Rewards Credit Cards from our partners

By updated on July 24, 2014

Reward credit cards: super bonus or super bogus?  Rewards credit cards can give you a chance to get a little something back for all the money you spend using your card each month, so what should you consider before deciding which one is right for you?  Rewards credit cards are best for consumers interested in various types of rewards who have a good credit score and pay their balance in full each month.

Are you a good candidate for a rewards credit card?

When you were little, a cookie might have been your favorite reward for good behavior, but now that you are a grown-up, rewards like airline miles, free hotel nights and perhaps a gift card to your favorite restaurant may be more your speed. If you are contemplating completing a new credit card application, you should consider the benefits of a rewards credit card. In general, credit cards that earn you rewards points are best if you pay your balance in full each month and you have good credit.

Reward credit card options

If you have an excellent or good credit rating, you will find many choices in rewards credit cards. If you want to receive special rewards toward travel or restaurants, or other types of awards, and you generally pay your bill in full each month, these cards are a great choice for you.

Different credit card companies provide different reward options. Some credit cards come with the option of trading your rewards points for cash, while others offer a wide range of choices for your points such as airline miles, credits for a hotel stay or gift cards you can use at stores, gas stations and restaurants. Before you choose the best reward credit card for your needs, you should think about how you spend your money and which rewards are most meaningful to you.

If you like to travel, an airline credit card might be your best option. If you dine out often, you may want to try a rewards card that offers gift cards for places in your area. If you are focused on saving money, a card that you can use to pay for gas could be the best rewards credit card for your needs.

How to qualify for a rewards credit card

In addition to checking on the fine print about how your rewards credit card works, you need to be aware that most credit card companies reserve their rewards credit cards for good credit customers. In spite of the fact that these cards require good credit, they often carry a slightly higher interest rate because of the rewards you can earn. Some rewards credit cards also have a higher annual fee than credit cards without rewards.

If you intend to pay your balance in full each month, then the interest rate won't matter to you, but be sure you can continue to pay your balance every time if you choose a credit card with a higher rate.

If the annual fee is too high, you could wipe out the benefits of the rewards you are earning.

Take a few minutes to estimate how much you will charge to the card and what your rewards will be at the end of a year, then compare that to the annual fee to make sure the rewards credit card is worth the extra fee. You can begin to compare rewards credit cards by checking out the list of credit card offers on this page.

How do you choose the right rewards card for your needs?

Before you apply, you need to consider what type of rewards credit card would best fit your life. Do you travel often? Perhaps a card that offers airline miles, hotel nights, or even gas rewards would be good for you. Do you love to eat out? Look for a card that gives specific rewards for dining purchases. Just want to save a bit? Consider cash back rewards cards that give a percent of your purchases back to you.

Compare reward credit card offers

Once you have decided how you will use your reward points, you should begin to compare credit card offers to see which one offers the most rewards points for the least amount of spending. For example, if your goal is to earn airline miles, you should check:

  • How quickly you can build up reward points--some rewards credit cards allow you to earn two airline miles for every dollar you charge to the credit card, while others offer one mile per dollar.
  • Where you can use your rewards--not every credit card allows you to use your points toward frequent flyer miles on every airline, so check to make sure the airline you use most is on the list of rewards.
  • Check the minimum balance requirement--some rewards credit cards require you to earn a minimum number of rewards points before you cash them in, so if you are planning on using your rewards points for your next hotel stay, make sure you can cash your points in on time.
  • Check the expiration date--if you are going to the trouble of finding the right rewards credit card, make sure the rewards don't expire before you can use them. For instance, if you intend to build up airline miles for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation two years from now, make sure your points will still be available then.

Are rewards hard to earn? Are they hard to spend?

Rewards are earned in a variety of ways, each tied to the amount you spend. Some cards will give you two miles for every dollar spent, while some offer two points toward hotel stays for every dollar. Cards can also come with as little as a one-to-one reward. As far as spending rewards, it is important to read the fine print. Most have minimum limits you must earn before you spend, while others have fast expiration terms. Comparing rewards cards is the best way to see up front which one is right for you.

Rewards sound great; is it too good to be true?

Reward cards can be a fun way to earn a little back on your expenditures. However, as always, let the buyer beware. Rewards credit cards often carry high annual fees and sometimes even high interest rates.  If you plan to carry a balance on your card, then a rewards credit card probably isn’t right for you since the interest will quickly negate any rewards you earn. 

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See How Your Card Stacks Up

Could you be getting better rewards and rates with another card? Find out.

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Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25 miles on every purchase, every day
  • No annual fee
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Points or Miles

1.25 miles/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles
once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel

Purchase APR

11.9% - 19.9% (V) 

Annual Fee

$0

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
Apply Now Credit Needed Good
X

Points or Miles

2X miles/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles
once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel

Purchase APR

13.9% - 20.9% (V) 

Annual Fee

$0 intro for first year; $59 after that

Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® - Average Credit

Editor's Rating

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, grocery, and utility purchases and 1 point per $1 everywhere else
  • Use the points you earn like cash to pay for almost any purchases you've made.
Apply Now Credit Needed Average/Fair
X

Points or Miles

1-2 pts/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

N/A

Purchase APR

24.99%* Variable

Annual Fee

$0

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • Get 25,000 points for 1 ROUNDTRIP FLIGHT after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $12 not included.
  • Get 6,000 points after your Cardmember Anniversary.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® and AirTran® Airways purchases made directly with the airlines and on Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1-2 pts/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Get 25,000 points for 1 ROUNDTRIP FLIGHT
after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $12 not included.

Purchase APR

15.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$99

Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership*
  • Your first eligible checked bag is free*
  • Group 1 boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases*
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1-2 AAdvantage® miles/$1*

Bonus Miles or Points

Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles
after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership*

Purchase APR

13.99% - 21.99%* Variable

Annual Fee

$95, waived for first 12 months*

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1-2 pts/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Earn 40,000 bonus points
when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Purchase APR

15.99% Variable

Annual Fee

Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Editor's Rating

  • Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points. Bonus points are redeemable for up to $500 in gift cards, up to $625 for airfare or other great rewards
  • Earn 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn an additional 30,000 points after another $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1-3 ThankYou Points/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points.
Bonus points are redeemable for up to $500 in gift cards, up to $625 for airfare or other great rewards

Purchase APR

13.99% - 22.99%* Variable

Annual Fee

$125; fee waived for the first 12 months*

Citi® Hilton HHonors Visa Signature® Card

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at a participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

2-6 HHonors Bonus Points/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

40,000 HHonors Bonus Points
after $1,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

Purchase APR

Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature: P+10.99% (14.24% variable) or Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Gold: P+12.99% (16.24% variable) 

Annual Fee

None

Blue Sky from American Express®

Editor's Rating

  • Welcome Bonus: Earn 7,500 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Unlimited Travel Options: Every 7,500 points that you earn can be redeemed for a $100 statement credit toward airline tickets, hotel stays and other type of travel.
  • Flexible Ways to Earn: earn 1 point for virtually every dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1 point/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Welcome Bonus: Earn 7,500 Bonus Points
after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

Purchase APR

17.24% - 22.24% Variable

Annual Fee

$0

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

Editor's Rating

  • Get 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn Points Fast: 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • You can transfer points to over 20 frequent traveler programs or use points for gift cards at popular stores.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1-3 points/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Get 25,000 Membership Rewards® points
after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.

Purchase APR

N/A 

Annual Fee

Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $175