The Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2022

A rewards credit card can be an excellent financial tool to earn rewards on your expenses. Whether you’re interested in cash back or travel rewards, either product can earn you valuable rewards.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 8/24/2022
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Last Updated: 8/24/2022

Whether you get a cash back or travel rewards credit card, you get the ability to capitalize on your spending. This is the case with the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, the best cash back card we’ve selected, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, our top pick from the travel cards segment. You can also choose from various other great options we’ve selected based on your specific requirements.

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MoneyGeek’s Take: Rewards Cards You Can't Go Wrong With This Year

To determine which rewards credit cards are the best, we analyzed 94 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. that offer rewards. We compared each card against a long list of criteria, including the value of the rewards given, welcome bonus, APR, foreign transaction fees and customer reviews. We also looked into the perks associated with each card and the ease of redeeming the rewards earned.

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The links in the table above will take you to one of our partner's sites where you can compare and apply for a selected credit card.

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Best Rewards Credit Cards as of June 2022

There are many different rewards credit cards to choose from, and the best card for you may be different from the best card for someone else. Yet all of the best rewards credit cards have two things in common: easy-to-earn rewards for your purchases and excellent perks. We've compiled the best offers currently out there to give you a good starting point for your research.

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You will need at least a “good” credit score for most rewards credit cards, which is considered above a 670. And when rewards credit cards are mentioned, that is typically referring to three different types of credit cards: cash back, travel rewards or store credit cards.

Best Cash Back Cards for Consumers and Business Owners

The best cash back cards for consumers and business owners vary greatly, based on each person’s spending habits. Keep in mind that consumer cash back credit cards and business cash back credit cards are nearly identical, but their cash back categories can be different in some cases.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card - Great for capitalizing on grocery spending
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card charges a $95 annual fee but lets you make up for it in different ways. For starters, you stand to earn a welcome bonus of $400 as a statement credit by spending $3,000 on purchases within the first six months.

  • Spending up to $6,000 per year on groceries at U.S. supermarkets comes with 6% cash back, and you also get 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • Spending on gas at U.S. gas stations and on transit earns 3% cash back.
  • You get 1% cash back on all other purchases.

If you use your card to pay for your Equinox+ membership, you get a $10 statement credit each month. This card also comes with a 0% APR offer on purchases for 12 months.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card - Best for Amazon Prime members
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card charges no annual fees. New cardholders get a $100 Amazon gift card immediately upon approval.

  • Eligible Prime members get 5% cash back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market.
  • Spending at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores comes with 2% cash back.
  • All other purchases come with 1% cash back.
  • Cardholders may also earn 10% cash back or more on a rotating selection of Amazon products and categories through limited-time offers.

Using this card outside of the U.S. makes sense as it does away with foreign transaction fees.

Capital One SavorOne Rewards - Ideal for earning cash back at grocery stores and on dining and entertainment
The no-annual-fee Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card offers a $200 early spend cash bonus if you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.

  • Spending on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services as well as at grocery stores comes with 3% cash back.
  • You earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

This card charges no foreign transaction fees, which makes it perfect for use outside of the U.S. It also comes with a 0% APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.

American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card - Great for earning cash back on online retail, gas and grocery purchases in the U.S.
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card charges no annual fees. New cardholders may earn a welcome bonus in the form of a $250 statement credit if they spend $2,000 on purchases in the first six months. This card offers:

  • 3% cash back at U.S. grocery stores on spending of up to $6,000 each year.
  • 3% cash back of up to $6,000 each year on gas purchases at U.S. gas stations and on U.S. online retail purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Using this card to spend $13.99 or more per month on an eligible Disney Bundle subscription comes with $7 back every month. If you buy Home Chef meal solutions online, you get up to $15 in statement credits every month. This card also comes with a 0% APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.

Chase Freedom Unlimited - Perfect for Chase Ultimate Rewards members
The no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited Card offers higher-than-usual cash back on gas station purchases in the first year, and it gives you the ability to earn a spend-based welcome bonus.

  • Using this card to make travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform comes with 5% cash back.
  • Drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services) earn 3% cash back.
  • You get 1% cash back on all other purchases.

