Best Rewards Credit Cards

From groceries to gas to gadgets, rewards cards help you earn cash, points or miles from your everyday purchases. You can redeem your rewards for cash, shopping or travel. We analyzed 1,640 different rewards cards to give you the best recommendations - check out the 10 best rewards credit cards from our partners below.

From groceries to gas to gadgets, rewards cards help you earn cash, points or miles from your everyday purchases. You can redeem your rewards for cash, shopping or travel. We analyzed 1,640 different rewards cards to give you the best recommendations - check out the 10 best rewards credit cards from our partners below.

See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands.
Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
75,000 points
Annual Fee
Regular APR
17.49% - 26.49% variable

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
100,000 Points
Annual Fee
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% variable

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

Apply Now

Rewards Rate

Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services*
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*
Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
10,000 miles
Annual Fee
Regular APR
17.74% - 25.74%* (Variable)
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Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.

Comparing Rewards Credit Card Offers

Updated: October 10, 2019

Rewards credit cards have proliferated in recent years, with the best offers delivering cardholders hundreds, even thousands of dollars in rewards. It is not surprising that rewards cards claim several spots on our list of the overall best credit cards.

Cashback, points, miles – whichever method you choose, the results can be, well, rewarding. In fact, because it is accepted that merchants up their prices to accommodate their costs due to credit card fees, consumers who use cards for their purchases actually come out ahead by $240 a year, while consumers who don't end up behind to the tune of $50, according to the Federal Reserve of Boston.

But rewards credit cards can be daunting to the newcomer. Which type do you choose? Which card is the best? How do you use one? At, we crunched the numbers on over 1,600 different credit card offers using the criteria outlined below to pick the best rewards cards out there. Along with our top picks, we've also included some takes from other experts and supplemental information to help you with your decision. Here, we look at:

best rewards credit cards of 2019

Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2019

While many credit cards offer some form of rewards, we've limited our list to the best current offers. The top rewards credit card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card due to its large sign-up bonus and high cash back on popular categories.

CardBest For:Rewards RateAnnual FeeStaff Review
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit CardHotel rewards10X miles on thousands of hotels, 2X miles on every other purchase$0 first year, then $954.2 / 5
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardLarge sign-up bonus2X points on travel and dining, 1 point per dollar on everything else$953.9 / 5
Discover it® Cash BackIntroductory offer5% cash back in rotating categories (full list here), and unlimited 1% cash back on everything else$04.5 / 5
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit CardCash rewardsUnlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase$03.4 / 5
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Rewards on all purchasesUnlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases$03.8 / 5
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® cardTravel rewards3X points for: Eating out, ordering in, gas stations, rideshares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals. 1X points on other purchases$03.5 / 5
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit cardEveryday use3% cash back on a category of choice, 2% cash back on groceries and wholesale club purchases ($2,500 combined limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter ), 1% cash back on other purchases$03.4 / 5
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit CardDining and entertainment3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, 1% on all other purchases$03.7 / 5
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit CardNo annual fee10 miles per dollar on hotels booked and paid through; 1.25 miles per dollar on other purchases$03.5 / 5
Citi® Double Cash CardBalance transfers1% cash back on general purchases, and an additional 1% cash back as you pay off those purchases$03.8 / 5

Details on our picks for the best rewards credit cards

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Pros: With 50,000 miles after a $3,000 spend within the first 3 months, 2X miles on all purchases and 10X miles on hotel stays purchased through, this card offers a host of travel rewards and features. Venture Rewards is currently partnered with 14 airlines where you can transfer your miles. The Venture Rewards Credit Card is a fine choice for both domestic and foreign travel because of its versatility. Fly any airline and stay at any hotel—there are no blackout dates.

Cons: Although your annual fee is waived the first year, you will eventually have to face the music by paying $95 each subsequent year.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Pros: Earn 60,000 points after a $4,000 spend within the first 3 months of card membership and 2X points on worldwide dining and travel. In preparation for your upcoming travel, take a look at this card, with its partnerships with major airlines and hotel brands and a 25% redemption boost when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Cons: There's so much to love about this card that it's hard to find a downside. However, one potential setback is the $95 annual fee.

Discover it® Cash Back

Pros: While other cards offer tiered rewards for specific spending, this card is one of the few that rewards with 5% cash back on rotating categories, plus another 5% back at the end of your first year. For July through September 2019, it's restaurants and Paypal. Beginning Aug. 1, you can sign up for the fourth quarter (, Target and, although you won't earn points until Oct. 1.

