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Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2017

Jennifer Blocker
Updated on: 11/08/2017

To get the most rewards from your credit cards, you don’t have to worry about finding the single best rewards card. Instead, you can stack them and use multiple credit cards in order to get the best reward rates on every purchase.

Using credit cards in this way can easily help you increase your rewards and get more bang for your buck. Knowing where you spend your money is important in accomplishing this goal. You should have an array of cards. If you have excellent credit, you have all the top options available to you and a bunch of sign-up bonuses to collect along the way.

If you are considering maximizing your credit card rewards by stacking your credit cards, be sure you are good with paying your bills on time and responsible enough to not overspend. Setting up your credit cards for automatic payments for the minimum amount can help avoid missing a payment. However, be sure to pay more than the minimum to avoid carrying a balance and paying interest, which can take away from the value of your rewards.

Rated Best for Cashback Rewards

When comparing the best cashback credit cards, there are a couple of factors to consider. Some cashback cards have variable earning rates. These usually allow you to earn a higher amount in one or two categories and 1 percent on all other purchases. However, other cashback cards give you an across-the-board flat rate on all purchases.

One of the most important variables to consider is where your monthly budget is going. Does the reward system coincide with your spending habits? One of the perks of cashback credit cards is that their rewards systems are a no-brainer. The rewards are fixed and the redemption options are straightforward.

There are some cashback cards that can also help you get the most out of smaller purchases that don’t fall into a larger earning category. If your cashback card is not part of a bigger earning plan, such as spending in bonuses categories or brand loyalty, you should be getting at least 1.5 percent for all purchases.

Discover it® - Cashback Match™
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

Intro APR on Purchases
0% intro APR for 14 months from date of account opening
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% intro APR for 14 months from date of first transfer, for transfers under this offer that post to your account by February 10, 2018
Regular APR
11.99% to 23.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Cashback Bonus®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %5% in rotating categories each quarter like Gas, Dining, Amazon.com, Wholesale Clubs and more
  • %1% on Travel
  • %1% on Groceries
  • %1% on All Other Purchases
  • Up to 5% cash back offer

    • Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earn dollar for dollar at the end of your first year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Featured Benefits

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

You won’t be hit with any additional fees for using your Discover card while traveling internationally.

Why should you get this card?

  • Cashback Match: After your first year, Discover will double all of the cash back you earned with no cap!
  • Good Earning Potential: The Discover it card earns 5% back on quarterly rotating categories that include things like dining and gas stations, and 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Hassle-Free Redemptions: Your cash back is worth what you think it is, and there are no minimums or category restrictions to your redemptions.
  • 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

Discover it is a solid credit card that should be in just about everybody’s wallet. The card offers a great five percent return on categories that rotate quarterly, and one percent back on all other purchases. The first year as a cardholder can be really good for your bank account because all the rewards you earn will be doubled by Discover, with no limit!

In addition to being a great everyday earner, the Discover it card doesn’t have an annual fee and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees if you want to use the card abroad. Redeeming cash back is super simple with no minimum redemption amount and no restrictions about what you can use the cash back for.

  • Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants, Amazon.com, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earn dollar for dollar at the end of your first year.
  • Redeem your rewards for cash in any amount, anytime.
  • Your cash back never expires.
  • $0 Fraud Liability.
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
Citi® Double Cash Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% introductory APR for 18 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
Citi® Double Cash Reward Program
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %2% on Travel
  • %2% on Dining
  • %2% on Gas
  • %2% on All Other Purchases
  • 3% of each purchase transaction in U.S. dollars

Featured Benefits

Concierge service:

Citi Concierge helps you save valuable time with a staff of specially-trained experts who are ready to assist you with your travel, shopping, dining, entertainment and everyday needs.

Foreign Transaction Fee:

3% of each purchase transaction in U.S. dollars.

Why should you get this card?

