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Every time you swipe, tap, dip, or type to pay for a purchase with your credit card, the merchant has to pay a small fee to the credit card companies for processing the transaction. The best credit cards give you a slice of that fee in the form of credit card rewards – and there are plenty of rewards cards to choose from.
What’s the best credit card for rewards? Short answer: it depends. Credit card reward programs run the gamut; some offer point bonuses, others reward certain types of spending. It’s not a one-size-fits all solution, but your perfect reward card fit is out there.
The top reward credit cards cater to an array of desires. Whether you want to get cash back or earn miles and points toward free travel, the cards below are all a great place to get started.
Chase Freedom Flex / Freedom Unlimited
Chase offers the Freedom cards in two varieties, and both worth considering. Chase Freedom Flex offers 5x points per dollar on popular, rotating bonus categories and 1x everywhere else. Freedom Unlimited gives you a flat rewards rate of 1.5x points per dollar everywhere you spend.
Both are excellent credit cards from Chase with no annual fee. If you also hold one of the Sapphire cards mentioned above, you can combine balances and turn Chase cash back into Ultimate Rewards points at a value of 1 cent = 1 point. Because you can redeem for 1.25 cents per dollar with Sapphire Preferred and 1.5 cents per dollar with Sapphire Reserve, either of these cards pairs well with a Sapphire card to turbocharge your earnings.
Chase Freedom Flex is a little more work, as you have to keep track of the bonus categories that change every 3 months, and the 5% bonus is limited to $1,500 in quarterly combined purchases. Both cards also currently offer a $200 cash back bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months.
Capital One Venture
Capital One Venture rewards users in two different ways: through cash redemption and travel points. While you can use the “redeem for cash” version, many people opt for the travel rewards version. It gives you 2x points per dollar on new purchases. It comes with a 50,000-point bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
While the card charges a $95 annual fee, it is waived the first year. It is also easy to see how you can get $100+ in annual value from the card. In addition to travel points, the card covers Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, has no foreign transaction charges, and offers a range of travel and purchase benefits.
Points are transferrable to a list of airline partners, though ratios range from 2:1 to 2:1.5 points – that means you get less than 1 airline mile for each 1 Venture point. You can redeem points at a value of 1 cent each for statement credits on past travel purchases, but you may be able to get a little bit more value transferring or booking travel through the Capital One portal.
Choosing the best rewards credit card for your needs means looking at your spending habits, and the rewards that would benefit you most. The above are some of the best rewards credit cards available, so consider your needs and pick the right rewards program for your need.
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