Updated on Sep 12, 2019

Best Rewards Credit Cards

Maximize your rewards with the right rewards card.
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The best rewards credit cards reward you for everyday purchases with cash back, points, and miles. We evaluated the landscape of rewards credit cards and have narrowed down the list to only the very best available. Check out the best rewards credit cards below and apply online in minutes.

Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2019

  • Best no intro fee rewards card – Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • Great all-around card – Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
  • Best cash back bonus – Discover it® Cash Back
  • Best for U.S. gas stations & U.S. supermarkets – Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
  • Great first-year bonus – Discover it® Miles

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Best no intro fee rewards card

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. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • 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
  • 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: 25.24% (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: 17.99% - 25.24% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a great choice if your goal is to earn credit card rewards you can redeem for a free or low-cost trip for yourself or your family. Every eligible purchase you make earns 2X miles per dollar that you can use to book all sorts of travel and vacation packages through CapitalOne.com.

How to use it
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on all purchases.
  • Spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months to get 50,000 bonus miles.
  • Redeem your miles via the Capital One Rewards Center for travel, account credits, gift cards, and more.
Consider this

This card has a relatively low annual fee, but if you don’t want a fee at all, consider the Discover it® Miles. It has a lower earning rate (1.5X miles per dollar), but otherwise it’s a comparable travel card: unlimited rewards on all purchases, no foreign transaction fees, and flexible redemption options. You also get a mile-for-mile match of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Why you'll love it

No matter how you use your Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you’ll earn unlimited miles that you can redeem for a variety of travel rewards. And no matter where you go, you won’t be hit with a foreign transaction fee. Plus, it has a reasonable annual fee ($95) that’s waived for your first year.

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Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Great all-around card

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
  • Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 14.24% - 24.24% variable APR after that
  • 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
  • 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: 24.24% (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: 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is among the best credit cards for earning unlimited miles (1.25X miles per dollar) on all purchases without an annual fee. It’s also great for casual rewards credit card users who want a variety of travel redemption options, including travel statement credits (which allow you to cover certain travel expenditures that other cards won’t, like ferries and auto rentals).

How to use it
  • Use this card for all types of purchases to earn unlimited 1.25X miles per dollar.
  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
  • Take advantage of the 12-month 0% intro APR (then ongoing 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable) APR) and pay off larger purchases without racking up any interest.
Consider this

If you’re willing to pay an annual fee, you could earn higher-rate rewards with another card. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is very similar to this card, with the exception of a higher earning rate (unlimited 2X miles per dollar) and a signup bonus that’s worth much more. Its annual fee is just $95 after your first year.

Why you'll love it

For no-fuss rewards on everything you buy, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is a sensible, affordable choice. Unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar offer decent earning potential, with plenty of flexibility at redemption. Since you can redeem miles for a travel statement credit, you can fly any airline and stay at any hotel, anytime, without taking blackout dates into account.

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Best cash back bonus

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 13.99% - 24.99% 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: 26.99% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 13.99% - 24.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

Looking for a card with no annual fee and an impressive first-year bonus? With the Discover it® Cash Back, you’ll get automatic match of all the cash back you earn in your first year.

How to use it
  • 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, 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all your first-year cash back earnings thanks to Discover’s Cashback Match™ program. (If you earn $150 cash back, you’ll get $300.)
  • Utilize the 14-month 0% intro APR to pay off purchases and balances transfers without accruing interest (then ongoing 13.99% - 24.99% Variable APR).
Consider this

The Chase Freedom® is a great alternative because you won’t have to wait all year to earn the bonus. As long as you spend $500 in purchases within the first three months, you’ll get a $150 statement credit. It earns the same high-rate rewards (5% in bonus categories on up to $1,500 per quarter when you activate) and points can be redeemed for discounted travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Why you'll love it

True to its name, the Discover it® Cash Back card will match your cash back earned at the end of your first year dollar for dollar, automatically. Another cool perk: You can use your cash back for part or all of Amazon.com purchases (redeem instantly at checkout).

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Partner Offer Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Best for U.S. gas stations & U.S. supermarkets

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees
Rewards Summary 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000, then 1%)
Redeem for... Reward Dollars (redeemed as a statement credit)

Current Offer $250
Annual Fee $95
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • New 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • New 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 25.99%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Annual Fee: $95 See Rates & Fees
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 27.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 12 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.99% - 25.99% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you’re constantly making a trip to the grocery store, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express would fit well in your wallet. It earns incredibly high rewards at U.S. supermarkets: 6% for the first $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%. Heavy commuters earn too: It also earns unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit.

How to use it
  • Use this card at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, on transit, and select U.S. streaming subscriptions to earn substantial cash back.
  • Earn a $250 statement credit when you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Redeem your cash back as a statement credit that you can use to pay down your card balance.
Consider this

A possible sticking point with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is its $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). If you’d prefer an American Express rewards credit card with no annual fee, consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (currently unavailable). It has a $0 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) — though the earning rates for groceries and gas are more modest.