This card also comes with a 0% intro APR offer on purchases and balance transfers.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card - Great for everyday use
The no-annual-fee Capital One Quicksilver card is perfect for everyday use because it offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. As a new cardholder, you get to earn a $200 early spend cash bonus by spending $500 on purchases in the first three months. This card is perfect for use outside of the U.S., given that it does not charge foreign transaction fees. It also comes with an intro 0% APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.

Citi Custom Cash Card - Ideal for earning more cash back through your highest spending category
The Citi Custom Cash Card comes with no annual fees. New cardholders earn $200 cash back if they spend $750 on purchases in the first three months.

  • This card offers 5% cash on up to $500 spent in your highest eligible spend category every billing cycle. Categories that may fall under this bracket include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, drugstores, fitness clubs, home improvement stores, live entertainment, select transit, select streaming and select travel services.
  • You get unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

You might also benefit by this card’s intro 0% APR offer on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months.

Chase Freedom Flex - Ideal for earning cash back on travel, dining and drugstore purchases
The Chase Freedom Flex Card does not charge any annual fees. It comes with a spend-based welcome bonus and offers higher-than-usual cash back on gas station purchases during the first year.

  • You earn 5% cash back in quarterly bonus categories that you need to activate. Examples include grocery stores, eBay, Amazon.com, car rental agencies and select streaming services.
  • Travel purchases made via Chase Ultimate Rewards earn 5% cash back.
  • You earn 3% cash back on drugstore and dining purchases (including takeout and eligible delivery services).
  • All other purchases come with 1% cash back.

This card also comes with an intro 0% APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card - Best for everyday use
The no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is perfect for everyday use because it offers unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. If you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months, you get a $200 cash rewards bonus. You might also benefit by using this card’s intro 0% APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.

Citi Double Cash Card - Perfect for everyday use
The Citi Double Cash Card comes with no annual fees.

  • It lets you earn up to2% cash back on all purchases.
  • You earn 1% back when you make purchases and an additional 1% when you make your payments.

Using this card to transfer balances from other cards might work well for you because it comes with an intro 0% APR offer on balance transfers for 18 months.


  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    A great cash back card for gas and grocery shopping


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $95Annual Fee
    • 3% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 6xRewards Rate on Entertainment
    • 6xRewards Rate on Groceries

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

    A great no annual fee rewards card for Amazon Prime members


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1% - 5% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Dining
    • 2xRewards Rate on Gas

  • Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

    A great no-annual-fee card that comes with rewards


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 3% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 3xRewards Rate on Entertainment
    • 2xRewards Rate on Groceries

  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

    An excellent no-annual-fee cash back card with 0% intro APR on purchases


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1–3% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Gas
    • 1xRewards Rate on Groceries

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited

    An excellent no-annual-fee card that lets you earn unlimited cash back


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1.5–5% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 3xRewards Rate on Dining
    • 5xRewards Rate on Air Travel

  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

    Best cash back rewards credit card for everyday spending


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1.5% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 1.5xRewards Rate on Dining
    • 1.5xRewards Rate on Online Shopping

  • Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

    A great no annual fee cash back card with a unique bonus category system


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1% - 5% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 15 monthsAPR Offer Duration
    • 15 monthsBalance Transfer Duration

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠

    An easy-to-use cash back card with quarterly rotating bonus categories


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1–5% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 5xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 3xRewards Rate on Dining

  • Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

    A great no annual fee cash back card with a 0% APR offer


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 2% Cash BackRewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Gas
    • 2xRewards Rate on Groceries

  • Citi® Double Cash Card

    A great no-annual-fee card that offers up to 2% cash back


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 2% Cash Back*Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Gas
    • 2xRewards Rate on Groceries

Compare more cash back cards on our Best Cash Back Cards Review page.
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When you are selecting a card for yourself or your business, whether it is cash back or travel rewards, it is essential to remember one key factor: apply for a card that best complements you or your business’ needs. Whether you base your choice on the specific rewards wanted or on maximizing each purchase with bonus categories, you want to choose a card that best fits your needs, rather than simply picking one because of a recommendation from a colleague.

Best Credit Cards for Travel Rewards

There are several top credit cards for travel rewards, meaning that there are excellent cards for many different consumers. But the best travel credit card for you is the one that complements your spending and travel needs the best.

Read more about Cash Back vs. Points here.

