September 15, 2023
Rewards: 1 – 5% cash back
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is our pick for the best rewards card because it offers a high rate of cash back in a variety of categories, has a $0 annual fee and comes with an easy-to-earn sign-up bonus. In addition to offering cash back in ongoing categories — travel, dining and drugstore purchases — the Chase Freedom Flex℠ allows you to earn cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories.
If you want a low-maintenance rewards card, look elsewhere. While you’d be hard-pressed to find a no-annual-fee card with higher rewards rates in so many categories, you will need to activate the quarterly categories in order to earn the elevated cash back rate with the Chase Freedom Flex℠.
Rewards: 1 – 5% cash back
If you want a low-maintenance card that rewards you for the spending you’re already doing, we recommend the Citi Custom Cash® Card. You’ll earn cash back on every purchase and even more cash back on your top eligible spending category – up to $500 per billing cycle. You don’t have to opt in – you’ll earn the higher cash back rate just by using your card. The Citi Custom Cash® Card comes with a decent sign-up bonus and an annual fee of $0.
Rewards: 2% cash back
Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is best if you want unlimited rewards without having to remember bonus categories or activate quarterly promotions. It’s the ultimate low-maintenance card, allowing cardholders to earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases. Rewards never expire and redeeming rewards starts at just $1. Cardholders can even redeem rewards at the ATM with their linked Wells Fargo ATM or debit card.
Rewards: 1 – 6% cash back
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is our pick for best grocery rewards card. It has one of the highest cash back rates available at U.S. supermarkets and offers an excellent cash back rate on U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit and at U.S. gas stations. If you max out the annual $6,000 spending cap at U.S. supermarkets, you’ll earn $360 back from those purchases, which more than covers the annual fee.
To see rates & fees for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express please click here.
Rewards: 1 – 8% cash back
3% Cash Back on dining and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®); 3% Cash Back on popular streaming services and entertainment; 8% Cash Back on Capital One Entertainment purchases; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases.
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is our pick for best rewards card for foodies. You’ll earn a high rate of cash back for restaurant purchases – including dine-in, takeout, and delivery – and at grocery stores, except superstores like Target and Walmart. The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card also offers an outstanding cash back rate on streaming services and entertainment purchases with a variety of merchants.
Rewards: 1 – 2% cash back
If you’re carrying high-interest debt on a non-Citi credit card, transferring your balance to the Citi® Double Cash Card can give you a long window of time to pay off what you owe without incurring interest. Once you pay off what you’ve transferred, this card is worth keeping in your wallet for its cash back rewards. Every purchase earns the same flat rate, which means you can earn cash back without worrying about keeping track of rewards rates or spending categories.
Rewards: 1.5 – 5% cash back
1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply).
If you want to earn cash back while building your credit, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good option. You’ll get cash back on all purchases without having to track bonus categories or rewards rates. After demonstrating responsible card usage and building a relationship with Capital One, you can request a product change to the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, which has a $0 annual fee.
Rewards: 1 – 2% cash back
2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is our pick for best rewards card for bad credit because cardholders earn cash back with every purchase – and even more cash back on gas and restaurants – while rebuilding their credit. It charges a $0 annual fee and is accessible with a $200 minimum security deposit. Best of all, after seven months with the card, Discover begins conducting monthly account reviews to see if you’re eligible to graduate to an unsecured card and get your deposit refunded.
Rewards: 1 – 5% cash back
5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
With a $0 annual fee, the Discover it® Student Cash Back is an excellent first credit card for college students. It can help you build credit history while earning cash back on specific bonus categories, as long as you’re willing to activate a new rewards category each quarter. You’ll also earn cash back on all other purchases. Unlike some credit cards designed for college students, the Discover it® Student Cash Back card doesn’t require a security deposit.
Rewards: 1 – 5% cash back
If you do a lot of your shopping on Amazon, you should consider the Prime Visa for its high rate of cash back on Amazon purchases. It’s worth having for everyday spending, too – you’ll earn cash back on every purchase with higher earning rates at Whole Foods, restaurants and gas stations. You can easily redeem your rewards to pay for future Amazon purchases.
