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Best Rewards Credit Cards of January 2023 (Updated Monthly)

Best Rewards Credit Cards of January 2023 (Updated Monthly)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card takes the cake for best travel rewards credit card. You'll get a 25% redemption bonus when booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® online travel portal — stretching the value of your points further than other cards can offer.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Citi is an advertising partner.

Top rewards credit cards of 2023

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Jump to

A rewards credit card — defined as a credit card that rewards you when you spend with the card — can be a great way to earn a little extra on purchases you were going to make anyway.

Depending on the flavor of rewards that suit you best — cash back, flexible points, hotel points or airline miles — the best rewards credit card can help you pad your savings account or finance a dream vacation.

Compare the best rewards credit cards of 2023

Card
Rewards
Annual Fee
Credit Needed ?
Best for

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card
2x-5x flexible points ? $95720 - 850Overall and travel
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve<sup>®</sup>
1x-10x flexible points ? $550720 - 850Rewards runner-up
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card
3x-7x hotel points ? $0660 - 850No annual fee
Apply Now
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited<sup>®</sup>
1.5%-5% cash back ? $0660 - 850Cash back
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash<sup>®</sup> Card
2% cash back ? $0660 - 850Flat-rate cash back
Apply Now
See Rates & Fees. On Wells Fargo's Secure Website

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠
1%-5% cash back ? $0660 - 850Cash back with rotating categories

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Cash Back
1%-5% cash back ? $0660 - 850Unlimited cash back

Not available on ValuePenguin

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card from American Express
1%-6% cash back ? $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95660 - 850Groceries
Apply Now
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa<sup>®</sup> Card by Citi
1%-4% cash back ? $0720 - 850Gas
Apply Now
On Citibank's Secure Website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
2x-5x hotel points ? $95660 - 850Flat-rate travel
Apply Now
On Capital One's Secure Website

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
2x-10x flexible points ? $395720 - 850Multiple travel expenses
Apply Now
On Capital One's Secure Website

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles<sup>®</sup> Platinum American Express Card
1x-3x airline miles ? $250660 - 850Airlines

Not available on ValuePenguin

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
1%-4% cash back ? $95660 - 850Restaurants

Not available on ValuePenguin

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
3x-14x hotel points ? $450660 - 850Hotels

Not available on ValuePenguin

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The Business Platinum Card<sup>®</sup> from American Express
1x-5x flexible points ? $695660 - 850Business

Not available on ValuePenguin

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Secured Credit Card
1%-2% cash back ? $00 - 600Bad credit

Not available on ValuePenguin

Card
Rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card
2x-5x flexible points ?
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve<sup>®</sup>
1x-10x flexible points ?
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card
3x-7x hotel points ?
Apply Now
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited<sup>®</sup>
1.5%-5% cash back ?
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash<sup>®</sup> Card
2% cash back ?
Apply Now
See Rates & Fees. On Wells Fargo's Secure Website

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠
1%-5% cash back ?

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Cash Back
1%-5% cash back ?

Not available on ValuePenguin

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card from American Express
1%-6% cash back ?
Apply Now
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa<sup>®</sup> Card by Citi
1%-4% cash back ?
Apply Now
On Citibank's Secure Website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
2x-5x hotel points ?
Apply Now
On Capital One's Secure Website

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
2x-10x flexible points ?
Apply Now
On Capital One's Secure Website

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles<sup>®</sup> Platinum American Express Card
1x-3x airline miles ?
Apply Now
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
1%-4% cash back ?

Not available on ValuePenguin

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
3x-14x hotel points ?

Not available on ValuePenguin

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The Business Platinum Card<sup>®</sup> from American Express
1x-5x flexible points ?

Not available on ValuePenguin

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Discover it<sup>®</sup> Secured Credit Card
1%-2% cash back ?

Not available on ValuePenguin

Best rewards credit card overall

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

$95

20.24% - 27.24% Variable

720 - 850

 

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.

  • Points are worth 25% more on travel. When you redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for travel, they are worth 1.25 cents when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.
  • Transfer to 14 hotel and airline partners. Your points can be transferred on a 1:1 basis to hotels and airline partners.
  • Primary rental car protection. Your rental car is covered with primary rental car protection against theft or damage.
  • Redeem points for cash back. If you need to close the card and cash out the points, you can count on getting a decent value for them – cash back redemptions are 1 cent per point.
  • Chase 5/24 Rule limits ability to apply. If you've opened five or more new credit cards from any bank in the last 24 months, you are unable to open this card.
  • $95 annual fee. While the card's benefits, including a generous sign-up bonus, are easily worth the fee, you'll have to factor it into the equation.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a good travel rewards credit card for people who want to earn flexible points. It earns 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases. You can redeem those points practically any way you please – for travel through Chase's Ultimate Rewards® portal for a 25% bonus, for cash back, and many other options. You can also transfer points to one of Chase's airline or hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio. Plus, the card comes with other great travel benefits, including $0 foreign transaction fees and primary rental car insurance.


