Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2023

The best rewards credit cards offer valuable points, miles, and cash back. Which is the right one for your wallet?
Last updated Feb. 6, 2023 | By Jennifer Calonia | Edited By Ben Walker, CEPF

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With so many rewards credit card options on the market, finding the right card for you can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, we’re here to help. We’ve done the legwork and identified the best rewards credit cards, depending on your habits and goals.

Here are ten of the most valuable rewards cards and who they’re right for.

In this article

The best rewards credit cards

  • Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
  • Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
  • U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card
  • Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card
  • U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
  • Citi Premier® Card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Citi® Double Cash Card
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Current Offer

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

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases

Why We Like It

If you love earning cash rewards but prefer to avoid the hassle of tracking spending categories, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card could be a good option for you. Cardmembers can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases.

This card also offers a 0% intro APR on qualifying balance transfers and purchases for 15 months from account opening, then 19.49%, 24.49%, or 29.49% variable APR. Those looking for straightforward rewards and an introductory APR will likely find value in this card.

Card Details
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 19.49%, 24.49%, or 29.49% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
  • $0 annual fee
  • No categories to track or remember and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge
  • Get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible).
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions

Annual Fee

$0

Why We Like It

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is great for individuals who enjoy earning rewards and traveling.

Cardholders will enjoy the flexibility to redeem points with no blackout dates and receive a statement credit to pay for travel and dining purchases.

Earn 1.5X points on all purchases everywhere, every time.

Card Details
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • New longer intro period! 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Current Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months (that’s a $200 cash redemption value)

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans; plus earn 1X points on other purchases

Why We Like It

The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card is a great all-round rewards card to have in your wallet. The reward categories match up with popular spending categories and the welcome bonus is strong, especially for a $0 annual fee card. 

Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans; plus earn 1X points on other purchases.

Other valuable benefits include cell phone protection, an intro APR on purchases, and flexible redemption options. Redeem your rewards points for travel, gift cards, or statement credits.

Card Details
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value
  • Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up - like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. 19.49%, 24.49%, or 29.49% variable APR thereafter
  • Get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible).
  • Redeem your rewards points for travel, gift cards, or statement credits. Or shop at millions of online stores and redeem your rewards when you check out with PayPal.
  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge.
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions.

Current Offer

Earn a $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

5% cash back on two categories you choose (up to $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter) and on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center; 2% cash back on one everyday category, like gas stations/EV charging stations, grocery stores, or restaurants; and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

Why We Like It

For anyone who wants a powerful rewards card without paying an annual fee, check out the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card.

You’ll earn 5% cash back on two categories you choose (up to $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter) and on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center; 2% cash back on one everyday category, like gas stations/EV charging stations, grocery stores, or restaurants; and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases. This card allows you to tailor the rewards to your own spending habits, maximizing your cash back.

This card has an introductory 0% APR offer for the first 15 billing cycles on purchases and balances transfers (then  18.99% - 28.99% (Variable)). If you transfer over high-interest credit card debt, this offer could give you over a year to pay down the balance without paying interest charges, allowing you to save money.

Card Details
  • $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.
  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose
  • 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center
  • 2% cash back on one everyday category, like Gas Stations/EV Charging Stations, Grocery Stores or Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 18.99 - 28.99%
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms and conditions apply.

Annual Fee

$0

Why We Like It

Easy, unlimited cash back without categories or caps on how much you can earn.

Competitive, introductory 0% APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 18 billing cycles (then 18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR), with no annual fee.

Card Details
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn 1.87%-2.62% cash back on every purchase with Preferred Rewards.
  • No annual fee.
  • No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn and cash rewards don’t expire.
  • New longer intro period! 0% Introductory APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Current Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

4X points on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery; 2X points on grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations, streaming services, and EV charging stations; and 1X points on all other eligible purchases

Why We Like It

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is an excellent option if you're looking for a generous rewards card with no annual fee.

This card offers 4X points on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery; 2X points on grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations, streaming services, and EV charging stations; and 1X points on all other eligible purchases

Cardholders can also enjoy a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing cycles (then 19.49% - 28.49% (Variable) APR)

Card Details
  • Intro Offer: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. That's a $200 value redeemable towards merchandise, gift cards, cash back, travel and more.
  • 4X points on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery.
  • 2X points on streaming services. Plus, a $15 credit for annual streaming purchases like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify®, Apple Music, Disney+, HBO Max and more!
  • 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, gas stations, and EV charging stations
  • 1X point on all other eligible purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR applies, currently 19.49% - 28.49%.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Points never expire
  • Terms and conditions apply.

Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier® Card

Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations, and on air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases

Why We Like It

The Citi Premier® Card is a rewards credit card fit for those who enjoy traveling and earning points on everyday spending.

Cardholders can redeem points for a wide range of rewards options, including: travel, cash back, gift cards, bill payments, and more.

Earn 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations, and on air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases.

Card Details
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations, and on air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases

Current Offer

Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases

Why We Like It

If you love to travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may be an excellent match for you. It’s one of the most popular travel credit cards available, offering a generous sign-up bonus for new cardmembers, premium travel benefits, and a strong rewards program.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you earn 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

Each year on your card anniversary, you will also earn bonus points equal to 10% of the total purchases you made in the previous year.

If you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, your points are worth 25% more, helping you get more value for your points. You can book hotel stays, airfare, and even cruises with your points.

Card Details
  • Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases

Current Offer

Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months

Annual Fee

$95 (waived first year)

Rewards Rate

6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases

Why We Like It

If you’re looking for a powerful rewards card, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express allows you to earn up to a whopping 6% cash back in select categories. 

You’ll earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases. Cash back is received in the form of statement credits.

The card does have a generous welcome offer and is a great card for large purchases and balance transfers.

Card Details
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% APR offer: 0% for 12 months then 18.49% to 29.49% (variable)
  • Intro balance transfer 0% APR offer: 0% for 12 months then 18.49% to 29.49% (variable)
  • Terms apply

Current Offer

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months

Annual Fee

$695

Rewards Rate

5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases

Why We Like It

If you want a premium rewards card with deluxe travel perks, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express. With a generous welcome offer, high rewards rate on eligible purchases, and upscale travel experiences, this card can enhance and streamline your next trip.

The Platinum Card® from American Express allows you to earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com.

The card offers a number of perks to justify its annual fee, including statement credits for airline fees, digital entertainment, Equinox, and CLEAR membership. You can also enjoy a $200 hotel credit each year on prepaid bookings at Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection, which require a minimum two-night stay. Add a flight to this trip and receive up to $200 in statement credits once you select a qualifying airline and pay for incidental fees with your Card. (Select benefits require enrollment.)

You'll also gain access to more than 1,200 airport lounges in over 130 countries through the American Express Global Lounge Collection. You'll also automatically earn Gold Status with the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs. (Select benefits require enrollment.)®

Card Details
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
  • 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
  • Terms apply

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Current Offer

Introductory APR on balance transfers: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 18.24% - 28.24% variable APR after that

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay for those purchases

Why We Like It

The Citi® Double Cash Card lets you earn cash back twice. Earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, just be sure to pay at least the minimum due on time.

In addition to unlimited cash back on all your purchases with no confusing categories, this card also offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 18.24% - 28.24% (variable) APR, and no annual fee.

Card Details
  • Introductory APR on balance transfers: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 18.24% - 28.24% variable APR after that
  • up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay for those purchases
  • Intro balance transfer 0% APR offer: 0% for 18 months then 18.24% - 28.24% (variable)

Current Offer

Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

Why We Like It

With no annual fee, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is a powerful rewards credit card. It has an easy-to-earn and potentially lucrative sign-up bonus for new cardholders.

When spending with this card, you can earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. You can earn 5% on Lyft rides as well.

It's a fantastic everyday use card - you'll earn at least 1.5% cash back whenever you shop.

Card Details
  • Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% APR offer: 0% for 15 months then 19.24% to 27.99% (variable)
  • Intro balance transfer 0% APR offer: 0% for 15 months then 19.24% to 27.99% (variable)

Current Offer

Earn $900 bonus cash back after spending $6,000 in the first 3 months (limited time offer)

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable, or phone services (up to $25,000 combined annually); 5% cash back on Lyft; 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $25,000 combined annually); and 1% cash back on everything else

Why We Like It

If you’re a freelancer, independent contractor, or small business owner in need of a business credit card that offers valuable rewards, consider the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card. It has no annual fee, a valuable sign-up bonus for new cardmembers, and rewards for common business purchases.

