Best of

Best Rewards Credit Cards of April 2019

NerdWalletApril 24, 2019

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NerdWallet's Best Rewards Credit Cards of April 2019

Our pick for

Simple travel rewards + Hotels.com

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

on Capital One's website

Annual Fee

$95

Waived first year

Regular APR

17.99% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has long run neck and neck with the Barclays card offered below. In the final analysis, it comes in a close second in 2019 — but if you're a frequent Hotels.com user, it may take first place for you.

Our pick for

Bonus category cash back

Discover It Credit Card

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months

recommended credit score

The bonus categories, $0 annual fee, solid 0% intro APR period and new-cardmember bonus make the Discover it® Cash Back an all-around winner.

Our pick for

Bonus travel rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

If you typically fly with one airline, a co-branded card might provide benefits the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does not. But if you want flexibility in earning and redeeming rewards, this is among the best cards around.

Our pick for

Flat-rate cash + no minimum redemption

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

on Capital One's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

18.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

recommended credit score

Few cards offer as compelling a mix of rewards rate, redemption simplicity, 0% intro period and sign-up bonus as the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Our pick for

High reward rates and no annual fee

Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Propel American Express (R) Card Credit Card

on Wells Fargo's website

on Wells Fargo's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

16.24% - 27.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

recommended credit score

Although the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card lacks some of the premium perks its competitors offer, we can’t think of another card without an annual fee that offers as many lucrative incentives to apply.

Our pick for

Easy-to-use travel rewards

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Credit Card

on Barclays's website

Rates & Fees

on Barclays's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$89

Waived first year

Regular APR

18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable based on your creditworthiness

Intro APR

0% intro APR for the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening

recommended credit score

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® gives you simple, generous travel rewards you can use your way. Throw in a big sign-up offer and the 5% redemption bonus, and you've got a card with terrific value.

Our pick for

Premium travel rewards

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$450

Regular APR

19.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

The best premium travel card on the market, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives you both top-notch rewards (what you get for using the card) and valuable perks (what you get just for carrying the card).

Our pick for

Flat-rate cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card

on Citibank's application

on Citibank's application

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

recommended credit score

With the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, earning cash back is simple and lucrative. If you're looking for a low-hassle cash back card to use daily, this is it.

Our pick for

Customizable cash-back rewards

US Bank Cash+(TM) Visa Signature(R) Card Credit Card

on US Bank's website

Rates & Fees

on US Bank's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

16.24% - 25.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles

recommended credit score

Get the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card if you want to choose your own rewards categories and its 5% categories appeal to you. Over the long run, it could be more valuable than similar cards that come with a larger sign-up bonus.

Our pick for

Dining and entertainment rewards

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

on Capital One's website

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

18.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

recommended credit score

If a night out is more than a once-in-a-while proposition, the Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card will fit neatly into your wallet.

Our pick for

Families (grocery and gas rewards)

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

recommended credit score

If groceries, gas and department store spending are among your most common expenses, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a winner.

Our pick for

Best airline card

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature®  Credit Card

on Bank of America's website

on Bank of America's website

Annual Fee

$75

Regular APR

17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

We acknowledge that Alaska Airlines is not an option for everyone. Even so, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card is a best-in-class product that deserves recognition — especially if it prods the bigger carriers to consider matching its features. FOR OTHER OPTIONS: See NerdWallet's best airline credit cards

Our pick for

Best hotel card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

on Chase's website

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

The free night's stay each year can be enough to cover the annual fee on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. If you stay regularly at Marriott properties, it's hard to beat. FOR OTHER OPTIONS: See NerdWallet's best hotel credit cards

Our pick for

Fair/average credit

Capital One QuicksilverOne Credit Card

on Capital One's website

on Capital One's website

Annual Fee

$39

Regular APR

26.96% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

The reality is that not everyone has a credit score above 750. The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card gets a big thumbs-up for offering an extremely competitive 1.5% rewards rate for people still building their credit scores.

Our pick for

Bad credit

Discover it Secured Credit Card

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

10.99% on Balance Transfers for 6 months

recommended credit score

The rewards and other features on this secured card for bad credit are better than those on many unsecured cards for good credit.

Summary of Best Rewards Credit Cards of April 2019

Credit CardBest ForIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeLearn More
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Simple travel rewards + Hotels.com

N/A

17.99% - 25.24% Variable APR

$95

Waived first year

on Capital One's website

Discover It Credit Card

Discover it® Cash Back

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Bonus category cash back

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months

14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$0

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

on Chase's website

Bonus travel rewards

N/A

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$95

on Chase's website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Flat-rate cash + no minimum redemption

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

18.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$0

on Capital One's website

Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Propel American Express (R) Card Credit Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

on Wells Fargo's website

High reward rates and no annual fee

0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

16.24% - 27.24% Variable APR

$0

on Wells Fargo's website

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Credit Card

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

on Barclays's website

Easy-to-use travel rewards

0% intro APR for the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening

18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable based on your creditworthiness

