The Ultimate Guide to the Best Cards for Each Bonus Category

May 31, 2019

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Despite all of the advanced techniques for generating rewards, people are still surprised to hear that daily spending on credit cards is the most reliable way to earn points, miles or cash back. The key is to use cards that earn the most rewards for each particular spending category.

But not all types of cards treat rewards the same. Business cardholders may earn 5x rewards at office supply stores, while someone with a travel rewards credit card would earn just 1x. That’s why we’re going to divide the best cards for each spending category into three distinct groups:

To truly earn the highest rate of return on all of your spending, you may need to hold a combination of all three types of cards. Now, let’s take a look at the best cards in each bonus category for all three groups of cards. For each card, the total earned per dollar spent is shown in parenthesis. You can click “see more” in any cell to jump to the section discussing that card as well as secondary options.

Spending Category Points and Miles Cards Cash-Back Cards Business Cards
Dining Citi Prestige Card (8.5 cents), see more Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card (4 cents), see more American Express® Business Gold Card (8 cents at US restaurants*), see more
Entertainment Citi Premier Card Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card (4 cents), see more N./A
Hotels Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (14 cents), see more N/A The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (10 cents, must book pre-paid stays through AmexTravel.com), see more
Airfare Citi Prestige Card (8.5 cents), see more N/A The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (10 cents, must book through AmexTravel.com), see more
General Travel Chase Sapphire Reserve (6 cents), see more Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (3-5.25 cents), see more Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (6 cents on $150,000 per year, then 2 cents), see more
Groceries Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express (6 cents on $6,000 per year, then 2 cents; 50% bonus when you use the card 30 times a month), see more Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (6 cents on $6,000 per year, then 1 cent), see more N/A
Gas Citi Premier Card (5.1 cents), see more Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi (4 cents on $7,000, then 1 cent; requires Costco membership), see more American Express® Business Gold Card (8 cents at US gas stations*), see more
Office Supplies N/A N/A Ink Business Cash Credit Card (10 cents on $25,000 per year, then 2 cents), see more
Non-bonus Spending Chase Freedom Unlimited (6 cents on $20,000 first year, then 3 cents), see more Citi Double Cash Card(2 cents), see more The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express (4 cents on $50,000 per year, then 2 cents), see more
Rotating Categories N/A Chase Freedom (5 cents), see more N/A

*If this category is one of two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle.

Although the above table shows our top travel rewards, cash-back and business card for each spending category, oftentimes there are multiple cards that perform well — and may even perform better for your particular spending patterns. As such, throughout this post we’ll present the best card for each spending category followed by a table with additional cards you should consider for that spending category. Let’s get started!

In This Post

Points and Miles Cards

Points and miles cards earn transferable currencies, airline miles or hotel points. Click on the following links to jump to the parts of this section that cover the best points and miles cards for dining, hotels, airfare, general travel, groceries, gas and non-bonus spending.

DiningCiti Prestige Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Return: 5 Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent at restaurants. Points are worth 1.7 cents apiece according to TPG’s latest monthly valuations, so you’re getting a return of 8.5%.

Current Bonus: 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Benefits: This card recently added 5x earning on dining when it relaunched this January. You’ll also earn 5x points on air travel, 3x points on hotels and cruise lines and 1x on all other purchases. You’ll get automatic statement credits each year for up to $250 of travel spending, a Priority Pass Select membership and a fourth night free on stays of four nights or longer when booked through Citi — although this benefit will be capped to use twice a year starting in September. The Prestige has no foreign transaction fees, and features solid shopping and travel protections. See the full card review.

