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Best Points Credit Cards of 2017

Tom Broucksou
Updated on: 11/29/2017

If you’re looking for a new credit card, you should seriously consider getting one that earns points. There’s no reason you shouldn’t get a little something back every time you make a purchase.

Are you a frequent traveler? How would you like free airfare and complimentary airport lounge access? Or maybe you’d rather keep things simple, and you’d prefer to earn cold, hard cash instead. There are plenty of cashback and travel cards for all types of spenders.

You may find that it’s worth spending a few bucks for a card if it comes with the right perks, but you could also keep your upfront investment to nothing if you’d prefer. There are points cards that have no annual fees, premium cards packed with benefits that costs hundreds of dollars a year, and everything in between.

Rewards cards are so popular that there’s sure to be one that fits your needs.

7 Top Rated Points Credit Cards

While there are a lot of options when it comes to rewards credit cards, they aren’t all created equally. Some cards offer better opportunities for earning points, including bonus categories for purchases and big sign-up bonuses, and the value and flexibility of the points themselves can vary from card to card.

Store credit cards are typically the most restrictive, allowing you to use the points you earn at only one retailer. Some of those cards can’t even be used at other stores. Many standard credit cards allow you to do a lot more with your points, including redeeming for cash back, gift cards and travel.

Cards with transferable points offer the most potential value and have the most flexible rewards currencies. Those cards let you transfer points to various loyalty programs, redeem through the rewards program’s online travel portal, purchase gift cards and receive statement credits.

Sony Card℠From Capital One

Sony Card℠From Capital One
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

Intro APR on Purchases
0% introductory APR through your 05/2018 billing period
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
14.99% to 24.99% Variable ±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Sony Rewards™
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 5xPoints on Sony Purchases
  • 5xPoints on Entertainment
  • 1xPoints on Gas
  • 1xPoints on All Other Purchases
  • 5,000 bonus points after your first purchase. That’s like $50 in Sony Rewards points
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Why should you get this card?

  • Special Financing: You can get interest-free financing on purchases made on the Sony card until March 2018. After that, the remaining balance on your card will be subject to standard interest rates of up to 24.99%.
  • Customer Perks: Sony card members have access to not only exclusive items and special inventory, but also favorable pricing on select items, which is why it’s important that you link your credit card to your Sony Rewards account. Simply enter your card information, and you’re ready to enjoy all the perks. And don’t forget about the extended expiration period for cardholders’ points.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you’re looking for a cashback or travel rewards card, the Sony card from Capital One might not seem that appealing to you. Your points are locked into one redemption program, giving you little flexibility. However, if the rewards are up your alley, you might be able to find some value in holding this credit card.

The Capital One Sony card does earn an impressive five points per dollar spent on entertainment, which is defined broadly. When compared to many cards on the market, 5 percent back is considered a generous return. Entertainment includes movie theatre tickets; digital movies, songs and books; music and video streaming services; concerts; and much more. If those fall into your area of interest and you often shop in these categories anyway, you can earn rewards quickly without paying any annual fees.

Overall, this is not the best card for everybody, even if it doesn’t charge an annual fee. The redemptions are limited, and you’ll earn bonus points on only entertainment and Sony purchases. A cashback or travel rewards card might be a better choice if you’re serious about getting the most return on your spending.

  • 5,000 Sony Rewards bonus points after your first card purchase. That’s like $50 in Sony Rewards points.
  • 5X points on Sony® purchases at authorized retailers with purchase confirmation.
  • 5X points on select entertainment purchases including digital streaming and subscription services, concert and sporting events, music and video downloads, movie and theater tickets.
  • 1X points on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
Raiting: 91/100

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Intro APR on Purchases
0% introductory APR for 15 months from date of account opening
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% introductory APR for 15 months from date of first transfer when transfers are completed within 4 months from date of account opening
Regular APR
14.49% to 24.49% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
ThankYou®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xPoints on Dining and Entertainment
  • 1xPoints on Gas
  • 1xPoints on Travel
  • 1xPoints on All Other Purchases
  • 3% of each purchase transaction in US dollars

Featured Benefits

Citi Private Pass:

Get special access to tickets to many concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more, including presale and VIP packages.

