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Top rewards credit cards of 2022
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 right rewards credit card can help you pad your savings account or finance a dream vacation.
Compare the best rewards credit cards of 2022
|Overall and travel
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
||Earns flexible points: 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases||Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.||$95|
|Overall (honorable mention)
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
||Earns flexible points: 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards®||Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||$550|
|Overall (honorable mention)
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
||Earns airline miles: 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||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|
Best rewards credit card overall and for travel
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
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.
- 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.
Best rewards credit card (honorable mention)
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 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 air travel 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, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- 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 Pass™ 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
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® Although its annual fee increased by $100 in 2020, new benefits were added that frequent travelers will enjoy. These benefits include 10X points on Lyft rides through June 30, 2022.
- Valuable welcome bonus. The card's bonus is worth $600 in cash, $750 in travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal.
- 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 25% more towards travel. You can redeem points for 1.25 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 7 points per $1 spent on qualifying Lyft rides through June 30, 2022.
- 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. Some travelers may find it hard to justify the large annual fee each year. This is especially true right now when people are traveling less due to COVID-19 restrictions, though Chase has added a few limited-time benefits to compensate.
- 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.
Best rewards credit card (honorable mention)
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
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
- 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®
- 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
- No foreign transaction fees
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, then "erase" your travel charges up to 90 days after with the rewards that you've earned by using Capital One's Purchase Eraser feature to receive an account credit for these purchases. Its loyalty program has turned into one of the best flexible points programs with the addition of airline and hotel transfer partners.
- 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.
Best rewards credit card for cash back
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
- 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 15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% 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 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
- 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.
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, your APR will be 15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% 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.
- $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 15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% 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.
Best rewards credit card for cash back with rotating categories
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening!
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
- 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
- 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% 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!
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.24% - 23.99%.
- No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom FlexSM 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.
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.
- 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 15.24% - 23.99% 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 June 30, 2022.
- 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.
Best rewards credit card for groceries
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
$300 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
- Earn a $300 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 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 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, 14.74% to 24.74%
- 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.
- Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
- Terms Apply.
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.
For rates and fees of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.
- 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 all of your gas station purchases.
- Introductory 0% APR on purchases. You'll enjoy an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months (14.74%-24.74% Variable APR thereafter). This gives you extra time to pay off your purchases without paying any interest.
- Annual fee. The annual fee of $0 introductory 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.
Best rewards credit card for gas
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
- Discover one of Citi's best cash back rewards cards designed exclusively for Costco members
- 4% cash back on eligible gas 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
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99%. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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.
- Earn up to 4% cash back. You'll earn 4% cash back on eligible gas 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%.
Best rewards credit card for airlines
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 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 $75 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.
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.
- 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 $75 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.
Best rewards credit card for restaurants
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- 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% cash back at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- Earn 8% cash back on tickets. Through Jan. 31, 2023, you'll earn 8% cash back when buying concert, sports and event tickets through Vivid Seats.
- 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.
Best rewards credit card for hotels
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
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.
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.
- 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.
- Free weekend night rewards. You'll receive one free weekend night upon approval and each year that you renew your card. Additionally, you can earn a second free weekend 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.
Best rewards credit card for business
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
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.
- 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.
- Plus, 0% Intro APR for 12 months from the date of the account opening on purchases eligible for Pay Over Time. After that, your APR will be 14.99% to 22.99% based on your credit worthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
- 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 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 with your Card, including up to $400 with Dell Technologies, up to $360 with Indeed, up to $150 with Adobe and up to $120 on wireless telephone purchases. Enrollment required.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year toward baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
- 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.
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, 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. Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more.
Unlike typical Amex cards, the card allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all.
- 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.
- 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 and more.
- 35% airline bonus on redemptions. When you pay with 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.
Best rewards credit card for bad credit
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
- No credit score required to apply.*
- No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
- Using your secured credit card helps build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, prepaid and debit cards can’t do that.
- Establish your credit line with your tax return 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.
- 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 rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
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.
- 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.
How to choose a rewards credit card
Determine what type of rewards to earn
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.
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
Travel enthusiast? Consider the best rewards credit cards for travel ?
You should consider having one card of each type - a credit card for the airline and hotel that you use most often, plus a flexible points card that you can use for other travel expenses..
- Earn airline miles
- Often provide free checked bags, priority boarding and discounts on in-flight purchases
- Best airline miles cards
- Earn hotel points
- Typically provide automatic elite status
- Frequently offer a free night each year at eligible hotel properties
- Earn higher elite status based on your spending
- Best hotel credit cards
Flexible point cards
- Earn flexible points that can be redeemed for cash back or travel, or transferred to airline and hotel partners
- Best for people who are unsure of which airline or hotel to use
- Provide numerous choices when redeeming rewards
- Best flexible points 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?
Airline loyalty programs
Hotel loyalty programs
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.
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.
How to maximize a rewards credit card
- Spend enough to earn the welcome bonus.
- Pay your balance off in full each month.
- Use your rewards credit card for all of your purchases.
- Know which cards earn bonus rewards at different retailers.
- Use an online shopping portal for extra rewards when making online purchases.
- Stack rewards by registering your credit card with free programs like Dosh and Rewards Network.