Annual Fee: $495

Here are some of the top cards, including the Citi Prestige, for earning points or miles on dining spend:

Card Dining Category Bonus Value of the Points Total Earned per Dollar Spent Annual Fee Welcome Bonus
Citi Prestige Card 5x 1.7 cents 8.5 cents $495 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months
American Express® Gold Card 4x 2 cents 8 cents $250 (See Rates & Fees) 35,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. Terms Apply.
Chase Sapphire Reserve 3x 2 cents 6 cents $450 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months

HotelsCapital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: 10x miles on hotels booked and paid through Hotels.com at the Hotels.com/Venture link (ends Jan. 31, 2020). That equals a 14% return, since TPG values Capital One Rewards at 1.4 cents each. If you stack the 10x earning with the Venture card with the Hotels.com Rewards program to earn one free hotel night for every 10 you book, you’re effectively getting a 24% return. However, you may not get hotel loyalty benefits and earnings on these stays. See the full card review.

Current Bonus: 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

Benefits: Earn 2x miles on all other purchases. Get an up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years. No foreign transaction fees. See the full card review.

Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Here are some of the best options, including the Capital One Venture Card, for earning points or miles at hotels:

Card Hotel Category Bonus Value of the Points Total Earned per Dollar Spent Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 10x through Jan. 31, 2020 1.4 cents 14 cents $95 (waived first year) 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months 10x only when you book and pay through the Hotels.com/Venture link
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express 14x 0.6 cents 8.4 cents $450 (See Rates & Fees) 150,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Terms Apply. 14x only at participating Hilton properties
World of Hyatt Credit Card 4x 1.7 cents 6.8 cents $95 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months; an additional 25,000 points after spending $6,000 total in the first six months 4x only at Hyatt properties
Chase Sapphire Reserve 3x 2 cents 6 cents $450 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months

Airfare Citi Prestige Card

Return: 5 Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent on air travel. Points are worth 1.7 cents apiece according to TPG’s latest monthly valuations, so you’re getting a return of 8.5%.

Current Bonus: 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Benefits: This card recently added 5x earning on air fare when it relaunched this January. You’ll also earn 5x points on dining, 3x points on hotels and cruise lines and 1x on all other purchases. You’ll get automatic statement credits each year for up to $250 of travel spending, a Priority Pass Select membership and a fourth night free on stays of four nights or longer when booked through Citi — although this benefit will be capped to use twice a year starting in September. The Prestige has no foreign transaction fees, and features solid shopping and travel protections. See the full card review.

Annual Fee: $495

Here are some of the best options, including the Citi Prestige, for earning points or miles on airfare purchases. Even though the Prestige’s return is slightly less than The Platinum Card® from American Express, the Prestige and Chase Sapphire Reserve features solid travel protections in many categories — such as trip delay and baggage delay — whereas the Platinum Card doesn’t offer any protection.

Card Airfare Category Bonus Value of the Points Total Earned per Dollar Spent Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Citi Prestige Card 5x 1.7 cents 8.5 cents $495 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months
The Platinum Card® from American Express 5x 2 cents 10 cents $550 (See Rates & Fees) 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Terms Apply. 5x only when you book directly with the airline or with American Express Travel
Chase Sapphire Reserve 3x 2 cents 6 cents $450 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months

General Travel Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: 3 points per dollar on all travel (and dining), equal to a return of 6% when you use this card to pay for airlines, hotels, rental cars and other purchases that Chase counts as travel.

Current Bonus: 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Benefits: 3x points on all travel purchases is a huge benefit (excluding $300 travel credit), made even better by the Ultimate Rewards program’s solid selection of 1:1 airline and hotel transfer partners. Sapphire Reserve cardholders can also redeem points for 1.5 cents apiece through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, and the card offers an $300 annual travel statement credit that applies to a wide variety of purchases. The card provides Priority Pass Select membership and has excellent travel protections. See the full card review.

Annual Fee: $450

Here are the top options, including the Sapphire Reserve, for earning points or miles on general travel spending:

Card Travel Category Bonus Value of the Points Total Earned per Dollar Spent Annual Fee Welcome Bonus
Chase Sapphire Reserve 3x 2 cents 6 cents $450 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months
Citi Premier Card 3x 1.7 cents 5.1 cents $95 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 2x 2 cents 4 cents $95 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months

Groceries Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

(Photo by Rawpixel via Unsplash)
(Photo by Rawpixel via Unsplash)

Return: 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 each year; then 1x, plus a 50% points bonus each statement period that you make 30 or more transactions, for a total of up to 4.5x points. At a value of 2 cents per point, these rewards could be worth 9% of your purchases.