Foreign Transaction Fee:

You’ll pay a 3% fee for each transaction not in U.S. dollars.

Citi Concierge:

Specially-trained staff members are ready to help you with travel, shopping, dining, entertainment and everyday needs.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll get bonus points on all purchases in the dining and entertainment categories. Before you know it, you’ll have a stash of points after a few nights out on the town.
  • No Annual Fees: Earning rewards is fast, easy and costs nothing. They say that nothing in this world is free, except cheese in a mouse trap… and, apparently, ThankYou points.
  • 0% APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 12 months: Although I do not recommend opening a new credit card while carrying debt, it’s nice to have the option to consolidate balances and pay them off within a year with no interest.
  • Points Don’t Expire: There’s no limit to the number of points you can earn, and points don’t expire as long as the card is open. No annual fees make holding on to this card a no-brainer.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you’re looking for a credit card that has no annual fee and earns bonus points in multiple categories, then the Citi ThankYou Preferred card is a good option. It’s also a great card for someone who wants to start earning rewards but is intimidated by complicated redemption options and point transfers.

Applying for this card costs nothing and you won’t pay a dime to keep it year after year. There’s absolutely no risk for the cardholder. Earning points means rewards at no cost.

  • 2x ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment.
  • 1x ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases.
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited ThankYou® Points.
  • Redeem ThankYou Points for almost anything, from a large selection of gift cards including dining, entertainment and retail — to an amazing selection of valuable rewards such as electronics, travel rewards, home goods, books and media, charitable donations or even cash.
  • No annual fee.

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
Raiting: 90/100

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

Intro APR on Purchases
0% introductory APR for the first 15 months
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on balance transfers requested within 60 days of account opening
Regular APR
13.99% to 24.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Membership Rewards®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xPoints at US Supermarkets
  • 1xPoints on Dining
  • 1xPoints on Gas
  • 1xPoints on All Other Purchases
  • 10,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months
    • 20% more points after you use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period
  • 2.7% of each transaction in U.S. dollar

Featured Benefits

Foreign Transaction Fees:

There’s a 2.7% fee on every foreign transaction after conversion to U.S. dollars.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Rewards: The Membership Reward points you earn can be transferred to 17 different airlines and 3 different hotel programs.
  • Solid Earning Potential: You’ll earn full-fledged Membership Rewards points with every purchase, and grocery stores earn double points.
  • Nice Sign-Up Bonus: This card comes with a decent sign-up bonus of 10,000 points, which is pretty good for a no-fee card.
  • No Annual Fee: You’ll never pay anything for this card. That means all the rewards you earn are completely free, which is hard to beat!

Our Expert's Conclusion

There’s no reason not to get the Amex EveryDay card. For starters, there’s no annual fee to worry about, and this credit card earns the same great Membership Rewards points that Amex’s other annual-fee cards offer. And even though the sign-up bonus isn’t huge, it’s a great way to jumpstart your points balance or add to what you’ve already got.

Not many cards offer double points on grocery purchases, so this card does have that nice benefit. And if you make at least 20 purchases each month, that’s like earning 2.4 points per dollar spent at the grocery store, which is a great category bonus. There aren’t many cards out there that offer this competitive level of earning with no annual fee.

  • Get 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • 2X points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X).
  • 1X points on other purchases.
  • No annual fee and No annual fee for Additional Cards.
  • Earn 5,000 Points after you add your first Additional Card and an Additional Card Member makes a purchase on their Card in your first 3 months.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Raiting: 88/100

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
16.99% to 23.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $95
Rewards Program
Ultimate Rewards®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xPoints on Airfare, Hotels and Dining
  • 1xPoints on Gas
  • 1xPoints on Groceries
  • 1xPoints on All Other Purchases
  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
    • 5,000 Bonus Points after your first purchase and the adding of an authorized user to your account in the first 3 months.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • %25% more in travel redemption

Travel Benefits

Concierge Service:

No matter the time of day, Chase promises that a representative will answer your call to answer questions about your card or to assist with travel arrangements, dining reservations, show tickets and more.

