From groceries to gas, get paid for everyday purchases on your credit card. Rewards cards give you incentives - typically in cash, points or miles - based on how much you spend. You can redeem your rewards for cash, shopping or travel. Be sure to check out our best credit cards to view the variety of reward offers from our partners.
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Updated: January 8, 2018
You might want to maximize earning points or miles for travel, or you might want to earn cash back on everything you buy. No matter your spending and earning goals, there’s a rewards card for you.
But there are some tricks to how to use these cards. Here, we look at:
Learn how to maximize your rewards with these tips:
Rewards cards come in a variety of flavors – from cashback cards with quarterly categories to loyalty travel cards that reward you for using a specific brand. Basically, rewards cards reward you for brand or card loyalty. Many have annual fees, but that shouldn’t scare you away, because they can be quite lucrative. Others offer rewards for all manner of purchases, such as the Capital One Venture products.
|Rewards Category||What to Consider|
|General Purpose Travel||How often you travel; lower rewards|
|Airline, Hotel||Rewards brand loyalty; annual fee|
|Cash Back||Can avoid annual fee; quarterly categories|
|Business||Rewards for business-related expenses|
|Luxury||Higher annual fees; luxury benefits|
|Retail||Higher rewards for brand loyalty|
|Gas||Might accept fair credit; higher rewards for gas|
Rewards cards vary widely, from gas and retail to cash back and airline. A cashback card is a good choice if you don’t travel much, but you’re willing to use your card for a variety of expenses, such as gas, restaurants and groceries. Airline and hotel cards are ideal for the traveler with a favorite brand. Retail cards are good for the consummate shopper who has favorite stores.
|Dining||Capital One® SavorSM Cash Rewards||3%||N/A|
|U.S. Gas Stations||Wells Fargo Propel American Express||3X Points||N/A|
|U.S. Supermarkets||Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express||6%, up to $6,000 a year, then 1%||N/A|
|Select U.S. Department Stores||Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express||3%||N/A|
|Amazon.com||Discover it® Cashback Match™||5% + 5% at end of first year||Oct.-Dec. 2018|
|Wholesale Clubs||Discover it® Cashback Match™||5% + 5% at end of first year||Jan.-Mar. & Oct.-Dec. 2018|
|Internet/Cable/Phone||Chase Freedom®||5%*||Jan.-Mar. 2018|
*Chase Freedom®: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases bonus categories each quarter you activate
In the first year of card membership, it can be advantageous to have a card with an annual fee that’s waived, because the sign-up bonus can be more generous. After the annual fee kicks in, the card with no annual fee might be more lucrative, depending on your spending habits. CreditCards.com’s valuation system: A reward value is determined by calculating the cost per reward unit (point or mile) for obtaining a good or service.
|Card||Welcome Bonus||Bonus Requirement||Rewards Rate|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||50,000 Miles||Spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||Unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||$150 Bonus||Spend $1,00 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||3% cashback at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores, 1% cash back on all other purchases|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||$150 Bonus||Spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening||Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase|
|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|
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card||20,000 Miles||Spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||Unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day|
|Discover it® Cashback Match™||Discover will match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically||Automatic||Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.|
|Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express||25,000 Bonus Points||Spend $2,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets. 1X points on all other purchases.|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card||$150||Spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening||Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||60,000 Bonus Points||Spend $5,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and on eligible hotels through amextravel.com|
|Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card||$200 Bonus||Make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months||Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases|
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