Current Bonus: 15,000 bonus points when you use your card to spend $1,000 in purchases within three months of account opening.

Benefits: 2x points at US gas stations and a 50% bonus on all points received when you make 30 or more transactions in a statement period. You can transfer points to airlines and hotels that partner with the Membership Rewards program. Note that this card does charge a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so you won’t want to use it for purchases abroad.

Annual Fee: $95

Here are some of the best options, including the EveryDay Preferred, for earning points or miles on groceries (and US supermarkets). Since all of the cards below only offer bonus earnings on groceries/supermarkets in the US, you’ll want to use a general spending card without foreign transaction fees when buying groceries abroad.

 

Card Grocery Category Bonus Value of the Points Total Earned per Dollar Spent Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
3x up to $6,000 per year, then 1x; 50% bonus when you use the card 30 times a month 2 cents 6 cents (9 cents with 50% bonus) $95 15,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Terms Apply. 3x only at US supermarkets; 2.7% foreign transaction fee
American Express® Gold Card 4x up to $25,000 per year, then 1x 2 cents 8 cents $250 35,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. Terms Apply. 4x only at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x)
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card 2x up to $6,000 per year, then 1x; 20% bonus when you use the card 20 times a month 2 cents 4 cents (6 cents with 20% bonus) None 10,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Terms Apply. 2x only at US supermarkets; 2.7% foreign transaction fee

The information for the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card and Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Gas Citi Premier Card

Return: 3x points on all travel including gas. These points are worth 1.7 cents each, which equals a 5.1% return for your gas purchases.

Current Bonus: 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening.

Benefits: 2x points on dining out and entertainment. You can transfer your ThankYou points to 15 airline loyalty programs, which can allow you to maximize your points. Your points are also worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed toward airfare booked through the ThankYou Travel Center. This card also waives foreign transaction fees. See the full card review.

Annual Fee: $95

Although some cards may theoretically have a higher potential return, it can be difficult to obtain the maximum value from these cards. So, here are some of the top options, including the Citi Premier, for earning points or miles on gas purchases.

 

Card Gas Category Bonus Value of the Points Total Earned per Dollar Spent Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Citi Premier Card 3x 1.7 cents 5.1 cents $95 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
2x; 50% bonus when you use the card 30 times a month 2 cents 4 cents (6 cents with 50% bonus) $95 15,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Terms Apply. 2x only at US gas stations; 2.7% foreign transaction fee

Non-Bonus Spending — Chase Freedom Unlimited

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: 3% cash back (or 3 points) on the first $20,000 in spend your first year. After that, 1.5% cash back (or 1.5x points) on all purchases with no limits. While this is technically a cash-back card, if you have another Chase card that offers transfers to Ultimate Rewards partners, you can combine your rewards and redeem them as points. Since these points are worth 2 cents each, you’re looking at a return of up to 6% on your first $20,000 in spend your first year and then a return of up to 3% long-term.

Benefits: This card come with a basic benefits package including purchase protection and extended warranty protection. Don’t use it for non-bonus spending outside of the US, since it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. See the full card review.

Annual Fee: $0

Here are the top options, including the Freedom Unlimited, for earning points and miles on non-bonus spending:

Card Non-Bonus Earning Value of the Points Total Earned per Dollar Spent Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Chase Freedom Unlimited 1.5x (3x on the first $20,000 in spend your first year) 2 cents 3 cents (6 cents on the first $20,000 in spend your first year) $0 None 3% foreign transaction fee; need Ultimate Rewards-earning card for 2 cent per point value
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 2x 1.4 cents 2.8 cents $95 (waived first year) 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card 1x; 50% bonus when you use the card 30 times a month 2 cents 2 cents (3 cents with 50% bonus) $95 15,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Terms Apply. 2.7% foreign transaction fee

Cash-Back Cards

At this point, it’s pretty much gospel that cash-back credit cards aren’t nearly as lucrative as points- and miles-earning cards. That is particularly true when it comes to the outsized welcome bonuses offered by the premium travel credit cards. But cash-back cards have been making some noise lately on category bonuses, with some cards offering returns of up to 6% on certain categories while charging nominal annual fees.

