Rewards Credit Card Finder 2019

Find the card that gives you the most rewards for your spending.

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Best rewards credit cards

Ultimately, the “best” credit card comes down to your specific needs. However, there are many options that are well above the rest.

Here are a few excellent cards to help you start your search.

Best for premium travel: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is more expensive than most premium travel cards (see rates & fees). However, it’s often the go-to choice for those who want to travel in style, offering fantastic value for the price
  • Rewards. Earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. And earn 5x points when you book prepaid hotels through American Express travel. These are top-notch rates for travel purchases. Earn 1x points on other eligible purchases.
  • Fee credits.
    Every calendar year, you can receive up to $200 in airline fee credits and up to $200 in Uber credits. You’ll also receive statement credit every four to four and a half years for your Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • Premium travel perks. Receive complimentary benefits like daily breakfast, room upgrades when available and property amenities when you book stays at properties in the Fine Hotels & Resorts Program.

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Best for everyday purchases: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

If you spend a lot on everyday purchases, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express could be the right pick. You’ll pay an annual fee, but you’ll find stellar rewards on groceries and select US streaming subscriptions, as well as a strong rewards rate on gas and transit.

  • Rewards. Earn 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to 6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%. Earn 6% cash back on select US streaming subscriptions, as well as 3% cash back at US gas stations and 3% cash back on transit such as rideshare and parking. Earn 1% cash back on other eligible purchases.
  • Welcome offer. Earn $250 back after you make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of card membership.
  • Intro APR. Get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months following your account opening. After that, your APR reverts to 14.49% to 25.49% variable (see rates & fees).

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Best for flat-rate cash back: Citi® Double Cash Card

If you consistently pay your balance in full, you’ll find solid rewards with the Citi® Double Cash Card. When you pay off your purchases, you’ll earn a better cashback rate than you’ll find with other no-annual-fee, flat-rate cashback cards.

  • Rewards. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases and another 1% as you pay them off.
  • No annual fee. You’ll get a strong cashback rate without having to pay an annual fee.
  • Intro APR. Enjoy 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months following your account opening and 15.49% to 25.49% variable after that. This is an excellent intro APR for balance transfers — one of the best on the market.

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Best for travel rewards with no annual fee: PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card

This card offers tremendous value for no annual fee: a strong signup bonus, top-notch rewards, an intro APR and travel credits.

  • Rewards. Earn 3x points on all eligible travel purchases — an already strong rate. If you’re a PenFed Honors Advantage member, you’ll bump that rate up to 4x points on all travel purchases. On all other purchases, you’ll earn 1.5x points.
  • Travel credits. Each calendar year, you’ll receive $100 in statement credit toward incidental air travel fees. And every five years you’ll receive a $100 statement credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.
  • Welcome offer. Earn 25,000 bonus points after you make $2,500 in purchases within the first 90 days of card membership.

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Best hotel credit card: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Few hotel cards charge as high an annual fee as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (see rates & fees). Then again, few offer as many high-value perks. Not only will you earn excellent points on Marriott Bonvoy purchases, you’ll also enjoy benefits that can offset a large portion of the card’s annual fee.

  • Welcome offer. Earn 75,000 bonus points after you make $3,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of card membership.
  • Rewards. When you make eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties, you’ll earn 6x points. Earn 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. And you’ll earn 2x points on other eligible purchases.
  • Statement credits. Every year, you’ll receive $300 in statement credits for purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels and $100 in statement credits every four years for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

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Best for dining: Citi Prestige® Credit Card

With the card’s market-leading 5x points on dining, you can earn a 10% effective reward rate after point transfers to select airlines. The card is also a stellar choice for travel, with strong rewards in this category, as well as travel credits and a fourth-night-free benefit.
  • Rewards. Earn 5x points on air travel and restaurants. Earn 3x points on hotels and cruise lines, and 1x points on all other purchases.
  • Luxury perks. Get complimentary Priority Pass Select membership and up to $250 in travel credits every calendar year. Get your fourth night free when you stay at least four consecutive nights through a ThankYou.com booking — a benefit that’s capped at two times each calendar year.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you make $4,000 in purchases on your card within the first 3 months of account opening.

