Visa Traditional vs. Signature vs. Infinite: Key Differences

If you’ve got a Visa credit card, take a look at the bottom right corner. Below the VISA logo, you’ll see the word “Signature,” “Infinite,” or nothing at all.

The difference is meaningful because each tier unlocks benefits of varying quality. For example, a Visa Infinite credit card may unlock top-tier travel insurance and fancy airport lounge access, while a traditional Visa credit card doesn’t.

But get this: Just because your credit card is capable of offering a suite of benefits doesn’t mean it will. Your credit card issuer can opt out of particular benefits if it doesn’t want to include that privilege. The type of Visa credit card you have doesn’t automatically indicate a card’s actual perks.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from all three types of Visa credit cards and view some examples of each.

Traditional Visa benefits

If you’ve got a credit card that simply says “Visa” on the bottom, you’ve got a traditional Visa card. This is the lowest-tier Visa, but it’s far from insignificant. Here’s what you’ll get.

Discounts and memberships

  • Shipt membership. Shipt provides same-day delivery from nearby grocery stores in as soon as one hour. When you enroll your Visa credit card, you’ll get one free month of Shipt membership, followed by three months of membership at half off. You’ll receive free delivery on orders totaling $35 or more.
  • Sofar Sounds access. Sofar Sounds gives you entry into intimate music, comedy, and dance shows. You’ll receive one free ticket (limit two per year) when purchasing one or more tickets. You’ll also get exclusive access to a seven-day advance presale.
  • Visa Offers. Get discounts and statement credits for purchases you’d make anyway. Visa Offers are always changing, but you can often find things such as 10% off Overstock.com, $200 off your first five boxes at Green Chef meal kit services, and more.

Emergency assistance

  • Roadside Dispatch. You can request help in the form of tire changing, jump starting, lockout service, fuel delivery, standard towing (up to five miles included), and more. You’ll need to pay for most services, but it’s nice to have.
  • Emergency cash disbursement. Receive a wire cash transfer to a nearby Western Union within two hours.
  • Emergency card replacement. Receive a new credit card within 24 to 72 hours, depending on where you are.

Account management and protection

  • Dovly Uplift. Quickly and easily fix and manage your credit online. You can correct mistakes on your credit report and potentially boost your credit score.
  • Visa Zero Liability. You’re not responsible for fraudulent purchases on your credit card.
  • Lost/stolen card reporting. Call Visa for assistance with replacing your credit card and notifying vendors who use it.
  • ID Navigator. Norton ID Navigator can help you to know when your identity is in danger. It surveys the Dark Web and gives you credit-monitoring alerts.

Examples of traditional Visa credit cards

card_name

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Credit score

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Intro APR

intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration

Balance transfer intro apr

balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration

Welcome offer

bonus_miles_full

The card_name is a solid flat-rate earnings card with annual_fee_disclaimer annual fee. Although the 1.5% cash back doesn’t seem impressive at first glance, it becomes more valuable when combined with other rewards cards from Chase that can be redeemed for a far greater value.

This card is recommended for everyday use, whether for doctor copays or big box store purchases. It can be a large earner for cardmembers who want to get the most out of their everyday spending.

The annual_fee_disclaimer annual fee card_name can be issued either as a traditional Visa or as a Visa Signature, depending on the credit line for which you’re approved. This card currently offers an additional 1.5% back on top of your regular earnings (on up to $20,000 in spending) during your first account year. That’s an excellent intro bonus, considering that the card already earns:

  • 5% back on travel reserved through the Chase Travel Portal.
  • 3% back on dining and at drugstores.
  • 1.5% back on all other eligible purchases.

This is one of the best credit cards you can use for everyday spending, thanks to its respectable return on all purchases. If you’re looking to get cash back, this is a great option for you.

