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Insider’s experts choose the best products and services to help make smart decisions with your money (here’s how). In some cases, we receive a commission from our our partners, however, our opinions are our own. Terms apply to offers listed on this page.

Here are Insider’s picks for the best rewards credit cards currently available, based on welcome bonus offers, rewards earned on everyday spending, benefits, and overall value. 

Compare the best rewards credit cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


Intro offer

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 5x points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out. Earn 3x points on select streaming services. Earn 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs). Earn 2x points on other travel. Earn 1x point per dollar on everything else.

Chase Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


Intro offer

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 5x points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out. Earn 3x points on select streaming services. Earn 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs). Earn 2x points on other travel. Earn 1x point per dollar on everything else.


Rewards

Earn 5x points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out. Earn 3x points on select streaming services. Earn 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs). Earn 2x points on other travel. Earn 1x point per dollar on everything else.


Intro offer

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent

Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

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Regular APR

18.24% – 25.24% Variable

Editor’s Rating

4.8/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

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Capital One Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card


Intro offer

75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase.

Capital One Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card


Intro offer

75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase.


Rewards

Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase.


Intro offer

75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

18.99% – 26.99% Variable

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American Express The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express


Intro offer

100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership


Rewards

Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 per calendar year. Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

American Express The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express


Intro offer

100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership


Rewards

Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 per calendar year. Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

On American Express’s website


Rewards

Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 per calendar year. Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. 1 point per dollar on other purchases.


Annual Fee

$695

See Rates and Fees

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Intro offer

100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Editor’s Rating

4.75/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

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Capital One Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card


Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases.

Capital One Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card


Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases.


Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Excellent


Regular APR

19.99% – 26.99% Variable

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Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card


Intro offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card


Intro offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.


Rewards

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.


Intro offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening

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Citi Citi Custom Cash℠ Card


Intro offer

$200 cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Citi Citi Custom Cash℠ Card


Intro offer

$200 cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

$200 cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

16.99% – 26.99% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months

Editor’s Rating

4.7/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

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Chase Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®


Intro offer

1.5% cash back in addition to regular earning on everything you buy up to $20,000 spent in the first year (worth up to $300 cash back)


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Chase Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®


Intro offer

1.5% cash back in addition to regular earning on everything you buy up to $20,000 spent in the first year (worth up to $300 cash back)


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

1.5% cash back in addition to regular earning on everything you buy up to $20,000 spent in the first year (worth up to $300 cash back)


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

17.24% – 25.99% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months

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Citi Citi® Double Cash Card


Intro offer

$200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening


Rewards

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Citi Citi® Double Cash Card


Intro offer

$200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening


Rewards

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.


Rewards

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.


Intro offer

$200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent

Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

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Regular APR

16.99% – 26.99% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months

Editor’s Rating

5/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

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American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express


Intro offer

$250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 6% cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%). Earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. Earn 3% cash back on transit (including taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more). Earn 3% cash back on gas at U.S. gas stations. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.


$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express


Intro offer

$250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 6% cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%). Earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. Earn 3% cash back on transit (including taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more). Earn 3% cash back on gas at U.S. gas stations. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.


$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

On American Express’s website


Rewards

Earn 6% cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%). Earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. Earn 3% cash back on transit (including taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more). Earn 3% cash back on gas at U.S. gas stations. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.


Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95


Intro offer

$250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

16.99% – 27.99% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers from the date of account opening

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Discover Discover it® Cash Back


Intro offer

Unlimited Cashback Match – Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.

Discover Discover it® Cash Back


Intro offer

Unlimited Cashback Match – Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.


Intro offer

Unlimited Cashback Match – Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent

Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

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Regular APR

14.99% – 25.99% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Editor’s Rating

4.42/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

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Chase Chase Freedom Flex℠


Intro offer

$200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening


Rewards

5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Chase Chase Freedom Flex℠


Intro offer

$200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening


Rewards

5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.


Rewards

5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

$200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

17.24% – 25.99% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months

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U.S. Bank U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card


Intro offer

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


Rewards

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 Travel 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

U.S. Bank U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card


Intro offer

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


Rewards

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 Travel 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

This card is a good choice if you want to maximize your cash-back earnings by earning more in your eligible top spending categories. It’s got a decent welcome bonus and earns up to 5% back, but keep in mind the highest rewards rates are capped at $2,000 in purchases per quarter. Be sure to see if the card’s bonus categories line up with your spending habits before you apply; otherwise, you may do better with a flat-rate cash-back card instead.


Rewards

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 Travel 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


Intro offer

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


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

17.49% – 27.49% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles

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Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Intro offer

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Intro offer

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.


Intro offer

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent

Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

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Regular APR

19.24% – 26.24% Variable

Editor’s Rating

4.65/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

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Citi Citi Premier® Card


Intro offer

80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening


Rewards

Earn 3x ThankYou® points at restaurants and supermarkets. Earn 3x ThankYou® points at gas stations, air travel, and hotels. Earn 1x ThankYou® points on all other purchases

Citi Citi Premier® Card


Intro offer

80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening


Rewards

Earn 3x ThankYou® points at restaurants and supermarkets. Earn 3x ThankYou® points at gas stations, air travel, and hotels. Earn 1x ThankYou® points on all other purchases


Rewards

Earn 3x ThankYou® points at restaurants and supermarkets. Earn 3x ThankYou® points at gas stations, air travel, and hotels. Earn 1x ThankYou® points on all other purchases


Intro offer

80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

18.99% – 26.99% Variable

Editor’s Rating

4.3/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

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American Express American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card


Intro offer

60,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 6 months of card membership


Rewards

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Earn 1X Membership Rewards® Points on all other purchases.

American Express American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card


Intro offer

60,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 6 months of card membership


Rewards

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Earn 1X Membership Rewards® Points on all other purchases.

On American Express’s website


Rewards

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Earn 1X Membership Rewards® Points on all other purchases.


Annual Fee

$250

See Rates and Fees

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Intro offer

60,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 6 months of card membership


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

18.99% – 25.99% Variable

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Capital One Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card


Intro offer

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Capital One Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card


Intro offer

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

17.99% – 27.99% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months)

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Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card


Intro offer

30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

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

Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card


Intro offer

30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

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


Rewards

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


Intro offer

30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening

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Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card


Intro offer

100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card


Intro offer

100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.