- Review the benefits of your rewards credit card to ensure you're not missing out on hidden perks.
- 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
Other benefits value
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card ?
|Earning rate||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||5x 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)||36,000||21,600|
|Sign-up bonus||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.|
|Target redemption option||Travel 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|
|First year value||$865||$1,129|
FAQs about rewards credit cards
What is a rewards credit card?
For cardholders who travel frequently enough to use the benefits, travel cards are usually the better way to go. When you redeem points for cash back instead of travel, the value of your rewards is often lower. Travel redemptions, on the other hand, generally offer the highest value when redeeming for premium flights, high-end hotels or during popular travel periods.
What is the best credit card for rewards?
The right card is one that matches your goals and the way you spend. This is a personal decision and what card is right for one person, may not be right for another. Think about where you spend the most money and what's most important (cash back, miles or points), then choose a card that works best for you. If you're having trouble picking one, start with a flexible points credit card. The ability to earn credit card rewards today, then choose between cash back, booking travel or transferring to partners at a later date is a great feature of these cards.
Are credit card rewards taxable?
The IRS treats credit card rewards as a rebate on your purchases, therefore the rewards that you earn are generally not considered taxable. However, some banks issue 1099s when you earn rewards for referring your friends and family to apply.
Are credit card rewards worth it?
Credit card rewards are worth it if you use them effectively and plan ahead. There are countless stories of people going on amazing vacations thanks to the rewards that they've earned from their credit cards.
Should you carry a balance on a rewards credit card?
If you are unable to pay off your balance in full each month and end up paying interest on your balances, then credit card rewards might not be a good fit right now. A better option may be to find a credit card with a low interest rate or balance transfer offer to help you pay off your debt quickly.
How do credit card rewards work?
Credit card rewards are earned whenever you use your credit card to make a purchase. The bank charges the merchant a percentage of the transaction and shares a portion of that with you in the form of rewards. These rewards can be cash back, airline miles, hotel points, flexible points and others. Some credit cards offer additional rewards when spending with certain categories of merchants, like grocery stores, to encourage you to use the card at these stores.
How do you redeem credit card rewards?
Redemption of rewards works differently for each rewards program and what type of redemption you are making. In almost all cases, you'll log into your rewards website and follow the instructions. Here are some redemption options: cash back - deposit cash into your bank account, request a check, or credit to your bill; airline miles - search for a flight and book using miles; hotel points - choose your hotel location and travel dates, then redeem points; flexible points - redeem for cash back, book travel, or transfer to hotel and airline partners.
Do credit card rewards expire?
The expiration of rewards varies from card to card. Rewards from many programs never expire as long as your account is open and active. However, some rewards have a defined lifespan. Read the fine print or search for ValuePenguin articles about whichever rewards program you choose.
What is a credit card rewards program?
Credit card rewards programs are how banks incentivize customers to use their credit cards to make purchases. These programs vary from bank to bank, but you'll generally earn either cash back, hotel points, airline miles or flexible points.
What is the best credit card rewards program?
There are many credit card rewards programs available and each one is best suited for a specific type of customer. Consider what type of rewards are most important to you and which categories you spend the most when choosing your next rewards credit card.
What is the best no-annual-fee rewards credit card?
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is one of the best no-annual-fee rewards credit cards, as you'll earn valuable points through ongoing and rotating categories. Although this is branded as a cashback card, you'll actually earn rewards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program — arguably one of the best rewards credit card programs out there. You can redeem your points for cash back, travel, gift cards and more.
Is 2% a good cash back rate?
Yes. The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, among several other cards offer the opportunity to earn 2% cash back. This is a great deal, especially considering there are no confusing categories to keep up with. While other cards can offer higher percentages on certain categories, an unlimited 2% cashback offer allows you to earn double the points, no matter the purchase.
What are cashback rewards?
Cashback rewards are when you receive a portion of your purchase back in cash. Instead of needing to memorize complicated redemption strategies and being unsure how much your rewards are worth, cashback rewards are simple and straightforward.
What are credit card points?
Credit card points are a form of rewards that can be used to book travel, redeem for cash back or other options. Most rewards credit cards earn a base number of points per dollar spent, with bonus points earned for specific categories that vary from card to card. The value of these points depends upon which program they're in and how you plan on redeeming them.
Why do credit cards give rewards?
Banks give rewards when you spend on your credit card because they charge the merchant a percentage of the transaction every time you swipe your card. The bank gives you a portion of this fee and keeps the rest for itself to pay expenses and make a profit. Although many people pay their credit cards off in full each month, not everyone does. The bank also makes money by charging interest to people who carry a balance from month-to-month.
Recap of the best rewards credit cards for May 2022
- Best overall and for travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Best overall (honorable mention): Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Best overall (honorable mention): Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Best for cash back: Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
- Best for cash back with rotating categories: Chase Freedom Flex℠
- Best for groceries: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- Best for gas: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
- Best for airlines: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Best for restaurants: Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Best for hotels: Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
- Best for business: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- Best for bad credit: Discover it® Secured Credit Card
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:
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.
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.
These include things like travel and purchase protections, travel perks and more.
Whether or not a card charges an annual fee, if the fee is waived for the first year, and if the card benefits offset or outweigh the annual fee.
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.
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.
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 and Discover it® Secured Credit 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.