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How we selected our top cards

We compared several features among available rewards cards, including rewards categories, points earned per dollar spent, the average value of points upon redemption, welcome offer value, annual fees, introductory APRs and other perks or benefits a consumer might weigh when looking for a rewards card. The cards that stood out above the rest in one or more of these categories earned a spot on our list.

What’s changed in 2019

The revamped Uber Visa Card now offers 5% back on Uber, Uber Eats and JUMP purchases, but only 3% back on dining. When it was known as the Uber Visa Card, it offered 4% back on dining — a killer combination with a $0 annual fee. We now give the crown to the Citi Prestige® Credit Card. Though it has a $495 annual fee, it offers the highest reward rate on dining and a suite of luxury travel perks.

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Our pick for a rewards credit card

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 1.25x miles on all purchases; 10x miles on purchases made through hotels.com/venture until January 2020
  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 within your first 3 months when you open your account
  • Get 0% intro APR on purchases for your first 12 months, a variable APR of 13.74% – 23.74% applies thereafter
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
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Updated November 15th, 2019
Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
30,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases
$150
Earn 3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases. Rates & fees
$150 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1.25x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
$0
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
$150 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1.5% cash back on all purchases
$0
Unlimited 1.5% cash back. Rates & fees
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees

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How do rewards credit cards work?

With a rewards credit card, you get a percentage back of what you spend, typically in the form of cash back, points or miles. You can redeem this earned currency through your card provider’s rewards portal. These points and miles represent a certain value in cash which can range depending on the rewards program.

For cashback cards, rewards are usually expressed as a percentage. If a card offers 2% cash back on all purchases, for example, you’ll receive $2 back for every $100 you spend.

For other cards, rewards are usually expressed as a point or mile multiple. A card might offer 2x points on all purchases, for example, which means you’ll receive 2 points for every dollar you spend.

How to choose a rewards card

Given the variety of rewards cards on the market, picking the right credit card could seem daunting. Here’s how to simplify the process:

  1. Figure out if you need an interest-free period. Most rewards credit cards that offer a 0% intro APR period are cashback credit cards. This can help you save money on interest if you want to make a large purchase and pay it off in 12 months or more. This can also work if you want to transfer some of your other credit card balances and use the 0% interest to pay off your debt.
  2. Consider how often you travel. If you’re often on the road, a gas credit card could be an option. But if you frequently fly, consider a general travel rewards card or an airline cobranded credit card. In addition to earning accelerated points on your travel-related purchases, you can get perks like free checked bags, elite status, airport lounge access, travel insurance and more.
  3. Decide if you want to pay an annual fee. Many cards offer decent rewards for no annual fee. But if you’re looking to get the highest rewards rate, the most generous welcome offer or a host of premium perks, expect to pay a hefty annual fee.
  4. Look for welcome offers. Many rewards cards provide big signup bonuses that can easily pay for flights, hotel stays or vacations after you reach the requirements. Just make sure the card will bring value even after you clear the signup bonus.
  5. Consider whether you intend on carrying a balance. Carrying a balance can eat into your rewards earnings. That’s because this type of card often comes with higher interest rates. But even if you’re willing to go past slightly higher APR, some cards won’t allow you to carry your balance at all. These are credit card/charge card hybrids that prevent you from carrying your balance for most purchases.

Read more about rewards credit cards

Steven Dashiell

Steven Dashiell
Credit Cards Writer

Hi, Steve here! Before I decided on the Chase Freedom, I had a ton of questions about how Chase Ultimate Rewards worked, whether this card could transfer points and just how this card differed from other issuers’ rewards cards. Here are some of the articles that answered my questions and helped me make my decision.

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