Best Credit Cards for Rewards

How to choose the right rewards credit card

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Rewards credit cards offer enticing incentives like cash back, travel points, and other rewards when you spend money on the card. But with so many attractive choices, how do you pick one? Depending on your spending habits, the best rewards credit card may be a no-fee card with steady points for everyday purchases or one that charges a fee in exchange for higher rewards in specific categories.

The best rewards credit cards make getting your reward easy. They offer great initial bonuses and give you the opportunity to earn more when spending in your most common categories. Here are our picks for the top rewards credit cards so you can pick the one that's right for you.

Best Rewards Credit Cards for October 2021: Find the Right Card for You

Best Credit Cards for Rewards
Best Credit Cards for Rewards

Best Overall : Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Rating as a Rewards Card
5.0
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 total travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R) 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.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a competitive one-time point bonus, annual travel credit, and high rewards earning rate. Points are worth 50% more if you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and can be transferred on a 1:1 basis to eligible hotel and airline partners. Frequent travelers also get numerous other travel-related benefits and aren't restricted to a single airline or hotel.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent points rewards rate for travel and dining

  • Large bonus for new cardholders

  • Premium travel features

  • Points are worth 50% more for travel bought through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons
  • $550 annual fee

  • Limited high-rewards categories

  • Strong credit is recommended

Runner-Up, Best Overall Rewards : Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.8
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

Our choice for the runner-up of the best overall rewards credit card is the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. It receives 1.5% cash back on every purchase and there are no limits to the total cash back you can earn. New cardholders can earn a $200 cash bonus once they spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. The cash back rewards can be redeemed in any amount and never expire while your account is open.

New accounts can benefit from the 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months. This interest-free financing gives you extra time to pay off your purchases without being charged any interest. The card has no annual fees and does not charge foreign transaction fees on international purchases.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Simple rewards program with a solid return

  • Decent introductory offers on purchases

  • No annual or foreign transaction fees

  • No penalty APR

Cons
  • No bonus rewards rates

  • One-time bonus is relatively modest

  • APR can be high comparatively

Best for Travel Rewards : Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Rating as a Rewards Card
5.0
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 total travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R) 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.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It 
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It 

We chose the Chase Sapphire Reserve as the best travel rewards card because it offers tremendous value for travelers. You'll earn unlimited 3x points on travel and dining purchases anywhere in the world (excluding purchases eligible for the $300 travel credit). All other purchases earn 1x points. When you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, hotels and car rentals earn 10x points and flights earn 5x points. New cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Each account anniversary, you'll receive a $300 travel credit for eligible purchases charged to your card. Through December 31, 2021, gas and groceries purchases also count toward this credit. Points are worth 50% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase's Ultimate Rewards portal. Or you can transfer them on a 1:1 basis to eligible Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partner programs. Cardholders also receive primary rental car insurance, travel protections, and a complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge membership.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent points rewards rate for travel and dining

  • Large bonus for new cardholders

  • Premium travel features

  • Points are worth 50% more for travel bought through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons
  • $550 annual fee

  • Limited high-rewards categories

  • Strong credit is recommended

Runner-Up, Travel : Capital One Venture Rewards Card


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.5
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. Redeem on travel-from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs.
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It 
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It 

Our choice for the runner-up of the best travel credit card is the Capital One Venture Rewards card because it earns an unlimited 2x miles on every purchase. Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Points can be used to book travel with no blackout dates, "erase" travel purchases, or transfer to airline and hotel partners. The welcome bonus is equal to $600 in travel, or you may get even more value by transferring miles to one of its partners. You'll also receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ once every four years to improve your airport experience.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • High rewards rate with no cap on earnings

  • Generous one-time offer

  • Flexible redemption options

Cons
  • $95 annual fee

  • Poor cash-back redemption rate

  • Limited transfer partners

Best for Cash Back : Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.8
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has a low interest rate and high rewards on all spending, plus no annual fee. The absence of a foreign transaction fee makes this a rare cash back credit card that’s worth bringing on a trip abroad.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Simple rewards program with a solid return

