Rewards credit cards are increasingly being used by Americans to supplement their travel, supermarket, shopping, and even day-to-day expenses. Credit card rewards are aplenty these days, especially since many credit card issuers are dangling them as incentives to sign you up as a new customer. According to a survey by Capital One, this 'free money' is consumers' top motivation for using rewards credit cards. If you pay off your card balance in full each month, and have good to excellent credit score, I strongly recommend you use a rewards card to help you save and earn money at the same time. Below are our top rated rewards cards in 2015 that I personally recommend:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a rewarding offer for new sign-ups whereby you will receive 40,000 bonus points when spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, and 5,000 bonus points when adding an additional cardholder and making a purchase within the first 3 months. It lets you earn 2 points per dollar on dining and travel purchases and 1 point on all others. It is a very flexible travel rewards card as you can redeem points for travel, cash, gift cards, merchandise, or unique experiences. Chase Sapphire Preferred has many travel-related benefits, plus it has an introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95.
Click here to read our Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.
I myself hardly use cash anymore, and try to only use my rewards card when buying things. Not only does it give me a credit line, it also gives me many extras just for using my card, such as giving me cash back, reward points or miles, which I can later redeem for gift cards, merchandise, air tickets, hotel stays, VIP experiences or pure, hard cash. To help you choose the best rewards card for your needs, we have compiled the best rewards credit cards below in the following categories:
- Our top-rated cash back credit cards
- Our best-rated hotel and airline rewards credit cards
- Our highest-rated travel rewards credit cards
- Our best-rated 0% balance transfer cards with rewards
- Our top-rated business rewards cards
Our top-rated cash back credit cards
BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card. Earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and 3% cash back on gas purchases on the first $1,500 you spend on combined grocery store and gas purchases each quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Earn a $100 cash reward bonus after you make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening (online-exclusive offer). No need to enroll in any rewards program and no changing categories. Cash back does not expire. Get a 10% customer bonus when you redeem cash back into a Bank of America® savings or checking account. Enjoy 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, after which a variable APR for purchases and balance transfers of 12.99%-22.99% applies. You will pay balance transfer fees equal to 3% of each transaction with a $10 minimum fee. This cash rewards card has no annual fee†. See Terms.
Read our complete review of BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card.
Chase Freedom®, issued by JPMorgan Chase (JPM), gives you 5% rebate on up to $1,500 combined purchases in quarterly rotating categories and unlimited 1% rebate on all others. It has no annual fee and even lets you earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, and a $25 Bonus after you make a purchase and add an authorized user in this same 3-month period. Unlike many other rewards cards that don't offer any 0% promotional APR, Chase Freedom offers a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that there's is a 13.99% - 22.99% variable APR on both balance transfers and purchases.
Click here to read our Chase Freedom® review.
Discover it®, issued by Discover (DFS), offers 5% cash back, up to a quarterly maximum, for purchases you make in bonus categories that change each quarter after you sign up for 5% cash back. You automatically get 1% rebate on all other purchases and this card has no annual fee. One feature that we haven't seen in other cards is that you can increase the value of your cashback if you redeem for vouchers from participating merchants. This Discover it card also has a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months, and 10.99% - 22.99% variable purchase APR for both after this period. 3% balance transfer fee. No foreign transaction fee.
Click here to read Discover it® review.
Earn cash back twice with the Citi® Double Cash Card. Earn 1% cash back on all your eligible purchases when you make them, plus 1% cash back when paying them off (in order to earn this cash back you must make at least the minimum required payment when paying off your balance). Earn unlimited cash back without the need to enroll in any program. The cash back that you earn can be redeemed for statement credit, checks or gift cards. This card comes with a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. There is a 12.99% - 22.99% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers thereafter, depending on your creditworthiness.
Read our review of the Citi® Double Cash Card here.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, a GET.com advertiser, lets you earn cash back rewards hassle-free without any enrollment required and the same categories all year. Get $150 back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 3 months. Earn 6% cash back at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% cash back at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% cash back on the rest of your purchases. You will receive your cash back as Reward Dollars that you can redeem for statement credit. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, and a 12.99% - 21.99% variable APR thereafter, based on your creditworthiness as well as other factors. There is a $75 annual fee. Terms and limitations apply.
Read our review of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
Our best-rated hotel and airline rewards credit cards
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card by Chase is one of the top airline credit cards when it comes to travel perks. Earn double miles per dollar spent on air tickets purchased directly from United and 1 mile per dollar on every other purchase. Limited time offer: Earn 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 during the first 3 months, and another 5,000 miles when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in this same timeframe. No foreign transaction fees. $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Click here to read United MileagePlus® Explorer Card review.
Citi® Hilton HHonors Visa Signature® Card from Citi. In my opinion, this card could be the right card to get if you stay at Hilton often, whether as a leisure or business traveler. It has no annual fee, and lets you earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 within 4 months of account opening, which are worth up to 8 hotel nights. You get 6 points per dollar spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio, 3 points on groceries, gas and drugstore purchases, and 2 points per $1 on all other purchases. This Hilton card doesn't have any pre-set spending limit, which is useful for big spenders.
Click here to read the Citi® Hilton HHonors Visa Signature® Card review.
Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card lets you earn 50,000 Points after spending $1,000 on your card in your first 3 months from your account opening. Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at Marriott locations, 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants, car rental agencies, and on airfare purchased directly with airlines, and 1 point for each dollar you spend on other purchases. You will receive 1 Free Night Stay in Category 1-4 locations after account approval, and an additional Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location each year after your account anniversary date. Receive 15 credits that guarantee Silver Elite Status or better. Pay no foreign transaction fees. There is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $85.