  • No Annual Fee: You’ll never have to pay anything for this card. That means all of the rewards you earn are pure bonus!
  • 2% Cash Back on Everything: You don’t need to keep track of specific categories that earn more or less cash back; everything earns 2%!
  • No Caps on Your Earning: Some credit cards that offer higher cash back have a cap on how much you can earn, but not with the Citi Double Cash.
  • Late Fee Pass: If you accidentally miss a payment, Citi has you covered and won’t charge you a late fee–but only once.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Citi Double Cash mostly makes sense under two circumstances. The first is for someone who is seeking simplicity. Since the Double Cash card doesn’t have rotating or any other type of bonus categories to worry about, all you have to do is swipe, pay off your card and reap the benefits!

The second type of person that the Double Cash makes sense for is someone who has a few other rewards cards that cover popular purchase categories, like groceries, gas and travel, but they’re looking for a card for other purchases that otherwise would not earn a bonus. The Double Cash is a great option for that!

  • Earn Cash Back TWICE with 1% on purchases and 1% as you pay for those purchases in full or over time.
  • No caps and no Category restrictions.
  • Credit card late fee pass.
  • Citi® Private Pass®.
  • Citi Price Rewind.
  • 24 Hour fraud protection.
  • The Lost Wallet® Service.
  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • EMV Chip Technology.
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection.
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance.
  • Worldwide Car Rental Insurance.

Rated Best for Miles Rewards

The best miles credit cards can reward you with more than just free flights. Miles credit cards that are not branded by an airline may provide you with the flexibility you have been seeking. However, if you get a card co-branded by an airline, you should expect it to come with perks and benefits specific to that carrier.

If you are looking into fixed-value rewards cards, earning points or miles won’t really make a difference. You can look at those rewards as equating to a penny on the dollar. However, when you consider co-branded airline credit cards, the value of your points and miles can differ depending on how you redeem them. If you plan on traveling domestically, you can usually figure out how much a domestic round-trip ticket will be in miles.

The real value, though, comes when you travel internationally in luxury. The actual dollar value can rise tremendously when you travel in style. These types of vacations may cost somewhat more miles than domestic travel, but when you compare the cash price tag to what you pay in miles, it can get exciting.

Discover it® Miles Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

Intro APR on Purchases
0% intro APR for 14 months from date of account opening
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
10.99% intro APR for 14 months from date of first transfer, for transfers under this offer that post to your account by February 10, 2018
Regular APR
11.99% to 23.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Discover it® Miles Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 1.5Miles on Airfare Purchases
  • 1.5Miles on Hotels
  • 1.5Miles on Gas
  • 1.5Miles on All Other Purchases
  • Unlimited 1.5X rewards on every purchase offer

    • Miles earned are matched at the end of the first year of cardmembership
    • We will reimburse up to $30 of your in-flight Wi-Fi purchases each year with automatic credits to your statement
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Travel Benefits

$30 In-Flight Wi-Fi Access

You will be reimbursed for up to $30 in purchases of wireless internet access on an aircraft per anniversary year. The statement credit will be issued for the purchase amount in U.S. dollars within seven business days.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Discover miles card does not charge foreign transaction fees so you can rest easy when you are abroad.

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You always earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent, which equates to 1.5 percent cash back. Don’t settle for 1 percent! The Discover it Miles card is better.
  • Miles Can be Redeemed for Anything: You don’t have to wait until you have travel coming up to use your miles. Even though the Discover it Miles card earns Miles, it is a cash back card.
  • Miles Doubled for the First Year: At the end of your first year as a card member, Discover will match all of the miles you’ve earned!
  • $30 in Annual Wi-Fi Credits: Next time you have a long flight you can purchase Wi-Fi and have Discover cover the cost up to $30 per year.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Discover it Miles card is wonderful for two types of people. The first, and most obvious, is for someone looking for a single credit card that’s easy to use and that can do it all. The Discover it Miles card is a great option because it earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and redemptions areone cent per mile toward any purchase. Plus thereare a couple of other nice benefits, like $30 in annual Wi-Fi credits and no foreign transaction fees. As a no-fee card, all of that is essentially free.