  • Decent introductory offers on purchases

  • No annual or foreign transaction fees

  • No penalty APR

Cons
  • No bonus rewards rates

  • One-time bonus is relatively modest

  • APR can be high comparatively

Runner-Up, Cash Back Rewards : Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.9
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The runner-up for the best cash back rewards card is the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. Cardholders receive 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. The cash back rewards never expire and can be redeemed in any amount. New cardholders can also take advantage of the 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months. There are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees with this card.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 3% cash back on dining and entertainment

  • 0% APR on new purchases for 15 months

  • No annual fee

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons
  • None

Best for Airlines : United℠ Explorer Card


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.6
United℠ Explorer Card
Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.49% - 23.49% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, eligible delivery services, on hotel stays, and on United purchases. Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The United Explorer Card offers the highest value per mile earned of any airline credit card, and miles can be redeemed in multiple ways, including for flights with participating member airlines in its Star Alliance, one of the largest global airline partnerships. The compelling introductory bonus really adds to the value of the card because of the high value placed on redeeming those points with United. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year and the card does not charge foreign transaction fees, making it great for international travel.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Valuable rewards program

  • Special benefits every time you fly United

  • Several travel benefits and protections

Cons
  • Fewer free checked bags than with some competing airline cards

Runner-Up, Airline Rewards : Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.1
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Current Offer

Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $99
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases. Plus 1 mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It 
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It 

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is our choice as runner-up for the best airline rewards credit card. When you apply, you'll get 50,000 miles after making $2,500 in purchases during the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, you'll earn 2x miles on dining, gas, and American Airlines purchases. When you spend at least $20,000 each membership year, you'll receive a $125 American Airlines credit after renewing your card.

This card also saves time and money when flying on American Airlines flights. You'll get the first checked bag free for you and up to four travel companions. Plus, you'll receive priority boarding and 25% savings on in-flight purchases of food and beverages. There are no foreign transaction fees and you can add authorized users at no additional charge.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Generous one-time offer

  • Strong rewards when used for flights

  • No annual fee the first year

Cons
  • Limited lucrative options for rewards

  • Maximizing rewards value requires savvy—and probably an international destination

Best Hotel Rewards : Marriott Bonvoy Boundless


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.0
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn 3 Free Nights (up to 50,000 points each) after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn up to 17X total Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

Our choice for the best hotel rewards card is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card because it includes automatic Silver Elite status, 15 Elite Night Credits per year, and includes one free night award each year on your account anniversary. Silver Elite status includes free Wi-Fi, late checkout, and a 10% bonus on points earned at Marriott hotels. Plus, you're fast-tracked to earning higher levels of elite status each year with the 15 Elite Night Credits from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless. The free night award can be booked for a one-night hotel stay at any Marriott Bonvoy property valued up to 35,000 points. New cardholders can earn five free hotel nights after spending at least $5,000 during the first three months after opening their account.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Outstanding introductory rewards bonus

  • Solid rewards rate for Marriott hotel stays

  • Automatic Silver Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy program

Cons
  • $35,000 spending per year to upgrade to Gold Status

  • Bonvoy hotel rewards account (though not the Bonvoy credit card) must stay active to avoid points expiration

  • $95 annual fee may be off-putting to the fee-averse

Runner-Up, Hotel Rewards : Hilton Honors American Express Card


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.1
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Current Offer

Earn 80,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 7 points per $1 for eligible Hilton purchases. 5 points per $1 for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. 3 points per $1 for all other eligible purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It 
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It 

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is our winner for the best hotel rewards card runner-up. You'll earn up to 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points when you complete both minimum spending requirements. The first bonus is 80,000 points after spending $1,000 within three months. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months. Cardholders also receive 7x points at Hilton hotels and resorts and 5x points at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations. All other purchases earn 3x points.

Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver elite status is available for all cardholders, which includes 5th night free on points redemptions, free bottled water, and a 20% bonus on paid stays. You can upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status when you spend $20,000 on your card in a calendar year. There are no foreign transaction fees or annual fees with this card.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Rewards are competitive

  • Easy to stack rewards as a Hilton Honors loyalty program member

  • Fast-track your way to Hilton Honors Gold status

Cons
  • Short on premium travel perks

  • No introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers

Best Gas Rewards : U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.7
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
Current Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening That's a $200 value redeemable towards merchandise, gift cards, cash back, travel and more.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4x points on takeout, food delivery and dining, earn 2x points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services and gas stations. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card has a great rewards program for those who want to rack up points. Cardholders earn one point for every dollar they spend with the card, with rewards being doubled for spending on groceries, gas, or streaming services, and quadrupled on spending for dining and takeout. Cardholders also pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Standout rewards on dining

  • Annual bonus for streaming services

  • No annual fee

  • 0% introductory APR

Cons
  • Low base rewards rate

  • Less value than some annual-fee cards

Runner-Up, Gas Rewards : PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.6
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
Current Offer

Earn 15,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.49% - 17.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5x back at gas stations, 3x back on groceries, and 1x back on all other purchases.
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee A 3% balance transfer fee applies to each transfer.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It 
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It 

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card is our choice for the runner-up as the best gas rewards credit card because it earns 5x points on gas paid at the pump and at EV charging stations. You'll also earn 3x points on groceries; dining; and TV, radio, cable, and streaming services. Everything else earns one point per dollar spent.

New cardholders can earn 15,000 bonus points when they spend $1,500 during the first 90 days. Points can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, or shopping with no minimums or expiration dates. A 0% intro APR offer on balance transfers is also available for 12 months with a 3% fee. There are no foreign transaction fees or annual fees on this card.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent rewards on gas and grocery purchases

  • Low ongoing APR

Cons
  • Membership is required

  • Restrictive redemption program

  • Unexceptional one-time offer

Best for Grocery Rewards : Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.9
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It 
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It 

Our winner for the credit card with the best grocery rewards is the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards because it earns 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023. As a new cardholder, you can earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Your cash back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and can be redeemed at any time and for any amount. New accounts can also use the 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months. This benefit allows you to pay back purchases over time without incurring any interest charges. The SavorOne does not have an annual fee and does not charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made in another currency.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Generous cash rewards for dining, entertainment and groceries

  • Doesn't impose some frequent fees

Cons
  • Excellent credit recommended for approval

Runner-Up, Grocery Rewards : U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.7
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card
Current Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening That's a $200 value redeemable towards merchandise, gift cards, cash back, travel and more.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4x points on takeout, food delivery and dining, earn 2x points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services and gas stations. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Billing Cycles
Balance Transfer Fee Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It

The U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card has a great rewards program for those who want to rack up points. Cardholders earn one point for every dollar they spend with the card, with rewards being doubled for spending on groceries, gas, or streaming services, and quadrupled on spending for dining and takeout. Cardholders also pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Standout rewards on dining

  • Annual bonus for streaming services

  • No annual fee

  • 0% introductory APR

Cons
  • Low base rewards rate

  • Less value than some annual-fee cards

Best for Dining Rewards : Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Rating as a Rewards Card
5.0
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 total travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R) 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.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It 
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It 

The best credit card for dining rewards is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It earns an unlimited 3x points on dining and travel worldwide with no limits. Plus, a new feature allows cardholders to earn 10x points when booking an Ultimate Rewards Dining Experience through its portal. Ten points per dollar is the highest rewards earned on dining of any credit card we've reviewed.

New cardholders can earn a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months of opening their accounts. Ultimate Rewards points are worth 50% more when booking travel through Chase. Cardholders may get even more value when transferring to one of the hotel or airline transfer partners. This card also includes a $300 annual travel credit, but eligible purchases do not earn any points.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent points rewards rate for travel and dining

  • Large bonus for new cardholders

  • Premium travel features

  • Points are worth 50% more for travel bought through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons
  • $550 annual fee

  • Limited high-rewards categories

  • Strong credit is recommended

Runner-Up, Dining Rewards : Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards


Rating as a Rewards Card
4.9
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Current Offer

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • Why We Chose It 
  • Pros & Cons
Why We Chose It 

The runner-up for the best dining rewards credit card is the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards card. Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023. Rewards don't expire for the life of the account and you can redeem them at any time or for any amount.

Earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, there's a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months with no fees. The card does not charge an annual fee and there are no foreign transaction fees on international purchases.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Generous Cash Rewards for dining, entertainment, and groceries

  • Doesn't impose some frequent fees

Cons
  • Excellent credit recommended for approval

Final Verdict

Rewards credit cards are a great way to earn cash back, miles, merchandise, or gift cards just by using your card to make purchases. While there’s a different rewards card for everyone, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is our top choice overall due to its attractive offer of three points per dollar on travel and dining expenses. If cash back is what you value, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee with 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Hoping to leverage your family’s monthly gas and grocery expenditures? Try the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card for five points per dollar at gas stations and three points at the supermarket.

Compare the Best Rewards Credit Cards

Credit Card Rewards Earning Rate Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Best Overall
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. $550
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Runner-Up, Best Overall Rewards
Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. $0
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Best for Travel 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. $550
Capital One Venture Rewards Card
Runner-Up, Travel
Earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. Redeem on travel-from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs. $95
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best for Cash Back
Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. $0
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Runner-Up, Cash Back Rewards
Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023. $0
UnitedSM Explorer Card
Best for Airlines
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays, and on United purchases. $0 for the first year, then $95
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Runner-Up, Airline Rewards
Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases. Plus 1 mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. $0 for the first year, then $99
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
Best Hotel Rewards
6x points per $1 at Marriott Bonvoy properties. 2x points per $1 on all other purchases $95
Hilton Honors American Express Card Runner-Up, Hotel Rewards 7 points per $1 for eligible Hilton purchases. 5 points per $1 for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. 3 points per $1 for all other eligible purchases. $0
U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card
Best Gas Rewards
Earn 4x points on takeout, food delivery, and dining. Earn 2x points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services, and gas stations. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. $0
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card
Runner-Up, Gas Rewards
Earn 5x back at gas stations, 3x back on groceries, and 1x back on all other purchases. $0
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards
Best for Grocery Rewards
Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023. $0
U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card
Runner-Up, Grocery Rewards
Earn 4x points on takeout, food delivery, and dining. Earn 2x points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services, and gas stations. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. $0
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Best for Dining Rewards
Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming services, and grocery store purchases, and 1% on all other purchases. $0
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards
Runner-Up, Dining Rewards
Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023. $0

Editorial Picks for Best Rewards Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best Overall

Value meets flexibility with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, our top-ranked rewards credit card. With three points to the dollar on dining and travel and a host of travel credits and perks, it’s not hard to get your money’s worth out of the $550 annual fee.

Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve Review.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card 

Runner-Up, Overall Rewards

Earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no caps. Plus, earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. and take advantage of a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months.

Read the full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best for Travel Rewards

Enjoy numerous travel benefits, like complimentary airport lounge access, primary rental car insurance, and a $300 travel credit. Points earned are worth 50% more when booking travel through Chase or possibly higher when transferred to partners.

Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Runner-Up, Travel Rewards

Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase that can be used to book travel, "erase" travel purchases, or transfer to partners. Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Read the full Capital One Venture Rewards Card Review.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for Cash Back

Sometimes the best credit card reward is plain old cash. Get 1.5% back on every purchase you make with the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, plus earn $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Read the full Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Runner-Up, Cash Back Rewards

Get 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.

Read the full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.

United℠ Explorer Card

Best for Airlines

Fly farther when you sign up for the United Explorer Card, the credit card rewards program that gets you the most per mile. Points can be used to purchase flights with any participating Star Alliance member airline.

Read the full United℠ Explorer Card Review.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Runner-Up, Airline Rewards

Receive 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,500 within three months. Plus, you'll get your first checked bag free and priority boarding when you fly on American Airlines.

Read the full Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® Review.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Best Hotel Rewards

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless offers elite status benefits and a free hotel night every year. New cardholders can earn five free nights for a future vacation when they spend $5,000 within the first three months after opening their account.

Read the full Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Review.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Runner-Up, Hotel Rewards

Earn up to 7x points on your purchases and receive a welcome bonus of up to 130,000 points based on your spending. Plus, enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver elite status for as long as your card is open.

Read the full Hilton Honors American Express Card Review.

U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card

Best Gas Rewards

The U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card offers great rewards on dining and streaming, but that’s not even the best part about this card. The issuer offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balances for the first 12 months.

