Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card issuers from which MillionMileSecrets.com receives compensation. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards on Million Mile Secrets other than in banner advertising. MillionMileSecrets.com does not include all credit card offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

The best rewards credit cards of 2019

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

The best rewards credit cards of 2019

Andrew WanThe best rewards credit cards of 2019Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

We buy things almost every day, so why not make the most of these expenses with a strong rewards credit card? Credit card rewards come in a number of different forms. You can earn cash back, points or miles that can be redeemed for travel-related items like airfare, car rentals and more. With all these options, you’re bound to find a few that are perfect for you.

There are a number of different credit cards out there, though, which can make it difficult to find the best one(s) for your situation. We’ve done the research and narrowed it down to 11 of the best rewards credit cards perfect for those looking for cash back, miles for a specific loyalty program or flexible points currencies that can be redeemed at various places.

Best rewards credit cards for December 2019

Summary of the best rewards credit cards

CardBest perkAnnual fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining$95
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year$95
Chase Sapphire Reserve®$300 statement credit for travel purchases each account anniversary year$450
American Express® Gold Card4x points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year; then 1x), 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com$250 (see rates & fees)
American Express® Green Card3x points on travel and restaurants worldwide$150 (see rates & fees)
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card2x miles on all purchases$95, waived the first year
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business5x miles on hotels and car rental purchases through Capital One Travel℠; 2x miles on all other purchases$95, waived the first year
Capital One® Spark® Cash for BusinessUnlimited 2% cash back on business purchases$95, waived the first year
Chase Freedom®5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate$0
Citi® Double Cash CardEach 2% on every purchase – 1% when you buy, and 1% as you pay for those purchases$0
Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit cardUp to $200 in combined airline incidental, expedited airport screening statement credits$95
Make the most of your daily purchases with one of the best rewards credit cards. (Photo by Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best for beginners to travel 

Current bonus

When you apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s worth at least $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Insider tip

This card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are incredibly flexible and valuable. Not only can you redeem them easily on things like gift cards and cash back, but you can get even more value by redeeming them on travel.

This is especially true when you transfer the points to any of Chase’s travel partners for hotels or airfare. You can check out our Chase Ultimate Rewards review and also our guide on the value of Chase points.

Benefits and perks

On top of the card’s welcome bonus, you’ll see value from continuing to use the card for your everyday purchases. You’ll earn:

  • 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants
  • 1x point on all other purchases

The card also carries a ton of other perks like primary rental car insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and more. You can read more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s benefits and perks here.

Annual fee

$95

Why it’s worth it

There’s a reason we here at Million Mile Secrets have consistently touted this card as the best card for beginners. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are incredibly easy to earn and redeem, and can be extremely valuable once you get to know the best ways to maximize their value (hint: it’s usually by transferring to any of Chase’s travel partners).

You can read our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred to learn how you can even get over $1,000+ worth of travel from the welcome bonus.

Compared to many other more premium travel cards, the $95 annual fee is quite manageable, especially considering the $750+ value of the welcome bonus, ongoing earnings rate for your purchases and how much you could save if you ever needed to use the card’s travel protections like trip delay insurance or primary rental car coverage.

Total value

The welcome bonus alone is worth at least $600. But if you decide to transfer to any of Chase’s travel partners, you could possibly see as much as $1,000 or more in value.

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael)

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Best for business owners who travel

Current bonus

With the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you’ll earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Insider tip 

If you’re a business owner and rent cars or travel frequently, you can definitely save a lot of time and hassle with the protections that are baked into the card. This is because the card carries primary rental car insurance.

When you rent a car for business purposes and decline the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) through the car rental agency, you generally won’t have to file a claim with your own personal insurance if the vehicle ends up being damaged. Instead, you can simply file a claim through Chase and you should see a reimbursement check in the mail in just a matter of weeks.

Benefits and perks

If you’re a business owner, I’m sure it seems like the expenses just never stop. So why not soften the blow at least a little bit by getting something back for these expenses?

With the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you’ll earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year). You’ll also receive valuable cell phone insurance if you pay your cellular bill with the card.

The great thing is that Chase’s definition of travel is very broad and includes a ton of things you might not have thought would qualify. For instance:

  • Airbnb
  • Amtrak or European rail travel
  • Bridges and tolls
  • Bus fares with Megabus or BoltBus
  • Campground reservations at KOA and others
  • Car rentals (plus primary auto rental insurance when renting for business purposes)
  • Expedia, Orbitz, and Priceline reservations
  • Ferry rides
  • Lyft and Uber rides
  • Monthly mass transit card
  • National Park admission fees
  • Parking at a stadium or concert venue
  • Renting a public bicycle from services like Citi Bike in New York City
  • Zipcar rentals

You can read our Chase Ink Business Preferred review for more.

