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Best Credit Cards for Sports Fans and Athletes

Jan. 13, 2020
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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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.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for families

NFL Extra Points Credit Card

Our pick for: Football fans

NFL Extra Points Credit Card

NFL Extra Points Credit Card

Apply Now on Barclays's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening

    Cons

    • Minimum redemption requirement
    • Foreign transaction fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 17.49% - 27.49% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.74%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

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

    Intro APR

    • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening.
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 10,000 bonus points after $500 in purchases in the first 90 days, enough to redeem for $100 cash back.
    • Earn 2 points per $1 on NFL and Team purchases like eligible NFL tickets, in stadium, NFLShop.com and at team pro shops, and earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
    • Low Promo APR for eligible NFL ticket purchases: Enjoy a 0% promotional APR for 6 months on NFL ticket purchases from any participating NFL team ticket office.
    • $0 annual fee
    • 20% off purchases at NFLShop.com that’s $20 off every $100 you spend.

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 17.49% - 27.49% 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.

» MORE: Full review of the NFL Extra Points Credit Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our pick for: Basketball fans

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Luxury travel perks (Uber credit, airline fee credit, lounge access, etc.)
    • High rewards rate in certain categories
    • No foreign transaction fees

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Airline fee credit is limited
    • Low rewards rate on most spending

    Annual Fees

    $550

    APR

    • Purchase: N/A
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.74%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    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.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
    • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
    • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
    • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
    • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
    • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
    • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
    • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
    • $550 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.

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, 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.

» MORE: Full review of The Platinum Card® from American Express

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.

» MORE: Full review of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

NHL® Discover it®

Our pick for: Hockey fans

NHL® Discover it®

NHL® Discover it®

Apply Now on Discover's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers
    • Sign-up bonus
    • Bonus offer and rewards program

    Cons

    • Complicated rewards program with rotating categories for 5% cash back
    • No luxury perks
    • Requires good/ excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.49%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    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.

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months
  • Additional Information
    • Choose your favorite team & show your pride - all 31 teams available.
    • INTRO 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.
    • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
    • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
    • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
    • No annual fee.
    • View Rates and Fees

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 13.49% - 24.49% 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.

» MORE: Full review of the NHL® Discover it®

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Our pick for: General entertainment purchases

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Rich rewards on dining, entertainment
    • Broad definition of entertainment
    • Generous sign-up bonus

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR, no 0% intro period

    Annual Fees

    $0 intro for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 24.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
    • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that

Card details

Rewards:

  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, including sporting events.
  • 2% back at grocery stores.
  • 1% back on all other purchases.
  • 8% back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.

Welcome offer: Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

APR: The ongoing APR is 15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR.

Why we like it

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 4% back on entertainment spending, which includes sporting events. And if you buy your ticket through Vivid Seats, you’ll earn 8% back through May 2020. 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

The annual fee may be a turnoff for some. Plus, 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.

» MORE: Full review of the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Our pick for: Soccer moms and dads

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now on US Bank's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • Complex rewards require maintenance
    • Foreign transaction fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.49%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

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

    Intro APR

    • 0% Intro APR* balance transfers for 12 billing cycles
  • Additional Information
    • Earn up to $550 cash back in the first year.
    • $150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
    • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!
    • 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category, like gas stations or grocery stores.
    • 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.
    • No limit on total cash back earned.
    • 0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 15.49% - 25.49%
    • No annual fee*
    • Great Offer from U.S. Bank, a 2019 World's Most Ethical Company® - Ethisphere Institute, February 2019
    • View Rates and Fees

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 15.49% - 25.49% 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.

» MORE: Full review of the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card

Our pick for: Outdoorsmen and women

Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card

Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card

Apply Now on First Bankcard's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • High rewards on gas, sporting goods
    • No reward caps or membership requirements

    Cons

    • High APR
    • Low rewards rate on everything else
    • Minimum redemptions apply
    • No sign-up bonus

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • Purchase: 21.49%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.74%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • No Annual Fee
    • Unlimited 5% cash back on Gas purchases & Sporting Goods Store purchases
    • Unlimited 1% cash back on other purchases everywhere Visa is accepted
    • A portion of every purchase you make with the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Visa® Card helps fund wetlands conversation efforts

Card details

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on gas purchases and sporting goods store purchases.
  • 1% back on other purchases.

Other benefits:

  • A portion of each purchase goes toward wetlands conservation.

Welcome offer: None.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: The ongoing APR is 21.49% Variable.

Why we like it

If you spend time outdoors, you likely spend a lot at sporting goods stores, not to mention on gas to get you to your favorite location. The Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card will reward you in both categories. And as someone who enjoys the great outdoors, you may also appreciate that a portion of what you spend with the card goes toward wetlands conservation efforts.

Drawbacks

This is a terrific gas card, but you may not spend as much on fuel as you think you do. You may do better with a card that earns higher rewards across a broader range of categories, such as a general cash-back card.

» MORE: Full review of the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card

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