The Best Rewards Credit Cards

We've reviewed the best rewards credit cards to help you find the best card for cashback, points or miles.

Over the shoulder view of young woman shopping online for flight tickets on airline website with laptop
(Image credit: Getty)

As high inflation persists, consumers are looking for ways to offset painful increases in the price of groceries, gas and other budget staples. One strategy is to use a rewards credit card that pays you cashback, points or miles on every purchase you make. Our review of the best rewards cards found rebates as high as 6% on supermarket spending and 5% on gas. For leisure spending, we’ve uncovered rewards of up to 5% on dining out, travel and shopping. If you want a no-fuss card that pays a solid rate on every purchase, you’ll find options here that offer 2%.

Generally, rewards credit cards are best suited to those who pay off their card balance in full each month, especially as interest rates rise. Otherwise, you’ll likely be hit with steep interest charges that stamp out any gains from card rewards. If you'd like to refinance high-rate credit-card debt, check out our guide to the best balance-transfer credit cards. 

We’ve selected the top cards in nine categories. Whether you want a cash-back card that offers simple rewards, a card that provides perks for travelers or a suitable card for students, small-business owners or shoppers, you should be able to find a satisfying option here. 

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Kiplinger's best rewards credit cards

Interest rates, fees, rewards and other terms listed in this article are subject to change. Before you apply for a credit card, check its current terms and conditions with the issuer. 

Best for Flat-Rate Cashback: Wells Fargo

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 Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa (opens in new tab)

 This card provides 2% cash back on all purchases, making it a great card to slip into your wallet if you prefer simple, straightforward rewards. 

  • Interest rate: 0% for 15 months, then 18.74% to 28.74%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 2% back on everything you buy
  • Other benefits: up to $600 per claim of protection for your cell phone against damage or theft if you pay your monthly wireless bill with the card. Pay a $25 deductible, and get up to two paid claims per 12 months.
  • Redemption: statement credit, cash at the ATM with a Wells Fargo debit/ATM card (in $20 increments), gift cards ($25 increments), or a credit to a qualifying Wells Fargo credit card, checking account or mortgage.
  • Sign-up bonus: $200 back if you spend $1,000 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: $500

See Kiplinger's guide to the best cashback credit cards

Best for cashback in rotating categories: U.S. Bank

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U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa (opens in new tab)

This card may prove lucrative if you spend significant bucks on your wireless plan, utilities, TV or internet services. Each calendar quarter, pick two categories that earn 5% cashback on up to $2,000 in combined purchases. Options include wireless plans, utilities, and TV/internet services.

  • Interest rate: 0% for 15 months, then 18.24% to 28.24%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 5% back in two categories you choose each quarter. Choices include mobile service providers; stores; fast food; TV, internet and streaming services and home utilities (note: some utility providers charge an extra fee if you pay your bill with a credit card).
  • Other benefits: 5% back on prepaid travel reservations made through U.S. Bank’s Rewards Travel Center and 2% back in one category of choice among three options: grocery stores, restaurants, or gas stations and electric-vehicle charging stations. All other spending earns 1% back. 
  • Redemption: a statement credit, a deposit into a U.S. Bank checking or savings account, or a U.S. Bank prepaid debit card ($25 minimum redemption). Cashback expires after three years.
  • Sign-up bonus: $200 back if you spend $1,000 in the first 120 days
  • Typical annual rebate: $530

Best for savers: Fidelity

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Fidelity Rewards Visa (opens in new tab)

The Visa card from Fidelity is a perennial winner for the 2% rewards rate that customers can earn on every dollar spent. You get two points per dollar for each purchase. Points are worth a penny each when you redeem them as a cash deposit into an eligible Fidelity account (2,500-point minimum).  

