Best Rewards Credit Cards in June 2024

A great rewards credit card allows you to earn cashback, miles, and points for purchases you were going to make anyway. The best rewards cards also come with enticing offers like lucrative welcome bonuses, bonus rewards categories, and perks like travel insurance, consumer protections, complimentary memberships, and statement credits.

Here's how to find the best rewards credit card for your spending habits. 

Best Rewards Credit Cards

. . .

Best for Flat-Rate Travel Rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards rate: 5x miles on hotel and rental car purchases through Capital One Travel portal; 2x miles on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening (worth $750 when booking through Capital One Travel)
  • Annual fee: $95
capital one venture credit card

. . .

If you can’t stop thinking about your next big trip, then the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card may be your best bet. Since it offers both flexibility and substantial rewards, the $95 annual fee may be worth it.

You can earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 within the first three months, valued at $750 in travel. Plus, the card's unlimited 2x miles on all purchases, regardless of category, makes earning rewards nice and easy. Your rewards rate gets a boost, too, with 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 

But this card's flexibility is what really stands out. You can choose to use your miles to offset travel purchases or book trips directly through Capital One Travel. You also have the option to transfer miles to over 15 travel loyalty programs.

Perks wise, you get a credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® — which will speed up the airport security process. You also can enjoy two complimentary visits annually to Capital One Lounges or over 100 Plaza Premium Lounges via the Partner Lounge Network.

Learn more about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Best for Beginner Travelers: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 

  • Rewards rate: 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries; 2x on all other travel purchases; 1x on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $95
chase sapphire preferred

. . .

Love to travel and dine out? The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can give you the perks you’re craving. And with the new cardholder bonus, you can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.

You can earn 3x points on dining, 5x points on travel booked through Chase Travel℠, and 2x points on all other travel purchases. Plus, get a $50 annual credit on hotels through Chase Travel℠ and, on your account anniversary, bonus points equal to 10% of your previous year’s spending.

If you really want a lot of bang for your buck to help cancel out the $95 annual fee, you can increase the value of points by 25% by redeeming for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises through Chase Travel℠.

As fun as traveling can be, it can also be stressful, but this credit card can back you up in tricky travel situations. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® provides travel protections such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary rental car coverage, and lost luggage insurance.

If you're more of a homebody, you also get complimentary access to DashPass and benefits like $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a year — which can make staying in a lot more appealing. 

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Best for Cashback Matching: Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card

  • Rewards rate: Earn 5% on rotating categories each quarter, up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1% (activation required), and 1% on all other spending
  • Welcome offer: Unlimited Cashback Match at the end of your first year
  • Annual fee: $0

. . .

If cashback is more your speed, then the Discover it® Cash Back card’s unique rewards structure may be a better fit for you.

This card features a rotating 5% cashback on spending in select categories — up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter, then 1%. Categories range from restaurants and grocery stores to Amazon and gas stations and need to be activated each quarter. You’ll also earn unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases.

Instead of a traditional welcome bonus, Discover offers a unique introductory bonus: Unlimited Cashback Match. At the end of your first year, Discover automatically matches the amount of cashback you earned, effectively doubling your rewards.

Despite its strong points, there are a few considerations to keep in mind with this card. Keeping track of changing bonus categories every quarter may not suit your style. And while the card provides generous rewards, it does come with spending caps on bonus rewards.

If you're an international traveler, this card comes with no foreign transaction fees, but Discover's lower acceptance abroad might pose a challenge.

Best for Flat-Rate Cashback: Wells Fargo Active Cash® Credit Card 

  • Rewards rate: Earn unlimited 2% cashback on all purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn $200 after spending $500 in the first three months
  • Annual fee: $0
Wells Fargo Active Cash Credit Card

. . .

If you don’t want to fuss with reward redemptions across different categories, a credit card with a high flat rate for cashback might be what you need.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card has a straightforward cashback structure and can deliver some pretty valuable perks. And with no annual fee, it's a cost-effective choice. It also has a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months — that’s essentially 40% cashback and makes it easy to kickstart your earnings.

The standout feature of this card is the flat 2% cash rewards on all purchases, eliminating the hassle of tracking reward categories. Plus, the cash rewards don't expire as long as your account is open.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash also offers perks like access to Visa Signature Concierge services and up to $600 in cellphone protection against damage or theft when you pay your cellphone bill with the card (with a $25 deductible).

