Inflation has prompted Americans to make many changes. For example, some people are saving less for retirement, rethinking travel plans or looking for ways to cut overall expenses. Another approach consumers are taking is to compare the best credit card rewards.
“More than four in five people say inflation has made them more interested in earning credit card rewards, according to a new WalletHub survey,” Delaney Simchuk, WalletHub analyst, said in a commentary on the personal finance website’s recent Credit Card Rewards Survey. “The best rewards credit cards can save the average person more than $1,200 during the first two years of use.”
Finding The Best Credit Card Rewards
When searching for the right card for you, keep in mind that there are three primary types of rewards credit cards:
- Cash back cards give you back a percentage of every eligible purchase you make with the card. They may allow you to redeem the cash in different ways, such as with statement credits or direct deposits to your bank account.
- Points cards give you points for dollars you spend using the card. You can usually redeem these points in many ways, including using them for gift cards or cash, travel and merchandise.
- Miles-earning credit cards give you airline miles for purchases. These can be used to book flights, upgrade seats or for other travel expenses.
Deciding how you use a credit card and the type of perk you are most likely to use can help you determine the best credit card rewards. For instance, miles might save you the most money if you frequently visit family in another state. On the other hand, if you want a simple way to keep more money, cash back might be the way to go.
“The secret to saving money with a rewards credit card is to choose the right card, based on your credit score and spending habits, and then use that card responsibly,” said Simchuk. “You don’t want to overspend because credit cards with good rewards usually have high interest rates.”
Following are some top-rated credit cards with a variety of reward options.
With this credit card, you can earn cash back on every purchase. However, some purchases net more than others. For instance, you can receive 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back at restaurants and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases.
Cash back rewards don’t expire and there is no annual fee on this card. In addition, Chase is currently offering a $200 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months and 5% cash back on gas station purchases of up to $6,000 in the first year.
This rewards credit card from Citi adjusts to your spending habits. You can earn 5% cash back on your highest eligible category each billing cycle up to $500. You will also receive unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases above the initial $500 and all other purchases. Categories include gas, groceries, restaurants and more.
There’s no annual fee and 0% APR for the first 15 months. You’ll also receive $200 cash back if you spend $750 in the first three months.
With this rewards credit card, you earn 5% cash back on purchases at different places every quarter, such as grocery stores and gas stations. You can also get money back when you pay using PayPal.
In addition, you will receive 1% back on all other purchases and, at the end of your first year, you’ll get an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned. There’s no annual fee and 0% APR for the first 15 months.
Credit union membership is required to apply for this rewards card, which works with Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
You can earn up to 2.5% cash back on your first $10,000 of qualifying purchases and 1.5% for purchases over $10,000, provided you have an Alliant High-Rate Checking account for each month of the preceding calendar quarter with an average daily balance of $1,000 or more. If not, you can still earn 1.5% cash back on qualifying eligible purchases in the next quarter.
This travel rewards credit card gives you two miles per dollar on every purchase, with five miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. You can also receive 75,000 bonus miles if you spend $4,000 within the first three months.
The Venture Rewards credit card has a $95 annual fee and a variable APR of 16.24% to 24.24%.
This card gives you 6% cash back on grocery purchases of up to $6,000 per year and 6% back on streaming services. You also get 3% back on transit and gas and 1% cash back on other purchases.
There is 0% APR for the first 12 months and a $95 annual fee.
You can select two categories that will earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 with this rewards credit card. You can also get 2% cash back in another category and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
U.S. Bank will also give you a $200 rewards bonus if you apply online and spend $1,000 within the first 120 days of account opening. In addition, there’s no annual fee and 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles.
Once you decide on the best credit card rewards and apply for a new card, it’s essential to use it responsibly, or it might not be worth the benefits.
“There’s nothing wrong with rewarding companies with business if they help you earn credit card rewards, but be careful not to overspend,” said Simchuk. “Expensive credit card interest charges will more than wipe out whatever you save with rewards.”