Intro offer

100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

18.24% – 23.24% Variable

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Capital One Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card


Intro offer

$100 cash bonus once you spend $100 on purchases within 3 months of account opening


Rewards

Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Capital One Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card


Intro offer

$100 cash bonus once you spend $100 on purchases within 3 months of account opening


Rewards

Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

$100 cash bonus once you spend $100 on purchases within 3 months of account opening


Recommended Credit

Average, Fair, Limited


Regular APR

17.99% – 27.99% Variable

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Discover Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Secured Credit Card


Intro offer

Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Rewards

Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases

Discover Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Secured Credit Card


Intro offer

Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Rewards

Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases


Rewards

Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases


Intro offer

Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Recommended Credit

New/Rebuilding

Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

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Regular APR

25.99% Variable

Editor’s Rating

5/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

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The best credit cards for earning rewards

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Earn 5x points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out. Earn 3x points on select streaming services. Earn 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs). Earn 2x points on other travel. Earn 1x point per dollar on everything else.

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Earn 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

1.5% cash back in addition to regular earning on everything you buy up to $20,000 spent in the first year (worth up to $300 cash back)

Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase.

75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

$200 cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening

Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Earn 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel. Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases.

75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

$200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.

Unlimited Cashback Match – Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year

5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

$200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Earn 3x ThankYou® points at restaurants and supermarkets. Earn 3x ThankYou® points at gas stations, air travel, and hotels. Earn 1x ThankYou® points on all other purchases

80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

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

30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

$100 cash bonus once you spend $100 on purchases within 3 months of account opening

Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases

Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year

Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

The best rewards credit card reviews

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a great welcome bonus offer, improved bonus spending categories, and excellent benefits for a minimal annual fee. 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Now that the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, it’s harder to recommend it as the best travel rewards card overall. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, on the other hand, has a broader appeal with a number of similar features and a higher welcome bonus offer, all for a lower $95 annual fee.

The Sapphire Preferred earns 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (2x points on all other travel purchases) and 3x points on dining instead of the Reserve’s 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after earning the $300 travel credit) and 3x points on other travel and dining.

Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece on travel booked through Chase or through Pay Yourself Back, and you can transfer them to airline and hotel partner loyalty programs. There’s no annual travel credit, but there’s still car rental primary coverage, as well as trip delay coverage and purchase protection. Plus, each year on your account anniversary, you’ll receive a points bonus equal to 10% of all purchases made in the previous year.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to use the Sapphire Reserve’s benefits — like airport lounge access — the Sapphire Preferred could be a better choice. If you eventually decide that the Sapphire Reserve is worth it, you can ask to upgrade your card.

Pros: Generous welcome bonus offer, some of the benefits of the Sapphire Reserve at a lower price, travel perks like primary rental car insurance and hotel credit.

Cons: No Global Entry or airport lounge access, which some other cards with a similar annual fee offer.

Review: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review

Capital One Venture

Why the Capital One Venture Card is worth it: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a generous welcome bonus, good rewards earning, travel perks, and transferable miles for a $95 annual fee. 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. 

If you’re new to credit card travel rewards, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent starting point. It offers a generous welcome bonus of 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening (worth $1,275 based on Insider’s valuations) and charges a reasonable $95 annual fee.

What makes this card so appealing is its straightforward earning structure and its flexibility in redeeming rewards. Cardholders earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5x miles when booking on Turo (offer ends May 16, 2023), and 2x miles on all other purchases. 

On the redemption side, you can keep it simple by using your Capital One miles to offset travel purchases made with your card at a rate of 1 cent per mile — no fussing with award charts or availability. Alternatively, you can transfer your miles to Capital One’s airline and hotel partners to book award travel and potentially get even more value.

You’ll also get an impressive range of perks, including up to $100 in credit toward the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, car rental insurance, travel accident insurance, extended warranty, purchase protection, lost luggage insurance, and more. 

Pros: Using miles is easy but if you want to squeeze more value out of your rewards by transferring them to partners, the option is there for you.

Cons: If you decide to redeem your miles for cash back, they’re worth much less — just 0.5 cents per mile, which isn’t a good deal.

Review: Capital One Venture Rewards card review

Amex Platinum

Why the Amex Platinum Card is worth it: The The Platinum Card® from American Express
has excellent perks, valuable rewards points, flexible redemption options, and lots of ways to earn exclusive benefits and rewards when you travel. 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership

The Platinum Card® from American Express has a high $695 annual fee, but also a long list of benefits. The Platinum Card is also one of the best options for paying for flights because you’ll earn 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare purchased directly with airlines and with Amex Travel (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).

Like Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can use American Express Membership Rewards points to purchase travel, gift cards, or products directly from the issuer, or transfer points to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs. The best value comes from that latter use. If you redeem points by using them to book flights through Amex, you’ll get a value of 1 cent per point.

The Platinum Card® from American Express includes access to the same airport lounges as the Sapphire Reserve, plus Delta Sky Clubs when you fly Delta, and the proprietary American Express Centurion Lounges. Platinum Card members also get exclusive access to major events and experiences, including once-in-a-lifetime “By Invitation Only” events.

Of course, $695 is a lot to pay out each year. Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits** and up to $200 in annual Uber Cash credits (including Uber Eats)** certainly help, but the airline credit can be difficult to use if you aren’t checking bags or buying drinks on flights. 

Pros: Airport lounge access (especially to Amex Centurion Lounges — “They’re pretty high end as far as airport lounges go!,” says Rathner), access to high-end hotel benefits through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, 5x points on flights

Cons: High annual fee, some annual statement credits have significant limitations. “You have to choose one airline to apply the annual $200 statement to, which limits your flexibility,” says Rathner. 

Review: American Express Platinum card review

Capital One Venture X

Why is the Capital One Venture X worth it: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has a huge welcome bonus, upscale travel perks, and a lower fee the most other premium cards

Welcome bonus offer: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Capital One’s travel rewards program has become very competitive, with expanded card benefits, new airline transfer partners, and occasional transfer bonuses. The transfer value has improved as well, with most partners now offering a 1:1 transfer ratio, and Capital One miles are easy to earn and easy to use.

Along with earning 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 10x miles when booking on Turo (offer ends May 16, 2023), 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on all other purchases, the Venture X Rewards Credit Card comes with top-notch benefits.

Cardholders receive up to $300 per year in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One, Priority Pass and Capital One airport lounge access (even for authorized users), a 10,000-mile bonus on each account anniversary (worth $100 in travel), and Visa Infinite travel and purchase benefits.

You can redeem miles at a fixed rate toward a statement credit to cover travel purchases with Capital One. For example, if you buy a $500 plane ticket, you can apply 50,000 miles to cancel out that charge. Or, for potentially even more value, you can transfer miles to over a dozen Capital One airline and hotel partners.

Pros: Lower annual fee for a premium card and redemption flexibility.

Cons: Transfer partners aren’t quite as strong as Chase or Amex — and there are currently no US airline partners.