Annual fee

$95

Why it’s worth it

If you travel as a small business owner, this card could go a long way toward helping with your expenses. You can save tons of money by redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel instead of paying out of pocket. And with perks like primary rental car coverage and cell phone insurance for you and any employees listed on your cell phone bill, you could turn quickly turn an accident into a mere inconvenience.

All that for a very reasonable annual fee of just $95.

Total value

 The value of the welcome bonus alone is worth at least $800. If you decide to redeem through the Chase travel portal, that value goes up to $1,000. And if you have to ever use the card’s cell phone insurance or primary rental car coverage, that could easily save you from an expensive repair bill.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best card for frequent travelers

Current bonus

As a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardmember, you can earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Insider tip

This card earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points which you can transfer to any Chase travel partner to maximize their value. Airline travel partners include:

  • Aer Lingus
  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Flying Blue
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Hotel travel partners include:

  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • Marriott

To give you an idea of how much Chase points can be worth, I stayed at the Park Hyatt New York earlier this year for three nights. The cash price was $3,000, but I paid nothing out of pocket by redeeming 90,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points instead.

Benefits and perks 

This is one of the more premium travel cards, so the card comes packed with a ton of perks. You’ll get a $300 statement credit for travel purchases each account anniversary year, up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry, plus Priority Pass airport lounge access and more.

You’ll also earn 3x points on travel (excluding the $300 travel credit) and dining at restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases worldwide.

You can read more about what the card offers in our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Annual fee

The card carries a $450 annual fee, which is not waived the first year.

Why it’s worth it

Although the card carries a $450 annual fee, you can think of it effectively as $150 because of the $300 statement credit for travel purchases you’ll receive each account anniversary year. The welcome bonus is also worth at least $750 if redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal. And if getting through airport security more quickly and with less hassle is your thing, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll also receive up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Then there are the intangibles like having airport lounge access so that you can have a nice quiet place to relax before your flight, which (let’s face it) is hard to put a price tag on sometimes.

Total value

Between the card’s welcome bonus, statement credit for Global Entry and the annual statement travel credit, you can easily get over $1,000 of value from this card.

American Express® Gold Card

Best card for earning dining and travel rewards

Current bonus

You can earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening when you apply for the American Express® Gold Card.

Insider tip

This is a fantastic card for those who travel and eat out frequently. For starters, the Amex Gold earns flexible membership Rewards points which can be transferred to any of Amex’s travel partners, which includes a number of airlines and hotels. And if you eat out often, you can quickly rack up rewards for your next trip thanks to the card’s strong earnings rate for purchases made at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and on travel.

Benefits and perks

When you use your card for your daily purchases, you’ll earn:

  • 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants
  • 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x)
  • 3 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com

You’ll also get a few other neat benefits and perks (terms apply):

  • Up to $120 dining credit ($10 monthly) each year at participating restaurants (enrollment required)
  • Up to $100 airline incidental fee credit each calendar year on your selected airline

Annual fee

$250 (see rates and fees)

Why it’s worth it

Although the card carries an annual fee of $250, it’s effectively just $30 for those who eat and travel frequently enough. That’s because the card’s dining credit and airline incidental fee credit offer a value of $220 right off the bat. When you factor in the welcome bonus and strong daily earns rate, it’s definitely worth the annual fee for those who take advantage of what the card has to offer.

Total value

Amex Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for at least 1 cent per point, making this card’s welcome bonus worth at least $350. But it can be worth much more if transferred to an Amex travel partner.

You can read our full review of the American Express® Gold Card here.

American Express® Green Card

Best card for general travel purchases 

Current bonus

For a limited time through January 15, 2020, you can receive up to $100 in statement credits toward any eligible purchase from Away made within the first three months of account opening. So if you’re in the market for new luggage, this can end up being very handy.

You can also earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months of account opening.

Insider tip

For anyone who eats out and travels, this card is definitely worth a look. You’ll earn 3x Amex Membership Rewards points on travel and restaurant purchases worldwide, along with a few handy perks like statement credits for CLEAR and LoungeBuddy.

Benefits and perks 

The Amex Green offers two unique perks that few other cards are currently offering. Each year, you can receive a statement credit up to $100 when you use your card to pay for a CLEAR membership. CLEAR is one of the programs that can help you speed through security more quickly. Read our review on CLEAR here.