No Foreign Transaction Fee

No fees for using the Sapphire Preferred for non-U.S. dollar purchases abroad or online.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll earn two points for every dollar spent on all travel and dining purchases, and one point per dollar for everything else.
  • Big Sign-Up Bonus: This card offers a lucrative 50,000 points sign-up bonus, as well as an extra 5,000 points for adding an authorized user.
  • No Annual Fee the First Year: Chase waives the $95 annual fee the first year, but the card’s great benefits make it worth keeping well beyond that.
  • Transfer Partners: The Ultimate Rewards program offers several great airline and hotel transfer partners. Popular airline options include United Airlines and Air France, and great hotel chains include Hyatt and Marriott.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for just about everybody. Whether you’re just getting started with travel rewards cards or you’re a frequent business traveler, this card offers many great benefits including a big sign-up bonus, a great earning rate on spending and a host of other travel benefits.

On top of that, since Chase picks up the annual fee the first year, you don’t pay anything out of pocket to get the card, and 2 bonus points are a great way to pad your Ultimate Rewards balance or to get you started. And because you always earn double points on travel and dining purchases, the mid- range $95 annual fee makes this a great card to keep beyond the first year and to also keep at the top of your wallet.

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make your first purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, after that $95.
  • Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants- from airfare and hotels to fine dining and cafés.
  • 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, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • With Chase Sapphire Preferred®, you can transfer your points to leading frequent travel programs at 1 to 1 value.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
Raiting: 64/100

Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
15.24% to 23.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Amazon Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %3% Back at Amazon.com
  • %2% Back on Dining, Gas, and at Drugstores
  • %1% Back on Groceries
  • %1% Back on All Other Purchases
  • $50 Amazon.com Gift Card will be instantly loaded into your Amazon.com account upon the approval of your credit card application
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Featured Benefits

Foreign Transaction Fee:

You won’t pay an extra fee for purhcases made outside of the U.S. Note, if you use a non-U.S. version of Amazon’s website, you’ll only earn cash at the standard 1% rate.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll get 3% back on every Amazon purchase (or 5% back with Amazon Prime). Additionally, you can earn 2% back at restaurants, drugstores and gas stations, and 1% back on everything else. Plus, there’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.
  • Hassle-Free Redemptions: Since this is a cashback card, you can redeem any time. Through Amazon, there’s no minimum. Otherwise, redemptions start at just 2,000 points.
  • Nice Sign-Up Bonus: Once approved, you’ll get an automatic $50 Amazon gift card ($70 for Amazon Prime members). No minimum spend is required.
  • No Annual Fee: You’ll never have to pay anything for this card. That means all the rewards you earn are essentially free. How can you beat that?

Our Expert's Conclusion

This is one of the best cashback cards around. Unlike other cards, there’s no limit to the cash back you can earn, and the 3 percent (or 5 percent with Prime) return for Amazon purchases is not offered with any other credit card. Since there’s no annual fee, all the cash back you earn is yours.

If you like to shop on Amazon, this is definitely a card to consider. Amazon regularly has good prices on tons of products, but getting 3 to 5 percent back on every purchase is fantastic! Even if you don’t shop on Amazon often, getting unlimited 2 percent back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores is a great benefit as well.

  • $50 Amazon.com Gift Card will be instantly loaded into your Amazon.com account upon the approval of your credit card application.
  • Earn 3% Back at Amazon.com
  • Earn 2% Back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores.
  • Earn 1% Back on all other purchases.
  • No annual credit card fee.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Redeem for millions of items at Amazon.com
  • Extended Warranty Protection.
  • Purchase Protection.
  • Baggage Delay Insurance.
  • Zero Liability Protection.
  • Travel Accident Insurance.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement.
  • Visa Signature Concierge Service.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
Raiting: 57/100

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Wells Fargo

Intro APR on Purchases
0.00% introductory APR for 12 months
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0.00% introductory APR for 12 months
Regular APR
13.99% to 25.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Go Far™ Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 3xPoints on Gas
  • 2xPoints on Dining
  • 1xPoints on Groceries
  • 1xPoints on All Other Purchases
  • 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Featured Benefits

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

There are no addtiional fees on purchases made abroad.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: Earn 3 points per dollar at gas stations, 2 points per dollar at supermarkets and 1 point per dollar for all other purchases.
  • Hassle-Free Redemptions: Redeem your points for travel, cash back and more. The minimum redemption is only $25.
  • Good Sign-Up Bonus: This card comes with a nice sign-up bonus of 20,000 points. That’s worth $200 !
  • No Annual Fee: You’ll never have to pay anything for this card. That means all the rewards you earn are essentially free. How can you beat that?