Best rewards credit card (runner-up)

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

$550

21.24% - 28.24% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

  • Valuable welcome bonus. The card's bonus is worth $900 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Annual travel credit of $300. This credit can be used to pay for any travel expense, including booking flights or hotels, and public transportation.
  • Unlimited 3X points on travel and dining worldwide. You'll earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar on every travel and dining purchase you make anywhere in the world.
  • Points are worth 50% more towards travel. You can redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards travel reservations through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® online travel portal.
  • 1:1 points transfer to hotel and airline partners. Points transfer on a 1:1 basis to leading hotel and airline programs.
  • 10X on qualifying Lyft rides. Earn an additional 10 points per $1 spent on qualifying Lyft rides through March 2025.
  • Complimentary airport lounge access. Register for a free Priority Pass™ Select membership which includes access to over 1,200 airport lounges around the world.
  • Primary rental car coverage. When charging the full amount to your card (and declining the company’s collision insurance), you'll receive primary rental car protection from theft or damage on your rental car.
  • Annual fee of $550. Infrequent travelers may find it hard to justify the large annual fee each year.
  • Authorized users are $75 each. If you want to extend your benefits to an authorized user, you'll have to pay an additional $75 each year per person.
  • Large minimum spend requirement. To earn the welcome bonus, you'll need to spend $4,000 within three months. For some customers, this is a difficult threshold to overcome.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® retains its title as one of the best travel rewards credit cards thanks to its earning power and how flexible its points are to redeem. You earn 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Though it comes with a high $550, that fee is largely covered by the card's $300 travel credit, which applies to most travel purchases. Plus you get great travel perks like Priority Pass access and a credit for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. If you're a frequent traveler, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a good bargain for luxury travel benefits.


Best for no annual fee

Hilton Honors American Express Card

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.

$0

19.99%-28.99% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. 
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your Card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

  • Bonus earnings at Hilton hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations
  • Hilton Honors Silver elite status for having the card (enrollment required)
  • $0 annual fee
  • Unlike other hotel cards, no complimentary anniversary night
  • Earn lower rewards rates than other Hilton credit cards

For rates and fees of Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here

If you're looking for the best rewards credit card with $0 annual fee, you may want to consider the Hilton Honors American Express Card. It comes with bonus earnings at Hilton hotels as well as at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. You'll also get Hilton Silver elite status and the ability to earn Gold status if you spend $20,000 on your card in one calendar year (enrollment required). This makes the Hilton Honors American Express Card a great option for Hilton travelers looking for a rewards credit card with $0 annual fee.


Best for cash back

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

$0

19.24% - 27.99% Variable

660 - 850

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 19.24% - 27.99%
  • No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.

  • High flat earning rate on most purchases
  • Earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards® points
  • $0 annual fee
  • Sign-up bonus is not as high as some other cards with no annual fee
  • Charges foreign transaction fees

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a rewards credit card that allows you to redeem your points for maximum flexibility. You can redeem your rewards as cash back or, if you have a premium Chase credit card (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card), you can turn your rewards into valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. This lets you redeem your rewards with a 25% or 50% bonus when booking through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, and also unlocks the ability to transfer rewards to Chase's hotel or airline transfer partners.


Best for flat-rate cash back

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

See Rates & Fees. On Wells Fargo's Secure Website

Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

$0

19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% variable APR

660 - 850

  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
  • $0 annual fee
  • No categories to track or remember and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge
  • Get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card. (subject to a $25 deductible).
  • Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions

Are cashback rewards worth it? It depends on the card. If you own a travel rewards card, you'll most likely gain the most value from your rewards by redeeming for travel. If you're not traveling at the moment, it's still worthwhile to redeem your rewards for cash back rather than letting your points balances collect dust. But if you're an active traveler, you should avoid cash back as a redemption option to maximize your rewards.

