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This article was last updated Nov 08, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Whether you spend a large amount on groceries each month, have a long daily commute to work or travel from time to time, earning rewards on those purchases is a great way to help offset the costs.
We’ll break down several rewards credit cards to help you determine which one is the best fit, depending on how you plan to use the card.
|Best rewards credit cards|
|Best overall||Chase Sapphire Reserve®|
|Best for dining and travel||Uber Visa Card|
|Best for supermarket spending||Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express|
|Best for gas||Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi|
|Best rotating categories||Discover it® Cash Back|
How we chose the cards in this round-up
We chose cards that offered the most points in dining and travel, groceries, gas and rotating categories. Then we balanced that with how generous the sign-up and welcome offer is, points you can earn with the card, what perks each card offers and how much you’ll pay yearly to have it.
Best overall: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
$300 Annual Travel Credit, Airport Lounge Access, and Flexible Redemption Options
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
See additional details for Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Best for: If you like to travel and like to dine out regularly, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the card for you. New card members earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That gives you $750 toward travel when you redeem those points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
Why we like it: We chose this card for myriad reasons including: a sign-up bonus that can be redeemed instantly for travel; good points in the travel and dining categories; and the chance to earn generous bonus points that can be used in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
The card offers 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. This card is even more attractive because you get 50% more value on your points when booking travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Travel includes airline tickets, hotel accommodations, car rentals, vacation packages and cruises. You don’t have to worry about blackout dates or travel restrictions when booking through the portal.
If you don’t want to spend your points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you can do a 1:1 transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs including Aer Lingus AerClub, British Airways Executive Club, Flying Blue Air France KLM, Iberia Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.
You get a credit of up to $100 to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. The card also comes with free Priority Pass Select™ membership. The Prestige membership, valued at $399 a year, gets you into more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world. Your guests will be charged $27 a visit.
It’s no surprise that this luxury card offers the very best in travel and purchase perks, including trip delay/cancellation reimbursement and lost luggage reimbursement, among others.
Your points don’t expire as long as your account remains open.
Things to watch out for: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s $450 annual fee may be too steep for some. You need Excellent credit to qualify for this card. Priority Pass access is nice, but it doesn’t get you into lounges operated by the major airlines.
Fees: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s annual fee that isn’t waived in the first year. It comes with a 18.74% - 25.74% Variable purchase APR and a 18.74% - 25.74% Variable balance transfer APR. You’ll pay Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater balance transfer fee.
Best for travel and dining: Uber Visa Card
Best for: Do you dine out, travel or use Uber on the regular? If so, you should consider the Uber Visa Card. The card offers 5% back in Uber Cash on Uber rides, Uber Eats, and JUMP, 3% in Uber Cash on restaurants, bars, hotels, and airfare, and 1% back in Uber Cash on all other purchases.
Why we like it: Earn $100 in Uber Cash after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. Additionally, the card comes with a $0 annual fee.
If your mobile phone is stolen or damaged, you can get up to $600 in insurance when you pay your mobile phone bill with your card. You also get a free FICO® score with the card.
There is no limit on the amount of rewards you can earn, and your rewards won’t expire. And as for foreign transaction fees? There are none.
Things to watch out for: Rewards are earned in the form of Uber Cash and can only be redeemed for Uber rides, orders with Uber Eats and rides using JUMP bikes and scooters.
That said, your Uber Cash can be redeemed at a rate of 1:1. For example, if you spend $200 on Uber rides in one month, you will earn $10 back in the form of Uber Cash. That $10 in Uber Cash can then be used to pay for $10 in products and services, such as an Uber Eats order, through the Uber app.
Fees: The card comes with a $0 annual fee. You’ll pay a regular purchase and balance transfer APR of 17.24%, 23.24% or 27.99% variable. The balance transfer fee is either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
The information related to the Uber Visa Card has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
Best for supermarket spending: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
$250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.*
NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions & 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
1% back on other purchases*
- Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
- NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
- NEW 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
- 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
- Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
- Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%
- $95 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Best for: If you spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a great credit card option. It starts with a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Then it hits you with 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). That adds up to $360 cash back if you reach the spending cap every year. There is also an additional offer – NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions & 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
Why we like it: This card has the highest supermarket cash back rate of any card we could find. You also get pretty good cash back at gas stations, streaming services, and transit. You can redeem your cash back as a credit statement or on the reward dollar website. You can redeem reward dollars for statement credits in increments of $25 whenever your total balance is $25 or more, at a credit of $1 for every reward dollar redeemed.