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Wells Fargo Propel Amex is a solid no-fee cashback credit card. It earns three points per dollar spent at gas stations, two points per dollar at supermarkets and one point per dollar for all other purchases.

If you’re someone that spends a fair amount of money on groceries and gas, there are few other no annual fee cards that will be as rewarding as the Wells Fargo Propel, especially if you also have a Wells Fargo checking or savings account. If groceries and gas aren’t your largest spending categories, this is still a good card, but there may be another card that’s more rewarding.

  • 20,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 (net purchases) in first 3 months.
  • 3x points at U.S. gas stations.
  • 2x points at U.S. restaurants.
  • 1x on virtually all other net purchases.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement.
  • Auto rental collision and liability insurance.
  • Roadside assistance.
  • 24/7 travel and emergency assistance, emergency cash advances.

Barclaycard Visa® with Apple Rewards
Raiting: 72/100

Barclaycard Visa® with Apple Rewards
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
14.99% to 27.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Apple® Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 3xPoints on Apple Purchases
  • 2xPoints on Dining
  • 1xPoints on Gas
  • 1xPoints on All Other Purchases
  • 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • +Special financing on purchases made at Apple

Why should you get this card?

  • Special Financing Offer: Use your Apple card to purchase Apple products from the Apple Store or Apple.com and receive 0 percent APR for 6 to 24 months on a purchase made within 30 days, depending on the purchase amount.
  • No Annual Fee: Holding a card long term increases your average age of accounts, and holding this particular Barclaycard Visa and earning rewards cost absolutely nothing.
  • Earn Apple Store or iTunes Gift Cards: Every point you earn with the Apple credit card is worth a penny, and every 2,500 points earned can be converted to a $25 gift card to the Apple Store or iTunes.
  • Triple Points at Apple Stores: The cards earns 3 points per dollar spent at any Apple Store, both physical locations and online. Boost your rewards balance quickly if you’re a frequent shopper.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you anticipate a large Apple purchase coming up, whether it’s a new iPhone or a laptop, this card might be a good option for you if you want to pay for it over a period of time. The special financing offer varies, depending on how large the purchase is. If the items cost $1,499 or more, it’s possible to receive no-interest financing for up to two years. To receive the special offer, the purchase has to be made within 30 days of opening an account.

However, the Apple card also has some drawbacks. Although the special financing applies to Apple purchases made within the first 30 days of card membership, the same offer does not apply to your everyday purchases. That means that all other charges have to paid off after every statement closes or an APR of at least 14.24 percent will kick in. Additionally, if you do not pay off the no-interest balance within the promo period or if a payment is late, all the deferred interest that accrued from the purchase date will be billed.

The best way to use this card is by making an Apple purchase or two in the first 30 days and not touching the card again until the balance is paid off in full.

  • Earn 3 points for every $1 spent at Apple.
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn Apple Store or iTunes gift cards for every 2,500 points you earn, automatically receive a $25 Apple Store or iTunes gift card.
  • Special financing on purchases made at Apple.
  • $0 fraud liability protection.
  • Global assistance services.

Compare Points Credit Cards

Compare all credit cards by RE® Value, which is an estimate of how much you will earn during first year of credit card use minus annual fees.

