What is the best credit card? In truth, there is no one-size-fits-all card; the best credit card for you depends on your goals and lifestyle. That’s why the experts at CreditCards.com have compiled a list of the best cards in each major category, from cash back and travel rewards to balance transfers and more. Explore our top picks from our partners and find the best credit card for you.
Best Rewards Credit Cards
From groceries to gas to gadgets, rewards cards help you earn cash, points or miles from your everyday purchases. You can redeem your rewards for cash, shopping or travel. We analyzed 1,640 different rewards cards to give you the best recommendations – check out the 10 best rewards credit cards from our partners below.
Best rewards credit cards of 2019
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – large sign-up bonus
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card – hotel rewards
- Discover it® Cash Back – no annual fee
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® – rewards on all purchases
- Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card – everyday use
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card – travel rewards
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – U.S. supermarket purchases
- Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card – cell phone protection
- Citi Rewards+SM Card – bonus rewards points
- Chase Freedom® – rotating cash back categories
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.
Comparing Rewards Credit Card OffersBy: Laura Mohammad
Updated: August 1, 2019
Rewards credit cards have proliferated in recent years, with the best offers delivering cardholders hundreds, even thousands of dollars in rewards. It is not surprising that rewards cards claim several spots on our list of the overall best credit cards.
Cashback, points, miles – whichever method you choose, the results can be, well, rewarding. In fact, because it is accepted that merchants up their prices to accommodate their costs due to credit card fees, consumers who use cards for their purchases actually come out ahead by $240 a year, while consumers who don’t end up behind to the tune of $50, according to the Federal Reserve of Boston.
But rewards credit cards can be daunting to the newcomer. Which type do you choose? Which card is the best? How do you use one? At CreditCards.com, we crunched the numbers on over 1,600 different credit card offers using the criteria outlined below to pick the best rewards cards out there. Along with our top picks, we’ve also included some takes from other experts and supplemental information to help you with your decision. Here, we look at:
Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2019
While many credit cards offer some form of rewards, we’ve limited our list to the best current offers. The top rewards credit card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card due to its large sign-up bonus and high cash back on popular categories.
|Card||Best For:||Rewards Rate||Annual Fee||Staff Review|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Large sign-up bonus||2X points on travel and dining, 1 point per dollar on everything else||$95||3.9 / 5|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||Hotel rewards||10X miles on thousands of hotels, 2X miles on every other purchase||$0 first year, then $95||4.2 / 5|
|Discover it® Cash Back||High rewards, no annual fee||5% cash back in rotating categories (full list here), and unlimited 1% cash back on everything else||$0||4.3 / 5|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Rewards on all purchases||3% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent in the first year), Unlimited 1.5% cash back after $20,00 spent in the first year||$0||3.8 / 5|
|Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card||Everyday use||3% cash back on a category of choice, 2% cash back on groceries and wholesale club purchases ($2,500 combined limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter ), 1% cash back on other purchases||$0||3.4 / 5|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card||Travel rewards||3X points for: Eating out, ordering in, gas stations, rideshares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals. 1X points on other purchases||$0||3.5 / 5|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||U.S. Supermarkets||6% at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year), then 1%), 3% at U.S. gas stations and on transit, 1% on all other purchases||$95||4.3 / 5|
|Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card||Cell phone protection||1.5% cash back on general purchases||$0||3.8 / 5|
|Citi Rewards+SM Card||Bonus rewards points||2X at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 in purchases per year)||$0||3.0 / 5|
|Chase Freedom®||Rotating cash back categories||5% on up to $1500 in bonus categories||$0||3.1 / 5|
We analyzed over 1,600 rewards credit cards and looked at 9 main factors to identify the best cards for your lifestyle – these factors and more inform our decisions in which cards can work the hardest for you.
Rewards rates – When studying cards, you might see rewards as points, miles or cash back. We look at not only the type of rewards, but also how they are doled out, whether as cash back on select categories, such as Discover it Cash Back or multiplied points on every purchase, as in the case of Capital One Venture Rewards.
Sign-up bonuses – These can also come as points, miles and cash back. We study how much the bonus is, as well as the required spend and the time limit. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months.
Customer service – Some card issuers stand out for their customer service, such as Discover’s U.S.-based customer service 24/7. We look at that as well.
Redemption options and flexibility – Card issuers vary in how you can redeem rewards. For example, Bank of America allows you to receive cash back by check. Issuers typically allow you to receive a statement credit, redeem for gift cards or merchandise, and in the case of the Chase Sapphire cards, earn bonuses when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. We also study minimum required redemptions and expirations.
Point values – Point valuations on rewards cards can vary widely, from under 1 cent to over 2 cents per point or mile. Also, you can get a bonus when redeeming for travel in some cases, such as the Ink Business Preferred.
Travel benefits – Many travel and other rewards cards offer travel and purchase benefits in addition to points, miles or cash back. These are helpful when you are on a trip and you need extra support, such as lost luggage reimbursement and travel accident insurance with the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card.
