Best Credit Cards for Sports Fans and Athletes

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

Kimberly PalmerJune 11, 2020
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Whether you’re a die-hard sports fan or a parent who spends every weekend cheering on your child from the sidelines, there's likely a credit card out there that can help you earn rewards for your efforts.

Of course, 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

  • NFL Extra Points Credit Card

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • MLB credit cards from Bank of America

  • NHL® Discover it®

  • Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

NFL Extra Points Credit Card

Our pick for: Football fans

Barclaycard NFL Extra Points Credit Card
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Card details

Rewards:

  • 2 points per dollar spent on NFL and team purchases, including eligible NFL tickets, in stadium, NFLShop.com and at team pro shops.

  • 2 points per dollar spent on eligible DirecTV purchases.

  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: Earn 10,000 bonus points after $500 in purchases in the first 90 days, enough to redeem for $100 cash back.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99% - 25.99% Variable APR.

Why we like it

If you’re spending a lot on NFL tickets and merchandise, the NFL Extra Points Credit Card can reward you for your fandom. And since you also earn double points for DirecTV purchases, you could even earn rewards while cheering on your team from home. Point redemption is flexible; you can redeem for cash or a statement credit or for NFL gift cards, NFL and team experiences like player meet and greets, pre-game sideline passes, and NFL tickets, including for the Super Bowl. Other perks include a 20% discount at NFLShop.com as well as financing for eligible NFL tickets.

Drawbacks

This card earns double points for a relatively narrow band of spending. 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: Basketball fans

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 on amextravel.com.

  • 2 points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through amextravel.com.

  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

  • Terms apply.

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.

  • Access to the Centurion Suite at Staples Center in Los Angeles (available to ticketed cardholders and Centurion members only).

  • At Barclays Center in New York, American Express cardholders enjoy certain benefits, including use of an exclusive entrance, 15% off select concessions and tickets for Brooklyn Nets games and access to American Express Fan Central, a gathering place on the concourse that offers charging stations and giveaways.

  • Terms apply.

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Annual fee: $550.

APR: None. This is a charge card, so you typically cannot carry a balance month to month.

Why we like it

For serious basketball fans, especially those who live in New York or Los Angeles (or visit either city frequently), The Platinum Card® from American Express offers an upgraded experience. Not only do you get special access while attending games, but you also can earn significant travel rewards while traveling around the country to watch them. Then, you can turn your rewards into more travel for games or tickets.

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 or cash-back card.

MLB credit cards from Bank of America

Our pick for: Baseball fans

Card details

Rewards:

  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement/furnishings.

  • 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on first $2,500 combined with choice category each quarter).

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Other benefits:

  • You can put any MLB team image on your card.

Welcome offer: $200 cash rewards after making $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of opening account.

Annual fee: None.

APR: 0% introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases and balance transfers within 60 days of opening your account, then the ongoing variable rate applies.

Why we like it

These MLB credit cards from Bank of America are almost identical to what you get with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card. The main difference is that these cards carry the image of your favorite MLB team on the front. That’s a plus for anyone who likes to publicly rep their team anytime they pull out their credit card. Other than this largely cosmetic perk, the card offers solid cash-back rewards on expenses a typical fan might incur on a ballpark tour: gas, dining, travel and more. Separately, the Bank of America® Extras program also offers discounts at MLBShop.com when your team goes into extra innings, as well as custom MLB player T-shirts.

Drawbacks

Bigger spenders can likely earn more on a cash-back card without caps on bonus categories.

Nerd tip: If you happen to be a Kansas City Royals fan, you might want to consider the KC Royals™ Mastercard® instead. It earns rewards, but also offers special access and discounts during the season.

NHL® Discover it®

Our pick for: Hockey 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% APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.

Why we like it

In addition to earning impressive rewards on spending, hockey fans can get their team image on the front of the NHL® Discover it®, as well as a 10% discount at the NHL’s online store and when signing up for an NHL.TV season subscription. For anyone buying themselves (or their children) NHL gear regularly, those savings can add up, along with the cash back for spending on everyday expenses like gas or grocery stores. 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.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Our pick for: General entertainment purchases

Card details

Rewards:

  • 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, including sporting events.

  • 2% back at grocery stores.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% APR for 15 months on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR.

Why we like it

The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 3% back on entertainment spending, which includes sporting events. Food spending is also heavily rewarded, so whether you’re feeding your own hockey team at home or dining at a restaurant before a big game, you’ll get rewarded.

Drawbacks

You don’t get any team-specific perks, so if you’re focused exclusively on one team or sport, you could be better off with a more targeted card. The card doesn't earn rewards on travel, so frequent flyers could be better off with a different option.

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Soccer moms and dads

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).

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

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: $150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.

Why we like it

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card 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, 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.

Nerd tip: If you're a fan of both Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Football Club, there’s a card for you: the Banc of California Los Angeles Football Club Mastercard®. It earns rewards, and cardholders also get exclusive invitations to player meet-and-greets, prematch warmups, stadium tours and 20% off team swag and eligible concessions. For more information, see our review of this card.

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