What is the best rewards credit card for you?

The idea behind credit card rewards is simple: As you make purchases, you earn rewards. And if you’re looking for a rewards credit card, you’ll find a lot of options to explore.

There are travel cards, cash back cards and points cards. Cards within those categories may also offer unique ways to earn and redeem rewards. 

So which one is right for you? The answer depends on how you plan to use the card and where you’ll find the most value when you redeem rewards. Find out more about how different rewards cards work and how to choose the best card for you.

Key takeaways

  • There isn’t one rewards card that’s a universal fit for everyone. The best rewards card for you is one that best aligns with your lifestyle, spending habits and needs.
  • There are a few common types of rewards credit cards it can help to know about, including travel cards, cash back cards and points cards.
  • Before applying for a new card, make sure you understand all of its terms, including fees, APRs, introductory offers and perks.

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Types of rewards credit cards

There are a few common types of rewards cards that you’ll likely come across in your search. Here’s a closer look at how they each work. 

Miles and travel rewards cards

A travel rewards credit card could be a great choice for people who travel regularly for work or play. You earn miles for purchases you make with your card. And depending on the card, those miles can be used to cover travel-related expenses. Keep in mind that some miles-earning cards may offer more flexibility on where and how you can redeem your rewards.

The Capital One Venture card is a travel rewards card that lets you earn unlimited double miles on every purchase and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Venture gives you flexible redemption options, including using your rewards to cover travel purchases, transferring miles to loyalty programs, booking trips through Capital One Travel, including Lifestyle Collection hotel stays, and more.1 And each Lifestyle Collection hotel booking comes with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit and more.

Plus, Venture cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus miles by spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Miles don’t expire for the life of the account, and there’s no limit on the miles you can earn.2  

Venture also gives cardholders access to even more perks and benefits, like credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®, 24-hour travel assistance and more.

Cash back rewards cards

Cash back rewards cards also let you earn rewards as you spend. But instead of miles, you earn cash back, equivalent to a percentage of each qualifying purchase. Some cards offer larger percentages for certain categories, like dining and entertainment. With others, you may earn the same rewards rate on every qualifying purchase.

With the Capital One Quicksilver card, you earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. Whether you’re using your card to fill up on gas, buy pet food or snag a snazzy pair of shoes, you’re earning as you buy.

If you’re looking to earn more cash back on dining and entertainment, check out the Capital One SavorOne card. With SavorOne, you earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases.3 If you’re a major foodie or a person-about-town, this could be the card for you.

Capital One’s cash back credit cards also offer the flexibility to redeem the way you want. That could mean applying cash back toward a recent purchase, crediting your account to lower your balance, or getting a check or gift card delivered to your home.4

Points rewards cards

Some rewards credit cards offer points rather than miles or cash back. How you earn or redeem points varies on the card. Some may be similar to a miles-earning card, while others may be more like a cash back card.

If you think a points card is right for you, make sure you understand any limits on how you can redeem rewards. And double-check that your points won’t expire before you have a chance to use them. Rotating rewards categories are also something to keep in mind.

Are rewards cards worth it?

Each type of rewards card comes with its own benefits. But only you can determine which card is best for you. Here are a few questions to consider before you apply:

  • Do the rewards fit your spending habits? The best rewards cards help you earn rewards for things you already buy. Some cards offer higher rewards in certain categories, like dining and entertainment. Others offer a flat rate for every purchase.
  • How do you want to redeem rewards? If you want to redeem rewards for travel purchases, a travel rewards card might be the best choice. If you’d rather have the flexibility of cash back rewards, consider a cash back card.
  • Do the rewards justify the annual fee? Some rewards cards come with an annual fee. Think about whether the rewards you may earn with the card are worth it. 
  • Do you understand the card’s terms? In addition to looking at the annual fee, you should make sure you understand all of a card’s terms before you apply. This includes things like APRs, introductory offers and other perks. And don’t forget to look into the card’s other fees, like balance transfer fees and foreign transaction fees

Credit card rewards in a nutshell

The best rewards credit card for you is a card that aligns with your lifestyle and spending habits. Whether you’re a globe-trotting adventurer, an avid foodie or someone who wants to be rewarded for everyday purchases, there’s a rewards card out there for you. 

Ready to explore some options? Check out Capital One’s rewards credit cards to find one that’s right for you. Then, you can see if you’re pre-approved for card offers before you apply. Pre-approval is quick, and it doesn’t hurt your credit score.

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