Chase Sapphire Preferred - Ideal for travelers who use Chase Ultimate Rewards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card charges a $95 annual fee, but it lets you make up for it in different ways. For starters, it comes with a sizable spend-based welcome bonus. In addition, you get up to $50 in statement credits for hotel bookings made through Chase Ultimate Rewards each account anniversary year.

  • You earn 5X points per dollar on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards; on dining (including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out); on online grocery purchases (excluding wholesale clubs, Target and Walmart); and on select streaming services.
  • Travel purchases made outside of Chase Ultimate Rewards earn 2X points per dollar.
  • All other purchases earn 1X points per dollar.

Cardholders get 25% more value for their points when they redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Transferring your points to various popular airline and hotel loyalty programs is an option. This card comes with no foreign transaction fees. You may also benefit through your card’s comprehensive travel insurance coverage.

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature - Perfect for U.S. Bank Altitude Rewards Program members
The U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature waives its $95 annual fee for the first year.

  • Spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 120 days brings with it 50,000 bonus points.
  • You get 5x points per dollar on prepaid hotel and car rental bookings made directly through the Altitude Rewards Center.
  • Travel, gas station and EV charging station purchases earn 4X points per dollar.
  • You earn 2X points per dollar at grocery stores and on grocery delivery, dining and streaming services.
  • All other purchases earn 1X points per dollar.

If you use your card to pay for an eligible streaming service, you get a $30 annual credit. You also get up to $100 in statement credits for payments made toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees once every four years. This card does away with foreign transaction fees, making it perfect to use outside of the U.S.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card - Best for international travelers
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is our top pick for the best overall travel rewards credit card. You earn 20,000 bonus miles by spending $500 on purchases in the first three months. This card offers** 5X miles per dollar** on hotel and rental car bookings made through Capital One Travel. You get 1.25X miles per dollar on all other purchases. Transferring your miles to over 15 airline and hotel loyalty programs is simple. Using this card outside of the U.S. is perfect because it charges no foreign transaction fees. It also has a 0% APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. Besides, this card comes with no annual fees.

U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature - Ideal for earning rewards on dining, at grocery stores and more
The U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature card does not charge annual fees, and it does away with foreign transaction fees as well. New cardholders earn 20,000 bonus points if they spend $1,000 within the first 90 days.

  • You get 4X points per dollar on dining (including takeout and restaurant delivery).
  • Grocery store, grocery delivery, gas station, EV charging station and streaming service purchases earn 2X points per dollar.
  • You get 1X points per dollar on all other purchases.

You also stand to get a $15 annual streaming service credit. In addition, this card comes with a 0% intro APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing cycles.


  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

    A very good rewards card with no foreign transaction fees and comprehensive travel cover


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $95Annual Fee
    • 1–2 Points per $1Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 2xRewards Rate on Dining

  • U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card

    A good rewards card with multiple bonus categories


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $95Annual Fee
    • 1-5 pointsRewards Rate
    • 5xRewards Rate at Hotels
    • 4xRewards Rate on Gas

  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

    The best travel rewards card with no annual or foreign transaction fees


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1.25 Miles per $1Rewards Rate
    • 1.25xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 1.25xRewards Rate on Entertainment

  • U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

    Solid dining rewards card with no annual fee


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1–4 Points per $1Rewards Rate
    • 4xRewards Rate on Dining
    • 2xRewards Rate on Gas

Compare more travel cards on our Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards page.

Tips for Comparing Different Rewards Cards

Comparing credit card rewards programs is an art form of sorts. Think of each reward system as currencies in different countries. You wouldn’t compare one U.S. dollar to one Mexican peso and say they are the same. The same can be said for travel rewards credit cards. Each currency has its unique value and shouldn’t be weighed against another reward program.

Similarly, each rewards credit card is created differently, targeting different types of consumers. So it isn’t realistic to compare them to say one is better than the other. However, you can compare them side by side to see how each card would work best for your needs, your spending habits and the rewards you want to earn.