Click on the following links to jump to the parts of this section that cover the best cash-back cards for dining and entertainment, groceries, gas, travel, rotating categories and non-bonus spending.

Dining and EntertainmentCapital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Return: Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment. Dining includes purchases at restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries, while entertainment includes ticket purchases made at movie theaters, sports promoters (professional and semi-professional live events), theatrical promoters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls and bowling alleys.

Current bonus: Earn $300 after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months after opening the account.

Benefits: Earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You’ll pay no foreign transaction fee on purchases outside the US, and you’ll receive protective benefits like extended warranty and price protection. See the full card review.

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Here are some of the best options, including the Savor Card, for earning cash back on dining and entertainment purchases:

Card Dining Category Return
Entertainment Category Return Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card 4% 4% $95 (waived first year) $300 after spending $3,000 in the first three months
Uber Visa Card 4% 2% for select online purchases, 1% otherwise None $100 after spending $500 in the first 90 days
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card 3x, worth 3% – 5.25% 3x, worth 3% to 5.25% for popular streaming services, 1% otherwise None 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months Points are normally worth 1 cent each, but are worth 1.5 cents if you also have a Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card and are worth 1.75 cents if you spend spend $50,000 a year or more on the Wells Fargo Visa Signature

 

US SupermarketsBlue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Shoppers browse the produce section at Whole Foods Market grocery store in Dublin, California, June 16, 2017, June 16, 2017. On June 16, 2017, Amazon.com announced that it would acquire the upscale grocery chain. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
(Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Return: Earn 6% cash back at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Be sure to steer clear of superstores and warehouse clubs when shopping for groceries though, as they don’t qualify for 6% cash back.

Current bonus: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.

Benefits: Earn 3% cash back at US gas stations and 1% back on other purchases.  This card comes with a 0% APR  introductory offer for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (transfers requested within 60 days of account opening) (See Rates & Fees), then a variable rate, currently 14.49%-25.49% (See Rates & Fees). This card is also eligible for enrollment in Amex Offers, a discount program that sends targeted offers to enrolled cardholders.

Annual fee: $95 (See Rates & Fees)

Here are some of the best options, including the Blue Cash Preferred, for earning cash back on US supermarkets. As with the grocery cards that earn points and miles discussed above, none of the cards below are particularly useful for purchasing groceries outside the US. So, you’ll want to use a general spending card when shopping for groceries abroad.

Card Grocery Category Return Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express 6% on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% $95 (See Rates & Fees) $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. Terms Apply. 6% only at US supermarkets; 2.7% foreign transaction fee (See Rates & Fees)
Target REDcard 5% None None 5% only at Target
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express 3% on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% None (See Rates & Fees) $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. Terms Apply. 3% only at US supermarkets; 2.7% foreign transaction fee (See Rates & Fees)

 

GasCostco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Return: Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year (1% thereafter). This is available worldwide, not just at Costco gas stations. The 4% bonus rate will not be applied to gas purchased at superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores and warehouse clubs other than Costco, or for fuel used for non-automobile purposes.

Current bonus: None

Benefits: Earn 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases, 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco (in store and online) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You’ll also enjoy several purchase protections, including extended warranty protection. There are no foreign transaction fees. You have to be a Costco member to be eligible for this card, and although this is a cash-back card, you can’t earn statement credits or redeem your rewards at any time. Instead, you’ll receive a reward coupon annually, redeemable for cash or merchandise at US Costco warehouses.

