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Best credit card rewards program – 2022

From travel rewards to cash back, you can find a program that works for you.

Nearly every credit card provider offers some form of rewards program. To help you decide which is right for you, we reviewed the top credit card rewards programs and ranked them into categories. When ranking these programs, we assessed several functions and features offered, including how simple it is to earn and redeem rewards, the number of travel partners available, additional perks and credit cards available.

Whether you’re looking to earn travel rewards, points, cash back or something else, there’s likely something out there for you.

What’s the most valuable rewards program?

You might be surprised at the value a rewards program can deliver — especially if you transfer your points or miles and do your research to get the best redemptions. Here’s a general ranking of the major programs, from most valuable to least.

Rewards programWhy it shines
1. Amex Membership RewardsMore transfer partners than Chase Ultimate Rewards. Lets you transfer points to airline and hotel programs. The Platinum Card® from American Express offers stellar rewards on eligible flights.
2. Chase Ultimate RewardsExcellent redemption value on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards with a Chase Sapphire® card. Lets you transfer points to airline and hotel programs.
3. Citi ThankYou RewardsSolid roster of transfer partners. Points from the Citi Premier® Card are worth 1.25x when redeemed for airfare through the ThankYou Travel Center.
4. Capital One RewardsSolid roster of transfer partners. Offers an excellent flat-rate travel card.
5. Bank of AmericaSimple 1-cent-per-point redemption rate. Offers a $95-a-year travel card with a 1.5x-point base rewards rate on top of 2x points on travel and dining — unusual for a travel card.

Best credit card program for travel partners: American Express Membership Rewards

Here are a few of the primary ways you can earn and redeem Membership Rewards points. Check out our full Amex points-earning guide and our full Amex points redemption guide for more information.

Average Amex Membership Rewards point valueHow to earn Amex Membership Rewards pointsMembership Rewards redemption optionsAmex Membership Rewards perksFinder’s credit card pick for Membership Rewards
2.0 cents
  • Spend in eligible earning categories
  • Refer a friend
  • Book hotels through rocket miles
  • Full list of options
  • Cash back or gift cards
  • Booking travel
  • Merchandise
  • Transfer points to travel partners
  • Full list of options
The Platinum Card® from American Express This card offers a huge variety of travel perks and features while earning 5x miles on directly booked flights

Best credit card rewards program for booking travel: Chase Ultimate Rewards

Here are a few of the primary ways you can earn and redeem Membership Rewards points. Check out our full Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning guide and our full Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption guide for more information.

Average Chase Ultimate Rewards point valueHow to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards pointsChase Ultimate Rewards redemption optionsChase Ultimate Rewards perksFinder’s credit card pick for Chase Ultimate Rewards
2.0 cents
  • Spend in eligible earning categories
  • Refer a friend
  • Complete welcome offers
  • Shop through Chase’s online portal
  • Full list of options
  • Redeem for cash back or gift cards
  • Merchandise through the Chase portal
  • Book travel
  • Transfer points to travel partners
  • Full list of options
Chase Freedom Flex℠
This is an incredibly versatile card for earning Chase Ultimate Reward points. You can earn 5% back in rotating categories each quarter, up to $1,500. After that, you’ll earn a fixed 1% back on all other purchases. You can also earn 5% on travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 5% on Lyft rides through March 2022, 3% at restaurants, which includes takeout and delivery, and for drugstore purchases.

Best credit card program to supplement your rewards: Citi ThankYou rewards program

Here are a few of the primary ways you can earn and redeem Citi ThankYou rewards. Check out our full Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning guide and our full Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption guide for more information.

Average Citi ThankYou rewards point valueHow to earn Citi ThankYou rewards pointsCiti ThankYou rewards redemption optionsCiti ThankYou rewards perksFinder’s credit card pick for Citi ThankYou rewards
2.0 cents
  • Complete welcome offers
  • Spend in eligible categories
  • Book travel through the Citi travel center
  • Purchase Citi points
  • Full list of options
  • Transfer to travel partners
  • Book travel through the Citi travel portal
  • Purchase gift cards
  • Redeem statements toward school loans or mortgage
  • Full list of options
Citi Premier® Card
With the Citi Premier® Card no longer accepting applications, the Citi Premier is the new go-to for earning Citi ThankYou points. The card costs just $95 annually which grants you a sizable 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, flights and hotels and 1x points on everything else. The card also comes with a 80,000 point welcome offer after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months from account opening, which is a large bonus for the card’s annual fee.

Best credit card program for simplicity: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Here are a few of the primary ways you can earn and redeem Capital One rewards program. Check out our full Capital One rewards program-earning guide and our full Capital One rewards program redemption guide for more information.

Average Capital One rewards program point valueHow to earn Capital One rewards program pointsCapital One rewards program redemption optionsCapital One rewards program perksFinder’s credit card pick for Capital One rewards program
2.0 cents
    • Transfer miles to transfer partners
    • Book travel through Capital One’s travel portal
    • Purchase gift cards
    • Redeem for cash back
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card This card has the biggest earning potential. It offers a competitive flat earning rate of 2%, and 5x miles on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel.
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How to choose the best credit cards rewards program for you

You can get value out of most any rewards program if you make use of it. Consider these factors to help you determine the program you’ll benefit from most.

  • Do you have a preferred credit card issuer? If you’re already satisfied with one of your existing credit cards, check out that brand’s reward card options first.
  • What are your preferred rewards? Your preferred reward of choice might be worth more or less per point depending on the program, so make sure to do your research. For example, certain cards under the Chase Ultimate Rewards program offer additional value on travel when you book through the Chase travel portal.
  • Do you plan on transferring your points? Point transfers are one of the best ways to make the most of your points. Though not all point transfer opportunities are the same across credit card rewards programs. Review each program’s transfer partners to make sure you have a viable option or two when it comes to traveling.
  • Do you value flexibility? Credit card loyalty programs typically offer varying levels of flexibility in how you redeem your points. Some may carry unusual or rare options, such as the ability to donate or receive miles with another account.
  • Do you have a favored airline or hotel? If you travel often and prefer the services of a particular airline or hotel, you might get the most value out of the benefits and perks of their specific loyalty program.
  • Do the credit cards fit your spending needs? Above all else, look for a credit card that fits your financial habits and needs. If the terms aren’t great or you can’t swallow the annual fee, it’s best to consider other options.

Compare rewards credit cards

Want a better look at all of your rewards card options? Select up to 4 credit cards and click “Compare” to see how they stack up side-by-side.

1 - 3 of 39
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
Earn unlimited 1.25x miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
$0
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Instacart Mastercard®
Instacart Mastercard®
Get a free year of Instacart+ and a $100 Instacart credit automatically upon approval. Membership auto-renews. Terms apply
5% cash back on Instacart, 5% on travel through the Chase Travel Center, 2% on dining, gas, and select streaming services and 1% on all other purchases
$0
Not just for Instacart, this card also offers competitive cash back in everyday categories like dining and gas.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

2x miles on every purchase, every day, 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5x miles when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
$95
Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months ​from account opening.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

So long as you pick a credit card that fits your financial habits and redeem on purchases that you value, you’ll find that most credit card rewards programs have something valuable to offer. And if you’re looking for a program that is more specialized, you can check out the best hotel loyalty programs and best airline loyalty programs to see if one better suits your needs — or would make for a great addition to your existing loyalty membership.

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