You’ll also receive up to $100 in LoungeBuddy statement credits per year, if airport lounge access floats your boat.

Annual fee

 $150 (see rates and fees)

Why it’s worth it

If you plan on taking advantage of the card’s perks, you can easily come out ahead and make the annual fee well worth it. Here is our take on who should (and shouldn’t) get the Amex Green card.

Total value

The welcome bonus is worth at least $300 (and possibly more if you transfer to any of Amex’s travel partners). You also receive $100 in statement credit for CLEAR, and up to $100 in LoungeBuddy statement credits.

All in all, you’re getting much more than the card’s annual fee. So if you plan on taking advantage of the card’s perks, it’s well worth it to add to your wallet. You can read our Amex Green card review here.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith)

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Best for ease of redeeming rewards

Current bonus

With the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you can earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Benefits and perks

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card cardmembers will be able to earn the following:

  • 2 Venture miles per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Up to a $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • No foreign transaction fees

You’ll also be protected with additional purchase and travel protections like travel accident insurance and lost luggage insurance. You can read the full details in our review of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards card as well as our Capital One Venture benefits and perks guide.

Annual fee

$95, waived for the first year.

Why it’s worth it

Earning and redeeming rewards doesn’t get much simpler than with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. After you make a travel-related purchase, you can log in to your online account and “erase” the travel expense by redeeming your miles.

Total value

Right out of the box, you can see a value of at least $600 between the card’s welcome bonus (worth at least $500) and the statement credit of up to $100 for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Best for most valuable welcome bonus

Current bonus

For a limited time, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card is offering the opportunity to earn up to 200,000 bonus miles as part of the card’s welcome bonus. You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months and the remaining 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 on purchases in the first six months of your account opening.

Insider tip

If you’re wondering what you can do with Capital One miles, here’s a post where we go over the value of Capital One miles. They’re worth at least 1 cent per point, making this card’s welcome bonus worth a whopping $2,000. But you can also transfer your miles to airline partners for potentially even more value.

Benefits and perks

When you use your Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card, you’ll earn 5x miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel. All other purchases will earn 2x miles.

The card also offers up a number of other benefits and perks including a $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Annual fee

The card carries an annual fee of $95, although it is waived for the first year.

Why it’s worth it

The spending requirement to earn the full welcome bonus of 200,000 bonus miles is quite a bit, but it’s doable if you time it with some large upcoming expenses or know of other ways to meet the minimum spending requirement.

Total value

If you can swing the spending requirement, the welcome bonus is worth at least $2,000. The points can also be worth much more if you transfer your miles to one of Capital One’s travel partners. And don’t forget about the statement credit of up to $100 for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. If you don’t like waiting in long security lines at the airport, they’re a must-have.

You can read our Capital One Spark Miles review here for more details on the card.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Best card for cash back 

Current bonus

For a limited time, you can earn up to $2,000 in cash bonuses. Earn a $500 cash bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first three months and earn $1,500 when you spend $50,000 on purchases in the first six months of your account opening. 

Benefits and perks

If you’re looking for a simple cash back card, then the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card should fit the bill perfectly. You’ll earn 2% cash back on all purchases, just like that. No categories to keep track of — just 2% every single time.

You’ll also be treated to perks like purchase protection, warranty protection, rental car insurance, and more. You can read our full Capital One Spark Cash review for details.

Annual fee

$95, waived the first year.

Why it’s worth it

If you don’t want to be bothered with having to remember which card to use for a certain purchase, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card is perfect for you because you’ll earn the same 2% cash back on all purchases.

Total value

The welcome bonus is worth $2,000, and with the annual fee waived for the first year, you could think of it as a risk-free opportunity to see if it’s a good fit for you.  Plus, perks like warranty protection and purchase protection could easily save you hundreds (if not thousands of dollars) if you ever have to use them.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith)

Chase Freedom®

Best for rotating bonus categories 

Current bonus

With the Chase Freedom® you can earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Insider tip

If you have other Chase cards, you can pool Chase Ultimate Rewards points so that you can get more value from them. For instance, if you transfer the points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, they’ll be worth as much as 50% more when redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal or you can transfer them to travel partners like United or Hyatt.

Benefits and perks 

As a cardmember, you’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. All other purchases will earn an unlimited 1% cash back.

You can read our full review of the Chase Freedom here and all about the card’s benefits and perks.

Annual fee

No annual fee.

Why it’s worth it

With rotating bonus categories through the year that change on a quarterly basis, you’re bound to find at least a few months out of the year where you can earn a whopping 5% cash back on purchases you’d be making anyway. And because the card carries no annual fee, it won’t cost you anything to keep in your wallet.