The second type of person that the Discover it Miles card is a great option for is someone who is looking to truly maximize rewards. The Discover it is basically a no-brainer for the first year because all miles are doubled , meaning that it effectively earns 3 miles per dollar spent (1.5 when you purchase and 1.5 at the end of the year). After the first year it deserves a spot in the wallet of someone who wants to maximize rewards for purchases not included in the bonus earning categories of their other rewards credit cards.

  • Get unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year (new cardmembers only). For example, 30,000 Miles turns to 60,000 Miles.
  • No blackout dates. Fly any airline, any time.
  • We will reimburse up to $30 of your in-flight Wi-Fi purchases each year with automatic credits to your statement.
  • Freeze ItSM on/off switch for your account.
  • Keep tabs on your FICO® Score.
  • You can always count on 100% US-based customer service, anytime. We will not waste your time selling you other products when you call us.
  • Your Miles never expire.
Venture® Rewards Credit Card
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
13.99% to 23.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $95
Rewards Program
Venture® Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xMiles on Travel, Dining and Car Rental
  • 2xMiles on Gas
  • 2xMiles on Hotels
  • 2xMiles on All Other Purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • +No cap to the amount of rewards you can earn

Travel Benefits

Premium Hotel Benefits:

Enjoy perks, such as room upgrades and free breakfast, at over 900 Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection properties.

No Foreign Transaction Fee:

You’ll never have to pay additional fees to use your card while traveling abroad.

Complimentary Concierge Services:

24/7 assistance for dinner reservations, booking travel and special access to sporting and entertainment events.

Why should you get this card?

  • A Generous Sign-up Bonus: The 50,000-mile sign up bonus can be redeemed for $500 worth of travel.
  • Earnings Add up Quickly: Every dollar you spend earns 2 miles, not 1.5 or 1 like other cards. There are no categories or promotions to keep track of.
  • It’s Easy to Redeem Miles: Find the best travel deal, pay with your Venture Rewards card and redeem your miles for a statement credit to erase your purchase. Or just redeem your miles online from the Capital One Rewards Center.

Our Expert's Conclusion

With a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles and the ongoing earning power of two miles for every dollar spent, there’s a good case for owning the Venture card. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year and you’ll have $460 to spend on travel once you’ve made the required $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. That makes this card a solid contender for your everyday spending. However, if you’re not going to be able to spend a minimum of $3,000 a year on the card, you would be better off selecting a card that has no annual fee.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles—that's 2 miles for every dollar you spend on purchases. 100 miles is equal to $1 in travel rewards.
  • Use your Venture® card to make travel purchases on any website or app—any airline, any hotel, rental cars and more.
  • Once you make a travel purchase with Venture, redeem your miles as a statement credit toward the cost. Your rewards don't expire.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • You're covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen.

Rated Best for Hotel Rewards

Having the best co-branded hotel credit cards may get you a lot more than a free hotel stay. Hotel credit cards can help increase your rewards and perks by helping you rise through the ranks of your hotel loyalty program. Some credit cards may instantly upgrade your status just by being a cardholder. Also consider the perks and benefits that may come with your card, such as room upgrades, late check-out, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi and guaranteed room availability.

You may want to think about the network the hotel chain is affiliated with to figure out the footprint of hotel locations. Some hotel credit cards allow you to transfer points to partners outside of the hotel circle, such as airlines. If you are not ready to commit to a hotel chain, there are other options as well, including cards that earn flat-rate rewards that you can redeem for travel expenses or credits, or that allow you to transfer points to a hotel loyalty program.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
16.24% to 20.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $95
Rewards Program
Starwood Preferred Guest®
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xStarpoints at Participating Marriott Rewards® hotels Purchases
  • 1xStarpoints on Dining
  • 1xStarpoints on Gas
  • 1xStarpoints on All Other Purchases
  • 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
    • Receive a 5,000 Starpoint® bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a participating frequent flyer program
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • +5 nights and 2 stays towards SPG® Elite status each year

Travel Benefits

No Foreign Transaction Fees:

Feel free to pull this card out of your wallet when traveling overseas. It’ll never cost you extra.