  • Interest rate: 17.74%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: 2% back on every purchase when you deposit rewards into an eligible Fidelity account
  • Other benefits: cashback rates for Fidelity Wealth Management clients are higher: 2.25% for those with $250,000 to $1 million in eligible assets, 2.5% for those with $1 million to $2 million, and 3% for those with $2 million or more. You can also exchange points for travel, merchandise, gift cards or statement credits, but the points are not worth as much for such redemptions.
  • Redemption: You can divide rewards among up to five accounts—including a brokerage, cash management, health savings, or retirement account, 529 college-savings plan, donor-advised fund, Fidelity Go robo-adviser account—and even direct cashback into the account of a family member or friend (donor-advised funds are excluded).
  • Typical annual rebate: $500

Best no fee card for travel rewards: Chase Freedom

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Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa (opens in new tab)

 Chase Freedom Unlimited is a compelling no-fee option for domestic travelers who are willing to book trips through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. It provides five points per dollar spent on travel purchases through Chase, three points per dollar on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5 points per dollar on other spending.

  • Interest rate: 0% for 15 months, then 17.99% to 26.74%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Top rewards rate: Five points per dollar spent on travel reservations made through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Other benefits: 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2025, three months of free membership to DashPass (usually $10 a month), which waives the delivery fee and reduces service fees on eligible orders through food-delivery service DoorDash. After three months, you’re automatically enrolled for nine months of DashPass membership at a rate of 50% off (you can cancel membership anytime). Cardholders also get three free months of Instacart+ membership, which comes with no delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders through the Instacart grocery-delivery service ($99 a year) after three months, you’ll be automatically enrolled in an annual membership unless you cancel. Through July 2024, cardholders who are enrolled with Instacart+ get up to $10 in quarterly statement credits for eligible Instacart purchases. 
  • Redemption:  Redeem points at a rate of a penny each for cash back, gift cards or travel.
  • Sign-up bonus:  $200 back if you spend $500 in the first three months. 5% back on grocery store purchases for the first $12,000 spent in the first year
  • Typical annual rebate: 45,277 points, worth $453

Best travel rewards card with fee: Capital One Venture

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Capital One Venture Rewards Visa (opens in new tab)

Travel rewards are easy to earn and redeem with Capital One Venture. You get five miles per dollar spent on hotel stays and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Through May 16, 2023, you also get five miles per dollar on bookings through car-sharing service Turo. All other spending earns two miles per dollar. 

  • Interest rate: 18.99% to 26.99%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Top rewards rate: Five miles per dollar spent on certain Capital One Travel reservations
  • Other benefits: Cardholders get two free yearly visits to Capital One’s airport lounges or lounges in the Plaza Premium Group, a credit of up to $100 every four years to reimburse the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck expedited airport security screening and Five Star status with rental-car company Hertz.
  • Redemption: Redeem miles at a penny each for statement credits on travel purchases or to book a new travel reservation through Capital One. Transfer miles to more than 15 travel loyalty programs (including British Airways Executive Club and the Choice Privileges hotel program). The value of miles varies if usedfor  cashback or gift cards.
  • Sign-up bonus: 75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: 56,000 points, worth $465 after subtracting the annual fee

See Kiplinger's guide to the best travel credit cards

Best for flexible travel redemptions: Chase Sapphire

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa (opens in new tab)

Chase Sapphire Preferred is a longtime standout for strong point values and the ability to transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to a solid list of airline and hotel loyalty programs, including Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.

  • Interest rate: 18.99% to 25.99%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Top rewards rate: Five points per dollar on travel bookings that you make through Chase Ultimate Rewards and two points per dollar on other travel spending; three points per dollar on dining, online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs) and select streaming services and one point per dollar on other spending 
  • Other benefits: up to $50 in statement credits each year for hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards. On each account anniversary, you get a 10% points bonus on your total purchases made the previous year. Five points per dollar spent on Lyft rides through March 2025 and at least a year of free membership to DashPass (regularly $10 a month). You also get six months of complimentary membership to Instacart+ (regularly $99 a year).
  • Redemption: Points are redeemable at a rate of 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Ultimate Rewards as well as statement credits on purchases in rotating categories through the Pay Yourself Back program; recently, eligible spending included Airbnb bookings and donations to select charities. Or exchange points at a rate of a penny each for cash back or gift cards
  • Sign-up bonus: 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: 43,291 points, worth $446 in travel redemptions after subtracting the annual fee

Best for premium rewards: Capital One Venture X

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Capital One Venture X Rewards Visa (opens in new tab)

This card comes with attractive features and an annual fee that’s lower than the fees of some of its competitors. Plus, unlike some other premium cards, Venture X doesn’t charge an additional annual fee for authorized users.

