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Knowing which credit card to swipe when making a purchase is key to maximizing the points and miles earned for award travel. If you hold an array of rewards cards in your wallet, the decision is complicated by each card’s earn rate and bonus categories, and whether the rewards earned are fixed-value points, some form of cash back, airline-specific miles, or flexible points that transfer to travel partners.

We recently covered the best value flexible points to collect for award travel, and whether fixed-value or transferrable points offer the best value, and wanted to follow up this week with a comprehensive guide showing the rewards earn rates for popular rewards cards in an easy to digest format. The list is broken up by credit provider and displays the category bonuses for each card, alongside the base earn rate for everyday spend.

Jump to a particular card issuer:

Earn Rates for Popular Rewards Credit Cards

Chase Credit Card Earning Rates

Chase Ultimate Rewards Logo

In addition to the array of credit cards earning Ultimate Rewards, Chase offers a variety of cashback and co-brand hotel and airline credit cards. If you combine the revolving category bonuses on the Chase Freedom®  the 1.5 points on everyday spend on the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and the minimum 1.5¢ per point redemption rate of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you have a powerful award travel card-combo. We've also got a list of just Ultimate Rewards earning cards as well.

Credit CardCategory Bonus Points Per $ SpentBase Points/Miles Per $ Spent
Chase Sapphire Reserve®• 3X points on travel, dining and restaurants worldwide • 1 point per $1
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card• 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants• 1 point per dollar
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card• N/A• 1.5%
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card• 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year• 1 point on all other purchases
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card • 5% cash back at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services, and 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year • 1% cash back per $1
Chase Freedom Unlimited®• Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent.• 1.5% cash back per $1
Chase Freedom®• 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter• 1% cash back per $1
The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card• 6X points at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties
• 3X points on dining, car rentals and airline purchases
• 2x points per $1
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card• Earn 6X points for every $1 spent at over 6,900 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2X points everywhere else.• 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
The Hyatt Credit Card• 3X at Hyatt hotels and resorts
• 2X at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline and at car rental agencies
• 1 point per $1
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card• 4X at Hyatt hotels and resorts
• 2X at restaurants, cafes and coffee shops; on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline; fitness club and gym memberships; and on local transit and commuting, including taxis, mass transit, tolls and ride-share services
• 1 point per $1
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card• 5X points at IHG® hotels
• 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
• 1 point per $1
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card25X points at IHG® hotels (10X points from the card and 15X earned as a Platinum Elite) and 2X points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants• 1 point per $1
United℠ Explorer Card• 2X miles on tickets purchased from United
• 2X miles at restaurants and on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel
• 1 mile per $1
British Airways Visa Signature® Card• 4x Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases up to $30,000 in the first 12 months from account opening, you will then earn 3x Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.• 1 Avios per $1

American Express Credit Card Earning Rates

American Express Membership Rewards

Much like Chase, Amex offers a full-suite of Membership Rewards earning cards, alongside co-brand cards from award travel heavyweight Starwood Preferred Guest and legacy carrier Delta. If you qualify for a business card, we rate The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express the best card for everyday expenses, earning Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners..

Credit CardCategory Bonus Points Per $ SpentBase Points/Miles Per $ Spent
The Platinum Card® from American Express• 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.• 1 point per $1
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express• Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.• 1 point per $1
American Express® Gold Card• Earn 4X points at US restaurants, and 4x at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year), plus 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com• 1 point per $1
American Express® Business Gold Card• 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spent the most each billing cycle. Categories include: Airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, U.S. purchases at gas stations, U.S. purchases for shipping, U.S. purchases at restaurants, U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
• 4X points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year Then earn 1 point per dollar.
• 1 point per $1
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express• 20% more points when you make 20+ purchases in a billing period, less returns and credits
• 2x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
• 1 point per $1
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express• 50% extra points when you make 30+ purchases in a billing period, less returns and credits
• 3X points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
• 2x points at US gas stations
• 1 point per $1
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express• Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.• 1 point per $1 thereafter
Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card• 6X points at Starwood, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton properties• 2 point per $1
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express• 2X miles for purchases made directly with Delta• 1 mile per $1

Citi Credit Card Earning Rates

Citi ThankYou Rewards Logo

While Citi doesn't offer the variety of rewards cards available from rivals Chase and Amex, cards like the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi® Double Cash Card compete comfortably at the top of their respective categories.

