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Credit card rewards are a valuable way to maximize your purchasing power, as you can accumulate travel rewards or cash back. There are several different credit card points to choose from with various strengths and weaknesses, but they have flexible redemption options that make it easy to spend less on just about any trip. Here are the best card rewards to earn in 2024.

card rewards to earn
Park Hyatt Aviara Bar. Credit: Johnny Jet

Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Many consider Chase Ultimate Rewards to be the most valuable travel points as a few cards have a travel redemption bonus and enticing airline and hotel point transfer partners. You can also get a competitive redemption rate for cash back and gift cards.

Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® for travel rewards. Both cards let you transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to Chase airline transfer partners, including United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Aeroplan, and Avianca. 

Specifically, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is probably the best option for many as it has an affordable $95 annual fee. Travel purchases earn up to 5x Ultimate Rewards, and each point is worth 25% more at 1.25 cents for travel redemptions through Chase. There is also an annual $100 hotel statement credit and complimentary trip protection benefits.

Luxury travelers will gravitate towards the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. It has a $550 annual fee that’s offset with valuable benefits, including an annual $300 travel credit, airport lounge access, and the ability to earn up to 10x Ultimate Rewards per $1 on travel purchases.

Business customers can also benefit from the Chase Ink business credit cards. One option is the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, which earns up to 5% back on select business categories and has no annual fee.

Bilt Rewards

An upcoming credit card rewards program is Bilt Rewards, which originally started out as a way to earn travel rewards on rent payments. It’s morphing into a robust travel rewards program for renters and homeowners alike as it has a 25% travel redemption bonus, 1:1 point transfers, and several ways to earn bonus credit card rewards.

The Bilt World Elite Mastercard® earns up to 3x points on purchases plus double the rewards on the first day of each month. There is no annual fee for this credit card, and you earn reward points on all purchases after making five card transactions during the statement period.

Bilt points are worth 1.25 cents when booking award trips through the Bilt app. You can also transfer Bilt rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to participating airlines and hotels, including Avianca, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, FlyingBlue, and World of Hyatt.

This program recently tied for first place in a TPG study for the most valuable credit card points. The flexible redemption option is also a leading reason these points are well-liked by many travelers.

American Express Membership Rewards®

American Express Membership Rewards® is an excellent option for frequent flyers, international travel, and luxury travel. There are several personal and business cards that earn this reward currency. Each point is worth 1 cent for award flights, and there are many 1:1 airline transfer partners.

This credit card issuer offers some of the most luxurious credit card rewards with The Platinum Card® from American Express. The ultra-premium card provides complimentary access to several airport lounge networks, up to $200 in Uber credits per year, up to $200 in airline fee statement credits, and several other luxury travel and retail benefits. The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees).

There are a variety of mid-tier and entry-level credit cards with low or no annual fees. These products typically specialize in travel and dining rewards.

Capital One Miles

Capital One has also emphasized luxury travel by launching an exclusive airport lounge network and a premium credit card.

You may like this rewards program as you can redeem miles at 1 cent each for travel statement credits after using money to pay for the itinerary. It’s also possible to book award trips through Capital One Travel at 1 cent each. There are several 1:1 Capital One transfer partners that are a great option for international award flights.

Consider the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which provides unlimited airport lounge visits to Priority Pass, Capital One Lounge, and Plaza Premium networks. Cardholders also enjoy a yearly $300 Capital One Travel statement credit, up to 10x miles on travel purchases, and a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus. The annual fee is $395.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can be the better option if you want a straightforward rewards card to earn 2x miles on purchases. It also provides two one-time visits to Capital One Lounge and Plaza Premium locations each year and free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Its annual fee is $95.

While you earn cash back instead of travel miles, the Savor card family is one of the best for dining, grocery, and entertainment purchases.

What are the Best Credit Card Rewards?

Picking the best credit card depends on your interests and redemption preferences. For example, which program has the most relevant point transfer partners? Chase Ultimate Rewards and Bilt Rewards typically have the highest redemption value and versatility. 

As a runner-up, American Express Membership Rewards are great for award flights and luxury travel. However, the value is sub-par for several categories. 

Another toss-up is Capital One Miles, which are easy to redeem for maximum value as a travel statement credit. However, there isn’t an option for travel redemption bonuses when booking trips through the credit card travel portal as Chase and Bilt offer.

Travel rewards are more exciting, and a travel credit card can provide additional benefits that help you save more money or access elite member benefits sooner.

With that said, you may also appreciate the simplicity of a cash back credit card if you don’t travel often or prefer the flexibility of cash redemptions. The earning rate is competitive, and you can redeem your rewards monthly as a statement credit or bank account deposit, depending on the cash rewards program.

Summary

Several factors to consider when comparing the best credit card rewards to earn include redemption value, redemption options, additional cardholder perks, and the annual fee. It’s also worth getting several cards within the same loyalty program to access more bonus categories and travel perks.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

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