15 best rewards credit cards of May 2024

Who’s this for? If you’re looking to maximize cash-back rewards, consider a rotating bonus category card like the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

Standout rewards: Chase Freedom Flex cardholders earn 5% on the first $1,500 in combined purchases in different categories each quarter. You’ll need to activate the categories to earn the bonus cash back. In addition to rotating rewards, you can earn bonus cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, dining and drug stores purchases.

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More on our best rewards credit cards

American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card offers a stellar return for dining, grocery and travel purchases, as well as statement credits that can almost entirely offset its annual fee (see rates and fees). You’ll get the most value from your Membership Rewards points when redeeming for travel through transfer partners.

Rewards

  • 4X points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4X points on up to $25,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets per year
  • 3X points on flights you book directly with an airline or through Amex Travel
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first six months from account opening.

Annual fee

$250 (see rates and fees)

Notable perks

Cardholders can receive an annual dining credit of up to $120 ($10 a month) at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations (enrollment required). Cardholders also receive up to $120 in Uber Cash per year ($10 a month) after adding the card to their Uber account. Terms apply.

Gold Card members can also participate in Amex Offers, which allow targeted cardholders to earn statement credits or bonus Membership Rewards® points at select retailers. These limited-time offers are location-based and additional terms apply.

The best way to use Amex points is to transfer them to an airline or hotel partner to book travel, but they can also be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and when checking out at retailers like Amazon.

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Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card is hard to beat if you want to pay less interest and pay down credit card debt faster.

Rewards

None

Welcome bonus

None

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

This card’s intro 0% APR offer applies to purchases as well as balance transfers. So for the first 21 months, you’ll get 0% APR on purchases, then a variable 18.24%, 24.74% or 29.99% APR applies.

If you pay your monthly cell phone bill with this card, you can qualify for cell phone protection. This coverage has a $25 deductible and covers up to $600 per claim, with a maximum of two claims per year.

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Anyone who prefers to earn cash-back rewards will want to consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

Rewards

  • 6% back on up to $6,000 per year in purchases at U.S. supermarkets
  • 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% back on transit
  • 3% back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn $250 back after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening.

Annual fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 (see rates and fees)

Notable perks

This card has two ongoing statement credit offers that cardholders can take advantage of:

  • Up to $120 in Equinox+ credit annually ($10 a month, enrollment required)
  • Up to $84 in Disney bundle credit ($7 a month, enrollment required)

Cardholders can also potentially save money on their purchases by taking advantage of Amex Offers.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns a minimum of 1.5% back on every purchase, which ensures you’re earning a healthy return regardless of where you’re shopping.

Rewards

On up to $20,000 spent in the first year:

  • 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel
  • 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service)
  • 3% on all other purchases

After your first year or $20,000 spent:

  • 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Travel
  • 5% back on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
  • 3% back at drugstores
  • 3% back on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services)
  • 1.5% on all other purchases.

Welcome bonus

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back!

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

Cardholders can benefit from a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months from account opening on new purchases and balance transfers (after, 20.49% – 29.24% variable APR). There’s an intro balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, it’s either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Freedom Unlimited cardholders receive three free months of DoorDash DashPass, which comes with reduced fees (activate by Dec. 31, 2024). You can also receive three free months of Instacart+ membership and $10 in Instacart statement credits each quarter (enroll by July 31, 2024).

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a versatile and rewarding travel card with a welcome bonus that’s worth taking a closer look at.

Rewards

  • 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One travel
  • 2X miles on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Annual fee

$95 (see rates and fees)

Notable perks

Every four years, cardholders receive a credit of up to $100 to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® membership. This card has no foreign transaction fees and comes with a bunch of additional travel perks, such as access to extended warranty protection*, Travel Assistance Services*, Purchase Assurance*, MasterRental Insurance*, Master RoadAssist®*, and Trip Cancellation/Interruption Coverage*.