However, it actually accrues Chase Ultimate Rewards® points (not cash), which can be redeemed for cash, as well as gift cards and more. If you have an Ultimate Rewards credit card with an annual fee (such as the card_name), you can transfer the rewards you accrue with the card_name to airline and hotel loyalty programs such as Hyatt, United Airlines, and British Airways.

card_name

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Credit score needed

credit_score_needed

The annual_fee_disclaimer annual fee card_name can also be either a Visa or a Visa Signature, depending on what you’re approved for. With this card, you will bonus_miles_full. It also earns:

  • Five miles per dollar on car rentals and hotels reserved through Capital One Travel
  • Two miles per dollar on everything else

Not a bad return rate, especially considering you can redeem rewards at a flat rate of one cent each toward travel purchases. You can also transfer them to airlines and hotels such as Air Canada Aeroplan, Wyndham, and Singapore Airlines for potentially much greater value.

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

Mission Lane® Visa Credit Card

Credit score needed

Limited, Fair, Poor, Bad

If you’re looking to build credit, the Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card is one way to do it without going the secured credit card route. Whether you have a limited credit history or downright bad credit, the Mission Lane Visa® is a solution that won’t nickel-and-dime you along the way. You’ll pay an annual fee of $0.

Unfortunately, you won’t earn any rewards for your spending, and you could find yourself with a starting credit limit of just $300. Still, if your main intent is to bolster your credit, rewards and sky-high spending limits shouldn’t be your main concern.

Visa Signature benefits

Visa Signature credit cards receive the same benefits as traditional Visa credit cards, but with several enhancements.

Lifestyle benefits

  • Sofar Sounds. This is the same benefit as a traditional Visa card, but you’ll receive one free ticket per show as often as you purchase one or more tickets.
  • Skillshare membership. Skillshare gives you unlimited access to many thousands of classes in myriad subjects taught by professionals. You’ll receive three months free and a 20% discount on a Skillshare annual membership.
  • Concierge. You’ll have access to a dedicated phone line to request help with travel plans, restaurant reservations, event tickets, etc.
  • Wine benefits. Perks include buy-one-get-one wine tastings and various discounts on both wine and non-wine purchases with Sonoma County Wineries.
  • Golf benefits.Troon Rewards is a golf-centric loyalty program. You’ll receive automatic Silver Status when enrolling your card, giving you a 10% savings on golf fees, merchandise, and lessons at more than 150 golf courses worldwide.
  • Culinary experiences. You’ll have access to various fine dining, wine tastings, and celebrity chef–hosted events.

Travel benefits

  • Luxury Hotel Collection. At more than 900 upscale properties around the world, you’ll receive elite-like benefits, such as a room upgrade (when available), free breakfast for two, various property credits, late checkout, and more. You must book through Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.
  • Visa Signature Rental Car Privileges. You get potential upgrades and discounts of up to 25% with Avis and Budget. Receive up to 15% off with Audi on demand.
  • Priority Pass lounge access. This allows you to enter more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world. Lounges often come with free food and alcohol and usually have speedy Wi-Fi and lots of electrical outlets.
  • Airline incidental fees. Expenses such as checked bags, seat upgrades, and even in-flight food may be eligible for reimbursement up to a specific dollar amount each year.
  • Global Entry statement credit. The Global Entry application fee is $100 and gives you the ability to skip the immigration line when returning to the U.S. from abroad. You’ll also get TSA PreCheck privileges, which allow you to speed through TSA security checkpoints without taking your shoes or belt off. You can even keep your laptop in your backpack.

Travel insurance and emergency assistance

  • Travel and emergency assistance services. If you need help with things such as medical referrals, booking emergency transportation, or emergency translation services, Visa provides a dedicated phone line to help you.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver. When using your Visa Signature card to pay for your rental car, you’ll receive insurance (either primary or secondary) when waiving the rental car’s collision damage waiver (CDW).
  • Trip delay insurance. When your trip is delayed, you can receive up to $300 for food, lodging, and other reasonable expenses. Some cards pay more, depending on the issuer, and your trip will often need to be delayed by at least 12 hours.
  • Baggage delay reimbursement. If your bag is delayed for more than four hours, you’ll receive up to $300 for toiletries, clothes, and other reasonable expenses. Again, some issuers elect to tweak this benefit. You must pay for your travel with your Visa Signature card.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption. Receive compensation for any nonrefundable travel, such as airfare, cruise, train, etc. when you must either cancel or cut short your trip due to a covered reason.
  • Lost luggage insurance. When a common carrier (such as an airline) is responsible for losing or damaging your luggage, you could be reimbursed by Visa.
  • Hotel theft protection. For those traveling within the U.S. and Canada, you are covered for items that are stolen from your hotel room.
  • Travel accident insurance. You’re covered for disasters, such as loss of limbs, loss of senses, and even death, during your travels.
  • Emergency medical/dental insurance. Receive up to $2,500 in supplemental reimbursements for medical or dental expenses during your travels.
  • Emergency evacuation. Get up to $10,000 in coverage for emergency transportation to the nearest medical facility.
  • Visa Infinite Experiences. Partnering with Sofar Sounds, this collection of events includes food, travel, music, and more. You’ll find fun things to do based on your personal taste while discovering new things at the same time.

