Updated on Jan 10, 2020

Best Rewards Credit Cards

Maximize your rewards with the right rewards card.
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The best rewards credit cards put money back in your pocket with cash back, miles or points. Using the best rewards credit card to fit your spending habits can easily earn you rewards worth hundreds of dollars. We’ve sorted through the myriad of rewards credit cards and chosen only the ones that give you the best results.

Summary

The Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2020

Our Two Cents

Using a rewards credit card is a great way to help pay for your next vacation, reduce some of your monthly expenses or put a little extra cash back into your account. Rewards credit cards give you a percentage of what you spend back in the form of cash back, points or miles. You can use your rewards for things like flights, groceries, hotels, lowering your credit card balance and many other uses, depending on the type of rewards you want to earn.


The best rewards credit cards offer extra perks and bonuses on top of their usual rewards. The most common perk — and often the most valuable — are sign up bonuses, which usually reward you with bonus points or cash back when you spend a certain amount within the first few months of opening your account. See below the best rewards credit cards of 2020.

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Best for travel rewards

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Summary Unlimited 2X miles per dollar
Redeem for... Travel statement credit; travel booked through CapitalOne.com; gift cards; and more

Current Offer 50,000 miles
Annual Fee $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Perks include
  • Complimentary concierge service
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Extended warranty protection for purchases
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. 50000 Miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.49% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is the perfect card for frequent travelers with good to excellent credit. If you have an established credit history, you could qualify to earn flexible travel miles with this card.

How to use it
With the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you can earn miles for spending and redeem your miles for travel, account credits, gift cards, and more. Use your miles on flights, hotels and more with Capital One’s travel partners, plus receive up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® when you use this credit card. You can also take advantage of complimentary, 24-hour concierge service through Visa Signature Concierge while you’re traveling.
Consider this

  • Annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Lesser redemption value for cash back
  • Requires good to excellent credit

Why you'll love it

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers some of the best rewards for travel. Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, as well as a sign up bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. You’ll quickly earn enough miles to pay for your next flight, hotel stay or rental car.

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Pro tip: Reimburse yourself for travel you’ve paid for with Capital One’s Purchase Eraser. With the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you can cash in your miles for a statement credit to cover travel purchases you’ve made in the last 90 days.

Learn More on creditcards.com's secure website

Best for sign up bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rewards Summary Unlimited 2X points on travel and dining, 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Redeem for... Travel statement credit; travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; and more

Current Offer 60,000 points
Annual Fee $95
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Spend $4,000 on purchases in your first three months to earn 60,000 bonus points. That’s $750 in travel!
  • Get 25% more in redemption value when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can redeem for airfare, hotels, cruises and car rentals.
  • Transfer points to other travel rewards programs for a 1:1 value.
  • Refer friends and receive 15,000 bonus points for each friend who gets approved, up to 75,000 bonus points.
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 17.49% - 24.49% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you’re looking for a rewarding sign up bonus or travel frequently, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could be the card for you. This card is perfect for those with good to excellent credit and who want to maximize their earning potential with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, one of the most flexible travel rewards programs out there.

How to use it
The best way to optimize the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is to use it primarily for travel and dining out. Earned points can be used to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. If you’re in a specific frequent flyer or hotel program, you can transfer earned points at a 1:1 ratio, as long as it’s one of Chase’s travel partners.
Consider this

  • No intro APR
  • Lower cash back or statement credit values
  • No premium travel perks

Why you'll love it

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a lucrative sign up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. If you pair the sign up bonus with points you earn during travel, you’ll easily earn enough rewards to justify the card’s $95 annual fee. The Chase Ultimate Rewards program allows you to redeem for travel through its portal at 1.25 cents per point or transfer your points to one of Chase’s travel partners at a 1:1 ratio.

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Pro tip: Pair the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with another Chase credit card on the Ultimate Rewards platform to fill gaps in your rewards plan. You can combine points earned on each card instead of using two different rewards platforms.

