Best Credit Cards for Seniors [2021]

Expenses don’t stop when you’re retired. But the best credit cards for seniors might help you stop on top of your financial goals. Find out how.
Last updated Sep 10, 2021 | By Ben Walker
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The ideal retirement looks different for everyone. You might want to travel more while someone else wants to stay close to home and work on personal projects. There’s no right or wrong answer. But having the freedom to choose what you want to do is key.

It might be more difficult to achieve your retirement goals if your finances aren’t in order. Proper financial planning can help you prepare for the type of retirement you want. This includes choosing the right credit cards to enhance your experiences during your golden years.

If you’re wondering about the best credit cards for seniors, here are some cards worth considering. Each card has different benefits, so choose the ones that most align with your lifestyle and specific needs.

Best credit cards for seniors

In this article

What’s the best credit card for senior citizens?

If you’re a retiree, the best credit card for you is the one that helps you reach your financial goals. This could include wanting to travel more while reducing your overall costs with credit card rewards. Or you might want to supplement your income with a rewards card that earns cash back on everyday spending categories, such as gas, groceries, or dining out.

Whatever your goals are, consider how a credit card can help you reach them. If you want to travel more, does it make sense to get a general travel card or one that earns specific rewards for an airline or hotel? In many cases, it might make sense to get multiple credit cards. For example, you could help maximize your cashback earnings if you had a card for grocery purchases and another card for dining.

Fortunately, there are plenty of credit card options available. As you compare these credit cards, be aware of your financial situation during retirement. If you’re no longer working, you might have less income, and you might be spending more money on certain things in retirement. Choosing the right credit card can help you confront these changes and benefit from them.

8 best credit cards for seniors

Here are the best credit cards for seniors, separated into their top categories:

Card name Best for... Reward details Annual fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Groceries 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases $95 (waived first year) (See rates and fees) (Terms apply)
Chase Sapphire Preferred Travel 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases $95
The Platinum Card® from American Express Premium travel perks 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases $695 (See rates and fees) (Terms apply)
Costco Anywhere Visa Card Gas 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (up to $7,000), 3% on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% on all other Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else $0
Citi Double Cash Card Everyday spending up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay $0
Chase Freedom Flex Dining and drugstores 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases $0
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Airline rewards 2X points for Southwest purchases and 1X points on all other purchases $149
World of Hyatt Credit Card Hotel rewards 9X points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels; 2X points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining, and health purchases; and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else $95

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Best for groceries

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is one of the best credit cards for groceries because of its high earning potential. As a cardmember, you can earn this welcome offer: Earn $150 cash back (in the form of a statement credit) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months; plus, earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months, for up to $200 back. 

This card also offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases.

These earning rates are ideal for common spending categories, which won’t necessarily change during retirement. You’ll likely still have to buy groceries, so earning bonus cashback rewards (in the form of statement credits) for them can be helpful.

Statement credits apply to anything you purchase on your credit card. This makes it easy to discount future purchases, including groceries, travel, or anything else.

Keep in mind that the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has a $95 (waived first year) annual fee. But you could offset that cost fairly easily by earning enough cash back each year and taking advantage of the card’s benefits, such as complimentary car rental loss and damage insurance and return protection on eligible purchases. Or if you prefer a card with a $0 (See rates and fees) annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is also an option to consider.

Read our Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express review.

#1 Cash Back at Supermarkets

Intro Offer

$150 statement credit

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

up to 6% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn $150 cash back after spending $3,000 in the first 6 months
  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months, for up to $200 back
  • 6% cash back on U.S. streaming services and at U.S. supermarkets
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit
  • $95 annual fee. Terms apply.

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee after first year
  • Has foreign transaction fee
Card Details
  • Earn $150 cash back (in the form of a statement credit) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months; plus, earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months, for up to $200 back
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 12 months then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable)
  • Terms apply

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best for travel

The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points on every purchase, has a low $95 annual fee, and comes with a generous sign-up bonus and important travel benefits. This makes it one of the best travel credit cards available.

