rewards credit cards
Photo by Ekaterina Shevchenko on Unsplash

So, you’ve decided it’s time for a new credit card, but you want to make sure your card gives you more than just access to funds when you need them. That’s where rewards credit cards come in. Rewards credit cards can be a boon for your financial goals if you choose wisely, but there are a lot out there to choose from. Here’s a high-level overview of how rewards credit cards work, including 19 rewards credit cards worth checking out in 2019.

How Rewards Credit Cards Work

Rewards credit cards are just what they sound like — credit cards offering you a reward for using them. The most common kinds of rewards are cash back or travel rewards, which you might see in the form of statement credits or checks, points, or miles. Many of these cards also offer bonuses for spending a certain amount of money within the first few months.

Typically, rewards credit cards offer a set reward amount for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases. How you can redeem the rewards you earn will depend on the card you choose.

Some Considerations to Help You Choose a Rewards Credit Card

The sheer number of rewards credit cards out there can be overwhelming. You might want to consider the following as you set your priorities for choosing the right rewards credit card.

  • Where do you spend the most money? You can earn more rewards if you focus on the cards that offer the most rewards for the things you buy most often.
  • Where are the credit cards you’re interested in accepted? If you know the merchants you use the most don’t take the card you’re interested in, you might not be able to use the card as much as you’d like, limiting the rewards you can earn.
  • Do you have other needs, such as a balance transfer to pay off debt? Some rewards credit cards come with no interest on balance transfers for a limited period of time, though they won’t likely give you rewards for the balance transfer itself. Some of these cards also offer no interest on purchases for the first year or longer.
  • How much are you willing to pay for rewards? Although there are many rewards credit cards that don’t charge an annual fee, some of the premium cards come with a fee. With some, though, the rewards are often more than enough to offset that fee. If you’re willing to do a good amount of research on your past spending and what these cards offer, you can determine if a premium rewards credit card might pay off for you.

Some Caveats to Consider When Choosing a Rewards Credit Card

On the flip side, there are a few caveats you might want to consider before you make a choice. Here are some things to keep in mind as you evaluate your options, which can help ensure you don’t end up regretting your choice later.

  • If the annual fee is waived the first year, remember you’ll get charged the next year if you keep the card open.
  • Some rewards come with restrictions, such as spending limits on certain categories, rewards that expire, and things like blackout dates for travel reward redemption.
  • If you intend to use your rewards for travel, watch out for cards that charge a foreign transaction fee. These can typically cost 3 percent per purchase and add up quickly if you make frequent purchases while traveling.

19 Rewards Credit Cards Worth Checking Out¹

Let’s look at some options now that you know more about how these credit cards work and how to decide which one may work for you. To help you narrow down the choices, here are some rewards credit cards worth checking out this year, with all the details being current as of June 2019.

Keep in mind as you review the APRs for each credit card that the interest rate you are ultimately given will be based on your creditworthiness. That’s why credit card issuers typically advertise cards with a range of potential APRs. Also, APRs can sometimes change when there’s a late payment — something called a “penalty APR,” which is in addition to any late fee that might be assessed. It’s important to note overall that rates are subject to change.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

  • Standout Feature: Unlimited cash back and low purchase APR
  • Signup Bonus: None
  • Annual Fee: $99 but waived for the first year
  • Purchase APR: 12.49% – 15.49%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $27; penalty APR of 25.49%
  • Rewards: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases for the first year, then 2.5% cash back

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Standout Feature: Rewards for Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases
  • Signup Bonus: $70 Amazon.com gift card upon approval
  • Annual Fee: $0 — but you have to be a member of Amazon Prime, and there is a $119 annual fee for that ($59 for Amazon Prime Student memberships)
  • Purchase APR: 16.49% – 24.49%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $38
  • Rewards: Earn 5% cash back for Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases, 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

  • Standout Feature: Rewards for everyday spending and you can use your rewards for eligible charges, plus the ability to make interest-free purchases for the first 15 months
  • Signup Bonus: 25,000 membership rewards points if you make $2,000 in purchases in the first three months
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 0% for the first 15 months, then 15.24% – 26.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $38; penalty APR of 29.99%
  • Rewards: If you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period, you earn 20% extra points on those purchases, plus 2x points for money spent at supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases) and 1x points for other purchases
  • Premium versions: If you’re interested in more rewards and are open to an annual fee, check out the American Express® Gold Card and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

  • Standout Feature: Unlimited points that don’t expire, as well as multiple redemption options (cash back, statement credit, travel, gift card, or Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account deposit)
  • Signup Bonus: 50,000 bonus points if, within 90 days of account opening, you make $3,000 in purchases
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Purchase APR: 18.24% – 25.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39; penalty APR of up to 29.99%
  • Rewards: Earn two points for every $1 of travel and dining purchases, 1.5 points for every $1 spent on other purchases — qualifying purchases can also get you up to $100 in airline incidental statement credits, as well as a $100 credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry; Bank of America® Preferred Rewards clients also get 25%-75% of a rewards bonus for every purchase

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

  • Standout Feature: Unlimited points that don’t expire, plus no interest on purchases for the first year
  • Signup Bonus: 25,000 bonus points if, within 90 days of opening the account, you make at least $1,000 in purchases — can only be used as a travel purchase statement credit
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles, then 17.24% – 25.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39; penalty APR of up to 29.99%
  • Rewards: Earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent on all purchases; Bank of America® Preferred Rewards clients get 25% – 75% bonus points for every purchase

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card

  • Standout Feature: 3% cash back on purchases in the first year (up to $20,000 in purchases), no interest on purchases or balance transfers for the first 15 months
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 0% for the first 15 months, then 17.24% — 25.99%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn 3% cash back on all the purchases you make in the first year (for spending up to $20,000); 1.5% cash back on purchases after that

