The Best Rewards Credit Cards 2015

Find the Best Rewards Credit Card for You!

best rewards credit cards facebook

I think it’s safe to say we all know that credit card debt is bad, really bad. And props go out to all you people that don’t use credit cards!

Credit cards can be very useful for some of us though. They can help build and improve credit, maximize savings by offering rewards, arrange traveling accommodations, limit your exposure to fraud, track your spending, extend warranties and other benefits.

To find a rewarding credit card that makes sense for you: consider the rewards formulas, fees, and restrictions, along with your spending habits. You want to get the most rewards on the purchases you make the most – travel, gas, groceries, etc.

Take the time to read the fine print of the credit card offer too. I have listed many of the features below, but not everything! You may find a few features that are valuable and could save you money, and you may also find catches like seasonal savings, spending tiers, hidden caps, rewards expiration dates, and penalties.

calculator check register pen morgue file photo

If you have existing debt, tend to carry a credit card balance, or bad credit you should consider credit cards with low interest rates and low fees rather than focusing on rewards programs, or cut out credit cards all together! Check out the Cash Envelope System here.

I personally use a credit card for almost everything. BUT I always pay my balance in full and I keep my spending under control too. Then I redeem my earned points for gift cards to places I normally shop, like Amazon or Target. I basically utilize the same credit card method that Amber talks about here. This system DOES NOT work for everyone though.

Best Credit Cards for Rewards

Updated 4/2105

Rewarding credit card offers are plentiful these days, but the best offers are usually only for people with good to excellent credit. See how Cathy raised her credit score.

These first 4 cards are all highly recommended by experts, but they have annual fees after the first year. I personally prefer to avoid cards with annual fees, but you might find that one of these cards is worthwhile for you if the benefits far outweigh the annual fee. Get out the calculator!

chase sapphire preferred card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 

  • Free the first year, then $95 annual fee
  • Earn 2x points on travel and dining, 1x points on all other purchases
  • Bonus: 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4000 on purchases in the first 3 months, 5000 bonus points after adding authorized user within 3 months
  • Get 20% off travel when you redeem points for airfare, hotel, car rentals, and cruises
  • No foreign transaction fees

amex blue cash preferred card

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

  • $75 annual fee
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6000), 3% back at gas stations and select major department stores; 1% cash back on other purchases.
  • No rotating reward categories. No enrollment required.
  • 0% intro APR for 6 months

capital one venture credit card

Capital One Venture Rewards Card 

  • Free the first year, then $59 annual fee
  • Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase
  • Bonus: 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Rewards don’t expire
  • No foreign transaction fees

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard 

  • Free the first year, then $89 annual fee
  • Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase
  • Bonus: 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Get 10% miles back every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months

Best Rewards Cards with No Annual Fee:

citi double cash card

Citi Double Cash Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 1% back on every purchase and an additional 1% when you pay
  • Unlimited cash back
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months

discover it card

Discover it

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories (restrictions apply), 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 14 months

chase freedom card

Chase Freedom

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories (restrictions apply), 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Bonus: Earn $100 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months

capital one ventureone credit card image

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase
  • Bonus: One-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 dollars on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Redeem miles for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals and more
  • No limit on the miles you can earn and miles don’t expire
  • 0% intro APR on purchases until March 2016
  • No foreign transaction fees

american express blue cash everyday

American Express Blue Cash Everyday

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets (up to $6000), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select major department stores; 1% cash back on other purchases.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • No rotating reward categories. No enrollment required.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months

If your credit is fair or limited, you might consider one of these credit cards:

capital one quicksilverone

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards

  • $39 annual fee
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Earn unlimited cash back that doesn’t expire
  • 0% intro APR on purchases until December 2015

citi thankyou preferred credit card for college students

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students

  • No annual fee
  • Bonus: Earn 2500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases within 3 months of opening account
  • 2 points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment, 1x on other purchases
  • Earn unlimited points that do not expire
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 7 months

I put this list together by researching NerdWallet, The Simple Dollar, Kiplingercardhub.com, Forbes.com and consumerreports.com. However, I am not a financial expert or adviser.