Purchase protection

Apart from this, you’ll also be covered for certain retail and electronic purchases.

  • Cellphone protection. You’ll receive a preset amount of cellphone insurance (with a $50 deductible) against theft and damage when you use your Visa Signature card to pay the phone’s monthly bill.
  • Price protection. You’ll be reimbursed for a price drop if the item you bought (within a specific time limit) appears for less in a print advertisement.
  • Purchase security. Eligible items are covered within 90 days of the purchase date against theft and damage.
  • Return protection. When you try to return an eligible item costing $250 or less and the merchant won’t accept the return, Visa will reimburse you. This benefit is valid up to 90 days after your purchase date.
  • Extended warranty protection. Your eligible manufacturer’s U.S. warranty will be doubled (up to one year) on warranties of three years or less.

Examples of Signature Visa credit cards

card_name

Ink Business Cash® Card

Intro APR

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Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Welcome offer

bonus_miles_full

The card_name is among the most powerful earners in the rewards credit card market. Its spending bonuses are generous, and its massive welcome bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements should be reason enough to at least try the card out for a year or two.

The annual_fee_disclaimer annual fee card_name comes with a substantial welcome bonus which will make you bonus_miles_full.

As the small business counterpart to the card_name, the card earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases (which takes the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points).

Because this is a Visa Signature, you’ll receive travel benefits that are impressive for a annual_fee_disclaimer-annual-fee credit card, such as primary rental car insurance when renting for business purposes. You’ll also receive a intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration, followed by reg_apr,reg_apr_type.

card_name

United℠ Business Card

Credit score needed

credit_score_needed

Bonus rewards full

bonus_miles_full

In addition to a multitude of perks offered to United Airlines travellers, this card will also earn you two miles per dollar on United Airlines purchases and on dining, gas stations, office supply stores, and local commuting and transit.

The card_name will make you bonus_miles_full. The card comes with an annual fee of annual_fee_disclaimer. For that price point you’ll receive ongoing benefits such as:

  • The first checked bag is free for you and one other person on your reservation (you must use your card to pay).
  • Two United Club single-use passes each card member year.
  • A 5,000-mile bonus each account anniversary when you hold both the United Business Card and a personal United Airlines credit card.
  • A $100 United Airlines credit after you make at least seven flight purchases with United per cardmember year.

You’ll also earn two miles per dollar on United Airlines purchases and on dining, gas stations, office supply stores, and local commuting and transit. You’ll earn one mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

Visa Infinite benefits

Visa Infinite cards are the cream of the crop. They come with all benefits offered by both Visa Signature and traditional Visa credit cards. On top of these, the additional perks listed below put them at the top of nearly all “best credit cards” lists.

Insurance and emergency assistance

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver. Receive primary rental car insurance after waiving the rental agency’s in-house CDW. You’ll get up to $75,000 in coverage, which is more than almost any other credit card’s native insurance can provide.
  • Trip delay reimbursement. When your flight is delayed for at least six hours, you can receive up to $500 in reimbursements for reasonable expenses, such as lodging, meals, transportation, and more.