Why you'll love it

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the among the best rewards cards for those who prefer to earn points on everyday purchases. It boasts a high earning rate on categories that are popular with frugal spenders and families — plus unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

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Great first-year bonus

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 13.99% - 24.99% 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: 26.99% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 13.99% - 24.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Discover it® Miles offers some of the best credit card rewards if you want to redeem for statement credits toward travel purchases, all with no annual fee. This card also makes sense if you’re about to make a large purchase, thanks to its mile-for-mile match at the end of your first year.

How to use it
  • This is a great all-purpose card because it earns unlimited 1.5X miles per dollar on every purchase.
  • Discover will match your first-year earnings mile-for-mile, so use this card as much as possible to maximize your reward — and there’s no limit to how much you can earn.
  • You can redeem your miles as a statement credit to cover travel purchases such as airline tickets, hotel rooms, and car rentals.
  • Keep tabs on your FICO® credit score online for free with your Discover account.
Consider this

The flat rewards structure makes it simple to earn unlimited miles on every purchase you make. But if your spending follows certain patterns, you could earn more faster with a rewards credit card that offers more than 1.5X miles per dollar.

Why you'll love it

The Discover it® Miles offers high earning potential for those who use it on all kinds of purchases: unlimited 1.5X miles per dollar spent, with no annual fee. On top of that, Discover will match your first-year earnings mile-for-mile. Reward bonuses don’t get any easier than that.

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Best rewards credit cards for 2019: summed up

Best for... Credit Card
No Intro Fee Rewards Card Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Apply Now
Great All-Around Card Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card Apply Now
Cash Back Bonus Discover it® Cash Back Apply Now
U.s. Gas Stations &Amp; U.s. Supermarkets
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Partner Offer
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Apply Now
Great First-Year Bonus Discover it® Miles Apply Now

How Rewards Credit Cards Work

Rewards credit cards earn points or cash back every time you use the card. Some cards earn high-rate rewards on certain purchase categories, like travel or groceries. Others earn unlimited flat-rate rewards on every dollar you spend, regardless of the category. Branded rewards cards are a great option for loyal customers because they usually offer higher rewards rates, or premium benefits. For example, the earns 2X miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases only. But cardholders also get perks like free bag checks, priority boarding, and seat upgrades.
Earning points Redeeming points

Whether it’s points, miles, or cash back, high-rate rewards cards usually earn anywhere from 3% to 5% on rewards categories, and 1% on everything else. Flat-rate rewards cards generally earn 2%.

Remember that cards with rotating bonus rewards categories usually change each quarter. You will need to activate the bonus every quarter to take advantage of the higher rewards rate.

Credit card rewards points can be redeemed for a variety of things, including travel, vacation packages, gift cards, cash back, and statement credits. It’s important to remember that not all card issuers value their points equally — and sometimes the value changes. For example, The Points Guy’s valuation puts Capital One rewards at 1 cent per point, while Chase Ultimate Rewards® are valued at 2.1 cents per point.

What are credit card rewards points?

Most cards have unique names for their rewards currency. For example, Delta calls its rewards ‘Delta Skymiles’ and American Express calls them ‘Membership Rewards.’ But regardless of what they’re called, rewards are generally redeemed for two things: travel or cash back. With travel, we’re talking about anything from points that can be redeemed for a wide range of options around the world, to miles that can only be redeemed for airfare at a handful of airlines. Cash back options are also pretty varied. Some cards earn cash back and gift cards that you can spend at certain online retailers. There are even cards for those who want the best of both worlds.

Can I get a rewards card with bad credit?

The best rewards credit cards have the nicest features — low interest rates, lucrative rewards, and great perks. They can also be tough to get. It usually takes a credit score of around 700 or more to qualify for a card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. (That’s considered “good” by FICO® and VantageScore, two of the major credit scoring models.) If you’re in the process of building or repairing your credit, secured credit cards could be a better option. Unlike regular credit cards, secured cards require an upfront deposit. If you put down $500, then your credit limit will also be around $500, minus the fees. Secured cards are easier to qualify for because secured cards are bankrolled by you, not the lender. But that doesn’t mean you’ll always be approved. If you have bankruptcy or multiple missed payments on your credit history, it might be harder to get approved — even for a secured credit card.

How many credit cards is too many?

It’s not really about how many cards you own, but how much you owe that matters most. Your credit utilization ratio is one of main factors that influences your credit score. As long as you keep it below 30% on individual cards and collectively across all cards, you avoid the risk of damaging your credit score. Your credit utilization ratio is the percentage of your total active credit. For example, if you have a card with a $10,000 limit and a $2,000 balance, your credit utilization ratio is 20%.

What are rotating cash back categories?

For rewards credit cards that offer cash back, you may be able to receive extra cash back in certain categories during a set period of time. For instance, both the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom® offer 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. In order to receive this cash back bonus, you must activate the categories through your account, then spend up to a certain limit at the selected stores.

How to save more money by maximizing points and miles

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all card that delivers superior points or miles on every conceivable spending category and has the most flexible point redemption options. Owning two or three cards is the right number to get the most points or miles and still keep the cards active (assuming you’re paying off the balances). You’ll be able to take advantage of the bonuses and ongoing rewards without major limitations. For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here. For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here

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