$89

Waived first year

on Barclays's website

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

on Chase's website

Premium travel rewards

N/A

19.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$450

on Chase's website

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

on Citibank's application

Flat-rate cash back

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

$0

on Citibank's application

US Bank Cash+(TM) Visa Signature(R) Card Credit Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

on US Bank's website

Customizable cash-back rewards

0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles

16.24% - 25.74% Variable APR

$0

on US Bank's website

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Dining and entertainment rewards

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

18.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$0

on Capital One's website

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Families (grocery and gas rewards)

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$95

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature®  Credit Card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

on Bank of America's website

Best airline card

N/A

17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$75

on Bank of America's website

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

on Chase's website

Best hotel card

N/A

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$95

on Chase's website

Capital One QuicksilverOne Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Fair/average credit

N/A

26.96% Variable APR

$39

on Capital One's website

Discover it Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Secured

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Bad credit

10.99% on Balance Transfers for 6 months

25.24% Variable APR

$0

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Credit CardBest ForIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeLearn More
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Simple travel rewards + Hotels.com

N/A

17.99% - 25.24% Variable APR

$95

Waived first year

on Capital One's website

Discover It Credit Card

Discover it® Cash Back

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Bonus category cash back

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months

14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$0

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

on Chase's website

Bonus travel rewards

N/A

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$95

on Chase's website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Flat-rate cash + no minimum redemption

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

18.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$0

on Capital One's website

Wells Fargo Wells Fargo Propel American Express (R) Card Credit Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

on Wells Fargo's website

High reward rates and no annual fee

0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

16.24% - 27.24% Variable APR

$0

on Wells Fargo's website

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Credit Card

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

on Barclays's website

Easy-to-use travel rewards

0% intro APR for the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening

18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable based on your creditworthiness

$89

Waived first year

on Barclays's website

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

on Chase's website

Premium travel rewards

N/A

19.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$450

on Chase's website

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

on Citibank's application

Flat-rate cash back

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

$0

on Citibank's application

US Bank Cash+(TM) Visa Signature(R) Card Credit Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

on US Bank's website

Customizable cash-back rewards

0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles

16.24% - 25.74% Variable APR

$0

on US Bank's website

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Dining and entertainment rewards

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

18.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$0

on Capital One's website

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Families (grocery and gas rewards)

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR

$95

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature®  Credit Card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

on Bank of America's website

Best airline card

N/A

17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$75

on Bank of America's website

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

on Chase's website

Best hotel card

N/A

18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR

$95

on Chase's website

Capital One QuicksilverOne Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Fair/average credit

N/A

26.96% Variable APR

$39

on Capital One's website

Discover it Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Secured

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Bad credit

10.99% on Balance Transfers for 6 months

25.24% Variable APR

$0

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Personalized_recc

Not sure which card rewards you the most?

Take a quick quiz and we'll find out.

How cash-back rewards work

With a cash-back credit card, you earn rewards equal to a percentage of the amount you spend. Some cards pay a single rate that applies to all purchases; others pay higher rates on purchases in certain categories. Rewards rates range from 1% to 6% — that is, 1 cent to 6 cents per dollar spent — depending on the card and the category. Your monthly statement will show you the rewards you've earned to date; you can also track your rewards online.

When it comes time to cash in your rewards, the easiest way is to apply them to your account as a credit. This directly reduces the amount you owe. Depending on the card, you could also get your rewards deposited directly into your bank account, or you could get a check in the mail. Some cards set a minimum amount to redeem, usually $20 or $25. Other cards have no minimum for redemption.

How travel rewards work

By Joe Cortez, NerdWallet point and miles expert

With a travel rewards card, you earn points or miles every time you use the card, but you can often earn more points per dollar in select categories. Some cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, offer bonus points on any travel spending, while the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card grants bonus points only when you use the card at Marriott and Starwood hotels.

Not all points and miles earned on travel credit cards are the same:

How do we value points and miles? With the rewards earned on general travel cards, it's simple: They have a fixed value, usually between 1 and 1.5 cents apiece, and you can spend them like cash. With airline miles and hotel points, finding the true value is more difficult. How much value you get depends on how you redeem them. As a general rule, airline miles go further if you use them for business- and first-class accommodations on international flights.

To better understand what points and miles are worth, NerdWallet researched the cash prices and reward-redemption values for hundreds of hotel rooms and flights. The tables below show average point values derived from that research.

Average value per point/mile, in cents
AIRLINES Domestic International
Alaska 1.2 1.1
American 1.0 5.0
Delta 1.4 2.7
Frontier 0.8 1.1
JetBlue 1.5 1.7
Southwest 1.6 1.9
Spirit 0.4 0.7
United 1.3 3.3

» MORE: NerdWallet's best airline credit cards

Average value per point, in cents
HOTELS Domestic International
Best Western 0.5 0.6
Choice 0.7 0.8
Hilton 0.4 0.4
Hyatt 1.8 1.5
IHG 0.6 0.5
Marriott 0.8 0.7
Radisson 0.3 0.3
Wyndham 0.7 0.7

» MORE: NerdWallet's best hotel credit cards

How to choose a rewards credit card

There are so many options available among rewards credit cards that picking the right one for you can seem daunting. You can make the process easier if you approach it systematically.