Credit CardCategory Bonus Points Per $ SpentBase Points/Miles Per $ Spent
Citi Prestige® Card• 5X points on airfare & restaurants
• 3X points on hotels & cruise lines
• 2x points on entertainment (through 8/31/19)
• 1 point per $1
Citi Premier Card• 3X points on travel including gas stations
• 2X points on dining and entertainment
• 1 point per $1
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card• 2X points on dining and entertainment• 1 point per $1
Citi® Double Cash Card• N/A• 2% cash back per $1
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®• 2X miles on American Airlines purchases• 1 mile per $1

Barclaycard Credit Card Earning Rates

Barclaycard Logo

Barclaycard is the dark horse of the award travel scene, home to undervalued rewards cards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (See Terms), JetBlue Plus Card, and Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature Card.

Credit CardCategory Bonus Points Per $ SpentBase Points/Miles Per $ Spent
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (See Terms)• N/A• 2X miles
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®• 2X miles on American Airlines purchases• 1 mile per $1
JetBlue Plus Card• 6X points on JetBlue purchases
• 2X points at restaurants and grocery stores
• 1 point per $1
Uber Visa Card• 4% back on dining
• 3% back on hotel & airfare
• 2% back for online purchases
• 1 point per $1
Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature Card• 5X points on eligible purchases for Wyndham Vacation Rental North America properties, every participating hotel stay, and on-property spend and maintenance fees at Wyndham timeshare properties
• 2X points on eligible gas, utility and grocery store purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®)
• 1 point per $1 (excluding Wyndham timeshare down payments)
Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card• 5X points at eligible Choice Privileges locations and on the eligible purchase of Choice Privileges points or Choice Hotel gift cards• 2X points per $1
Lufthansa Miles & More World Elite MasterCard• 2X miles on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners• 1 mile per $1

Bank of America Credit Card Earning Rates

bank-of-america-logo

Chase, Amex, and Citi may receive most of the hype, but for those in the know, BoA's co-brand credit cards from Alaska and Asiana provide access to some of the best value award travel on the planet. If you're over 5/25 and looking for your next target card(s), you can't go wrong with either of the cards listed above.

Credit CardCategory Bonus Points Per $ SpentBase Points/Miles Per $ Spent
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card• N/A• 1.5 points per $1
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card• 2X points on travel and dining purchases• 1.5 points per $1
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card• 3X miles spent directly on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America purchased direct from the airline• 1 mile per $1
Asiana Visa Signature® Credit Card• 3X miles on Asiana Airlines purchases
• 2X miles on gas and at grocery stores
• 1 mile per $1
Virgin Atlantic® World Elite MasterCard®• 3X miles spent directly on Virgin Atlantic purchases• 1.5 miles per $1

U.S. Bank Credit Card Earning Rates

Much like Bank of America's card offerings, U.S. Bank provides rewards cards that don't often appear in the ‘best of travel' lists, but that doesn't mean they don't provide top value and another option for those over 5/24 and looking for a new card to add to the portfolio.

usbank_logo

Credit CardCategory Bonus Points Per $ SpentBase Points/Miles Per $ Spent
U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card• 3X points on eligible net travel purchases and mobile wallet spending• 1 point per $1
FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card• 3X points on qualifying charitable donations (through 12/31/2017, then Double FlexPoints thereafter
• 2X points on the category you spend the most on (at gas stations, grocery stores or airlines) and at most cell phone service providers each billing cycle
• 1 point per $1
Club Carlson℠ Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card• 10X points at Carlson Rezidor hotels• 5X points per $1
SKYPASS Visa Signature® Card• 2X miles on Korean Air ticket purchases• 1 mile per $1
AeroMexico Visa Signature® Card• 2X miles on Aeromexico ticket purchases and Aeromexico Vacations, and on on gas & groceries• 1 mile per $1

Capital One Credit Card Earning Rates

Capital One Logo

Our favorite Capital One card is the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, a solid cash back card returning 2% on all your business expenses.

Credit cards without a link are are not available on this site. If you would like to support AwardWallet through an affiliate link, you can find more offers from Capital One on our partner site.

Credit CardCategory Bonus Points Per $ SpentBase Points/Miles Per $ Spent
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card• N/A• 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card• N/A• 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card• N/A• 1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase, every day.
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business• N/A• 2 % Cash Back for your business on every purchase, everywhere.