Read the full U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card Review.

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card

Runner-Up, Gas Rewards

Receive 5% cash back on gas paid at the pump and EV charging stations. Earn 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 within 90 days.

Read the full PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card Review.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best Grocery Rewards

Earn unlimited 3% cash back at grocery stores with no caps. Enjoy a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months of interest-free financing.

Read the full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.

U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card

Runner-Up, Grocery Rewards

The U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card offers great rewards on dining and streaming, but that’s not even the best part about this card. The issuer offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balances for the first 12 months.

Read the full U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card Review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best for Dining Rewards

Receive unlimited 3x points on dining anywhere in the world. Earn 10x points on exclusive Chase Dining experiences booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Runner-Up, Dining Rewards

Get unlimited 3% cash back on dining purchases with no cap. Earn a one-time $200 bonus when you spend $500 within three months.

Read the full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Review.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Rewards Credit Cards Work?

Rewards credit cards offer perks like cash back, points, and/or miles for each dollar spent. Most offer a base rate that applies to all purchases, which may be supplemented by higher bonus rewards for certain spending categories. Depending on the card, rewards can typically be redeemed as a statement credit and/or by exchanging them for gift cards, travel, or merchandise through the issuer’s online rewards portal. Total earned rewards can be viewed on your credit card billing statement or on the card issuer’s website when you log into your account.

The bottom line is that rewards credit card programs vary widely. Overall, though, they share these positive and negative aspects:

Pros
  • Introductory one-time bonuses

  • Opportunities to earn bonus rewards

  • Flexible redemption options

Cons
  • Cash back in the most rewarding categories may be capped

  • Effort and expertise required to maximize the value of points/miles

  • Redemption values vary significantly

  • The most lucrative cards have annual fees

What Are the Types of Rewards Credit Cards?

Business credit cards can earn miles, points, and cash back just like their consumer counterparts. These cards earn rewards on their everyday spending and, in some cases, on bonus categories at select merchants. Most business rewards credit cards fall into one of these categories:

  • Business airline credit cards. Airline credit cards typically offer enhanced benefits when flying on the card's airline partner. Benefits vary by credit card, but they can include free checked bags, priority boarding, airport lounge access, and expedited elite status. Additionally, cardmembers often earn additional miles when spending with the airline and related categories.
  • Business hotel credit cards. Hotel credit cards usually include hotel elite status, a free night each year, and bonus points when paying for hotel reservations. Some hotel credit cards also provide elite night credits just for having the card or faster elite status based on your spending.
  • Business general travel credit cards. General travel credit cards earn flexible points that can be used at any airline or hotel without having to commit to one loyalty program. These points can often be redeemed for travel, transferred to airline or hotel partners, or used to cover travel purchases.
  • Business cash back credit cards. Cash back credit cards have the greatest flexibility because you can spend your cash back rewards on anything you choose or save it for future purchases. Some cash back credit cards offer a standard rewards rate on all purchases, while others provide bonus cash back on specific spending categories.

Is a Rewards Card Right for Me?

If you’re confident that you understand the benefits and limitations of a particular card and will profit from its rewards structure, it’s probably a good option. However, read the fine print carefully to examine for hidden restrictions. For example, some big-box retailers such as Walmart may be excluded from eligibility for grocery rewards, and paying with your card via a mobile app like Apple Pay could reduce the number of points you earn.   

How Do I Choose a Rewards Credit Card?