Chase Freedom® Credit Card

  • Standout Feature: 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories, no interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months
  • Signup Bonus: If you spend $500 on purchase the first three months, you get a $150 bonus
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 0% for the first 15 months, then 17.24% – 25.99%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on quarterly bonus categories (with a limit of $1,500 in purchases and you have to remember to activate each quarter), plus unlimited 1% cash back for all your other purchases

Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Standout Feature: A business credit card that earns travel rewards
  • Signup Bonus: Spend $5,000 in the first three months of opening your card and you can earn 80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Purchase APR: 18.24% — 23.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39, plus a default APR of 29.99%
  • Rewards: Earn three points for every dollar you spend on certain purchases (up to $150,000 in spending), then earn one point for every dollar you spend on the remaining purchases; if you redeem your rewards through Chase Ultimate Rewards, your rewards will be worth 25% more
  • Other Versions: Chase also offers business rewards credit cards like the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card and the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card

  • Standout Feature: You get 25% more value if you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Signup Bonus: You get 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of opening your account
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Purchase APR: 18.24% – 25.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn 2x points on travel and restaurants, plus one point per dollar for all other purchases
  • Premium Version: If you’re interested in even more rewards and are open to an annual fee, check out the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Citi® Double Cash Card

  • Standout Feature: A credit card that gives you rewards for purchases and payments, plus no interest on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 0% for the first 18 months, then 15.74% — 25.74%
  • Late Payment Fee: $0 for the first one, then up to $39 for each subsequent late payment
  • Rewards: You can earn 1% cash back for your purchases and another 1% for your payments
  • Premium Version: If you’re interested in more rewards and are open to an annual fee, check out the Citi Prestige® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Discover it® Cash Back

  • Standout Feature: High percentage of cash back on certain spending categories, plus no interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months
  • Signup Bonus: Discover will match the cash back earned at the end of your first year
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 0% for the first 14 months, then 14.24% – 25.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: $0 for the first one, then up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating purchase categories when you activate, plus 1% cash back on all your other purchases

Discover it® Miles

  • Standout Feature: No interest on purchases in the first 14 months
  • Signup Bonus: The miles you earn in the first year will be matched by Discover
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 0% for the first 14 months, then 14.24% — 25.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: $0 for first one, then up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn 1.5x miles on all purchases without limits

Discover it® Secured

  • Standout Feature: A secured credit card that earns rewards, helping those with bad credit earn rewards while improving their credit
  • Signup Bonus: Discover will match the cash back earned at the end of your first year
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 25.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: $0 for first one, then up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn 2% cash back for up to $1,000 (per quarter) in purchases at gas stations and restaurants, plus 1% cash back on all your other purchases

FREE TOOL: Are mistakes on your credit report hurting your credit score? Find out here.

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card

  • Standout Feature: A rewards credit card you can use to fund your retirement or other Fidelity accounts
  • Signup Bonus: None
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 16.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn two points for every dollar you make in purchases; points don’t expire

Savor® Rewards from Capital One®

  • Standout Feature: A rewards card for those who spend on dining and entertainment
  • Signup Bonus: Spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the account, and you’ll receive a $300 cash bonus; if you use your card to sign up for Postmates Unlimited, Capital One® will give you a statement credit for the monthly fee through December 2019
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95
  • Purchase APR: 16.74%, 22.24%, or 25.74%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn 4% cash back on purchases related to dining and entertainment, 2% for grocery store purchases, and 1% for all your other purchases — you also get 8% cash back on purchases made through Vivid Seats through May 31, 2020

Spark® Cash from Capital One®

  • Standout Feature: A business credit card that earns rewards
  • Signup Bonus: Spend $4,500 on purchase within the first three months of opening the account, and you’ll receive a $500 cash bonus
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95
  • Purchase APR: 19.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39; penalty APR of 31.65%
  • Rewards: Earn unlimited 2% cash back rewards

Uber Visa Card

  • Standout Feature: Tiered rewards focused on dining, travel, and online purchases
  • Signup Bonus: You get a $100 cash bonus if you make $500 in purchases within 90 days of account opening
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 17.99%, 23.99%, 28.74%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn 4% cash back on restaurants, takeout, bars, and Uber Eats, 3% cash back on travel (including flights, hotels, and vacation home rentals), 2% for other online purchases (with the ability to earn up to $50 in a statement credit for online subscriptions if you spend at least $5,000 per year), and 1% for all your other purchases

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

  • Standout Feature: Rewards on categories of your choosing, plus the ability to convert rewards in multiple ways, such as a statement credit, direct deposit into your U.S. Bank deposit account if you have one, or your rewards card
  • Signup Bonus: Spend $500 in the first 90 days of opening your account and you can earn a bonus of $150
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase APR: 16.24% – 25.74%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn 5% cash back on two categories of your choosing with the first $2,000 of purchases, then 2% cash back on one “everyday” category (such as restaurants, gas stations, or grocery stores), and 1% cash back on all the rest

Venture® from Capital One

  • Standout Feature: A travel credit card that enables you to earn 10x miles by spending at eligible hotels
  • Signup Bonus: Get 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening on purchases
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95
  • Purchase APR: 17.99% 25.24%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
  • Rewards: Earn 2x miles per dollar you make on purchases (unlimited) and 10x miles on eligible hotels through January 2020; receive a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck Credit

¹This list of cards is provided for informational purposes only. Upturn Credit does not endorse any particular card or have any relationship with the card issuers. You should review all product information carefully before applying for any card.

Related Posts