Best Credit Cards for Sports Fans and Athletes

If you spend a lot on watching or playing sports, these cards can reward you for your passions and offer special perks and discounts, too.

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Whether you’re a die-hard sports fan or a parent who spends weekends cheering on your child from the sidelines, you can find a credit card to earn rewards for your loyalty.

But depending on how much you spend on sporting-related purchases, you might be better off with an all-purpose credit card instead. A cash-back card that earns the same flat rate on all your purchases, for example, could be more versatile and valuable. But if a big chunk of your money is going toward athletics, these cards are worth considering.

Top credit cards for sports fans and athletes

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Our pick for: MLB and college sports fans

Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card
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Card details

Rewards:

  • 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment, a ticketing platform for all Capital One rewards cardholders that allows them to redeem rewards for tickets, including many sporting events.

  • 3% back on dining, streaming services, grocery store purchases and entertainment, including sporting events.

  • 5% back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Terms apply.

  • 1% back on other purchases.

Other benefits:

  • Capital One Entertainment includes tickets to Major League Baseball games, NCAA’s Men’s and Women’s Final Four, College World Series presented by Capital One, College Football Playoffs, Capital One Orange Bowl, Capital One’s The Match and the ESPY Awards.

  • Access to exclusive tickets to special events such as All-Star Week, the MLB Postseason and the World Series presented by Capital One.

  • Some cardholders have access to pre-sales, VIP ticket packages and experiences, like athlete meet-and-greets, back-of-house stadium tours and low-row seats.

  • Cardholder discounts for both the MLB Shop and MLB.TV. (Not available yet, as of June 2022.)

Welcome offer: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49%-26.49% Variable APR; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months.

Why we like it

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is an example of a top-tier rewards credit card by Capital One. But it also excels at sports-related perks, especially for Major League Baseball and college sports. And if you want your favorite MLB team logo on a card, it will be a Capital One card. The megabank in the spring of 2022 took over as the official partner of Major League Baseball and will issue new team credit cards. It promises discounts for the MLB Shop and MLB.TV. Food and sports are a match, so if you’re dining in or dining out for the big game on TV, you’ll earn bonus rewards on your spending (and even more if you’re streaming those games). If your team is playing on the road, you’ll earn bonus rewards for booking travel through Capital One.

Drawbacks

If you’re a fan exclusively of televised (or streaming) sports with your munchies, you can find other credit cards that are more rewarding at restaurants, like a sports bar. (One of them is also from Capital One: a higher-tier sibling card with an annual fee called the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card.) And travel rewards won’t get you brand-specific perks, like a free checked bag on an airline or a free anniversary night at a hotel chain.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$95.

$0.

Sign-up bonus

Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Cash-back rewards

  • 4% back on dining, eligible streaming services and entertainment.

  • 3% back at grocery stores.

  • 5% back on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel. Terms apply.

  • 1% back all other spending.

  • 3% back on dining, eligible streaming services and entertainment.

  • 3% back at grocery stores.

  • 5% back on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel. Terms apply.

  • 1% back on all other spending.

APR

The ongoing APR is 15.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49%-26.49% Variable APR; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months.

Foreign transaction fee

None.

None.

NFL Extra Points Visa® Credit Card

Our pick for: NFL fans

Card details

Rewards:

  • 3% in rewards on qualifying NFL purchases and NFL team purchases.

  • 2% in rewards on grocery store, food delivery, restaurants, gyms and sporting goods purchases.

  • 1% in rewards on all other purchases.

Other benefits:

  • NFL team logo on card.

  • 20% off at NFLShop.com

  • NFL ticket financing.

  • Exclusive perks.

Welcome offer: $100 Cash Back when you spend $500 on purchases outside of the NFL in your first 90 days from open date. Paid as a statement credit.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: Variable Purchase APR of 16.24%, 21.24% and 26.24% based on the Prime Rate. (As of June 2022.)

Why we like it

If you’re into NFL gear for your favorite team and want the logo on your credit card to match, the NFL Extra Points Visa® Credit Card card issued by Comenity Capital Bank is for you. Bonus-rewards categories are useful for racking up extra points, especially at grocery stores and restaurants. (Rewards are expressed in percentages but are earned in the form of points.) The card comes with perks too, such as special financing on NFL Tickets of $250 or more made at select brokers and 20% off NFLShop.com purchases. As of this writing, some of the coolest perks are labeled as “coming soon.” They include early stadium entry on game days, access to the NFL player draft and meetup events with NFL stars.

Drawbacks

While the upcoming perks are exciting, we’d throw a penalty flag at the uncertain redemption rates for reward points. One that is certain: Redeeming for a statement credit costs a lousy 200 points per dollar. That essentially cuts your rewards rates in half, making them uncompetitive with current rewards cards. Points required for other redemptions vary. They include gift cards, merchandise, experiences and game tickets. Aside from NFL super-fans, most consumers would probably be better off with a more general rewards credit card.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our pick for: NBA fans

American Express Platinum Credit Card
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Card details

Rewards:

  • 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.

  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.

  • 2 points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel.

  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

Other benefits:

  • Jersey assurance for a year after purchase: If you use an American Express card to buy your jersey from the NBA Store, and then the player switches teams, you can get a free replacement jersey. The program also applies to WNBA jerseys on WNBAStore.com.