Entertainment Access:

Get access to advanced sales of event tickets exclusively for Amex cardholders.

Free Wi-Fi:

Connect to the internet when you’re on the road with the Boingo American Express Preferred Plan. You’ll get complimentary access to any Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots.

Why should you get this card?

  • Valuable and Flexible Reward Program: SPG offers a ton of great redemption options, including free nights at Starwood properties and the Nights and Flights program, as well as a lot of transfer partners, including Marriott and over 30 airlines.
  • Good Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 25,000 Starpoints by spending 3,000 in the first 3 months. That’s worth 30,000 miles if you transfer to an airline partner.
  • 5,000-Mile Bonus for Transfers: You’ll get an extra 5,000 miles for every 20,000 points you transfer to an airline. That can add up fast.
  • Shortcut to Gold Status: Spend $30,000 a year on the card and you’ll earn Gold elite status, which also results in reciprocal Gold status with Marriott.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The Starwood Preferred Guest card offers one of the most flexible rewards programs in the industry, making it an excellent choice for many different types of travelers. Since the card doesn’t have an annual fee the first year, you can try it out without any out-of- pocket cost.

The SPG Amex is great for anyone looking to earn free nights with either Starwood or Marriott, because points can be transferred freely between the two programs. It’s an excellent alternative for those who want to earn Marriott points but can’t get any more Chase cards due to the 5/24 rule. The SPG card effectively earns 3 Marriott points per dollar since Starpoints can be transferred at a ratio of 1:3.

  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn up to 5 Starpoints® for every dollar of eligible purchases at participating Starwood hotels–that's 2 as a Card Member on top of the 2 or 3 you can earn as an SPG member.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for every dollar of eligible purchases on the Card at participating Marriott Rewards® hotels.
  • Earn 1 Starpoint for all other eligible purchases.
  • As a Card Member, receive credit for 5 nights and 2 stays each year toward SPG® Elite status. That's just 20 nights away for SPG Gold status and 45 nights away for SPG Platinum status in a calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Receive free in-room, premium Internet access while staying with SPG® Participating Hotels.
  • Redeem Starpoints® for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights with no blackout dates. Transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline frequent flyer programs, mostly on a one-to-one basis. Receive a 5,000 Starpoint bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a participating frequent flyer program.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
0% introductory APR for the first twelve billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening
Regular APR
16.99% to 23.99% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $89
Rewards Program
Barclaycard Arrival Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 2xMiles on Travel, Dining and Car Rental
  • 2xMiles on Gas
  • 2xMiles on Hotels
  • 2xMiles on All Other Purchases
  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days
    • 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, everytime you redeem
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Travel Benefits

24/7 Concierge:

You have access to a complimentary concierge any time of day. This service works like a personal assistant to help with reservations, hard-to-find items, and more.

No foreign transaction fee:

You can earn miles outside the U.S. without worrying about extra fees.

Why should you get this card?

  • Valuable Sign-Up Bonus: This card comes with a sign-up bonus worth $400 toward any travel purchase.
  • Excellent Everyday Earning: You’ll get 2 miles for each dollar you spend. That will add up fast.
  • Easy to Redeem: Your miles aren’t tied to a loyalty program. Just buy the flight you want and redeem miles toward that purchase. There are no blackout dates or limited award space.

