Updated on Oct 20, 2020

Best Rewards Credit Cards

Maximize your rewards with the right rewards card.
Advertiser Disclosure

Independently researched content by us. Free financial advice for you. To do that, we may get compensation when you click on our partners’ products. Our lists consist of the best cards from our partners. Not all cards in the marketplace have been evaluated. View our full advertiser disclosure to learn more.

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

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.

Learn More on creditcards.com's secure website

Best for sign up bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rewards Summary 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Redeem for... Travel statement credit; travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; and more

Current Offer 80,000 points
Annual Fee $95
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% 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: 15.99% - 22.99% 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 80,000 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.

Learn More Back to top

Pro Tip


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.

Learn More on creditcards.com's secure website

Best for gas and groceries

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Rewards Summary 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
Redeem for... $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com

Current Offer Earn 2X ThankYou® Points
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Citibank Show Highlights
  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • 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
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee - either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • Issuer: Citibank
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each purchase transaction in US dollars
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 15 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 15 months
  • Ongoing APR: 13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99% (Variable)

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you want to earn extra points for grocery shopping, gas and other small purchases, the Citi Rewards+℠ Card is a solid card to lean on. Keep in mind that there’s a lot to keep track of with this card — tiered bonus categories, spending caps and rounded-up rewards — but you’ll earn high rewards for small purchases.

How to use it
With no annual fee, you can maximize this card by earning rewards for everyday purchases. You have the potential to earn 2x ThankYou® Points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1x point thereafter.
Consider this

  • Travel can only be booked through the issuer’s portal
  • High APR after the intro period
  • Redemption value only high on gift cards and travel

Why you'll love it

The Citi Rewards+℠ Card has a unique “round up” feature that makes it stand out among rewards cards, which makes using it for everyday purchases a little more enticing. Keep in mind that there’s a lot to keep track of with this card — tiered bonus categories, spending caps and rounded-up rewards — but you’ll earn high rewards for small purchases.

Learn More Back to top

Pro Tip


Pro tip: Take advantage of the card’s sign up bonus, which can earn you 15,000 points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within three months of opening your account.

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 $200
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Chase Show Highlights
  • Earn a $200 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: 24.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 15 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 14.99% - 23.74% 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 for 15 months (then ongoing 14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR) and no annual fee. Rewards come easy with 1.5% cash back on all purchases. To top it off, you’ll earn $200 in cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months after opening your account.

Learn More Back to top

Pro Tip


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.

Best rewards credit cards for 2020: summed up

Best for... Credit Card
Sign Up Bonus Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Learn More
Gas And Groceries Citi Rewards+℠ Card Learn More
Everyday Spending Chase Freedom Unlimited® Learn More

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. $95 Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 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 $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within three months from account opening.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® – Best for everyday spending Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. $0 Earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Best for sign up bonus Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. $95 80,000 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. $0 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. $0 Earn a $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
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. See Terms Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.
Discover it® Miles – Best for earning miles Earn unlimited 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on all purchases. See Terms 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. $0 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

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

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.

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 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. You’ll quickly earn enough miles to pay for your next flight, hotel stay or rental car.

Things to consider:  

  • Annual fee of $95
  • Lesser redemption value for cash back
  • Requires good to excellent credit

Pro tip: 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.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Who should get it: The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card 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.

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.

Things to consider:  

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

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.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

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.

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 15.49% – 25.49% 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.

Things to consider:  

  • Late payment fee of up to $40
  • Lower reward value with cash back redemption
  • Potentially high APR after intro period

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.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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.

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.

Things to consider:  

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

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.

Discover it® Cash Back

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: 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. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Why you’ll love it:

Discover it® Cash Back rewards you with 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. 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.

Things to consider:  

  • Rotating bonus categories require activation

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.

Discover it® Miles

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.

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.

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.

Things to consider:  

  • Lower reward value with cash back redemption

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.

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

Please Note: Information about the Capital One and Discover Credit Cards have been collected independently by TheSimpleDollar.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.