First, decide whether a rewards card is right for you at all. Mainly, choose a rewards card if you pay your bill in full every month and have above-average credit. If you carry a balance from month to month, the interest will wipe out the value of your rewards; you'd be better off with a low-interest credit card.

Next, look for a card that rewards you for the kind of spending you do and that delivers rewards you can use. (Airline miles aren't much good if you never fly, for example.) The right choice also will depend on how much effort you’re willing to exert in learning a rewards program and a card’s built-in perks. Annual fees and sign-up bonuses can also sway your decision.

Because of those factors, there’s no single “best” rewards card for everybody. Best might be a simple, flat-rate cash-back card, a premium travel card laden with benefits, or something in between. If you’re having trouble deciding on a type of rewards card, give special consideration to cash back. A Nerdwallet study has shown cash-back credit cards are better for most people than travel cards.

See more in our guide to choosing a rewards credit card.

Making the most of your card

To get the most from your rewards credit card, you should understand three things: how you earn rewards, how to redeem rewards, and the non-reward perks offered by the card.

  • Earning: Consider paying for everything with the card, including monthly bills, to rack up rewards quicker. That’s the power of a rewards card: getting extra value from your regular spending. Never overspend just for rewards. Consider using complementary cards to extract maximum rewards for your spending. For example, one card might offer high rewards for restaurant spending, while an airline card gives you free checked bags and a third card gives you a nice cash-back rate on all other spending. If you have a card with a sign-up bonus, consolidate spending on that card until you earn that bonus.
  • Redeeming: Redeem your rewards in the way that delivers maximum value. For example, redeeming for cash is almost always a better option than gift cards. Some rewards can be transferred to travel partners, such as airlines and hotels, at a valuable rate. Learn what the options are and what a rewards point is worth.
  • Perks: Beyond rewards, a card might offer perks, or benefits you get just for carrying the card. These include no foreign transaction fees, rental car insurance and extended warranties on items purchased with the card. Premium travel cards are often loaded with benefits, such as travel credits, hotel elite status or refunds for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees.

Optimizing your earning, redeeming and use of perks will ensure that if the card has an annual fee, you’re extracting more value than you pay.

Other cards to consider

Rewards cards come in a variety of flavors to fit different consumer preferences and spending patterns. This roundup highlights the best cards in each particular category, but there may be a better card for you. Find other great cards in our specialized roundups:

How these cards' rewards rates stack up

Card Best for ... Rewards rate
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Bonus travel rewards • 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining
• 1 point per $1 on everything else
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Simple travel rewards + Hotels.com • 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases
• 10 miles per $1 at Hotel.com/venture (through January 2020)
Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card Dining and entertainment rewards • 3% cash back on dining and entertainment
• 2% cash back at grocery stores
• 1% cash back on all other purchases
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Flat-rate cash + no minimum redemption • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card High reward rates and no annual fee • 3 points per $1 spent on dining out and ordering in
• 3 points per $1 on gas stations, rideshares and transit
• 3 points per $1 on travel
• 3 points per $1 on eligible streaming services
• 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Flat-rate travel rewards • 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Best premium card • 3 points per $1 spent on travel and dining
• 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card Best airline card • 3 miles per $1 spent directly on Alaska Airlines purchases.
• 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card Best hotel cards • 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotes
2 points per $1 on all other eligible purchases
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer Flat-rate cash back • 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy + 1% when you pay it off)
Discover it® Cash Back Bonus category cash back • 5% back in rotating categories that you activate, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter
• 1% back on all other purchases
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card Customizable rewards • 5% cash back on up to $2,000 in combined purchases per quarter in two categories that you choose
• 2% cash back in an everyday category such as gas or groceries
• 1% cash back on all other purchases
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Families (grocery and gas rewards) • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 a year in spending)
• 3% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
• 1% back on all other purchases
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Fair/average credit • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Discover it® Secured Bad credit • 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined spending per quarter on gas and restaurants
• 1% back on all other purchases

To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this page.

Last updated on April 24, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's Credit Cards team selects the best rewards credit cards based on overall consumer value, as evidenced by star ratings, as well as their suitability for specific kinds of consumers, including both those seeking cash-back rewards and those interested in travel rewards. Factors in our evaluation include annual and other fees, rewards rates, the earning structure (for example, flat-rate rewards versus bonus categories), redemption options, bonus offers for new cardholders, introductory and ongoing APRs, and other noteworthy features such as airline or hotel perks or the ability to transfer points.