If you plan to travel frequently during retirement, you likely want a flexible travel card such as this one. As a cardholder, you can earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. You’ll also get 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases. 

Ultimate Rewards points are worth 25% more when redeemed for award flights and award stays at hotels through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Or you can transfer them to Chase transfer partners like JetBlue Airways, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt. 

Travel benefits include a $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, and travel and emergency assistance services. For your purchases, you get purchase protection and extended warranty protection. Each year on your cardmember anniversary, you will also earn bonus points equal to 10% of the total purchases you made in the previous year.

It’s hard to find a better bang for your buck than the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a great alternative. This card earns 2X miles on every purchase, every day, which makes it easy to earn the same rate on any purchase.

Your Venture miles can be redeemed for travel, including flights, hotel stays, or transfers to travel partners. You also get up to a $100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee reimbursement, which immediately offsets the $95 annual fee for the first year.

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

New, Higher Sign Up Bonus - Worth $1250 Toward Travel

Intro Offer

100,000 points

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

up to 5X points

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Best offer ever! 100,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 5X points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee
  • Typically need to spend thousands to reap rewards
Card Details
  • Earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases

The Platinum Card from American Express: Best for premium perks

The Platinum Card from American Express is designed for travelers who can take advantage of its impressive perks and benefits. It has a hefty $695 annual fee, but this card offers plenty of ways to offset the cost. 

This includes the generous welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases during your first 6 months). The Amex Platinum also offers 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

You also receive up to $200 in Uber credits each year, up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credits each year, complimentary access to Priority Pass lounges and Amex Centurion Lounges, and up to a $100 fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Other benefits include automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, Hilton Honors Gold Status, and car rental privileges with Hertz, Avis, and National car rental agencies. Select benefits require enrollment.

Travel and purchase coverages include car rental loss and damage insurance, trip delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, return protection, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage.

Any American Express Membership Rewards points you earn can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, online shopping purchases, statement credits, and transfers to Amex transfer partners. Transfer partners include loyalty programs from major hotel groups and airlines like Hilton Honors, Delta SkyMiles, and Choice Privileges.

Read our American Express Platinum Card review.

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Intro Offer

100,000 Membership Rewards points

Annual Fee

$695

Rewards Rate

up to 5X points

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
  • 10X points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months)
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $200 hotel credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, $200 in Uber Cash, $300 Equinox credit, $200 airline fee credit
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • $695 annual fee. Terms apply.

Drawbacks

  • High annual fee
Card Details
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases during your first 6 months)
  • 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
  • Terms apply

Costco Anywhere Visa Card: Best for gas

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card is one of the best credit cards for gas purchases and an ideal option if you shop at Costco. Buying in bulk can be helpful for cutting down trips to the store, which could save you money on both groceries and gas. But one of this card’s best features is earning 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (up to $7,000), 3% on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% on all other Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else.

These earning rates are some of the best in their respective categories and could be a good fit for many retirees. Travel is a typical expense during retirement, while gas and dining out are common expenses for many people. The cash back you earn with this card is provided each year as a reward certificate and can be redeemed for cash or merchandise at any U.S. Costco warehouse.

This card has a $0 annual fee, but it does require a Costco membership. Benefits include purchase protection on eligible items and exclusive access to Citi Entertainment offers, such as tickets to sporting events, concerts, and dining experiences.

Read our Costco Anywhere Visa Card review.

Earn up to 4% cash back

Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 4% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Up to 4% cash back
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Drawbacks

  • Must be a Costco member
  • Cash back is only redeemed once a year
Card Details
  • Get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events with Citi Entertainment
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (up to $7,000), 3% on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% on all other Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else

Citi Double Cash Card: Best for everyday spending

If you want to earn cash back, but you don’t want to worry about tracking rotating bonus categories, this card could be an excellent option. Retirement is often seen as a time to relax, and the Citi Double Cash card’s straightforward rewards can help you do that.

The Citi Double Cash Card has a $0 annual fee and cardholders can earn cash back twice: 1% when you buy + 1% when you pay. With this card, you’ll also get up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay. Its simple and straightforward earning rate make this one of the best cashback credit cards available.