Credit Card
Bonuses & Rewards
First Year Rewards
FEES
RE® value
Platinum Card® from American Express

Platinum Card® from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 60,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,720
FEES
-$550
RE® value
$1,170
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,332
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$1,332
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Ink Business Preferred℠credit card

Ink Business Preferred℠credit card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 80,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,872
FEES
-$95
RE® value
$1,777
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$615
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$615
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Blue from American Express®

Blue from American Express®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$120
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$120
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Business Platinum Card®

Business Platinum Card®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,539
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$1,089
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 15,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$706
FEES
-$95
RE® value
$611
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,632
FEES
-$450
RE® value
$1,182
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 25,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$987
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$987
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Business Gold Rewards Card

Business Gold Rewards Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,339
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$1,339
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

More Details
American Express® Green Card

American Express® Green Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$434
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$434
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
FlexPerks® Select+ American Express® Card

FlexPerks® Select+ American Express® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 FlexPoints® sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 FlexPoints® for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$680
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$680
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

More Details
Disney® Visa® Card

Disney® Visa® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 Reward Dollars® sign-up bonus.
  • 240 Reward Dollars® for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$2
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$2
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

Business Green Rewards Card

Business Green Rewards Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 5,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$525
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$525
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card

Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 48,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

More Details
Expedia® + Card from Citi

Expedia® + Card from Citi

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 15,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$244
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$244
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,429
FEES
-$400
RE® value
$1,029
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

More Details
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2,500 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$265
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$265
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 20,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$440
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$440
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Wells Fargo

More Details
AT&T Access Card From Citi

AT&T Access Card From Citi

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$340
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$340
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card

FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 FlexPoints® sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 FlexPoints® for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,130
FEES
-$85
RE® value
$1,045
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

Barnes & Noble Mastercard®

Barnes & Noble Mastercard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

Barclaycard Visa® with Apple Rewards

Barclaycard Visa® with Apple Rewards

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

More Details
NFL Extra Points Credit Card

NFL Extra Points Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$340
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$340
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

More Details
NHL® Discover it® Card

NHL® Discover it® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • match all the rewards at the end of first year
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$480
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$480
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express

The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,165
FEES
-$95
RE® value
$1,070
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

Disney® Premier Visa® Card

Disney® Premier Visa® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 Reward Dollars® sign-up bonus.
  • 240 Reward Dollars® for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$2
FEES
-$49
RE® value
$-47
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Chase Bank

Fred Meyer Rewards® World Mastercard®

Fred Meyer Rewards® World Mastercard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

Polaris® Visa® Credit Card

Polaris® Visa® Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Select Rewards Card

U.S. Bank Business Edge™ Select Rewards Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 20,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$386
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$386
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
U.S. Bank

Sony Card℠From Capital One

Sony Card℠From Capital One

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 5,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$290
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$290
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

JCPenney Credit Card

JCPenney Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,200
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$1,200
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Synchrony Bank

My Best Buy® Visa® Card

My Best Buy® Visa® Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 0 points sign-up bonus.
  • 12,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$240
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$240
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Uber Visa Card

Uber Visa Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

MLB™ Credit Cards

MLB™ Credit Cards

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $150 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$390
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$390
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Bank of America

What You Should Look for in a Points Credit Card

There are so many credit cards on the market that reward customers with points that it can be hard to decide which one to get. Some are great for travelers, while others are geared toward certain types of consumers. Do you spend a lot on gas and groceries? How about airfare and hotels? Maybe you have a favorite retailer? It’s important to pick a card that’ll reward you for your spending habits.

Don’t forget that you have to be able to use your points once you earn them, too. Some cards are very limited in this regard. You may be able to use your points only for cash back or even at just one store or website. While other cards allow you to transfer points to a variety of airline and hotel programs for free flights and stays. Figuring out how you want to use your points is as important as knowing how many points you’ll earn.

Let’s take a look at some important aspects of points cards you’ll want to consider before submitting your next application.

  • Aspect #1: Where Can You Use the Card?

    Most points cards are issued by major banks and use common payment networks. If the card has a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover symbol on it, you can use it just about anywhere. It’s worth mentioning, though, that American Express and Discover aren’t quite as widely accepted as Visa and MasterCard. Discover is particularly difficult to use while traveling abroad. If you get a Discover or Amex card, you’ll probably also want a Visa or MasterCard as a backup.

    All of the major rewards cards use one of the major payment networks, including the Green, Gold and Platinum cards from Amex, Chase’s Sapphire lineup and Citi’s ThankYou cards, not to mention the Discover it cashback card lineup, co-branded airline and hotel cards, U.S. Bank’s FlexPerks cards, Bank of America’s Travel Rewards cards, Capital One’s Venture cards and many more.

    The most limiting cards tend to be retail or store credit cards. While some of these cards use Visa or MasterCard payment networks and can be used anywhere, like Barnes & Noble Mastercard®, others are tied to the store that issues that card. The Home Depot Consumer card, for instance, can be used only at Home Depot. This severely limits the usefulness of the card.

    There may be a few reasons to get store card, but generally speaking, you’ll do better with a more general rewards card. We’ll talk about this some more as we go along.

  • Aspect #2: Can You Use the Points?

    There are a few basic types of points cards, and they can be categorized by how flexible the points are in their respective rewards programs. Store-branded cards generally offer the lest flexible points. If these cards earn rewards, which they don’t always do, they’re typically tied to the store that the card is branded by.

    The Old Navy Visa card, for instance, can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, but it earns points that can only be redeemed for certificates toward purchases at Old Navy and its parent company’s stores (Gap, Banana Republic, Althleta).

    The next step up in flexibility is offered by cards that allow you to use points for purchases from their rewards program’s website. The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature is good examples of this sort of card.

    The FlexPerks card is designed for travelers, so you’ll use the points you earn to redeem for travel through its programs online portal. That may not sound particularly flexible, but you can buy all sorts of travel, from airfare to cruises, from just about any provider. You just have to buy it through the FlexPerks rewards program’s website.

    A slightly more flexible version of that type of travel rewards program allows you to use points toward statement credits to essentially reimburse yourself. This allows you to buy travel from just about anyone, not just through a specific website, and then redeem points toward that cost. There are even some cards that allow you to redeem points for statement credits toward any purchase, not just travel. These are essentially cashback cards.

    The most flexible and potentially valuable rewards currencies are transferable points. The major players are American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. Points earned in those programs can be used for a wide variety of things. Depending on the card and the program, they can be used to purchase travel via the program’s website, transferred to airline and hotel partners, redeemed for gift cards from a variety of merchants and more.

    If you know a little about using miles for free flights, you can get a lot of value for your points by transferring them to partner airlines. It can take a bit of research and work to find the best redemptions, but instead of getting one cent per point, you could easily get two cents or more for award flights. Some redemptions, particularly for premium cabin seats on international flights, can get over five cents per point.

    Think about it. If you had, for example, 20,000 points that are worth one cent each, you’d get $200 worth of travel, gift cards or statement credits. That’s the standard deal for many cards. But if you got two cents per point by transferring them to, say, United Airlines first and then buying a flight, you’d get $400 of value out of the same number of points. And if you found one of those fantastic international redemptions in business or first class, you could get $1,000 for those points.

    Being able to maximize the value of your points can make a huge difference.

  • Aspect #3: Bonus Categories for Purchases

    Almost as important as how you can redeem points is how quickly you can earn them. There are three types of purchase bonuses offered by cards: fixed rate, rotating categories and fixed categories. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, though you may consider getting a few different types of cards to maximize your earnings.

    Fixed-rate cards earn a consistent number of points per dollar spent for all purchases. Whatever you buy, and wherever you buy it, you’ll typically get either 1.5 or 2 points per dollar. These are easy-to-use, no-hassle cards because you don’t have to think about what you’re buying, if you’ve hit an earning cap or anything else. Every purchase earns a solid bonus.

    You can earn much more than two points per dollar with cards that offer rotating bonus categories. These types of cards give cardholders the chance to earn up to five points per dollar for purchases in certain categories, such as wholesale stores, groceries, gas, restaurants and more. The trick is that the bonus categories change every quarter, and they typically have a maximum amount of spending that earns that bonus.

    If a purchase doesn’t fall into the current bonus category, or if you’ve already reached the earning cap, then you’ll get just one point per dollar. So with these cards you have to pay strict attention to where you’re shopping, what you’re buying, what the current bonus category is and how much you’ve spent. That might sound like a lot of work, but you can earn a lot of points fast with one of these cards.

    The two Chase Freedom cards are good examples of these earning schemes. The standard Chase Freedom® Card has rotating bonus categories that earn five points per dollar on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter. Chase Freedom Unlimited℠, on the other hand, earns a fixed 1 points per dollar for all purchases, with no limit.