Best for rotating bonus categories

Discover it® Cash Back

Rewards Summary 5% cash back at different places each quarter; 1% on all other purchases.
Redeem for... Statement credits, eDeposits, gift cards, charitable donations

Current Offer First year Cashback Match™
Annual Fee $0
Perks include
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR
  • Dollar-for-dollar Cashback Match™ at the end of your first year
  • Free FICO® Credit Score
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Discover it® Cash Back credit card is an ideal card for someone who wants to earn cash back rewards, as well as additional bonus rewards in specific categories every quarter.

How to use it
Use the 14-month 0% intro APR period to pay for larger purchases or balance transfers without incurring any interest (then an ongoing 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR). Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Consider this

  • Potentially high APR after intro period
  • Rotating bonus categories require activation

Why you'll love it

Discover it® Cash Back rewards you with 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more when activated. Then get 1% cash back on every purchase with no limit. To top it off, Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of the first year.

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Pro tip: You have to activate the rewards category each quarter to receive cash back. Set a reminder in your phone or calendar for the start of every quarter to make sure you remember to activate them.

Learn More on creditcards.com's secure website

Best for everyday spending

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Rewards Summary Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Redeem for... Cash back

Current Offer $150
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum needed to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards never expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score with Credit Journey℠
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 15 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 15 Months
  • Ongoing APR: 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Want to earn rewards without worrying about redeeming points or keeping up with bonus categories? The Chase Freedom Unlimited® rewards you 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limit. This card is perfect for cardholders who want to be extremely flexible with their reward redemptions and don’t want to worry about rotating bonus categories.

How to use it
Chase Freedom Unlimited® is designed for everyday spending, and allows you to earn points for purchases that don’t fit into specific bonus categories. It has no annual fee and the rewards never expire, so you can keep the credit card account open for many years without paying a penny for it (as long as your balance is paid in full).
Consider this

  • No rotating bonus categories
  • Other cards feature better sign up bonus offers.
  • Potentially high APR after intro period

Why you'll love it

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, you’ll enjoy a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then ongoing 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR) and no annual fee. Rewards come easy with 1.5% cash back on all purchases. To top it off, you’ll earn $150 in cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months after opening your account.

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Pro tip: Chase’s rewards show up as Ultimate Rewards points, which you can either redeem for cash back or use to purchase travel in Chase’s travel portal. You have the option to transfer your cash back rewards from your Chase Freedom Unlimited® card to an open Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or card to redeem for more travel credit.

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Best for food and entertainment spenders

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Summary 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
Redeem for... Cash back

Current Offer $150
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 3 % Cash Back on dining. 3 % Cash Back on entertainment. 2 % Cash Back at grocery stores. 1 % Cash Back on all other purchases. $150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro on purchases
  • Introductory APR Period: For 15 Months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0% intro on balance transfers
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: For 15 Months
  • Ongoing APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Looking to get cash back on your nights out? The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card rewards you if you eat out frequently and go to events, with no extra fees or hassle.

How to use it
The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card comes in handy while you’re dining out at restaurants or spending money on entertainment. You’ll earn an unlimited 3% back in these categories, along with 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on all other purchases.
Consider this

  • Potentially high APR after intro period
  • Limited to specific spending categories
  • Lower rewards rate than other credit cards

Why you'll love it

The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is the perfect companion for your nights out with friends and family. If you spend regularly on dining and entertainment, you won’t find a more ideal card with a $0 annual fee. Not only does the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card offer rewards in two popular spending categories, but it also offers a solid sign up bonus.

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Pro tip: With the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’ll have access to reservations at the best restaurants with OpenTable’s partnership with Capital One.

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Best for cash back rewards

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Summary Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Redeem for... Cash back

Current Offer $150
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase, every day. $150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.49% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro on purchases
  • Introductory APR Period: For 15 Months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0% intro on balance transfers
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: For 15 Months
  • Ongoing APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card will quickly become your go-to card for cash back rewards. With a simple rewards structure and no annual fee, you can cash in on your everyday expenses no matter where life takes you.

How to use it
The cash back rewards are unlimited with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. The more you spend, the more cash you get back or the option to redeem with a statement credit or gift card.
Consider this

  • Other cards have longer 0% APR intro periods
  • No category bonus options
  • Requires good to excellent credit

Why you'll love it

No matter how often you use the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, it will earn you 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Plus, there aren’t any rotating bonus categories or annual fees to worry about.