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  • $0 annual fee. It's unusual for a card to offer such a high rewards rate and welcome offer for no annual fee.
  • Strong flat rate on all purchases. You'll Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.
  • Valuable welcome offer. Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Low intro APR offer on purchases and balance transfers. 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% variable APR.
  • Cell phone protection. Get up to $600 of protection against damage or theft by paying your phone bill with your card. This is subject to a $25 deductible. Terms apply.
  • 3% foreign transaction fee. This card isn't a great option for those who frequently travel internationally, as foreign transaction fees can quickly add up.
  • No bonus categories. Because this card offers a flat rewards rate, cardholders won't have the opportunity to maximize their rewards earnings.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash card is an excellent choice for those looking to earn cash back due to its strong flat rate rewards structure, lucrative welcome offer and other valuable perks. For a $0 annual fee, cardholders will Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases. You'll also receive a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers. After that, you'll have a 19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% variable APR. Ultimately, this card can be great for people looking to pay down debt while still earning cash back rewards on all their purchases.


Best rewards credit card for cash back with rotating categories

Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Rotating quarterly bonus categories. 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. Activation is required.
  • Ongoing bonus on travel, dining and drugstores. In addition to the card's rotating bonus categories, you'll earn bonus cash back on travel and dining purchases.
  • Long intro APR. 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months (then a 19.24% - 27.99% Variable APR applies)
  • Earn 5% cash on Lyft Rides. Earn 5% cash back on Lyft Rides (4% on top of the regular 1% earning rate) until March 31, 2025.
  • Travel and purchase protections. Get a suite of protections for your purchases, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance and up to $1,000 in cell phone protection per year.
  • Pool your rewards with other Chase cards. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is part of the Ultimate Rewards card family, meaning: You can transfer your rewards to certain cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and use them for travel to increase their value.
  • Must register to earn 5% cash back. In order to receive the 5% cash back, you need to register before the end of the quarter.
  • Limited to $1,500 in spending each quarter. The 5% bonus cash back is not unlimited. After reaching the limit, your purchases outside of the other bonus categories will earn only 1% cash back.

Unlike the Discover it® Cash Back, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers an ongoing bonus on other purchase categories (travel, dining and drugstores) at a very generous rate, making it our top pick for a cash back card with rotating categories. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. You have to enroll in the card's rotating categories, which change each quarter. However, as long as you do so before the quarter ends, you'll earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in purchases under those categories (for up to $300 in bonus cash back each year).

Even if you don't score big in the card's rotating categories, you can come out ahead in its ongoing categories. This makes the Chase Freedom Flex℠ one of the best cash rewards credit cards.


Best for unlimited cash back

Discover it® Cash Back

Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin

Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

See terms

See terms

660 - 850

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 16.24% to 27.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.

  • Earn a high rate of cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories
  • Double your cash back at the end of the first year
  • Bonus categories must be activated each quarter, or you only earn 1% cash back
  • Discover may not be accepted as widely, especially internationally

The Discover it® Cash Back card is another solid rewards card that offers theoretically unlimited cash back. You'll earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically. Another great feature of the Discover it® Cash Back card is that Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn in the first year of having the card for new cardholders.


Best rewards credit card for groceries

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

18.24%-29.24% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 intro plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each eligible purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 18.24% to 29.24%
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Thinking about getting The Disney Bundle which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription with your Blue Cash Preferred Card. Enrollment required.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Terms Apply.

  • Earn 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases. You'll earn 6% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend each year at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive 6% cash back on streaming. Select U.S. streaming services also fall under the 6% cash back category.
  • 3% cash back on transportation. Earn 3% cash back on taxis, ride-sharing services, parking, tolls and more. Plus, you'll receive 3% for U.S. gas station purchases.
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases. You'll enjoy an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months (18.24%-29.24% Variable APR thereafter). This gives you extra time to pay off your purchases without paying any interest.
  • Annual fee. The annual fee of $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 reduces the benefit of earning cash back. You'll need to spend almost $1,600 in groceries just to break even after paying the annual fee (but it's worth it for most grocery shoppers).
  • Foreign transaction fees. International purchases are charged a fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
  • Penalty fees. If you pay late or have a payment returned, you'll pay up to $40 per incident.

For rates and fees of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For people who are cooking at home and streaming more shows, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the ideal rewards credit card. You'll earn 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases. Terms apply. Rewards of $25 or more can be redeemed easily for statement credits toward your purchases.


