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If you live in or visit New York City, you know there’s so much to see and do — and just as many ways to spend your money. While you’re exploring the city, you might notice a pattern in what you’re purchasing. Residents and visitors alike tend to partake in the best things the city has to offer, like excellent restaurants, taxis or rideshares, and top-notch entertainment.

Within those categories, there are certain credit cards that will reward your spending with miles, points, or cash back on purchases.  Of course, there isn’t one best credit card to use in New York City. The one or two you choose should maximize your rewards on what you’re already spending.

As a New York resident for 11 years, I found there were a few cards that rewarded me more richly than others. The right one for you will depend on the benefits you’re looking for, where you often spend, the annual fee you’re willing to pay, and many other factors. 

Regular APR

16.99%-23.99% Variable

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
    • Strong travel insurance
    • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify
    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

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    The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, and earns 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining and travel (after the $300 travel credit). You can use the points to book travel directly through Chase, or transfer them to airline and hotel partners like United, Southwest, JetBlue, and Hyatt. 

    Chase’s definition of “travel” is broad. You’ll earn 3x points per dollar spent on flights, hotels, tolls, parking garages, taxis, and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. Plus, you’ll earn 3x points on dining, including takeout and delivery. These are all popular spending categories for New Yorkers. 

    The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has an annual fee of $550, but you’ll get up to $300 in annual travel credits that apply to most travel purchases, including rideshares, which offsets over half the fee. Because of the pandemic, up to $300 in travel credits also apply to grocery and gas station purchases through December 31, 2021, which makes it even easier to maximize. 

    You’ll get other valuable benefits like primary car rental insurance and trip delay and cancellation insurance. I had this card when I lived in New York and found it worth keeping for the lucrative points earning alone. 

    Best credit card for subway and commuter train rides: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

    In New York City, you’ll likely find yourself on the MTA subway or a commuter train like Amtrak or NJ Transit at some point, if not daily. You can earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on every dollar spent on tickets with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, because train rides are included within Chase’s broad travel category. 

    Even better, you can use the up to $300 annual travel credits from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® toward a subway or commuter train pass or tickets, which helps to offset the card’s annual fee. Plus, you’ll earn bonus points for most other travel and for dining. It’s a handy card to have when you purchase train tickets to move about the city. 

    Regular APR

    14.99% – 23.74%

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 billing cycles

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Generous bonus cash-back categories
    • Great welcome bonus
    Cons
    • Booking through Ultimate Rewards portal can restrict outside earning potential
    • Varying percentages and rotating calendar categories require extra attention
    • 3% foreign transaction fees
    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
    • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee.
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

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    New Yorkers like stopping into Duane Reade or other drugstores for quick essentials. With a drugstore around nearly every corner, it’s convenient to pop in any time as most of them are open around the clock. 

    The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, and earns 3% cash back on drugstore purchases with no cap, which can add up quickly if you spend a lot at drugstores. You’ll also earn 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible food delivery services, 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter when you activate, then 1%) and travel booked through Chase, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. That’s strong earning potential for a card with no annual fee. 

    The cash back is actually earned in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. With the Chase Freedom Flex℠, 1 point is worth 1 cent, but your points are potentially worth much more if you pair the Chase Freedom Flex℠ with another Chase Ultimate Rewards card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

    Best credit card to use at restaurants, takeout, and delivery: American Express® Gold Card

    Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

    Featured Reward

    60,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 6 months of account opening

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Great rewards for dining and for shopping at US supermarkets
    • Monthly statement credit for eligible dining purchases recoups some of the annual fee
    Cons
    • Underwhelming welcome bonus
    • Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
    • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, plus, earn 4X points for Uber Eats purchases too.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
    • $120 Uber Cash: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
    • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • Annual Fee is $250.
    • Terms Apply.

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    New York City’s restaurant scene needs no introduction, and is enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. In fact, many New Yorkers eat out or get delivery more often than not, especially because there are dozens of unique restaurants in each neighborhood. 

    The American Express® Gold Card comes with a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 6 months of account opening. It’s the best card to use for dining out, takeout, and food delivery in New York City because you’ll earn 4 American Express Membership Rewards points per dollar spent. Plus, you’ll get up to $120 in dining credits each year that are easy for New Yorkers to use. 

    After enrollment, you can use up to $10 in statement credits each month for purchases at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. Even if you don’t like the restaurants on the list, most New Yorkers can make good use of Grubhub and Seamless delivery once per month when they’re not dining at favorite local restaurants. This helps to cover the card’s $250 annual fee (See Rates)

    Do New Yorkers buy groceries? It seems they’re always out and about but actually, there are many amazing supermarkets throughout the city, from Fairway in the Upper West Side to Sahadi’s in Brooklyn Heights to Key Food locations throughout the city.

    If you spend a lot on groceries, consider the Amex Gold Card, which earns 4x American Express Membership Rewards points per dollar up to $25,000 in spending per year (then 1x) at U.S. supermarkets. The card also earns 4x points for restaurant purchases worldwide and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel. You can then transfer the points to a variety of airline and hotel partners for travel experiences. 

    There’s a $250 annual fee, but you can make up for it with up to $120 in dining credits each year, up to $120 in Uber Cash credits annually, and of course, the strong earning potential at U.S. supermarkets. 

    Regular APR

    15.99% – 24.99% variable APR

    Featured Reward

    Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • High cash-back rate for dining and entertainment
    • No foreign transaction fees
    Cons
    • Many other cash-back cards don’t charge an annual fee (but at least this one’s waived for the first year)
    • Unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®) and 1% on all other purchases
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees
    • One-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

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    If city exploration is your favorite thing to do, consider the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card and its solid intro bonus: Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months. It earns 4% cash back on entertainment purchases — a broad category that includes things like tickets to movie theaters, plays, sporting events, and concerts, as well as tourist attractions, dance clubs, and many other activities. 