Review: Capital One Venture X credit card review

Why the Active Cash Card is worth it: The no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card earns 2% cash rewards on all purchases with a strong welcome bonus and a great 0% intro APR. 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Earning cash back from a rewards credit card is a smart move if you prefer the ultimate in flexible rewards because after all, you can use cash for anything. The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a great choice if you want a card that earns a high rate of cash rewards without having to worry about keeping track of bonus categories.

Cardholders earn 2% cash rewards on purchases, and there’s a solid welcome bonus offer too. On top of that, the card offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening (then a 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable APR). 

For a no-annual-fee card, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card comes with decent benefits, including cell phone protection, roadside dispatch, travel emergency assistance, and access to the Visa Signature Concierge. Keep in mind this card does add foreign transaction fees to international purchases, so choose a different card to use when you travel abroad.

Pros: High rate of cash rewards on purchases and a substantial sign-up bonus with a $0 annual fee.

Cons: Foreign transaction fees.

Review: Wells Fargo Active Cash card review

Citi Custom Cash Card

Why the Custom Cash Card is worth it: The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card automatically maximizes your rewards earning in popular spending categories and comes with a decent welcome bonus. 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn $200 cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a relative newcomer to the rewards credit card scene, and it’s worth considering if your spending habits tend to fluctuate. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $500 in purchases in the eligible category they spend the most in each billing cycle (then 1%), and 1% on all other purchases.

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is marketed as a cash-back credit card, but it earns rewards in the form of Citi ThankYou points. These points are worth 1 cent each when you redeem them for cash back, travel booked through Citi, gift cards, merchandise, and more. There’s also a nice welcome offer: $200 cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.

Your rewards are more flexible if you have the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card
(no longer available to new applicants). That’s because you can combine your rewards with either of these card accounts and then transfer points to airline and hotel partners, including Citi’s newest partners, Choice Privileges and Wyndham Rewards.

Pros: No-fuss maximizing rewards each month based on your highest spending category, good welcome offer.

Cons: Foreign transaction fees, card only earns 1% back outside of the highest monthly category.

Review: Citi Custom Cash credit card review 

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Why the Chase Freedom Unlimited is worth it: The no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points and has strong earning rates. It also earns a nice welcome bonus and a long intro APR offer. 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn 1.5% cash back in addition to regular earning on everything you buy up to $20,000 spent in the first year (worth up to $300 cash back)

If you already have the Sapphire Reserve or Preferred and are saving your points for a specific trip, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can give your balance a nice boost. While Chase markets the card as “cash back,” it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points that you can redeem for cash (1 point = 1 cent).

When you have a premium card like the Sapphire Reserve, Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can pool your points from the two cards. The Freedom Unlimited earns at least 1.5 points per dollar spent, so paired with a Sapphire Reserve, it’s a great card to use for purchases that aren’t made on travel expenses or dining (the Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 5% back (5x points) on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, 3% back (3x points) on drugstores and dining, and 1.5% back (1.5x points) on everything else with no cap). Best of all, the card has no annual fee.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a fantastic all-around card. However, to get the most value when it’s time to spend your points, you need the Sapphire Reserve or Preferred card, too, so you can pool your points. Otherwise, points are only worth 1 cent each no matter how you use them and they can’t be transferred to airline or hotel partners.

Pros: Flat cash-back rate makes it easy to earn rewards without tracking lots of bonus categories, you can transfer your points to another Chase card to redeem them for travel at a higher rate, no annual fee.

Cons: One point only equals 1 cent for cash back, to get a better value you’ll need to pair it with a Sapphire card. “The 1.5% cash-back rate is the standard at this point, but other cards like the Citi Double Cash earn 2% on every purchase. If you’re looking for a flat-rate card, earn the highest rate you can,” says Rathner.

Review: Chase Freedom Unlimited card review

Citi Double Cash

Why the Citi Double Cash is worth it: The no-annual-fee Citi® Double Cash Card earns straightforward rewards on all purchases with an excellent intro APR on balance transfers — plus it’s offering a welcome bonus for a limited time.

Welcome bonus offer: Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening

If you prefer to earn cash back, the Citi® Double Cash Card is a good choice for value and simplicity. It has one of the most compelling balance transfer offers available today. New cardholders receive a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (then a 16.99% – 26.99% Variable APR). For a limited time, the card is also offering a welcome bonus.

There’s no annual fee, and it earns 2 points per dollar (2% cash back) on every purchase (1 point when you buy, and 1 point when you pay your bill). The Double Cash card now earns Citi ThankYou points instead of cash back directly, and you can redeem your points for cash back (as well as travel, gift cards, and more) at a rate of 1 cent per point.

While the Citi Double Cash alone doesn’t offer many transfer partners, if you also have another Citi card like the Citi Premier® Card or the Citi Prestige® Card (no longer available to new applicants), you can combine your rewards between cards and transfer them to Citi’s full range of airline and hotel partners.

If you’re interested in using rewards for travel, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is generally a better entry point. It’s also a no-annual-fee cash-back card that you can pair with another card to redeem rewards for travel, and Chase Ultimate Rewards are our favorite travel points. 

But again, if you’re simply after a great cash-back card with a balance transfer option, the Citi Double Cash is an excellent choice.

Pros: Generous balance transfer offer, great earning rate on all purchases, no annual fee.

Cons: Other cards with bonus categories can offer more cash back on select purchases (like groceries and dining), card doesn’t always offer a welcome bonus

Review: Citi Double Cash card review

Amex Blue Cash Preferred

Why the Blue Cash Preferred is worth it: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns up to 6% cash back in popular spending categories and offers a generous welcome bonus and long 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as statement credits). 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months from account opening

If you’re less excited about earning rewards points — which can be valuable, but also tricky to redeem — and want to stick with cash back, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the best options, despite its $0 intro for the first year, then $95 annual fee.

The card earns 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services and 3% back on all transit. That’s in addition to 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year (and 1% after that), 3% back at U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back on everything else. These categories are ideally suited to families who spend a lot on these common everyday purchases.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express comes with a handful of travel and purchase protections as well. Cash back comes in the form of a statement credit, so effectively you can use it to “erase” purchases.

Pros: Bonus cash back on useful categories, easy to earn enough cash back to offset the annual fee.

Cons: The card has an annual fee, which Personal Finance Insider’s senior reviews editor Sarah Silbert notes is relatively rare for cash-back cards, and there’s a cap on earning 6% back at U.S. supermarkets each year. Rathner recommends switching to a different card for groceries once you hit the $6,000 mark. Summer Hull of The Points Guy sums it up this way: “Cash is good, points are better.”

Review: Amex Blue Cash Preferred card review

Discover it Cash Back

Why the Discover it Cash Back is worth it: The no-annual-fee Discover it® Cash Back can help you maximize rewards in rotating categories, plus cardholders get their first year of rewards matched with the Cashback Match program. 