Our Expert's Conclusion

The short answer is absolutely. Depending on your travel and spending habits, this card may or not make sense for you after the first year when you start paying the annual fee, but earning 40,000 miles after meeting the minimum spend and earning 2X miles on all purchases are tremendous benefits. Not only that, but if this becomes your go-to card, miles will rack up fast, and with the 5 percent redemption bonus, that’s like earning 2.1 percent back on every purchase, every day. This card is just as good as any other cashback card currently on the market.

  • 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchase in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases.
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem.
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing.
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country.
  • Redeem your miles for travel statement credits starting at 10,000 miles for $100 toward all or a portion of your travel purchase of $100 or more made within the past 120 days.
  • 0% introductory APR for the first twelve billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.
  • $89 annual fee waived for the first year.

Rated Best for Shopping Rewards

The best credit cards for shopping are usually not co-branded store cards. They can put you in an endless loop of shopping at the same place because the rewards are limited to that store. It won’t give you a chance to comparison shop, which can increase your odds of getting better prices. Store credit cards may not be branded by a major payment network, either, which means they can only be used at that store and possibly some affiliated chains. Also consider that being a member of a store’s loyalty program may be a better way to earn points and have access to their promotions.

There are some exceptions, though, if you are considering a co-branded store card. You may want a card that carries the logo of a major payment network to broaden usability and the versatility of the rewards. If a stores credit card does not give any additional benefit outside of their loyalty program, then stick to a general reward-earning credit card and use it in conjunction with the loyalty program to double your rewards. Don’t let your credit card dictate how, when and where you purchase items. Instead, let what you are buying dictate which card you use.

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.

Wi-Fi:

Only A-List Preferred status members get inflight Wi-Fi at no charge.

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.
  • Sign-Up Bonus: For a card with zero annual fees, a sign-up bonus worth $0 is rather generous, and it only requires spending $1,000 in the first three months to earn the 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.

Our Expert's Conclusion

If you’re looking for a credit card that has a decent welcome bonus 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 annual fees.

Applying for this card costs nothing and you won’t pay a dime to keep it year after year. The 0- point sign-up bonus is worth $0, so there’s absolutely no risk for the cardholder. And earning additional points means more 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.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

Intro APR on Purchases
0% introductory APR for 7 months from date of account opening
Intro APR on Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
16.24% Variable±
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Costco Cash Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • %4% on Gas
  • %3% on Dining and Travel
  • %2% on All Other Purchases From Costco
  • %1% on All Other Purchases
  • 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Featured Benefits

Bonus Cash Back for Travel:

You’ll get 3% back for travel purchases, including airfare, hotels and car rentals

Foreign Transaction Fee:

This card does charge a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it’s best not to use it outside of the United States

Why should you get this card?

  • Great Earning Potential: You’ll earn an unlimited 3% back on travel and restaurants, 2% back on Costco purchases, and 1% everywhere else with no caps. You also earn 4% back on gas for up to $7,000 a year.
  • 0% APR for the First 7 Months: Need to make a big purchase? You can spread out your payments with 0% interest for the first 7 months you have the card. Just be sure to continue making at least the minimum payment and know that interest kicks in on any remaining balance after the introductory period.
  • Straightforward Redemption: Redeeming rewards is simple as Citi mails your annual cashback certificate each February. It can be redeemed at Costco for merchandise or cash.
  • 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

Like to shop at Costco? Then this is definitely a card you should keep in your wallet. Not only do you earn 2 percent back on every Costco purchase, but you can earn cash back for gas, dining out, travel and more. And since there’s no annual fee, all the rewards you earn are yours. You may not want this to be your only card, though, because you will incur foreign transaction fees if you use it outside the United States or if you make purchases in non-U.S. dollars.

If you don’t live near a Costco, you can still use this card for online purchases (assuming you’re a member), but you may not get as much value as those who can get to a nearby store. Also, if you like to have more flexibility with your rewards, this may not be the card for you. And if travel rewards are what you seek, the Costco Visa should not be your first choice.