Best rewards credit card for gas

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

On Citibank's Secure Website

$0

19.49% (Variable)

720 - 850

  • Discover one of Citi's best cash back rewards cards designed exclusively for Costco members
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee with your paid Costco membership and enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Receive an annual credit card reward certificate, which is redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses, including Puerto Rico

  • Earn up to 4% cash back. You'll earn 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter, 3% on restaurants & travel, 2% at Costco & Costco.com, 1% on all other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee. Costco members pay $0 annual fee for this credit card.
  • Purchase protections. Eligible purchases are covered against damage or theft during the first 120 days (or 90 days for New York residents).
  • 0% foreign transaction fee. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is also a good travel companion, since it doesn't charge a fee on transactions made outside the U.S.
  • No welcome bonus. You will not earn a welcome bonus when signing up for this rewards credit card.
  • You earn Costco Cash Rewards. Instead of cash back that can be used anywhere, your earnings are Costco Cash Rewards which can only be used to make purchases at Costco. These rewards are issued once a year in February in the form of a certificate and must be used in a single Costco transaction.
  • If you cancel your Costco membership, you forfeit your rewards. If you cancel your membership before you receive your certificate in February, you lose all the cashback rewards for that year.
  • Must be a Costco member to apply. In order to apply, you must first join Costco and pay its membership fees starting at $60. If you are declined for the card, you're out the fees paid to join Costco.
  • Gas category is limited. You'll earn 4% cash back on the first $7,000 you spend on gas each year. Additional gas purchases earn just 1%.

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is an excellent option for gas purchase rewards, since it earns 4% cash back on up to $7,000 in gas purchased from any eligible gas station each year (not just Costco gas stations). It does not have an annual fee ($0) and also awards bonus cash back on dining, travel and Costco purchases.


Best for flat-rate travel rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

$95

20.24% - 28.24% (Variable)

660 - 850

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through our Partner Lounge Network
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

  • The same high rewards rate on every purchase. You'll earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023 without any limits.
  • TSA Precheck or Global Entry reimbursement. Get reimbursed up to $100 for application fees once every four years.
  • Transfer miles to airline and hotel partners. Capital One has added 15+ airline and hotel loyalty programs that you can transfer miles to. The value of those transferred rewards will vary depending on the partner, but you can sometimes find good deals among some of these programs.
  • Annual fee of $95. There is an annual fee of $95, which reduces the value of the rewards you earn. You'll need to consider whether or not you’d earn enough miles to break even.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card makes it easy to redeem rewards for travel purchases. You earn an unlimited 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023.


Best for multiple travel expenses

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

$395

21.24% - 28.24% (Variable)

720 - 850

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

  • Very high rewards rate for travel booked through Capital One
  • $300 annual travel credit and 10,000 bonus anniversary miles
  • Airport lounge access for frequent travelers
  • Very high annual fee
  • Doesn't offer as many luxury perks as other cards with similar annual fees

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a relatively new premium general-purpose rewards credit card that offers an outstanding array of benefits. Although it comes with a high ($395) annual fee, it also offers valuable travel perks like an annual $300 travel credit and 10,000 Capital One Venture miles on your anniversary. You'll also get unlimited access to Capital One Lounges as well as over 1,400 other airport lounges worldwide via Priority Pass. If you're a frequent traveler, you should consider the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card since it earns 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 10 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 10 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023; 5 Miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.


Best rewards credit card for airlines

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.

$250

19.99%-28.99% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

  • Annual companion certificate. Cardholders receive a main cabin companion certificate each year to have a companion accompany them free of charge, save for taxes and fees (up to $80 for the fare).
  • First checked bag free. The first checked bag is free on Delta flights for the cardholder and up to eight travelers on the same itinerary while traveling with Delta. That's a savings of $240 for a family of four on a round-trip flight.
  • Priority boarding for you and your companions. No matter which ticket you buy, you'll receive priority boarding with Main Cabin 1 for you and up to eight companions on the same itinerary.
  • Reach Medallion status faster. The Delta Platinum card earns up to 20,000 MQMs per year based on your purchases. You'll receive 10,000 MQMs for every $25,000 you spend, up to two times per calendar year. Additionally, the MQD requirements for Delta SkyMiles elite Silver, Gold and Platinum status are waived when you spend at least $25,000 each year.
  • Annual fee of $250. The higher annual fee may not cover the benefits received for occasional travelers or low spenders. To maximize the benefits of this card, you should plan to spend at least $25,000 per year to earn the MQMs and MQD waiver for elite status.
  • $39 fee for airport lounge access. Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card members may access the Delta Sky Club airport lounges, however, there is a fee of $39 per person, which is pretty pricey. Cardholders may bring up to two guests with them into the lounge, but they must pay the fee as well.
  • Companion certificate is for Main Cabin only. If you're flying first or business class, your companion won't be able to sit with you.