Because every purchase earns the same amount of cash back, it’s easy to use this card for everyday spending. Watch your rewards build as you buy groceries, work on home improvement projects, and go out to eat. And if you're considering a balance transfer, the Citi Double Cash also offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then your interest rate increases to the regular variable APR.

When you earn enough cash back, redeem it for a statement credit, direct deposit, or a mailed check. You can also convert cash back to Citi ThankYou Points and open up more redemption options.

Read our Citi Double Cash Card review.

Earn Cash Back Twice

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 2% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Foreign transaction fee
  • No sign-up bonus
Card Details
  • Earn cash back twice: 1% when you buy + 1% when you pay
  • up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 18 months then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable)

Chase Freedom Flex: Best for dining and drugstores

The Chase Freedom Flex is an ideal option if you want generous rewards rates with excellent everyday earning potential. You get 3% cash back on purchases from restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores. This bonus cash back can be particularly helpful during retirement if you’re eating out and making frequent trips to the drugstore. In addition, the Freedom Flex has a $0 annual fee and a generous sign-up offer. Cardmembers can earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including target or walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year).

To earn more cash back, you can take advantage of earning 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Chase Freedom categories have included streaming services, internet and cable services, Amazon, Walmart, gas stations, grocery stores, and more.

Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits, direct deposits, Amazon purchases, gift cards, and travel. Benefits include cell phone protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and auto rental collision damage waiver.

Read our Chase Freedom Flex review.

Seriously Powerful Cashback Card

Intro Offer

$200

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 5% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Up to 5% cash back on spending
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $12k your first year)
  • Lyft and DoorDash perks

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee
Card Details
  • Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year)
  • 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 15 months then 14.99% to 23.74% (variable)

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card: Best for airline rewards

If you plan to travel to different destinations during retirement, a card like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card might come in handy. Earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points on purchases can help you save points for award flights with Southwest Airlines. Because Southwest flies nationwide and to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, you have loads of options to choose from.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card has a $149 annual fee, but you can earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. plus, earn 3x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. You’ll also receive a $75 Southwest annual travel credit, 7,500 anniversary bonus miles each year, four complimentary upgraded boardings per year, and 20% back on in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi. With these benefits alone, you’re likely to offset the annual cost.

If you earn enough Rapid Rewards points, you could qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass. This would allow a companion to fly with you on the same Southwest itineraries and have to pay only for the ticket’s taxes and fees.

Rapid Rewards points can be redeemed for Southwest award flights, hotel stays, rental cars, gift cards, and more. If you want more flight destination choices than Southwest offers, many of the best airline credit cards provide further options with other airlines.

Read our Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card review.

Double points on Southwest Airlines flights

Intro Offer

40,000 points

Annual Fee

$149

Rewards Rate

up to 2X points

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Sign-up offer: Earn 40,000 points + 3X points on dining in the first year
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest purchases
  • 7,500 points every year on Cardmember anniversary
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • Four upgraded boardings per year when available

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee
Card Details
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year
  • 2X points for Southwest purchases and 1X points on all other purchases

World of Hyatt Credit Card: Best for hotel rewards

The World of Hyatt Credit Card can help discount your hotel stays on your travels during retirement. Earning World of Hyatt points on purchases can make it easier to save up for award nights at Hyatt hotels worldwide. And with more than 950 hotels and resorts in 67 countries, you can take your pick on where you want to stay.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card has a $95 annual fee. But you can earn up to 60,000 points: 30,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, plus an additional 30,000 points by earning 2 bonus points per $1 spent on purchases that earn 1 bonus point, up to $15,000 spent in the first 6 months of account opening. You also receive a free anniversary night each year to use at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort worldwide. Considering a stay at a Category 4 Hyatt hotel could cost nearly $200 or more, it’s not difficult to offset the annual cost with this benefit alone.

Additional benefits with this card include baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and purchase protection. You can redeem Hyatt points for hotel stays, room upgrades, experiences, car rentals, and transfers to airline partners. If Hyatt doesn’t have a considerable presence in locations where you want to travel, consider one of many cards from the best hotel credit cards to find a solution.

