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A rewards credit card is a great way to earn incentives for shopping that you’re already doing. The highest level of rewards are targeted toward travel spending, while restaurant, grocery, and gas purchases can still earn cashback in the 2-5% range.
As long as you maintain your credit score, a rewards credit card is a no-brainer.
The Best Rewards Credit Cards 2023 Summary Table
|Best For||Name||Rewards Rate||Annual Fee||Sign Up Bonus||Interest Rate|
|Best for Travellers||Chase Sapphire Preferred||$1 spent = 1 point earned||$95/annual fee||60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening account||21.24% – 28.24% variable APR|
|Best for Excellent Credit||Capital One Ventures Rewards Card||$1 spent = 2 miles earned||$95/annual fee||75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening an account||20.74% – 28.74% variable APR|
|Best with No Annual Fee||Discover It Cashback Credit Card||1% cashback on all purchases|
5% cashback on certain quarterly categories
|$0 annual fee||Discover matches cashback at the end of the first year||0% introductory APR for first 15 months; Then, 16.99-27.99% variable APR|
|Best for Travel & Transit||American Express Green Card||3x points on travel, restaurant & transit purchases|
1x points on all other categories
|$150 annual fee||20% on travel & transit purchases, up to $200 – purchases must be made within first 6 months of account |
Plus 60,000 bonus rewards points
|20.99-28.99% variable APR|
|Best for Customizable Cashback||Citi Custom Cash Card||5% cashback on first $500 spent in top spend category, per billing cycle|
1% unlimited cashback on all other categories
|$0 annual fee||20,000 bonus points, after spending $1,500 within the first 6 months||0% introductory APR for the first 15 months; then 18.99% – 28.99% variable APR|
|Best for Straightforward Cashback||Wells Fargo Active Cash Card||2% cashback on all spending||$0 annual fee||$200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 months||0% introductory APR for the first 15 months; then, 19.99-29.99% variable APR|
The Best Rewards Credit Cards 2023
Chase Sapphire Preferre
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card uses a points system to calculate rewards. Points can be redeemed at a higher value for travel-related expenses like airfare, dining, and Lyft rides.
Each dollar spent with your Sapphire Preferred Card is worth one point, and each point is worth $0.01 in redemption value.
The Sapphire Preferred card carries a $95 annual fee and a 21.24% – 28.24% variable APR. There is no foreign transaction fee.
The current sign up bonus offers 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 or more on your card within the first 3 months of the account opening.
The downside of this card is that the points system can be cumbersome to calculate when determining exactly how much your points are worth. The high redemption rates are only available when redeemed through Chase’s travel partners, as well
While you can redeem your points for cashback, gift cards, and statement credit (like Chase Ultimate Rewards cards), its real benefit comes from the 25% bump to point value you get when you spend your points on travel.
You can access many top travel services but you need to go through your Chase dashboard to apply points.
Cardholders earn 5x on travel purchases made through Chase; 2x on all other travel purchases; 3x points on online grocery; 3x points on dining and streaming. We should note this makes it a great dining rewards card in its own right.
Chase provides anniversary rewards, including a 10% points boost and $50 statement credit for hotel stays purchased through Chase.
Capital One Venture Rewards Card
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The Capital One Venture Rewards Card requires excellent credit, but provides impressive rewards.
This card uses a miles rewards system. One dollar spent on your card earns 2 miles. You earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars when booking through Capital One Travel.
New cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus miles once they spend $4,000 on their Capital One Venture Rewards Card within the first 3 months. There is no limit to the number of miles you can earn, and miles won’t expire as long as the account remains open.
Miles can be applied to purchases made outside the Capital One Travel, though you won’t earn the higher points. There is also a reimbursement process for travel-related purchases made through other vendors, though it involves a few extra steps.
This card comes with some additional travel benefits, like $100 towards either Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, plus two annual visits to the Capital One Lounge network.
The purchase and transfer rate are the same for the Venture Rewards Card, at 20.74% – 28.74% variable APR. One downside is that there is no introductory APR on this card.
The annual fee is relatively low, at $95/year.
Discover It Cashback Rewards Card
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Those looking for a straightforward cashback card with no annual fee will like the Discover It Cashback Rewards Card, with no APR for the first 15 months and a relatively low 16.99-27.99% variable APR.
