When you buy something using this page, we may earn a small affiliate commission. The Los Angeles Times newsroom was not involved in the creation of this content.

Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2023

Earn points, cashback, or travel miles with these top cards
  • See which cards offer rewards
  • Find out how to redeem rewards from your card
  • Read about why you might want a rewards card
  • Get advice from our experts on how to choose a card
Product Hero Image
Holly D. Johnson - Contributor Updated: 26 January 2023 9 Min Read
Reviewed By Bestcovery - Editorial Team
Why Trust Us?

If you’re looking for a way to get something back on your purchases, rewards credit cards are a great option. While cards offer different types of rewards, you can use credit cards in this niche to earn cash back, flexible rewards, points for travel and more.

In addition to offering spending-based rewards, some credit cards also come with added perks like a sign-up bonus, travel statement credits, and consumer protections on everything you buy. Some rewards credit cards come with no annual fee, yet ones that charge a yearly fee can offer greater benefits in return.

Because there are so many rewards credit cards on the market today, choosing one can be a difficult feat. We compared all the best card options on the market to find ones with the best welcome offers, credit card rewards programs, and benefits. Before you settle on a brand new rewards credit card, compare options from our list of top picks.

Our picks for the best rewards credit cards

Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2023

Learn more about your credit card options
Product Hero Image
Advertiser Disclosure

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for Flexible Travel Rewards

Why we like it

Not only does the Chase Sapphire Preferred® offer generous rewards on travel purchases and non-travel purchases, but the points you earn fall into the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. This is one of the most flexible programs offered by any credit issuer since it lets you redeem your points for cash back, gift cards, a statement credit, merchandise, travel through Chase, or point transfers to airline and hotel partners. For example, you can turn Chase points into rewards with programs like Southwest Rapid Rewards, British Airways, World of Hyatt, or Marriott Bonvoy.

You even get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which can help you stretch your points out even further. This card also comes with quite a few travel protections and benefits considering its reasonable $95 annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

PROS

  • Earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are incredibly flexible
  • Generous bonus categories
  • Lucrative sign-up bonus worth $750 in travel

CONS

  • $95 annual fee required
  • Fewer travel benefits than some premium travel credit cards

Rewards rate

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® lets users earn rewards in an array of everyday spending categories, as well as bonus points on travel purchases made through Chase. Cardholders can earn 5x points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3x points on dining, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services; and 1x points on other purchases.

The sign-up bonus on this Visa card is also worth pursuing. Upon approval, cardholders can earn 60,000 points worth $750 in travel after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within three months of account opening.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Best for Bonus Cash Back Categories

Why we like it

This Visa credit card makes it easy to rack up rewards in an array of categories most people spend in every month. For example, most Americans spend money at U.S. supermarkets, grocery stores, drug stores, and when dining out. We also like the fact consumers can earn a minimum of 1.5% cash back on all other purchases vs. the 1% back many other cash back credit cards offer. This combination of earning rates makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited® one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market today.

The lack of annual fee is also a major plus, as well as the fact consumers can skip the regular APR and pay a zero percent interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for more than one year.

Finally, you can pair this card with a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card for even more value. Not only can you pool all your points in one place, but you can use a Chase travel card to unlock point transfer options to hotel and airline programs that partner with Chase.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

PROS

  • No annual fee
  • Excellent bonus categories
  • Generous welcome bonus

CONS

  • Charges foreign transaction fees

Rewards rate

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers the chance to earn bonus points in several everyday categories. In fact, cardmembers earn 5% back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and Lyft rides (through March 2022), 5% back on up to $12,000 in grocery store spending the first year, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.

New customers can also earn a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on eligible purchases within three months of account opening.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Card

Best Premium Travel Rewards

Why we like it

This premium travel credit card offers quite a few benefits in exchange for its $395 annual fee. You get up to $600 in statement credits the first year, for example. Priority Pass Select membership is valued at $429 on its own, and you get the benefit of Capital One airport lounge access as well.

We also like this rewards-earning card’s rate for travel purchases through Capital One. Separately, you also earn a minimum of 2X miles for each dollar spent on other purchases.

On the redemption front, you can redeem rewards for travel statement credits, gift cards, cash back, travel through Capital One, transfers to Capital One airline and hotel partners, and more.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Card

PROS

  • Generous sign-up bonus
  • Flexible rewards for travel and other eligible purchases
  • Comes with generous travel benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees

CONS

  • $395 annual fee required
  • Inferior transfer partners when compared to other flexible programs

Rewards rate

The Capital One Venture X Rewards card gives users the chance to earn excellent rewards on travel purchases and everything else they buy. Cardholders get to earn 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 2X miles on all other purchases.

New customers can also earn 100,000 miles after spending $10,000 on purchases within six months of account opening.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for Dining and Entertainment

Why we like it

This credit card offers easy-to-earn rewards in everyday categories, including dining, entertainment, streaming services, and even grocery stores. It’s also one of the highest-earning cards for dining and entertainment on the market today.

We also like the fact that, if you’re an avid concertgoer, you can earn 8% back on in-store purchases made with Vivid Seats. The welcome bonus is also generous, and you can redeem rewards for statement credit, gift cards, purchases made through PayPal, Amazon purchases, and more.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

PROS

  • Generous rewards for dining out, entertainment and groceries
  • Flexible redemption options
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

CONS

  • High variable APR after introductory period

Rewards rate

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card lets cardholders earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services, 3% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cardholders also earn 8% cash back on eligible purchases made through Vivid Seats.

New customers can also earn a one-time welcome bonus of $200 after spending $500 on purchases within three months of account opening.

Compare Rewards Credit Cards

Learn about the top credit cards
Product Hero Image

What is a rewards credit card?

A rewards credit card is a type of credit card that lets you earn rewards for each dollar you spend.

Some rewards cards offer a flat rate of points or cash back on everything you buy, whereas others offer more points in specific categories people shop in. In some cases, bonus rewards can be capped based on a specific amount of spending each calendar year or in certain billing cycles. In other cases, the rewards you can earn are truly unlimited.

Outside of rewards, many cards in this niche also offer extra perks to incentivize people to apply. For example, many cards come with consumer protections and travel insurance benefits, and some come with statement credits and third-party memberships. Many rewards credit cards also entice potential customers with a generous welcome bonus worth a few hundred dollars or more.

With this being said, it’s important to know that rewards cards work similarly to other credit cards. They offer a line of credit you can borrow against, and you have the option to carry a balance month-to-month. If you don’t pay your credit card balance in full before your due date, you’ll be charged your credit card’s interest rate on revolving balances. Some credit cards also charge an annual fee.

Types of rewards credit cards

There are several types of rewards cards to be aware of, which include the following:


The vast majority of rewards credit cards let you earn unlimited rewards, although some cap bonus category rewards each calendar year (or each quarter). Before you earn credit card rewards, make sure you understand the type of card you signed up for and how its rewards program works.

Reasons to get a rewards credit card

If you have a traditional credit card that doesn’t earn points or miles, you may be wondering why you should bother upgrading to a rewards card.

The fact is, rewards aren’t for everyone, and cards in this niche can even be detrimental to certain types of consumers.

Should you get a rewards card? That depends, but if the following statements sound like you, you may want to consider it:


These are just some of the reasons to pick up a rewards credit card, but there are plenty of others. Before you sign up for a new card in order to rack up points or miles, you should think about your personal spending habits and goals, and how a rewards card might help or hinder your progress.

For the most part, rewards credit cards are best for people who are currently debt-free with plans to stay that way. Rewards cards are also best for people who are responsible with their spending, and those who keep their finances fairly organized.

Earning credit card rewards: What to watch out for

Before you start pursuing credit card rewards, you should know which pitfalls to watch out for.

Here are some of the potential problems to be aware of before you pick up a new card:

How to choose a rewards credit card

Choosing a rewards card can be tricky, but there are plenty of factors that can help narrow down your choices.

Here are the main rewards card factors you should think about before you decide:

How we selected our top rewards cards

We looked at more than 100 rewards credit cards on the market today to find the best of the best. Factors we compared include each card’s sign-up offer, rewards for other purchases, rewards for travel purchases, rewards earned in bonus categories, and annual fees. We also compared cards based on their benefits, with preference given to cards that offer generous perks for a reasonable annual fee.

Best rewards credit cards FAQ

Holly D. Johnson
Holly D. Johnson Contributor

Holly D. Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer who covers topics like insurance, investing, credit and family finance. As a leading voice in the travel and loyalty space, Johnson has traveled with her family to more than 50 countries over the last decade. 

The author has also written extensively on the power of household budgeting, and she even co-authored a book on the topic. Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love was originally published in 2017, and it teaches families how to use zero-sum budgeting to reach their financial goals. She is also the co-owner and founder of the family finance and travel website, ClubThrifty.com.

Johnson’s 10+ years of writing have focused on helping families make important financial decisions at each stage of their lives. The author also applies the financial principles she teaches to her own life, and she is currently on track to retire in her late 40’s with her partner. She currently lives in Central Indiana with her husband and children, and she is a regular contributor for Bankrate, CNN, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report Travel and many other notable publications.