Total value

The welcome bonus is worth at least $150, and because you’ll earn these in the form of Ultimate Rewards points you could potentially get even more value if you combine it with another Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best card for no annual fee

Current bonus

None.

Insider tip

You can squeeze even more value from the rewards you earn on this card by converting them to ThankYou points and redeeming through any of Citi’s transfer partners. You’ll need a linked ThankYou rewards account to do so, but it does add a level of flexibility and value to the card.

Benefits and perks

With the Citi® Double Cash card, you can earn 2% on every purchase – 1% when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for the purchases. As with any other credit card, just make sure you make your payments on time.

Here is our full review of the Citi Double Cash card.

Annual fee

None.

Why it’s worth it

We love cards with no annual fee because they don’t cost you anything to hang onto year after year. The card also offers a level of simplicity and flexibility. You can use the card like a straight cash back card, earning 1% on your purchases plus an additional 1% when you pay for them. You can also link it to a ThankYou rewards account and potentially get even more value if you decide to transfer your points to Citi’s travel partners.

Total value

The card isn’t currently offering any welcome bonus, but it’s also not charging any annual fee, so you’ll come out ahead with your very first purchase.

Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card

Best card for Bank of America Preferred Rewards program members

Current bonus 

The welcome bonus on the Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card offers you the opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend at least $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Benefits and perks

In addition to a strong earnings rate, you’ll also get some perks that will help you save money on your travels. Cardmembers of the Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card have the following perks available to them:

  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $100 airline incidental credit per calendar year
  • Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual fee

The card carries an annual fee of $95, which is not waived during the first year.

Why it’s worth it

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card comes with a number of valuable benefits and perks which help offset the card’s annual fee. If you plan on traveling and taking advantage of the airline incidental fee credit, you’ll come out ahead in the very first year, even when you factor in the card’s annual fee. And that’s not even considering the card’s other perks like the credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (which are an absolute must-have if you don’t like long airport security lines).

Plus, if you’re part of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, your rewards could be worth as much as 75% more.

Total value

Between the card’s welcome bonus of $500, the $100 airline incidental credit per calendar year, and a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, the math shows that the card’s small annual fee of $95 is very much worth paying.

You can read our full review of the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa credit card here.

Types of rewards cards

Cash back cards

Cash-back cards are great if you want to earn rewards that are simple to understand and even simpler to redeem. With these cards you’ll earn a certain amount back in the form of cash every time you use your card. So if you have a card that’s giving you 2% back on every purchase and you make a $100 purchase, you’d earn $2 just from using your cash-back card.

Points earning cards

There are many cards out there that earn points, but not all points are created equal. Some points programs allow you to transfer your points directly into a frequent flyer account, or you can use your points to redeem for cash back or a gift card. It’s going to take some research to understand what each points programs offers for redemptions.

The biggest advantage of having a points earning card is that you can sometime get massive value when transferring to a hotel or airline partner. For instance, if you transfer 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United that’s enough to book a one-way flight from the U.S. to Europe in business class. Business class flights to Europe typically cost thousands of dollars, so you’d be getting more value if you used your points this way than if you were to redeem them for cash back (60,000 Chase points  = $600 cash back).

How we choose the best cards

Intro bonus

The credit card industry is a competitive one, and banks are constantly fighting to win your business. To that point, many will offer lucrative welcome bonuses that are worth several times what they charge in an annual fee. These are the best types of offers because not only do you come out ahead as a brand-new customer, you also have the opportunity to earn a welcome bonus to singlehandedly justify making the card a keeper for at least several more years.

Ongoing earnings

We’re not about one-trick ponies around here. We go after the cards that have something to offer for the long haul. That’s why we look at each card’s earnings ability for your daily purchases. A strong rewards rate means you can quickly accumulate points to redeem for something meaningful in a reasonable amount of time. 

Flexibility and ease of redeeming rewards

Cards that offer you multiple avenues to redeem your rewards make it more likely you can find a redemption option that you’re happy with.

Plus, we’ve found that the more flexibility a card offers, the more likely it is to offer more value too. And at the end of the day, it’s important to easily redeem the rewards you’ve earned because — let’s face it — having to jump through hoops can be incredibly frustrating. 

Special perks

Some things are difficult to put a price tag on, like having the ability to speed through security and have plenty of time to relax and enjoy snacks and drinks in a lounge before you board your flight. That’s why cards that offer perks like airport lounge access and statement credits to TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or CLEAR are among our favorites.

Summary of the best rewards credit cards:

Featured image by Image Source / Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

12comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest