The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Friday, July 3, 2020

24 Best Credit Cards for Rewards in 2020

24 Best Credit Cards for Rewards in 2020

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: December 2, 2019
Advertiser Disclosure

Saving is awesome. And that’s not just an opinion. Studies have shown that coupons not only entice us to spend more and try new things but can actually decrease stress and just plain make us happier — as much as 11% happier, in fact.

That’s right, your dedication to a good deal may be due to a physiological love of savings. And that sentiment for savings is hardly limited to clipping coupons from the paper. Indeed, so many consumers have experienced the oxytocin-rich rewards of a good deal that everyone from airlines to the local zoo offers coupons and rebates to entice new customers.

Despite the discount ubiquity, however, one of the most universal of all deals is still that of the credit card rewards program. Like a rebate you can use on just about anything, credit card rewards offer nearly endless opportunities to de-stress with a great deal. In the article below, we’ll explore some of our choices for the best credit cards for rewards. These days, there is something for everyone — whether you’re looking for cards geared toward cash back, travel rewards, or students.

Cash Back | Points | Travel | Balance Transfers |
Students | Business | Fair Credit | Bad Credit

Best Credit Cards for “Cash Back” Rewards

If there is one thing that most people can likely agree on, it’s that cash is good — and more cash is better. Cash back credit card rewards put more cash in your pocket by giving you back a portion of your purchases in the form of rewards that can be redeemed for a statement credit or deposited into a qualifying bank account.

Nearly every cash back credit card will offer a low unlimited cash back rate for every purchase you make with your card, typically between 1% and 2% cash back. Many cash back cards will also offer bonus cash back rates for purchases made in specific categories, such as gas station or restaurant purchases. Start your search with our favorite cash back cards, which includes both program types.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 Months
N/A
14.99%–23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Chase is not an affiliate partner with CardRates and does not review editorial content on our site
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Cash Back Rewards

For those who spend a lot in a common category, cash back bonus categories can be extremely lucrative, but be careful not to overspend just for the rewards. Additionally, many cards have purchasing caps for bonus categories, meaning you’ll only earn bonus rewards on category purchases up to a specified amount, after which purchases will earn rewards at the default unlimited rate.

Best Credit Cards for “Points” Rewards

Of all the credit card rewards, points are generally the most flexible, offering redemption options that include those of cash back rewards — i.e., a statement credit or bank deposit — as well a range of other options, like travel expenses, merchandise, or special events or experiences.

As with cash back rewards, most rewards points credit cards will provide an unlimited flat rate on all purchases, typically 1X point per $1, as well as offering bonus points on purchases made in specific categories. The top points cards on our list include lucrative bonus categories like travel, dining, and restaurants.

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
$0
Good/Excellent

POINTS & GIFTS RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Points Rewards

Besides the direct redemption options offered by the credit card issuer, a common way to maximize the per-point value of rewards points is to transfer them to a partnering airline or hotel loyalty program. This turns your rewards points into frequent flyer or hotel points that can be pooled with your existing loyalty program points to purchase flights or hotel stays.

Best Credit Cards for “Travel” Rewards

As evidenced by just about every online dating profile ever, we all love to travel — but few of us like to pay for it. Travel rewards credit cards allow you to earn points or miles that you can redeem for a variety of travel-related expenses, including using your rewards to book flights, hotel stays, and rental cars.

Similar to other credit card rewards, most travel rewards credit cards allow you to earn unlimited, flat-rate points or miles on every purchase, and a variety of cards also offer bonus points or miles for purchases in specified categories. Many of the travel rewards cards on our list provide blackout-free travel redemption without limiting you to specific airlines or hotel brands.

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere, every time and no expiration on points
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees while earning points to use for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or baggage fees
  • Introductory 0%† APR for your first 12 billing cycles for purchases.  After that, a Variable APR that's currently 14.99% to 22.99% will apply.
  • 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening – which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Preferred Rewards members earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
  • That means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 you spend, everywhere, every time.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles
N/A
14.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

AIR MILES RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 20.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Travel Rewards

When comparing travel rewards cards, an important thing to look out for, especially if you intend to travel abroad, are cards that charge foreign transaction fees. Typically ranging from 2% to 4% of your purchase amount, foreign transaction fees are charged whenever you make a credit card purchase in a foreign currency and can add up quickly.

Best Credit Cards for “Balance Transfers” and Rewards

A successful credit card balance transfer can be a great way to reduce your monthly interest fees by transferring your balance from a card with a high APR to one with a lower APR. This is particularly effective when you take advantage of a balance transfer introductory 0% APR offer, which can provide interest-free balance transfers for 12 months or more.

While you won’t actually earn any rewards on the balance you transfer to your rewards card, you can earn rewards on any new purchases made with your card. What’s more, many great introductory APR offers — including our favorites below — will apply to both new purchases as well as balance transfers, so you won’t be charged interest on those rewards-reaping new purchases during the introductory period.

10

Discover it® Balance Transfer

This card is currently not available.

0% Balance Transfer Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

0% BALANCE TRANSFER RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 Months
N/A
14.99%–23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
12

Discover it® chrome

This card is currently not available.

0% Balance Transfer Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

+See More Cards for Balance Transfers

If you’re looking at taking advantage of an introductory APR offer to save on both new purchases and balance transfers, be sure to read the terms of the offer carefully. While many offers will have the same terms for both new purchases and balance transfers, some intro-APR offers will have different rates or lengths depending on the type of transaction.