  • Annual fees: Most of the top rewards and cash back cards we've selected come with no annual fees. For those cards that do charge annual fees, you can often offset those fees by fully taking advantage of the added perks that the card issuers offer.
  • APR: It is common for cash back/travel rewards credit cards to come with higher APRs than regular cards. However, there may be noticeable differences in APRs from one card to the next.
    >> More: APR vs. APY
  • Rewards/cash back: The best rewards/cash back cards either offer tiered earn rates on bonus categories or let you earn a flat high rate on all purchases. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card lets you earn up to 5% cash back through category-based spending but offers just 1% cash back on categories that don't fit the bill. The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card, on the other hand, offers flat 2% cash back on all purchases.
  • Introductory offers: Most of the top rewards/cash back cards we've selected give new cardholders the ability to earn welcome bonuses by meeting spend-based requirements. In this case, you need to spend at least a predetermined amount within a stipulated time frame.
  • Foreign transaction fees: This aspect requires your attention if you plan to use your card outside of the U.S. because you might need to pay foreign transaction fees of 3% or more on every international transaction. Some of the cards on this page that do away with this fee include the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, the Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
  • Additional features: Additional features and benefits may vary considerably depending on the card you select. Examples of added perks include cell phone protection, purchase protection, extended warranty, travel and emergency assistance, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver and trip delay reimbursement.

For example, here are two rewards cards that are designed for two very different consumers.

An Example on How to Compare Reward Cards

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American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn $400 back as a welcome bonus if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first six months.
  • Spending categories: 6% cash back on grocery purchases of up to $6,000 per year at U.S. supermarkets and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. 3% cash back on gas at U.S. gas stations and on transit. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Benefits of card membership: Low intro APR, $120 Equinox+ credit each year, payment flexibility through Pay It Plan It, car rental loss and damage insurance, return protection and more.
  • Annual fee: $95
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Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn a one-time $200 early spend bonus if you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Spending categories: 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases. 3% cash back at grocery stores and on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Benefits of card membership: Low intro APR, no foreign transaction fees, extended warranty, travel accident insurance, 24-hour travel assistance services, complimentary concierge service and more.
  • Annual fee: $0

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card is best suited for people who wish to make the most of their grocery spending and also want to earn high cash back on gas and transit purchases. While Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card’s cash back rate on grocery purchases is not as high as that of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, it does not come with a maximum spending limit that qualifies for the high cash back rate. Besides, it works better for international use because it does away with foreign transaction fees.

How Do Credit Card Rewards Work?

Credit card rewards are an extremely lucrative incentive for both credit card issuers and consumers to earn rewards on their spending. There is ample opportunity to earn credit card rewards for your spending, but it can get complicated.

In short, credit card issuers give rewards in the form of hotel points, airline points or issuer-specific rewards that can be redeemed or transferred to your preferred rewards programs. The amount of points they give is based on your spending, along with a potential sign-up bonus.

Once you earn the points, they can be redeemed for a number of items or experiences. Keep in mind that not all redemptions are created equal.

Before you redeem your points, look into the cash price of the redemption. This will give you an idea if the redemption is a valuable one or not. Issuers will provide you with options to use your points efficiently and non-efficiently. The efficient manners are likely to be travel, while the not-so-efficient redemptions are statement credit, gift cards and merchandise.

Understanding How Cash Back Cards Work

Cash back credit cards are a simple yet efficient way to save on your daily purchases. Because cash back credit cards don’t have any complicated redemption processes like some travel rewards credit cards, it is preferred by many.

When using a cash back credit card, you earn cash back based on how much you spend in specific categories. There are also cash back credit cards that award a flat rate for cash back on all spending. One is not better than the other — it simply depends on if you spend more in the categories or if your spending is less predictable. In addition, there are cards that have rotating categories each quarter, so someone with less predictive spending could benefit from a card like this.

Nearly all consumers can benefit from a cash back credit card. Saving money on your day-to-day purchases is universal. However, if you enjoy traveling, consider that those same purchases could earn you more valuable rewards on a travel rewards credit card. If simplicity and saving money are your largest priorities, a cash back credit card will serve you well.

FAQs About Cash Rewards Cards

Cash rewards cards are a very popular tool to save money on your day-to-day purchases. They are much less complicated than travel rewards credit cards because cash back is based on your purchases.

Find more information about how the various cash back cards work and our pick of the top cash rewards cards on our best cash back credit cards page.

Understanding How Travel Credit Cards Work

Travel credit cards work by rewarding cardholders with travel rewards for spending money on their credit cards. The rewards come in many forms, including hotel points, airline points or points specific to the card issuers like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. Each of these points has different values and varied opportunities to redeem them.

