Compare Top Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards in January 2023

How would you like to get paid back by your credit card every time you use it? That’s what happens when you have a cash back rewards card. Heads up, though: All cash back card offers aren’t alike.

Some cards offer a flat cash back rate on every dollar you spend. Others pay higher cash back on categories that change quarterly, but that you need to activate to earn a higher cash back percentage. And don’t overlook features like welcome bonuses and travel rewards.

With all those elements, it can be tough to decide which cash rewards credit cards are best for you. That’s why we picked seven of the best cash back credit cards for 2020 and listed all the juicy cash back details.  It’s time to find the best card with the most cash back bonus for you.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. The Chase Freedom

The most premium travel card around also has one of the biggest bonuses you’d ever want, and that’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card gives you a 2 point spending bonus on any travel or restaurant purchase you make and a 1 point bonus for every dollar you spend on general purchases. You get 80,000 points if, in the first three months, you spend $4000 in the first three months with a yearly fee of only $95.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for: Frequent travelers, diners and concertgoers.

Credit Score: Excellent/Good

Rewards: 2X points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases. All other purchases worth 1 point. To gain the most value from your rewards, redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, where they’re worth 25% more.

So, when you redeem 60,000 points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, they’re worth $750, compared with the cash redemption value of $600. Redeem points for cash, gift cards, products and services offered through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program or third-party merchants.

Other perks: Combine points from this card with points from another eligible Chase card that’s tied to Ultimate Rewards®. No blackout dates or travel restrictions when you book your airline tickets through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Access to Chase Experiences, including the Sundance Film Festival and Chase Sapphire Private Dining Series, along with concerts, shows and premium sports events. Baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, roadside assistance and car rental insurance available if bookings were made using the card.

Annual fee: $95. Yes, Chase Sapphire Preferred dings you with an annual fee, but its $600 cash back or $750 welcome bonus and 2X travel and dining rewards can easily offset that amount.

Bonus: The 60,000-point welcome bonus — worth $600 in cash, or $750 in travel when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards — after you spend $4,000 in the first three months can stretch even further (25% more) when you redeem points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Freedom

When you compare the Chase Freedom card you’ll notice you do get a cashback reward credit of 5% for any rotating categories like gas or groceries if you spend $1500 a quarter. You also get 1% cash back on general purchases and you’ll get $150 if in the first three months you spend $500. A true benefit with the Chase Freedom card is you don’t pay an annual fee, and your cash back rewards never expire as long as your account is open.

Best for: Consumers who like to earn 5% cash back on every dollar spent in rotating quarterly categories without paying an annual fee.

Credit Score: Excellent/Good

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

To get the most out of the Chase Freedom card, you’ll need to maximize the 5% cash back rewards, which are tracked in points. The 1% cash back on all other purchases is automatic. However, to earn 5%, you must activate the card every quarter for its rotating 5% cash back categories.

There’s no minimum amount required to redeem points for cash back, which you can exchange for a statement credit; a direct deposit into your Chase checking or savings account; or gift cards, travel, and other qualifying products and services.

Annual fee: No annual fee

Other perks: Maximize points by getting 5% cash back and then transferring points to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card, where points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Purchase protection; trip cancellation and interruption insurance, car rental insurance; travel and emergency assistance are available if bookings are made using the card; extended warranty for one year on qualifying purchases.

Bonus: Welcome bonus of $150 after you spend $500 in the first three months. As long as you don’t run up a balance that you can’t pay off before the 0% APR ends, that’s free money.

Credit Score: Excellent/Good

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card vs. the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Many people never notice the difference between the Capital One Venture Rewards Card and the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards credit card. That’s because they both offer the same redemption options. It’s important to note, the Venture Rewards credit card is the one that offers you a larger sign-up bonus with over 50,000 miles if, in three months, you spend $3,000.

The Venture Rewards credit card also gives you a higher 2-percent earnings rate and no annual fee the first year. Some extra advantages offered through the Venture Rewards credit card is you earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. You also receive ten miles per dollar on hotel bookings if you use to make your reservations.

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards credit card gives you 3% cashback on your dining and entertainment purchases. You also get 2% for purchases made at grocery stores and 1% for any other purchases made. If you’re a new credit card customer, you get a one-time $150 cash bonus if, in your first three months, you spend $500.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best for: Frequent credit card users who like to pay for everyday expenses with a credit card, dine out often and spend a lot on groceries.

Rewards: Unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores (excluding superstores such as Walmart and Target) and 1% on all other purchases.

Other perks: No cash back limits. Set up automatic redemption preferences for $25, $50, $100 or $200.

Annual fee: No annual fee

Bonus: New cardholders can enjoy a $150 welcome bonus after spending $500 within three months of opening the account.

Credit Score: Excellent/Good

There’s no annual fee for fifteen months, and then it changes into a variable APR range (see terms). The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards card gives you bonuses with never having to pay foreign transaction fees if you’re using your card to make purchases outside the U.S. and your rewards never expire as long as you have an account

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is another rewards card that maximizes your cashback while also maximizing excellent benefits. You get $300 back if, within your first three months, you spend $1000 on purchases. This rewards card offers some extra bonuses like 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets or 3% cashback at gas stations when you use your Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.