Annual fee: $0 with your paid Costco membership ($60 for Gold Star and business members and $120 for Gold Star Executive members)

Here are some of the best options, including the Costco Anywhere Visa, for earning cash back on gas purchases:

Card Gas Category Return
Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi 4% on up to $7,000 per year, then 1% None None Requires Costco membership
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card 3x, worth 3% – 5.25% None 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months Points are normally worth 1 cent each, but are worth 1.5 cents if you also have a Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card and are worth 1.75 cents if you spend spend $50,000 a year or more on the Wells Fargo Visa Signature
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express 3% $95 $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Terms Apply. 3% only at US gas stations; 2.7% foreign transaction fee

 

TravelWells Fargo Propel American Express® card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Return: Earn 3x points on travel, including flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals, taxis, gas station purchases and rideshares. Rewards can be redeemed for more than just cash back, but all redemption options generally are worth the same. Other options include travel, gift cards and charity donations. You can redeem rewards for airfare at 1.5 cents each on the Wells Fargo travel portal when you own another card that earns Go Far Rewards points, like the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card. And if you spend $50,000 in a calendar year on the Wells Fargo Visa, that redemption rate jumps to 1.75 cents per point, which would make 3x points worth as much as 5.25 cents per dollar when redeemed for airfare. (The information for the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card and the Wells Fargo Propel Amex have been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.)

Current bonus: Earn 30,000 points ($300) after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

Benefits: Earn 3x points on dining and on select streaming services, and 1% on all other purchases. You’ll also enjoy cell phone protection. When you pay your monthly bill with the Propel, you can get up to $600 in protection (subject to a $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft.

Annual fee: $0

Here are some of the best options, including the Wells Fargo Propel, for earning cash back on travel spending:

Card Travel Category Return Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card 3x, worth 3% – 5.25% None 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months Points are normally worth 1 cent each, but are worth 1.5 cents if you also have a Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card* and are worth 1.75 cents if you spend spend $50,000 a year or more on the Wells Fargo Visa Signature
Uber Visa Credit Card 3% None $100 after spending $500 in the first 90 days 3% only on hotels and airfare
Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card 2x, worth 2% – 3.5% $95 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days Preferred Rewards members get a 25% to 75% bonus on earnings

*The information for the Wells Fargo Visa Signature has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Rotating Bonus Categories — Chase Freedom

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: You’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases. That’s not very appealing. But the big appeal for Chase Freedom is the 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at merchants in the card’s quarterly bonus categories.

To qualify for the 5% cash back, you’ll need to activate the bonus categories every quarter. Chase offers numerous activation options, including a one-click email activation the issuer will send you every quarter. If you plan to primarily redeem your rewards in the form of cash back, know that you’ll only be able to earn a maximum of $75 per quarter on the bonus categories ($1,500 in purchases at 5% cash back). If, however, you pair the card with one that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards and transfer the Freedom points to that card, you can approximately double the annual value of rewards.

Current bonus: Earn $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases during your first three months after account opening.

Benefits: New cardholders also will enjoy a 0% introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period expires, the standard rate is a variable APR of 16.49% – 25.24%.

Annual fee: None

Here are some of the best options, including the Chase Freedom, for earning cash back on rotating bonus categories:

Card Rotating Category Bonus Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Chase Freedom 5% None $150 after spending $500 in the first three months No choice of categories; your 5% categories change quarterly; 3% foreign transaction fee
Discover it® Cash Back 5%; enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year None Cash back is matched at the end of your first year No choice of categories; enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card 5% (for the first $2,000 spent per quarter in your two chosen categories combined, then 1%) None $150 after spending $500 in the first 90 days Categories you choose from may rotate quarterly
Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card 3% – 5.25% (for the first $2,500 spent per quarter in your 3% and 2% categories combined, then 1% – 1.75%) None $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days Preferred Rewards members get a 25% to 75% bonus on earnings; 3% foreign transaction fee; categories you choose from quarterly don’t change
Card Non-Bonus Return
Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Citi Double Cash Card 2% (1% when you buy, plus 1% when you pay) None None 3% foreign transaction fee
Chase Freedom Unlimited 1.5% (3% on the first $20,000 in spend your first year) None None Cash back can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points if you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card; 3% foreign transaction fee
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card 1.5% None $150 after spending $500 in the first three months
Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card 1.5x, worth 1.5% – 2.625% $95 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days Preferred Rewards members get a 25% to 75% bonus on earnings
Discover it® Miles 1.5% None Cash back is matched at the end of your first year