Comments

  • CB327

    The problem with credit card rewards are that the vendors you shop pay for those rewards through merchant fees. Those fees add up to a LOT of money.

    And unless you pay your card in full every month, you’ll be paying more in interest than you ever earn in rewards.

    All in all, it’s better to go with cash.

    • Susan

      Card swiping is very expensive for merchants, true. Every now and then you’ll see right up front that you’re charged more to pay with a credit card. Allegiant Air for example. I recently bought two RT tickets BOI/LAS for $111/ea, and the additional fee for paying with a credit card was $21/ea!

      But for consumers who use them wisely and pay the balance diligently, the rewards can be quite lucrative. A number of years ago, I obtained a Disney Rewards card during a promotion and used it for just about every purchase I made for a couple of years, in anticipation of a trip to Disneyland. By the time we made that trip, I had earned close to $500 in rewards but paid zero in interest or fees.

      After that, since we wouldn’t be going to Disney again any time soon, I switched to using a different card that offered rewards that I was interested in.

      I made the ignorant mistake of cancelling the Disney card because I was no longer using it. Don’t cancel cards! It’s far better for your credit score to have credit available to you even if you don’t use it.

    • Michelle

      I think that was the whole point here, pay off the balance and then you pay no interest. It does take discipline, but I have bought many small household appliances with our rewards from Discover card. We charge our insurance, our household shopping, and our business expenses on our credit card. We have yet to pay a single cent of interest. We can even get cash advances and pay no interest. That is like a zero interest loan. You just gotta know how to use the system. Being a former working mom, but now a SAHM, it is like having a little job of my own.

  • Nicole

    We pay off our credit cards in full each month before interest rates come due, so for us, it’s better than cash in that we also get rewards. We have a Discover card and enjoy the rewards from that. We don’t travel, so air miles cards don’t interest us. We usually save up and get a gift card for a store where we need stuff.

  • Rheana

    If you don’t want to hassle with the credit part of credit cards but want to earn some rewards…perkstreet. Even Dave Ramsey recommends!!

  • I have owned a credit counseling and repair company for the past 5 years. I agree with most everything you said on the post except, you don’t need credit cards for good credit. Unfortunately, this is not true. Revolving credit makes up 30% of the credit score. Having no credit cards is exactly the same as having cards and them all being maxed out. For your cards to help your score you need 3-4 cards than never exceed 30% of the limit. Credit cards are a very important part of maintain a healthy credit file.

  • Amy

    I just got my very first credit card at age 30 and it’s a secured card through my bank. I’m hoping to build credit because it is NOT fun without any! I can’t tell you what it feels like to have absolutely no debt and still be denied a house, car and even a cell phone. It took almost a year to get into our home and I had to pay cash for my car. It was ridiculous!! (And I’m pretty sure none of those cards would accept me! haha)

  • Kimberly

    Just ran across your site. I agree with you. We pay everything with credit cards. We use the American Express Blue Card the most. It gives great rewards and all your purchases on it are protected. Also if your card is stolen the credit card company is out the money unlike your debit card. My husband has worked in this industry for over 10 years and would never use his debit card. It is too dangerous. And if we pay our balance off every two weeks its the same as using cash. jBut once again only if you are disciplined enough to do it.

  • Sydney

    I am currently looking to get a credit card to help improve my credit. When my husband and I got married 2 years ago it was a last minute decision. We had already been discussing marriage but hadn’t carried out any plans, when I found out I was pregnant. It then became a rush to get married before I was showing (I was already 12 weeks along so I was already almost at that point) but none the less we planned and carried out a wedding in a month. Since it was such short notice, we didn’t really have money saved up. When we went dress shopping I decided to get the David’s bridal credit card to pay for my dress (which would have been great had I known what I was getting myself into!) then we had our daughter, and we owed taxes, and other bills kept piling up keeping me from paying on that credit card. Needless to say I didn’t really understand that it went on my credit report. So now I guess my question is how do I improve it and if I get a credit card does it hurt/help if I pay it as soon as I use the card? Or does it only help if I pay it off at the end of the month?

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