Best for: Consumers aiming to spend at least $1,000 in the first three months and families who fork over big bucks for groceries.

Rewards: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year, then 1% cash back. 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations. Redeem cash back for a statement credit, gift cards or shopping.

Other perks: Pay it® app lets you create up to 10 payment plans on purchases of $100 or more with a fixed monthly fee. Car rental collision damage waiver included (except in Italy, Australia or New Zealand) or purchase primary coverage at a flat rate for up to 42 days if booked using the card.

Annual fee: $95

Bonus: $250 cash back if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days.

Credit Score: Excellent/Good

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Credit Card

The final rewards card profiled is the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa credit card. The Wells Fargo Wise Visa credit card gives you an unlimited 1.5% cash reward on all credit card purchases and there are no category criteria attached. You get $150 if in three months you purchase at least $500.

You have 0% intro APR for up to 15 months upon account opening. After that, cardholders pay an APR range (see terms). As an added incentive, Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa offers you 1.8% cashback in the first twelve months of you opening your account through Google PayTM or Apple Pay digital wallets.

Best for: Someone that likes reliable rewards on every day purchases with a nice intro cash reward bonus.

Rewards: unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases

Other perks: 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, up to $600 in cell phone protection

Annual fee: No annual fee

Bonus: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

Bank of America Cash Rewards

Best for: Homeowners, families and other consumers who like to choose their own 3% cash back categories.

Rewards: 3% cash back in the category of your choice for qualifying purchases: home improvement/furnishings, gas, online shopping, dining, travel or drugstores. Change the 3% category monthly or keep it the same. Earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 combined per quarter). After that, 1% cash back credit card rewards for all purchases.

Other perks: Extended warranty on qualifying purchases, free FICO score, car rental collision damage waiverand travel accident insurance if booked using card.

Annual fee: No annual fee

Bonus: $200 welcome bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.

Credit Score: Excellent

Citi Double Cash Card

Best for: Consumers planning a large purchase who don’t mind waiting until they pay for purchases to receive extra rewards.

Rewards: Earn cash back of 1% when you make a purchase with the card and an additional 1% when you pay for the purchases on your monthly statement. That’s great motivation to keep your balance paid off.

Other perks: No caps on cash back earnings. Citi® Private Pass® is available for special access to purchase tickets, including presale and VIP packages, to concerts, sporting events, movie screenings and other events. Citi® Concierge services are available for qualifying travel, shopping, dining and entertainment.

Annual fee: No annual fee

Bonus: None

Credit Score: Excellent/Good

Discover it Cash Back

Best for: Homeowners, families and online shoppers who like rotating categories for 5% cash back.

Rewards: 5% cash back on rotating categories, including grocery stores, and restaurants, that change quarterly as long as you activate the categories. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Redeem rewards in any amount and at any time.

Other perks: Discover it® automatically matches all cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year and credits the amount to your account.

Annual fee: No annual fee

Other fees: 3% intro balance transfer fee with a fee of up to 5% on further balance transfers. 5% (or $10) cash advance fee. No late payment fee the first time you’re late; after that, up to $39 for late payment or returned payment fee. No foreign transaction fee.

Bonus: No welcome bonus. However, the year-end automatic cash back match can be considered a “bonus” of its own.

Credit Score: Excellent/Good

Your Way Forward Through the Credit Card Reward Products

Now you know what rewards card are and what some of them provide you. Also, you can now use this information and decide which card fits your needs best. Once you learn who gives you the greatest rewards that are simple enough to understand and use, then you have a place to start in determining which ones you want to apply for.

It’s by learning tips and details like the ones above per rewards credit card that can help you obtain a credit card that grows or enhances your credit score. Always find out how and when you redeem your credit card reward points, travel miles, or cashback. The most positive and lucrative way to earn cashback on your purchases is to pay your credit card bill each month.

Rewards cards give you amazing rewards but they also can hit you up with some significant annual fees and interest if you don’t pay your credit card bills on time. You’re over halfway there in getting the best rewards card on the market.  Find the best card for your lifestyle so you can get cash rewards from the cashback credit cards you carry in your wallet.

With each passing year, it seems as though credit card rewards only get better. Competition has never been higher in the credit card industry, and this has led to increasingly generous rewards programs and introductory offers. The best credit card rewards programs now offer extremely lucrative sign-up bonuses for new cardholders, plus high rewards yields on every dollar charged to the card. The most rewarding card on our list offers as much as $750 in travel value in the form of a new cardholder bonus, and a rewards yield as high as 4.5% in travel value for spending on restaurants and travel purchases, which showcases the value offered by the top rewards cards.