You don’t even need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to apply; sole proprietors and people who run side hustles can take advantage of this card’s benefits, too.

With the Ink Business Cash card, you’ll earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and internet, cable, or phone services (up to $25,000 combined annually). You’ll also earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $25,000 combined annually).

Card Details
  • Earn $900 bonus cash back after spending $6,000 in the first 3 months (limited time offer)
  • 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable, or phone services (up to $25,000 combined annually); 5% cash back on Lyft; 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $25,000 combined annually); and 1% cash back on everything else
  • Intro purchase 0% APR offer: 0% for 12 months then 17.49% to 23.49% (variable)

Methodology: How we chose these cards

The rewards credit cards listed were chosen based on a combination of factors. These criteria included whether a welcome bonus was offered, the minimum spend required to earn the bonuses, and the value of the offer.

Prospective long-term rewards were also a key factor. We looked at bonus rewards categories, earning caps on rewards, and if flexible redemption options were available. The cost to carry the card (e.g., the annual fee) and other limitations were also compared against the value of its benefits and rewards.

The 3 types of rewards credit cards

Although the best rewards cards listed are bucketed together, the type of rewards you earn will vary based on the credit card issuer and type of card you choose. Here are three types of rewards credit cards and how they add value in different ways. The best card for you will be the one that suits your needs best.

Cashback rewards cards

Cashback credit cards let you earn a certain percentage of cash back based on your purchases. Certain cards may offer flat-rate cash back, and others may offer bonus rewards in rotating categories. When you’re ready to redeem your cashback rewards, you can do so in the form of statement credit on your account, a direct deposit or check, or a gift card or donation. We recommend you pick from among the best cashback credit cards.

Travel rewards cards

Some of the best travel credit cards are issued by financial institutions and may be co-branded with an airline or hotel. These rewards credit cards typically have benefits and perks that help you save money and enjoy a better travel experience.

Some travel rewards offer the biggest value when you redeem them for airfare or hotel stays, but many also offer flexible redemption options that let you transfer rewards to your preferred airline or hotel.

Store rewards cards

You can also find rewards credit cards for your favorite retail stores. These cards offer store-specific rewards that can help you save on future online or in-store purchases. Some store cards also offer tiered status, depending on how much you spend with the brand. In exchange for a higher spend, the store might offer a bigger percentage off of your next purchase or other perks.

How to choose a rewards card

Which rewards credit card is right for you? Consider these five factors to help narrow down your choices.

1. Welcome offers

Most rewards cards provide a welcome offer or sign-up bonus to new cardmembers. The terms of each bonus can vary, but the format is often the same. Spend a specific amount on your new credit card within a certain number of months and earn a bunch of rewards.

This can be an easy way to earn loads of cash back, miles, or points soon after opening a new rewards card. And as you compare cards, you might discover that an elevated or limited-time welcome offer might make one card more appealing than another.

2. Rewards types

Rewards cards typically earn points, miles, or cash back. Points and miles are often associated with travel rewards credit cards and can generally be used for travel-related redemptions, such as flights and hotel stays.

Cashback credit cards earn cash back and the redemptions can vary. But statement credits and deposits into bank accounts are common cashback redemption options.

On a basic level, earning points and miles makes sense if you want to redeem rewards for travel. But if you’re not big into travel, cashback rewards are typically the way to go.

3. Earning potential

Rewards cards earn rewards as you make eligible purchases. But how many rewards you earn depends on your card’s rewards rate.

For example, a card might earn 2X miles on every eligible purchase you make. Or it could earn bonus miles in certain categories, such as on dining, gas, or travel. It’s important to choose rewards cards that align with your spending habits so you can earn the most rewards possible.

4. Perks and benefits

If a credit card has benefits, will they be valuable to you? This is something you have to consider as you look over the perks on any rewards credit card. It’s often easy to know if you’ll use an annual travel credit, but how often do you visit airport lounges?

Would something like cell phone protection or saving money on food delivery services be useful to you? Keep in mind that World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercards, as well as Visa Signature and Visa Infinite credit cards, tend to have an above-average number of benefits.

Also, some card perks have an activation requirement, which means you might have to enroll in a benefit before you can use it.

5. Fees and interest rates

In general, credit cards tend to have fees and high interest rates. It’s likely not worth it to use a credit card at all if you plan to carry a balance and then have to pay interest charges.