Transfer partners – Even if you hold a loyalty card, such as an airline or hotel card, there may be partners that you can transfer your points or miles to. We look at which and how many partners cards have and the value of the transfers, because some partners have a lower valuation than if you use the points with the original hotel or airline.
Rates & fees – These range from the annual fee, if there is one, to the regular APR, which can go from less than 10% to more than 25%, depending on the card and issuer. Some issuers offer no late fee, which we study when we ascertain a rewards card’s value.
Credit needed – No matter how much you love a card, the issuer will want to make sure you are a good risk and check your credit before you are granted the product. We note whether each rewards card requires credit from bad to excellent or no credit.
Details on our picks for the best rewards credit cards
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Pros: Earn 60,000 points after a $4,000 spend within the first 3 months of card membership and 2X points on worldwide dining and travel. In preparation for your upcoming travel, take a look at this card, with its partnerships with major airlines and hotel brands and a 25% redemption boost when booking through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Cons: There’s so much to love about this card that it’s hard to find a downside. However, one potential setback is the $95 annual fee.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Pros: With 50,000 miles after a $3,000 spend within the first 3 months, 2X miles on all purchases and 10X miles on hotel stays purchased through hotels.com/venture, this card offers a host of travel rewards and features. Venture Rewards is currently partnered with 14 airlines where you can transfer your miles. The Venture Rewards Credit Card is a fine choice for both domestic and foreign travel because of its versatility. Fly any airline and stay at any hotel—there are no blackout dates.
Cons: Although your annual fee is waived the first year, you will eventually have to face the music by paying $95 each subsequent year.
Discover it® Cash Back
Pros: While other cards offer tiered rewards for specific spending, this card is one of the few that rewards with 5% cash back on rotating categories, plus another 5% back at the end of your first year. Categories can include restaurants, gas, groceries and more. For example, for July through September 2019, it’s restaurants and Paypal. While there is no traditional sign-up bonus, Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
Cons: This card can be a bit of a hassle, because you have to enroll each quarter to qualify for the 5% rewards. Note that the 5% rewards rate will only apply up to the $1,500 quarterly maximum in purchases.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Pros: This card goes above and beyond competitors like the Quicksilver, due to its superior 3% cash back on all purchases in the first year, on up to $20,000 spent. After that, the cash back rate is an unlimited 1.5% on all purchases. While there is no traditional sign-up bonus, the elevated cash back in the first year makes up for it. Features include concierge service, as well as an extended warranty program and purchase protection – not bad considering there’s no annual fee.
Cons: Unlike the Capital One Quicksilver, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
Pros: There are a lot of perks to this card. It has a generous rewards structure with 2% cash back on groceries/wholesale clubs and 3% cash back in a category of your choice. Do you spend a lot on gas commuting to work? Set gasoline to be your 3% cash back category. Have an online shopping habit? Set your 3% cash back category to online purchases.
Cons: The 2% and 3% cash back categories are capped at $2,500 in combined spend each quarter so there are limits on how much cash back you can earn with this card.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Pros: With no annual fee and no limits on rewards, this card’s got what it takes to turn your head and race your heart. Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in; gas stations, rideshares and transit; and travel, including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. There’s also the 30,000 points after a $3,000 spend within the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value.
Cons: You’ll have to look hard for something not to like about this card, although there are no boosted rewards for such categories as Amazon.com, wholesale clubs and home improvement stores.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Pros: This card has a fantastic perk of 6% cash back on groceries (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%). If you spend at least $115.38 per week on groceries, you will max out this benefit for a total of $360 cash back on groceries alone. American Express has also introduced unique new cash back categories like 6% on streaming services and 3% on rideshares with this card.
Cons: There is a $95 annual fee for this card (which is not waived in the first year).
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
Pros: Like several other credit cards with no annual fee, the Cash Wise gets you 1.5% cash back on all purchases. However, it also has the unique rewards feature of 1.8% cash back on qualified digital wallet purchases for your first 12 months. It’s also worth noting that the cash back sign-up bonus is above average: $150 after you spend $500 within the first 3 months.
Cons: Cash redemption is limited to increments of $25 online or by phone and $20 at ATMs.
Citi Rewards+SM Card
Pros: The Citi Rewards+ offers 15,000 points after $1,000 spend within the first 3 months of card membership, which is worth $150. Also, it earns 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations up to $6,000 spend each year. However, it has other features worth looking at, including getting your purchases rounded up to the nearest 10 points each time.
Cons: There are a couple of things to watch out for with this card: there’s a foreign transaction fee of 3% and a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater.
Pros: With a nice sign-up bonus and competitive rotating categories, this card is a good choice for the those who want to put in the work to strategically maximize cash back.
Cons: Unfortunately, the Chase Freedom has foreign transaction fees, making it an unfortunate option for international travel or making purchases that go through a foreign bank.