How Do Rewards Credit Cards Work?

Rewards credit cards offer you incentives, such as cashback, points, or miles, based on your spending activity.

Every time you make a purchase using your rewards credit card, you earn a certain amount of rewards based on the card's earning structure. Earning structures can vary in complexity and earning potential. 

Some cards offer an unlimited flat rate, such as 1.5% or 2% cashback, on all purchases. Other cards provide higher rewards, like up to 6% cashback or 10x points, for specific spending categories such as groceries, dining, travel, or gas.

Other cards might have rotating categories where the higher rewards rate changes every few months. Bonus categories typically have a cap on spending, after which additional spending will be rewarded at a lower rate, usually 1% or 1x points.

Depending on the card, rewards may accumulate as cashback, points, or miles. You can view your rewards balance, track your earnings, and initiate redemptions through your credit card issuer’s online portal or mobile app.

How to Redeem Credit Card Rewards

Once you accumulate rewards, you can redeem them for various benefits. These benefits can include statement credits, travel bookings, gift cards, merchandise, or even charitable donations. Some cards offer more flexibility and allow you to choose from a range of options, while others might tie to specific brands or retailers.

Some travel credit cards allow you to transfer points to partners, like airlines or hotel chains. Points may have different values with different transfer partners, so it’s important to consider the total value of your points before moving them.

The value of your rewards can vary based on how you choose to redeem them. For example, redeeming for travel might offer a higher value per point, particularly when redeemed through the issuer’s rewards portals, compared to redeeming for cashback. Generally, redeeming rewards for gift cards and merchandise will have the lowest return. 

READ MORE: How to Maximize Credit Card Rewards

What To Look for in a Rewards Credit Card

When looking for a rewards credit card, there are several important factors to consider. You want to find a card that aligns with your spending habits, financial goals, and lifestyle.

Here are some key things to look for:

Rewards aligned with your spending

Choose a reward type that matches your preferences and spending patterns. Consider how many rewards you'll earn per dollar spent. Some cards offer a flat rate for all purchases, while others provide higher reward rates for specific spending categories like groceries, dining, travel, or gas. 

If you’re a dynamic spender, consider a rotating category card that will reward you for different spending each quarter. Just remember that these cards take a little more work as you need to stay on top of quarterly categories and make sure to activate them in order to earn the bonus rate.

Generous (and attainable) welcome offer

Many rewards cards offer sign-up bonuses after you spend a certain amount within the first few months. Look for cards with appealing bonuses that you can realistically take advantage of.

For example, if a bonus offer requires you to spend $5,000 within your first three months and you don't normally spend that much in that timeframe, don't go out shopping just to meet the requirement. A sign-up bonus isn't worth putting yourself into credit card debt.

Also keep in mind that welcome offers can change over time. A card offering 60,000 points might sometimes boost this to 80,000 or even 100,000 points with the same spending requirement. If you don’t have a pressing need to apply for the card right now, it can pay to wait for a better welcome offer to come around.

Perks and benefits

Look for additional benefits such as extended warranty protection, purchase protection, price protection, and concierge services.

If you're interested in travel rewards, consider cards that offer travel-related perks such as airport lounge access, application credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, travel insurance, and rental car insurance.

Flexible redemption options

Earning rewards is all well and good, but you also need to make sure you can easily redeem them.

Check how flexible and convenient the redemption options are — some cards may restrict how you can use your rewards. For example, there might be a minimum redemption amount for cashback, or there might be blackout dates for booking flights with points.

The best rewards credit cards provide a range of redemption options, including statement credits, travel bookings, gift cards, merchandise, or even direct deposit into your bank account.

Minimal fees

Even if you never carry a balance on a credit card, your credit card can still cost you money thanks to fees. The most common fees you need to look out for when choosing a credit card are annual fees and foreign transaction fees.  

Generally speaking, rewards cards with an annual fee usually offer great rewards and perks in exchange. Compare the value of the rewards you're likely to earn with the cost of the annual fee to determine if the card is worth it for you. These fees can be steep — from around $95 to $695.

Higher-end cards will generally have much more valuable perks and reward structures. But a card’s benefits only offset the annual fee if you actually use those benefits — as luxurious as airport lounge access might sound, if you rarely travel, you likely won’t get enough value to justify the hefty fee that usually accompanies it. 