But some credit card offers provide 0% intro APR on balance transfers and/or purchases. This could be useful if you’re trying to pay down debt without having to worry about interest. It might also be helpful if you have an upcoming large purchase.

Additionally, many credit cards have no annual fees. A $0-annual-fee credit card means less stress about paying an annual cost, but these types of credit cards also tend to have fewer benefits compared to cards with annual fees.

How to maximize credit card rewards

Consider these five tips to help maximize how you earn and redeem credit card rewards.

1. Get a rewards credit card

The first step in maximizing credit card rewards is making sure you have a rewards credit card. Not every credit card earns rewards and not all rewards are the same. For beginners to rewards credit cards, it’s often easy to start with a credit card that earns flexible rewards.

These types of rewards, which include Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, and Capital One miles, can be used for a wide variety of travel redemptions. For example, you can redeem Capital One miles through the Capital One Travel portal for flights, hotel stays, and rental cars. This makes it easier to get used to rewards cards since you have multiple redemption options.

2. Use your credit card

A basic rule of thumb for rewards cards is to use them as much as you can and you’ll earn more rewards. This doesn’t mean buying as much stuff as possible, but using your credit card on anything you were already planning on purchasing.

Groceries, gas, internet, phone bills, online shopping, eating out, and plenty of other everyday expenses can typically be put on a credit card. As long as you plan on making on-time and full credit card payments each billing cycle, there’s often no downside to using rewards cards to make common purchases.

3. Align spending habits with bonus categories

Many rewards credit cards have different bonus categories where you earn more rewards than the base rewards rate. For example, the base rewards rate might be 1% cash back for most purchases, but on dining purchases, you might earn 3% cash back.

You can maximize your earning potential if you know the categories where you spend the most money. So if you spend a lot on dining and groceries, it makes sense to apply for a credit card with dining and grocery bonus categories. In some cases, you might want a separate credit card for each bonus category, so one card for dining and another card for groceries.

4. Take advantage of bonus offers

Welcome bonuses are an easy way for you to earn loads of rewards soon after qualifying for a new credit card.

For example, you might be able to earn 60,000 or more points for spending $4,000 in the first three months.Compare that to everyday earning potential where you might spend $4,000 and you could earn between 4,000 to 20,000 points depending on your cards’ earning rates.

Sign-up bonuses are typically much more valuable than simply earning rewards from buying groceries or dining out. But you might have to time earning a welcome bonus with an upcoming large purchase to meet the spending requirement of the bonus.

5. Make valuable redemptions

Rewards credit cards can have loads of different redemption options, but they might not all provide the same value.

For example, 10,000 points might be worth $100 if redeemed for a flight, but only worth $80 if used for online purchases. In this case, you get more value by redeeming your points for flights.

It’s common for different redemption options to have different redemption values, so it’s important to see what those values are before you use your rewards. You might also place your own values on redemptions depending on the situation.

This could be the case if you have no need for travel redemptions. So the best cash-related redemption option on your card could be your top choice even if it technically might have a lower redemption value compared to something else.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards is the rewards program for Chase’s suite of rewards credit cards.

You can redeem Ultimate Rewards points in a number of ways, which makes this program very flexible. For example, points can be redeemed for cash back or a statement credit, gift cards, merchandise, or toward Amazon or Apple purchases. When you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, they are worth 25% more.

Chase also partners with many airlines and hotels. Rewards transfers are typically offered at a 1:1 ratio, which ensures your points don’t lose their value.

Some of the Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners include:

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Flying Blue Air France KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel partners under Chase Ultimate Rewards include IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt.

American Express Membership Rewards

The American Express Membership Rewards program lets you use earned points that can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, or merchandise. You can also use them to book on Amex Travel — which typically provides the most value — or donate to charity.

When shopping on store websites that partner with American Express Membership Rewards, you can easily redeem points at checkout. Some popular retailers that participate are Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart.

Like Chase Ultimate Rewards, travelers can also transfer points to Amex partners. Airline partners include:

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • AeroMexico, Club Premier
  • Aeroplan
  • Air France KLM
  • Alitalia, MilleMiglia Program
  • Al Nippon Airways
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
  • El Al Israel Airlines, Frequent Flyer Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Airways, Guest Miles
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Loyalty, Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines, KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Amex also has three hotel partners: Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Capital One Venture Rewards

Depending on the kind of Capital One card you have, you can choose to participate in the Capital One Venture Rewards loyalty program to earn points or miles. Your Capital One Venture rewards never expire as long as the account is active.

