Best Rewards Credit Cards | CardJoy

There are dozens of rewards programs and points systems on the market. All those choices mean there probably is a perfect card for your needs but also a lot of data to sift through to find it. Our top rewards choices are hand picked to save you the hassle of reading through a mountain of credit card details. Whether you want miles, 0% APR, low ongoing interest, a sign-up bonus, grocery or gas rewards, balance transfers or a card for your next travel adventure we've got you covered.

Best Overall Cards


Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

An excellent rewards card. This fee version of the card ($89 annual fee - waived the first year) is packed with perks including 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, a 40,000 mile bonus if you charge $3,000 or more to the card during the first 90 days (worth $400+ in mile rewards) and 12 months of 0% APR on balance transfers made within 45 days of opening your account (a transaction fee applies). Arrival Plus™ card "miles" are a flexible reward currency and can be redeemed for statement credits against any charged purchase; cardholders simply visit their accounts online and click the charge they want to redeem points against. Miles redeemed against travel expenses (hotels, air travel or car rentals) earn a 5% bonus back in the form of more miles. Travelers will be happy to know that the card has no foreign currency transaction fees and cardholders enjoy World Elite Mastercard® benefits* on card purchases: extended warranty, travel accident insurance, purchase protection, auto rental collision damage waiver and concierge services. If you're still on the fence, check out our extended review of the Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® and see why it's the card we most often recommend to family and friends.

Citi® Double Cash Card

An excellent no fee cash back card. If you want one card for all of your purchases that is virtually hassle free then the Citi Double Cash belongs at the top of your list. Double cash pays you 1% back on your purchases right away and another 1% back as you pay for those purchases. Rewards are redeemable in $25 increments and are immediately available though your online account. The card carries a better than market average 15 months of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers (transfers incur a 3% or $5 transaction fee (the greater) which is roughly in line with industry norms). The card carries a range of purchase and travel benefits/insurance which are generally in line with other cards requiring excellent credit. The only real chink in the armor is that Double Cash doesn't carry a sign up bonus - we've seen mailing offers with an $100 sign up bonus but are not aware of an online offer that includes ones. If you want a card that carries a bonus and good rewards we suggest you look at the Barclaycard Arrival Plus but if a bonus is not a big factor then this card has our highest recommendation.

Best Card for Travelers


Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

An excellent rewards card. This fee version of the card ($89 annual fee - waived the first year) is packed with perks including 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, a 40,000 mile bonus if you charge $3,000 or more to the card during the first 90 days (worth $400+ in mile rewards) and 12 months of 0% APR on balance transfers made within 45 days of opening your account (a transaction fee applies). Arrival Plus™ card "miles" are a flexible reward currency and can be redeemed for statement credits against any charged purchase; cardholders simply visit their accounts online and click the charge they want to redeem points against. Miles redeemed against travel expenses (hotels, air travel or car rentals) earn a 5% bonus back in the form of more miles. Travelers will be happy to know that the card has no foreign currency transaction fees and cardholders enjoy World Elite Mastercard® benefits* on card purchases: extended warranty, travel accident insurance, purchase protection, auto rental collision damage waiver and concierge services. If you're still on the fence, check out our extended review of the Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® and see why it's the card we most often recommend to family and friends.

Best Balance Transfers


Discover it®

A 1% cash back card with bonus categories that carry 5% cash back. The card carries no overlimit fees, no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees so it's a winner for travelers. Discover it® offers 18 months of 0% APR on balance transfers and 6 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and applicants with the strongest credit can get APR rates as low as 10.99% (though rates can run as high as 22.99% for those who are less qualified). The card is a strong choice for people with excellent credit who prefer a cash back program, however holders must be willing to manually sign up for the rotating offers each quarter in order to take advantage of the special 5% cash back.

Slate℠ from Chase®

Slate℠ from Chase® is arguably the best balance transfer card on the market. It offers balance transfers with NO transaction fees and 0% on both the transfer and all new purchases for 15 months. The card carries no annual fee. Excellent credit is required though Chase offers lower credit versions of the card with different (but still good) balance transfer terms. We really like this card.

Best Intro APR


Citi Simplicity® Card

The Citi Simplicity Card offers 0% APR on both purchases and transfers for an industry leading 18 months. The card carries no rewards program but adds a couple unusual and valuable perks by eliminating late payment fees and penalty APR rates for late payments. Cardholders also enjoy car rental insurance and extended warranty benefits (see Citi's website for details). A good choice for individuals looking to consolidate debt and reduce interest payments.

Best Low Interest


Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard®

The Barclaycard® Ring Mastercard® has a very low APR (8%) and uses a crowdsourcing approach to include user feedback in card development. Barclays encourages cardholders to participate in online forums and voice opinions on the card and their needs. Information from the forums informs decisions about future card features and benefits. If you want a low APR and like the idea of a community developed card, the Ring Mastercard® should be in the front of your mind - at 8% APR it's tough to beat.

Want to go more in depth? Check out CardJoy's extended review of the Ring Mastercard®.

Best Cards For Families (Gas and Grocery)


Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred pays 6% on groceries (for the first $6,000 spent per year at stand-alone grocery stores) as well as unlimited 3% cash back on gas and at select department stores (including Bloomingdales, Macy's, Sears, Kohls, Saks, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus Boscov, Bon Ton, Lord and Taylor, Century 21 and others). All other purchases yield 1% cash back. The cash back amount is redeemable as statement credits in $25 increments. The 15 month 0% intro APR and balance transfer offers (rising to 12.99%-21.99% thereafter) are close to the top of the industry and American Express is currently offering new cardholders a 100 Rewards Dollars ($100 value) if they spend $1,000 within the first three months of card ownership. Additionally, new cardholders can earn one free year of Amazon Prime (a $99 value) after they sign up for a new membership with their card and meet the spending requirement in the same time period. The card carries a $75 annual fee. Terms and limitations apply - see the application page for full details.

Best Hotel Rewards


Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Earn 5 Starwood points per dollar charged at Starwood Resorts and 1 Starwood point per dollar on all other purchases. The card's $65 annual fee is waived for the first year and new cardholders have the opportunity to earn 10,000 bonus points after their first purchase with the card and an additional 15,000 bonus points after charging $5,000 in the first 6 months of ownership. Points redemptions for Starwoods stays can earn rewards rates as high as 3-4% and are typically the most efficient use of points. Additionally, the program allows members to transfer points to a wide range of frequent flyer programs, often at even exchange rates. Beyond hotel rewards the card carries many of the perks associated with American Express: extended warranty protection, travel insurance, car rental (CDW) insurance and purchase and return protection*. Getting the maximum benefit out of the Starwoods card takes a little bit of work but if you're willing to put in the effort it is without question one of the best rewards cards on the market. Terms and limitations apply - see the application page for full details.

Best Student Card


Discover it® for Students with $20 cash back bonus

A great student card. No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. First late payment fee is waived. 1% cash back on every purchase and up to 5% cashback in rotating categories (movies, restaurants, gas stations etc.*) New cardholders get a $20 cash back bonus after their first purchase (within the first 3 months of card ownership). Cardholders have to sign up for the rotating categories in advance and rewards can only be redeemed in $50 incremements but overall the Discover it® card is a good option for students looking for flexiblity and a chance to build their credit.

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* Terms and limitations apply. See the online credit card applications for details about terms and conditions of reward programs and offers. APR rates are generally variable. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information, however all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Applyā€¯ button you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the credit card issuer's web site.

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