  • 4% cash back on eligible gas worldwide, including gas at Costco, for the first $7,000 per year in gas purchases and then 1% thereafter.
  • 3% cash back on restaurant (including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants) and eligible travel purchases worldwide, including airfare, hotels, car rentals, travel agencies, cruise lines and Costco Travel.
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Cash back will be provided as an annual credit card reward certificate in February billing statements, redeemable for cash or merchandise at US Costco Warehouses.
  • Damage & Theft Purchase Protection.
  • Extended Warranty.
  • Citi Price Rewind.
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection.
  • Worldwide Car Rental Insurance.
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance.
  • Travel & Emergency Assistance.

Compare Best Rewards 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
Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $100 sign-up bonus.
  • $360 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$460
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$460
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Capital One®

More Details
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $200 sign-up bonus.
  • $240 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$440
FEES
-$95
RE® value
$345
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
American Express

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • $0 sign-up bonus.
  • $480 for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$480
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$480
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Citibank

More Details
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

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

To apply for this offer please contact
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Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

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

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Discover Bank

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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

Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 50,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 48,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$980
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$980
How to Apply

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Capital One®

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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

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American Express

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Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$910
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$910
How to Apply

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American Express

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Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 60,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$1,360
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$1,360
How to Apply

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Citibank

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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

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Citibank

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Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 30,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$826
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$826
How to Apply

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Citibank

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Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 40,000 miles sign-up bonus.
  • 48,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$926
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$926
How to Apply

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Barclaycard

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JetBlue® MasterCard®

JetBlue® MasterCard®

Bonuses & Rewards
  • 10,000 points sign-up bonus.
  • 24,000 points for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$571
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$571
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Barclaycard

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Discover it® Miles Card

Discover it® Miles Card

Bonuses & Rewards
  • match all the rewards at the end of first year
  • 36,000 miles for everyday spend.
First Year Rewards
$720
FEES
-$0
RE® value
$720
How to Apply

To apply for this offer please contact
Discover Bank

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Six Basics for Maximizing Credit Card Rewards

If you are looking to make the most of your credit card rewards, there are some basic rewards maximizing strategies that you should consider. There are many ways to get more rewards from your spending and maximize the value of your points and miles. Use these tips to increase your reward earning, and never settle for 1 percent back.

  • Basic #1: Double Dip

    Join all of the loyalty programs at everyplace you use your credit cards. These may include hotels, airlines, retail stores and gas stations. Loyalty programs have so many benefits. One of the top benefits of loyalty programs is double dipping, which is earning rewards from your loyalty program and your rewards credit card at the same time.

    Loyalty programs can also give members access to sales and promotions. Loyalty programs are so easy to join. They don’t require a credit check, and you can join many of them on the spot with very little personal information.

  • Basic #2: Stack Your Credit Cards

    Using different cards for different purposes is known as stacking. Instead of trying to get one card that will meet all your needs, try using a combination of cards that get the highest rewards on things you buy the most.

    To start with, you should have a card with a good flat rate of at least 1.5 percent to purchase all things that don’t coincide with a bonus category. You should also add a card with rotating categories that can earn 5 percent on certain purchases.

    Everyone needs to eat, so it’s imperative to have a card that rewards you highly on groceries and another card that rewards you for eating out. You usually won’t get both on one card. You should also have card that earns at least 2 percent back on the things you buy the most, such as gas.

  • Basic #3: Know Your Redemption Options

    If you are earning rewards like cashback, the value won’t change. Whether you earn points or miles, it won’t really make a difference. However, when you earn rewards that are transferrable, what you use them on can change their value. When you have varying redemption options, be sure to figure what it would cost in cash and then compare that to the cost in points or miles. Some deals are better than others.

    You should also know some of the basic parameters of your cards, like if there is a minimum amount of rewards you need in order to redeem. And if you have a co-branded airline or hotel card, figure out how many miles or points you need for a stay or fly.

