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Credit Cards

Best Credit Cards For Retirees


By Guest Contributor

Credit Knocks guest contributor. See guidelines.


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Summary: The best credit cards for retirement can help you extend your available finances by taking advantage of cash back and travel rewards best suited for retirees.

Retiring should be fun and exciting! After all, who wants to retire into a life of boredom and mediocrity? Certainly not me!

But when it comes to living your best retirement life, you need to squeeze every last dollar from your finances. Part of this is using the best credit card for your retirement life goals!

When done correctly, a points or cash rewards credit card can enhance your retirement budget by allowing your daily purchases to pay you back in the future. The problem is there are so many cards and programs out there that choosing one can be overwhelming!

First, decide what type of rewards system you want (cash-back, travel points, airline miles, etc.). Next, review the program offerings to find the ones which most closely meet your needs.

Finally, choose a card that aligns with your normal purchase habits (like groceries, gas, car maintenance) so that you can continue with those purchases and receive maximum benefit.

With just a little research you can choose the best credit card for your retirement! Here are some of the top-rated credit cards for retirees.

Best Travel Cards For Retirement

For many retirees, travel is the epitome of retirement life! Travel can be the ultimate way to live out your golden years and explore the world as you may have always desired.

So why pay full price for travel when you don’t have to?

Optimizing a travel rewards program can help you save hundreds to thousands of dollars in travel expenses.

These are the top travel cards you should consider:

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AARP® Travel Card from Chase

  • Earn 3% cash-back on travel purchases and rental car reservations
  • 1% cash-back on all non-travel purchases
  • There is no minimum value needed to redeem your cash value
  • AARP will offer you credit and purchase monitoring and will alert you of any fraudulent purchases, for which you won’t be held liable
  • You can also add friends or family to be as authorized users and receive rewards from their purchases
  • Rewards never expire for as long as your account is open, but it does have a fee

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

  • 60,000 signup bonus points to every cardholder that spends $4,000 within 90 days
  • 2X reward points on travel and dining
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee of $95
  • Packed-full of extra benefits for travelers including lost luggage reimbursement, purchase protection, trip cancellation insurance, travel assistance, mobile pay ready, and other excellent benefits

Capital One Venture®

  • 50,000 miles signup bonus if you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days
  • Earn 2X miles per dollar on every purchase
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application reimbursement
  • Annual fee is waived for first year, $95 after that
  • Rewards redeemable for flights, hotels, rental cars, and other travel-related expenses

Amtrak Guest Rewards®

  • Two options exist: Platinum and World card
  • Annual fees of $0-$79 respectively
  • Earn 12,000-20,000 bonus points upon spending $1,000 in first 90 days
  • 1x point on daily purchases, 2X for qualifying travel spending, and 3X points for every dollar spent on Amtrak
  • You can also earn points by making non-travel purchases as well

Best Cash-Back Cards For Retirees

Whether the money you spend is for food, utility bills, car maintenance, or a night out, using a cash-back rewards card is a great way to get more bang for your buck. The cashback can be used for almost any purchase, including travel-related ones.

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Blue Cash Everyday® - American Express

  • Receive rewards in set categories - which you choose quarterly
  • Eligible for 3% back on U.S. grocery purchases, 2% at U.S. gas stations, and 1% for other purchases
  • Foreign transaction fees can earn 2.7% (of the USD value)
  • Earn $200 bonus upon spending $1,000 in first 90 days
  • No annual fee

Quick Tip:

Always figure out which credit scoring method will be used before you apply for credit.