Cons: This card can be a bit of a hassle, because you have to enroll each quarter to qualify for the 5% rewards. Note that the 5% rewards rate will only apply up to the $1,500 quarterly maximum in purchases.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Pros: This is a great card for the shopper who doesn't want to think about which card to pull out every time she's at the cash register. That's because the Quicksilver offers 1.5% back on all purchases.

Cons: You can find a better flat rate with the Citi Double Cash, although that card doesn't have a sign-up bonus.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Pros: This card goes head-to-head with competitors like the Quicksilver by offering unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a sign-up bonus of $150 for spending $500 in the first 3 months. Additional features include concierge service, as well as an extended warranty program and purchase protection – not bad considering there's no annual fee.

Cons: The flat cash back rate limits your ability to earn higher rewards rates in popular categories like gas, groceries and dining.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

Pros: With no annual fee and no limits on rewards, this card's got what it takes to turn your head and race your heart. Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in; gas stations, rideshares and transit; and travel, including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. There's also the 30,000 points after a $3,000 spend within the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value.

Cons: You'll have to look hard for something not to like about this card, although there are no boosted rewards for such categories as, wholesale clubs and home improvement stores.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Pros: There are a lot of perks to this card. It has a generous rewards structure with 2% cash back on groceries/wholesale clubs and 3% cash back in a category of your choice. Do you spend a lot on gas commuting to work? Set gasoline to be your 3% cash back category. Have an online shopping habit? Set your 3% cash back category to online purchases.

Cons: The 2% and 3% cash back categories are capped at $2,500 in combined spend each quarter so there are limits on how much cash back you can earn with this card.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Pros: There aren't many cards that offer the dining and entertainment rewards of this card, and there are also nice ongoing rewards at grocery stores. Another plus? This card offers the same great no foreign transaction fee opportunity as other Capital One cards.

Cons: The regular APR rate is quite high at 15.74%-25.74% variable, and the rewards can't be redeemed for merchandise or airline travel.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Pros: Planning some hotel stays this fall and winter? The VentureOne Rewards has a dynamite rewards rate with through January 2020 that rivals its big brother, the Capital One Venture Rewards. Also, this card partners with more than a dozen airlines.

Cons: The sign-up bonus and the ongoing rewards are serviceable for an occasional traveler, but they both can be beaten by other cards, particularly ones with an annual fee.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Pros: A leading cash back card, the Citi Double Cash rewards you at a higher rate than other flat-rate cards with no annual fee. Also, the balance transfer offer is exceptional at 0% intro APR for 18 months (it's 15.74%-25.74% variable after that).

Cons: There's no sign-up bonus with this card. Also, you won't get a 0% intro APR offer on purchases here, which is unfortunate.

Research methodology

We analyzed over 1,600 rewards credit cards and looked at 9 main factors to identify the best cards for your lifestyle – these factors and more inform our decisions in which cards can work the hardest for you.

Criteria used

Rewards rates – When studying cards, you might see rewards as points, miles or cash back. We look at not only the type of rewards, but also how they are doled out, whether as cash back on select categories, such as Discover it Cash Back or multiplied points on every purchase, as in the case of Capital One Venture Rewards.

Sign-up bonuses – These can also come as points, miles and cash back. We study how much the bonus is, as well as the required spend and the time limit. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months.

Customer service – Some card issuers stand out for their customer service, such as Discover's U.S.-based customer service 24/7. We look at that as well.

Redemption options and flexibility – Card issuers vary in how you can redeem rewards. For example, Bank of America allows you to receive cash back by check. Issuers typically allow you to receive a statement credit, redeem for gift cards or merchandise, and in the case of the Chase Sapphire cards, earn bonuses when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. We also study minimum required redemptions and expirations.

Point values – Point valuations on rewards cards can vary widely, from under 1 cent to over 2 cents per point or mile. Also, you can get a bonus when redeeming for travel in some cases, such as the Ink Business Preferred.

Travel benefits – Many travel and other rewards cards offer travel and purchase benefits in addition to points, miles or cash back. These are helpful when you are on a trip and you need extra support, such as lost luggage reimbursement and travel accident insurance with the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card.

Transfer partners – Even if you hold a loyalty card, such as an airline or hotel card, there may be partners that you can transfer your points or miles to. We look at which and how many partners cards have and the value of the transfers, because some partners have a lower valuation than if you use the points with the original hotel or airline.