Read our review of Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card.
Our highest-rated travel rewards credit cards
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, issued by Capital One, is the card to get if you want to chalk up air miles really quickly as it gives you unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, whether you are buying toothpaste or air tickets. You can earn a one time bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. That’s worth $400 towards travel costs. The miles you earn are not capped by any limit, and they don't expire! A benefit which I find really useful is that miles are redeemable for airfare, hotel accommodation, car rentals, gift cards, and more, so you have that flexibility there. This card has no foreign transaction fees. No annual fee for the first year, $59 after that.
Click here to read our Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card review.
BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card, provided by Bank of America, is a good travel rewards card that lets you earn 1.5 points for each $1 you spend on purchases. You can earn unlimited points and they don't expire. Points can be redeemed for different types of travel purchases and there are no blackout dates. To use your rewards toward travel purchases just book your trip as usual and go online or call to redeem your points for a statement credit toward all or part of your travel purchases. Online-exclusive offer: You can earn 10,000 bonus points when spending at least $500 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening (that can be redeemable for $100 towards travel purchases). Enjoy 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles, and a 14.99% - 22.99% variable APR thereafter. No annual fee. As a Bank of America customer you can get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account. See Terms.
Click here to read our BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card review.
Citi Prestige® Card, issued by Citi, is an exclusive credit card that can be especially rewarding if you travel frequently. You earn 3 points for each $1 spent on air travel and hotel purchases. Earn 2 points per $1 on restaurant dining and entertainment purchases, and 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases. After you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months after opening your account you will earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points. Receive $250 Air Travel Credit each year, complimentary access to hundreds of VIP Priority Pass Select lounges and nearly 40 American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges. Enjoy a complimentary 4th night hotel stay when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel with this card through Carlson Wagonlit Travel. This card also offers baggage delay/loss coverage and many other travel-related perks and benefits. This card has no foreign transaction fees and has chip technology for global acceptance. The annual fee is $450.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is an airline rewards card that lets you earn 1.25 miles on every purchase you make. After you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months you’ll also enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles, which are equal to $200 in travel. This card has no blackout dates when redeeming for travel and you can stay at any hotel or fly on any airline anytime. You earn unlimited miles that don’t expire. No foreign transaction fees. You can see your monthly credit score for free through Capital One® Credit Tracker and even get automatic alerts. Benefit from 0% intro APR on purchases until April 2016, then 11.9% - 21.9% variable APR. $0 annual fee.
Read our review of Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card.
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card, a GET.com advertiser. This high-end charge card lets you as a new card member earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases charged to your new Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Earn 3 points for each $1 you spend purchasing flights booked directly with airlines. You earn 2 points for each dollar you spend on groceries at US supermarkets & US gas stations. You earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on other purchases. Enjoy purchase protection, extended warranty and return protection. When you book a minimum of two consecutive nights stay with The Hotel Collection you can receive up to a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges and room upgrade at check-in (if available). Your points can be transferred to a selection of frequent flyer programs or you can redeem them for rewards from over 500 leading brands in gift cards, travel, merchandise, or entertainment. Enjoy $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175. Terms and Restrictions Apply.
Read our full review of the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card here.
The Platinum Card® from American Express, a GET.com advertiser. This exclusive charge card lets you earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases with your new Card within the first three months of card membership (you must be enrolled in the Membership Rewards Program at the time of purchase). Earn 2 points for each dollar you spend on eligible travel purchases you book through the American Express travel website. Get up to a $200 Airline Fee Credit (in the form of statement credit) each year towards qualifying airline purchases you select. Enjoy complimentary access to over 600 airport lounges around the world (The CenturionSM Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs®, Airspace Lounges, and you can enroll in Priority PassTM Select). No foreign transaction fees. No pre-set spending limit. Some of the notable benefits this card offers are Premium Roadside Assistance, Return Protection and Premium Global Assist® Hotline. Terms and restrictions apply. This high-end rewards card has a $450 annual fee.
Read our review of The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Our best-rated 0% balance transfer cards with rewards
Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer offers a special 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (then 10.99% - 22.99% variable APR), which is one of the longest 0% periods we've encountered. This is great for people who want to pay off their existing credit card debt with no interest by transferring it to this Discover it card, though you will pay a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount you transfer. You'll also enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, and a 10.99% - 22.99% variable APR thereafter. Like other Discover cards, this card offers 5% rebate up to a quarterly maximum spent on purchases in categories that change each quarter, after you sign up for 5% cash back. You also earn automatic 1% on all other purchases. I strongly recommend you use this card to pay off your card balance first before using it to purchase things.
Click here to read Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer review.
Our top-rated business rewards cards
Citizens Bank Everyday Points® Business MasterCard® lets you earn 3,500 bonus points after you make your first purchase. You also get 2 points per $1 spent on purchases. You can redeem your points for goods and services such as travel, office equipment or even cash back. One thing I like about this business credit card is accessCARD Command which gives you pretty comprehensive online control over your business spending and employee cards. Other benefits include $0 liability for fraudulent purchases and direct savings when you sign up with the MasterCard Easy Savings and make purchases at participating merchants, which include major car rental and courier companies. No annual fee.
To see more of our top rated Rewards Credit Cards click here.