  • Basic #4: Be Familiar with Bonus Categories

    Whether you choose to use an app, website or a more low-tech approach like marking your card, figure out a method for keeping your bonus categories for purchases straight. Don’t forget to activate your quarterly bonuses, too. With many cards, you can do this quickly and easily online or through an app.

    Know which card you want to use for gas, which card to use for groceries, etc. Also, be sure to have a good general rewards card that earns at least 1.5 percent on all purchases for all spending that does not fall into a bonus category.

  • Basic #5: Know Your Annual and Quarterly Limits

    Many cards that have a high earning potential will also have limits on what you can earn. For instance, Discover it® - Cashback Match™ has a $1,500 cap on their bonus spending categories. This means that when you spend that amount in that category, you will no longer earn the 5.0 percent. Instead, you will be back down to 1 percent. At this point you should revert to another card.

    There can also be other limitations that don’t only apply to rotating categories. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express caps their 3.0 percent rewards on groceries at $6,000 annually.

  • Basic #6: Avoid Interest

    Above all else, you never want to pay interest. It will immediately take away from the value of your rewards. If you know you need to carry a balance or need to make a large purchase, get a card that has a 0% promotional interest rate.

Five Types of Credit Card Rewards

There are many credit cards that allow shoppers to collect rewards for the purchases they make. Each card provides its own set of benefits and offers its own unique way to get rewarded for purchases. Although there are a lot different rewards credit cards available, the types of rewards can be broken down into five categories:

  • Type #1: Cash Back

    Cash back is one of the easiest credit card reward systems to manage. When using a cashback card, cardholders will earn cash rewards every time the card is used to complete an eligible purchase. Many cashback credit cards will allow the user to earn at least 1 percent back on the purchases they make.

    Some cashback credit cards will allow the user to earn a higher percentage back on purchases in select categories. Many cashback cards do not have an earning limit, so the more you use the card, the more you will earn. When used correctly, cashback credit cards can earn cardholders a significant amount of money.

  • Type #2: Gas Rewards

    Gas is something that most people spend a large chunk of their monthly budget on, so there’s no secret that many people enjoy saving money or earning rewards on the fuel they purchase. There are so many gas credit cards available, but they can be broken down into one of two categories: general and co-branded cards.

    General gas cards will treat all gas companies equally. A general gas credit card will not bear the logo of a gas station, but it may still allow you to collect 5 percent back when buying gas and 1 percent back on general purchases. A co-branded gas card could also allow you to collect up to 5 percent back when buying from a specific gas station and 1 to 2 percent on all other purchases.

    Depending on your spending and travel habits, you may have more need for a specific type of gas card. If you usually find yourself filling up at your local gas station, and you use that brand when you’re on the road, you may benefit from a brand-specific credit card. If you happen to be someone who just stops at whichever gas station is the closest, you’d probably be better off with a bank credit card that has good rewards on gas. A good thing to keep in mind is that some gas brands are not be available in every state.

  • Type #3: Retail Rewards

    Commonly referred to as store cards, retail rewards credit cards have been co-branded by a major retailer. Retail rewards cards allow the user to collect points on the purchases they make. However, many retail rewards credit cards are not affiliated with any major payment network, such as Visa or MasterCard. Depending on which one you receive, you may only be able to use the card and earn rewards at the one retailed. Some other downsides to store credit cards are that they tend to carry significantly high APRs and many practice deferred interest, which makes them a horrible option for financing items.

  • Type #4: Travel Rewards

    This is a specific group of credit cards that are dedicated to earning rewards with travel goals in mind. Some of these cards are co-branded by a specific airline or hotel, while others are part of a network that allows points to be transferred to airline or hotel loyalty programs, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou and Amex Membership Rewards. Other travel cards may allow you to redeem your rewards for a statement credit toward travel expenses.