  • Credit score: Most issuers have a minimum credit score requirement that applicants must meet in order to qualify. Check your credit score before applying for any card and avoid submitting applications for cards you aren’t likely to be approved for.
  • Spending habits: Since rewards among points cards vary by category, it’s important to know the precise amounts you typically spend in which categories every month. Budgeting/tracking tools such as Mint can help with this task, since they automatically assign expenses to such spending categories as groceries, dining, and gasoline.
  • Annual fee: While many rewards cards have no annual fee, don't necessarily rule out those that do carry one. For-fee cards generally offer the highest earnings. If the earnings rate of a rewards card with an annual fee looks enticing, simply calculate the yearly earnings using your predicted spending, and then subtract the cost of the fee from the total. Compare how these potential net earnings stack up against other cards that don’t charge an annual fee.
  • Signup bonus: Rewards credit cards frequently draw customers in with large bonus packages if you spend a certain amount within the first few months after you open the card. Make sure you can realistically spend enough to qualify for introductory bonuses before signing up for a card with this purpose.
  • Foreign transaction fee: Most rewards cards (particularly those with travel rewards) offer a 0% fee when making purchases abroad, allowing you to use your card anywhere in the world. However, check this before signing up for a card. Some issuers may charge 1% to 3% of every purchase you make outside of the United States, which can add up quickly.
  • Perks: Rewards credit cards offer perks outside the scope of cash back and bonus points. These might include complimentary insurance, statement credits toward specific expenses, or access to travel lounges, just to name a few.
  • Flexibility of redemption: Some rewards cards make it easier than others to spend your points. If you always fly with a particular airline, for example, make sure your travel rewards card allows you to redeem your points with that carrier. Certain card issuers have exclusive partnerships with specific travel providers, which can narrow your options.
  • Transfer options: If a rewards credit card advertises a 0% introductory APR, find out whether it applies to balance transfers or just purchases. Most balance transfers will incur a fee between 3% and 5% of the transfer amount.

How Do I Maximize a Rewards Credit Card?

To make the most out of your rewards credit card, make sure you’re taking advantage of all tiered or bonus spending categories, preferably up to the quarterly or annual cash back maximum if those are capped. If your card came with a one-time introductory bonus, make sure you meet the minimum spend amount to receive your bonus points before the deadline, usually around three months after opening the account.

Since APRs for rewards cards tend to be on the high side, avoid carrying a balance and instead find a card with lower interest on which to carry over purchases. There’s one exception: Some rewards cards come with an introductory 0% APR period of around 12 months during which you won’t have to pay interest.

Finally, make sure you’re taking advantage of your card issuer’s rewards marketplace (if available) to get the most out of your points. Even if you’re earning only one point per dollar on your card, the issuer may give you a discounted rate on items like travel and gift cards when you exchange your points directly through their platform.

Are Credit Card Rewards Taxable?

Luckily, the IRS rules (as of March 2021) do not consider credit card rewards as taxable, and the value of which does not need to be claimed on tax forms. It’s likely this is because the rewards are earned by spending after-tax dollars on credit cards and are offered as an incentive by the card issuer. However, we can’t rule out the possibility that the IRS could change its mind at some point in the future and begin taxing the value of rewards.

Are Rewards Credit Cards Worth It?

Rewards earned from rewards credit cards—whether in the form of cash back, miles, or points—can be well worth the effort, with one big caveat. They really only make sense for consumers who pay their balance in full each month. That’s because the interest charges incurred when carrying a balance more than wipe out any benefit from any rewards that might be earned from incremental purchases. But, for those that do pay their balance in full, rewards are a way of leveraging their everyday spending to earn something back with every purchase to put toward travel, merchandise, gift cards, or as a statement credit against their balance.

Another consideration in determining if a rewards card is worthwhile concerns the amount of an annual fee. Many rewards cards come with no annual fee but for those that do, it can be important to consider the value of any rewards that might be earned over the course of the year in order to determine if the fee is justified. For those who spend a lot on credit cards, the rewards can be considerable. For low spenders, the rewards can still be worth it, but a no-annual-fee rewards card is probably a better fit.

Methodology

Our credit card methodology is comprehensive. We constantly monitor data on more than 300 credit cards and assign each a star rating in categories like rewards, interest rates, fees, benefits, security, and customer service. To choose the best rewards credit cards, we identified the cards in our database with the top scores for various types of rewards including cash back, travel, and balance transfers.

We pride ourselves on informing our readers with the most accurate information thanks to automated tools that notify us anytime a card issuer makes an important change. This allows us to rapidly update our credit card listings, reviews, and recommendations with the latest rates, introductory offers, fees, and card benefits.

Meet Our Credit Cards Expert

Ben Woolsey is Investopedia's Senior Editor for Credit Cards. He has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including marketing for banking and financial institutions such as Associates First Capital and Bank One. Prior to Investopedia, he managed credit card content for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com.