Best Credit Cards in New York: Get the Most Rewards on Your Spending
Looking for a new rewards card? If so, it's important to find one that's tailored to how you spend.
Where you live can make a difference in the card you choose. For example, the best credit cards in New York may not be the best credit cards for someone who lives in Florida or Montana.
That's because geography can influence how you spend.
If you live in New York, you might be interested to know which credit cards are right for you.
Best Credit Cards in New York
- Citi Double Cash: Best for general-purpose spending
- Blue Cash Preferred from American Express: Best for groceries
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best for dining and travel rewards
- Chase Freedom Flex: Best for bonus cash back categories
- Costco Anywhere Visa: Best for gas rewards
Consumer Spending Trends for New York
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects spending information for households in all 50 states, including New York.
Understanding how that spending compares can help with finding the best credit cards in New York:
- Average spending on groceries: $5,265
- Average spending on dining/takeout: $4,005
- Average spending on gas: $1,529
- Average spending on apparel and services: $2,483
- Average spending on entertainment: $3,140
These numbers reflect what an average New York household spends in a year. Your own spending numbers may be higher, depending on which part of New York you live in.
There's a difference, for example, in how much you might spend on groceries, gas or entertainment in New York City versus living in a smaller town like Elmira.
Essentially, it all comes down to cost of living and your typical spending habits.
But regardless of where you live in the Empire State, finding the right rewards card matters. So it's important to consider all the options.
Stumped on which rewards card to try? Here are some of the best credit cards for New York residents to consider now.
Best Credit Cards in New York
Citi Double Cash: Best for general spending
- Earn 1% cash back on purchases as you make them
- Earn 1% cash back on purchases as you pay them off
- No cash back caps and no rotating bonus categories
- No annual fee
The Citi Double Cash Card could be an attractive option for New Yorkers who want to earn rewards without any fuss.
This card pays 1% cash back on purchases as you make them. Then, as you pay off purchases you earn an additional 1% cash back.
There is a stipulation: you'll need to pay at least the minimum due each month to earn cash back.
But there are no rotating bonus categories to keep up with and no limits on the amount of cash back you can earn. Rewards are redeemable for statement credit, direct deposit or a check.
You can also convert cash rewards to Citi ThankYou points. Either way, the Citi Double Cash Card offers plenty of flexibility with no annual fee.
Blue Cash Preferred from American Express: Best for groceries
- Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchase per year, then unlimited 1% back
- Earn additional cash back on all other purchases made with the card
- Cash back is received as Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credit
- $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $95
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express comes highly recommended if you want to earn cash rewards on groceries.
This card allows you to earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 in purchases per year. After that, you continue earning unlimited 1% cash back on supermarket purchases.
Considering that the average New York resident spends $5,265 per year on groceries, that's $315.90 in cash back you could earn. That could easily cancel out the $95 annual fee that applies after the first year.
You can also earn:
- 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscription services
- 3% cash back on U.S. transit
- 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations
- 1% cash back on other purchases
That makes this card even more rewarding if you regularly spend on gas, public transportation or streaming services.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best for dining and travel rewards
- Earn 2X points on dining and travel
- Earn 1X points on all other purchases
- Get 25% more redemption value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- $95 annual fee
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card could be perfect for foodies and New Yorkers who love to travel.
This card pays you 2 points per dollar on dining at New York restaurants (or anywhere else). You can also earn 2 points per dollar on travel purchases, including flights departing from major New York Airports like JFK and LaGuardia.
Where this card really pays you back is when you book travel.
You get 25% more value for your points when you use them to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. So 100,000 points is equal to $1,250 in travel credit.
That's a huge plus you won't get with other travel rewards cards. This card does have an annual fee of $95. But if you dine and shop in New York (or anywhere else) regularly, you could easily earn that back in points value.
Chase Freedom Flex: Best for bonus cash back categories
- Earn 5% on up to $1500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
- Earn cash back on all other purchases with the card
- Cash back rewards do not expire and there's no minimum to redeem
- No annual fee
New Yorkers might consider the Chase Freedom Flex Card for earning bonus cash back rewards.