Travel credit cards aren’t always the best solution for every consumer. If you rarely travel or don't anticipate traveling much, you may have better opportunities with a cash back credit card. But even if you travel a few times per year, a travel credit card can help you save on hotels, flights, rental cars and other expenses. In addition, several travel credit cards come with complimentary travel insurance, protecting your trip in the event things go awry.

>> MORE: HOW TO TRAVEL HACK RESPONSIBLY: USING CREDIT CARDS & OTHER METHODS
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While most travel credit cards charge annual fees, it’s possible to make up for the same by earning adequate rewards and making use of benefits such as travel insurance, airport lounge access and upgrades in loyalty program status. However, it’s important to analyze the benefits and determine how often you plan on using them before paying an annual fee.

FAQs About Travel Rewards Cards

Travel rewards cards are a very popular tool to save money on flights, hotels and other travel-related expenses. However, because the rewards programs are so varied, it can be complicated to grasp at first. The answers to these common questions can help you decide which travel rewards card best fits your travel habits and goals.

For more information and our take on the best travel credit cards check our page about the best travel credit cards of 2021.

Understanding How Business Rewards Cards Work

Business rewards credit cards work nearly identical to other rewards credit cards. The only difference is that business rewards credit cards typically have spending categories geared towards business owners, such as office supply stores and travel.

Generally speaking, a business credit card would be a great idea for any business owner. And the best part is that you don’t need to own a multi-million dollar business. Even if you have a side hustle or occasionally resell items online, you are considered a business. And if you incur any expenses from your business, a business credit card can provide you with additional working capital and, at the same time, give you the opportunity to earn rewards to save your business money.

However, there are a few downsides of business rewards cards to be aware of. First, the card issuer will likely require a personal guarantee, meaning you will need to give your Social Security number when you apply. Also, business credit cards tend to have high interest rates. So using a business credit card to float debt is not an advantageous idea. If you need a loan, applying for a small business loan might be a better route.

FAQs About Business Rewards Cards

Business rewards cards can be very beneficial for business owners. But while they work similarly to personal rewards cards, there are a few nuances to be aware of.

How to Choose the Right Rewards Card or Cards for You

Choosing the best rewards credit card may be daunting, as there are dozens to choose from. To simplify the process, there is one question to keep in mind: What is my goal? Is it earning travel rewards, or do you simply want to earn cash back to save on your purchases? From there, you can reverse engineer to the right rewards card.

QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN VETTING TRAVEL CARDS

If a travel credit card is for you, think about these factors as you sort through different travel credit cards:

  • Do you want luxurious travel benefits? Or are you more focused on budget/efficient travel?
  • Where do you spend mostly?
  • Do you prefer airline miles? Hotel points? Or rewards that can be used for either?
  • Do you travel mostly alone? Or do you travel with a partner/family?
  • Are you open to paying an annual fee for a rewards card?

These questions, along with understanding your motive for getting a travel rewards credit card, can help you select a card that is right for you, your travel habits and spending patterns.

QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN VETTING CASH BACK CARDS

If a cash back credit card suits your needs, the vetting process is simpler.

  • Is your spending specific to one or two categories (i.e., groceries, gas, etc.)?

If the answer is yes, find a credit card that will reward you most for those categories.

If the answer is no, find a credit card that will reward you for your generalized spending habits.

4 Tips for Maximizing Your Rewards & Building Better Credit Habits

Earning credit card rewards is exciting as you are earning rewards for money you would normally spend anyway. However, earning credit card rewards is a careful dance, as you never want to spend more money simply to earn a few extra points. This is one of many tips on maximizing your credit card rewards and managing your credit efficiently.

1

Spend efficiently, not recklessly

Credit card rewards are meant to enhance your spending experience, not to incentivize further spending than needed.

2

Maximize your rewards potential

Each point you earn has a potential value that can be earned. However, the different redemptions will net you a different value. For example, turning your points into cash back on your statement will likely net you a lower value than using your points for travel.

3

Pay off your balance in full

If you are paying interest on your statements, the value of your points is likely zero since the extra money you are spending in interest will negate the value of the points.