    One great strategy for maximizing points is to use a card with rotating categories only when it earns bonus points, and then use a fixed-rate card for all other purchases. That way every purchase earns a bonus and some will get an impressive five points per dollar.

    The final type of card earns bonus points for purchases in certain categories that do not change. These fixed-category cards sometimes put limits on the amount of earning you can do at the bonus rate, but others don’t. The advantage to this type earning scheme is that you can get a card that offers a bonus for whatever you spend the most on. You can also dovetail cards that have complimentary bonus categories.

    For instance, let’s say you already have the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. Maybe you fly a lot, and it offers three points per dollar spent on travel, plus double points on dining out and entertainment. But perhaps you also spend a lot on groceries every month. You might want to add Amex EveryDay® Credit Card. It has no annual fee, so it’s free to hold, and it earns a solid two points per dollar for groceries.

    A quick word about store and retail cards before moving on: If one of these cards offers rewards, and it can be used outside of the store its branded with, then it may also offer bonus points in a variety of categories. This may make the store card sound more flexible and appealing.

    The Sears MasterCard, for instance, offers double points at Sears and Kmart, but also triple points at grocery stores and restaurants and an impressive five points at grocery stores. It’s one of the better store-branded cards available, but you’re still tied to redeeming at Sears. If you really like Sears, this might work for you. But with all of the great rewards cards on the market, there’s really no reason to be tied to one store.

  • Aspect #4: Sign-Up Bonus

    Sign-up bonuses are still the easiest and quickest way to rack up a lot of points. Not every card comes with one, and sometimes issuers have temporary promotions with bigger bonuses. Depending on the card, it might be worth waiting a few months to see if a bigger bonus comes along.

    At one time it was possible to get huge bonuses in the 100,000-point range. Though it’s still possible—Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ had that bonus when it was first released—it’s very rarely offered anymore. If you’re looking for a quick infusion of points, anything around 50,000 points is a great haul. Even 15,000 to 20,000 points is nothing to scoff at. You’re getting at least $150 in value out of that deal.

    The cards that offer the bigger bonuses are typically from the bigger issuers, like Chase, Citi and American Express, and are part of a major rewards program. U.S. Bank and Bank of America are also worth taking a look at, as are some co-branded hotel cards, like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

    I’d generally stay away from store cards since their bonuses, if they offer one at all, are usually in the form of small discounts or maybe a $50 gift certificate. You can do much better with other cards.

  • Aspect #5: Annual Fee

    Some cards charge nothing to hold, while others can soar up to $550 a year. There are even a few super-exclusive cards, like the Amex Black, that cost even more. But the question remains: why would you pay anything for a credit card if you can get one for free?

    There are few reasons it might make sense. To start with, you could be able to earn more with a card that charges a fee. These cards often come with the biggest sign-up bonuses and the best earning potential.

    Take the previously mentioned Amex EveryDay® Credit Card. It’s free and earns two points per dollar for groceries. Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, on the other hand, costs $95 a year and earns three points per dollar at supermarkets.

    If you value American Express Membership Rewards points at just 1.5 cents each, which is a conservative estimate, you’d have to earn an extra 6,334 points a year to cover the annual fee. Let’s assume you can max out the grocery bonus category, which caps at $6,000 a year or $500 a month. That would earn 12,000 points with the EveryDay card and 18,000 with the EveryDay Preferred, for a difference of 6,000 points.

    That alone is not quite enough to justify the annual fee since you’ll be short 334 points. The Preferred card, though, also offers double points at gas stations. If you spend $100 a month on gas, you’d get 1,200 points with the EveryDay and 2,400 with the Preferred. So now the difference is an extra 866 points in your pocket.

    That’s not much added value, and it might not justify taking the chance on an annual fee. However, the Preferred card also comes with 5,000 more points as part of its sign-up bonus and the ability to earn extra points if you make enough transactions in a month. The EveryDay card gives you 20 percent bonus points if you make 20 transactions a month, whereas the Preferred offers a 50 percent bonus if you make 30 transactions.

    That can make a big difference. Again, if you max out the grocery bonus, you’d get 12,000 points with the EveryDay. If you earn the 20 percent bonus every month, you’d net another 2,400 points, for a total of 14,400.