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.

Travelers who fly regularly with Delta Air Lines will love the benefits from the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. It provides an annual companion pass certificate and an accelerated path to Medallion status based on your spending. Plus, Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels. Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.


Best rewards credit card for restaurants

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

$95

20.24%, 25.24% or 28.24% (Variable)

660 - 850

  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services, 3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®) 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
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more

  • Unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment. There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn when you eat out and have fun.
  • Receive 3% cash back on groceries. For days when you want to eat in, you'll earn 3% cash back on purchases at the supermarket.
  • Annual fee of $95. Some of the best rewards credit cards come without an annual fee, or give you a year with a $0 fee, but that isn’t the case here. To break even on the $95 annual fee, you'll need to spend almost $2,400 each year on dining and entertainment. For some cardholders, the $0-annual-fee Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a better option.
  • No balance transfer promotion. Although you will not pay a fee for transferring a balance, you will not receive a 0% APR promotion with this card.

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the best rewards credit cards for people who like to eat at restaurants, attend events and have fun. You'll Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services, 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. It's a cashback card, which means rewards are simple to redeem – you can apply them as credits against purchases on your credit card statement at any time. The card comes with a $95 annual fee, but if you're a foodie and frequent event-goer, the rewards you earn can easily make up for that fee.


Best rewards credit card for hotels

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

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Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

$450

19.99% to 28.99% variable

660 - 850

  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • One Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio with your new Card and each year of Card Membership
  • A second Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $60,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • Unlimited Priority Pass™Lounge passes to ease the airport experience, enrollment required
  • $250 Airline incidental fee statement credit
  • $250 Hilton resort statement credit
  • $100 on-property credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when booking the exclusive Aspire Card package
  • Access to 24/7 American Express concierge
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Terms apply

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond Status. Cardholders automatically receive Hilton Honors Diamond status, which offers a 100% bonus on your base-point earnings from paid stays, room upgrades and more (enrollment required). Typically, you need 15 stays, 30 nights or 60,000 base points to earn Diamond elite status.
  • Annual free night reward. You'll receive one free night upon approval and each year that you renew your card. Additionally, you can earn a second free night after spending $60,000 in a calendar year.
  • Annual Hilton resort statement credit. You can use up to $250 in resort credits each year on eligible purchases you make at participating Hilton locations.
  • Generous bonus points on purchases. Earn 14X per $1 of eligible purchases on your card directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort, 7X for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com; on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; & at U.S. restaurants, and 3X for other purchases on your card. That's an extremely generous earning rate.
  • Annual fee of $450. The annual fee is one of the highest for a hotel credit card. Occasional travelers may not receive enough benefit to justify the high annual fee.
  • High spending required to earn a second free weekend night. To earn the second free weekend night, cardholders must spend $60,000 in a calendar year. This will be difficult to achieve for many households.

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is Hilton's luxury-level credit card with very lucrative benefits for frequent travelers and guests of Hilton hotels. You'll receive automatic Diamond status and an annual free weekend night (enrollment required). Big spenders can even earn a second free weekend night each year. Plus, there is a $250 annual resort credit that you can use at Hilton to pay for eligible resort charges.


Best rewards card for business

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

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Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

$695

18.49% - 26.49% Variable

660 - 850

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in value per year for statement credits on select purchases, including tech, recruiting and wireless with the Business Platinum Card.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Card or any of the Additional Cards on your Platinum Card account.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: CLEAR® uses biometrics to assign you a touchless ID, allowing you to move faster through security at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. You can cover the cost of a CLEAR membership with up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year after you pay for CLEAR with your Business Platinum Card®.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

  • Up to $400 per year in Dell credits. You'll receive up to $200 in statement credits for Dell purchases from January to June, and up to another $200 from July to December each year. Enrollment required.
  • Up to $360 Indeed credit. Enroll and get up to $360 in statement credits per year for purchases with Indeed with your card. Enrollment required.
  • Up to $150 Adobe credit. Up to $150 in statement credits per year for purchases made with your card toward annual prepaid plans for eligible Creative Cloud for teams and Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign. Enrollment required.
  • Up to $120 wireless credit. Up to $120 in statement credits per year for wireless telephone service purchases made directly with a wireless provider in the U.S. on your card. Enrollment required.
  • Access to Global Lounge Collection. Cardholders can use more than 1,300 airport lounges across 140 countries, including American Express Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges (enrollment required) and more.
  • 35% airline bonus on redemptions. When you pay with Membership Rewards points when booking flights, you'll get 35% of those points back. This benefit has a maximum of 500,000 points per year, and you only earn the bonus with one airline that you must designate at the beginning of the year. Enrollment required.
  • Automatic hotel elite status. Cardholders receive automatic Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status. Enrollment required.
  • High annual fee. There is a $695 annual fee for the primary cardholder.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers many lucrative benefits for small business owners. It features numerous credits towards things like air travel and Dell Technologies purchases each year (enrollment required), making up most of the card's $695 annual fee if you take advantage of them. You'll earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Unlike typical American Express cards, the card allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all.