Welcome bonus offer: Discover will match all of the rewards you earn after the first 12 months through its Cashback Match program

The Discover it® Cash Back is best suited to folks who don’t mind putting in a little extra effort to earn the most cash back. But if that sounds like you, using this card can pay off in a big way.

Cardholders earn 5% cash back in popular rotating quarterly bonus categories when you activate, on up to $1,500 in combined spending (then 1%). You’ll also earn 1% back everywhere else (from October 1 to December 31, 2022, you can earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and on digital wallets on up to $1,500 in purchases after enrollment, then 1%). And while the card doesn’t come with a traditional welcome bonus offer, Discover will match all of the rewards you earn from the Discover it® Cash Back after the first 12 months

That means your 5% rewards are effectively worth 10% cash back in the first year — an excellent rate of return for a card with no annual fee, and potentially worth much more than other card bonuses if you’re a big spender.

Pros: Potential to earn lots of cash back (especially in the first year), generous 0% intro APR offer, no annual fee.

ConsPurchases outside of the 5% categories only earn 1% back, no travel or purchase benefits.

Review: Discover it Cash Back card review

Chase Freedom Flex

Why Freedom Flex is worth it: The Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns up to 5% cash back (5x Ultimate Rewards points) with flexible redemption options. Cardholders also get excellent benefits for a no-annual-fee card. 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn $200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

Earning 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories can be very lucrative, and it’s even better when you have lots of redemption options for the rewards you earn. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is among the best cash-back cards for this very reason.

Cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending in categories that rotate every quarter when they activate the bonus, but the rewards this card earns come in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Not only can you redeem Chase points for cash back, but you can also use them for travel, gift cards, and merchandise at a rate of 1 cent per point. From October 1 to December 31, 2022, the Chase Freedom 5x bonus categories are Walmart and PayPal.

The card also earns 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal, 3% back on drugstore and dining purchases (including takeout and eligible delivery services), and 1% back on everything else. Plus, if you have other the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can potentially get more value from your points by combining them with one of those accounts and transferring them to Chase’s airline and hotel partners.

It’s got impressive benefits for a no-annual-fee card, too, including cell phone protection, car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty. New cardholders also receive a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, followed by a 17.24% – 25.99% Variable APR.

Pro: Great 5% back categories, impressive benefits, flexibility of rewards.

ConsForeign transaction fees, rotating 5% categories are capped at $1,500 in spending per quarter.

Review: Chase Freedom Flex card review

U.S. Bank Cash+

Why the US Bank Cash Plus is worth it: The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card has strong customizable rewards, a decent welcome bonus, and a long 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers. 

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

One of the best ways to maximize rewards is with a card that offers the option of picking your own bonus categories. The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card is particularly compelling because you can earn 5% cash back on two eligible categories (from a list) of your choice, on up to $2,000 in combined purchases each quarter (then 1% back). 

Cardholders also get to pick one 2% cash back “everyday” category, including gas and EV charging stations, restaurants, or grocery stores, and earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

The card offers a $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening, which is a good deal for a no-annual-fee card. Additionally, new cardholders qualify for a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles (then a 17.49% – 27.49% Variable APR). 

Because it’s a Visa Signature card, you’ll also get exclusive perks that include access to the Visa Signature concierge and Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, roadside dispatch, and travel and emergency assistance.

Pros: A wide range of 5% cash back categories, ability to customize rewards every quarter.

Cons: Foreign transaction fees, $2,000 per quarter cap on 5% cash back categories.

Review: US Bank Cash+ card review

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Why the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns up to 10x points on purchases and offers perks that include statement credits, airport lounge access, and excellent travel and purchase protections.

Welcome bonus offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

With 5x points on air travel and 10x points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after earning the $300 travel credit), 3x points on other travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on everything else, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® makes it easy to maximize your everyday spending, and it comes with a slew of perks. It used to be our top travel rewards card pick, but now that it has a $550 annual fee (up from $450), it’s harder to recommend to everyone.

The Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee is offset by a travel credit of up to $300 each year, good for things like taxis, subway fares, parking, tolls, and flights. This effectively decreases the annual fee to $250, so you’ll have to decide whether the card’s other benefits are worth it for you.

You now get $10 a month in Gopuff rapid delivery service credit, $5 per month in DoorDash in-app credit (along with complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership through December 2024), and up to $15 per month in Instacart credits (activation required by July 31, 2024). If you use these services frequently you may be able to justify the higher annual fee — but that’s not the case for everyone.

Check out our guide to the best travel rewards credit cards for more options like the Sapphire Reserve’s.

Pros: Points are worth 1.5 cents each when you redeem them for travel through Chase and Pay Yourself Back, 3x points on two very broad bonus categories (travel and dining). 

Cons: The high annual fee. “Unless you can fully use all the other perks this card offers, it will become expensive to carry this card for a long time,” says NerdWallet’s travel and credit cards expert, Sara Rathner. The Chase Sapphire Preferred could be a better option if you were already on the fence.

Review: Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review

Citi Premier Card

Why the Citi Premier Card is worth it: The Citi Premier® Card has a huge welcome bonus offer and excellent spending categories. Cardholders earn valuable Citi ThankYou points which can be redeemed for a variety of flexible travel options and more.

Welcome bonus offer: Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

The Citi Premier® Card is our top pick for the best Citi credit card, in part because of the card’s intro bonus offer of 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. The Citi Premier® Card earns Citi ThankYou points, which you can redeem for gift cards, merchandise, travel, and more through the Citi portal. You can potentially get even more from your points by transferring them to Citi’s airline and hotel partners

This is also a good pick whether you’re staying close to home right now or traveling again. It earns bonus points in pandemic-friendly categories: 3x points at supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and on air travel, and 1x on everything else. Plus, with so many ways to redeem your Citi ThankYou points, you’ve got options even if you’re not ready to travel just yet.

Pros: Great bonus, useful bonus categories, redemption flexibility.

Cons: Citi ThankYou’s list of airline and hotel partners isn’t as robust as other programs.

Review: Citi Premier card review

Amex Gold Card

Why the Amex Gold Card is worth it: The American Express® Gold Card
offers impressive rewards rates on popular spending categories like restaurants and supermarkets, as well as additional monthly dining credits. Plus, you can transfer points from the card to airline and hotel partners.

Welcome bonus offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership

The American Express® Gold Card earns a massive 4x points at restaurants and on up to $25,000 per calendar year at U.S. supermarkets (and 1x points after that), 3x points on flights booked directly through the airline, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Based on the fact that you can easily redeem Membership Rewards points for more than 1 cent of value each when you transfer them to airline and hotel partners, this is one of the highest-earning available cards for everything food-related.

