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Heavier, sturdier, and arguably more eye-catching than plastic credit cards, metal credit cards began as elite, luxury options, but are now more broadly available to people with strong credit. The weight, look, and status of metal cards can be appealing to many cardholders, but they aren’t as exclusive as they once were. However, in some ways, that can be a plus. Metal credit cards used to be strictly top-tier cards with high annual fees, but now there are even no-fee metal cards. In fact, though most metal credit cards still require good or excellent credit, they also come with some sort of benefits or rewards and function much like credit cards made of plastic.When choosing the best metal credit cards, we looked at the value of the rewards or benefits that come with the card, the annual fee (if any), the earning potential for cash or points, and any initial new account bonus offered. Recommended: Credit Card Terminology Explained
How We Chose the Best Metal Credit CardsTo find the best metal credit cards, we first divided the market into the following seven categories:
Then, we looked at over a dozen major credit card issuers and credit unions to find the top cards in each of these categories. We included only cards that anyone can apply for, leaving out products offered by credit unions that not everyone can join.And for each category, we looked at the most relevant factors. For example, the best metal cards for foodies have to earn on restaurants and groceries, while the top metal cards for online shopping need to earn on online shopping sites. While credit card terms may change from time to time, the following rankings reflect information that was accurate as of May 2022.Recommended: Tips on Choosing a Credit Card
- Best no-fee metal card
- Best metal card for foodies
- Best travel rewards metal card
- Best travel benefits metal card
- Best metal card for groceries
- Best metal card for online shopping
- Best metal cards for double miles on everything
Best No-Fee Metal CardsMost metal cards have annual fees, but there are a few that do not. To find the top no-fee metal cards, we looked at options that offer straightforward and simple earnings without an annual fee.
If You Want a No-Fee Metal Card: Apple CardThe Apple Card offers the attraction of a metal card without the annual fee - or any other fees. This card offers 3% cash back on Apple purchases, as well as on purchases from select merchants such as Uber, Panera, Nike, Walgreens, Exxon, and T-Mobile. You also earn 2% cash back on all other purchases when you pay via Apple Pay using your iPhone or Apple Watch. If you patronize merchants that don’t accept Apple Pay, you earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.The card offers interest-free financing options for some Apple-branded devices and accessories, as well as no foreign transaction fees or late fees. There’s no annual fee for this card, and no fees for anything else either (such as late payments).
- There’s no annual fee.
- The card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees or late fees.
- It offers a solid cash-back rate for purchases made with Apple Pay.
- The card provides few travel rewards.
- It offers few benefits.
- The list of select merchants who are eligible for bonus cash back is limited.
Best Metal Cards for FoodiesDining out can be expensive, so finding a card that can take advantage of that spending may be worthwhile if you’re a foodie. To find the best metal cards for foodies, we looked for cards that earned cash back on dining and grocery stores.
If You Want a Metal Card for Foodies: Capital One SavorThe Capital One Savor card is a great option for foodies who want to make an impression by using a metal card. New cardholders can earn a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. This card offers an unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and streaming services. Plus, you can earn 3% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases. Foodies also receive exclusive access to premium experiences, such as the New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By Capital One. This card has a $95 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
- The card provides excellent rates of cash back for dining and entertainment purchases.
- It offers a new cardholder bonus.
- There are no foreign transaction fees.
- There’s a $95 annual fee.
- The card offers few benefits.
- It’s got a higher-than-average APR.
Best Metal Cards for Travel RewardsTravel rewards cards can provide great value for those who travel frequently. To find the top metal cards for travel rewards, we looked at the choices that offered good earning and redeeming options for travel.
If You’re Looking for a Metal Card for Travel Rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers premium travel rewards and benefits. New cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The card earns 5x on flights purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and 10x on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Card owners also earn 10x on Chase Dining, 3x on restaurants and delivery services, 3x on travel, and 1x on everything else.Points are earned in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program and can be redeemed for travel reservations booked through Chase or transferred to airline or hotel partners, including United MileagePlus, British Airways, Marriott, Hyatt, and others. When you redeem points for travel through reservations booked through Chase, your points are worth 50% more, making the 60,000 points worth at least $900 in travel reservations booked through Chase.The card also comes with $300 automatic annual travel credit that can be used for travel purchases. You can also receive a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every four years. A Priority Pass Select membership for participating airport lounges, travel insurance, and purchase protection policies are just some of the other premium travel-related benefits to this card.There’s a $550 annual fee for this card, and the regular APR on new purchases and balance transfers is between 22.24% and 29.24% (updated as of June 6, 2023).
- The card provides strong bonus rewards on travel and dining purchases.
- Points are flexible and can be redeemed for a variety of travel-related expenses.
- The $300 annual travel credit is easy to use; it can bring the net cost of annual fee down to $250.
- The annual fee is relatively high.
- Some of the statement credits once available on this card stopped being offered after 2021.
- There’s no elite status offering with this card.
Best Metal Cards for Travel BenefitsSome travelers are more interested in benefits and less in the earning and redeeming of travel points. If you travel frequently or like to travel in luxury, a metal card that offers premium travel benefits could provide substantial value. To find the top metal cards for travel benefits, we looked at cards that offered many unique travel benefits that cardholders could take advantage of.
