The Best Rewards Credit Cards

Updated: 23rd April, 2019.

We’ve vetted some of the most popular credit cards on the market to bring you our shortlist of the best credit cards for racking up rewards. These cards can be great for those that want their spending rewarded with points that can be spent on everything for everyday necessities to fun gifts.

Here are MyWalletHero’s picks for the best rewards credit cards.

Great for: Long 0% purchase and balance transfer, plus points
5 stars question mark
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On M&S Bank's Secure Website

The M&S Shopping Plus credit card ticks a lot of the boxes to make a great credit card. For starters, there’s a long 20-month 0% period on new purchases. But you can add to that a 20-month, 0% period for balance transfers made in the first 90 days and the M&S points programme. It is worth noting that there’s a 2.9% fee on balance transfers.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 20 months
  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days
  • 2.9% balance transfer fee
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere
  • Bonus points voucher for 500 M&S points (worth £5 at M&S) mailed with new card

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 20 months
  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days (2.9% fee applies)
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% interest on purchases for 20 months
    0% interest on balance transfers for 20 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 5/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest on purchases for the first 20 months
  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days
  • 2.9% balance transfer fee
  • Earn M&S points for shopping at M&S and elsewhere
  • Bonus points voucher for 500 M&S points (worth £5 at M&S) mailed with new card

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: Big points at M&S plus sign-up bonus
5 stars question mark
Apply Now!

On M&S Bank's Secure Website

For M&S shoppers, the M&S Reward Plus card may look like an outstanding option. Over the first year, users get 2 M&S points for every £1 spent at M&S, along with 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. You get a nice boost from the beginning too, as M&S will send you a 500-point voucher with the card, and another 2,000-point bonus just for using the card in the first 90 days.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2 M&S points for every £1 spent at M&S in first year (1 points per £1 spent after that)
  • 1 M&S point for ever £5 spent elsewhere
  • 500 point M&S voucher (worth £5) sent with card
  • 2,000 point bonus if the card is used in the first 90 days
  • 0% interest for 6 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 6 months on balances transferred in the first 90 days (2.9% fee applies)
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate p.a. 19.9% (variable)
Representative APR 19.9% (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • Double M&S points for M&S shopping in first year (2 points per £1 spent)
  • 1 M&S point for ever £5 spent elsewhere
  • 0% interest for 6 months on purchases and balance transfers made in the first 90 days
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    Double points at M&S for first year
    2,000 bonus points for using card in first 90 days

KEY SCORES:

  • 5/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2 M&S points for every £1 spent at M&S in first year (1 points per £1 spent after that)
  • 1 M&S point for ever £5 spent elsewhere
  • 500 point M&S voucher (worth £5) sent with card
  • 2,000 point bonus if the card is used in the first 90 days
  • 0% interest for 6 months on purchases
  • 0% interest for 6 months on balances transferred in the first 90 days (2.9% fee applies)
  • No annual fee

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase rate p.a. 19.9% (variable)
Representative APR 19.9% (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: Cashback for Asda shoppers
4 stars question mark

The Asda Cashback Credit Card is an interesting card that sets itself apart from the competition. Cardholders get 0.2% cashback for all of their shopping, and an even better 1% for shopping at Asda and online affiliates (like George.com). It’s important to note that the “cashback” is not true cash, but rather cashback vouchers to Asda. Tack on a balance transfer option and six months of 0% APR for large purchases at George.com and this is a compelling card to consider.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • 0.2% cashback vouchers for Asda on all purchases
  • 1% cashback vouchers for Asda for spending at Asda and George.com
  • 0% on balance transfers for 12 months (3% balance transfer fee)
  • 0% APR for 6 months on purchases of £200 or more at George.com
  • 10% cashback vouchers for Asda when you buy certain Asda insurance products
  • In-store purchases of more than £300 in Travel Money are eligible for a £5 discount

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Standard purchases 19.9% p.a. variable
Representative 19.9% APR variable
Based on assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0.2% cashback vouchers for Asda on all purchases
  • 1% cashback vouchers for Asda for spending at Asda and George.com
  • 0% on balance transfers for 12 months (3% balance transfer fee)
  • 0% APR for 6 months on purchases of £200 at George.com
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    12 months 0% interest on balance transfers