You can redeem your rewards as cash back, for travel, on Amazon, and more. Capital One also has 14 travel partners:

  • Accor Live Limitless
  • AeroMexico, Club Premier
  • Aeroplan
  • Air France KLM
  • Alitalia, MilleMiglia Program
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Airways, Ethiad Guest
  • EVA Air, Infinity MileageLands
  • Finnair, Finnair Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Loyalty, Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines, KrisFlyer

Are rewards credit cards worth it?

Though you'll likely need a good or excellent credit score to get approved for a rewards card, they can offer incredible value on purchases you would have otherwise made with cash or conventional credit cards. There are many scenarios in which a rewards card can be useful, whether you opt for a cashback card or a travel card.

For example, if you’re planning a wedding and already have savings set aside for expenses, like the venue or catering. Instead of paying vendors with cash, opt to use one of the best credit cards for weddings, and repay the credit card statement in full using the savings you’ve set aside. By doing so, you’ll accumulate rewards from the wedding expenses that you can use to offset the cost of a honeymoon.

Using a rewards card is also valuable if your timing is strategic. If you need a new laptop, for example, and are planning to purchase one soon, you might try to find a rewards card that offers a lucrative welcome offer. When you make the purchase within the welcome promotion window and hit the minimum spend, you can earn rewards to offset the cost of the laptop. Just make sure you have enough saved to repay the charge.

When used responsibly, rewards credit cards can help you save. Many also offer valuable perks that can help make your travel experiences more enjoyable.

FAQs

Are rewards credit cards worth it?

Rewards credit cards typically offer rewards for every purchase you make, which increases their value over using cash or most debit cards. These rewards could come in the form of cash back, points, or miles. In addition, many rewards cards provide helpful benefits, such as earning bonus rewards in common spending categories, like groceries or gas.

How do I maximize my credit card points?

One of the best ways to maximize earning credit card points is to use rewards credit cards for every purchase you make as long as you’re not paying fees to use that credit card. This includes using your card to buy groceries, do online shopping, fill up your gas tank, and more.

To be more efficient, consider using different rewards cards for different types of purchases. If one credit card earns bonus rewards on dining, make sure that’s the card you use when going to restaurants or ordering takeout. Then follow the same strategy with each credit card you have and their bonus categories. It may take a little organization, but it could earn you a lot more rewards.

Which credit card pays the most cash back?

Cashback credit cards like the Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Unlimited offer some of the best cashback rates available for everyday spending. But many of the best cashback credit cards also offer higher cashback rates in specific categories. For example, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers a high 6% cashback rate on purchases from U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services.

How much are credit card rewards points worth?

The value of your credit card rewards depends on which credit cards you’re using, though each point being worth 1 cent is a good rule of thumb. For example, 10,000 Membership Rewards points on the Amex Platinum would be worth $100 toward qualifying flights.

On the Chase Freedom Unlimited, 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points would also be worth $100 toward travel redemptions. But on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, 10,000 points would be worth $150 toward travel redemptions. Be sure to check your credit card’s rewards program to see how much your rewards are worth for different types of redemptions.

What credit score do I need to get a rewards credit card?

Credit card issuers will check your credit history before they approve you for a new account. Many rewards credit cards typically require good credit or even excellent credit scores to qualify because of their increased earning potential and benefits.


Bottom line

If you’re in the market for a new card, chances are you’ll find a rewards card that aligns with your needs and personal finances. Whether you’ve just figured out how to start a business or are making a large purchase, the best rewards credit card can earn you extra savings on the purchases you’re already making.

Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards

Current Offer

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

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • $0 annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee
  • No bonus categories
Card Details
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 19.49%, 24.49%, or 29.49% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
  • $0 annual fee
  • No categories to track or remember and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge
  • Get up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible).
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions

Author Details

Jennifer Calonia Jennifer Calonia is a native Los Angeles-based writer and editor with eight years of experience in personal finance. She's passionate about helping others pay off debt, navigate family finance, and use rewards credit cards, responsibly. She's been featured on Forbes, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Credit Karma, Nerdwallet, and more. To find more information about her work, visit JenniferCalonia.com.