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Rewards credit cards

Find a credit card that gives you something back each time you use it

Choosing the right credit card can mean you get a little bonus for every pound you spend on it - with rewards including air miles, loyalty points and even straight up cash back
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Virgin AtlanticM&S BankNectarBritish AirwaysAmerican ExpressTesco BankBarclaycardVirgin AtlanticM&S BankNectarBritish AirwaysAmerican ExpressTesco BankBarclaycard
Last updated
December 22, 2022
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Our services are provided at no cost to you. We may receive a commission from the companies we refer you to, but this does not affect what you will pay for the product you choose.

What is a reward credit card?

A reward credit card gives you points when you spend on your credit card.

These can then be redeemed against goods and services. These points can be converted into:

  • Useful vouchers

  • Discounts

  • Flights or hotels

  • Days out

  • Special offers

Some reward credit cards offer specific rewards such as air miles, discount vouchers and cashback.

You may have to spend a minimum amount on your reward credit card each month, in order to qualify for rewards or perks.

It's best not to use these types of reward credit cards for borrowing or withdrawing cash, as the interest rates on them can be quite high.

A great deal, offered in partnership with Barclaycard

At Uswitch, we only promote offers that we believe to be a good deal. Our editors look at several factors to weigh each product including the interest free period, fees and any add-on benefits.

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Offered in partnership with Barclaycard

No fees overseas - including ATM use - and cashback on what you buy wherever you use the card make this an attractive offering.

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Senior Content Editor - Personal Finance
Card
Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card
Cashback
Up to 0.25%
Balance transfer term
25.9% p.a. variable
Purchase term
25.9% p.a. variable
APR
25.9% APR

Representative example: The standard interest rate on purchases is 25.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 25.9% (variable).

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Offered in partnership with Barclaycard
Card
Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card
Cashback
Up to 0.25%
Balance transfer term
25.9% p.a. variable
Purchase term
25.9% p.a. variable
APR
25.9% APR

Representative example: The standard interest rate on purchases is 25.9% p.a. (variable), so if you borrow £1,200 the Representative APR will be 25.9% (variable).

No fees overseas - including ATM use - and cashback on what you buy wherever you use the card make this an attractive offering.

Author image
Senior Content Editor - Personal Finance

Watch: Cashback and rewards credit cards explained

How they work

Rewards cards take advantage of something called the "interchange fee".

This is what credit card providers charge shops for sorting out the payment process each time you use them.

With a rewards card, the bank issuing you the card splits that fee with you, letting you earn more the more you spend on it.

But rather than just giving you a small percentage of the money you spend back, some credit card companies secure deals with travel companies, supermarkets and more to generate bigger rewards for you.

  • Each time you spend, you can earn something back in reward points as a reward for your loyalty - this can be cash, points or special deals.

  • Great for people who pay off their balance each month - you get the reward card perks without paying any interest.

  • Some of the best credit card rewards allow you to exchange points for store discounts, gift vouchers, hotel stays and even almost free flights.

If you have existing credit card debt, or are paying interest on one or more credit cards, then reward cars are probably not for you. You could consider balance transfer credit cards.

Types of reward cards

Cash back cards
Cash back cards

Instead of earning points, a cashback credit card allows you to earn back a percentage of the money you spend.

The money you earn will be put back into your account either monthly or annually.

Unless you pay off the credit card amount each month, the cost of interest might outweigh the rewards.

Air miles credit cards
Air miles credit cards

An air miles or airline credit card is a reward credit card for travel. Depending on which program the card is affiliated with.

It allows you to collect British Airways Avios points or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles through your everyday spending.

You can exchange Avios or other points for spending towards travel costs including flights, seat upgrades, hotels and car rental.

Types of reward cards
Cash back cards
Cash back cards

Instead of earning points, a cashback credit card allows you to earn back a percentage of the money you spend.

The money you earn will be put back into your account either monthly or annually.

Unless you pay off the credit card amount each month, the cost of interest might outweigh the rewards.

Air miles credit cards
Air miles credit cards

An air miles or airline credit card is a reward credit card for travel. Depending on which program the card is affiliated with.

It allows you to collect British Airways Avios points or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles through your everyday spending.

You can exchange Avios or other points for spending towards travel costs including flights, seat upgrades, hotels and car rental.

Should I take out a reward credit card?

Using a reward credit card instead of cash or your debit card for everyday spending could be a great way to earn something back. But you should always pay off your balance in full. Credit cards with rewards often have higher interest rates, known as the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), compared to other credit cards. Any rewards you earn might be worth less than the interest you owe.

How do I choose the right rewards credit card card?

The card you choose will depend on your needs and spending habits.

Some cards offer you the chance to earn points that you can spend in a specific shop. Others provide vouchers that you can spend across a variety of retailers.

For example, some reward cards give you the chance to collect Nectar points, which can be put towards anything from restaurant bills to cinema tickets.

UK monthly credit card purchases[1]
£18.5billion
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Rewards credit cards FAQs

What are multi-purpose reward credit cards?

Reward cards are often competitive in other areas, allowing you to use them for different purposes. Even if you’re not a regular shopper some reward cards could be worth considering for the added benefits on offer.

For example, as well as points, many cards offer long 0% interest periods on balance transfers, or long 0% interest periods on purchases, or even both.

However, as interest rates on reward credit cards are normally average at best, they’re only really suited to people able to clear their balance in full every month.

What is the best rewards credit card?

What makes the best reward credit card for you will vary depending on what rewards you'll use most. Think about how much you will use a reward credit card, where you will use it, and what benefits or rewards would be most valuable for you.

Where you do most of your shopping with a particular retailer it might be a good idea to get a reward card from that retailer. You can earn points that you'll be able to spend in their shop. If you do your shopping in a number of supermarkets or retailers then you might not be getting the best deal. Even with a really attractive rate of points, you'll be tied to shopping in one place when it comes to spending your rewards.

What about premium rewards cards?

Premium cards are elite reward cards that give exclusive rewards like access to VIP lounges, in exchange for a fee.

There is usually a minimum income level that you have to have in order to be approved for a premium reward card. There is also often a minimum monthly or annual spend in order to qualify for the rewards.

Some top end reward card credit cards also charge an annual fee, so you need to weigh up the benefits and costs.

Find out more about premium cards

How many reward card credit cards can I have?

There is no limit to the number of reward credit cards you can have, although in terms of managing your personal finances you do not want to have too many cards to have to pay off each month.

While different credit cards give different rewards, it is better to pick the right reward credit card for you, rather than having lots of credit cards. This is because you will have the temptation to overspend, and because lenders may be wary of you if you have applied for a lot of potential credit.

Having lots of credit cards, whether you use them or not, can affect your credit rating, and whether you are approved for credit such as a loan, mortgage or mobile phone or broadband contract. Find out more about How to check your credit rating.

What does 'most popular' mean?

When we use the term ‘most popular or ‘popularity’ on Uswitch in reference to credit cards, these cards are ranked by the number of clicks they have received on the site in the past 48 hours.

The most clicked on cards are at the top, with the least at the bottom. This reflects how popular they are with visitors to Uswitch.com. Consequently, this is a good table to look at if you’re interested in seeing which cards most people think are worth getting.


Credit card guides

Find out more about how credit cards work with our in-depth guides
How many credit cards can you have?
How many credit cards can you have?
How to use a credit card
How to use a credit card
What are the differences between credit and debit card?
What are the differences between credit and debit card?

About the author

Salman Haqqi
Salman Haqqi has over a decade of experience as a journalist in several countries around the world. In recent years, he has turned his focus to helping people make confident financial decisions and regularly comments in the media about personal finance.

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