Edited by: Stella Shon
& Kellie Jez
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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 3.8 billion (yes, billion) credit cards with over 100 million merchants worldwide.¹
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.
We’ll expand on some of the top benefits of these Visa cards shortly but first, let’s look at a high-level overview of some of the travel, cash-back, and business benefits you can expect from this collection of some of the best Visa credit cards.
We’ve also listed the annual fee for each card but fees can change so be sure to check for current information prior to applying for any card.
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Note that this is simply an overview of benefits — to learn more about a specific card, you’ll want to read on as we dig deeper into the details.
Let’s look closer at each of our featured Visa credit cards, how the cards earn rewards, your options at redemption time, and additional benefits.
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.
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:
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.
The card fits nicely into the travel rewards card neighborhood with a generous welcome bonus, lots of ways to earn Capital One miles, value at redemption time, and several useful travel/shopping benefits and protections.
Here is just a sampling of the key benefits you’ll find on the 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.
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-annual-fee card:
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.
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.
If you’re not a big spender but want to earn rewards on the purchases you do make, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card might be a fit. We like that you can select your 3% cash-back category (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings) 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.
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.
The card features the following benefits:
5% cash-back categories, from which to select, include the following:
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.
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:
We like that the Ink Business Cash card earns 2% and 5% cash-back on common business purchases, up to $25,000 each year in each percent category, and the card comes with plenty of travel/shopping benefits:
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 and features benefits such as:
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.
With its Oneworld alliance affiliation, 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:
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.
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:
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 Bonvoy loyalist.
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 World of Hyatt card has to offer:
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.
The card issuer (the financial institution) will ultimately 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 talk about this dual relationship in another 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.
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 one 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.
Enrollment required through Capital One website or mobile app. Upon enrollment, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through December 31, 2024. Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g. at Hertz.com) will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier. Additional terms apply.
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.
The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The best Visa card will be different for each individual consumer. Since there are so many Visa cards from which to choose, selecting the one 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.
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.
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.
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.
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