    There aren’t a lot of cards that reward entertainment purchases. You’ll also earn 4% cash back on dining, 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card comes with a $95 annual fee, but if you spend a lot in the bonus categories, you can easily cover it. Run the numbers and see if your entertainment spending is enough to make this card worthwhile. 

    Annual Fee

    $99, waived for the first year

    Regular APR

    15.74% to 24.74% variable APR

    Featured Reward

    70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Earns bonus miles at restaurants and US supermarkets
    • Annual fee is waived the first year
    • You get a free checked bag and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights
    Cons
    • Doesn’t go above and beyond in terms of benefits beyond Delta perks
    • Limited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 4/28/2021.
    • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
    • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
    • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
    • Earn now. Travel when you’re ready. After you spend $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year, you will receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit on your Card to inspire your next travel.
    • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
    • Terms Apply.

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    Delta is a good airline for New Yorkers because they have a domestic hub at LaGuardia and many international flights out of JFK. Amex offers several Delta credit cards, but most casual flyers will do well with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, which is currently offering 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

    With it, you’ll get a free first checked bag on Delta flights for yourself and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation, Zone 1 Priority boarding, and a 20% discount on inflight purchases as a statement credit. Considering it costs $30 to check a bag each way, you can recover the card’s annual fee of $99, waived for the first year (See Rates), in a single trip traveling with friends or family. 

    The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card also earns 2x Delta miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery), and at U.S. supermarkets, which are bonus categories most New Yorkers can appreciate. 

    Annual Fee

    $95, waived the first year

    Regular APR

    16.49% to 23.49% Variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, plus 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual fee is waived the first year
    • Earns bonus miles on several purchase categories, including restaurants
    • Includes an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
    • Gets you a free checked bag on United when you pay with the card
    Cons
    • Not the most rewarding card for most non-United travel purchases
    • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays, and on United purchases
    • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee Credit
    • 25% back on United inflight purchases
    • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip) when you use your card to purchase your ticket
    • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and eligible delivery services

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    If you prefer to fly out of Newark, chances are you’ll find yourself on a United flight. In that case, the United℠ Explorer Card is the best credit card for United flyers, with a welcome bonus of 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, plus 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months. You’ll earn 2x miles on United purchases, at restaurants including eligible delivery services, and on hotel stays. Cardholders also get a statement credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. 

    The card also mimics lower-level elite status by providing a free first checked bag for you and one companion on the same reservation when you pay for your ticket with the card, priority boarding, 25% back as a statement credit for United inflight purchases, and two United Club passes each cardmember anniversary.

    All combined, the card is easily worth its annual fee of $95, waived the first year, especially if you make the most of its generous perks. It’s also one of the rare cards that offer primary car rental insurance. 

    Annual Fee

    $99, waived for first 12 months

    Regular APR

    15.99% – 24.99% variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Bonus categories help you earn miles on everyday purchases
    • Fee checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights
    Cons
    • $125 American Airlines flight discount is nice, but you need to spend $20,000 in a cardmember year to earn it
    • The information related to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
    • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
    • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
    • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
    • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees
    • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
    • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
    • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% – 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

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    American Airlines offers plenty of flights out of their hubs at LaGuardia domestically and JFK for trans-Atlantic travel. With the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, you’ll earn 2x miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and at restaurants and gas stations. 

    Along with a welcome bonus of 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, the card also gets you a free first checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights, as well as for up to four companions traveling on the same itinerary. That perk alone can cover the card’s annual fee of $99, waived for first 12 months. You’ll also get preferred boarding when you fly on American Airlines and a 25% discount on inflight food and beverage purchases. If you fly American Airlines a few times per year, this is the best credit card for American Airlines flights. 

    Regular APR

    15.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% based on your creditworthiness.

    Featured Reward

    40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Earns 6x points on JetBlue flights
    • 5,000 bonus points each year after your account anniversary
    • You can spend your way to Mosaic status
    Cons
    • Some airline cards offer higher welcome bonuses
    • You need to spend $50,000 in a calendar year to earn Mosaic status
    • 6X points on eligible JetBlue purchases
    • 2X points at restaurants and grocery stores
    • 1X points on all other purchases
    • 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
    • 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
    • Mosaic benefits after spending $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card
    • Annual $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card
    • 50% inflight savings on cocktails and food purchases
    • Free first checked bag for you and up to 3 companions on the same reservation when you use your JetBlue Plus Card to purchase tickets
    • No foreign transaction fees

    Finally, there’s New York’s hometown airline, JetBlue, which occupies all of Terminal 5 at JFK airport. New Yorkers love flying JetBlue for its comfort, unlimited snacks, and welcoming atmosphere. If that describes you, you’ll do well with the JetBlue Plus Card, which comes with a welcome bonus of 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee.

    It earns 6x points on JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores, and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. You’ll also receive 5,000 bonus points on your account anniversary each year. The JetBlue Plus Card also comes with a free first checked bag for you and up to three companions on the same reservation when you use the card to pay for your tickets, and 50% off inflight cocktails and food purchases. 

    JetBlue points are worth, on average, 1.4 cents each according to Insider’s points and miles valuations, which means the 5,000 anniversary bonus points are worth about $70 toward JetBlue flights each year. Between that and the first free checked bag benefit, the JetBlue Plus Card is easily worth its $99 annual fee if you like flying with JetBlue.

    Harlan Vaughn is a freelance writer who has written about credit card rewards, personal finance, points and miles, and travel loyalty programs for nearly a decade.