes with a lot of travel benefits for a low $95 annual fee card:

  • Welcome bonus worth hundreds of dollars
  • Lower annual fee
  • 2x points earned on travel and dining
  • 1.5x points on all other purchases
  • Eligible existing Bank of America customers qualify for up to 3.5x earnings
  • Redeem points for cash-back, statement credits, credit to Merrill account, or to purchase travel
  • $100 airline incidentals statement credit each year
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Emergency medical evacuation coverage
  • Secondary collision damage waiver car rental insurance
  • Trip interruption/cancellation/delay coverage
  • Baggage insurance
  • Purchase protection

Bottom Line: Travel rewards credit cards offer earnings, redemption, and benefits that have a travel-specific focus. For example, you’ll find greater earnings on travel purchases, redemption options that include flights/hotels, and benefits that can make your travel more comfortable, such as lounge access, rebates on expedited security services, and travel-specific insurance coverage. 

The Best Visa Cash-Back Credit Cards

Person Counting Money
Cash-back is one of the most flexible rewards you can earn. Image Credit: Sharon McCutcheon via Unsplash

There’s certainly no shortage of cash-back earning credit cards associated with the Visa card network. You won’t find a rewards category more flexible than cash-back, especially at redemption time.

Let’s look at the Visa cards that work well in this category.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

There’s a certain freedom (pun intended) in knowing you can pull your Freedom Unlimited card from your wallet and earn well on most everyday purchases. The card could also quickly become your go-to card for large purchases that don’t fall into any bonus category earnings.

For a Visa card with no annual fee, the Freedom Unlimited card is a surprising little powerhouse of earning, redemption, and benefit options.

  • 5% cash-back for new cardholders on grocery store purchases for 1 year from card approval
  • 5% cash-back on travel via the Chase travel portal
  • 3% cash-back on dining and at drug stores
  • 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases
  • Redeem rewards for travel, cash-back, merchandise, gift cards
  • Transfer points to premium Chase cards for extra redemption power, up to 50% more
  • Secondary car rental collision damage waiver insurance
  • Shopping protections such as purchase protection and extended warranty

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you’re not a big spender but want to earn rewards on the purchases you do make, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card might be a fit. We like that you can select your own bonus earning categories for top earnings and that the card has no annual fee.

While the card doesn’t come with a lot of travel and shopping benefits, it does offer nice earnings in popular everyday spending categories.

  • Welcome bonus
  • 3% cash-back in the category of your choice including gas stations, online shopping, drug stores, home improvement/furnishings, dining, or travel
  • 2% cash-back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 3% and 2% bonus categories combined limit is $2,500 in purchases per quarter
  • Eligible Bank of America Preferred Rewards customers can qualify for up to 5.25% earnings ($2,500 limit per quarter applies)
  • Unlimited 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • 0% APR on purchases for first 12 billing cycles
  • 0% APR on balance transfers made in the first 60 days after card approval for 12 billing cycles
  • Visa Signature benefits such as secondary car rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

For the consumer who wants flexibility in selecting their own cash-back bonus-earning categories, the U.S. Bank Cash+ Signature card offers this creative solution.

We like this Visa cash-back card for its ability to earn well on everyday purchases.

  • Welcome bonus, typically $150 to $200
  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited 2% cash-back earnings at grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants
  • 5% cash-back on your choice of (2) select bonus categories, up to $2,000 per quarter (see option choices below)
  • Redeem rewards for a statement credit, gift card, or deposit into a U.S. Bank account
  • Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles for balances transfer in the first 60 days after card approval (fees apply)
  • Visa Signature benefits such as car rental collision damage waiver, roadside dispatch, purchase protection, and extended warranty

5% cash-back categories, from which to select, include the following:

Bottom Line: You’ll find a generous selection of cash-back rewards earning cards that utilize the Visa network. Keep in mind, however, that most Visa cash-back rewards cards, including the cards mentioned above, work well domestically but charge foreign transaction fees, so not every card may be suitable for international use. 

The Best Visa Business Credit Cards

Retail storefront
Every business can benefit from the right Visa business credit card. Image Credit: Christine Krzyszton

If you have a business, even a small business, you know the importance a business credit card can play in running your operation. Fortunately, some of the best business credit cards utilize the Visa network.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options.

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.
  • $2,000
  • 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.

We like the elevated 3x earnings on common business purchases and the fact that every purchase you make earns rewards. We also like that the Ink Business Preferred card features plenty of additional value-added benefits.

  • Lower annual fee and very generous welcome bonus
  • 5x earnings on Lyft purchases through March 2022
  • Transfer points to hotel or airline partners for potentially greater value
  • Free employee cards
  • Cell phone protection
  • Trip interruption, trip cancellation, and trip delay coverage
  • Primary car rental insurance coverage
  • Baggage insurance
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

We like that the Ink Business Cash card earns 2% and 5% on common business purchases, up to $25,000 each year in each percent category, and the card comes with plenty of travel/shopping benefits.

  • Generous welcome bonus for a no annual fee card
  • Earns Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for travel or statement credits at good value
  • Transfer points to premium Chase rewards cards for greater potential redemption value
  • Free employee cards
  • Primary collision damage waiver car rental insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Roadside dispatch service
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

You’re a busy business owner with little time to keep track of bonus categories or complicated earning structures. The Ink Business Unlimited card won’t bog you down with details as every purchase earns at least 1.5% cash-back.

  • Generous welcome bonus for a no annual fee card
  • Ability to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to premium Chase rewards cards for potentially greater value
  • Redeem points for statement credits, travel, or shopping
  • Free employee cards
  • Primary collision damage waiver car rental insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Roadside dispatch service
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Bottom Line: As you may have noticed, some of the best Visa business cards are issued by Chase. To learn more about these options, you’ll want to navigate over to our article on the best Chase business credit cards where we dig deeper into features and benefits. 