Chase Freedom®

  • Also uses rotating category system (when comparing cards, look at the categories offered and how those match up with your natural spending habits)
  • Earn 5% cash on the first $1,500 spent in the first year
  • Earn 5% for gas stations, internet, cable/TV, phone, and streaming services
  • No annual fee
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Discover it® Secured Card

  • 5% cash-back on purchases in certain categories (which change each quarter)
  • Dollar-for-dollar match on all purchases for the first year (so if you earned $125 dollars for the year, Discover will give you a $125 bonus making your total rewards $250) - applicable during the first year only
  • No annual fee
  • Also accessible to those with not-so-good credit

Best Charity Endorsed Cards - Swipe For A Cause

Giving can come in many forms, and there are credit cards whose rewards programs facilitate your charitable spirit. For many retirees this is a “bonus added.”

Also be aware that many rewards cards (regardless of the type of rewards program) will allow you to donate your accumulated miles, points, and cash value. All you need to do is consult the program package information or ask a representative.

Donating rewards is a great idea especially if you have points/miles that are going to expire, you plan on closing an account, life events prevent you from using the rewards, or just to be charitable!

Despite some of these cards being designed specifically for donations, you might be better off using a more traditional cash-back rewards card, redeeming the full value, and then making your donation from that.

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Visa HaloCard®

This is a pretty simple and straight-forward card whose main benefit is the automation of your donation. 

  • Earn 1% on all purchases
  • The 1% is automatically donated to the non-profit of your choice
  • No annual fee

Pink Ribbon BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

Also known as the Susan G. Komen Card - this card allows you to help join the fight against breast cancer.

  • Rewards: 1-3% cash-back depending on the category
  • $150 extra cash bonus if you spend more than $500 in the first 90 days
  • The Susan G. Komen foundation receives $3 when you open and renew your card as well as 0.08% from all purchases made
  • No annual fee

Charity Charge World® Mastercard

•    All purchases receive a 1% cash-back reward. This reward is then donated to your favorite charity every quarter

•    Actually, rewards can be distributed to up to three non-profits of your choosing

•    No annual fee

U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Travel points can be converted into donations
  • Earn 2X points on qualifying charitable donations, airlines, gas stations, and grocery stores
  • Up to 25,000 bonus points if you spend more than $2,000 in the first 120 days
  • Annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $49/yr

The Best Credit Cards For Retirement In Summary

No matter what your retirement purpose is, living your dream retirement will be easier if you’re squeezing every last dime from your finances. This starts with great financial management.

Make sure you find the best financial advisor for your situation, it can be incredibly beneficial to your overall financial health. A great financial advisor can help shape and manage your entire retirement plan.

No matter what however, you’ll be spending money in retirement! The easiest way to start squeezing those dollars from your finances can be as simple as using the best retirement credit card for your life goals.

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Increase Your Credit by 100+ Points

In a recent study at Credit Knocks, we found that *48% of clients who used a credit repair company got a credit score increase of 100+ points.

Consultation is quick, easy, and free.

For example, imagine if you spent 20K per year from age 60 to 90 on your credit card and got 2% cash back? That’s $400 per year (which is nice!)

But that $400 per year has an investment “utility” as well. If you did nothing more than invest that money at a 5% annualized return you’d leave an extra legacy of $26,575!!!

That additional chunk of money could help a grandkid go to college, travel the world, or buy a first home!

Just make sure you avoid some costly mistakes. Don’t irresponsibly spend more money just to earn more rewards. Also don’t miss out on the initial spend bonus because you applied to too many cards at the same time.

Every extra dollar compounds over time, and will make your—and your heirs—life more enjoyable!

Greg Phelps - President of Wealth Steward, Redrock Wealth Management, and RetireWire: With over 25 years of experience, Greg is an uber-passionate money coach, author, speaker, securities litigation expert witness, financial planner, and most importantly a steward of wealth who is dedicated to calming your nerves and teaching you how to retire with ultimate “money confidence!” He holds his CFP®, CLU®, AIF®, and AAMS® designations, and is also a CEFEX certified fiduciary financial planner. When he’s not helping people squeeze every last dime from their retirement, you’ll find him mountain biking, running, walking the dogs or spending quality time with his wife and twin boys.

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