What Kind of Rewards Card Is Right for You?

Different credit cards offer different perks—from miles to cash back to points. Explore options and find a card that works for you

The idea behind a rewards card is simple: As you make purchases, you earn rewards. But if you’re looking for a rewards credit card, you’ll find all kinds of options.

Some cards offer miles that can be redeemed for travel expenses. Some offer cash back. And others offer points that can be redeemed for services or merchandise.

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. 

Here are a few types of rewards credit cards to consider:

Miles and Travel Rewards Cards

A miles-earning card could be a great choice for anyone who travels regularly for work or play.

You earn miles for purchases you make with your card. And, depending on the card, those miles can typically be used to cover travel-related expenses. Keep in mind, some miles-earning cards may offer more flexibility on where and how you can redeem your rewards.

With the Capital One Venture card, you earn unlimited double miles on every purchase and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Book a trip with your miles through Capital One Travel—or use your miles to get reimbursed for past travel purchases made elsewhere. That includes things like airfare, hotel stays and rental cars. Or you can transfer your miles to your choice of more than travel loyalty programs.

With Venture, there are no blackout dates—so you can travel when and how you want. 

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 purchase. Some cards offer larger percentages for certain categories like dining and entertainment.

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. That’s especially useful as daily purchases and shopping trips add up over time. 

Want to earn more cash back on dining, entertainment and more? With the Savor card from Capital One, you earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services, 3% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases.1 If you’re a major foodie or a person-about-town, this could be the card for you.

Plus, eligible cash cardholders earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

Capital One’s cash-back rewards cards offer the flexibility to redeem the way you want. That could mean applying cash back toward a recent purchase or crediting your account to lower your balance.2 Want a check or gift card delivered to your home? You can do that, too.

Points Rewards Cards

Some rewards credit cards offer points rather than miles or cash back. How you earn or redeem points varies based 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 your 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.

Things to Consider

Each type of rewards card comes with its own benefits. Here are two important questions to ask 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. And 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. 

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.

1You will earn 4% cash back on dining, qualified entertainment purchases and streaming, 3% cash back on purchases made at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Entertainment purchases made through a third party site or by a vendor that does not categorize themselves under one of the qualifying entertainment merchandise category codes will earn 1% cash back. Grocery purchases made at gas stations, convenience stores, warehouse clubs, discount stores, and super stores (or at grocery stores associated with discount stores or super stores) will earn 1% cash back. Earnings will apply to net purchases (purchases minus any credits or returns) only. Cash advances, balance transfers, and checks used to access your account are not considered purchases and will not earn rewards. Capital One uses merchant category codes to determine if a purchase is within one of the additional cash back categories. This means that sometimes a purchase may not earn additional cash back. For example, some food trucks or food carts may use a “merchandise” code and restaurants in department stores or hotels may use a “merchandise” or “hotel” code instead of a “dining” code. Additionally some amusement parks may code their online tickets as “merchandise” instead of “entertainment.” Capital One is not responsible for merchant category codes used by merchants.

2Account credits lower your balance but cannot be used to meet any minimum payment obligation.

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

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