  • Interest rate: 19.99% to 26.99%
  • Annual fee: $395
  • Top rewards rate: 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Other benefits: Five miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and two miles per dollar on all other purchases, 10,000 bonus miles on your account anniversary each year, up to $300 (statement credit) for bookings made through Capital One Travel, free entry to more than 1,400 Priority Pass and Plaza Premium airport lounges, complimentary access for you and two guests to Capital One’s airport lounges
  • RedemptionSign-up bonus: 75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in the first three months

Best airline travel rewards: Southwest Rapid Rewards

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Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Visa (opens in new tab)

This card charges an annual fee that’s higher than many other airline cards, but frequent fliers on Southwest Airlines should be able to offset the fee with the card’s $75 annual credit for Southwest purchases and its bonus of 7,500 Rapid Rewards points on each account anniversary.  

  • Interest rate:  18.99% to 25.99%
  • Annual fee:  $149 
  • Top rewards rate: three Rapid Rewards points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases
  • Other benefits: two points per dollar on purchases with Rapid Rewards hotel and car-rental partners, local transit and commuting (including ride-sharing services), on internet, cable and phone services, and select streaming services. All other spending earns one point per dollar. Perks also include up to four airline upgrades per year; 1,500 tier-qualifying points toward A-List status for each $10,000 spent on the card; and 25% back on in-flight purchases. Cardholders get a year of free membership to DashPass (regularly $10 a month).
  • Sign-up bonus: 75,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months
  • Typical annual rebate: 33,315 points, worth about $320 after subtracting the annual fee

Best for students: Capital One SavorOne

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Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students (opens in new tab)

Capital One offers a student version of its dining rewards credit card. The $100 spending requirement to earn an initial bonus is relatively low, making it manageable for many college students. If you plan to study abroad, take this card with you—it charges no foreign transaction fee.

  • Interest rate:  17.99% to 27.99% 
  • Annual fee:  None 
  • Top rewards rate: 3% back on restaurant, entertainment, streaming and grocery purchases
  • Other benefits: Cardholders get 3% cash back on dining, entertainment (including ticket purchases at movie theaters, amusement parks, professional sporting events, bowling alleys and more), certain streaming services and at grocery stores. They also get 8% cash back on purchases through the Capital One Entertainment ticketing platform as well as on Vivid Seats ticket purchases and 5% back on hotel and rental-car bookings through Capital One Travel. All other spending earns 1% back.
  • Redemption: any cashback amount as a check or statement credit 
  • Sign-up bonus:  $100 back if you spend $100 in the first three months 
  • Typical annual rebate:  $70 (assuming $3,000 spent annually) 

Read Kiplinger's guide to the best reward cards for students


Our review methodology:
For each card, we’ve calculated a typical annual rebate based on spending patterns in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey and assuming $25,000 spent on the card annually (unless otherwise noted). For cards that do not waive their annual fee the first year, we’ve subtracted the annual fee from the cash value of the annual rebate.

We have also considered factors such as ease and flexibility of earning and redeeming rewards and whether you must be a member of a club or financial institution to apply for a card. Except where noted, rewards do not have expiration dates or caps, and the travel-oriented cards do not charge foreign-transaction fees.

Other best buy credit cards

Lisa Gerstner
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Lisa has spent more than15 years with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and heads up the magazine’s annual rankings of the best banks, best rewards credit cards, and financial-services firms with the best customer service. She reports on a variety of other topics, too, from retirement to health care to money concerns for millennials. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.