Discover doesn’t use a points or miles system; instead, it gives you 1% cashback on all purchases.
Each quarter, several categories earn a 5% cashback rate. Discover chooses these categories – for example, online shopping, restaurants, or gas stations. Cardholders must take the extra step of opting-in to the extra cashback, but the process is relatively simple since Discover sends opt-in emails that don’t require a login.
Cardholders can redeem their cashback at retailers like Amazon or can apply it to their statement balance. There is no calculating points or special higher value categories for points.
There’s no limit on the amount of cashback that you can earn.
A big perk of the Discover It Cashback Card is the lack of an annual fee and low variable APR. The downside is that the 1% cashback rate is fairly low compared to some other rewards cards we reviewed.
American Express Green Card
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If your job or lifestyle involves frequent travel and transit, the American Express Green Card has some attractive rewards.
Cardholders earn 3 points for every dollar spent on travel, restaurants, and transit, plus one point per dollar on all other categories.
The American Express Green Card racks up points quickly, thanks to its broad categories. Like other travel cards, you can earn 3x points on travel expenses like airfare, rentals, cruises, and hotels.
AirBnB counts as travel too, and buses, trains, taxis, and ride-share costs all qualify under the transit category. The restaurant category includes delivery and take-out, not just fine dining.
These three categories make the Green Card appealing for commuters, frequent travelers, and those accustomed to city living.
This rewards credit card comes with some additional travel benefits. Cardholders can receive a statement credit on CLEAR Plus (an identity verification service at airports) if they pay for an annual membership using their Green Card.
Cardholders also receive $100 credit to LoungeBuddy, trip delay insurance, and a Global Assist Hotline. A one-year ShopRunner subscription is included, which provides free 2-day shipping from thousands of retailers.
The annual fee is $150 – higher than some other
The Citi Custom Cash Card
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The Citi Custom Cash Card lets you choose one of several common spending categories – including gas, restaurants, grocery, and some travel – to earn 5 points per $1 spent on the first $500 spent. 1 point/$1 applies to all subsequent purchases in your Top Category and all other purchases.
The Custom Cash Card is convenient if you have fairly predictable spending habits and like the guarantee of automatically maximizing your 5x cash back each month without having to activate special offers.
Points can be applied as a statement credit or redeemed for a bank deposit, check, Shop with Points on Amazon, and some travel services.
Per Citi’s terms, the points-to-dollars rate can vary depending on what you’re redeeming them for, and Citi reserves the right to change the conversion rate. In general, 10 points = $1, so 10,000 points can be redeemed for $100.
The Custom Cash Card has a transfer and purchase APR of 0% for the first 15 months. Afterward, it carries an 18.99% – 28.99% variable APR. It doesn’t have an annual fee.
As an introductory offer, if you spend $1,500 with your card within the first 6 months, you’ll receive 20,000 Thank You Points, which can be redeemed for $200.
The rewards system for this card is more confusing than some others. Both “points” and “cashback” are used in the terms, and it isn’t always clear which is meant.
The travel redemption options are also limited compared to other cards we reviewed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which Credit Card Gives The Best Rewards?
Premium credit cards are available to individuals with excellent credit scores and other markers of reliability. For the top rewards, look for cashback (or equivalent) in the 5% range.
How Can I Use My Credit Card Rewards?
Most high-rewards credit cards give you multiple options for redeeming rewards. You can apply them to your account, redeem them for gift cards, or sometimes use specialized purchasing portals to earn additional rewards – most commonly on travel.
How Many Points Can I Get From My Credit Card Rewards?
It is possible to earn hundreds of dollars worth of points from credit card rewards. Of course, it depends on how much you spend.
Travel expenses earn the highest rate of rewards in most cases, though some cards let you earn a higher rate on grocery or gas station purchases, instead.
How Do I Keep Track Of My Credit Card Rewards?
You can view your credit card rewards from your account dashboard. Some cards also have special purchasing portals accessible from your account page too, which allows you to spend your rewards and earn more awards in the process.
What Should My Credit Score Be To Get A Rewards Credit Card?
Rewards credit cards are generally available once you have a good-to-excellent credit score. The higher your credit score, the better the rewards rate. You should investigate rewards credit cards once your credit score is above 670.