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Best credit cards with customizable rewards

Oct. 28, 2021
10 min read
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There's not just one way to go about earning credit card rewards. Are you looking for a card that provides the same earning rate, no matter the purchase? Or, would you rather have a card that offers bonus points on purchases you spend the most on (such as gas and groceries)?

Here's some food for thought: You may actually want to consider a credit card with a customizable rewards rate instead. A relatively new concept to the world of rewards credit cards, these earning rates are tailored to the consumer and their ever-changing spending habits by offering bonus points that are mostly dependent on how they spend.

In this guide, we'll go over TPG's top picks for credit cards with customizable rewards and how to maximize them.

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Best credit cards with customizable rewards

Comparison overview of the best cards for customizable rewards

CardWelcome offerEarning rateAnnual fee
American Express Business Gold CardEarn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first three months of card membership.Earn 4x on the two categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle, on the first $150,000 in combined purchases per calendar, plus earn 1x on other purchases.$295 (see rates & fees)
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit cardEarn $200 after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first 90 days of account opening.Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice — gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement/furnishings — and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%.None
Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards MastercardGet a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening.Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice — gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom and wireless, computer services or business consulting services — 2% cash back on dining (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year; 1% thereafter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.None
Citi Custom Cash CardEarn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.Earn 5% on your top eligible spending category, on up to $500 spent each billing cycle (then 1%), and 1% cash back on all other purchases.None
Chase Freedom FlexEarn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.Earn 5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1% on all other eligible purchases.None

Card details for the best cards for customizable rewards

American Express Business Gold: Best for high-spending businesses

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $295 (see rates and fees).

Welcome offer: Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first three months of card membership.

Why it’s great for high-spending businesses: As the only card with an annual fee in this guide, the Amex Business Gold is intended for companies with high operating expenses. It offers 4 points per dollar on the two categories where a business spends the most each billing cycle, on up to $150,000 in combined purchases per calendar year (then 1x). The categories include:

  • Airfare purchases directly from airlines.
  • U.S. online, TV and radio advertising.
  • U.S. computer hardware, software and cloud systems from select technology providers.
  • U.S. gas stations.
  • U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
  • U.S. shipping.

If your business can maximize this $150,000 spending threshold, the rewards can be outstanding. TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, so earning 600,000 bonus points is like earning $12,000 in value.

Related: Amex Business Gold review

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Official application link: Amex Business Gold

Bank of America Customized Cash: Best for shopping at wholesale clubs

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Online $200 cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.

Why it’s great for shopping at wholesale clubs: The Bank of America Customized Cash offers a unique 3%-2%-1% earning scheme. You'll earn

  • 3% in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvement/furnishings.
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases. Note that you'll only earn the 3% and 2% rates on the first $2,500 in the combined choice category, grocery and wholesale club purchases each quarter (then 1%).

Most cards that offer bonus points on groceries (and even some of the cards on this list) specifically exclude earning bonus points at wholesale clubs, so it's nice to see that the Bank of America Customized Cash still offers a solid 2% earning rate on these purchases.

Related: Bank of America Customized Cash review

Official application link: Bank of America Customized Cash

Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash: Best for small businesses and freelancers

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Get a $300 statement credit when you make at least $3,000 in net purchases within 90 days of your account opening.

Why it’s great for small businesses and freelancers: No matter if you're a one-person show or manage a small team, you'll want to keep your business and personal finances separate. That's why the Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards is a terrific choice for those who don't want to pay an annual fee but do want to have access to a customizable rewards rate that's quite similar to the consumer version of this card — but with a higher spending limit:

  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom and wireless, computer services or business consulting services.
  • 2% cash back on dining (for the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year; 1% thereafter).
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Related: Bank of America Business Customized Cash review

Official application link: Bank of America Business Customized Cash

Citi Custom Cash: Best for the utmost flexibility

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Why it’s great for the utmost flexibility: The Citi Custom Cash is a cash-back card that offers 5% back on your top spending category per billing cycle, on up to the first $500 spent. There are a whopping 10 eligible categories that will make it easy for most people to maximize this $500 threshold:

There's little to no legwork involved for cardholders since the card will automatically offer the 5% earning rate on where they spend the most each month. Whether you decide to take a road trip one month (and spend abnormally a lot on gas) or decide to stay put one month and purchase more groceries than usual, the 5% rewards rate is truly tailored to how you spend each billing cycle. Be wary that groceries don't include wholesale clubs, so this isn't the best card to maximize those purchases if you're a frequent shopper at a Costco or Sam's Club.

Related: Citi Custom Cash review

Official application link: Citi Custom Cash

Chase Freedom Flex: Best for top spending category promotion

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Why it’s great for holiday shopping: The Chase Freedom Flex takes a similar approach to the Citi Custom Cash but with a few noteworthy caveats. First, you'll earn 5% back on rotating quarterly categories (up to the first $1,500 spent) that are designated by Chase. You can check out the rotating category calendar here, but it's Walmart and PayPal for Q4 of this year (from now until Dec. 31, 2021). This makes the card slightly less flexible than the Citi Custom Cash, and you'll have to be diligent about activating each quarter on your Chase account — otherwise, you won't earn the 5% rewards rate.

Quirks aside, the Chase Freedom Flex is an especially prized card due to a limited-time promotion going on this quarter. Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% on their top spend category this quarter, in addition to the 5% rotating quarterly earning rate. The categories include:

  • Travel, including transit.
  • Dining.
  • Home improvement stores.
  • Grocery stores, not including Target or Walmart.
  • Drugstores.
  • Gas stations.
  • Live entertainment
  • Select streaming services.
  • Fitness clubs.

When stacked with the 5% back on PayPal and Walmart, you could double dip to earn even more rewards this quarter. Read this guide on how to maximize this promotion, but you could earn up to 13% on groceries, 11% on drugstores and 9% on home improvement stores if you're strategic about this top spending category promotion this holiday season.

Related: Chase Freedom Flex review

Official application link: Chase Freedom Flex

Bottom line

Whether this is your first or fifth credit card, a credit card with customizable rewards can offer many benefits for those looking to maximize their everyday purchases. Sometimes, the points you earn can combine with other travel credit cards you have in your wallet (for example, the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card). But if you're looking for ease, you may want to earn cash back instead. No matter the case, there are many compelling reasons to open a credit card with a customizable rewards rate, especially when your life expenses can be unpredictable.

Official application link: Amex Business Gold
Official application link: Bank of America Customized Cash
Official application link: Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash
Official application link: Citi Custom Cash
Official application link: Chase Freedom Flex

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold, please click here.

Featured image by JOHNER IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more