The Bottom Line

There are many kinds of cashback rewards cards offered from every financial institution from Bank of America to Citi to Discover and can offer all sorts of perks outside of cashback including free global entry and TSA precheck.  It is important to match the credit card with your spending habits and match that with specific spending categories that you can get more cashback for. For instance, if you spend a lot on gas, find a card that offers a great % cash back at U.S. gas stations or if you shop at wholesale clubs, find cards that offer a great cashback rate for this type of spending for the life of the account.

If you travel a lot, look for a rewards card that offers bonus miles, rental car discounts and other amazing membership rewards.  Remember, credit cards can work on your behalf for big purchases by finding those that offer a 0% introductory APR for a certain number of days of account opening that will allow you to make the purchase and even get money back on the purchase whether it offers 1x points or a straight % back.  In the end, rewards cards, when used responsibly and especially when tailored to your lifestyle, can provide a big benefit to your every day lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a rewards credit card and is it worth it?

There are some questions in life you need to know the answers to before you proceed. Finding the best credit cards to help build your credit or provide a little bit of a financial cushion is one of the times you want to know as much as you can before applying for one. Some of the questions you may want to be answered about credit cards are what is a rewards card or is one reward credit card better than the other?

If you watch TV, you’ve seen countless credit card ads throughout your life where someone is pitching a credit card’s benefits through their points, cash back, or travel miles. Those are the three most common credit card rewards. You gain points, cashback, or travel miles by using the rewards credit card and making purchases.

Any credit card reward usually has criteria you need to meet to get the reward. The reward criteria revolve around you having to spend a specific amount of dollars in a certain amount of time. Sometimes you can gain benefits from reward credit cards when you refer someone.

No matter what the reward or criteria, it’s important to know about certain credit cards and rewards programs before you get one. Read on to learn all you ever wanted to ask about but never did so you can find the one that best fits your needs.

Why do you even need a credit card?

If you’re living on the grid and want to buy a car, a home, rent an apartment, stay in a hotel, and do other countless activities in your day-to-day life, you need credit. Not having credit means your credit history is void. Having no credit history means no one knows if they extend credit, you’ll pay them back.

What’s more, by having a positive credit history, you can provide proof that you know how to manage money. By having a credit history, every loan payment you made, or credit card you paid off, help build your future. In the current economy, a lot of credit card issuers are giving front end bonus benefits and rewards to entice you into signing up with them so you want to know what the rewards are and what they do for you.

Almost all cards offer at least 2% cashback on any purchases you make. There is a downside to having rewards credit cards and that is 2% doesn’t cancel out their average annual percentage rate, which runs on average between 16.89% to 24.25%. That’s when knowing what rewards card is best and using it responsibly so it helps build your credit sync up perfectly.

What is a rewards card?

The difference between a credit card and a rewards credit card is a credit card only charges you for buying a product or service. A rewards credit card gives you incentives every time you charge a product or service using the rewards credit card. The incentives and rewards are given to you in different forms like cashback, mileage or points.

When you’re actively looking and researching which rewards card best suits your needs, you want to know if they’re worth getting. Credit cards are great to have when you’re building your credit or need access to money quickly, but every time you use it without paying off your balance, you’ll start seeing your credit card monthly bills reflect their annual interest-rate. The below detailed and specific information will help you determine if you want to proceed in finding a great rewards card that matches your needs.

How do you pick the right rewards credit card?

With so many rewards cards out there, how do you choose the best one for you?  We’ve isolated some of the biggest attributes of these cards down to the rewards programs, reward yields, redemptions, sign-up bonus and annual fees.  Rewards programs often favor the card issuer vs. the cardholder so its important to find one that works for you.  Some cards carry pretty large annual fees so it is important to weigh your card perks vs. this fee.

What about other types of rewards cards like travel credit cards?

Travel credit cards are another popular card, especially for those with excellent credit scores looking for rewards points on airfare, car rentals, and hotel stays.   Travel credit cards usually earn miles or points for specific dollars of spending.  Some of the best credit card rewards can be found in travel cards, but are usually only beneficial for consumers that travel a lot.  These travel rewards cards come in the form of travel portal rewards cards where points can be transferred to travel partners for those that want to redeem their points through hotel and airline loyalty programs.  An example of this type of rewards program is the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Travel rewards cards also come in the form of statement credit rewards cards where consumers can be much more flexible in how they book travel purchases because these can be redeemed anytime you make a travel purchase and aren’t subject to blackout dates.

When should you use your credit card to get more rewards?

Add an authorized user on your new card

  • You could get bonus points for adding an authorized user who makes a purchase in the first few months.  You should just make sure you have trust in this person as if they make a late payment it could affect your credit score.

Pay your bills on your credit card

  • Put all your re-occurring expenses on your credit cards such as streaming services, insurance, and mortgage payments.

Use your card for big expenditures

  • You can take advantage of 0% credit card offers to put home improvements on your card or even pay your taxes on your credit card

Buy gift cards

  • You can use your credit card to buy gift cards on your credit card in order to get cashback, as well as hit any minimum spend requirements your card may have.  Pro Tip: if you have a 5% cash back card on groceries, you can potentially buy gift cards at your grocery store to get 5% cashback even though these gift cards aren’t specifically apart of your bonus category.

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