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Why you should get a fixed-rate rewards credit card

Oct. 18, 2021
6 min read
Why you should get a fixed-rate rewards credit card
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Bonus categories, rotating rewards, wallets filled with credit cards strategically dedicated to each of life's little expenses. Earning the maximum number of points and miles with your credit cards requires a lot of brain power.

But you don't have to expend a lot of energy to accrue credit card points efficiently. Fixed-rate rewards cards earn a flat rate on all purchases, and many offer a respectable return. Moreover, if you'd rather not memorize which cards go with which purchases, a straightforward fixed-rate rewards earning card is your best bet.

These four cards exhibit the simplicity of a fixed-rate product — while simultaneously affording you the option to redeem your rewards for bucket-list travel items. I'll show you what I mean.

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Best fixed-rate rewards cards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus Capital One miles after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening. TPG valuations estimate this bonus to be worth $1,388 (not provided by the issuer).

Earning rate: Earn 2 Capital One miles per dollar on every purchase.

Redemption possibilities: There are plenty of ways to redeem Capital One miles, though not all are a good idea.

For starters, you can redeem Capital One miles at fixed values at the following rates for:

  • Travel - 1 cent per mile
  • Gift cards - between 0.8 cents and 1 cent per mile
  • Shopping online with Amazon or PayPal - 0.8 cents
  • Cashback - 0.5 cents

These are the options for those who most value simplicity. The top choice here is redeeming your miles for travel, as you're guaranteed to get a value of at least 1 cent per mile.

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However, if you're willing to complicate things a bit, you can get vastly more return for your miles by transferring them to airline and hotel partners. We estimate Capital One miles to be worth 1.85 cents each when you redeem your rewards in this way.

Read our post on how to transfer Capital One miles to partners to see how powerful this currency can be. And read our Capital One Venture review for more card details.

Annual fee: $95

Application link: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Intro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Earning rate: Earn 1.5% back (1.5 points per dollar) on all purchases.

Redemption possibilities: The Chase Freedom Unlimited is ostensibly a simple cash-back card. If you spend $1,000 with the card, you'll receive $15 cash back.

However, the card technically earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, not cash. You actually have the ability to transfer the rewards you earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited to various airline and hotel partners if you also have one of the following cards:

When you use your points in this way, TPG estimates your rewards to be worth 2 cents each. In other words, earning 1.5 points per dollar with the Freedom Unlimited translates to 5% back in travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Read our post on how to turn cash back into Chase points for more details. And check out our Chase Freedom Unlimited review to learn more about this card.

Annual fee: $0

Application link: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Citi® Double Cash Card

Sign-up bonus: None.

Earning rate: Earn 1% back when you make a purchase and 1% back when you pay off that purchase. You'll effectively get 2% back for all expenses.

Redemption possibilities: Earning 2% on everything is a solid return -- and fewer cards are less complicated than this earning structure.

However: Similar to the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the rewards you earn with the Citi Double Cash aren't what they appear. The card actually earns Citi ThankYou points, which are worth significantly more than cash when you transfer them to valuable airline partners. TPG valuations peg Citi ThankYou points at 1.8 cents each, meaning this card earns 3.6% back toward travel on all purchases.

To unlock the ability to transfer your points, you'll need one of the following cards:

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Annual fee: $0

Application link: Citi® Double Cash Card

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership. TPG valuations estimate this bonus to be worth $300 in travel.

Earning rate: Earn 2 Amex points per dollar on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year (then 1 point per dollar for other eligible purchases).

Redemption possibilities: Like the above cards, the easiest ways to redeem points are usually not the best. Here are some examples:

  • Use Amex Pay with Points to book airfare through Amex Travel at 1 cent per point
  • Purchase gift cards for between 0.5 cents and 1 cent each (depending on the merchant)
  • Reimburse credit card charges as a statement credit for 0.6 cents each

Again, there is value in simplicity. But you can get an astronomically greater return for your Amex points by transferring them to airline and hotel partners (around 2 cents in value per point, on average). Read our post on the best ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points to see how great these rewards can be. And read our Blue Business Plus Amex review for more card details.

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)

Application link: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Bottom line

If the mental gymnastics of rotating bonus categories and promotional earning rates aren't your thing, a fixed-rate rewards card might be for you. Every time you swipe, you'll know precisely how many rewards you'll earn — no matter the nature of your purchase.

For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Plus card, click here.

Photo by Altin Osmanaj/Shutterstock.

Featured image by Shutterstock
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.
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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