If You Want a Metal Card for Travel Benefits: The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the top metal cards for travel benefits, with a large new cardholder bonus and compelling rewards program. It also features two new card designs from artists Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley.New cardholders can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening. The card earns 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 per calendar year and 5x on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com. Plus, cardholders earn 1x on all other eligible purchases. Membership Rewards points can be transferred to hotel or airline partners, including Delta, JetBlue, Emirates, Air Canada, Hilton, Marriott, and more. Terms apply.The Platinum Card® from American Express also comes with many monthly and yearly statement credits, including $200 back yearly in statement credits on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay; up to $300 back yearly on the Equinox+ digital fitness app or eligible Equinox club membership; up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times (enrollment required); up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the U.S. annually (Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only); up to $200 in annual airline incidental fees such as checked bags. Plus, breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at more than 100 airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your card. There’s also a $240 digital entertainment credit and a $155 Walmart+ credit.Additionally, the card provides complimentary gold status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Gold status members can get things like space-available room upgrades and bonus points on stays. The card also includes a Priority Pass Select Airport Lounge membership, a Delta SkyClub membership, and access to American Express Centurion Clubs. Other benefits include free shipping with ShopRunner, purchase protection, return protection, extended warranty, baggage insurance coverage, car rental loss and damage insurance, and travel accident insurance.Due to all of these benefits, there’s a high annual fee of $695 for this card. The card also has a Pay Over Time APR of between 20.99% to 28.99% on eligible charges (updated as of May 5, 2023).
- The card gives you gold status with Marriott and Hilton.
- Statement credits offset the annual fee.
- There are valuable point transfer options for travel.
- The card has a high annual fee.
- There are few bonus rewards opportunities.
- The many available statement credits may be hard to keep track of.
Best Metal Cards for GroceriesGroceries are one of the largest spending categories for many families, so finding a card that can leverage that spending can be beneficial for many budgets. To find the top metal cards for groceries, we looked for cards that earn good rates on groceries as well as other categories of spending.
If You Want a Metal Card for Groceries: American Express® Gold CardThe American Express® Gold Card is a great card for grocery spending. You can earn at least 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first six months of ownership. This card earns 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, as well as 4x points at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery. Plus, earn 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 1x on other eligible purchases. Membership Rewards points can be transferred to hotel or airline partners, including Delta, JetBlue, Emirates, Air Canada, Hilton, Marriott, and more.The card comes with several statement credits which help offset the annual fee. Get up to $120 in Uber Cash annually, distributed as $10 monthly credits that can be used for UberEats or Uber rides. You also get a dining credit of up to $120, distributed as $10 monthly statement credits for participating partners such as The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, Grubhub, Seamless, and participating Shake Shack locations (enrollment required). Plus, book The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel and get a $100 hotel credit when staying at least two consecutive nights. This card also comes with car rental loss and damage insurance, extended warranty, purchase protection, and dispute resolution.There’s an annual fee of $250 for this card and no foreign transaction fees. The APR for Pay Over Time Features on the card is between 20.99% to 28.99%. (Updated as of May 5, 2023.)
- The card earns 4x reward points at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants worldwide.
- There are valuable point transfer options for travel.
- Statement credits help to offset the annual fee.
- There’s an annual fee of $250.
- Statement credits are monthly and could be hard to keep track of.
- Annual grocery store earnings are capped.
Best Metal Cards for Online ShoppingNot many cards offer excellent cash-back rates for online shopping, but there are a few that do. To find the top metal cards for online shopping, we looked for cards that earn the most cash back on online purchases.
If You Want a Metal Card for Online Shopping: Amazon Rewards Visa Signature CardThe Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card is a good option for people who enjoy online shopping. The card earns 3% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. However, if you have an eligible Prime membership, you will earn 5% back. This card also offers 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases with no earnings caps.There are also no foreign transaction fees, and there’s no annual fee for this card.
- The card offers strong cash back benefits on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.
- There are no earnings caps.
- The card doesn’t charge an annual fee.
- The card provides few benefits.
- Prime membership is not included with the card.
- The online shopping bonuses are limited to Amazon.com.
Best Metal Cards for Double Miles on EverythingMany travel cards have a tiered earning structure in which everyday purchases often earn 1x or 1.5x. If you want a more straightforward card, double miles on all purchases is just about as good as it gets. To find the top metal cards for double miles on everything, we looked for cards with a simple earning rate that also offered travel benefits.
If You Want a Metal Card for Double Miles on Everything: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardThe Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns an impressive double miles on everything. The card earns the following rewards:
In addition to the rewards highlighted above, new cardholders earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.Capital One Miles can be redeemed as statement credits toward travel purchases, such as flights, hotels, or rental cars. Or you can transfer your rewards at a 1:1 ratio to any one of its 15 airline and hotel loyalty programs, like British Airways.The card also comes with trip protection, including rental car coverage, travel accident insurance, and travel assistance services. The $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck offsets the first year’s annual fee of $95, and this card has no foreign transaction fees. The regular APR on this card ranges from 20.74% to 28.74% (updated as of March 30, 2023).
- 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
- 5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
- Cardholders get double miles on all purchases.
- The card offers flexible rewards redemption.
- There’s a 1:1 transfer ratio to travel partners.
Recommended: Top Rewards Credit Cards
- There’s a $95 annual fee.
- The card provides few premium travel benefits.
- There are few additional benefits.
The TakeawayMetal credit cards not only look nice; they can also offer some great benefits. When you take a look at all of the attractive metal cards that are now available, you’ll likely find one that meets your needs.Of course, metal cards are only one kind of a credit card. To find the right one for you, check out the credit card offerings from Lantern’s network of lending partners.
Photo credit: iStock/mediamasmedia
About the Author
Jason SteeleJason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.