Best rewards credit card for bad credit

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

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Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

See terms

See terms

0 - 600

  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.

  • Cashback matches the first year. All of the cash back that you earn during the first year will be matched by Discover with no limits.
  • Earn rewards on your purchases. 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically
  • You choose your security deposit. Your credit line equals your security deposit. Security deposits start at just $200.
  • Automatic reviews after seven months. After seven months, Discover will review your card automatically to see if you qualify to transition to an unsecured credit card.
  • Free FICO Score. You can track your progress toward building your credit with a free FICO Score online, through its app and on your monthly statement.
  • Credit limit is based on your security deposit. Your maximum credit limit is decided by your security deposit. Customers may have trouble saving for a larger deposit.
  • Security deposit does not earn interest. You will not earn interest on your security deposit.

People who are working to build or rebuild their credit will like the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. Unlike many cards geared toward people with lower credit scores, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers a good cash rewards program. Plus, Discover matches any cash back earned at the end of the first year for new cardholders, basically doubling all the rewards that you earn. After seven months, Discover performs automatic monthly reviews to see if your secured card can be transitioned to one without a security deposit. If you keep your payments timely, you'll be well on your way to better credit.

What is a rewards credit card?

Many credit cards offer rewards when you make purchases with them. The rates that you earn depend on the specific credit card. Some cards earn different amounts in different purchase categories, while others earn the same rate no matter where you purchase. Earning rewards with every purchase can make for a nice benefit for purchases that you were already planning on making.

If you're wondering why credit cards give rewards, the main reason is to incentivize you to use the card, since card issuers make money when you use their card. Depending on the type of rewards credit card that you have, you might be able to redeem your rewards as a statement credit, use them directly for travel or transfer them to your credit card's hotel or airline transfer partners. Rewards credit cards can earn a variety of different types of rewards. Some cards earn airline miles or hotel points while others might earn bank points or offer cash back with each purchase.

Pros and cons of rewards cards

Pros

  • Can earn valuable rewards with each purchase
  • Some co-branded rewards cards help earn elite status
  • Many rewards cards come with valuable sign-up bonuses
  • Rewards cards can help you build credit, when used appropriately

Cons

  • Many rewards credit cards come with an annual fee
  • The best rewards credit cards require good or excellent credit
  • Points and miles can be devalued at any time
  • Some rewards are capped or limited

How to choose a rewards credit card

Determine what type of rewards to earn

There are four categories of rewards to be earned with credit cards. The type of credit card you choose will depend upon which of these categories of rewards is best suited to meet your goals.

Consider which categories you spend the most money on

Think about which categories you spend the most money on. Find a credit card that gives bonus rewards for spending at retailers in those categories. For example, if you travel and dine out often, look for cards that offer bonuses on travel and restaurant purchases.

Take advantage of a large welcome offer

Finding a card with a large sign-up offer can jump-start your rewards earnings. However, you should review how much spending is required to earn it and how long you have to meet that hurdle. It may be the biggest bonus you've ever seen, but if you can't reasonably spend that much in the time allowed, you won't earn it. For example, some credit cards require spending $3,000 within three months of being approved.

Determine your redemption flexibility needs

Not all points are created equal. In general, airline points are primarily used to book flights for a specific airline and hotel points are used to reserve hotel rooms for a specific hotel chain. Some airline and hotel loyalty programs partner with other businesses to allow you to redeem your rewards for other uses.

Flexible point programs, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards® and American Express Membership Rewards, tend to have the greatest number of redemption options, including cash back, booking travel or transfering to airline and hotel partners.

Note that when you redeem your points for cash back instead of travel, the value of your rewards is often lower.

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If you have specific goals in mind, then you should pick a card that earns rewards towards that goal. If not, then a flexible points card tends to be best because of the greater number of redemption options that it provides.

