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Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2020 - Top 10 Winter Picks

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 60,000 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®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 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
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
  • Earn 60,000 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®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 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
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
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Discover it® Cash Back

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INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent/Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Citi's Secure Website
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Citi® Double Cash Card

  • On Citi's Secure Website
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  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% – 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.49% – 25.49% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% – 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.49% – 25.49% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Freedom®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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$150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.
Annual Fee
$99
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores 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
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One and is not part of our independent analysis.

  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores 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
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • NEW 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • NEW 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
14.49%-25.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Good/Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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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®
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • 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
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
  • 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®
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • 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
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
Annual Fee
$550
Regular APR
18.49% - 25.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

What is a Rewards Credit Card?

Pros

  • It provides you with rewards when you make regular purchases.
  • Miles and points you earn with a card can be redeemed for trips.
  • Cash back rewards can be applied to any purchase.

Cons

  • Some rewards credit cards have annual fees.
  • You may incur high interest fees if you don't pay your credit card bills on time.

The first thing you should know about rewards credit cards is that they come in two categories:

  1. Cash Back Credit Cards: Award you cash for every purchase you make using the card.
  2. Travel Credit Cards: Award you with points or miles for every purchase.

Neither is better than the other, as it all comes down to what you're looking to get out of a rewards credit card as a user.

If you travel several times per year, then it likely makes more sense to apply for a travel credit card over a cash back credit card, since it'll award you larger rewards in most cases. On the contrary, if you're someone who doesn't really travel, then you should consider a cash back credit card to help you earn rewards on your everyday purchases.

Both types of cards have advantages over other forms of payment, like cash or a debit card. For starters most credit cards have built-in protection against fraud. Additionally, many will provide you the ability to initiate a chargeback should there be a dispute between you and a merchant.


Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2020


1. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Regular APR: 17.49% - 24.49% Variable
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Credit Needed: Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows users to earn 2 points on dining and travel and 1 point on all other purchases. The points you earn with the card are Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The rewards program allows you to combine the points you earn with 13 travel rewards programs, including United, Southwest and Marriott Hotels. This extreme flexibility is why the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is among our favorite rewards credit cards.

It's worth noting that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is offering an unusually high sign-up bonus, provided you meet the spending requirements. Therefore, if you're considering applying for this card, it may be a great time to do so.

Things to watch out for: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card requires excellent credit, meaning it can be a bit tough to qualify for. Additionally, the card packs an annual fee, so you'll want to make sure you'll be able to earn enough rewards to justify paying that cost. Regardless, if you're able to qualify, this can be one of the best cards available on the market.

rewards rates for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card
rewards rates for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card

2. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Regular APR: 17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Credit Needed: Good or Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers an above average 2 miles on every purchase. The miles you earn on this card can be transferred to over 12 travel loyalty programs, making them very flexible. Additionally, this is one of the only cards to provide users with Global Entry or TSA PreCheck at this price point. Most other cards that have this feature will have annual fees of $450 or more.

JetBlue is the newest transfer partner available to Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card cardholders. This partnership provides great value for consumers who fly JetBlue out of the Northeast.

Things to watch out for: The main drawback of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is that your rewards will be half the value when you use them for cash, as opposed to travel. Therefore, we only recommend applying for this card if you're planning to utilize the miles for travel as opposed to earning cash rewards. If you're interested in earning cash back rewards, we recommend you read about our top picks of 2020 for this category.


3. Discover it® Cash Back

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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 13.49% - 24.49% Variable
  • Sign-Up Bonus: INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Credit Needed: Good or Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Discover it® Cash Back offers cardholders 5% cash back in seasonal rewards that apply on up to $1,500 in spending each quarter (activation is required). All other spending earns users 1% cash back, meaning you'll be able to earn rewards regardless of what you purchase. We've outlined the 5% rotating bonus calendar for 2020 below.

Since Discover will offer you up to 5% cash back and will double your rewards in your first year, this means that you'll have the opportunity to earn up to 10% cash back on certain categories. That is an incredible value proposition when compared to other cash back credit cards.

Things to watch out for: The main drawback of the Discover it® Cash Back is that it requires you to activate the 5% categories every quarter. This isn't a major hassle, but it isn't ideal for people who want something a bit simpler. If you don't activate the categories every quarter, the card will only yield 1% cash back, which isn't terrible, but users can certainly do better. Of course, the 5% cash back is only useful if your spending aligns with those categories, so make sure to glance at the categories below before you apply.

Update: The Discover it® Cash Back recently added Target and Walmart.com as 5% cashback bonus categories for the 4th quarter of the year. This is excellent news as both stores offer a dizzying array of products online at competitive prices. Consider signing up for this card prior to Q4 to maximize your cash back potential.

