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Experian and CreditMatch

Best Rewards Credit Cards

Whether you want cash back or points that go toward travel, these rewards cards from our partners are tops.

At Experian, one of our priorities is consumer credit and finance education. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.

Some of the best rewards credit cards offer several ways you can rack up cash back, points or miles on every purchase you make. In many cases, you may also be able to score a huge welcome bonus when you open your account.

If you're looking for your next rewards credit card, it's important to understand the type of rewards you want and how you spend your money. It's also critical that you check your credit score: Most of the best options are reserved for people with good credit or better.

With that in mind, here are some cards that can help you start your search.

5 Partner Offers

Our Picks for the Best Rewards Credit Cards
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

2 miles per dollar spent on every eligible purchase

100,000 miles once you spend $20,000 with the card in the first 12 months you have it, or 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 during the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

2 points per dollar spent on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel; 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases

80,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 with the card in the first 3 months you have it

Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

2% cash back on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

5% cash back on rotating categories

5% cash back on travel

3% cash back on dining

1% cash back on all other purchases

$200 bonus once you spend $500 with the card in the first 3 months you have it

Petal<sup>®</sup> 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa<sup>®</sup> Credit Card

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

2% - 10% cash back from select merchants

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent choice for travelers who value simplicity. The card offers a flat 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase you make, with the exception of travel purchases made through Capital One Travel, which earn 5 miles per dollar.

As a new cardholder, you'll earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $20,000 during the first 12 months from account opening. If you're looking for a bigger bonus and have some large purchases coming up, you can earn 100,000 miles when you spend $20,000 on the card within the first 12 months. You'll also get an application fee credit worth up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Precheck when you use your Venture card to apply, which can save you a lot of time if you travel on the regular. The card has a $95 annual fee.

What really makes this card special, though, is the flexibility you'll get with redeeming miles for travel. You can book directly through Capital One, book on your own and request a statement credit or transfer your miles to one of the bank's many airline partners.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Apply

on Capital One's website

Good - Exceptional

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

APR

17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)

Intro APR

N/A

Rewards

2x miles on All Purchases

Intro Bonus

Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$95

Card Details
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Another excellent travel option, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers arguably the most versatile rewards program on the market. If you want to use your points to get cash back, for instance, you'll get 1 cent per point, which is more than what you'd get with some other travel cards.

What's more, you can use your rewards to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and get 1.25 cents per point, or you can transfer your points to one of Chase's airline and hotel partners.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers an excellent welcome bonus, giving 80,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months—that's $800 in cash or $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can also earn up to $50 in statement credits for grocery store purchases in your first year.

You'll also get a one-year subscription to DoorDash DashPass, as well as a credit of up to $60 toward a Peloton digital or all-access membership—both perks expire on Dec. 31, 2021. The card's annual fee is $95.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply

on Chase's website

Good - Exceptional

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Rewards

2X points on Dining & Travel

1X points on All Other Purchases

Intro Bonus

Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn a $50 statement credit towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.

Annual Fee

$95

Card Details
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

When it comes to cash back, it's tough to beat what the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer from our partner will give you. You'll earn 2% cash back—1% cash back on each purchase you make, then another 1% back as you pay them off.

The card also offers an impressive 0% intro APR promotion on balance transfers for 18 months, so it's worth considering if you have high-interest debt you're hoping to pay down. After that period ends, the APR jumps to 13.99% to 23.99% variable.

Just note that there's no 0% APR period on new purchases. Also, the card doesn't offer a welcome bonus, so keep that in mind if you're hoping to get a lot of cash back or earn a bunch of rewards fast.

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Apply

on Citi Credit Cards's website

Good - Exceptional

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

APR

13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

Intro APR

0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers

Rewards

2% cash back

Annual Fee

$0

Card Details
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Rates and Fees

Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card is a revamp of the original Chase Freedom Card. With the Chase Freedom Flex℠ you'll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in certain rotating categories each quarter you activate. For the second quarter of 2021, that includes gas stations and home improvement stores.

But it doesn't stop there. With the new card, you'll also receive 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards as well as 3% back on drugstore purchases and on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services. Beyond that, you'll earn 1% cash back.

In addition to a stellar rewards program and no annual fee, the card offers an introductory 0% APR on new purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR is 14.99% to 23.74%. Finally, you'll earn a $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months with the card.

Apply

on Chase's website

Good - Exceptional

APR

14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Intro APR

0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Rewards

5% cash back on Rotating Categories

5% cash back on Travel

3% cash back on Dining

1% cash back on All Other Purchases

Intro Bonus

Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Annual Fee

$0

Card Details
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

If you're brand new to credit, finding a rewards credit card can be tough unless you qualify for a student credit card. The Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card offers an excellent way to build your credit from scratch while earning rewards along the way.