4

Mix and match cards

If you want to maximize every single purchase, don’t hesitate to work your way up to have multiple rewards credit cards. By having multiple cards that award bonus points for specific spending categories, you will be able to earn heaps of rewards over time.

How We Rank Rewards Credit Cards

We compile and rank our lists of suggested credit cards based on publicly available data from card issuers and other reputable sources like the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

We analyze and compare over 55 data points for approximately 2,500 cards to assign a rating for each card feature. These data points include annual fees, interest rates, rewards, benefits, and more.

These ratings are stack ranked and weighted based on the most relevant features for each card category (cash back, business, etc.). These rankings determine the top suggestions for each type of user or card category.

Top Rating Criteria for Rewards Cards

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Sign-up bonus
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Annual Earnings
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Annual Fee

Expert Advice For Finding the Right Card

In this section, we’ve asked financial experts from across the U.S. to weigh in on some important aspects about rewards credit cards. Go through their answers to further your knowledge a little more.

  1. What are the possible pros and cons of using a rewards card to make a large purchase and then transferring the balance to a balance transfer card?
  2. When transferring reward points to different airline or hotel loyalty programs, why does their worth vary?
  3. What are the possible advantages and disadvantages of adding authorized users to a primary credit card with regards to earning rewards?
Taylor Jessee
Taylor Jessee

Director of Financial Planning at Taylor Hoffman Wealth Management, Inc.

May Jiang
May Jiang

CPA, CFP®, Founder of Beyond Profit and Wealth Consulting

Dr. Scott J. Takacs
Dr. Scott J. Takacs

Professor of Business Administration and Economics at Georgetown College

Chuck Lopez
Chuck Lopez

Lecturer at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Sahar Bahmani
Sahar Bahmani

Professor of Finance at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside

Steven Shagrin
Steven Shagrin

JD, Certified Money Coach/Master Money Coach & Trainer, Certified Professional Retirement Coach, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, Registered Life Planner, Former CFP®

Donna Bobek Schmitt
Donna Bobek Schmitt

Professor of Accounting, Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina

Dr. Andrew Burnstine
Dr. Andrew Burnstine

Associate Professor of Marketing at Lynn University

Katrina Soelter, CFP®
Katrina Soelter, CFP®

Director, Wealth Management at KCS Wealth Advisory, LLC

Angel Carrete Rodriguez
Angel Carrete Rodriguez

Assistant Professor of Finance at Concordia College

Deanne Butchey
Deanne Butchey

Teaching Professor, Department of Finance at the College of Business, Florida International University

Tolen Teigen
Tolen Teigen

Chief Investment Officer at FinDec, CFA, CFP, AIF, C(k)P, ChFC, CASL, AEP and MSFS

Kimberly Foss
Kimberly Foss

CFP®, CPWA®, is the Founder and President of Empyrion Wealth Management™

Reilly White
Reilly White

Associate Professor of Finance at the University of New Mexico

Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar
Dr. Aniruddha Pangarkar

Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Amit Sinha
Amit Sinha

Professor of Finance and Quantitative Methods at Bradley University

Dan Horne
Dan Horne

Michael A. Ruane Professor of Marketing at Providence College School of Business

Dr. Jeff Jones
Dr. Jeff Jones

Head of the Finance and General Business Department at Missouri State University

Scott E. Hein, Ph.D.
Scott E. Hein, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor of Finance at Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University

Mark M. Ulrich
Mark M. Ulrich

Assistant Professor of Accounting at CUNY Queensborough Community College, MBA, CPA

Joseph K. Grant
Joseph K. Grant

Professor at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Dr. Dima Leshchinskii
Dr. Dima Leshchinskii

Associate Professor of Finance at Menlo College

Lawrence J. White
Lawrence J. White

Professor of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University

Xavier Garza-Gomez
Xavier Garza-Gomez

Professor of Finance at the University of Houston-Victoria

Dr. Sahar Milani
Dr. Sahar Milani

Associate Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University

Bill Schretter, CLU, ChFC, CFP, ATA, CFC
Bill Schretter, CLU, ChFC, CFP, ATA, CFC

CFP Board Ambassador and an Adjunct Faculty Member at UC

Dr. Scott Thorne
Dr. Scott Thorne

Instructor in Marketing at Southeast Missouri State University

Dr. Julie Heath
Dr. Julie Heath

Executive Director of the Alpaugh Family Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy

Author of "The Feminist Financial Handbook," Owner of the blog Femme Frugality and Co-Host of the "Mom Autism Money" Podcast

Guan Jun Wang
Guan Jun Wang

Associate Professor of Finance at Savannah State University

Sam Dogen
Sam Dogen

Founder of Financial Samurai

Amy Blacklock
Amy Blacklock

Co-Founder of Women Who Money and Co-Author of "Estate Planning 101"

Brooke Reavey
Brooke Reavey

Associate Professor of Marketing at Dominican University

John Schmoll
John Schmoll

Founder of Frugal Rules

Wooyang Kim, Ph.D.
Wooyang Kim, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Marketing at Minnesota State University Moorhead

Elizabeth Minton
Elizabeth Minton

Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Wyoming

Bob Haegele
Bob Haegele

Personal Finance Writer

Andrew Herrig
Andrew Herrig

Owner of Wealthy Nickel

Martha Cruz Zuniga
Martha Cruz Zuniga

Clinical Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at The Catholic University of America

Ariel Belasen
Ariel Belasen

Professor of Economics and Finance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Joseph Vu
Joseph Vu

Associate Professor of Finance at DePaul University

Scott Lail
Scott Lail

Assistant Professor of Accounting at Wingate University

Dr. Ajay Patel
Dr. Ajay Patel

Thomas S. Goho Chair in Finance, Area Chair and Professor at Wake Forest University

Dr. Eric R. Kushins
Dr. Eric R. Kushins

Assistant Professor of Management at Campbell School of Business

Hugo Benitez-Silva
Hugo Benitez-Silva

Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at Stony Brook University

Dr. Paul Rose
Dr. Paul Rose

Professor and Associate Dean at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Priya Raghubir
Priya Raghubir

Professor of Marketing at New York University Stern School of Business

Henry McKoy
Henry McKoy

Faculty Member and Director of Entrepreneurship, School of Business; Managing Director of the Eagle Angel Network at North Carolina Central University

Nicole Hunter
Nicole Hunter

Clinical Assistant Professor of Finance at the University at Buffalo School of Management

Stephanie Black, PhD
Stephanie Black, PhD

Associate Professor at Texas A&M University – San Antonio

W. Eric Lee
W. Eric Lee

Associate Professor of Accounting at the University of Norther Iowa

Dr. Chandan Kumar Jha
Dr. Chandan Kumar Jha

Assistant Professor of Finance, Madden School of Business, Le Moyne College

Tom Hall
Tom Hall

Associate Professor & Associate Director of the Center for Public History at Christopher Newport University

Dr. Kwamie Dunbar
Dr. Kwamie Dunbar

Associate Professor of Finance at Simmons University

Jaime Peters
Jaime Peters

Assistant Dean & Assistant Professor of Finance at Maryville University

Sean Spence
Sean Spence

Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University

Dr. Chris Phillips
Dr. Chris Phillips

Professor of Economic and Statistics at Somerset Community College

Dr. Brock Zehr
Dr. Brock Zehr

Associate Professor Business & Economics at Huntington University

Drew Gold
Drew Gold

Associate Professor at Saint Leo University

Ron Cheung
Ron Cheung

Professor of Economics in the Economics Department at Oberlin College

Norbert Tschakert, Ph.D., CPA
Norbert Tschakert, Ph.D., CPA

Gassett-Schiller '83 Professor of Accounting at the Bertolon School of Business at Salem State University

Dr. Randal Ice
Dr. Randal Ice

Barnabas Professor of Finance at the University of Central Oklahoma

Suzanne Fogel
Suzanne Fogel

Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Marketing at DePaul University

Dr. Jukka Laitamaki
Dr. Jukka Laitamaki

Clinical Professor at New York University School of Professional Studies

Michael Bond
Michael Bond

Adjunct Lecturer in Finance at the Eller College of Management

Jared Watson
Jared Watson

Assistant Professor of Marketing at New York University Stern School of Business

Andrea Francis
Andrea Francis

Professor of Accounting at LaGuardia Community College

Kristy Shen
Kristy Shen

Author of "Quit Like a Millionaire"

