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Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire vs AMEX Platinum vs Citi Prestige vs Discover vs Chase & More!

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Woman pulling credit card out of walletWho wouldn’t want to earn free cash from simply buying gas or groceries? Or to earn free airline miles and hotel stays when you travel? There are a ton of rewards credit cards on the market that give you cash back, travel points and many other benefits. But which one is right for you? Read our reviews below of the best credit cards for rewards to help you choose. Then you can be on your way to earning while you spend.

Best Credit Cards for Rewards

We’ve broken down our best rewards credit card reviews into four categories based on the types of rewards you’re seeking:

Best for Miles |Best for Travel | Best for Cash Back | Most Prestigious

Best Credit Card for Airline Miles: Chase Sapphire Reserve Review

Visit WebsiteChase Sapphire Reserve Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve debuted in the fall of 2016 with the promise of unbeatable rewards, and so far Chase’s new credit card lives up to its hype. This card is best for frequent flyers/travelers — the annual fee is a steep $450 (comparable to the most premium credit cards). Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a fantastic sign-up bonus, some of the best rewards rates on airfare and other travel-related spending, no foreign transaction fees and travel perks galore. And unlike brand-specific airline credit cards, you can earn rewards on multiple airlines. If you spend thousands per year on airfare and you have excellent credit, this card is your best choice.

Pros

Cons

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months
  • 3X rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining worldwide
  • 1:1 rewards points on all other purchases
  • 4.5% rewards rate on travel spending
  • Up to $300/year credit for travel purchases
  • Access to 900+ VIP airport lounges
  • Expensive annual fee of $450
  • Must have excellent credit score to qualify

Fees, APR & Other Perks

  • Annual fee of $450
  • Variable APR at 16.49%–23.49%
  • Trip cancellation, interruption and accident insurance
  • Rental car theft and damage coverage
  • New purchase protection for 120 days against damage or theft

Best Credit Card for Travel: Capital One Venture Review

Visit WebsiteCapital One Venture card

Capital One Venture is our pick for the overall best travel credit card. Although its rewards program doesn’t quite match Chase Sapphire Reserve, there are definite benefits to Capital One Venture. You can use Venture Rewards’ platform for travel redemption to find good deals on flights, hotels and vacation packages. You also have the option to book your travel elsewhere and get credit for your flight, hotel, rental car or other travel-related expenses using Capital One’s Purchase Eraser. With a lucrative sign-up bonus, 2X miles per dollar, no foreign transaction fees and a low annual fee, Capital One Venture is a huge plus for travelers of all kinds.

Pros

Cons

  • No annual fee for the first year and among the lowest fees for subsequent years at $59/year
  • Sign up bonus of 40,000 miles for $3,000 in purchases within first 3 months
  • 2X miles per dollar rewards
  • Must have excellent credit to qualify
  • Non-travel purchase rewards only worth half as much as travel-related purchases

Fees, APR & Other Perks

  • Annual fee is $0 the first year and $59 afterward
  • Variable APR at 13.49% – 23.49%
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Rental car theft and damage coverage
  • Extended warranty on items purchased with Venture card

Best Cash Back Credit Cards: Chase Freedom & Discover it

Who wouldn’t want 5% cash back on purchases — and many other benefits to boot? We’ve chosen Chase Freedom and Discover it as our picks for the best cash back credit cards. Check out our reviews below.

Chase Freedom Review

Visit WebsiteChase Freedom card

Chase Freedom is among the highest cash back credit cards on the market — on top of that, there’s no annual fee and an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months. Chase Freedom gives you 5% cash back on rotating quarterly bonus categories like drugstores, commuter purchases, grocery stores and more. And you earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can redeem your cash back rewards via direct deposit, a statement credit, or for gift cards from dozens of popular retailers and restaurants. And you don’t have to have a stellar credit score to qualify.

Pros

Cons

  • No annual fee
  • 5% bonus cash back on quarterly categories (i.e. gas stations, grocery stores)
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on every other purchase
  • $150 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months
  • Can qualify if you have good to excellent credit
  • Rotating 5% bonus cash back categories may not appeal to some
  • Quarterly bonus cash back capped at $1,500 in purchases

Fees, APR & Other Perks

  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR for first 15 months
  • Variable APR of 15.49%–24.24% after first 15 months
  • 5% balance transfer fee
  • Purchase and extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation, interruption and accident insurance
  • Rental car theft and damage coverage

Discover it Card Review

Visit WebsiteDiscover it Card

There are a lot of similarities between Chase Freedom and the Discover it Card. Both offer quarterly rotating 5% cash back categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases; both have no annual fee and an introductory 0% APR for over a year. Discover it, however, really delivers with its sign-up bonus — they match all the cash back you earn dollar for dollar at the end of your first year. Sure, you have to wait a year, but it could pay off if you’re a big spender.