If you don't have a credit score, don't fret. Simply connect your bank account, and the card issuer will review your cash flow to determine how well you manage your money. What's more, the card doesn't require a security deposit.

In terms of rewards, the card offers from 2% to 10% back at select merchants. While it may be disappointing not to earn rewards on every purchase you make, big purchases that do earn rewards can easily make up for that. The card has no annual fee.

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

Apply

on Petal's website

Fair - Very Good, New to Credit, Rebuilding

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

APR

19.99% - 29.49% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Rewards

None

Annual Fee

$0

Card Details
  • Petal 1 was designed for consumers who already have a credit history, and want to improve their credit safely, responsibly, and affordably with no annual fees
  • No Annual fee. No international fees. (Late and bounced payment fees apply.)
  • $500 - $5,000 credit limits
  • Variable APRs 19.99% - 29.49%
  • 2% - 10% cash back from select merchants
  • Build credit alongside tens of thousands of Petal Card members
  • Cash flow technology may help applicants without credit history get approved
  • Petal's mobile app makes it easy to manage your money, track your spending, and automate payments
  • See if you're pre-approved within minutes without impacting your credit score
  • Petal reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • No deposits required
  • Card issued by WebBank, Member FDIC

Rates and Fees

How to Decide Which Card Is Right for You

There is no single best credit card for everyone. As a result, there are a few different things to keep in mind when trying to decide which rewards card is the best option for you:

  • Credit score: Most rewards cards require good or excellent credit. There are options available for bad- and fair-credit borrowers, but they're limited. If you want to add a top rewards card to your wallet, take steps to improve your credit score to increase your chances of approval. That starts with paying down current credit card balances and bringing any past-due accounts up to date.
  • Spending habits: While some rewards cards offer the same rewards rate on every purchase you make, others will give you bonus rewards on select purchases. Take a look at your expenses over the past few months to see how much you can earn with each card you review.
  • Preferences: Think about how you want to use the rewards you earn with your new card. If it's to travel, the right travel card will be much more effective than a cash back card. Also, look at each card's other features, such as fees, insurance protections and other perks, to determine which one best suits you.

Also, take some time to learn about how credit cards work to get a better idea of which direction you want to go.

How Do Rewards Credit Cards Work?

Rewards credit cards offer cash back, points or miles when you make eligible purchases. In most cases, that's all purchases, but some cards for limited or bad credit may restrict your rewards-earning to certain merchants or categories.

In many cases, you'll also earn rewards through a welcome bonus. Most cards will require you to spend a certain amount before you get the bonus rewards. But in some cases, you simply need to make one purchase to qualify. Just make sure you pay off the purchase quickly so you don't end up paying a lot in interest just to get the bonus.

Redeeming rewards can vary from card to card. With cash back, for instance, you can typically get your rewards in cash, statement credits, gift cards or other ways. With travel rewards, though, your redemption options will depend on the type of travel card you chose.

How to Maximize Credit Card Rewards

If you're looking for a way to rack up as much as possible in rewards, here are some tips to help you out:

  • Earn points fast with welcome bonuses.
  • Use your card for everything you reasonably can—as long as you can pay off the balance each month.
  • Get multiple credit cards that complement each other's rewards rates based on your spending habits.
  • Pay your bills on time and in full every month to avoid interest charges and dings to your credit score.
  • If you're earning travel rewards, make sure you understand all of your redemption options so you don't leave money on the table.

Additional Credit Card Perks, Protections and Insurance

In addition to cash back, points or miles, many credit cards also offer insurance protection and other credit card benefits that can provide a lot of value. Some of the more basic perks include:

  • Rental car insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Travel insurance
  • Cellphone protection

With some travel cards, you may also get things like:

  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credits
  • Credits for travel purchases
  • Complimentary airport lounge access
  • Trip cancellation or interruption insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement and delayed baggage insurance

As you compare cards, look beyond the rewards to ensure you're getting the most value based on how you plan to use your new card.

Make Sure Your Credit Is Ready for a New Card

It can be tough to know if you'll qualify for a certain credit card, especially if you're still in the process of building credit. Check your credit score to see where you stand, and also consider reviewing your credit report to determine whether you need to address potential issues.

Also, consider using a tool like Experian CreditMatch™ to get prequalified for rewards cards based on your credit profile. This process won't hurt your credit score—and will give you the chance to compare cards for which you have a good chance of getting approved.