KEY SCORES:

  • 3.5/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 5/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • No annual fee
  • 0.2% cashback vouchers for Asda on all purchases
  • 1% cashback vouchers for Asda for spending at Asda and George.com
  • 0% on balance transfers for 12 months (3% balance transfer fee)
  • 0% APR for 6 months on purchases of £200 or more at George.com
  • 10% cashback vouchers for Asda when you buy certain Asda insurance products
  • In-store purchases of more than £300 in Travel Money are eligible for a £5 discount

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Standard purchases 19.9% p.a. variable
Representative 19.9% APR variable
Based on assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: Balance transfers with no fee
4 stars question mark

Don’t overlook the Tesco 0% Balance Transfer Fee Credit Card. The 20-month balance transfer period isn’t on the super-long end, but it’s still more than a year and a half. Better still, you won’t pay a fee on your balance transfers. This is a better choice if you’re just looking for balance transfers, as there’s no 0% purchase period. However, you will collect Tesco Clubcard points when you shop with this card.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers
  • No fee on balance transfers
  • 1 Tesco Clubcard point for every £4 spent in Tesco and 1 point for every £8 spent elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Interest on purchases 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200

what we like

  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers
  • No fee on balance transfers
  • 1 Tesco Clubcard point for every £4 spent in Tesco and 1 point for every £8 spent elsewhere
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £0
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    19.9%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    0% on balance transfers for 20 months

KEY SCORES:

  • 3/5 Perks
  • 5/5Fees
  • 3/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 0% interest for 20 months on balance transfers
  • No fee on balance transfers
  • 1 Tesco Clubcard point for every £4 spent in Tesco and 1 point for every £8 spent elsewhere

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 19.9% APR (variable)
Interest on purchases 19.9% p.a. (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Great for: Premium credit card experience
3.5 stars question mark
UK_AXP_Preferred_Rewards_Gold_Card

This card offers a premium package in the form of high credit limits, a lucrative rewards programme and travel benefits suited to those who enjoy a jet-setting life. However, with the steep price of £140 in the form of an annual fee, you should expect a card with all the trimmings.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1 Membership Rewards Point per £1 spent
  • 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend £3,000 in first three months
  • Airport lounge access (2 complimentary visits / year)

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 57.6% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 22.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200

what we like

  • 1 Membership Rewards Point per £1 spent
  • 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend £3,000 in first three months
  • Airport lounge access (2 complimentary visits / year)
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £140 (£0 in your first year)
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    57.6%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    10,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points (after £3,000 in first 3 months)
    £0 annual fee in your first year

KEY SCORES:

  • 5/5 Perks
  • 1/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1 Membership Rewards Point per £1 spent
  • 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend £3,000 in first three months
  • Airport lounge access (2 complimentary visits / year)

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Representative rate 57.6% APR (variable)
Purchase rate 22.9% p.a. (variable)
Based on borrowing £1,200
Great for: Racking up points
2 stars question mark

Don’t skip over the RBS Rewards Credit Card! Like the NatWest Rewards card, our rating is low on this card for good reasons. But also simliar to the NatWest card, the rewards yield for the RBS Rewards card is better than most rewards cards, and you’re not as limited as store-brand cards. And again, that annual fee is reimbursed if you have a Rewards current account.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1% rewards for spending at supermarkets, 0.5% for spending everywhere else
  • Special offers of 1%-15% rewards for some MyRewards retailers
  • The annual fee is refunded if you have a Rewards current account

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase Rate 18.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative APR 23.7% (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Annual fee £24

what we like

  • 1% rewards for spending at supermarkets, 0.5% for spending everywhere else
  • Special offers of 1%-15% rewards for some MyRewards retailers
  • The annual fee is refunded if you have a Rewards current account
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £24
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    23.7%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 1/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1% rewards for spending at supermarkets, 0.5% for spending everywhere else
  • Special offers of 1%-15% rewards for some MyRewards retailers
  • The annual fee is refunded if you have a Rewards current account

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase Rate 18.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative APR 23.7% (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Annual fee £24
Great for: Racking up points
2 stars question mark
NatWest Student Credit Card

Don’t skip over the NatWest Reward Credit Card! Our rating is low on this card for good reasons — it doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, it doesn’t have a 0% purchase offer, there’s an annual fee, and the APR is higher than competitors. Ouch. However, the yield on rewards points is better than most competitors, and you’re not as limited as store-brand cards. Plus, that annual fee is reimbursed if you have a Rewards current account.

