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Reward credit cards offer points, miles, or cash back for each dollar you spend, and some toss in additional perks. So if you pay your balance in full and on time every month, you can make money.

How much? Depends on what you buy the most. Here are the five best reward cards on the market today.

1. Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

The perks: This is just like an airline or hotel reward card, but with an important difference: The miles can be redeemed as statement credits towards any travel purchase including airfare, lodging, car rentals, tours, or cruises. You earn two miles per dollar spent, and each mile is worth one cent. You also receive a 5 percent rebate of your miles redeemed. This card also offers new applicants 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $89 annual fee, but that’s waived the first year.

Bottom line: Since you also receive a 5 percent of your redeemed miles back, the rate of return is effectively 2.11 percent of spending.

2. American Express Blue Cash Preferred

The perks: Receive 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in eligible purchases each year), 3 percent at U.S. gas stations and select department stores, and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. New cardholders also receive 12 months of zero-percent APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3 percent balance transfer fee.

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Annual fee: $95

Bottom line: That 6 percent cash back on up to $6,000 spent at the grocery store is worth as much as $360 per year. Add in the 3 percent at gas stations and department stores, and this card offers the most cash back for most people.

3. American Express Platinum

The perks: This do-everything travel reward card offers value all over the place. You receive a $200 annual credit towards airline fees and a $100 credit towards the Global Entry program offered by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol – which offers expedited customs when entering the country and makes you eligible for streamlined airport screenings with the TSA. You also get a total of $200 in annual Uber credits.

You also receive membership in the Delta SkyClub, Priority Pass Select, and American Express Centurion airport lounge programs, which allows you to access hundreds of airport lounges around the world for free. And for each dollar you spend, you earn a point in the American Express Membership Rewards program, with 5-times points earned for flights booked with airlines or hotels booked through Amextravel.com. These points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, and travel reservations, or be transferred to miles with many different frequent-flier programs.

Annual fee: A steep $550 — the highest on this list by far, and among the highest in the industry.

Bottom line: If you’re a frequent traveler, the array of benefits will more than make up for that eye-blinking fee.

4. Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express

The perks: Earn one point per dollar spent, and points can be redeemed for all sorts of rewards – including free hotel stays at Starwood hotels, which include Westin, Sheraton, and other brands.

Free nights begin at 2,000 points, are available for any unsold standard room, and you receive your fifth night free when you redeem four consecutive nights. And now that Starwood is owned by Marriott, you can transfer your points to the Marriott Rewards program and use them at thousands of other hotels around the world.
Points can also be transferred to miles among over 30 different frequent-flier programs, and you receive a 5,000-point bonus when you transfer 20,000 points at once.

Annual fee: $95, but that’s waived the first year.

Bottom line: With no blackout dates or capacity controls, your hotel awards easy to redeem. And the ability to transfer points to miles with so many airlines is invaluable.

5. Chase Sapphire Reserve

The perks: This card offers you triple points on all dining and travel purchases, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, and merchandise, or transferred to eleven different airline or hotel programs. Or, points are worth 1.5 cents each towards travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Center.

This card also offers you a Priority Pass Select membership that lets you access over 1,000 airport lounges around the world.

Annual fee: $450

Bottom line: Flexible points and fantastic rates make this one of the most versatile reward cards on the market.

Meet the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Writer

Steele is a freelance writer for Debt.com and is an expert on credit cards.

Credit & Debt, News

credit card reviews, credit card rewards, credit cards

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Article last modified on February 13, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: The Best Reward Credit Cards Right Now - AMP.