The best rewards credit cards often offer two options: points and cashback. Anyone can reap rewards by using their credit cards strategically, but it all starts with choosing the right ones. If you're not currently carrying a rewards card in your wallet, you are probably leaving cash on the table.
There are all types of rewards credit cards, so finding one that aligns with your spending style and lifestyle interests should be no problem. The more selective you are, the more rewards potential there is for you. The bottom line is that you're doing a lot of spending anyway, so why not get something for it? By leaving your cash in the bank and swiping your credit cards instead, you could be building up points, miles or dollars with every purchase.
You have to choose the card that makes sense for you. Are you an avid traveler who books a lot of trips? Someone who rarely carries cash and puts everyday purchases on plastic? Or… somewhere in between?
No matter what your spending habits are like, there is a rewards card for you. What's common to all rewards cards, however, is they only benefit you if you pay your balance off in full each month. Once you start paying interest, you'll quickly offset anything you earn. To help you navigate the mystifying world of rewards credit cards, we did the research to help identify the best cards for every type of reward seeker.
When reviewing the benefits and fine print of the most popular rewards credit cards, we dug deeper to find standout options for newbies and advanced users alike. Beginners and intermediate users, unite! You don't have to be in the top 1% of FICO Score holders or be a globetrotting travel buff to earn rewards. There are great cards that have uncomplicated rewards and redemption, no (or low) annual fees, and even sign-on and rotating category bonuses.
Rewards cards are not for balance-carriers, undisciplined spenders, or cash-only types who stow away their plastic for emergencies only. But if your credit is healthy and you prefer plastic to paper money, you're throwing money away if you don't use a rewards card. With time, you can be an expert card user and learn to juggle two or more rewards cards so you can get the most out of every dollar.
For the most part, the more effort you put into maximizing your rewards cards, the more you can earn. But read the fine print to make sure you know what you're signing up for.