Capital One miles can be used to book flights, hotels, rental cars and more directly through Capital One Travel, or to offset recent travel purchases at a fixed value of one cent per point. Alternatively, they can be transferred to various hotel and airline partners including Accor Live Limitless, Air Canada Aeroplan, Etihad Guest and others to get even more value from your miles.

*Benefit available to accounts approved for the World Elite Mastercard product, subject to terms, conditions, and exclusions in the World Elite Mastercard Guide to Benefits. See Account Terms or Application Terms for more details. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.

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Citi Double Cash® Card

The Citi Double Cash® Card is a straightforward no-annual-fee cash-back card.

Rewards

  • 5% back on hotels, car rentals and attractions booked through the Citi travel site
  • 2% back on all other purchases, 1% back when you buy and 1% back when you pay

Welcome bonus

Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases within the first six months of account opening.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

The Citi Double Cash Card offers cardholders a 0% APR for the first 18 months on balance transfers initiated within four months of opening an account. After the intro period ends, there’s a 19.24% – 29.24% variable APR. There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount you transfer with a $5 minimum for transfers completed in the first four months. After that, the balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount you transfer ($5 minimum).

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Citi Simplicity® Card

The Citi Simplicity® Card doesn’t offer any rewards but can help you pass less credit card interest.

Rewards

None

Welcome bonus

None

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

In addition to this card’s balance transfer intro APR, it also offers a 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases, after that a 19.24%-29.99% variable APR applies.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an incredibly flexible travel rewards credit card that comes with useful travel and shopping protections, plus a modest annual fee.

Rewards

  • 5X on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 5X points on Lyft rides (through Mar. 31, 2025)
  • 5X points on eligible Peloton purchases over $150 (earn a max of 25,000 points through Mar. 31, 2025)
  • 3X points on dining
  • 3X points on online grocery purchases
  • 3X points on select streaming services
  • 2X points on travel
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Annual fee

$95

Notable perks

On every account anniversary, card members receive a 10% bonus based on the total purchases from the previous year. If you earned 50,000 points from purchases, at the end of that year you’d receive a 5,000-point bonus. You can also earn up to a $50 Annual Chase Hotel Credit each year for hotel stays you purchase through the Chase travel site.

This card has no foreign transaction fees and offers insurance such as trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption coverage and primary rental car insurance. Cardholders can also enroll to receive one year of free DashPass membership (activate by Dec. 31, 2024), six months of free Instacart+ membership (activate by July 31, 2024) and $15 in quarterly Instacart statement credits through July 2024.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium credit card loaded with annual statement credits, entertainment benefits, extensive airport lounge access, elite status perks and more.

Rewards

  • 5X points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)
  • 5X points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership.

Annual fee

$695 (see rates and fees)

Notable perks

The American Express Platinum card has an incredible list of statement credit offers that can be worth over $1,500 when maximized, including:

  • Up to $300 in Equinox credit (enrollment required)
  • Up to $200 in airline fee credits
  • $200 in Uber Cash each year
  • Up to $155 in Walmart+ credits
  • $200 in prepaid hotel credit for bookings through Amex Travel
  • Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits (up to $20 back each month)
  • Up to $100 in Saks 5th Avenue credits each year (enrollment required)
  • Up to $189 in CLEAR Plus credit
  • Up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credits

On top of excellent airport lounge access, cardholders can enroll for Marriott Bonvoy Gold status, Hilton Honors Gold status and rental car perks with National, Avis and Hertz. It also has all of the built-in protections you’d want from a premium travel card, including trip delay reimbursement*, trip cancellation/interruption coverage*, return protection, purchase protection** and extended warranty coverage**. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

*Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

**Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

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Discover it® Student Cash Back

The Discover it® Student Cash Back card is an unusually rewarding credit card for students.

Rewards

  • 5% back on up to $1,500 in purchases in rotating quarterly categories (activation required)
  • 1% back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Discover will match the cash back you earn in the first year of card membership.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

You’ll need to be an eligible student to qualify for this card, but it is available even if you have poor credit or a limited credit history. Students traveling overseas can take advantage of no foreign transaction fees.

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is loaded with luxury perks and valuable ongoing benefits that can easily make the annual fee worth it.