The annual fee is $0, but know that you’re required to pay for an annual Prime membership ($139 or $69 for college students) in order to qualify for the higher rewards rate.
Rewards: 2x – 5x points on travel purchases
Enjoy beneﬁts such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, and 2x on all other travel purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more..
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our pick for best travel rewards card because it offers elevated rewards rates on travel and dining, excellent travel protections and a great sign-up bonus – all for a reasonable annual fee of $95. You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for cash back at a value of 1 cent per point, use them to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal for 1.25 cents per point or transfer them at a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline and hotel partners like JetBlue, United, Marriott and Hyatt.
Rewards: 3x – 14x points
Earn 14X per $1 of eligible purchases on your card directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort, 7X for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com; on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; & at U.S. restaurants, and 3X for other purchases on your card.
If you’re a Hilton Honors loyalist, you can earn a generous rewards rate on participating Hilton hotel and resort stays with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express. You can redeem points for free night stays, experiences, Lyft rides, merchandise or car rentals. Plus, you’ll get up to two weekend night awards a year and complimentary Diamond elite status. Cardholders also enjoy a $250 airline fee credit every year (you must select one qualifying airline) and a complimentary Priority Pass™ Select (enrollment required), which provides access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide.
Rewards: 1x – 3x miles
If you’re looking to earn airline miles – not to mention airline perks – look no further than the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. You’ll earn more miles when you make purchases at Delta, hotels, restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. Plus, you can easily offset the $250 annual fee with Delta perks like a free checked bag on each flight and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck® after you apply through any Official Enrollment Provider.
To see rates & fees for Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card please click here.
Rewards: up to 5x points
If you travel frequently enough to take advantage of the benefits, you stand to squeeze a lot of value from The Platinum Card® from American Express, even with its $695 annual fee. The card offers numerous benefits and credits, including automatic Marriott Bonvoy™ Gold Elite status (enrollment required), automatic Hilton Honors Gold status (enrollment required) and premium car rental privileges. Plus, you’ll get up to a $200 annual airline fee credit, up to a $200 annual hotel credit, a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit, up to a $189 annual CLEAR® membership credit and more.
To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.
Rewards: 1.25x – 5x miles
1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is our pick for best starter travel credit card because it offers bonus earning rates on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, a decent rewards rate on general purchases and a sign-up bonus that’s easy to earn. If you’re new to travel and want a card that doesn’t hit you with an annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is a solid pick.
Rewards: 1x – 3x points
If you’re a business owner who racks up miles on business trips, you’ll have a hard time finding a better rewards card than the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. You’ll earn rewards with every purchase, and you can take advantage of bonus earnings on travel and select business categories up to $150,000 per year.
It’s a great pick if you’re anticipating significant business expenses in the next few months, since you’ll need to spend heavily in order to earn the sign-up bonus. If you’re able to meet the spending requirement, the points you earn with the sign-up bonus may be enough to cover airfare for a future trip (or two).
Rewards: 2 – 5% cash back
2% Cash Back on every purchase; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus is one of the most rewarding and straightforward credit cards for business owners. You’ll earn flat rate cash back on the majority of purchases, and there is no preset spending limit, so you can adapt the card to your business needs. Business owners who need to carry a balance should look elsewhere – the Capital One Spark Cash Plus charges a 2.99% monthly late fee on unpaid balances.
Expertise: Credit cards
Education: New York University
Lauren Nicholson is a staff writer at LendingTree, where she focuses on credit cards.
Before joining LendingTree, she worked in the education sector as a college counselor and marketing associate. Lauren is passionate about using clear, concise language to empower readers in times of transition, whether they’re making decisions about their finances or their education.
Lauren has a master’s degree in English from New York University.Read More
The above offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available. Check the Issuers’ website for more details.