The Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2014

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Today, credit card companies are literally throwing cash, points and miles at consumers if they’ll sign up for a new rewards credit card. We’re talking bonuses worth hundreds of dollars just for getting a credit card, many of which have no annual fee. I’ve written about many of these deals over the past few months. For this article, I decided to do some more research to come up with the best rewards credit cards you’ll find anywhere.

I learned two things from my research. First, most articles you find are outdated. For example, even the venerable publication Consumer Reports lists rewards cards that have long since been replaced with better offers. And second, many lists leave out some of the best cards. In fairness, I should add that it’s not practical to list every offer available (there are literally thousands). But I’ve tried to include the rewards cards that are the absolute best.

The list is organized by type of reward (cash, miles or points):

Cash Rewards

Discover it®

Editor's Pick

Discover it®

Apply for the Discover it®
  • Fair. No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. Plus, pay up to midnight ET online or by phone on your due date without a fee. No late fee on your first late payment. And paying late won’t raise your APR.*
  • Generous. 5% cash back at Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores and Bed Bath & Beyond® on up to $1,500 in purchases from April through June 2014.*
  • Human. 100% U.S.-based customer service available any time.
  • Safe. Because you’re never responsible for unauthorized charges with our $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee.
  • Plus, free FICO® Credit Score on your monthly statement to help you stay on top of your credit.*
  • 0% Intro APR* on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A fee of 3% applies for each balance transferred.
  • *Click "Apply" to see rates, rewards, and free FICO® Credit Score terms and other information.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card - Earn 20,000 Bonus Points
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card - Earn 20,000 Bonus Points
Apply Now...
at CitiBank's
secure site
  • Earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $1,500 in card purchases within 3 months of account opening redeemable for $200 in gift cards or other great rewards!
  • 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 12 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99% based upon your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.*
  • 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou Point on other purchases
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
  • Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
  • No annual fee*
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
0%* 12 Months* 0%* 12 Months* 12.99% – 22.99%* Variable $0*
743 Average credit score approved for this card† 697 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card - Low Intro APRs
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card - Low Intro APRs
Apply Now...
at CitiBank's
secure site
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 22.99% based upon your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater*
  • 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou Point on other purchases.
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited ThankYou Points
  • Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
  • No annual fee*
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
0%* 15 Months* 0%* 15 Months* 12.99% – 22.99%* Variable $0*
727 Average credit score approved for this card† 641 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card
Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card
Apply Now...
at CitiBank's
secure site
  • Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back every quarter in must-have categories. Right now, on purchases at The Home Depot®, home furnishing and home and garden stores from 4/1/14 through 6/30/14.
  • Enrollment each quarter is quick and easy
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • The total cash back earned with the card is $300 per calendar year, excluding the $100 cash back with this offer. See Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information.
  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months. After that, the APR will be 12.99%-22.99% variable based on your creditworthiness*
  • No Annual Fee*
  • Click Apply Now to see pricing details
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
0%* 12 Months* 0%* 12 Months* 12.99% – 22.99%* Variable $0*
712 Average credit score approved for this card† 656 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

Miles Rewards

Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® - Earn 2x on All Purchases
Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® - Earn 2x on All Purchases
Apply Now...
at Barclaycard's
secure site
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next travel redemption!
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • No mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel statement credits (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)
  • Use your card to book through any airline, hotel or discount travel engine with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits towards all or a portion of your travel purchases within the last 90 days
  • Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Arrival cardmembers
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
0% 12 Months 0% 12 Months 14.99% or 18.99%* Variable $89 - waived first year
737 Average credit score approved for this card† 691 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®
Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®
Apply Now...
at CitiBank's
secure site
  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership*
  • Your first eligible checked bag is free*
  • Group 1 boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases*
  • Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount every cardmembership year with qualifying purchases and cardmembership renewal*
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
N/A N/A N/A N/A 13.99% - 21.99%* Variable $95, waived for first 12 months*
723 Average credit score approved for this card† 642 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

Points Rewards

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card
Apply Now...
at CitiBank's
secure site
  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening.*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at a participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • No annual fee.*
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
N/A N/A N/A N/A 14.24% or 16.24% Variable None
748 Average credit score approved for this card† 659 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card
Apply Now...
at CitiBank's
secure site
  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio*
  • Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card
Purchases Balance Transfers Regular APR Annual Fee
Intro APR Intro APR Period Intro APR Intro APR Period
N/A N/A N/A N/A 15.24%* Variable $95
746 Average credit score approved for this card† 664 Lowest credit score approved for this card†

If you know of a rewards card that is better than what’s listed here, please leave a comment and let us know about it.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are authors alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the “Apply Now” button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer’s website.

Discover is a paid advertiser of this site.

Published or Updated: February 17, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. k says:

    thanks for these tips and this webpage. i used it to find a good credit card and so far the chase card has worked out fine. thanks!

    • Gary C says:

      PenFed Pentagon Federal Credit Union has the best Reward card. Fuel 5%, Groceries 3%, and 1% everything else. It is easy to join if you’ve ever been in the military, or worked for the Federal government. I haven’t checked in a while, but it might also be open if you have worked for a state, county, or city government.

  2. Credit Card Education says:

    I completely agree with the assessment about the Starwood Card — it’s one of my favorite rewards cards too because you can really stay at a range of hotel levels and the sign-up bonus is pretty nice. My wife and I stayed at a level 1 hotel for two nights for a wedding and it cost us very few points. Going forward we’re hoarding points to help subsidize the cost of our dream vacation to Bora Bora as there is a sweet spot in the Starwood network, although sadly that will be about 10 years worth of points because we’re trying to have it pay for the whole trip (air/hotel).

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