Business Cards

One thing that makes business rewards credit cards so attractive is their flexibility when it comes to earning those rewards. Business cards actually offer even more bonus categories to choose from than their personal travel credit card counterparts. The trick is finding the card that matches your business spending.

Click on the following links to jump to the parts of this section that cover the best business cards for office supplies, dining, airfare and hotels, general travel, gas and non-bonus spending.

Office SuppliesInk Business Cash Credit Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Return: Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and on Internet, phone and cable services on up to $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year, then 1% thereafter. This card normally earns cash-back, but if you pair the card with one that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards and transfer your points to that card, you can approximately double the value of your rewards.

Current bonus: Earn $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases during your first three months after account opening.

Benefits: Get 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at gas stations and at restaurants. This card also has solid travel and purchase protections for a card with no annual fee. See the full card review.

Annual fee: None

Here are some of the best business cards, including the Ink Business Cash, for getting a solid return on office supplies:

Card Office Supplies Return Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
Ink Business Cash Credit Card 5% (on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on Internet, cable and phone services each account year, then 1%) None $500 after spending $3,000 in the first three months Cash back can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points if you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card; 3% foreign transaction fee
United Explorer Business Card 2 miles per dollar spent (2.8% return) $95 Earn up to 100,000 after qualifying purchases: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open and 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.

DiningAmerican Express® Business Gold Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: This recently re-launched card has a unique earnings structure: You’ll earn 4x points on your top two select spending categories each month, from a list of six. One of the options is purchases at restaurants, so if this is a top spending area for your business, you can get a 8% return on these purchases. Other options include airfare purchased directly from airlines, US purchases for advertising in select media and US purchases at gas stations. Your top two select spending categories each month are determined by the amount spent in each on your billing cycle, and you’ll earn 4x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases across these categories each calendar year (then 1x).

Current bonus: Earn 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Benefits: A 25% Pay With Points bonus when you use Amex points to pay for business or first-class airfare with any airline or for any class of airfare with your Amex selected qualifying airline (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year). No foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees). See the full card review.

Annual Fee: $295 (See Rates & Fees)

Here are some of the best business cards, including the Amex Business Gold Card, for getting a good return on dining expenses:

Card Dining Category Return
Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
American Express Business Gold Card 4x points (8%) $295 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms apply. 4x only at US restaurants if US restaurants is one of two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 6x points (3.6%) $95 (See Rates & Fees) 125,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months. 6x only at US restaurants
Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi 3% None None Requires Costco membership

Hotels and Airfare — The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Return: Earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on airfare and on prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com, 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million extra points per year) and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Redeem points directly for first or business class, or for any seat on the airline of your choice, and get a 35% points rebate.

Current bonus: Earn up to 75,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

Benefits: Cardholders get access to Centurion and Priority Pass lounges, plus Delta Sky Clubs when you’re flying Delta. You also get a $200 annual airline fee credit and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application rebate. There are no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees), but remember that the card doesn’t feature trip delay and baggage delay protections that are often included with premium cards. This card comes with access to Platinum Travel Service concierge counselors who can create custom itineraries based on your preferences. Like the Business Gold card, the Business Platinum is a charge card. See the full card review.

Annual fee: $595 (See Rates & Fees)

Here are some of the best business cards, including the Business Platinum Card, for getting a solid return on airfare expenses. Airline business cards like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® or Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card or United Explorer Business Card may be better if you mainly fly on one airline, while hotel business cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card or The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card may be better if you mainly stay at one hotel brand.

Card Airfare Category Return
Hotel Category Return Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
The Business Platinum Card from American Express 5x points (10%) 5x points (10%) $595 Earn up to 75,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. 5x only on airfare and pre-paid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com
American Express® Business Gold Card 4x points (8%) 1x points (2%) $295 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms apply. 4x only if airfare purchased directly from airlines is one of two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle (up to $150,000 each calendar year, then 1x)
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 3x points (6%) on the first $150,000 in combined travel, shipping, Internet, phone, cable and advertising purchases 3x points (6%) on the first $150,000 in combined travel, shipping, Internet, phone, cable and advertising purchases $95 80,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months Offers superior travel protections

General Travel — Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Return: 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases across the following categories: travel, shipping purchases, Internet, phone and cable purchases and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.

Current bonus: Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months from account opening.

Benefits: Cell phone protection of up to $600 against covered theft or damage when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Ink Business Preferred. Shopping and travel protections that include purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation and interruption protection and primary auto rental collision damage waiver when renting for business purposes. See the full card review.

Annual fee: $95

Gas — American Express® Business Gold Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Return: Earn 4x Membership Rewards points on your top two select spending categories each month, from a list of six. One of the options is purchases at US gas stations, so if this is a top spending area for your business, you can get a 8% return on these purchases. Other options include airfare purchased directly from airlines, US purchases for advertising in select media and purchases at restaurants in the US. Your top two select spending categories each month are determined by the amount spent in each on your billing cycle, and you’ll earn 4x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases across these categories each calendar year.

Current bonus: 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms apply.

Benefits: A 25% Pay With Points bonus when you use Ame x points to pay for business or first-class airfare with any airline or for any class of airfare with your Amex selected qualifying airline (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year). No foreign transaction fees. See the full card review.

Annual Fee: $295

Here are some of the best business cards, including the Amex Business Gold Card, for getting a solid return on gas purchases:

 

 

Card Gas Category Return Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
American Express Business Gold Card 4x points (8%) $295 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms apply. 4x only at US gas stations if US gas stations is one of two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle (up to $150,000 each calendar year, then 1x)
Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card 3% – 5.25% None $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days Business Advantage Relationship Rewards members get a 25% to 75% bonus on earnings; 3% foreign transaction fee
United Explorer Business Card 2x miles (2.8%) $95 Earn up to 100,000 after qualifying purchases: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open and 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard 2x miles (2.8%) $99 (waived first year) 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening

Non-Bonus Spending — The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express

Return: If you want a business rewards credit card but you don’t want to track category spending, this no-fuss, no-muss card could be your answer. Earn 2x Membership Rewards points on all purchases for the first $50,000 spent each year; then 1x. That equals a 4% return based on TPG’s valuations. You’ll sacrifice some of the huge bonuses other cards offer on specific categories, but if office supply spending isn’t really a concern you’re not missing out on much.

Current bonus: None

Benefits: Employee cards are free (See Rates & Fees), and you’ll earn rewards from their business spend. 2.7% foreign transaction fee (See Rates & Fees). See the full card review.

Annual fee: $0 (See Rates & Fees)

Card Non-bonus Category Return
Annual Fee Welcome Bonus Notes
The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express 2x on the first $50,000 in purchases each year (4%) None None 2.7% foreign transaction fee
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 2x (2.8%) $95 (waived first year)  Earn up to 200,000 bonus miles; 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 1x (2%) $95 80,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
The Business Platinum Card from American Express 1x – 1.5x (2% – 3%) $595 Earn up to 75,000 bonus points: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 bonus points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. 1.5x earnings for purchases of $5,000 or more

Featured image by scyther5 / Getty Images

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of Amex Business Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday card, click here.

Updated on 5/28/19

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.