Confirm transfer partners are compatible with your preferences

When picking a flexible points credit card, look at which airlines and hotels the bank partners with. Generally, there is not much overlap, so you'll want to pick a flexible points credit card that partners with your preferred airline or hotel (for example, American Express for Delta Air Lines).

Weigh rewards and benefits vs. annual fee

Whether or not to pay an annual fee is a personal decision. Some people are against paying an annual fee for a credit card. But, if the rewards you earn and the benefits you receive are worth it, paying an annual fee can make a lot of sense.

For example, some hotel credit cards offer one free night each year after paying an annual fee of $100 or less. Depending upon how it is redeemed, that free night can be worth much more than the annual fee that you paid.

Consider additional perks

Travel credit cards often include a number of other benefits which can save you money and improve your travel. Some of these perks can be just as valuable (if not more) than the rewards you earn. Examples of these benefits include:

  • Airport lounge access
  • Primary or secondary rental car protection
  • Concierge services
  • TSA Precheck or Global Entry application reimbursement
  • Lost baggage protection
  • Flight delay or cancellation coverage

Types of rewards cards

There are several different kinds of rewards cards. Each different type of rewards credit card works in slightly different ways, so it's important to understand the differences, so you can make the right choice for your specific situation.

Cash back rewards cards

Cash back rewards cards are cards that give cash back for each purchase made with the card. There are two main subcategories of cash back rewards cards:

A flat-rate cash back rewards card is a credit card that gives the same flat cash back rewards rate for every purchase, regardless of where you make the purchase. The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card and Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card are all examples of flat-rate cash back rewards credit cards.

Another type of cash back rewards card offers differing amounts of cash back depending on where you make your purchase. One example of this is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which offers 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases. Terms apply. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card is another type of cash back rewards card that has a variable bonus depending on where you use the card.

Travel rewards cards

Travel rewards cards also come in two different formats:

The first type of travel rewards card is typically referred to as a "co-branded card." A co-branded hotel credit card or airline credit card is a credit card that has the brand of both a credit card issuer as well as a hotel or airline. You will earn miles or points that can be redeemed with that particular airline or hotel chain. A co-branded rewards card might help you earn elite status or offer brand-specific perks like free checked bags on an airline or complimentary night certificates with a hotel.

Airline and hotel cards can both be considered different flavors of co-branded cards. Some examples of co-branded travel rewards cards include the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express or the Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card.

Besides co-branded cards that are specific to one hotel chain or airline, there are also several flexible travel rewards credit cards that can work with any airline or hotel. Credit card points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards® or American Express Membership Rewards can often be used for travel either through a travel portal or through the bank's hotel or airline transfer partners. Some examples of general purpose travel rewards cards include the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

Business rewards cards

While there are many rewards credit cards targeted for personal use, others are marketed as small business credit cards. You will typically need to have a business and enter your business's information on an application for a business credit card. Business rewards cards can offer either travel rewards or cashback rewards. In many cases, business credit cards offer higher earning rates, but they can also come with higher minimum spending requirements. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card are two examples of popular business rewards cards.

Points and miles strategy ?

Where and when do you want to travel?

When picking a rewards credit card, it helps to think about when and where you want to travel. Go to the hotel's website and ensure that it has properties where you want to travel. And make sure that the airline flies to your preferred destination.

How do you want to redeem your rewards?

There are many options when it comes to redeeming your rewards. Some of them offer more value than others, and not all are available with every program. Here are a few of the most popular redemption options for your rewards:

  • Booking a flight
  • Reserving a hotel room
  • Redeem for gift cards
  • Deposit cash into your bank account
  • Book a rental car
  • Shop online

Which travel rewards program fits your needs?

When picking a travel rewards program to earn miles and points in, make sure that it fits your needs. Look at where the airline flies to and where the hotel has locations. If the hotel or airline doesn't serve your desired destination, the program isn't right for you at this time.

For example

If you want to fly to Europe in first class, earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points is not the way to go. All Southwest Airlines routes are in the Western hemisphere – primarily in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

Additionally, Southwest doesn't offer first-class seating. So, your dreams of sipping champagne in first class on your way to Paris are not possible with this airline.

Points and miles value = Cash price* ÷ Number of points or miles needed for redemption

* Check to see if taxes and fees are included in your award

The value of credit card rewards points will vary by program and redemption option.