  • AmEx is the official card partner of the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, offering such perks as card member entrances, in-arena merchandise offers, ticketing access benefits and occasional card member experiences.

  • Dedicated American Express card member entrances for shows and sporting events at Crypto.com Arena (Los Angeles), United Center (Chicago), Barclays Center (New York City.)

  • Triple-double offer: When a player records a triple-double during the NBA playoffs or finals, card members can earn 32% off eligible items at NBAStore.com for 24 hours on the day after the game.

  • Terms apply.

Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Annual fee: $695.

APR: Varies. You can choose among non-traditional ways to carry a balance: "Plan It®" and "Pay Over Time."

Why we like it

American Express is the official card of the NBA, WNBA and G League basketball leagues, along with partnerships with four individual NBA teams, which means access to some unique NBA experiences. While some of the NBA perks are available to all American Express cardholders, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers an upgraded experience. Not only could you score special perks while attending games, but you also can earn significant travel rewards while roaming around the country to watch your team.

Drawbacks

The hefty annual fee will be a hard pass for some. Also, the card offers its biggest rewards for travel spending; if your travel budget is limited, you would probably do better with a general rewards card, cash-back card or a different American Express card with a lower annual fee.

Cardless Mastercards

Our pick for: Select professional sports teams

Card details

Rewards: Varies by card. Examples:

  • 3 points per dollar spent on bars and restaurants, gas stations, drugstores and select food delivery services.

  • 3 points per dollar spent on groceries.

  • 5 points per dollar spent on select rideshare and streaming services.

Other benefits: Cardless issues credit cards for several professional sports teams:

  • NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans. Benefit example: 20% off purchases at the online Celtics shop and 7 points per dollar spent on Celtics tickets.

  • MLB: Miami Marlins. Benefit example: 5% off at retailers and concessions at its home baseball ballpark and 5 points per dollar spent on Marlins tickets purchased through MLB.com.

  • Soccer (football): Manchester United, Liverpool F.C. Benefit example: 10% off at the official Manchester United Megastore, Red Cafe and United Direct.

Welcome offer: Earn 30,000 points, worth at least $300 in statement credits and other rewards, after spending $2,000 in three months.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 15.99-25.99%. (As of June 2022.)

Why we like it

Team-specific rewards are sure to please hardcore fans. Cardless credit cards come with consumer-friendly terms, such as no annual fees, late fees or foreign transaction fees. The sign-up bonus is generous for a no-fee card, and we like the bonus categories on everyday spending, like groceries and restaurants.

Drawbacks

Only a few teams are offered. A New York Knicks fan is surely not interested in a credit card featuring the rival Boston Celtics. Overall, if you won’t use rewards from its partner sports teams, the rest of the rewards are good, not great. You won’t get options for a balance transfer or an intro 0% APR offer on new purchases.

NHL® Discover it®

Our pick for: NHL fans

Card details

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter — such as gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and Amazon.com — on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter (activation required).

  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.24%-23.24% Variable APR.

Why we like it

In addition to earning impressive rewards on bonus-category spending, hockey fans can get their team image on the front of the NHL® Discover it®. And that cash back for spending on everyday expenses can really add up. If you like the flexibility of cash back and your travel is mostly contained to the roadways, this card could work well for you.

Drawbacks

Not everyone enjoys managing categories that rotate every quarter. Also, if you’re spending a lot on airline tickets and hotel nights, you might be better off with a travel rewards card instead.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Our pick for: Fitness clubs

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
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Card details

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on up to $500 spent in your highest spend category per billing cycle, one of which is fitness clubs.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR.

Why we like it

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card can essentially earn you a 5% discount on your fitness club membership.

That’s because the card offers 5% cash back on up to $500 spent if your highest spending category for the billing cycle is fitness clubs. It includes membership fees and other purchases at athletic and sports facilities, including health, tennis and swimming clubs.

The great thing is you don’t have to think about it. Your top eligible spending category automatically earns 5% cash back.

Drawbacks

Fitness clubs might not be the optimal category for the 5% cash back on this card unless you can regularly use most of the $500 per month on fitness-club spending, which is unlikely for most people who have a typical gym membership. Another bummer: The bonus category excludes fitness streaming classes and virtual services for home-exercise equipment.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive

Our pick for: Soccer moms and dads

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Credit Card
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Card details

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on two categories of your choice from a list of several options (on up to $2,000 spent per quarter on combined purchases).

  • 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in U.S. Bank's Rewards Travel Center.

  • 2% back on an everyday category of your choice, such as gas, groceries or restaurants.

  • 1% back on other purchases.

Welcome offer: $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 16.74%-26.74% Variable APR.

Why we like it

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card - NerdWallet Exclusive offers a lot of choice when it comes to your bonus 5% category: You can select two categories each quarter from a list of 12, including useful options such as sporting goods stores and gyms/fitness centers. Then, for the 2% bonus category, you select from a list of three: gas stations (and EV charging stations), restaurants and grocery stores.

Drawbacks

The optimization required for this card might be overly complicated for consumers who prefer a simpler rewards structure. You must keep track of bonus categories and opt in to them each quarter to earn the 5% bonus.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

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