    With the EveryDay Preferred, you’d start with 18,000 points for groceries, which would turn into 27,000 points with the 50 percent bonus. That’s a difference of 12,600 points, which is worth about $189. That more than covers the annual fee and doesn’t include any other spending on the card.

    That’s complicated, I know, but it shows how important the value of the points, bonus categories and your spending habits can be when deciding on the best card. Spending a little extra on an annual fee can actually net you hundreds of dollars a year.

  • Aspect #6: Perks and Benefits

    Another consideration when choosing a new rewards card are its perks and benefits. While earning extra points for certain purchases is certainly a benefit, what I’m referring to here are the perks not related to earning, such as elite status and lounge access.

    You’ll get the most perks with cards that have the biggest annual fees. Premium cards, which typically cost around $450 a year, come with premium benefits. While you might not earn $450 worth of points with these cards, you can get a lot of value out of these perks if you use them.

    These cards are designed for frequent travelers. The primary perk with most of these cards is complimentary access to airport lounges. Priority Pass membership, which gets you into over 1,000 lounges around the world, is the standard benefit, though some cards, like Platinum Card® from American Express, give you access to other lounges as well. With Amex you’ll also get into the swanky Centurion lounges, International American Express lounges and Delta Sky Club. Most lounges cost $50 a day, so this benefit can be quite valuable if you use it.

    These cards also typically offer some sort of airline credit worth a few hundred dollars. Depending on the card, it can be used to pay for incidental fees, such as baggage and change fees, and in-flight food and beverages. A few cards, such as the Sapphire Reserve, will allow you to use that fee toward any travel purchases, including everything from airfare to taxi rides.

    You’ll also get credits toward various other travel-related expenses. These credits vary by card, but may cover TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fees, in-flight and other Wi-Fi access, Uber rides and more. Some include elite status with car rental agencies and hotels, while others offer special perks at certain hotels and discounts for travel purchased through their rewards program.

    If you travel a lot, it’s worth your time to investigate these cards to see if they’re worth investing in. Making your travel experience more pleasant can be priceless.

FAQs

Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment below.

  • A lot of cards earn points and other rewards, and they can vary quite a bit. You need to first consider what you want out of a credit card, and then think about how you will use the card.
    If you want free or discounted travel, consider a card with points that can be transferred to airline and hotel loyalty programs. They will offer you the most value per point. If that seems too intimidating, look into cards that allow you to use points to offset travel purchases you’ve already made. That way you won’t be tied to any program, airline or hotel chain.
    For those that don’t travel, many cards will allow you to use points to offset any purchases put on the card. These cashback cards are easy-to-use and rewarding, though you probably won’t get as much value out of your points as you would with a transferrable points card.
    In general, any rewards credit card issued by a major bank is going to be better than a card that’s branded by a store. Those cards may offer store-specific perks, such as financing or discounts, but they’re usually very limited in terms of earning power or redemption choices. You’ll probably be stuck using your rewards at just one store or with one company.
  • The easiest and quickest way to earn points is with a big sign-up bonus. Look for bonuses in the 50,000-point range. Remember that those bonuses can be worth a lot of money, so don’t be too intimidated by annual fees. A lot of cards will even waive that fee for the first year, so you can decide if the card works for you without paying a dime.
    Remember, you don’t have to keep a credit card forever. It might be the perfect card for you for a year or two, but you can move on to a new card if it no longer holds its value.
  • That depends on the card and its rewards program. Some programs give you a few options for redeeming, while others don’t. Cards with transferable points give you the most flexibility because you can redeem for travel and merchandise through the program’s website, including gift cards, or transfer your points to a variety of loyalty programs to redeem directly through them. Some of these cards will even let you use your points for cash back.
    Other cards will only let you use points to purchase travel and merchandise through their online portal, while others will only allow you to redeem for statement credits toward certain types of purchases, such as airfare.
    Perhaps the most limited points are those earned with store credit cards. Most of these cards will only allow you to use points to pay for purchases made at the store they’re branded by. So Barnes & Noble Mastercard® card earns B&N gift certificates and the Target card gives you a discount at Target. Those cards aren’t nearly as flexible as more general rewards cards.
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