Read full review >

CREDIT RATING req:

  • Poor/No credit
  • Fair/Average
  • Good/Excellent

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1% rewards for spending at supermarkets, 0.5% for spending everywhere else
  • Special offers of 1%-15% rewards for some MyRewards retailers
  • The annual fee is refunded if you have a Rewards current account

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase Rate 18.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative APR 23.7% (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Annual fee £24

what we like

  • 1% rewards for spending at supermarkets, 0.5% for spending everywhere else
  • Special offers of 1%-15% rewards for some MyRewards retailers
  • The annual fee is refunded if you have a Rewards current account
  • ANNUAL FEE:

    £24
  • REPRESENTATIVE APR:

    23.7%
  • INTRO OFFER:

    N/A

KEY SCORES:

  • 4/5 Perks
  • 1/5Fees
  • 1/5APR

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1% rewards for spending at supermarkets, 0.5% for spending everywhere else
  • Special offers of 1%-15% rewards for some MyRewards retailers
  • The annual fee is refunded if you have a Rewards current account

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE

Purchase Rate 18.9% p.a. (variable)
Representative APR 23.7% (variable)
Assumed credit limit £1,200
Annual fee £24

About reward cards

Reward cards are exactly what they say they are: credit cards that offer rewards for spending. Rewards can vary but typically come in the form of reward points, cashback or Avios. The level of rewards for how much is spent is specific to each card’s offer, but the overall principle remains the same: the more you spend on your card, the more rewards you will earn.

How we picked the winners

There are many types of reward card available, but we focused on these elements to shortlist the ones we feel are the best on the market:

  • High reward yields – If you are taking out a reward card, then you want one that will really reward you. One of the factors we considered was a high rewards yield per £1 of spending.
  • Simple reward programmes – We looked for reward programmes that have clear rules for earning and redeeming rewards, and that don’t make you jump through hoops to get the most value.
  • Sign-on bonuses – These are added extras that really help you make the most of your reward card. We tried to include cards that offer sign-up bonuses with the most value.
  • Introductory 0% interest periods – Included in our shortlist are cards that also offer some sort of introductory 0% interest period for either purchases, balance transfers or both.
  • Annual fees that make sense – Not all cards in our list have an annual fee. For those that do, we wanted to make sure it wouldn’t significantly reduce the overall value of the card’s offering.

What type of credit card rewards are there?

Credit card rewards – the benefits you receive for every £1 you spend on your credit card – come in three different forms:

Reward points

These are reward points for your spending. The reward rate will depend on which card you choose. Cards that offer reward points are often affiliated with a retailer or supermarket and offer higher reward points on money spent in store compared with that spent elsewhere. For example, you could earn one point for every £1 you spend in store, but only one point for every £2 spent at another retailer. Typically, reward points accrue over one month or three months and are then given to the cardholder in the form of a voucher.

Cashback rewards

Some cards offer rewards in the form of cashback. The level of cashback you can earn depends on the individual card. For example, you could receive a cashback yield of 0.5% for every £1 spent, meaning if you spent £100 on your credit card you would earn 50p of cashback. It is best to check whether a particular cashback card has any limit on how much cashback you can earn over a certain period.

Avios

Avios reward points were previously known as Airmiles. You can put the value of Avios points towards paying for air fares, hotels and other travel perks.

Things to consider when choosing a reward card

It may seem a great idea to start earning money from the money you are already spending, but here are a few things to bear in mind when choosing which reward credit card to go for.

First you need to consider where you shop and therefore which reward card would suit you best. If you regularly shop at Tesco, for example, there would be little point in taking out a Sainsbury’s Bank credit card as most of its reward points are tied to spending in store at Sainsbury’s. Therefore, consider your shopping habits and find a card that fits with them. Alternatively, if you are tempted by an offer from a retailer that you don’t usually shop with, consider whether you could change where you shop in order to maximise your rewards.