The American Express® Gold Card offers up to $120 in dining credits per year (after enrollment), broken into chunks of $10 each month. Credits are good for purchases through food delivery services Seamless and GrubHub, and at Milk Bar, Goldbelly, Wine.com, The Cheesecake Factory, or participating Shake Shack locations. Cardholders also receive $120 per year in Uber Cash (this is only applicable to U.S. Eats orders and Rides, and the Gold Card needs to be added to the Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit).

These credits can offset most of the card’s $250 annual fee even before factoring in the value of the rewards you’ll earn.

Pros: Fantastic rewards on dining and groceries at U.S. supermarkets, statement credits, and benefits to offset the annual fee

Cons: Smaller welcome bonus offer, only 1 cent per point of value unless you transfer points to an airline. Rathner adds, “The $120 dining credit sounds like a lot, but it’s actually up to $10 a month at select restaurants and food delivery apps. If you don’t live near any of these restaurants or live in a city not served by those apps, this benefit is useless to you.”

Review: Amex Gold card review

Capital One SavorOne Card

Why the SavorOne Cash Rewards Card is worth it: The no-annual-fee Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers big rewards in great categories, a solid welcome bonus, and decent purchase and travel benefits. 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

If you’re a foodie or love going out, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a terrific no-annual-fee card. Cardholders earn 3% cash back on dining, at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target), entertainment, and popular streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. In addition, the card offers 5% cash back on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel, 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases, and 8% cash back on Vivid Seats purchases through January 2023.

There’s a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months) (then a 17.99% – 27.99% Variable), which is handy for saving money on interest. 

Cardholders can also access a decent range of benefits, including extended warranty, travel accident insurance***, and travel emergency assistance services. There are no foreign transaction fees (rare for a no-annual-fee card), so you can use this card when you’re overseas without incurring any extra charges.

Pros: Excellent reward rate on dining, groceries, entertainment, and streaming with no caps on what you can earn.

Cons: Non-bonus categories only earn 1% back.

Reviews: Capital One SavorOne Rewards card review 

Why the Wells Fargo Autograph Card is worth it: The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card earns unlimited rewards on everyday spending categories, plus it comes with a long 0% intro APR and a huge welcome bonus for no annual fee. 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

The newest product in Wells Fargo’s lineup, the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card, is an excellent option for folks who want high rewards earning in a variety of everyday categories without paying an annual fee. Cardholders earn 3x points on travel, dining, gas stations, popular streaming services, transit, and phone plans, with no limits. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar.

The card’s welcome bonus offer is nothing to sniff at, either: 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (worth $300 in rewards). New cardholders can also save money on interest with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening, followed by a 17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable.

Pros: Uncapped 3x earning in popular categories, respectable welcome bonus, no annual fee

Cons: No points transfer partners

Review: Wells Fargo Autograph card review

Chase Ink Business Preferred

Why the Ink Business Preferred is worth it: The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has a massive welcome bonus offer and earns transferable Ultimate Rewards points, and it comes with substantial travel and purchase benefits. 

Welcome bonus offer: Earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

There are dozens of small-business credit cards on the market with options to earn cash back, airline miles, hotel points, or flexible rewards. Our pick for the best rewards small-business card is the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card because it covers all of those bases. Plus, you can earn a huge welcome bonus worth $1,800 based on Insider’s valuations when you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners, but you can also redeem the bonus for $1,000 in cash back or $1,250 in travel booked through Chase.

The card charges a manageable $95 annual fee, and it’s well worth it if you can take advantage of its benefits. Cardholders earn 3x points on shipping purchases, advertising purchases on social media sites and search engines, internet, cable, and phone services, and travel (on up to $150,00 in combined purchases each account anniversary year, then 1x) and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card also offers strong travel and purchase coverage, including cell phone protection, primary car rental insurance (when renting for business purposes), trip cancellation/interruption insurance, extended warranty, and purchase protection.

Pros: Big welcome offer, excellent earning rates in top business categories, solid benefits.

Cons: 3x rate capped at $150,000 in annual spending.

Review: Ink Business Preferred card review

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why the SavorOne Student Cash Rewards is worth it: The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is available to students with fair credit and earns bonus cash back on a variety of spending categories, including Capital One travel bookings and entertainment purchases. Cardholders also get decent perks and a limited-time welcome bonus offer

Welcome bonus offer: Earn $100 cash bonus once you spend $100 on purchases within 3 months of account opening

When Capital One first launched the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card, it stood out for its excellent earning in student-friendly categories: 3% cash back on dining (including restaurants, bars, cafes, and lounges), at grocery stores (except superstores like Walmart and Target), entertainment (such as movies, professional sporting events, and amusement parks), and popular streaming services (like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+).

The card also earns 5% cash back on car rentals and hotels booked through Capital One Travel, 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases, and 8% cash back on Vivid Seats purchases through January 2023. Everything else earns 1% back.

That minimum spending requirement is easy to reach for most students, which isn’t always the case with student credit cards that offer a sign-up bonus.

What’s more, this card comes with useful benefits you don’t often see on a student credit card. Cardholders can access perks like price protection***, extended warranty***, car rental coverage***, roadside dispatch***, and travel accident insurance***. It doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so if you end up studying abroad for a semester or jetting away during spring break, you won’t get stung with extra charges.

Pros: New welcome offer, popular bonus categories for students, decent benefits.

Cons: Card doesn’t always offer a sign-up bonus.

Review: Capital One SavorOne Student card review

Discover it Secured Card

Why the Discover it Secured Card is worth it: The no-annual-fee Discover it® Secured Credit Card earns rewards, which is rare for secured credit cards — and it can help you improve your credit with responsible use.

Welcome bonus offer: Discover will match all of the rewards you earn after the first 12 months

Secured credit cards are a great tool if you are new to credit or rebuilding your credit and aren’t able to get approved for traditional credit cards. These cards require a deposit as collateral, but they’re far easier to get approved for, even if you have a bad credit score.

One downside is that most credit cards for bad credit don’t offer rewards (and some even charge an annual fee!), but that’s not the case with the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. This no-annual-fee card offers 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter (then 1%), plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. Plus, Discover will match all the rewards you earn at the end of your first year with its Cash Back Match program — just like its regular rewards cards.

Using this card responsibly can give your credit score a boost, and after seven months Discover will automatically review your account to see if it can upgrade you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit (you can also get your deposit back when you close or upgrade your account in good standing). 

Pros: Good rewards for a secured card, no foreign transaction fees, first-year Cashback Match.

Cons: Not much in the way of other benefits.