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How to maximize a rewards credit card

  1. Spend enough to earn the welcome bonus.
  2. Pay your balance off in full each month.
  3. Use your rewards credit card for all of your purchases.
  4. Know which cards earn bonus rewards at different retailers.
  5. Use an online shopping portal for extra rewards when making online purchases.
  6. Stack rewards by registering your credit card with free programs like Dosh and Rewards Network.
  7. Review the benefits of your rewards credit card to ensure you're not missing out on hidden perks.
  8. Add an authorized user to share benefits and earn additional rewards on their spending.

How to compare rewards credit cards

Annual credit card spend

Determine how much you spend each year and in which categories. Calculate the potential rewards you'll earn based on these amounts and the bonus categories offered by the credit card.

Card sign-up bonus

Compare the welcome bonuses offered by each credit card and determine if one is easier to achieve than the other. If you cannot reasonably spend enough to meet the minimum spend requirement, that card is not right for you.

Redemption value

Calculate the number of points required to redeem for your goal. How many points are required for you to be able to book your flight or hotel stay? Based on your normal spending, how long will it take you to earn those points?

Annual fee

The annual fee that you pay reduces the value of the rewards that you earn. Make sure that you're earning enough rewards to offset the annual fee and still book your travel.

Other benefits value

Some benefits are hard to place a value on and often depend on how frequently those benefits are used. In some cases, those additional perks are worth more than the welcome bonus or the rewards earned on your spending.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card ?

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earning rate2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 20235x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases.
Points/miles earned ($3,600 dining and travel, $14,400 on other purchases)36,00021,600
Sign-up bonusEnjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Target redemption optionTravel statement credit (worth 1 cent/mile)Transfer to Southwest airlines (worth 1.5 cents/point)
Value of rewards(36,000 + 60,000 ) x 1 cent = $960(21,600 + 60,000) x 1.5 cents = $1,224
Annual fee$95$95
First year value$865$1,129
Other benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck
  • Extended warranty
  • Roadside assistance
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Primary car rental insurance
Apply Now
On Capital One's Secure Website
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Frequently asked questions

You can usually earn credit card rewards by making purchases with a rewards credit card. The amount and type of credit card rewards that you earn will depend on the specific card that you have. You might earn cash back, hotel points, airline miles or credit card points. These credit card rewards can be a nice rebate for purchases that you're already planning on making.

The way that you redeem credit card rewards will depend on the type of rewards that you're earning. If you are earning cash back, you can often redeem those credit card rewards as a check mailed to you or as a statement credit. Travel rewards like airline miles or hotel points can be used to book flights or hotels for your next trip.

Some credit card rewards do expire, often after a certain number of months of inactivity or after a certain period of time since they were earned. Other types of credit card rewards do not expire as long as you keep your account open. It's important to make sure that you understand the expiration policy of any credit card rewards that you have. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing your hard-earned rewards.

In most cases, credit card rewards are not taxable. The IRS has generally held that rewards earned from credit card purchases are considered rebates to that purchase, and therefore not taxable. However, credit card rewards can be taxable in some circumstances. If you're not sure whether your credit card rewards are taxable, consult with your accountant or tax advisor.

Credit card rewards can definitely be worth it, when used responsibly. Taking advantage of credit card rewards might earn you hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year. But before you focus on earning credit card rewards, you'll want to make sure that you have the financial ability and discipline to pay off your credit card in full, each and every month. If not, you run the risk of paying more in interest and late fees than you get back in rewards.

Recap of the best rewards credit cards for January 2023

Methodology

To make choosing the right cash back credit card easier, we've looked at credit cards reviewed on ValuePenguin as well as cards on major issuer sites to compile a list of the best rewards credit cards available right now. Our recommendations are based on the following criteria:

Rewards

What is the cash back earning rate and is it a flat-rate or does it include bonus spending categories. Which categories cash back is offered in, whether categories are rotating or stagnant.

APR

How the card's annual percentage rate (APR) compares to other cash back cards and whether or a low interest intro period is offered on purchases and/or balance transfers.

Additional perks and benefits

These include things like travel and purchase protections, travel perks and more.

Annual fee

Whether or not a card charges an annual fee, if the fee is $0 for the first year, and if the card benefits offset or outweigh the annual fee.

Sign-up bonus

Whether or not a card comes with a welcome offer or sign-up bonus, how easy it is to earn the bonus, and how much cash back you can earn.

Foreign transaction fees

Does the card charge foreign transaction fees and, if yes, does that limit the card's overall value.

Our choices are not influenced by our advertisers. Learn more on how we calculate rewards.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here

The information related to the Discover it® Cash Back, Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, Discover it® Secured Credit Card and American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).