Compare the best rewards credit cards
||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.
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card – Best for cash back rewards
||Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
||Earn a $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within three months.
|Discover it® Cash Back – Best for rotating bonus categories
||Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.
||Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.
|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.
||60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card – Best for no annual fee
||Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase.
||Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 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.
||Earn a $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 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.
||At the end of your first year, Discover will match all the miles you’ve earned automatically.
|Citi Rewards+℠ Card – Best for gas and groceries
||Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
||Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
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:
- 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