Final Thoughts

A critical point to cover before wrapping up is just because a card earns more base points on everyday spend, it may not be the best card to use. Earning rates don't take into account the redeemable value of the points or miles the card earns, which can change the math on which card to swipe at the checkout. Cards that earn 1 transferable point per dollar are often a better choice for avid travelers than those earning 2x points on all purchases, due to the flexibility of the points and the higher redeemable value you can achieve through transferring to travel partners.

We recommend building a balance of flexible rewards points which transfer to a variety of travel partners and focusing on cards subject to Chase's tighter application restrictions before branching out to other providers.

Have a card you'd like to see added to the list? Let us know in the comments.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (See Terms)

How Many Rewards Points or Miles Does My Credit Card Earn?
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Comments

  • Fantastic compilation! This is an awesome resource.

  • Thank you for this comprehensive list!

  • thx for the hard work!

  • Very, very helpful. Much easier and better than my spreadsheet. 🙂

  • This is a great synopsis. I think that the SPG cards are great as flexible points for categories that otherwise earn only one point per dollar. They also have periodic opportunities to earn two SPG points per dollar on all spend.

  • Thanks for this list! It’s a great list!!

  • nice.. lot of choices out there.

  • thanks for all this info. It is hard to keep track of who pays what

  • Great article! Thanks.

  • great compilation of options

  • Bank of America rewards cards (not cobranded) all seem to have enhanced reward amounts, up to 75% higher than the listed percentage if you qualify for preferred status by maintaining a certain balance with either bank accounts or their Merrill Lynch accounts.

  • Good collection of info, thanks!

  • Thanks for the summary. Just found that Citi prestige is worse than premiere on bonus. Doesn’t make sense since they are in the same family.

  • The answer… Not enough 🙂

  • Thanks for a good and thorough summary

  • thanks much for the refresher!!!

  • I don’t see groceries at mot then 2x per$1 unless you refer to the rotating quarterly Chase freedom and Capital one cards. Do any cards give more then 2x per $1 year round with no cap?

    • Amex Issued Hilton Co-Branded credit cards earn more than 2x at US grocery stores with no cap. The Amex Blue Cash and Blue Cash Preferred earn more than 2x at US grocery stores, but they have caps on earning.

    • The Chase freedom unlimited gives a 1.5% reward which cand be redeemed through Chase ultimate rewards if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve. The SR gives you a 1.5 multiplier for travel redemptions getting you to 2.25 rewards if used for travel.

  • Nice round-up. Thanks!

  • The Citibank Costco card is underappreciated. 3% on all dining, 3% on all travel, and 4% on gas. There’s no annual fee, but you have to be a Costco member, which is cheaper than most annual credit card fees. That’s better for travel and dining than almost anything on this list.

  • Great summary. I have my own in excel, with all the cards we have and also showing redemption values, and by category which to use when. Then I label my husband’s quarterly telling him what to spend where. My spreadsheet also includes benefits like trip insurance, warranty coverage, etc., and thresholds I have to meet But this is a great resource when thinking about new cards I don’t have.

  • This is a handy chart, but one thing to keep in mind is that different points have different values. Just looking at the most number of points under specific spend situations doesn’t necessarily give you the most return. I put a high value on transferable points like Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards, but I put a low value on IHG and Hilton points.

  • Great list, thanks! As someone who doesn’t spend huge amounts of money with credit cards, it’s important to get maximum miles/points per dollar.

  • Thanks for this list. I sometimes hesitate at checkout because I forget which card to use.

  • Amazing even the authors forget to mention the Chase Freedom/Unlimited and Ink Cash are also UR earning cards when you hold a capable transferable Card.

    Freedom 5x quarterly

    Ink Cash 5x office supply, cell phone, internet and cable/satellite TV. 2x restaurants.

  • With a Chase Sapphire card era the you can convert the cash reward from the freedom and ink cards to ultimate reward points. This effectively gives you a 25% (Sapphire Preferred) or 50% (Sapphire Reserve) points bonus, effectively giving you up to 7.5 earning on the regular Freedom and (now discontinued?) ink cash cards and 2.25% on the new Freedom ultimate when paired with the Sapphire Reserve.

  • Wrong on US Bank nt looking at 5/24. I was turned down for a Club Carlson card because of too many applications in the last 12 months.