Like most American Express cards, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express comes with benefits including car rental, extended warranty protection and ticket presales and exclusive seats with Entertainment Access® for concerts, sporting events and more. You also get access to the Global Assist® Hotline, which helps with services such as lost passport replacement assistance, translation services, missing luggage assistance, and emergency legal and medical referrals when traveling more than 100 miles from home.
Things to watch out for: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express’s $95 annual fee is not waived during the first year. You don’t get the higher supermarket cashback rewards for purchases at superstores or warehouse clubs. You also don’t get the higher cashback rewards for gas purchases at superstores, supermarkets, or warehouse clubs that sell gas.
After you hit the $6,000 yearly maximum at supermarkets, the cash back you earn on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express drops to just 1%. Some may not feel that the money you need to spend in the first three months of having the card is worth it to get the welcome offer.
This card also does not allow you to transfer your cash back to airline or hotel loyalty programs. You have to redeem your cash back at American Express’ rewards website rather than the more popular Membership Rewards portal. And if you use the card while traveling outside the country, you’ll pay a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Fees: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges a $95 annual fee. The card offers an intro APR of 0% for 12 months on purchases and an intro APR of 0% for 12 months on balance transfers. After the intro APRs end, a 14.49%-25.49% Variable purchase APR and 14.49%-25.49% Variable balance transfer APR applies. The balance transfer fee is Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. You need Excellent/Good credit to qualify for this card.
Best for gas: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter & 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
0% fee for transactions while traveling abroad
$0 annual fee
- Discover one of Citi's best cash back rewards cards designed exclusively for Costco members
- 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
- 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
- 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- No annual fee with your paid Costco membership and enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases
- Receive an annual credit card reward certificate, which is redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses, including Puerto Rico
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 16.74%. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
See additional details for Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
Best for: If you shop regularly at Costco and also like taking advantage of its lower gas prices, this is the credit card for you. While there isn’t a sign-up bonus, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi does give you a generous 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter, 3% on restaurants & travel, 2% at Costco & Costco.com, 1% on all other purchases.
Why we like it: You’ve got to love a card that not only gives high cash back for gas, but also gives pretty good cash back for popular categories like restaurants and travel. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi has a $0 annual fee as long as you have a Costco membership, which starts at $60 a year for the Gold Star level.
If you step up to Costco’s Executive Membership, at $120 a year, you’ll get an annual 2% cashback award of up to $1,000 on qualified purchases at Costco and Costco.com. You’ll also get a $20 Costco Cash Card for a limited time.
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi comes with perks including damage and theft purchase protection, an extended warranty, trip cancellation and interruption protection, car rental and travel accident insurance and travel and emergency assistance. You also get access to Citi® Price Rewind, which helps you find the lowest price on things you buy with your card. You have up to 60 days to submit a request or search for a lower price on what you bought. If one is found, you may get the price difference, depending on what you bought.
Things to watch out for: The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi’s cash back you get for Costco and Costco.com purchases is lower than you’d expect for a card that’s included in the grocery category.
For those holding an Executive Membership, the extra 2% cash back doesn’t apply toward items such as cigarettes or tobacco-related products, gas, Costco cash cards, postage stamps, alcoholic beverages in certain states, or purchases made at food courts. Membership fees are not applicable either, nor are travel purchases covering surcharges, gratuities, trip protection, travel purchased through a third party, upgrades, rental car equipment, resort charges and port charges.
If you’re expecting to get your cashback rewards as you spend, then the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a disappointment. The card only hands out cash back once a year as a reward certificate you get after your February billing statement closes. The clock starts ticking, because the deadline to redeem that certificate is Dec. 31 — and it has to be spent in a single transaction for either merchandise or cash back. You can’t use the certificate at Costco.com or Costco Travel.