Best Credit Cards for “Student” Rewards

As a student, it can seem as though the credit card odds are stacked against you. Not only do you probably suffer from a stunted (or nonexistent) credit history, but your income level is likely not particularly exceptional, either. All is not lost, however. You can use a student credit card to establish and/or build your credit history — and earn rewards while you do so.

Indeed, while not as sought-after an applicant as someone with a well-established credit history, the rewards options for students are still quite competitive, with cards offering both unlimited flat-rate rewards, as well as some options for bonus category rewards, as well. Our list includes both types of rewards cards, none of which will charge you an annual fee.

+See More Cards for Student Rewards

When considering applying for a credit card as a student, you should be aware that certain requirements will need to be met if you are under the age of 21. Specifically, the CARD Act of 2009 requires that credit card applicants between the ages of 18 and 21 must either have a parental cosigner on the account or be able to demonstrate a reasonable level of independent income to qualify for their own card.

Best Credit Cards for “Business” Rewards

Whether your business has one employee or 100, every business has something in common: expenses. From pens and paper to internet service and web hosting, even a digital small business can have its share of expenses, and bricks-and-mortar businesses only have it worse. Which means it’s probably safe to say that many business owners experience the same physiological joy in saving a few bucks as do the rest of us.

For many business owners, a business credit card is a must-have tool to keep the business going, but a good rewards credit card can be more than that — it can also be a tool for saving money. Not only do most business rewards cards provide unlimited flat-rate rewards, but many also offer business-centric bonus categories to reward you for the things you buy most. Check out our top picks to start your search.

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 20.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Chase is not an affiliate partner with CardRates and does not review editorial content on our site
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BUSINESS CARD RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
  • Chase is not an affiliate partner with CardRates and does not review editorial content on our site
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Cards for Business Rewards

One of the best things about obtaining a credit card for your business is that a credit card account can help you establish and build a business credit profile, which is separate from your personal credit reports and scores. Your business will need an established business credit profile to qualify for many credit products, including many business loans.

Best Credit Cards for “Fair Credit” Rewards

To paraphrase the old saying, building credit isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. In general, it can take up to six months to even establish enough history to qualify for a credit score, and twice that long to reach a good to excellent score. At the same time, it can take just 30 days to have a late payment turn delinquent and drop that good score like a meteor.

No matter how you got your fair credit score, whether you’re just starting out or recovering from a hiccup or two, you can often still find good quality credit cards — even ones offering purchase rewards. While fair-credit rewards cards may have an annual fee, including some of our cards below, if you spend enough with the card each year you can often earn enough rewards to cover the fee (and then some).

19

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

This card is currently not available.

Fair Credit Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
20

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

This card is currently not available.

Fair Credit Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
21

Discover it® Student Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

Fair Credit Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

+See More Cards for Fair Credit

Since your payment history is the biggest portion of your credit score, it can tank your score the easiest. While missing a card payment by a day or two won’t result in a payment being reported to the bureaus as delinquent, anything more than 30-days late will be reported. Setting up automated payments can be an effective way to ensure your credit card bill is always paid on time.

Best Credit Cards for “Bad Credit” Rewards

Having bad credit can be a financial bummer. Not only is it significantly harder to qualify for new credit, but the quality of that credit — including the rates, fees, and credit limits — often leaves much to be desired. But while it can be a challenge to rebuild your credit after a few missteps, it is hardly impossible. In fact, you may even earn rewards while you rebuild.

You shouldn’t expect bad-credit rewards cards to provide a high earnings rate, but several options exist for obtaining at least an unlimited 1% cash back on your purchases. You can even find some cards (mostly secured cards) that provide bonus cash back categories, though they likely have spending caps. Compare some of expert-rated rewards cards for bad credit below.

22

Discover it® Secured

This card is currently not available.

Bad Credit Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Cash Back Rewards Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

3.7/5.0
  • Seeing if you Pre-Qualify is fast, easy, and secure
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchase, terms apply
  • Rewards post automatically to your account each month
  • Automatic reviews for credit line increase opportunities
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Pick a card that fits your style. Multiple card designs are available, a fee may apply
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% to 23.99% Variable
$0 - $99
Poor
Credit One Bank® Visa® with Free Credit Score Access Review

at Credit One'ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • See if you Pre-Qualify in less than 60 seconds—without affecting your credit score. It's fast, easy, and secure.
  • Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV. Terms apply.
  • This is a fully functional, unsecured credit card—not a debit card, prepaid card, or secured credit card with deposit requirements.
  • Credit One Bank evaluates every account for credit line increase opportunities. We'll let you know as soon as you're eligible for a higher credit line.
  • Take advantage of free online access to your Experian credit score and credit report summary so you can track the key factors impacting your credit health. Terms apply.
  • Zero Fraud Liability protects you if your card is ever lost or stolen. Rest easy knowing you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.99% to 23.99% Variable
$0 - $99
Poor Credit

+See More Cards for Bad Credit

While cards for those with bad credit tend to have very flexible credit score requirements, remember that you aren’t guaranteed acceptance. Certain types of derogatory credit marks may be deal breakers for some issuers. For example, you are unlikely to find new credit if you have a pending bankruptcy filing that has not yet been discharged by the court.

Turn Everyday Errands into Rewarding Experiences

Whether you like to shop online, in stores, or merely as little as possible, it turns out most shoppers share a biological love of savings. But you may not need to clip coupons or print promo codes to get that same warm-and-fuzzy oxytocin boost of savings delight; your favorite rewards credit card can likely offer nearly universal savings on anything you purchase with plastic.

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CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.