5% Cash Back Bonus Schedule 2020


January-March

  • Grocery stores
  • Walgreens
  • CVS

April-June

  • Gas stations
  • Uber & Lyft
  • Wholesale clubs

July-September

  • Restaurants
  • PayPal

October-December

  • Amazon.com
  • Target
  • Walmart.com


4. Citi® Double Cash Card

  • On Citi's Secure Website
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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Sign-Up Bonus: None
  • Credit Needed: Good or Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of our favorite cards, because it's so simple to use. It offers 2% cash back rewards with no categories to keep track of and no activation required. Cardholders can earn 2% cash back on purchases 1% when you buy and 1% as you make payments for those purchases. The card also comes with a balance transfer offer that may make it an attractive choice for certain users.

Things to watch out for: The Citi® Double Cash Card doesn't currently offer a sign-up bonus. Other competing cards will typically reward users with anywhere from $150 to $200 for achieving a certain spend within three months. Regardless, in the long term the Citi® Double Cash Card will provide users with excellent value. While sign-up bonuses are great, we typically don't recommend users base their credit card of choice off of a promotional offer, as the long-term usage of the card has the potential to outweigh the value that can be achieved from any sign-up bonus.


5. Chase Freedom®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Credit Needed: Good or Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom® provides an extremely good 5% cash back rate on the first $1,500 in purchases in categories that change every quarter.

Things to watch out for: The main drawback of the Chase Freedom® is that it requires you to keep track of rotating categories. Provided you'll activate and utilize the categories every quarter, then you should go ahead and apply for the card. If you're forgetful or just want something a bit simpler, we recommend opting for a card like the Citi® Double Cash Card.

5% Cash Back Bonus Schedule 2020


January-March

  • Gas Stations
  • Select streaming services
  • Phone, cable and internet services

April-June

  • Coming soon

July-September

  • Coming soon

October-December

  • Coming Soon

6. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 16.49% - 25.24% Variable
  • Sign-Up Bonus: $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Credit Needed: Good or Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. You'll also be able to earn the following sign-up bonus: $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

What makes the card even better is that if you happen to have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you'll be able to transform your cash back to Chase Ultimate Rewards points. As previously mentioned, this is one of the best rewards programs, and pooling points together can save you a lot of money when you use the travel portal.

Things to watch out for: One thing to be aware of is that Chase has what's called a 5/24 rule, meaning that if you were approved for five credit cards within the last 24 months, you will be instantly denied for any new applications with the issuer. However, we believe this will only impact a small number of credit card applicants.


7. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $99
  • Regular APR: 17.49% - 24.49% Variable
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Credit Needed: Good or Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers 2 points for every dollar you spend on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. If you use the card for any purchases outside of those categories, you'll earn 1 point per dollar. While the rewards structure is solid, the main draw of this card is the potential to earn a Southwest Companion Pass.

Many people sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card as a means of earning the airline's Companion Pass. Currently, cardholders can earn the following sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Things to watch out for: Since you're earning Southwest points with this card, it doesn't quite make sense for anyone that doesn't travel with the airline frequently. Before applying for this card you'll want to make sure that Southwest has a major hub near your home and that the airline flies to whatever destinations you frequent. After all, an airline rewards credit card is only as good as the airline itself.

rewards rates for the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card
rewards rates for the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card

8. Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Credit Needed: Good or Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card provides cardholders 3% back on dining and entertainment purchases. By contrast, most normal cards will struggle to give you more than 2% in these sorts of categories — that includes cards with an annual fee. The only way you can get better rates is with this card's older brother, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, although that card charges an annual fee of $95, after its $0 intro annual fee for the first year.

Capital One clearly considered every small detail when designing this card, which is something we appreciate. The card's bright color will make it easier to see in the places you're likely using it the most — dimly lit restaurants, bars and clubs. Like all Capital One cards, the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card also has no foreign transaction fees meaning you don't have to think twice about using it when you travel abroad.

Things to watch out for: This is a really strong credit card offer with not many things to watch out for. If we had to nitpick, we'd say that the sign-up bonus could be a bit more enticing. However, even then, the card's rewards structure is more than enough to make up for that fact.

rewards rates for the CapitolOne Save One credit card
rewards rates for the CapitolOne Save One credit card

9. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $95 (See Rates & Fees)
  • Regular APR: 14.49%-25.49% Variable
  • Welcome Offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Credit Needed: Good or Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express provides some of the best rewards at gas stations and supermarkets. Cardholders will earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%. The average family spends around $4,000 per year at supermarkets, so the $6,000 annual cap shouldn't be a problem. Besides that, you also get an above-average 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations. The card also offers 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.