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Pro tip: Using your cash back rewards as a statement credit is a great way to instantly cash in your rewards earnings. You can think of it as reimbursing yourself for things you’ve already purchased.

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Best for no annual fee

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Summary Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase
Redeem for... Travel, gift cards, and more

Current Offer 20,000 miles
Annual Fee $0
Perks include
  • Complimentary concierge service
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Extended warranty protection for purchases
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.49% - 23.49% variable APR after that
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. 20000 Miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance APR: 23.49% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro on purchases
  • Introductory APR Period: For 12 Months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card could be the best rewards credit card for you if you have an excellent credit history and want to earn flexible travel miles with no annual fee. If you prefer your travel credit cards uncomplicated, then perhaps you will appreciate the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card. This card features unlimited, flat-rate rewards on every purchase made.

How to use it
Do you travel a lot? Use this card while you’re traveling to avoid foreign transaction fees and make the most of your miles by redeeming for travel statement credit or for travel booked through Capital One.
Consider this

  • Late payment fee of up to $39
  • Lower reward value with cash back redemption
  • Potentially high APR after intro period

Why you'll love it

With the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, you’ll earn Capital One’s flexible Venture miles with every purchase — 1.25 miles for every dollar you spend. Boasting no annual fee and a 0% intro on purchases intro APR for the first For 12 Months (then 13.49% - 23.49% (Variable) APR after that), this card also allows you to earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first three months.

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Pro tip: Capital One offers regular bonuses for transferring Venture miles to one of its travel partners. If you are planning a trip, try to time your points transfer with a transfer bonus to make your points go even further.

Best for earning miles

Discover it® Miles

Rewards Summary Unlimited 1.5x miles on every purchase
Redeem for... Statement credits towards travel purchases

Current Offer First year mile-for-mile match
Annual Fee $0
Perks include
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 14 months and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR
  • Free FICO® Credit Scores on monthly statements and online
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 1.5 Miles per dollar on all purchases. .
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you’re someone who tends to shy away from annual fees and punishing late fees, it’s time to discover the benefits of the Discover it® Miles. With this card, you won’t suffer late fees on the first late payment, and there’s no annual fee. There are also no foreign transaction fees, making this a great card for international travel.

How to use it
Discover it® Miles lets you earn and redeem miles for travel without having to worry about blackout dates. You can use your card to pay for your travel expenses, then redeem your miles as a statement credit later, basically wiping the expense away, without ever having to pay an annual fee.
Consider this

  • Late payment fee of up to $39
  • Lower reward value with cash back redemption
  • Potentially high APR after intro period

Why you'll love it

For every dollar you spend on your Discover it® Miles card, you’ll earn 1.5 miles that can be redeemed as a statement credit for travel purchases. Instead of offering a typical three-month sign up bonus, Discover will match every mile you earn at the end of your first year with no limit.

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Pro tip: Rewards are redeemable for travel statement credit, giving you the freedom to use that credit to book through discount sites like Priceline or Expedia. If you like to take the long view with accumulating miles, consider the end-of-year miles match that Discover offers.

Compare the best rewards credit cards

Card Rewards Rate Annual Fee Sign Up Bonus
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card – Best for travel rewards Unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase. $0 intro for first year; $95 after that Earn 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Best for sign up bonus Earn 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants plus earn one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. $95 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
Discover it® Cash Back – Best for rotating bonus categories Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more, up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically. $0 Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® – Best for everyday spending Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. $0 Earn $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card – Best for food and entertainment spenders Earn 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. $0 Earn a $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card – Best for cash back rewards Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. $0 Earn a $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within three months.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card – Best for no annual fee Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase. $0 Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months.
Discover it® Miles – Best for earning miles Earn unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on all purchases. $0 At the end of your first year, Discover will match all the miles you’ve earned automatically.

FAQs

A rewards credit card is a tool that makes your money go further. With enough patience and strategy, you can earn enough credit card rewards to cover everyday expenses, like gas and groceries, or big-ticket items like airline tickets, hotel rooms or rental cars. Using the best rewards credit cards makes life easier and puts new adventures within reach.

What is a rewards credit card?