Rewards

  • 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through the Chase Travel℠ site
  • 10X points on Lyft rides (through Mar. 31, 2025)
  • 10X points on Chase Dining purchases
  • 10X points on eligible Peloton purchases ( up to 50,000 points through Mar. 31, 2025)
  • 5X points on flights purchased through the Chase Travel℠ site
  • 3X points on travel
  • 3X points on dining
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn 60,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee

$550

Notable perks

Every card anniversary year, cardholders get a $300 travel credit, which automatically applies to eligible purchases. Plus, cardholders can get a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credit worth up to $100 every four years. Both of those credits are on top of the complimentary Priority Pass Select membership (valued at roughly $469 a year), which grants you unlimited visits to over 1,500 airport lounges worldwide.

This card also comes with a host of top-notch travel and purchase protections, including:

Having this card also increases the value of your points by 50% when you redeem for travel through the Chase Travel℠ site. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruise reservations when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. This is a good way to boost the value of your Chase points.

On top of earning bonus points for Lyft rides, you can enroll to receive two years of free Lyft Pink All Access, which is worth $199 a year (activate by Dec. 31, 2024). You can also take advantage of one year of free DashPass (activate by Dec. 31, 2024) and $5 in monthly DoorDash credit. Plus, Sapphire Reserve cardholders get $15 in monthly Instacart credit (through July 2024) and one free year of Instacart+ (enroll by July 31, 2024).

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Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is easier to qualify for because it requires an upfront deposit. Plus, it has a generous rewards structure for a secured credit card.

Rewards

  • 2% back on the first $1,000 in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each quarter
  • 1% back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Discover will match the cash back you earn in the first year of card membership.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

You’ll need to make a minimum deposit of $200 to qualify for this card. However, after seven months, Discover will automatically review your account to see if you qualify for an upgrade to an unsecured credit card. This card has no foreign transaction fees.

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Prime Visa

The Prime Visa is only available to Amazon Prime members ($139 for an annual membership and $14.99 for a monthly membership) but is especially rewarding for Amazon purchases. If you’re not a member, you can get the Amazon Visa, which offers 3% cash back at Amazon and Whole Foods.

Rewards

  • 5% back at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods and on travel purchased through Chase
  • 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and on local transit
  • 1% back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Receive an instant $100 Amazon gift card upon approval.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

The Prime Visa has no foreign transaction fees, purchase protection and extended warranty protection. It also has valuable travel insurance including, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and rental car coverage.

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Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the most rewarding options for earning cash back in categories such as entertainment and dining.

Rewards

  • 10% back on Uber and Uber Eats purchases
  • 4% back on dining
  • 4% back on entertainment
  • 4% back on eligible streaming services
  • 3% back at grocery stores
  • 1% back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn $300 cash after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Annual fee

$95

Notable perks

Through Nov. 14, 2024, cardholders can receive a monthly statement credit to cover an Uber One membership. This card also has no foreign transaction fees and grants you access to exclusive events and experiences through Capital One Entertainment and Capital One Dining.

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Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is an excellent cash-back card for maximizing your spending in a variety of categories.

Rewards

  • 5% back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in rotating quarterly categories
  • 5% back on travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site
  • 5% back on Lyft rides (through Mar. 31, 2025)
  • 3% back on dining
  • 3% back at drugstores
  • 1% back on all other purchases

Welcome bonus

Earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Annual fee

$0

Notable perks

The Freedom Flex offers a competitive 0% intro APR for the first 15 months on new purchases and balance transfers (after, 20.49% – 29.24% variable APR). There’s an intro balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, it’s either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Cardholders can also enroll for three complimentary months of DashPass (activate by Dec. 31, 2024) and three complimentary months of Instacart+ (enroll by July 31, 2024). Additionally, you’ll receive $10 in Instacart credit each quarter through July 31, 2024.

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How to choose a rewards credit card

Rewards credit cards come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to take some time to choose the card that best matches your spending habits. You want a card that will reward you for your everyday purchases without having to adjust your spending to maximize card rewards.