Things to watch out for: This is one of the few cash back credit cards on our list with an annual fee. Still, provided your spending falls within the bonus cash back categories, you'll likely earn enough cash back rewards to offset the card's annual fee. Overall, this is a solid card, especially for families or anyone who frequently spends money at U.S. supermarkets.

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


10. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Regular APR: 18.49% - 25.49% Variable
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Credit Needed: Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a ton of perks and a great rewards structure. The card offers 3 points on travel and dining purchases (the 3 points on travel are available immediately after using the $300 annual travel credit) and one point on all other purchases. In terms of perks, you'll get access to Priority Pass airport lounges and get a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee waiver. This is one of the best cards to have in your wallet if you're simply looking to maximize your rewards. As we've stated, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is among the best for flexibility when booking travel.

Things to watch out for: The $550 annual fee associated with this card is considerable. However, it's worth noting that if you use the $300 annual travel credit, the card's annual fee is effectively $150. Still, we're assuming there will be some consumers who will be uncomfortable forking over a high annual fee every year. That said, the card provides incredible value for high spenders.


Honorable Mentions

Uber Visa Card

Uber Visa Card
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: No Annual Fee
  • Regular APR: 16.74%, 22.49% or 25.49% Variable
  • Sign-Up Bonus:
  • Credit Needed: Excellent Credit

Why we like it: The Uber Visa Card offers some of the best cash back rewards rates available. Users get 5% back on Uber services, which includes Uber rides, Uber Eats and JUMP bikes and scooterss, 3% on hotels, restaurants and airfare, and 1% back on everything else. Not only is that a generous amount of bonus categories, but the percentages are rewarding for frequent Uber users.

Why it missed our list: The Uber Visa Card is a great card for frequent Uber users, but falls short for anyone who doesn't frequently use their services. Note, the rewards are doled out as points that you can only redeem with Uber, so you won't have much use for them, anyway, if you don't use Uber services..

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Credit Card Details

  • Annual Fee: $99
  • Regular APR: 18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% Variable
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase in the first 90 days and paying the $99 annual fee.
  • Credit Needed: Good to Excellent Credit

Why we like it: If you're looking to accrue a high number of airline miles easily, there isn't a much better option. While most cards require you to spend a few thousand dollars to earn a sign-up bonus, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® is much simpler. All you have to do is pay the card's annual fee and make a purchase within 90 days and you'll get the following sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase in the first 90 days and paying the $99 annual fee. That should be enough for a domestic round-trip flight. Of course your exact mileage will vary, but 60,000 miles is quite a hefty amount of miles.

Why it missed our list: The card has a decent benefits structure, but it could be improved upon. Users are able to earn 2 miles on every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases and 1 mile on all other purchases. This isn't bad by any means, but there are a ton of cards with similar earning structures. Therefore, we really only recommend signing up for this card if you're someone who's searching for a large sign-up bonus and want to earn it rather quickly.

Questions to ask before applying for a card

Before applying for any credit card, we always recommend our users execute their due diligence and ask themselves a few key questions:

1. What do I want out of a rewards credit card?

Understanding what you want out of a rewards credit card, whether it be free flights or cash back in your pocket, will help align your card choice with your ultimate financial goals.

2. What kind of card can I qualify for?

It simply doesn't make sense to apply for a card that requires excellent credit if you have poor or even just fair credit. Understanding your credit score will help you narrow down your choice of rewards credit cards. If you're interested in comparing credit cards by credit score, read our helpful guides below:

Best Credit Cards For

3. Is the rewards credit card worth it for me?

Ultimately, you'll want to ensure that you're able to extract enough value from the credit card you choose in order to make up for any annual fee. For example, if you wanted to opt for a $100 annual fee cash back card, you'll want to make sure you're earning more than $100 in cash back rewards on an annual basis. An easy way to go about this is to use our credit card comparison tool.

FAQs about rewards credit cards

Here are some common question about rewards credit cards.

How do you redeem credit card rewards?

While this varies depending on which card you choose, most credit card rewards can be redeemed through a bank's online portal. Usually, this entails logging into your account and selecting a redemption method, whether it's getting cashback transferred to your bank account, using your points to book a flight, or transferring your points to a travel partner.

What is the best rewards credit card?

The best rewards credit card depends on your budget, spending habits and lifestyle. If you're a low spender, go for a no-fee cashback card like the Citi® Double Cash Card. If you're a big spender and heavy traveler, consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

Comments and Questions

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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).