Each quarter, you can earn 5% back on up to $1500 in combined purchases in selected bonus categories. For example, you might earn 5% back at grocery stores one quarter, then 5% back at department stores or gas stations the next.
Besides that you can earn 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can earn 3% back at restaurants and drugstores. Everywhere else, you'll earn 1% back.
This card could be great if you want flexibility with earning rewards and no annual fee. Just keep in mind that you'll have to activate the 5% bonus each quarter to take advantage of it.
Costco Anywhere Visa Card: Best for gas rewards
- Earn 4% on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year then 1%
- Earn 2% back at Costco stores and Costco.com
- No foreign transaction fees
- No annual fee with a paid Costco membership
If you live in New York City and walk or take public transit then you may not spend much on gas. But overall, New York residents still drop a pretty decent amount of money on fuel each year.
The Costco Anywhere Visa rewards you with 4% back on eligible gas purchases for the first $7,000 per year. After that, you keep earning 1% back on gas purchases.
This card also pays 3% back on restaurants and eligible travel, plus 2% back on Costco purchases. Finally, you'll earn 1% back anywhere else Visa is accepted.
There's no annual fee for this card if you have a paid Costco membership. Rewards are issued once per year in the form of a reward certificate that you can use to stock up at Costco.
How to Choose the Right Credit Card(s) for You
We've given you recommendations for the best credit cards in New York. Now it's up to you to decide which one (or ones) are the best fit for you.
Not sure which one to pick? These tips can help.
1. Review your spending
As mentioned, how New York residents spend isn't the same as how Californians or Texans spend.
And how you spend may not be identical to how your neighbors or coworkers spend.
So the first step in choosing a rewards card is reviewing your purchases for the last year. Specifically, consider where you spent the most money.
That could include things like:
- Utility and cellphone bills
The next step is adding up how much you spent in each category. This can help you narrow down the best rewards cards for you.
Spend the most on groceries? Then consider a card that pays cash back at supermarkets.
Spend more on dining and travel? Then a card like Chase Sapphire Preferred could be a great fit.
It's all about finding a card that matches up with your normal spending habits.
2. Compare the best credit cards in New York
We've already made this step easier by rounding up our picks for the top rewards cards in New York.
But it's also important for you to compare cards for yourself. So that means looking at things like:
- Rewards categories (i.e. gas, dining, entertainment, etc.)
- How rewards are earned
- Caps/limits on rewards earnings
- Redemption options
- Annual fees
- Annual percentage rates
There's an easy way to decide if one rewards card is a better option than another. You just calculate the amount of rewards you could earn for the year, based on how you typically spend.
This can also help you determine whether an annual fee is justified.
For example, say you're considering a card that pays 3% back on gas and it has a $95 annual fee.
At that rewards rate, you'd need to spend at least $3,200 a year on gas to earn back the fee. If you spend less than that, then you might want to consider a different rewards card option.
3. Consider more than one card for maximizing rewards
The great thing about choosing a rewards card is that you don't have to settle for just one.
If you're a typical New York resident and your spending isn't concentrated in any one category, it might actually make sense to have multiple rewards cards.
So, your wallet might include:
- Card A, which offers a high cash back rewards rate on groceries
- Card B, which pays you points back for dining and travel
- Card C, which lets you earn cash on gas
This strategy can keep you from missing out on rewards.
But just remember to check the annual fees and APRs for each card. The higher the fee, the more you have to spend to earn it back in rewards.
And a steep APR could be costly if you carry a balance month to month.
The cards we've included here top the list as the best for New York spenders who want to earn rewards on virtually every type of purchase.
As you compare rewards cards, keep the focus on how you spend. This can help you avoid cards that don't align with your needs.
Lastly, think about checking your credit before you apply for a new rewards card. This can help you gauge which New York credit cards you have the best shot at qualifying for.