Best Rewards Credit Cards in 2021
The best rewards credit card is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card because it gives a $200 bonus for spending just $500 in the first 3 months, plus 1.5 - 5% cash back on purchases normally. The Freedom Unlimited card’s bonus rewards categories include travel booked through Chase, dining, and drugstore purchases. Its base rewards rate is roughly 50% higher than average, too.
Chase Freedom Unlimited can also help you save money on fees and interest. It offers 0% for 15 months on purchases, in addition to a $0 annual fee. A few other cards could offer the potential for more rewards value, particularly those with travel rewards, but pretty much all of them charge annual fees. For more on why Freedom Unlimited is a great option, check out our full Chase Freedom Unlimited review.
The best rewards credit card for bonus cash back in popular spending categories is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It gives all cardholders 1 - 6% cash back, with U.S. supermarkets (on the first $6,000 spent each year), U.S. streaming services, U.S. gas stations, and transit expenses among the categories earning bonus rewards. Plus, Blue Cash Preferred starts new cardholders with an initial bonus of $300 statement credit for spending $3,000 within 6 months of opening an account.
Given those lofty earning rates, which translate to lucrative statement credits, paying the Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card’s $95 annual fee (waived the first year) is an investment that could pay off big time.
The best travel rewards credit card available right now is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card because it offers an initial bonus of up to 100,000 miles for spending $20,000 in the first 12 months or 50,000 miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months . Plus, it has ongoing rewards-earning rate of 2 miles per $1.
This card requires good credit or better for approval. It has an annual fee of $95. For more on why it's one of 2021’s best rewards credit cards, read our full Capital One Venture review.
The best rewards credit card for people with fair credit is the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards. It gives unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on all purchases every time you make a payment, and it has a $0 annual fee.
The best rewards credit card for people with bad credit is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card because it has a $0 annual fee and rewards cardholders with 1 - 2% cash back on purchases. Discover will also double the rewards you earn the first year, as an anniversary bonus.
One of the best credit cards with rewards for business owners is the Capital One Spark Cash because it gives unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. Spark Cash for Business also offers a $500 initial bonus after spending $4,500 in the first 3 months of account opening.
Capital One Spark Cash offers free employee cards, too. Employees also earn 2% cash back on all purchases, with the rewards going back to the business. The Spark Cash Card has a $0 annual fee for the first year, followed by a $95 every year after.
If you’re a student, however, the decision isn’t so clear-cut. There are many credit cards for college students with very attractive rewards right now. You can find all the top options among our picks for 2021’s best student credit cards.
Best Rewards Credit Cards Compared
|Credit Card||Best For||Rewards Rate|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Cash Rewards with No Annual Fee||1.5 - 5% Cash Back|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||Bonus Cash Back Rewards||1 - 6% Cash Back|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Travel Rewards||2 miles / $1|
|Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards||Rewards for Fair Credit||1.5% Cash Back|
|Discover it® Secured Credit Card||Rewards for Bad Credit||1 - 2% Cash Back|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business||Business Rewards||2% Cash Back|
As you can see, some of the best rewards credit cards offer big initial bonuses. Others provide great ongoing rewards. A few even combine the two. It all comes down to finding a card that suits both your lifestyle and credit standing.
You can check your latest credit score for free on WalletHub, if you don’t know where you stand. And if you want to know more about the rewards card elite, make sure to check out our editors’ in-depth review of the year’s best rewards credit cards.