You should decide if you’re willing to pay an annual fee for a card since this can help narrow down choices. Rewards cards can have annual fees of up to $550, which can be worthwhile, but not for everyone. Make sure you do the math to see if an annual fee is within your budget and if it can be outweighed by the card’s benefits.

Don’t want to pay your credit card’s annual fee? Here’s how to ask for a retention offer

Next, you should figure out what type of rewards you want to earn and if you want a simple rewards program or one that may require some work. If you want a straightforward card, some generic rewards cards offer the same amount of rewards on all purchases, which require little planning. But if you want to maximize rewards in common spending categories, such as traveldining and gas, consider bonus rewards cards that offer over 5% back on purchases and may require activation.

Here’s how credit card issuers classify purchases for bonus rewards

It’s also a good idea to consider the card’s welcome offer. Some of the best rewards credit cards come with large welcome bonuses for new cardholders worth hundreds of dollars. And if you’re planning a big purchase, look for cards with a 0% APR offer — this way, you can still earn rewards but will have more than a year without interest charges to pay off the purchase.

Rewards aside, consider the added card perks, such as annual statement credits, lounge access and 0% APR periods, that can provide enhanced value.

Learn more: How to choose the best credit card in 3 easy steps

Different types of rewards credit cards and how rewards work

There are several different kinds of rewards cards. Rewards credit cards typically provide one of three reward structures: cash back, points or miles. The way you earn and redeem rewards varies based on the type of credit card you open.

  • Cash back: Receive a percentage of spending back, directly related to how much you spent. Spend $100 on a 1% cash-back card and earn $1 in cash back.
  • Points and miles: Earn points or miles on purchases. The value of one point or one mile isn’t always equal to one cent. They might be worth more or less than a penny depending on the credit card you have and the way you redeem rewards. Typically, you can earn points and miles on travel rewards credit cards.

Additionally, rewards cards can be broken down into three groups based on how you earn rewards:

  • Flat-rate rewards: This type of rewards credit card comes with a single rewards rate that applies to all purchases. For example, the Citi Double Cash® Card earns 2% cash back on everything you buy (earn 1% cash back on all purchases and 1% when you pay off your bill)
  • Bonus categories: These credit cards offer an elevated rewards rate in certain spending categories. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® from our list of the best travel rewards credit cards offers 10X points on hotels and car rentals and 5X points on flights booked through Chase Travel℠, plus 3X points on dining and all other travel purchases. Any purchases outside of these categories only earn 1X points.
  • Rotating categories: This type of card offers a higher rewards rate in specific bonus categories that change every quarter. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a great example. This cash rewards credit card earns 5% back in rotating categories on up to $1,500 in purchases made each quarter (then 1%). You need to activate the categories every quarter to earn bonus cash back.

In addition to the value of cash back, points and miles varying, redemption options also fluctuate. You may be able to redeem for a statement credit, travel, gift card, merchandise or more, depending on the card you have.

Making the most of your rewards card

To make the most of your rewards card, you should familiarize yourself with the benefits and fees. Take note of any annual fees and the APR associated with your account, as well as the rewards rates and added perks, such as annual statement credits.

Once you’re familiar with the terms of your card, you can start to take full advantage of them. That may include setting reminders to use the $120 dining credit provided by the American Express® Gold Card or submitting a Global Entry application with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to receive up to $100 credit.

If you have multiple credit cards, consider the rewards offered by each card before deciding which to use. Let’s say you have the Citi Double Cash® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for all your travel and dining expenses to earn 3X points, then use the Citi Double Cash® Card for everything else to earn an effective 2% cash back: 1% when you buy and 1% after you pay your bill.

Finally, pay attention to reward values when choosing redemption options. While rewards on cash-back credit cards maintain consistent value no matter how you spend them, that’s rarely the case with travel rewards credit cards. Often, travel rewards are worth less if redeemed on non-travel purchases. On the other hand, if you transfer your rewards points or miles to one of the eligible loyalty programs your card issuer partners with, you can sometimes increase the value of your points.