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The credit cards with the best rewards and benefits make it easy to maximize your spending. You may prefer the flexibility of cash rewards. However, travelers may enjoy the potentially higher redemption values more. Regardless of your spending style, these cards offer some of the most valuable rewards.

credit cards with the best rewards
Using one of the credit cards with the best rewards points can be most valuable when redeeming them for first-class flights. Photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels

Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site. 

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Credit Cards With the Best Rewards

The Platinum Card from American Express

If you fly often, the Platinum Card® from American Express gives you the most luxurious rewards. Some of the best travel benefits include:

  • $200 annual airline fee credit (in the form of a statement credit; enrollment required)
  • $200 in annual Uber credits (terms apply)
  • Airport lounge network access to lounges worldwide
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy Gold loyalty status (enrollment required)

Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Cardholders also earn 5x points on prepaid hotel bookings through amextravel.com.

Your points are worth 1 cent each when booking award flights on AmexTravel. However, the real value for these points lies in the 1:1 airline and hotel point transfers. Each point can be worth up to 6 cents each when booking first class award flights by first transferring your points to airlines like British Airways, Delta, Emirates, and Singapore Airlines.

This card’s annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees).

New cardmembers can earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership.

Terms apply.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase credit card with the best rewards is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. It’s also one of the best premium travel credit cards.

Every purchase earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points which have some of the highest redemption values for credit card points. You earn 3x points per $1 for all travel (after earning the $300 travel credit). There’s also 3x points on dining purchases and 1x point for everything else.

Your points are worth 1.5 cents each for any award travel booked through Chase but only 1 cent for cash rewards and gifts. You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to over a dozen travel partners including United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, and World of Hyatt.

Other premium Chase Sapphire Reserve travel benefits include:

  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Complimentary travel insurance

New Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $900 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 

Additional Perks for 2021

Gas station and grocery store purchases will also count towards earning the annual $300 travel credit, through December 31, 2021. Additionally, through April 30, 2021, cardholders automatically earn 3x points per $1 spent at grocery stores, up to $1,000 per month. Cardholders can also earn up to $120 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021.

This is in addition to the complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription that lets cardholders get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees. They also earn up to $120 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases ($60 in statement credits through 2020 and another $60 in statement credits through 2021).

Sapphire Reserve cardholders earn 10x points on Lyft rides, including bikes and scooters. Complimentary Lyft Pink Membership is also available when activated by March 21, 2022. Points are worth 50% more through April 30, 2021, when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. Points are also worth 50% more when redeemed through the Chase Dining hub in Ultimate Rewards, now through April 30, 2021.

If you focus more on earning credit card points and don’t need the fringe travel benefits, you may consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Its annual fee is only $95 instead of $550 like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Related: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2x miles on purchases. If your typical spending doesn’t match the bonus categories for most cards, the Venture Card can be your best option.

Your miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel statement credits or booking upcoming travel. You can also transfer them to the Capital One transfer partners. The primary cardholder also gets a fee credit up to $100 for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

New Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

The information for the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

For dining and entertainment rewards, check out the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card. You can earn up to 8% back on purchases:

  • 8% back at Vivid Seats (through January 31, 2022)
  • 4% back on dining
  • 4% back on entertainment
  • 2% back at grocery stores
  • 1% on everything else

You can get a $300 signup bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. The annual fee is $0 for the first year and then $95. There is no foreign transaction fee.

Learn more: Best credit cards for dining and restaurants

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

One of the best reasons is to consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.

Cardholders also have these Southwest Airlines benefits to look forward to with the Priority Credit Card:

  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 4 Upgraded Bookings per year (when available)
  • 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • 7,500-anniversary points
  • Earn 1x Rapid Rewards on all non-bonus spending

Cardholders earn 2x points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases. Non-bonus purchases earn 1x point per $1 spent.

New cardholders can earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, earn 3x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.

Related: Best Southwest Credit Cards

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Certain hotel credit cards offer fun perks like fee anniversary nights and upgraded loyalty status. The World Of Hyatt Credit Card also happens to earn some of the most valuable hotel points.

You will get these credit card perks:

  • 1 free anniversary night (valid at category 1-4 hotels and resorts)
  • 2nd free night after $15,000 in annual card purchases
  • Automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status
  • 5 qualifying night credits (plus 2 extra credits every time you spend $5,000 on the card)
  • Earn 9x points total for Hyatt stays – 4 points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 points per $1 as a World of Hyatt member
  • Earn 2x points on airfare, transit and rideshares, dining, fitness club, and gym memberships

All remaining purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.

You also have the opportunity to earn up to 60,000 bonus points as a signup bonus. Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent on purchases that earn 1 Bonus Point, up to $15,000, in the first 6 months of account opening.

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the best cash rewards credit cards. You earn unlimited 2% back on all purchases. Cardholders earn unlimited 1% cash back when they buy, plus an additional 1% when they pay for those purchases. To earn the cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.

Most flat-rate cards award up to 1.5% back, at best. You can redeem your balance for cash statement credits, bank account deposits, or a paper check.

Although there is no annual fee, you will pay a 3% foreign transaction fee for international purchases. You will need to have a good to excellent credit score for the Citi Double Cash.

Learn more: Best cash back credit cards

Summary of the Credit Cards With the Best Rewards

You may think that the best credit cards with rewards earn the most points on your most common purchases. Some cards offer similar purchase rewards and offer additional benefits that can be worth more than the annual fee.

FAQs

How do rewards credit cards work?

Rewards credit cards earn rewards points on each purchase. Co-brand airline and hotel credit cards earn points that add to your loyalty account balance.

Flexible rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Platinum Card from American Express let you redeem your points through the credit card rewards program. Your redemption options vary from card to card. The most common options are award travel, cash statement credits, bank deposits, or gift cards. Some travel credit cards may also let you transfer points to airline and hotel partners.

Some cards also offer additional benefits like free hotel nights or waived checked baggage fees. It’s also possible to get cards that offer complimentary airport lounge access, travel insurance, and cell phone protection.

What can I do with credit card rewards?

Your redemption options for credit card rewards include:

  • Booking award travel
  • Travel statement credits
  • Transferring points to your airline or hotel loyalty account
  • Cash statement credits
  • Bank account deposits
  • Gift cards
  • Merchandise credits for select retailers like Amazon or Apple Store

The precise redemption options you have depend on which card you own. For example, a cash rewards card like the Citi Double Cash only lets you redeem your points for cash statement credits, bank account deposits, or paper checks.

However, a travel rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you redeem points for award travel on the Chase travel portal. Or, you can transfer them to your linked airline or hotel loyalty account so you book award travel directly from that account. Chase also lets you redeem your points for cash, gift cards, and merchandise rewards.

You should always try to redeem your points when they are worth at least 1 cent each. This is the industry average redemption value for most points. For example, 10,000 points are worth $100 in rewards.

How many credit card points can I earn?

Most rewards credit cards let you earn unlimited points for each spending category. The limit is how much you of a balance you can repay in full each month.

Other cards, like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express awards up to 6% back on the first $6,000 in annual U.S. supermarket purchases. All remaining annual spending earns 1% back. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Also, Plan It gives cardholders the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.

The annual fee for the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is $0 the first year, then $95 (See Rates & Fees). 

The welcome offer is the ability to earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back. Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.

Terms apply.

Learn more: Cash Back Credit Cards

For rates and fees of The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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APPLY NOW
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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