November 28, 2023

What is the best Credit Card to use for Rewards?

Find out which credit cards are a smart choice. Learn about rewards, security, and convenience. Make informed financial decisions with credit card benefits.


Selecting the appropriate rewards credit card can be a daunting task. The plethora of options can make determining the ideal choice for your needs is challenging.

This analysis will be based on the average annual spending of the typical American consumer. We will delve into each card's advantages to identify the top options that align with your spending habits. You don't need to be an avid points optimizer to reap the benefits of a quality rewards credit card. With the right card and responsible financial practices (consistently paying your balance in full and on time each month), you can accumulate $2,000 or more in rewards over five years, even after factoring in the annual fee. This equates to approximately $400 to $500 annually (slightly higher in the first year if you take advantage of a welcome bonus). 

Furthermore, many of these cards come with supplementary perks, including discounts at select retailers, travel insurance, annual statement credits, and more. These additional benefits make the use of a rewards credit card genuinely rewarding.

What is the Best Credit Card to Use for Rewards?

Thеrе is a widе rangе of crеdit card incеntivеs availablе to mееt thе diffеrеnt dеmands and tastеs of customеrs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Citi® Double Cash Card, among others are some of the best credit cards for rewards.

Whatеvеr your crеdit card nееds are, whеthеr you arе a frеquеnt travеlеr, thrifty consumеr, or just somеonе who likеs to gеt cash back on rеgular purchasеs—thеrе's a crеdit card out thеrе dеsignеd to fulfill thеm. Let's check them out in detail! 

Crеdit Cards With Rewards

The credit cards listed below are excellent choices for individuals who are relatively inexperienced with credit. They may be accessible to those with limited credit histories and offer uncomplicated rewards and additional advantages that incentivize your everyday spending.

1. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is an ideal starter credit card. It offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases, providing extra benefits like purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. Additionally, you earn 5% cash back on travel purchases through Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining, and 3% at drugstores. You can also convert cash back to Chase Ultimate Rewards points for more flexibility. The card has an exceptional welcome bonus: unlimited cash back match in your first year.

2. Chase Freedom Flex℠

Much like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is also a no-annual-fee card with different earning potential. It offers a chance to earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories, capped at $1,500 per quarter (activated quarterly). You also earn 5% on travel purchases through Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining, and 3% at drugstores, while all other purchases earn 1% cash back. The card provides cell phone protection, covering up to $800 per claim with a $50 deductible for lost or stolen phones (up to two claims per 12-month period, max $1,000). To qualify, pay your cell phone bill with the Freedom Flex.

The welcome bonus is $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months.

3. Chase Sapphire Preferred®

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is an excellent choice for those starting to earn travel rewards despite its $95 annual fee. With this card, you earn 2 points per dollar on travel (or 5 points on travel through Ultimate Rewards), 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services, and select online grocery purchases, 5 points per dollar on Lyft (until March 2025), and 1 point per dollar on all other spending.

The card accumulates premium Chase Ultimate Reward points, expanding your redemption options. Points can be used in the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a fixed value of 1.25 cents per point or transferred to Chase's 14 airline and hotel partners, offering higher redemption values. The card provides comprehensive purchase and travel protection benefits, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay insurance, lost baggage coverage, and primary rental car coverage when you pay for travel with the Sapphire Preferred.

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

4. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent choice for those interested in travel rewards without the hassle of award availability. It offers a straightforward 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, with each mile worth 1 cent when redeemed for travel, effectively providing a 2% return on all spending.

Redeeming miles is easy; just book your travel as usual and pay with the Venture card, then redeem your miles within 90 days to offset the purchase cost. As you become more familiar with frequent-flyer programs, you can transfer miles to Capital One's 18 travel partners. The card comes with a $95 annual fee. It provides benefits like a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, purchase protection, extended warranty, travel accident insurance, secondary rental car coverage, lost baggage coverage, and no foreign transaction fees.