Review: Discover it Secured credit card review

Other top credit cards we considered that just missed the cut

Our list of the top rewards credit cards includes 20 cards, but there are dozens of other great options out there. We limited our recommendations in this guide to our most recommended cards, but there were several others on our shortlist that didn’t make the final cut. Here’s a look at those cards and why we elected to leave them out:

  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
    — This card offers good rewards (2x points on travel, 1.5x points on everything else) plus up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck in exchange for a $95 annual fee. It’s an especially valuable option if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, since you’ll be able to earn up to a 75% rewards bonus, which boosts your earnings with the card as high as 3.5 points per dollar. However, qualifying for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program requires a minimum of $20,000 in Bank of America banking or Merrill investment accounts, so it’s not for everybody. Read Insider’s Bank of America Premium Rewards card review to find out more about how it works.
  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card — While it offers a good welcome bonus and 1.5% cash back on most purchases, this card got edged out by the Chase Freedom Unlimited® which offers more bonus categories and flexibility in redeeming rewards. But if you’re looking for a straightforward cash-back card, the Quicksilver is a contender. Here’s our Capital One Quicksilver review for more details.
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
    — This card is a terrific pick if you do a lot of shopping at Amazon and Whole Foods, because this card earns 5% back in those categories — but only if you have a Prime membership. Earning 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores is compelling, too, but if you’re not an Amazon shopper it’s best to pick another cash-back card. Check out our Amazon Prime Rewards card review to learn more. 
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express — The no-annual-fee sibling of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 3% back on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each calendar year (then 1% back), 3% back at U.S. gas stations on up to $6,000 per year (then 1% back), 3% back on online retail purchases on up to $6,000 per year (then 1% back), and 1% on all other eligible purchases (cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as statement credits). Getting 3% back on groceries is a solid return, but the spending cap makes the card less appealing compared to the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns the same rate on groceries worldwide with no limit. Read our Amex Blue Cash Everyday card review to find out more.
  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students
    — This card is a good choice for students because it has a bigger welcome offer than the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card. New cardholders can earn $200 cash rewards bonus after making $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening). However, you’ll have to spend 10x as much to unlock the bonus, its bonus categories are capped, and it doesn’t come with as many benefits.

Choose the best rewards credit card

Rewards credit cards give you something back for every dollar you spend — whether that’s points or miles for travel, or cash back that you can use to lower your monthly bill or to treat yourself to a splurge.

On top of that, many cards offer high welcome bonuses to new cardholders who meet a spending requirement in the first few months after opening a card, and some include benefits like travel and purchase protection. 

*Note: With The Platinum Card® from American Express, starting January 1, 2021, the 5x points will apply up to $500,000 on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel per calendar year

***Eligible 5% cash back categories on the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card are restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment

****With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, 6% cash back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each calendar year, then 1% cash back

*****With the American Express® Gold Card , 4x points on the first $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar

******5% cash back category choices on the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card are prepaid air travel, hotel stays, and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center online portal, fast food, home utilities, TV, internet, and streaming services, department stores, electronic stores, cell phone providers, sporting goods stores, furniture stores, movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, ground transportation, and select clothing stores

*******The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earns 3x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases spent each account anniversary year in these categories (then 1x)

Our expert panel for this guide

We consulted top credit card, finance, and travel experts to inform these picks and provide their advice on finding the best rewards card for your needs. You’ll find the full text of our interviews with them at the bottom of this post.

Best Rewards Cards_Our Panel of Experts

Business Insider



How our list compares to other publications

While we draw on the advice of experts with years of experience covering credit cards, Personal Finance Insider isn’t the only authority in this space. We know that research is an important part of the hunt for your next credit card, and with that in mind, we’ve compared our top rewards credit card recommendations with the lists from other publications.

Keep in mind that websites categorize their credit card recommendations in various ways; while Personal Finance Insider, NerdWallet, and several other publications have multiple “best of” lists for categories like cash back and travel, other sites have one main list. 

The experts’ advice on choosing the best rewards card for you

We interviewed a certified financial planner along with top experts on credit cards and travel rewards about what makes a good rewards card and how to choose the best options for you.

Here’s what they had to say when we interviewed them about finding the best card for you. (Some text may be lightly edited for clarity. Special thanks to Insider’s Tanza Loudenback for interviewing the experts.)

Generally, what features make a rewards credit card good?

Sara Rathner, travel and credit cards expert at NerdWallet:

I look for three things when I consider a rewards card:

  • Does it earn more points or miles where I spend the most?
  • Can those points or miles be applied to rewards I’d actually want? (Like airlines I typically fly, hotels I want to stay at, etc.)
  • Is it easy to redeem points, or will I get lost in a maze of draconian rules, restrictions, and blackout dates?

I also weigh the annual fee, but a welcome bonus offer and other perks tend to offset the fee for me.

Luis Rosa, certified financial planner

Generally, cards that offer a variety of reward options are best because they offer the cardholder flexibility. Whether it’s points, miles, or discounted offers with a particular airline or hotel brand, the more options available the better in order to help the cardholder take full advantage of the rewards offered.

Summer Hull, travel director at The Points Guy:

Solid earning structure, built-in benefits that are useful and not duplicated on many other cards, annual fee that is easy to justify relative to the perks, and some unique offerings that would be hard to get elsewhere.

Sarah Silbert, senior reviews editor at Personal Finance Insider:

A good rewards credit card earns points that are flexible, meaning you have lots of options for using them, as you do with Amex and Chase points. It also has bonus categories that give you the opportunity to earn rewards quickly, as well as (hopefully) a generous welcome offer for new cardholders.

Beyond that, a good rewards card should offer you benefits that make it worth the annual fee (if there is one), such as statement credits that cover travel purchases and travel coverages like trip delay insurance.

How can someone identify whether a rewards credit card is good for them?

Sara Rathner, NerdWallet:

Look for a card that rewards you where you spend the most, with terms you can live with. A card that’s trendy won’t necessarily be the right card for you. It’s a highly personal decision, and it’s worth it to not overlook a less flashy card that may suit your needs really well.

Luis Rosa, CFP: 

To best identify if a rewards credit card is good for you, consider your lifestyle and spending habits. For example, do you have a preferred hotel brand or airline? Do you often travel abroad? Knowing the answer to these types of questions will help you narrow down your choices in order to best help you identify if a rewards credit card is good for you.

Summer Hull, The Points Guy:

It’s really 99% math. If you can place value on the rewards you earn and the perks included, it gets easy to see if a particular card is a good match for your spending habits and rewards desires.