    So they count.

    • US Bank doesn’t have a 5/24 rule like Chase. Being denied for the Club Carlson card likely has to do with US Bank looking at other consumer reports — take a look at an article I wrote a few years ago on another blog: https://www.frugaltravelguy.com/2013/08/getting-approved-for-club-carlson-cards.html that covers likely what happened to you.

      • Their written reply, on my appeal, cites “too many applications” explicitly.

        • Sure, absolutely. But this is wholly different from the 5/24 rule.

          • Not at all. It is exactly the same structure and objective. The only difference is in the details. And if its “6/24”, or whatever, that does not affect the conclusion for anybody thinking of applying.

          • Andy –

            As someone that has been both impacted by 5/24 with Chase and previously denied (I currently hold one after following the instructions in the linked blog article) for a Club Carlson credit card (due to too many recent applications) I can speak from first-hand experience that these two are wholly different.

            5/24 is a hard rule set where if you have 5 or more new cards on your credit report you’re denied. It has nothing to do with how many cards you’ve opened in the past 12 or 18 months, but it is specific to 24 months and is different from “too many new / recent applications”

            While I can understand that the two are seemingly the same, they are very much different. Your denial was highly likely associated to data not on your credit reports with Experian/Equifax/Experian but rather through other 3rd party consumer reports.

            DoC does a fantastic job of covering this specific scenario with more data than my original post: https://www.doctorofcredit.com/two-credit-bureaus-you-should-freeze-before-you-apply-for-a-u-s-bank-credit-card/

            Again it may seem the same and even the wording “too many new applications” is the same, but there is no 5/24 or 6/24 or whatever/24 or whatever/12 rule with US Bank.

  • I nice useful resource, thanks

  • Very helpful. Virtually impossible to keep track of such things, especially when bonus categories change, etc.

  • I almost forgot. Citi has a cobranded Sears card (It may have been superseded by the Shop Your Way card that earns ThankYou points (which has it’s best redemption rate with Citi’s travel portal, can be exchanged for JetBlue miles, and Citi has had JetBlue enhanced transfer rate offers) redeemed for gift cards, or at a lower rate (unrecommended) for a prepaid card (Visa or MC, I don’t remember). They seem to email me offers every few monthes that are valid for a couple of monthes, that, other than signing bonuses, seem to be the best point offers I’ve ever seen. For example, now I have an offer for 10 extra Thank You points (plus the regular 1 point) per dollar for online purchases through the end of January if the total purchases total at least $600. I’ve had similar offers for grocery stores (with a lower $ amount to trigger the bonus), extra 5% on all purchases for a few days (prepaid cable/internet/phone), ect..

  • There’s app called Wallaby that shows you the best credit card to use of those that you have in order to maximize points.

  • Great summary! Bookmarking for future reference.

  • Great summary! Bookmarking for future reference.

  • Good compilation to have

  • It’s truly stunning how many options there are. Thanks for the cheat sheet.

  • The Amex Platinum card’s 5 MR points per dollar return for flights is pretty surreal.

  • Thanks once again for all your hard work. It’s so helpful!

  • Wow!! What a resource! Thank you so much!

  • CAMILLA SAUDER says:

    Sometimes it is hard to figure out which card to use for which purchase! Wish I had this all done pat in my head!

  • amex business blue card blows all competition away. 2x MR points is amazing

  • One of the best compilation charts on this subject that I’ve seen. Thank you.

  • Great list, thanks! Although this post is mainly about airline miles, there are some extra perks like waiving annual fees from some credit cards too for active duty (I’m thinking of the Delta cards here but I’m sure there are others), which is helpful for those who qualify.

  • Mobile wallets ( samsung pay is by far the best to me ) make having most of your cards available at all times to maximize the right rewards at the right time without carrying around a giant wallet.

    I only carry my amex edp and CSR physically with 90% of the time.

  • Good overview. Wish cards earned a lot more.

  • thank you!

  • Love the lists you guys do! It can help so much when we’re looking to overhaul our credit cards when something just doesn’t work for us anymore. I have been contemplating the Amex Everyday card, but I’m iffy since I have Chase Sapphire. I’ll have to mull it over more I guess.

  • This is a handy reference. Good to have all the numbers in one place.

  • Found this when I was searching on the site. What a good quick reference re different perks.

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