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

5. Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is our top choice for cash-back credit cards, offering a strong 2% cash-back rate (1% when you make purchases and 1% when you pay your statement) without an annual fee. It's straightforward, with no complex rewards programs or category bonuses; simply use the card and enjoy cash back on your spending.

While it lacks some of the protection benefits found on other cards, it provides an extended 18-month 0% APR period for balance transfers (variable 19.24% to 29.24% after the introductory offer ends) for new cardmembers, potentially saving on interest charges when paying off existing debt.

Despite being marketed as cash back, the card earns Citi ThankYou points, which can be redeemed for cash back or transferred to a select number of travel partners. When combined with a premium Citi ThankYou Rewards credit card like the Citi Premier® Card, you can merge your accounts and transfer points to 16 partner airline or hotel loyalty programs.

Note: The card currently does not offer a welcome bonus.

6. Blue Cash Everyday Card® from American Express

If you're facing a financial pinch and need to manage significant purchases over time without incurring interest, consider a starter credit card with a 0% introductory purchase APR. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a no-annual-fee option with a 0% interest rate on purchases for 15 months (variable APR of 19.24% to 29.99% after that). It also offers cash-back rewards on every purchase.

This card earns 3% cash back as a statement credit at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and on U.S. online shopping purchases (up to $6,000 annually, then 1% cash back). Other purchases earn 1% cash back. You can earn up to $284 in statement credits per year, including Home Chef and Disney Bundle Subscription credits.

While it lacks additional benefits, the card does offer car rental loss and damage insurance. For those with substantial supermarket expenses, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express might be a better fit, offering 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, among other rewards. This card also provides a 0% APR for the first 12 months on new purchases.

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cashback (as a statement credit) after spending $2,000 on your new card within the first 6 months.

7. Citi Custom Cash

The Citi Custom Cash Card is ideal for optimizing cash back where you spend the most. It offers 5% cash back in your top eligible categories each month, up to $500 per billing cycle, then 1% cash back. These categories cover common expenditures like gas, dining, groceries, travel, transit, streaming, drugstores, home improvement, fitness, and entertainment. You don't need to preselect a category; Citi automatically identifies your top spending area. Plus, like the Citi Double Cash card, you can convert earned points to travel partners with a premium Citi ThankYou Rewards card, expanding your travel redemption options.

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 in bonus cash by spending $1,500 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, starting your credit-building journey with a starter credit card is smart. These cards can enhance your credit score and unlock numerous credit card benefits if managed responsibly. Chase offers attractive options, including the travel-focused Chase Sapphire Preferred and the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex. Citi provides excellent choices like the cash-back-focused Citi Double Cash and Citi Custom Cash. 

The Capital One Venture is appealing for flexible travel rewards and the Bilt Mastercard rewards renters. Meanwhile, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express allows interest-free balance carrying. 

Managing credit cards with high-interest rates can slowly turn into a huge burden. This is where Bright Money Can help! Refinance your high-interest credit card through debt consolidation with Bright Credit!

Further Readings

Thought that was a good read? Well, here’s some more!

  1. Close a Credit Card or keep it open with a Zero Balance? What is the right choice?
  2. Credit Building Myths Exposed: Unveiling Truths!
  3. Chasing Perfection: The Highest Credit Score Unveiled!
  4. How can I get a cash advance from a Chase Credit Card?


1. Which is the best credit card to begin with?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is an ideal starter credit card. It offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases, providing extra benefits like purchase protection and extended warranty coverage.

2. Does the Citi® Double Cash Card offer a welcome bonus?

The card currently does not provide a welcome bonus. Still, it provides an extended 18-month 0% APR period for balance transfers (variable 19.24% to 29.24% after the introductory offer ends) for new cardmembers, potentially saving on interest charges when paying off existing debt.

3. What are the parameters before selecting a credit card?

Consider annual fees, interest rates (APR), rewards or cash-back programs, credit limits, and any introductory offers. 


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