    Co-branded airline and hotel cards will usually allow you to earn points or miles on general purchases and award bonus points when using it on purchases made from that specific airline or hotel brand. The points earned with one of these cards can usually be redeemed for award tickets or free hotel nights, as well as give you access to special perks, like room or seat upgrades. More general travel cards will allow cardholders to redeem points for a much wider range of options, including theme park admission and a variety of hotel chains and airlines.

    Many of the top travel cards will include an annual fee, since the generous rewards offered can be costly to creditors. These cards are recommended for people who will take advantage of the travel benefits that are included. Paying the annual fee without traveling and making use of the provided benefits will negate the value of the rewards you earn.

  • Type #5: General Rewards

    General rewards cards will give cardholders points every time they make a purchase. The points earned with general rewards cards can be collected over time and redeemed for a variety of options. Some general rewards cards with variable rates. For instance, a variable rate card might offer higher rewards for purchases made in one or two categories, such as gas, groceries, entertainment or dining out, and then all other purchases will earn 1 percent back.

    Redemption options can offer a fixed value or points or miles can be transferable. With fixed-value cards, earning and redeeming is straightforward. With transferrable rewards, the value of points or miles can vary based on what you use them for. Depending on the issuer of your credit card, you may be able to redeem your points for gift cards, hotel stays, plane tickets, jewelry and more.

FAQs

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

  • It depends on your redemption goals. When it comes to cards offering fixed-value rewards, which are those that don’t have transferrable points or miles, it won’t really make a difference. Each point or mile you earn per dollar will usually equate to a penny. However, if your rewards are transferable, then the value may vary depending on what you use them for.
    Whether you should collect points or miles is subjective to your spending habits and your goals. Points are usually more versatile. However, many cards now offer miles that can be used for more than just flights. Miles earned on co-branded airline cards are definitely more limited as far as redemptions go, but they can also be more valuable when used in conjunction with promotions or transfers. Transferring miles can be a tricky game, but if you do your research right, you can find extreme value.
  • You should have at least good credit if you want to be able to get the highest reward earning potential. However, having excellent credit will afford you the best options. To be successful with credit card stacking, you must use the cards properly, which means paying on time and not carrying a balance.
    Carrying a balance and paying interest will take away from any rewards you earn. Keep in mind missing a payment can be detrimental to your credit score. Your payment history has a high impact and is worth about 30 percent of your credit score. If you are using multiple cards to maximize rewards, I highly recommend putting your minimum payments on auto pay. However, be sure to pay the entire balance within 21 days of the statement date to avoid interest.
  • The only time I stick to one card for earning rewards is when I am concentrating my expenses to meet the minimum spend for a sign-up bonus. Other than that, I like to spread my spending between several cards.
    Not only do I like to maximize reward rates, but I like many redemption options as well. There are several different types of rewards that can be earned with rewards credit cards. The type of rewards that you can earn will depend on the card you use to complete a purchase. For example, if you carry a cashback credit card, you will be able to earn a certain percentage back on all purchases made with that card. They are kind of like getting a rebate on everything you buy.
    If you happen to carry a co-branded retail rewards credit card, your reward benefits will be mostly limited to that specific store and any of its partners or affiliations. If you use a gas station rewards credit card, you will either be able to earn a certain percentage back on the fuel you purchase or earn rewards that will equate to a discount on gas, which can be applied to a future fuel purchase.
    The most flexible redemption options come from general rewards credit cards. A general rewards credit card will allow you to collect points on all purchases. Unlike other rewards cards, a general rewards credit card will let you select from a much wider range of reward options, sometimes including cash back. Some general rewards credit cards will allow you to redeem your points on things like gift cards, concert tickets and even dining credits.
    Some general rewards credit cards have entire networks dedicated to transferring your reward points to a variety of frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs, which can significantly increase their value. Using Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel gives a 20 percent discount, which automatically makes points worth 1.25 cents each. There are also the ThankYou and Membership Rewards portals.
    What it comes down to is not the type of rewards you earn, but how you can get the most value per dollar between earning and redemption.
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