A rewards credit card is different from other credit cards because it typically has lucrative incentives for you to use them more frequently. These incentives — or rewards — usually come in the form of cash back rewards, points or miles. The best rewards credit cards will pay you back a percentage of the money you spend on the card and sometimes offer a sign up bonus for using the card frequently soon after opening a new account.

How to maximize your rewards credit card

Maximizing your rewards credit card will depend on your financial situation, goals and spending habits. You won’t find a one-size-fits-all strategy to maximizing your rewards credit card, but you can build a custom plan to make sure you get the most out of it. In general, most credit card strategies include a few rewards credit cards (two or three is usually enough, but you can always use more!) that complement each other.

  • Tip 1: Don’t carry a balance. Carrying a balance will negate any rewards you earn from your credit card. APRs usually range from 13% to 25%, so your rewards will quickly disappear if you’re paying a lot in interest.
  • Tip 2: Plan your spending. Maximizing your credit card comes down to earning rewards and using them for their intended purpose. Many credit cards will have a higher rewards rate for certain categories. Pay attention to your rewards rate and sign up bonus to earn cash back, points or miles quickly.

Different types of rewards cards

Rewards credit cards come in many different forms. Some cards are characterized by the type of rewards you can earn, while other cards cater to specific lifestyle choices, such as luxury and business credit cards.

  • Cash back credit cards: This type of credit card pays you back a small percentage for your expenses. Your rewards rate for a credit card determines how much cash back you earn from every purchase. You can redeem them for either a statement credit, cash deposited to your checking account or a check mailed directly to you.
  • Travel credit cards: Points and miles from travel credit cards are specifically designed to help you pay for your travel expenses. Travel rewards cards can be either co-branded cards with hotels or airlines or be specific to a card issuer with flexible rewards programs, like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Capital One Venture Miles. You can redeem these rewards directly for flights, hotel stays, rental cars and other travel-related expenses, depending on the card.
  • Luxury credit cards: Luxury cards offer additional rewards and perks, including airport lounge access, free hotel upgrades and annual travel stipends. However, those cards come with a higher annual fee and more stringent qualifications.
  • Business credit cards: Businesses can also earn cash back, points and travel miles from rewards credit cards. Many of these cards offer bonus reward categories on business expenses, such as office supplies and wireless internet.

Credit cards can offer either flat-rate or tiered rewards. A card with flat-rate rewards will give you a consistent percentage on every purchase, no matter the category. A card with tiered rewards will give you a higher rewards rate for spending in certain categories while providing a lower, base rate for all other expenses.

Which credit cards give the best rewards?

Choosing a credit card that gives the best rewards depends on your goals and spending habits, but a few cards come out on top for their respective categories. For travel rewards, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a strong contender, offering 2x miles on every purchase along with a hefty sign up bonus. The battle for the best cash back card is close, but Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card’s unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases is a rate that’s hard to beat.

Is it better to get cash or points?

It’s difficult to choose between points or cash back rewards because both have pros and cons, but it ultimately comes down to what’s best for your lifestyle. Cash back is simple, easy to redeem and usually comes with a lower annual fee. Points and miles can offer value when it comes to travel partners, redemption rates and redemption categories, but can require more effort to maximize. The winner between cash and points depends largely on your priorities.

Are credit cards with rewards worth it?

Rewards credit cards are worth having in your wallet if you’re responsible with your spending and pay off your balance on time every month. If you put in the effort to maximize your rewards credit card, you can quickly earn enough points to pay for flights and hotel rooms while you travel or enough cash back to pay some of your balance.

Pros and cons of rewards credit cards

Rewards credit cards can greatly lower your expenses and create cash back opportunities that you wouldn’t have with other credit cards. Roughly 56% of Americans use credit cards for convenience and do not carry a balance from month to month, according to the Federal Reserve. This group of people is perfectly positioned to benefit from all the best rewards credit cards available. However, rewards credit cards usually come with higher interest rates, which could not only negate any benefits but also leave you paying more in interest. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of rewards credit cards:

Pros Cons
  • Get paid back for everyday purchases
  • Flexible rewards redemptions
  • Ability to make rewards even more valuable through transfer partners
  • Higher APR than other types of credit cards
  • May be more difficult to qualify for
  • Takes effort to maximize rewards

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