Whether it's points, miles or cash back, a great rewards card puts extra money in your pocket. Our list of the latest offers makes it easy to find the one that's right for you. Many come with no annual fee and introductory rates and bonuses. Review this listing of offers from our partners and click to apply securely at their website.
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Updated: April 19, 2017
|Card||Welcome Bonus||Bonus Requirement||Rewards Rate|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||40,000 Miles||Spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval||Unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day|
|Discover it® Cashback Match™||Automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year (new cardmembers only)||Automatic|| Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants, Amazon.com, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate
Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card||20,000 Miles||Spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval||Unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||50,000 Bonus Points||Spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|| 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
|MLB™ BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ MasterCard®||$100 Cash Rewards Bonus||Spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening||Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter|
|Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM||$150 Bonus||Spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening||Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card||$100 Cash Bonus||Spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of approval||Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day|
|Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®||50,000 Bonus Miles||Spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days||Earn 2X miles on all purchases|
Rewards programs are great for maximizing the value of your spending in a way that best suits your lifestyle. Unsure where to start? We’ll walk you through the types of rewards cards, what makes them so awesome and potential drawbacks.
You can also check out our rewards credit card reviews to get a more detailed look at what each card has to offer.
A rewards credit card is a product that gives you financial benefits for card loyalty. They often have signup bonuses and offer points or miles back for spending on certain types of purchases. Card issuers benefit from transaction fees merchants pay when you make a purchase. They also benefit if you carry a balance, which means you are paying interest fees.
You actually want to avoid carrying a balance, though, because otherwise, you undo any benefits the card offers you. So, if you use your rewards card to buy $500 in clothes, and you get 2X points back for your spending, you'll get $10 back. Easy money, right? But then, if you pay the minimum each month on the $500 at a rate of 17% APR, it will take you 24 months and you will pay $92 in interest charges. So, instead of making $10, you spent more than $80 you could have used on groceries or other expenses.
You also want to make sure you spend enough (without incurring debt) to get the full benefit of the card.
For example, after your first year with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you'll pay a $95 annual fee. If you spend $4,000 on dining, that comes to 8,000 points, because travel and dining at restaurants worldwide get you 2X points for every dollar. If you use those 8,000 points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal on travel, they become $100 in redemption. If you plan to spend less than $4,000 on dining, the card isn't worth it for you, because you will not have cleared the annual fee hurdle, assuming you do no other spending.
So, think about how you'll use your rewards card before applying.
Rewards on a credit card can work as cash back, statement credit or through a portal, and can be used for redemption in travel or shopping.
Say you take out a Barclaycard Arrival Plus. You'll get 50,000 miles after a $3,000 spend in the first 3 months of card membership, which turns into $500 in travel. Here's how it works: Once you make a travel purchase with the Arrival Plus, you'll choose your redemption through a travel portal and get a statement credit. Your rewards don't expire, but you have 120 days to redeem a travel event from the day it posts.
Other cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, offer a portal that you redeem through, in this case, the Chase Ultimate Rewards. It's actually to your advantage, because the points you've earned get 25% more value through the portal.
Another way to use rewards points is through a shopping portal, such as Discover Deals, which allows you to get cashback bonuses or money off your purchases. Through these portals, you can shop for clothing, gifts, health and beauty aids, travel and more.
There are actually a number of different types of rewards credit cards, including cash back, hotel and airline loyalty cards, and even retail. In fact, more than 60% credit cards issued in the U.S. are tied to a rewards program. Here are some different types of rewards cards:
Credit card reward points can expire, but increasingly, as long as you keep your account open and active, the points won't expire. Read the fine print, because you don't want to be in a rush to use your points because they are about to expire. Often, however, as long as you make a small charge each month, those points will be there for you when you need them. Just be sure to pay in full and on time, because carrying a balance negates those points you've collected, and by paying on time, you are building your credit.
From incurring additional debt to impacted credit, there can be drawbacks to rewards credit cards. On the plus side, you can earn cash back and other rewards for using your rewards card. On the downside, you can end up owing more than you can pay off or even harming your credit. Here are possible drawbacks to rewards cards and what you can do about them:
Debit cards can have rewards programs of up to $.10 back, but fees vary widely. For example, Discover offers $.10 cash back on debit purchases, up to 100 transactions per month, but no monthly fee, allowing you to earn up to $120 a year. However, Green Dot gives out 5% back on all purchases, up to $100 annually, but there is a $9.95 monthly fee and there are other charges.
A debit card is really more for convenience, and it won't improve your credit. You might want to opt instead for a secured credit card, in which you pay a deposit in exchange for a few hundred dollars in available credit. Just make sure that the card issuer reports your good payment habits to the credit bureaus so that you are building your credit. And pay in full and on time each month. Once you've built up your credit with your secured card, you can apply for rewards credit cards and really enjoy the rewards benefits of a financial product.
When you compare rewards credit cards, look at annual fees, bonus signups and other factors.
Once you've checked out the different aspects of several rewards cards, figure out which one you are most likely to use most often. You want a product that will be your go–to card. If you travel a lot, you might want to choose a rewards card that doubles as a travel card. If you have the potential to spend a lot on your card, but in a variety of ways, a card that offers a flat rate may be the best choice.
Rewards on your rewards credit card are not taxable, although signup bonuses to bank accounts can be.
"Rewards and airline miles that are provided in connection with a purchase on a credit card are routinely not subject to individual income tax reporting," a Citi spokeswoman told CreditCards.com
On the other hand, "When a customer receives a gift for opening a bank account –– whether cash, a toaster or airline miles –– the value of that gift is generally treated as income and subject to tax reporting. This is separate and distinct from miles or points earned by our credit card customers for their purchases," the Citi spokeswoman said.
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