Pros

Cons

  • No annual fee
  • 5% bonus cash back on quarterly categories (i.e. gas stations, grocery stores)
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on every other purchase
  • Sign-up bonus of dollar for dollar cash back match after the first year
  • Free FICO credit score every month
  • Qualification for approval not quite as stringent as premium cards
  • Some rotating 5% bonus cash back categories may not appeal to card users
  • Discover cards not accepted quite as widely in U.S. as Visa and Mastercard and acceptance is also spotty internationally
  • Quarterly bonus cash back capped at $1,500 in purchases

Fees, APR & Other Perks

  • No annual fee
  • 0% introductory APR for first 14 months
  • Variable APR of 11.49% – 23.49% after first 14 months
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • Purchase and extended warranty protection
  • Flight accident insurance
  • Rental car theft and damage coverage

Most Prestigious Credit Cards: Citi Prestige & AMEX Platinum

Chase Sapphire Reserve, our pick for the best credit card for airline miles, also fits into this category of the most exclusive credit cards.

American Express Platinum Review

Visit WebsiteAmerican Express Platinum card

The American Express Platinum card is best for people who fly a lot (especially internationally) and want to travel in luxury. If you take advantage of all the perks that come with this card, the $450 annual fee is entirely worth it. In addition to the lucrative sign-up bonus and 5X rewards points for booking flights, you get VIP access to 1,000+ airport lounges across 120 countries, a $200 credit each year for incidental airline expenses, hotel upgrades and much more. The AmEx Platinum card’s rewards are best for air travel, so if you’re looking for better overall premium travel rewards consider the Citi Prestige (see our review below).

Pros

Cons

  • 5 points per dollar spent on airfare
  • 2 points per dollar for other trips booked via AmEx (and 1 point for all other purchases)
  • Sign-up bonus of 40,000 rewards points for $3,000 in purchases your first 3 months
  • $200 credit per year for flight-related expenses
  • Excellent travel upgrades programs
  • Good to excellent credit to get approved
  • Hefty annual fee of $450
  • Fewer rewards points for hotel bookings, dining and entertainment than Citi Prestige
  • Must pay balance in full every month

Fees, APR & Other Perks

  • Annual fee of $450
  • No APR: can’t carry a balance on this card
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Car rental loss & damage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection

Citi Prestige Review

Visit WebsiteCiti Prestige card

Citi Prestige used to be the best premium rewards card out there, but the company has done away with a few of its previous perks. However, this card still packs a punch for travel rewards. Like the American Express Platinum, you get a lot of upgrades and priority benefits when traveling. You must spend more to get your sign-up bonus points, and Citi Prestige only has 3X airline points vs. AmEx’s 5X points. But Citi gives you 3X points for hotel bookings — more than AmEx. Another huge perk is a fourth-night-free hotel room, as long as you book through Citi’s Concierge service. And Citi Prestige has the best priority pass membership for airport lounges.

Pros

Cons

  • 3 points per dollar for airfare and hotel purchases
  • 2X points for dining and entertainment spending (and 1 point for all other expenses)
  • Sign-up bonus of 40,000 points
  • $250 credit per year for flight-related expenses
  • Excellent travel upgrades programs
  • Steep $450 annual fee
  • Must have excellent credit to be approved
  • Must spend $4,000 in first three months to get 40,000 sign-up points (AmEx Platinum only requires $3,000)

Fees, APR & Other Perks

  • Annual fee of $450
  • Variable APR of 15.74%-25.74%
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Car rental loss & damage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection

What Do Experts Have to Say?

Check out this video interview with a Consumer Reports expert, who gives some great tips on how to maximize your credit card rewards and some of their rewards card recommendations.

What Are Some Dos and Don’ts With Rewards Cards?

These tips for the best credit cards for rewards may seem like common sense, but it’s always good to keep them in mind:

  • Don’t apply for a rewards credit card unless you have good to excellent credit. If you know you won’t be approved, your credit card application can hurt your credit score.
  • Always pay your monthly bill in full. If you don’t, you’ll end up spending rewards on interest.
  • Use two rewards credit cards to maximize all the benefits. For example using the Capital One Venture card and the Chase Freedom alternately on purchases will get you airline miles and cash back.
  • Don’t get too many credit cards. You want to maximize your spending on a couple of cards to take full advantage of their rewards.
  • Use your credit cards shopping portal whenever possible. Discover, for example, has their Discover Deals portal with 130+ merchants. You can often find special deals and earn extra rewards by spending on their portal.

We hope we’ve given you some helpful information and tools to start racking up those points. Happy spending.

What’s the best credit card for miles or cash back that you’ve used?

Sally is a passionate writer but her interests do not stop there. She spends a lot of time daydreaming about the beach, however, she spends most of her time taking advantage of all the activities her town has to offer in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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1 Comment on "Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire vs AMEX Platinum vs Citi Prestige vs Discover vs Chase & More!"

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Anonymous
Anonymous

My husband got the Chase Sapphire card and yeah the $450 annual fee is pricey but it comes with the $300 travel credit a year so it’s only really like $150/year (if you travel often). Also he got free Global Entry paid for from it ($100 value) so the first year was practically only $50 – we’ve used the airline lounge perks a few times and LOVE it (I get to join him even though I don’t have the card).

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