Rates & fees – These range from the annual fee, if there is one, to the regular APR, which can go from less than 10% to more than 25%, depending on the card and issuer. Some issuers offer no late fee, which we study when we ascertain a rewards card's value.

Credit needed – No matter how much you love a card, the issuer will want to make sure you are a good risk and check your credit before you are granted the product. We note whether each rewards card requires credit from bad to excellent or no credit.

What are rewards cards and how do they work?

Rewards can come to you in a number of ways, including cash back, points and miles. They might reward you for loyalty to a brand, encourage you to travel or entice you to shop at certain types of stores. There are even cards that reward you the same for every purchase.

In our recent April 2019 poll of what's on consumers' credit card wish list, we found that consumers' favorite card features were by far that of cash back – in fact, consumers wanted 3% back on all purchases, something that might have once been considered extremely unlikely. Sign-up bonuses, a common feature of rewards cards, were also in the top 5. Here's what we learned:

What consumers most want from their credit cards...

  • 31%
  • 3% cash back on all purchases
  • 17%
  • Sign-up bonus worth $500 in cash
  • 14%
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 18 months
  • 11%
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months
  • 11%
  • Sign-up bonus worth $1,200 toward airfare, hotel April 2019 study on consumers' favorite credit card features

These features are surprisingly offered by a number of credit cards, including 1.5% back from Chase Freedom Unlimited.

You probably have a points chaser in your life, whether it's your office mate or roommate. This person loves to build rewards to be redeemed on trips across the country or around the world. Now, you're wondering: "How do I get in on this?"

You're not alone. Actually, in another recent study, we found that rewards are the favorite use for consumers' most-used cards, at 40%.

So, you are wondering now what you need to know before you get started. When you are shopping for a rewards card, you see that they vary widely in whether they have an annual fee, a sign-up bonus and what kinds of ongoing rewards they have. So, while most cash back cards have no annual fee, many travel cards do. And while you will be hard pressed to find a cash back card with extensive travel benefits, travel cards will likely have them in abundance.

When earning rewards, whether it's cash back or points or miles, you'll want to make sure the card you choose reflects how you shop. For instance, if you do a fair amount of shuttling the family in the family van, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card could be right for you if you choose gas as your 3% cash back category.

When it comes time to redeem, you might choose a statement credit, a gift card or merchandise, or travel. Just know that certain cards favor certain types of redemptions – for example, in some cases, it may be more to your advantage to redeem for travel than to use the rewards for a gift card.

Bottom line? Take your time, shop around and use our excellent tools to pick the right card for you. Remember, if you don't choose a card that plays to your spending strengths, you are just leaving money on the table.

Pros and cons of rewards credit cards

We got a bit of a surprise when our October 2018 poll by YouGov PLC showed that about a quarter of those polled did not hold a credit card. With all the great rewards cards out there, that's money left on the table.

How many "active" credit cards do you currently hold?...

  • 1 card
  •  17%
  • 2 cards
  •  15%
  • 3 or more cards
  •  33%
  • I don't hold this type of card
  •  26%
  • Source: rewards card survey

Rewards cards can deliver great benefits, waived fees, and of course, points, miles or cash back. However, if you have trouble meeting your budget, or you tend to overspend, then they may not be so great for you.

Some disadvantages may actually be a blessing in disguise, such as annual fees, because they can be indicative of a card that offers superior rewards. But that's not always true. That's why you should thoroughly research your choices before applying.

Here, we look at the pros and cons of rewards credit cards to help you decide if they are right for you.


Accrue points, miles or cash – Earn hundreds of dollars a year in points, miles or cash back. It doesn't get better than this.

Travel and shopping perks – Rewards cards can offer extended warranties, rental car insurance and other travel and shopping benefits.

Build credit – As with most credit cards, this is a great way to build your credit, provided you pay on time each month.

Fees waived – In the case of the best travel credit cards, many have no foreign transaction fees and may even waive the annual fee the first year. With some cash back cards, you may not pay an annual fee at all. Here's what consumers report about the cards they have:

Consumers with at least 1 rewards card that has...

  • No annual fee
  •  72%
  • An annual fee of up to $75
  •  25%
  • An annual fee between $76-$150
  •  15%
  • An annual fee of at least $151
  •  10%
  • Unsure
  •  15%
  • Source: rewards card survey


Higher credit score required – While there are credit-builder cards that have rewards, the cards with richer offers tend to require higher credit scores. Make sure you check the required score of a card before applying.

They can cost you time – Many rewards cards can require you to spend some time maximizing points or cash. For example, if it's a card with rotating categories, you need to sign up for categories, then make sure you maximize spend without going over budget. And some travel cards have blackout dates and limit your choice in travel partners. However, there are rewards cards with flat rates if you don't want to invest time on your rewards.

Damage credit/budget – While you can improve your score with each month of on-time payments, you can destroy it with high balances. Also, you can blow your budget it you don't pay attention to your spending, as well as undo any earnings you've made through rewards.

Higher interest rates – Interest rates on rewards cards tend to be higher, particularly travel cards. But if you plan to pay in full each month, that shouldn't be a problem. In our survey of 698 American adults, we found that 64% of consumers planned to pay off their rewards card each month, compared to 23% who did not.

Different types of reward cards

There are a number of different types of rewards credit cards, including cash back, hotel and airline loyalty cards, and even retail and gas. In fact, more than 60% of credit cards issued in the U.S. are tied to a rewards program, according to The Wall Street Journal. Here are different types of rewards cards:


Also called fuel cards, this product dates back to the 1920s when the primary purpose was convenience. With the advent of rewards cards that also reward you for groceries, wholesale clubs and restaurants, rewards cards have all but replaced the gas credit card. That said, gas cards can reward you generously for each gallon and sometimes only require fair credit. If you're on the road a lot, this might be a good choice.


There are basically 3 types of travel cards: general purpose, airline and hotel. Some travel cards reward you for most brands through a redemption portal that tracks your travel expenses. This is a good choice if you don't travel with a particular brand. Or you can choose an airline or hotel card, which partner with specific brands. Because hotel partnerships are so large today, you can access hundreds of hotels in dozens of countries with a single card.

Cash back

Originating in 1986, Discover developed its products as a way to give money back at the end of the year based on the amount of charges. The cashback product has expanded to cards that give cash back in statement credits, checks and deposits in bank accounts. Cash back can be 1%-2% back for everything or for quarterly categories, which typically have a greater reward. If you want rewards without thinking about it, a general-purpose cashback card might be the right decision.


Sometimes called co-branded cards, this product is a type of loyalty card that is tied to department stores or other store brands. These cards can offer high percentages of cash back for first purchases and more.


If you travel often and don't particularly love it, luxury cards can be a good choice because you can get 24/7 concierge service, access to airport lounges and more.


Many card issuers offer varying types of rewards cards, frequently with greater rewards than consumer rewards cards. You can get cash back or points for business-related spending. If you often spend on business items, a business card might be an option.

Credit builder

Sometimes cards for fair credit and even secured cards offer rewards, typically 1% back on purchases.

Popular credit card rewards programs

Credit card rewards programs come in any number of flavors, and one of them is bound to work well for you.

There's Chase Ultimate Rewards, with generous rewards for your loyalty. And what about American Express Membership Rewards? Then, there are popular hotel rewards plans.

Here are some popular rewards programs and how they work.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards is a travel portal that can pack points into your account if used correctly. There are 2 types of Ultimate Reward cards, a total of 6 cards:

  • Cards with annual fees – Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve and Ink Business Preferred boost your Ultimate Rewards redemption value by 25% or 50%, depending on the card, when you use the points toward travel in the portal.
  • Cards without annual fees – You can use the Chase Freedom and the Ink Business Cash to collect points to be used on the Ultimate Reward portal. One benefit: You can transfer the points on these cards to the cards with annual fees and enjoy the boosted bonus of the superior card.

Earn points through worldwide travel and dining, business categories, rotating categories such as gas and groceries, and more. With the Ultimate Rewards portal, you can book all types of travel with partner brands, including air travel and cruises, or enjoy redemptions for such items as gift cards and merchandise.

American Express Membership Rewards

Myriad Amex cards use the Membership Rewards program, including the American Express® Gold Card and the Blue Business Plus.

You can earn Membership Rewards through eligible airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, retail purchases and more. There are also opportunities with eligible business purchases in the U.S., such as office supplies, wireless service, shipping, advertising and computer hardware/software/cloud computing. Membership Rewards points can be used toward a shopping portal for such brands as and Staples. You can also use your points to cover card charges or for gift cards. One of the most popular uses is as a travel portal. You can enjoy more value when you transfer the Membership Rewards points to miles and redeem them for international flights in business or first class. You can also experience bonus points for transfers with American Express' airline partners.

