Reward points credit cards from our partners

By updated on November 25, 2014

Reward points credit cards: super bonus or super bogus?  Rewards points 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?  Points 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 points 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® 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% (Variable) 

Annual Fee

$0 intro for first year; $59 after that

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 and pay no annual fee
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
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% (Variable) 

Annual Fee

$0

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

Editor's Rating

  • Start with 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Check your first bag for free -- save up to $100 per roundtrip
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club with two one-time-use passes every year
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1-2 miles/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Start with 30,000 bonus miles
after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months

Purchase APR

15.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 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 $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM

Purchase APR

15.99% Variable

Annual Fee

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

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 on every purchase, every time with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Online exclusive 10,000 bonus points if you make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be $100 towards travel purchases
  • Book travel as you normally would and go online or call to redeem your points for a statement credit toward all or part of your travel purchases
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1.5 pts/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Online exclusive 10,000 bonus points
if you make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be $100 towards travel purchases.

Purchase APR

14.99% - 22.99% variable

Annual Fee

$0

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and 2 Admirals Club® Passes after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • 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

Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*

Bonus Miles or Points

Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and 2 Admirals Club® Passes
after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*

Purchase APR

13.99% - 21.99%* Variable

Annual Fee

$95, waived for first 12 months*

Citi ThankYou® Prestige Card

Editor's Rating

  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
  • Earn 30,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1 - 3 ThankYou® Points/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Earn 30,000 bonus ThankYou® Points
after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

Purchase APR

15.24%* Variable

Annual Fee

$450

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

Editor's Rating

  • Designed for businesses with an established credit history
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and 2 Admirals Club® One-Day Passes after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Get the first checked bag free for you and up to 4 traveling companions*
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1-2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent

Bonus Miles or Points

Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and 2 Admirals Club® One-Day Passes
after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*

Purchase APR

15.24% Variable

Annual Fee

$95, waived for first 12 months*

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

Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 50,000 Points after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Receive 1 Free Night Stay after account approval in Category 1-4 locations, that's up to 7 Free Nights
  • Receive 1 additional Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date!
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

1-5 points/$1

Bonus Miles or Points

Earn 50,000 Points
after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Purchase APR

15.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year, then $85

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Editor's Rating

  • Get 50,000 points for 2 Roundtrip Flights after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $23 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 50,000 points for 2 ROUNDTRIP FLIGHTS
after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Government fees as low as $23 not included.

Purchase APR

15.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$99

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard®

Editor's Rating

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases - Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
Apply Now Credit Needed Excellent
X

Points or Miles

2X miles/$1 on all purchases

Bonus Miles or Points

Earn 40,000 bonus miles
when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit

Purchase APR

14.99% or 18.99%* Variable

Annual Fee

$89 - Waived first year