Sarah Silbert, Personal Finance Insider:

Look at the card’s bonus categories and see if they align with where you spend your money. Also, remember to check if a card has a foreign transaction fee before you take it abroad — many cash-back cards do charge this fee, so don’t assume.

What should someone consider when selecting a rewards credit card?

Sara Rathner, NerdWallet:

Travel rewards cards are popular, but they’re a better bet for consumers who travel often, especially if they travel internationally. If you stay close to home, a cash-back card may actually be more rewarding.

Also, consumers who currently have credit card debt should make paying that debt down their number-one priority, before looking for a rewards card. The interest you’d pay on your debt would wipe out the value of any rewards you’d earn. Consider a balance transfer card, which gives you a year or more to pay down your debt at 0% interest.

Luis Rosa, CFP:

Consider annual fees and foreign transaction fees. Some annual fees can be in the hundreds of dollars, so you want to make sure that the rewards you’ll accumulate will offset the cost of having the card. Another thing to consider is whether or not you carry a balance. If you do carry a balance, you should also consider the interest that you’ll be paying on that balance in order to ensure that it’s not eating away at your rewards.

Summer Hull, The Points Guy:

Is the welcome bonus offer juicy? Let’s be real, big bonuses are better than small ones, so pounce when the bonus is big. But then look beyond that at the earning rate, the annual perks, and benefits such as statement credits and elite status.

Sarah Silbert, Personal Finance Insider:

Make sure you’re doing your homework so you don’t miss out on a higher welcome bonus offer (do some searching online to see if higher offers are available). Many cards offer limited-time welcome offers that can score you thousands of extra bonus rewards compared to the standard offers.

Always make sure that you’ll be able to use the rewards card responsibly, by paying off your statement each month and avoiding spending beyond your means.

So you know you want a rewards credit card, but aren’t sure which one?

Our list of the best rewards credit cards can help narrow down your choices if you already know what you want. But what if you’re not sure which type of credit card is best suited to your spending habits? 

If you’re looking to maximize rewards on your everyday spending, look no further than the following credit cards. We’ll break it down by spending category — from dining to gas to groceries.

Dining (valuations based on Insider’s point-value estimates)

With the average American spending $3,424 on dining between 2017 and 2018, this is a category most people will want to maximize. Luckily, lots of cards offer generous rewards for dining.

The Citi Prestige® Card (no longer available to new applicants) offers the highest return on dining spending, with 5x points on these purchases. You may notice that some cards, like the Hilton cards below, offer more than 5x points — but keep in mind that the points multiplier is only half of the equation.

You also need to know how much each point is worth. We recommend using Insider’s points and miles valuations to get a sense of how many cents you’ll get in value with different loyalty currencies. These valuations are based on all the different ways you can use a given type of points or miles, from redeeming them as statement credits to transferring them to a travel partner to book a flight.

Below, we’ll rank the best credit cards for dining in order of highest to lowest return based on how many rewards you earn per dollar spent, and the value of those rewards based on Insider’s estimations.

  • Citi Prestige: 5 points per dollar spent (points worth 1.6 cents apiece; 8% return on spending)
  • American Express® Gold Card: 4 points per dollar at restaurants (points worth 1.8 cents apiece; 7.2% return on spending)
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 3 points per dollar spent on dining (points worth 1.8 cents apiece; 5.4% return on spending)
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
    : 7 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants (points worth 0.5 cents apiece; 3.5% return on spending)
  • Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
    : 4% cash back on dining (4% return on spending)
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
    : 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants (3% return on spending)
  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi: 3% back on restaurants (3% return on spending)

Based on the numbers, the Citi Prestige is the most rewarding card for dining purchases, but it’s not taking applications anymore. The American Express® Gold Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are better options for you if you prefer to earn Amex or Chase points.

You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to over a dozen airline transfer partners including Cathay Pacific, JetBlue, and Virgin Atlantic, but Amex and Chase’s loyalty programs partner with airlines and hotels that are arguably more useful for many US-based travelers, such as British Airways, Delta, and Marriott with Amex and Hyatt, United, and Southwest with Chase. In fact, Insider values Citi points (1.6 cents per point) a bit lower than Amex and Chase points (1.8 cents each)

Gas (valuations based on Insider’s point-value estimates)

If you have a car, gas is a big spending category — and it’s one that many cash-back cards pay out big rewards on.

  • American Express® Business Gold Card
    : 4 points per dollar spent at the two categories where you spend the most each month, including U.S. gas stations, on up to $150,000 per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar (7.2% return on spending)
  • Citi Premier® Card: 3 points per dollar spent on restaurants, supermarkets, air travel, hotels, and gas stations (4.8% return on spending)
  • Costco Anywhere Visa card: 4% back on eligible gas purchases and EV charging on the first $7,000 spent per year, then 1% (4% return on spending)
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations (3% return on spending)

Again, not all points are created equal, and whether 6 Hilton points are equivalent (or higher than) 4% cash back or 4 Membership Rewards points depends on how you redeem your rewards. Most people will be best off going with the American Express® Business Gold Card for gas rewards.

Thanks to a vast list of hotel and airline transfer partners, you can redeem Membership Rewards points for some incredible travel experiences. If you have a business-class trip to Europe in mind, Membership Rewards transfer partner All Nippon Airways (ANA) offers one of the best deals out there at 88,000 miles round-trip.

However, if you’re saving up your Hilton points for a high-end resort in the Maldives, it could be worth channeling gas spending toward the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

Groceries (valuations based on Insider’s point-value estimates)

  • American Express® Gold Card: 4x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per year (then 1x point; 1.8%-7.2% return on spending)
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent per year (then 1%; 1%-6% return on spending)
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: 6 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at U.S. supermarkets (3% return on spending)
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent per calendar year (then 1%; 1%-3% return on spending)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs) (5.4% return on spending)

With 4x points on the first $25,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets, the American Express® Gold Card offers the most generous payout on grocery spending. Considering the average U.S. household spends $4,445 on groceries per year, these limits shouldn’t be problematic for most consumers.

Earning 6% cash back on the first $6,000 spent, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a good option if you prefer cash back to rewards points. When maxed out, the 6% back equates to $360 cash back, which is enough for most people to book at least a couple of hotel nights or a round-trip transcontinental flight.

Flights and other travel (valuations based on Insider’s point-value estimates)

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5x points in these categories on up to $500,000 in spending per year), 5 Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel (9% return on spending)
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 5x points on air travel (9% return on spending) and 10x points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (after earning the $300 travel credit) (18% return on spending) and 3x points on other travel purchases (5.4% return on spending)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 5 points per dollar on all travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal (9% return on spending)
  • American Express® Gold Card: 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com (5.4% return on spending)
  • Citi Prestige (no longer available to new applicants): 5 points on air travel, 3 points on hotels and cruise lines (4.8%-8% return on spending)
  • Citi Premier® Card: 3 points on air travel and gas stations (4.8% return on spending)
  • Costco Anywhere Visa: 3% cash back on eligible travel purchases

If you’re looking for lots of rewards for flights, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great choice. The card earns 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines and through Amex Travel. Prepaid hotel bookings made with American Express also earn 5 points (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). One reason I’d recommend this card over the Citi Prestige is that the Amex Platinum now offers trip delay insurance, while Citi has mostly done away with these on its cards

While the American Express Platinum is a great option, not everyone will get enough value out of the 5x bonus categories to justify the $695 annual fee.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great alternative. While it earns a lower 3 points per dollar spent (outside of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, where it earns 10x points on hotels and car rentals and 5x points on air travel), this bonus applies to all travel purchases, not just flights. Plus, the card’s annual fee is partially offset by the $300 travel credit.

Unlike American Express, Chase doesn’t restrict its travel credit to a specific airline. The credit automatically applies to any purchases coded as travel. That’s why the Chase Sapphire Reserve is such a popular card for earning and redeeming travel rewards.

All other spending (valuations based on Insider’s point-value estimates)

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5% cash back on most things, bonus cash back on eligible travel and drugstore purchases, can be combined with Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to boost your value 
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠: 1% cash back, bonus cash back on eligible travel and drugstore purchases, 5% rotating quarterly category bonuses for up to $1,500 in combined spending (requires activation), can be combined with Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to boost your value (1.5%-3%) (1%-9% return on spending)
  • Discover it® Miles: 1.5 miles per dollar spent, and Discover will match the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year (3% return on spending)
  • Discover it® Cash Back: 1% cash back, with 5% in rotating quarterly categories on the first $1,500 in purchases each quarter you activate; then 1% cash back (1-5% return on spending) (from October 1 to December 31, 2022, you can earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and on digital wallets on up to $1,500 in purchases after enrollment, then 1%)
  • Citi® Double Cash Card: 1% when you make purchases, 1% as you pay (2% return on spending)

Lots of cash-back credit cards offer at least 1.5% cash back on everything, which is a great benchmark to keep in mind on purchases that aren’t eligible for bonus points. The Discover it® Miles is a great option for those looking for a no-annual-fee card with accelerated earning power. Cardholders earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent, which is equivalent to 1.5% cash back. Discover will match all the rewards you earn at the end of your first year and can be redeemed for statement credits toward travel purchases or transferred to your bank account.

For those looking to maximize long-term earnings, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is another great option. It earns 1.5% cash back on most things, with bonus cash back on eligible travel and drugstore purchases. If you have a Chase travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Cardor the Sapphire Reserve, you can convert your Freedom Unlimited rewards to fully-transferable Ultimate Rewards points. Essentially, you could earn 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on everything outside of the bonus travel and drugstore categories, which equals a very solid return on every dollar you spend.

If you want the flexibility of earning occasional category bonuses, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Discover it® Cash Back are worth considering. Both cards earn 1% cash back along with 5% on select category bonuses (for Discover it® Cash Back (from October 1 to December 31, 2022, you can earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and on digital wallets on up to $1,500 in purchases after enrollment, then 1%)). Bonus categories rotate every quarter and cardholders can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 worth of spending when they activate the bonus each quarter. Be sure to check the cash-back bonus calendar for both Discover and Chase for a better idea of where you can expect to earn more points.

For a more straightforward option, the Citi® Double Cash Card is solid. Cardholders earn 1% cash back on purchases and another 1% when they pay them off. Because you can convert your cash back to ThankYou points, the Citi® Double Cash Card is a great way to earn 2 ThankYou points on every dollar spent.

Rewards credit card frequently asked questions (FAQ)

You’ll notice that this page doesn’t include every rewards credit card currently available to new applicants. That’s on purpose — we evaluated the options on the market, utilizing the expertise of our Personal Finance Insider staff and the input of credit card, points and miles, and financial experts to narrow down the list to the very best options.

We define “very best options” as those that offer concrete value through benefits like annual statement credits and airport lounge access and through rewards such as bonus points on your everyday spending.

This list doesn’t include our top picks for airline and hotel cards. 

And see our guide to the best travel rewards credit cards if you’re specifically interested in earning travel rewards rather than cash back.

If you don’t want to overthink it, the Chase Sapphire Reserve (or the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you want a lower annual fee) is a safe bet. However, there is no easy answer if you want to optimize all of your spending, because all the types of points and miles have different values

There are a few main types of rewards cards:

  • “Flexible” travel rewards cards —Most of the picks in this article fall under this category. These cards earn bank points, also called “flexible points,” that you can redeem for travel, either directly through the issuing bank’s travel portal (like Amex Travel) or with travel partners. This type of rewards card is usually the most valuable because you have the most options for using your rewards. For example, Amex has more than 20 travel partners you can transfer points to, and Chase has 14. Examples of this type of card include the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the American Express® Gold Card, and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
  • Cash-back credit cards — Examples include the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. These cards don’t earn points or miles; they earn you cash back on all your purchases. If you don’t travel or your priority is to get money back, these are the cards for you.
  • Hotel or airline travel rewards credit cards — Examples include the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. These are travel-focused credit cards that earn rewards with a specific hotel or airline loyalty program and offer benefits like credit toward elite status. For that reason, they make the most sense for travelers who are loyal to the given travel brand. 

It depends on what you want to do with your rewards. If you want to put money back in your bank account, a cash-back credit card will help you accomplish just that — and you usually won’t have to pay a very high annual fee, if you have to pay one at all.

On the other hand, if you’re hoping to earn rewards that you can redeem for travel, a card that earns points is more up your alley. Our picks for best points-earning rewards cards earn either Amex Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Citi ThankYou points, or Capital One miles. You can transfer all three of these currencies to travel partners and redeem them for rewards like free flights. (Note that while Capital One calls its rewards currency “miles,” they aren’t miles with a given airline program.)

If you’re willing to juggle multiple credit card accounts, there’s value in having both cash-back and points-earning cards. If you prefer a single-card strategy, evaluate your goals and consider how much you’re willing to pay in annual fees to make the best decision for your situation.

Unlike cash back, which has a value that will never change, points and miles have different monetary values depending on which loyalty program they belong to and how you use them. 

For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 to 1.5 cents apiece, depending on what card you have, when you use them to book travel through Chase’s site. If you transfer Chase points to its travel partners such as Hyatt and Southwest, on the other hand, your points’ value will depend on what you book. If you used 5,000 points to book a $200 hotel stay, for example, your points would be worth 4 cents apiece — which would be considered a very solid value.



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