Hilton Honors

With the Hilton portfolio, which includes such brands as Waldorf Astoria, Homewood Suites and Curio, you have access to 5,000 hotels and resorts around the world. Add to that, you can experience the benefits of the Hilton Honors program, which gives you access to these properties through the points you have collected with purchases.

In addition to earning points at member properties, earn points through partners for car rentals, cruises, even mobile roaming while abroad. You can use the points as a gift by purchasing gift cards at Hilton locations or treat yourself with a weekend at a favorite spot. Also enjoy using the points toward flights and rail travel, vehicle upgrades and more.

Citi ThankYou Points

The Citi Thank You program, Citi's points earning and redemption program, is offered through a handful of Citi cards, with options to redeem through merchandise, travel, gift cards, electronics and more, depending on the card.

Depending on the product, you might earn 1.25X points for booking travel in the same way that some Chase cards are structured. The program includes about 15 airline partners, which compares well to the Chase and American Express partnerships.

Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards

There are basically 2 ways to earn Go Far Rewards – by spending on your Wells Fargo credit card or by shopping on the Earn More Mall site.

Unlike Chase and American Express, Go Far Rewards can't be transferred to an airline partner. However, redemptions can come in a number of ways, such as cash back, statement credits, travel, gift cards, merchandise, digital downloads and even as a gift. There's a Go Far Rewards online auction that you can use to bid on merchandise using your points.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program works a little differently from the other bank card issuer programs in that it rewards you for how much you keep in your Bank of America bank accounts. This includes funds in Merrill Lynch and Merrill Edge.

The card rewards benefits can be considerable – if you keep at least $20,000 in your accounts, you'll earn a 25% bonus on qualified card rewards, and that goes up to 75% when you have at least $100,000 in your accounts. There are other bank-related benefits as well, such as money market savings interest rate boosters and auto loan interest rate discounts.

How to maximize your credit card rewards

To take full advantage of your points, you need to look at the rewards card from all angles, including how much you'll spend and what you'll buy. Here's a quick guide on how to maximize your points:

  1. Calculate. Calculate how much you'll spend, making sure you will at least recoup the annual fee.
  2. Take advantage of the sign-up bonus. Make sure that you will be able to spend the required amount within the required time for the sign-up bonus, but avoid the temptation of making extra purchases just for the sake of reaching the required spend. Stick to sign-up bonuses that you know are attainable from your regular or pre-planned purchases.
  3. Make it your go-to card. See if you can pay your rent, insurance and utilities with it, but make sure there are no convenience fees. Buy your groceries with it, and pull it out at restaurants.
  4. Pay in full and pay on time. If you can't pay it off in full each month, there's no point in acquiring it. The interest fees will overshadow any cash back or points you've earned. Never go over the limit or pay late; these are wasted dollars.
  5. Use shopping portals. Frequently check for deals. Just make sure you are fully rewarded for using points or miles. Some cards don't reward you for the full amount with their shopping portals or gift cards.
  6. Take full advantage of the benefits. Make full use of the benefits, such as price protection and auto rental insurance.

How to redeem your credit card rewards

Whether you are earning points, miles or cash back, card issuers offer numerous ways to redeem those rewards. You can redeem through statement credits, gift cards, even checks. Here are some ways:

  • A portal for travel purchases. With some cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve, a travel portal can be used to make purchases using points, with additional rewards for using the portal.
  • A portal for redemption. With general-purpose travel cards, you can redeem your miles for all manner of travel through a portal that monitors your rewards and travel spending.
  • Redeeming for specific brands. With hotel- and airline-branded cards, you can redeem for those specific brands and sometimes their partners.
  • Online shopping. Redeem your points through a shopping portal for such items as clothing, health and beauty aids, gift cards, and more.
  • Get a check. A few card issuers will issue a check for your cash rewards.
  • Deposit into bank account. This is a great option for Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients.
  • Statement credit. A favorite among cashback cards, you can earn your redemption through a credit that is placed on your card statement.

Laura is an editor and writer at She has written extensively on all things credit cards and works to bring you the most up-to-date analysis and advice. Laura's work has been cited in such publications as the New York Times and Associated Press. You can reach her by e-mail at and on Twitter @creditcards_lm.

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