Secondly, look at what form you will receive your rewards in. M&S may be offering a high reward yield with its credit card, but if you are only receiving those rewards in the form of M&S vouchers and you rarely shop there, are you actually going to benefit from the card?

Thirdly, be smart with annual fees. Some reward cards carry an annual fee. It is best to calculate how much you think you will be able to earn in rewards and offset this against the cost of the annual fee. Cards with annual fees often offer the higher rewards, but you need to make sure a card makes financial sense for you. Alternatively, look and see whether you can be reimbursed for the annual fee by taking out a current account with the bank.

6 ways to accumulate rewards faster

There are plenty of ways to accumulate extra points without spending extra money. Here are some top tips for helping you make the most of your reward card.

  1. Use your card like a debit card – If you are looking to earn lots of rewards, then the best way to go about it is to spend lots of money – but rather than rack up lots of debt you can’t afford to repay, use your credit card like your debit card. If you make your credit card your main means of payment but make sure you pay off the amount immediately or budget to pay off the full balance monthly, then you can maximise the amount of rewards you can earn. If you do all your spending in one place, then everything you spend is earning you a reward. Just make sure you keep on top of your balance, and don’t fall in the trap of spending above your means.
  2. Add an additional user – Some reward cards let you add an additional user at no extra cost. This could be a partner or a close family member, who could then start accruing points with their own credit card linked to your account. Something to note though, is that adding an additional user makes you responsible for their debt. Additionally, any mistakes you make, like a late payment, will show up on their credit report and vice versa.
  3. Put large expenses on the card – If you have some home improvements coming up or are looking to book a holiday, you could put the cost on your credit card and earn reward points as a result. This is best only done if the card also offers an introductory 0% interest period on purchases, otherwise you could run the risk of incurring interest charges on your balance and wiping out any reward benefits you have earned.
  4. Card referrals – Look to see whether your credit card offers bonus reward points for referring someone else for the card. This is often a way of injecting bonus points into your account.
  5. Select a reward card to suit you – Make sure the card reflects your shopping habits. You won’t really benefit from a Sainsbury’s reward scheme if you do all your weekly food shopping at Asda.
  6. Redeem your rewards wisely – Look at how best to redeem the rewards. You may receive Clubcard vouchers that equate to £9 in cash when spent in store, but if you were to use the Clubcard Boost programme you could convert your vouchers into the equivalent of £27 to spend at Cineworld, for example. It is best to make sure you understand the reward scheme you select and therefore how best to use the vouchers once you have earnt them.

What’s the catch?

As with anything, there is always a downside. Reward cards are a great idea in principle, but there are some things to be aware of before you get spending.

  • Reward cards typically have high interest charges. Therefore, reward cards are best suited to borrowers who can repay their balance in full each month. Any remaining balance, unless you have a card that offers an introductory 0% interest period on purchases, could incur interest charges that outstrip any reward benefits you might have accrued.
  • As mentioned before, some reward cards carry an annual fee. You will need to take any fee into account when calculating whether it would be worthwhile to take a card out that carries an annual fee.
  • It is also best to look at what you can earn reward points on. Typically, reward points can only be accrued on purchases, so balance transfers would not qualify. Also, some cards specify which purchases qualify for reward points; for example, travel money purchases would be unlikely to earn you any reward points.

Is a reward card right for me?

As with any credit card, you have to look at your individual circumstances. If you think you can pay off your balance in full every month and would spend enough on a credit card to accrue points, then a reward card could be a good fit for you.

As to which reward card you select, the best choice depends on where you tend to shop and which vouchers you would get the most value from. When choosing which card to apply for, decide on the type of rewards you want to receive, calculate how much you are likely to spend on that card each year, and then compare the rewards you would earn on that amount from a range of different cards.

It is best also to check the application criteria for the card, in order to assess whether you would be likely to be accepted. All our reviews for reward cards include a guide to which credit score band you would need to achieve in order to be likely to be accepted for that card.

If you don’t think you would get any value from a reward points scheme then maybe look at cashback credit cards, which offer a cashback yield for money spent, rather than vouchers.


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