If you frequently travel outside of the country, foreign transaction fees can quickly add up when you use your card abroad. This is also true if you regularly make purchases from merchants based overseas, as these are also considered foreign transactions even if you’re making them from U.S. soil. You’ll want to get your hands on a rewards card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.

Achievable credit requirements

Some rewards cards require a high credit score for approval. Typically, the better the rewards, the better your credit score will need to be to qualify.

Check the credit score requirements to ensure you're eligible. A good credit score is 670 or above. If your credit score is on the lower side, you want to be careful when it comes to choosing a credit card. Try to get prequalified if you can, so you can measure your odds of getting approved for the card without a hard inquiry impacting your credit score. 

How To Make the Most Out of Your Rewards Credit Card

Once you have a rewards credit card, you want to maximize your rewards earnings while minimizing costs. Here are some tips to help you get the most value from your rewards credit cards:

  • Choose the right card. Select a card that aligns with your spending habits and lifestyle. You want to look for a card with earning categories that match your highest spending areas.
  • Understand the earning structure. Some credit cards more heavily reward dining out, buying gas, or booking travel through their specific travel portal. Certain cards require activation for bonus categories or have caps that will limit your earnings once you hit a certain threshold.
  • Leverage rotating categories. If your card has rotating bonus categories, adjust your spending to take advantage of these higher rewards during those periods. 
  • Pay your balance in full. Any interest charged on your rewards card will quickly offset the value of rewards earned. So avoid carrying a balance from month to month.
  • Combine rewards with other benefits. Some rewards cards offer perks like travel insurance, airport lounge access, or extended warranties. These rewards can be general or can get quite niche, like gift cards for streaming services or department stores. 
Man looking for rewards on laptop with his card. Guide to Pros and Cons of rewards credit cards.

Pros and Cons of Rewards Credit Cards 

Rewards credit cards can be very appealing — and, when you're intentional with them, quite lucrative. That said, they’re not without pitfalls.

You should be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of rewards credit cards before you consider applying.

Pros

  • Earning rewards: Rewards credit cards allow you to earn cashback, points, or miles on purchases you're already making.
  • Freebies and perks: Some cards come with benefits like travel insurance, airport lounge access, extended warranties, and concierge services.
  • Redemption flexibility: Many cards offer versatile redemption options, including statement credits, travel bookings, merchandise, and gift cards.
  • Welcome offers: Many rewards cards offer enticing welcome bonuses that can provide a substantial boost to your rewards balance.

Cons

  • Annual fees: Some rewards cards come with annual fees that can outweigh the value of the rewards, especially if you don't use the card frequently. 
  • High interest rates: If you carry a balance from month to month, the high interest rates on credit cards effectively wipe out most of the benefits. 
  • Overspending risk: The pursuit of earning rewards might tempt you to overspend or make unnecessary purchases, which can do more financial harm than good.
  • Complexity: Rewards programs can be intricate, involving categories, tiers, and expiration dates. You'll need the time and energy to navigate your card’s reward system

Remember that the best rewards credit card for you depends on your individual preferences, spending habits, and financial goals. Take your time to compare different options and choose the one that aligns with your needs.

FAQs

Are travel rewards more valuable than cashback? 

The value of travel rewards versus cashback depends on your preferences and spending habits. Travel rewards can offer higher value when used for flights, hotel stays, and experiences. However, cashback provides immediate and flexible value. Consider your travel frequency, redemption options, and the overall reward structure of the cards to determine which option is more valuable for you.

How much are credit card reward points worth?

The value of credit card reward points varies widely. A general rule of thumb is that one reward point is worth one cent. That said, some points can be worth two cents or more, depending on the card and redemption method. Travel redemptions can sometimes offer higher value, while cashback typically has a straightforward 1:1 value. Check your card's specific terms and redemption options to calculate the value of rewards based on how you intend to use them.

What credit score do I need to get a rewards credit card?

The more generous a card is, the higher the credit score requirement is likely to be. You can qualify for some rewards credit cards with a credit score of 670 or above. However, most premium rewards cards require a score of 700 or even 750+. But keep in mind your credit score is not the only factor considered — your income, credit history, and other financial factors also play a role in the approval process.

Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

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Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.