Andrew Macdonald, CFA, CFP
Andrew Macdonald, CFA, CFP

Adjunct Professor of Finance, Knauss School of Business, University of San Diego

Cristian Tiu
Cristian Tiu

Chair and Associate Professor of Finance at the University at Buffalo

Wei-Chung Wang
Wei-Chung Wang

Professor of Business and Economics and Associate Provost at Juniata College

Suman Banerjee
Suman Banerjee

Associate Professor of Finance, School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology

Dr. Jayendra S. Gokhale
Dr. Jayendra S. Gokhale

Associate Professor at the Daytona Beach Campus of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

Frank G. Cabano
Frank G. Cabano

Assistant Professor, Marketing and Management at The University of Texas at El Paso

Jim Connell, DBA
Jim Connell, DBA

Associate Professor of Finance in the Stephens College of Business at the University of Montevallo

Dr. Jack McCann
Dr. Jack McCann

Course Lead and Graduate Faculty in HRM at Purdue University Global

Matthew Imes
Matthew Imes

Assistant Professor of Finance at Stetson University

Kaustav Misra, Ph.D.
Kaustav Misra, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, School of Business, Central Connecticut State University

Robert Murphy
Robert Murphy

Associate Professor at Boston College

A. Can Inci
A. Can Inci

Professor of Finance at Bryant University

Thomas J. Norman
Thomas J. Norman

Professor at California State University - Dominguez Hills

Raymond P. H. (Pat) Fishe
Raymond P. H. (Pat) Fishe

The Patricia A. and George W. Wellde, Jr. Distinguished Chair in Finance and Professor of Finance at the University of Richmond

Selin A. Malkoc
Selin A. Malkoc

Associate Professor of Marketing at The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

Majed Muhtaseb
Majed Muhtaseb

Professor of Finance at Cal Poly Pomona

Dr. Yuliya Strizhakova
Dr. Yuliya Strizhakova

Associate Professor of Marketing at the Rutgers University–Camden School of Business

Dr. Arun Upadhyay
Dr. Arun Upadhyay

Associate Professor - Department of Finance at Florida International University

David Hart
David Hart

Executive in Residence at Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Unnati Narang
Unnati Narang

Assistant Professor of Business Administration at University of Illinois

Rutherford Cardinal Johnson
Rutherford Cardinal Johnson

Lecturer of Economics at the University of Minnesota

Yong Chao, PhD
Yong Chao, PhD

Professor of Economics at the College of Business, University of Louisville

Eric Lustig
Eric Lustig

Professor of Law and Director at the Center for Business Law, New England Law | Boston

Carlo Silvesti
Carlo Silvesti

Adjunct Professor of Accounting, Gwynedd Mercy University

Randal Ice, Ed.D.
Randal Ice, Ed.D.

Professor of Finance at the University of Central Oklahoma

John Lopez
John Lopez

Senior Professor of Practice at C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston

Gregory Germain
Gregory Germain

Professor at Syracuse University College of Law

Vicki Cook
Vicki Cook

Co-Founder of Women Who Money, Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, and Co-Author of "Estate Planning 101"

J. Cameron Verhaal
J. Cameron Verhaal

Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business

Mathew S. Isaac, Ph.D.
Mathew S. Isaac, Ph.D.

Professor of Marketing, Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University

Martina
Martina

Founder of Stack Your Dollars, LLC

Anna Barker
Anna Barker

Founder, LogicalDollar

Lyle M. Rupert
Lyle M. Rupert

C. Louis and Charlotte Cabe Distinguished Professorship in Economics and Business

Suchot Sunday
Suchot Sunday

Entrepreneur & Business Coach

Howard Davidoff
Howard Davidoff

Professor at at Brooklyn College

Andrew Ching, PhD
Andrew Ching, PhD

Professor, Carey Business School at the Johns Hopkins University

Jack Yoest
Jack Yoest

Assistant Professor of Practice in Leadership and Management at The Catholic University of America

Larry Connatser
Larry Connatser

Family Financial Management Specialist at Virginia Corporate Extension

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About the Author


Brett Holzhauer is a personal finance reporter that has written for several leading publications and mentioned in many others such as Forbes Advisor, Lending Tree, CNBC and ValuePenguin. An alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State, when he is not reporting, Brett is likely scuba diving, golfing or watching college football. He tweets regularly at @brett_holzhauer.


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