Fees: The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi has a $0 annual fee, but you do need to buy a Costco membership to get it. The card has a 16.74% (Variable) purchase APR. There’s a 16.74% (Variable) balance transfer APR and a 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum balance transfer fee. You need Excellent credit to qualify for this card.
Best for rotating bonus categories: Discover it® Cash Back
Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically*
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*
Any amount, any time. Cash back rewards never expire*
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
- Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
- Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
- Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
- Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
- No annual fee.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Discover it® Cash Back
Best for: Looking to get extra bonus points in rotating categories every quarter? Then the Discover it® Cash Back is your card. For new cardmembers, Discover will automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.* And you earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Why we like it: You get 5% cash back quarterly, when you activate, in the following categories:
- January – March 2019: Grocery stores
- April – June 2019 – Gas stations, Uber and Lyft
- July – September 2019 – Restaurants and PayPal
- October – December 2019 – Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com
Discover also recently announced its cashback calendar for 2020:
- January – March 2020: Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (Activate now)
- April – June 2020: Gas stations, Uber, Lyft and wholesale clubs (Activate starting Feb. 1)
- July – September 2020: Restaurants and PayPal (Activate starting May 1)
- October – December 2020: Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com (Activate starting Aug. 1)
The Discover it® Cash Back gives you free access to your FICO® Score on monthly statements, online and on the mobile app. You can also use the Freeze it® on/off switch feature that stops purchases, cash advances and balance transfers if you lose or misplace your card.
If you prefer not to get your rewards in cash back, you can go shopping on the Discover Deals website. Earn more cashback bonuses when you shop for deals from top brands.
Things to watch out for: You must activate the bonus categories each quarter in order to get the bonus cash back. The cashback quarterly maximum is $1,500, but there’s no limit on how much overall cash back you can earn. After the first year, the Discover it® Cash Back’s cashback match ends. This card doesn’t have the travel and purchase benefits you see offered by other cards. You need Excellent/Good credit to qualify for this card.
Fees: The card has a $0 annual fee. The card starts with a generous 0% for 14 months intro purchase APR and 0% for 14 months intro balance transfer APR. After the intro APRs end, the card has a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable purchase APR and 13.49% - 24.49% Variable balance transfer APR, with a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.
How to choose the right rewards card FAQ’s
There’s more to rewards-based credit cards than the points you earn on purchases. Can you earn cash back or bonus points? Do you have to jump over hurdles to get them? Can you get purchase and travel perks? Is there a cap on the points you can earn? There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to deciding which airline credit card is the best one. We help you decide what’s most important to you in a card with our answers below.
What’s the sign-up and welcome offer for new cardmembers?
These are a nice launch pad for accumulating points that can be redeemed for things like travel, cash back and merchandise once you spend the required amount.
What spending is needed for sign-up and welcome offers?
It’s really easy to be impressed with the bonus points you can earn with reward cards — but look carefully at how much you need to spend in the first 90 days you get the card to see if it’s worth racking up charges to get the sign-up and welcome offers.
How many points per $1 spent can I earn?
See which cards offer the most points in travel, dining, groceries and gas. Choose the one that gives you the best points in your chosen category.
What perks does the card offer?
Think about what you’re most likely to use. If you travel often, do you want travel protection and insurance? Do you want an extended warranty and price protection on your purchase? Is access to roadside assistance important? Do you want concierge services or access to your FICO score? Make sure you choose a card that matches the perks that you’re most likely to use.
Can I use my points for travel?
If you travel regularly, you want a card that makes it easy to use your points to pay for things like airfare, hotels, vacation packages, cruises and rental cars.
How much is the annual fee?
Some cards on this list charge an annual fee. And some of those that do waive the fee in the first year. Make sure that the points you can earn, along with the perks of the card, balance with the annual fee you’ll pay.
Do my points expire?
You want a card that doesn’t allow your points to expire after a certain amount of time.
Is there a cap on how many points I can earn?
These cards lure you in with sign-up bonuses and keep you by allowing you to continue to earn points in certain categories. So check to see that your card allows you to earn unlimited points.