Best rewards credit cards: Team Clark’s picks

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Best rewards credit cards: Team Clark’s picks
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If you’re searching for the best rewards credit card, money expert Clark Howard says remember just two words: cash back!

“No one can tell you where you can and can’t spend your cash,” Clark says. “The best cards pay you 2% cash back on everything you do, automatically. It’s so simple!”

Although Clark likes cash back the best, many people prefer cards with large welcome bonuses to earn points or miles for travel.

RELATED: Best travel rewards credit cards

Best rewards credit cards: Team Clark’s picks

Finding a new rewards credit card requires you to think about your spending and the rewards you want. I’ve reviewed hundreds of the latest offers and selected seven of the best overall picks.

Best rewards credit cards: Table of contents

  1. Citi Double Cash – 18 month BT offer
  2. PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express
  3. Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature
  4. Costco Anywhere Visa Card By Citi
  5. Sam’s Club Mastercard
  6. Uber Visa Card
  7. Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Remember, rewards credit cards are for people who avoid interest charges by always paying their statement balance in full.

If you ever need to carry a balance, then you shouldn’t worry about earning rewards and instead focus on finding a low-interest credit card. This aligns with Clark’s credit card philosophy.

Read on to compare our picks for best rewards credit cards and let us know your favorite in the comments below…

Citi Double Cash – 18 month BT offer

If you just want a lot of cash back on all of your purchases, this card makes sense.
Welcome bonus None
Rewards 1% cash back at the time of purchase and another 1% when you pay, for up to 2% total
Annual fee None
Advantages
  • No annual fee
  • High rate of return
Drawbacks
  • No sign-up bonus
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Learn more: Citi Double Cash review


PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express®

This is probably the best travel rewards card you can get with no annual fee, and Clark is a big fan of PenFed Credit Union.

Welcome bonus 25,000 points after spending $2,500 on purchases within three months of account opening
Rewards
  • 3x points on all travel and commuter expenses (4x for PenFed account holders)
  • 1.5x points elsewhere
  • Points can be redeemed for travel reservations, generally worth slightly less than one cent each
Annual fee None
Advantages
  • Competitive rewards whether or not you’re spending in the bonus categories
  • $100 TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Annual $100 air travel credit
Drawbacks Points are worth slightly less than other reward points

Learn more: PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express


Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature

This card acts as a savings and investment tool, not just a cash back credit card.

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Welcome bonus None
Rewards 2% cash back deposited in a qualified Fidelity savings or investment account
Annual fee None
Advantages 2% is a high rate of return for a cash back card with no annual fee
Drawbacks
  • No sign-up bonus
  • Must have a Fidelity account

Learn more: Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature


Costco Anywhere Visa Card By Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card By Citi

Great card for gas, and good rewards for travel and dining, but nothing special for use at Costco or elsewhere.
Welcome bonus None
Rewards
  • 4% cash back on gas
  • 3% at restaurants and travel
  • 2% at Costco
  • 1% elsewhere
  • You receive a certificate for your cash back once a year
Annual fee None, with paid Costco membership
Advantages 4% cash back at gas stations and excellent returns elsewhere
Drawbacks
  • No sign-up bonus
  • Cash back is only offered as an annual credit each February and must be redeemed in-store

Learn more: Costco Anywhere Visa Card By Citi review


Sam’s Club® Mastercard®

This card earns even better cash back on gas than the Costco card, but it offers very poor rewards for shopping at Sam’s Club itself.
Welcome bonus  $45 statement credit after opening an account and making a $45 purchase the same day
Rewards
  • 5% cash back on gas
  • 3% on travel and dining
  • 1% elsewhere
Annual fee None
Advantages High rates of cash back on gas, travel and dining
Drawbacks Mediocre cash back for shopping at Sam’s Club and other non-bonus spending

Learn more: Sam’s Club Mastercard


Uber Visa Card

This is a card for those who spend a lot on eating out, traveling and online purchases. It offers a high rate of return on these purchases, but like many similar cards it doesn’t do that well elsewhere.
Welcome bonus $100 after spending $500 on purchases within 90 days of account opening
Rewards
  • 4% cash back or Uber credits for dining, including UberEATS
  • 3% cash back on airfare, hotels and vacation rentals
  • 2% for online purchases including entertainment streaming
  • 1% elsewhere
  • $50 credit toward online subscriptions after spending $5,000 in a calendar year
Annual fee None
Advantages
Drawbacks
  • Modest sign-up bonus
  • Low 1% return on non-bonus spending

Learn more: Uber Visa Card


Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

A great card for those who spend enough on dining and entertainment to justify the annual fee.
Welcome bonus  $300 after spending $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
Rewards
  • 4% cash back or dining and entertainment
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • 1% elsewhere
Annual fee $95, waived the first year
Advantages
  • Huge early spend bonus
  • High rates of cash back on dining and at grocery stores
Drawbacks
  • High annual fee
  • 1% cash back outside of bonus categories

Learn more: Capital One Savor Cash Rewards

More credit card content from Clark.com: 

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