Almost everyone uses credit cards these days, and most people have stopped carrying checkbooks entirely. Purchase by plastic has become a part of our daily lives. You may even have multiple cards – one for gas or travel, another for groceries and yet another for large purchases like appliances and furniture.
Given this widespread credit card use, rewards credit cards are a great way to profit from your expenses. These programs provide all the convenience and benefits of the best credit cards along with the chance to capitalize on free flights, hotels, meals and more. Dozens and dozens of reward credit cards are available, but after careful research our top picks are Discover it™, American Express ® Gold Card and Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card.
Due to fierce competition and high demand for accessible credit, creditors offer rewards cards of all kinds. Frequent flyer mile cards are the most well known among travel rewards credit cards. For regular travelers, these cards offer a way to pick up free flights and travel benefits. If you prefer to stay closer to home, many of the best credit cards' reward programs let you acquire points you can redeem for gift cards, merchandise or services such as rental cars or hotel stays. Most programs offer cash rewards credit cards too; they typically refund 1 percent of all purchases you make with the card. You can have the cash back applied directly to your account or receive a regular check for your earnings.
Rewards benefits and limitations vary from card to card, so there are important disadvantages of credit card rewards to compare and consider. For example, many rewards cards require that you pay an annual fee. Additionally, reward cards don’t typically offer the low APRs of the best credit cards. Global and national economics have most consumers pinching pennies, but even in this environment, rewards cards are a sound alternative to typical credit cards.
The best reward credit card for you will depend on your credit rating, your lifestyle and the rewards you're seeking. We first considered the benefits of each card rewards program. Our reviews also account for interest rates, annual fees, customer support and extras. The best credit card for rewards for you, regardless of your lifestyle, should excel in these five essential areas.
Reward programs typically operate on a point-based system where one dollar spent earns you one rewards point or a certain number of free flight miles. The best cash rewards credit card will offer you bonuses such as double points at selected retailers or on certain types of purchases. Beware of expiration dates and point limits as you make your rewards card selection.
While rewards themselves are a nice bonus, you should still expect reward cards to offer reasonable interest rates. Otherwise, the money saved through rewards will quickly be nullified by interest charges. To prevent this scenario, many consumers do not carry balances on their rewards cards.
Annual fees are par for the course with most reward programs. We looked for reward credit cards with minimal or no annual fees. International transaction fees should also be a major consideration as you choose your best rewards credit card option, since many of the top programs focus on travel benefits. Late fees and penalty fees and rates also affected our rankings.
Trustworthy creditors provide cardholders with zero liability coverage in the event of unauthorized transactions and, in many cases, federal law requires this level of protection. You should also expect good online banking options, free account alerts and travel-insurance benefits with your rewards credit cards.
From telephone customer support to emergency card replacement, good customer support is a must. For the best reward card providers, this goes beyond providing email addresses and toll-free phone numbers. Expect timely help and good emergency options when it's your money at stake.
We want to ensure that you have the best experience possible with a new reward credit card. On this site, you’ll find our side-by-side feature comparison, in-depth reviews and articles about rewards credit cards to help you get the most out of your next rewards credit card.
At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™
|Discover it™||American Express ® Gold Card||Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express||BankAmericard® Power Rewards® Credit Card|
Get Yours Now
|Cash Back Rewards|
|Sign-up Bonus||30,000 mile bonus after $500 spent in first 3 months|
|Bonus Points||Specified Online||Delta and Northwest flights|
|Earn Bonus Points On|
|Redeem Points On|
|Credit status required||Excellent||Excellent||Good-excellent||Excellent|
|24/7 account access|
|Travel accident insurance|
|Rental car insurance|
|Lost luggage reimbursement|
|Standard APR||10.99% - 22.99% (V)||N/A[You must pay your balance in full each month]||15.24%-19.24% Variable||12.99%-2.099%|
|Introductory period||14 months||None||None||12 months|
|Grace period||25 days||20 days||25 days||25 days|
|Cash advance APR||24.99%||None||25.24%||20.99%-24.99%|
|Annual fee||None||Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $125||$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95||None|
|Over limit fee||None||None||None||$35|
|International purchase fee||None||2.7%||2.7%||3%|
|Cash advance fee||5% or $10||n/a||3%/$5||4%/$10|
|24/7 Customer Support|
|Emergency Card Replacement|