Travel and lifestyle benefits

  • Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection. Same benefit as Visa Signature, but you’ll receive an extra benefit at participating properties. This could be a dining credit, spa credit, or similar.
  • Visa Infinite concierge services. Same benefit as Visa Signature, but defined as “high touch,” intimating that concierges may go above and beyond what a Visa Signature concierge might do.
  • Visa Infinite rental car privileges. Elite status and discounts with Avis, Hertz, and National. Receive up to 30% off with Audi on demand.
  • Skillshare membership. Same benefit as Visa Signature, but you’ll receive three months free and a heightened 30% discount on a Skillshare annual membership.
  • Golf benefits. Receive automatic Platinum Status with Troon, saving you 20% on golf fees, merchandise, and lessons. You’ll also get access to more than 20 high-end private “Troon Privé” golf clubs.

Examples of Visa Infinite credit cards

card_name

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

Credit score needed

credit_score_needed

Regular APR

reg_apr,reg_apr_type

Welcome offer

bonus_miles_full

This card’s generous benefits and flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points make it an excellent deal for those who can use them. Users get a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership (retail value $469), a $300 annual travel credit that applies to travel purchases each year, 50% more value when redeeming their rewards for travel through Chase, a fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, and a generous suite of travel insurance benefits.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you will bonus_miles_full.

This is one of the best Visa Infinite credit cards. It takes full advantage of Visa’s top-tier travel insurance, confers Global Entry application fee credits and Priority Pass Select membership, and even provides an annual $300 credit valid toward just about any travel purchase. If travel is a goal, Ultimate Rewards is one of the most valuable credit card rewards currencies you can earn. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can:

  • Redeem points for travel through the Chase Travel Portal at a rate of 1.5 cents each.
  • Transfer them to airline and hotel partners for free travel for a potential value of 2 cents or more per point.

However, the card charges a $550 annual fee. Perks like these are well worth the money, but only if you’ll use them. If you travel even a few times per year, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is an excellent card.

card_name

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Credit score needed

credit_score_needed

The card_name will bonus_miles_full. It comes with annual perks that can effortlessly offset its annual_fee_disclaimer annual fee.

  • Up to $300 in annual travel credit when you book travel through Capital One Travel.
  • A bonus of 10,000 Capital One miles each year (redeemable for at least $100 in travel).
  • Access to more than 1,300 airport lounges (Priority Pass, Plaza Premium, and Capital One Lounges).

This card also offers substantial travel insurance benefits that rival the card_name. Capital One miles are similar to Chase Ultimate Rewards points in that they can be transferred to airline and hotel transfer partners for huge value. It’s not difficult to receive a value of two cents or more with a little strategy.

U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

Credit score needed

Excellent

Earn 50,000 bonus points worth $750 on travel. Just spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.

The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve offers 50,000 points after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. This $400 annual fee credit card is special for a few reasons.

  • The card earns three points per dollar for all purchases made via mobile wallet. Yes, it has other bonus categories, but the fact that you can receive triple points for nearly all purchases makes the card a points-earning powerhouse.
  • You get up to $325 in annual credits to offset travel and dining expenses each year. Just about everyone can easily use this, and it effectively drops the card’s $400 annual fee to $75 per year.
  • You get Priority Pass Select membership for 12 months (again, this includes access to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world) followed by four complimentary visits each year.
  • It has excellent travel insurance.

TIME Stamp: Different Visa tiers allow for different benefits, but they don’t guarantee them

No matter which tier of Visa credit card you have, you’ll need to read your credit card issuer’s specific guide to benefits to understand what’s included with it. Your issuer can choose not to offer specific Visa benefits that other cards in a specific tier provide. On the other hand, it can opt to enhance them.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is a Visa credit card?

A Visa credit card is any card that operates within the Visa payment network. Visa doesn’t itself issue credit cards; it only processes the payments you make between your issuing bank and the merchant from which you’re buying.

How to qualify for a Visa credit card

You qualify for a Visa credit card exactly as you would with Mastercard, American Express, etc. If a bank that issues Visa credit cards considers you a good candidate for a card, it will extend credit to you. Work on building a respectable credit history and a credit score of at least 700 before applying for the best Visa credit cards.

Which are the best 0% APR credit cards?

It depends on your goals. If your primary goal is a large no-interest window, the Chase Slate Edge℠ offers a 0% intro APR with purchases and balance transfers for 18 months from opening your account (then 20.24% to 28.99% variable). However, if you’re willing to settle for a smaller intro APR window, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then 20.24% to 28.99% variable).