Read our World of Hyatt Credit Card review.

Big bonus points on Hyatt stays

Intro Offer

30,000 points

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

up to 9X points

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Up to 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • Up to 9X points per $1 spent on Hyatt stays
  • 1 free night every year
  • Automatic elite status

Drawbacks

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks some perks of costlier hotel cards
  • No intro 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers
Card Details
  • Earn up to 60,000 points: 30,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, plus an additional 30,000 points by earning 2 bonus points per $1 spent on purchases that earn 1 bonus point, up to $15,000 spent in the first 6 months
  • 9X points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels; 2X points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining, and health purchases; and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else

Why we chose these cards (methodology)

Older adults are typically transitioning or about to transition into a different lifestyle than they’ve been used to for years, possibly decades. This might involve ending full-time employment, downsizing, traveling more, or getting used to less income. The situation is likely different for each person, but there’s often a lot of change involved.

Considering two of the biggest potential changes could be working less and spending more money on leisurely pursuits, like travel and eating out, it made sense for us to choose a wide variety of credit cards. Travel rewards credit cards can help retirees fulfill lifelong desires to see the world and experience new things. But one person may be more interested in award flights while another wants award stays at hotels. So providing multiple options to fit different needs is key.

But travel isn’t for everyone. Saving money on everyday purchases might be your top priority in retirement. Cashback cards were broken down into multiple categories, like best for gas or best for groceries, to give you options on your most common expenses. And to make it easier, you can choose a general cashback card that offers flat-rate cashback or cash back in rotating categories.

Overall, each of these cards is useful in its own way and can be especially helpful for an older adult or retiree. In addition, the annual fees are generally lower (some don’t have any annual cost), which could help you save money during retirement.

FAQs about the best credit cards for seniors

What is the best credit card for senior citizens?

The best credit card for senior citizens is the card that helps you achieve your financial goals. If you want to travel more, a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or The Platinum Card from American Express could make sense. For earning cash back on everyday purchases, you might consider the Citi Double Cash Card or the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card. When you compare credit cards, choose one that aligns with your lifestyle and spending habits.

Can a retiree get approved for a credit card?

Yes, retirees can potentially get approved for a credit card. If you retire and stop working, you don’t lose your credit history. So if you already had a good credit score before retiring, you’ll likely have good credit when you retire. You can also continue building your credit during retirement with responsible use of credit cards and other credit products.

Is there a maximum age for credit card approval?

There is no official maximum age limit for credit card approvals. This coincides with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which doesn’t allow credit discrimination based on age. But you can still be denied approval if a credit card issuer doesn’t like what it sees on your credit report. Make sure you check your credit report regularly to keep your credit in good shape. Some tools make it simple to stay on top of your credit. For instance, with Experian Boost, you can review your credit score and report for free.

Does AARP offer a credit card?

Yes, AARP offers two different rewards credit cards through the credit card issuer Barclays. You can choose the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard, which earns 3% cash back on gas and drug store purchases (except for Target and Walmart); 2% cash back on medical expenses; and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Or, if you travel frequently, you might choose the AARP Travel Rewards Mastercard, which earns 3% cash back on airfare, hotel stays, and rental cars; 2% cash back on restaurant purchases; and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The bottom line

The right credit card while working full time and raising a family may not be the right choice for when you’re entering retirement. As your priorities change, your financial goals could change as well. If you take some time to consider your retirement goals, you’ll be able to narrow down which new cards could make sense for your situation.

Keep in mind that the best card for someone else may not be the best card for you. Your needs and lifestyle are unique, so it’s important to align a card’s features and benefits with your goals. This will help give you the best opportunity to choose a card that complements your adventures during retirement.

Earn Cash Back Twice

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 2% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Foreign transaction fee
  • No sign-up bonus
Card Details
  • Earn cash back twice: 1% when you buy + 1% when you pay
  • up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay
  • Intro balance transfer 0% offer: 0% for 18 months then 13.99% to 23.99% (variable)

Author Details

Ben Walker Ben Walker is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially-sound decisions. For nearly a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.