The Best Visa Airline- and Hotel-Branded Credit Cards

united ticket agent bag check in
Airline-branded Visa credit cards can include free checked bags and other useful benefits. Image Credit: United

United Explorer℠ Card

If United is your airline of choice, you’ll want to have a United-branded Visa card for earning miles that can be redeemed for free travel, United-specific perks during your travels, and a faster path to elite status.

  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on United, at restaurants, and hotels
  • United-specific benefits including a free checked bag for you and your companion, priority boarding, and a 25% rebate on inflight food/beverage
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit
  • Receive a faster path to United MileagePlus elite status after spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year to waive any PQD (Premium Qualifying Dollar) requirement for up to Platinum Premier elite status
  • Enhanced award ticket availability
  • Trip interruption, cancellation, and delay insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

With its upcoming new affiliation with Oneworld alliance, there are even more reasons to make Alaska Airlines your go-to airline. And if you’re frequenting the airline, you may want to enhance that relationship with a card that will help you earn miles faster and offer perks that can save you money during those travels.

Here’s what you can expect with the Alaska Signature card:

  • Welcome bonus
  • $75 annual fee
  • 3 miles per dollar spent on Alaska Airlines
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Free checked bag for the cardholder and up to 6 traveling companions
  • $99 companion certificate (cardholder pays taxes and fees not to exceed $22)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Hot Tip: The best credit card for airline purchases may not be an airline-branded credit card. Check out our recommendations for alternate cards that still reward your purchases with the airlines, provide travel benefits, and give you greater flexibility at redemption time. 

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

In addition to a generous welcome bonus, elevated earnings at Marriott properties, a free annual hotel night certificate, and complimentary elite status, we like this Marriott Bonvoy-branded Visa because of these additional benefits:

  • Lower annual fee
  • Redeem points for free hotel nights, hotel/air miles packages, or transfer to airline partners
  • Primary car rental insurance
  • Trip delay insurance for delays 12 hours or more
  • Lost, stolen, and delayed baggage protection
  • Roadside assistance dispatch
  • Shopping benefits such as purchase protection and extended warranty

To learn more about all the available Marriott Bonvoy-branded cards and their benefits, our article on the best Marriott Bonvoy cards will have all the information you need to find the best match no matter your level of Marriott loyalist.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

While the Hyatt footprint isn’t as expansive as some of the bigger hotel chains, what it lacks in numbers of properties, it makes up for in the quality of experience and its popular World of Hyatt loyalty rewards program.

If you stay at Hyatt properties, even occasionally, you’ll want to glance at what the Hyatt Credit Card has to offer:

  • Welcome bonus
  • 4 points per dollar spent at Hyatt properties
  • 2 points per dollar spent on dining, airfare purchased directly from the airlines, fitness and gym membership, and local transit
  • Complimentary Discoverist elite status
  • Free hotel night certificate at card anniversary for a Category 1 to 4 hotel
  • Additional free hotel night certificate after spending $15,000 each calendar year
  • 5 elite tier night credits towards elite status each calendar year
  • Earn 2 additional elite tier nights for each $5,000 spent on the card
  • Trip cancellation, trip interruption, and trip delay coverage
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Bottom Line: There are plenty of worthwhile hotel credit cards, of which these are just 2 examples. If you frequent a particular brand, it makes sense to explore associated credit cards that align with loyalty programs and provide benefits with that hotel group. You’ll find a wealth of information for doing so in our article featuring some of the best hotel-branded cards.

Final Thoughts

It’s good to have a basic understanding of what a card network is and the relationship it has to your credit card.

It’s also good to understand the acceptance each card network has worldwide, and be sure to have cards that utilize various networks, especially when traveling.

If you only have cards, for example, that use and are issued by the American Express network, you may be inconvenienced if American Express is not accepted by a particular merchant.

With one of the world’s largest processing networks, it would be prudent to have at least 1 card that utilizes the Visa network as a staple in your wallet.

Please note there are so many worthy Visa cards we have not mentioned — there are just too many. Also, we have not included all available card benefits and the descriptions have been abbreviated. You’ll want to reference the Guide to Benefits for each card for specific benefits and the terms and conditions that apply.

Finally, you’ll note that the best Visa credit cards we’ve selected are not always the ones with the most benefits (or highest annual fees). We’ve selected Visa cards that offer a balance between the 2 factors and therefore the potential to deliver overall good value.

The best Visa card for you, however, will be 1 that matches your spending profile, has benefits that will outweigh any annual fee you’re willing to pay, and that has redemption options fitting your objectives.


Frequently asked questions

Which is the best Visa card?

The best Visa card will be different for each individual consumer. Since there are so many Visa cards from which to choose, selecting the 1 that matches your spending habits and redemption objectives is key.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re comfortable with the annual fee and determine if you can use the card’s offered benefits.

If a Visa card matches all those criteria, it may be the best Visa card for you.

Which is better --- Visa or Mastercard?

You can’t go wrong with either card network as both are widely accepted throughout the world, especially compared to American Express or Discover.

Even domestically, both Visa and Mastercard networks are equally good choices.

Does Visa issue credit cards?

Visa is a payment processing network and does not issue credit cards. Financial institutions use the Visa card payment network to facilitate the transactions you make when you use your credit card to make a purchase with a merchant.

How can I make a Visa credit card payment?

You can access your Visa credit card account online at the website of the financial institution that issued your Visa credit card.

You can also call the number on the back of your Visa credit card or stop by your financial institution’s branch location. Additionally, you could mail your payment to the address on your statement.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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