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The best reward credit cards in 2022

Ruth Emery
30 Mar 2022

Get more for your money with our pick of the top-ranking reward credit cards

Reward credit cards give you something back whenever you spend on them, such as cashback, vouchers or loyalty points. If you’re planning a holiday, you could be rewarded with Air Miles or hotel vouchers, while other credit cards give you a welcome bonus, shopping discounts or just free cash whenever you use them.

Reward credit cards can be a great way of effectively getting something for nothing. The trick is to ensure you pay off your bill in full each month and that you don’t accrue any interest. Otherwise, you’ll end up owing the credit card company – and it should be the other way round!

There’s a wide range of reward credit cards to choose from, and working out which is best for your spending habits – and will earn you the highest amount of money or goodies – can be time-consuming. We’ve done the hard work of researching all the key credit cards to help you find the best reward credit cards you can get right now.

Disclaimer: A product or firm being well placed in the tables based on past performance is no guide to their likely future performance, and our ranking does not amount to a recommendation.

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Best reward credit cards: At a glance

How to choose the best reward credit card for you

Make sure to compare the rewards on offer

Different people like different rewards. If your preference is for cold, hard cash, look for the cards with the highest level of cashback. For every pound spent, you get a certain percentage back – 1%, for instance.

Sometimes a higher level of cashback is initially paid, which then falls after, say, three months. Other cards pay tiered rates, depending on how much you spend. For example, you might receive 0.5% cashback if you spend less than £5,000, then 1% on amounts over £5,000.

If you do a lot of your spending at a single retailer, such as Amazon or Sainsbury’s, you may find a reward card issued by that retailer offers better value than cashback, as the loyalty points could be worth more. Likewise, cards that give you Air Miles or hotel vouchers could be more useful to you, depending on your lifestyle.

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Watch out for fees

Some reward cards charge an annual fee, especially some of those on offer from American Express, so you’ll need to weigh up the value of the rewards against the yearly cost.

Credit card charges may also be applied in other scenarios, such as for missing a payment, withdrawing cash from an ATM or using your card abroad. In addition, going over your credit limit can incur a fee. So check all the fees carefully before you sign up for the card.

Check the interest rates

The key to using a reward card is to take the freebies and avoid paying the credit card company any interest or unnecessary fees (bar an annual fee, which could be worth paying). However, if you don’t pay your bill in full each month, your balance could be hit with interest.

A handful of reward cards offer 0% interest on spending for a few months, or if you’re lucky, more than a year. But many do charge interest, which can range from about 20% to eye-watering levels above 60%. To avoid missing a bill and incurring interest, set up a direct debit to pay the full balance – you could time this for just after your pay day to ensure you’ve got the funds available in your current account.

Pay attention to small print

As with most things in life, it pays to check the small print. And this is especially true with financial products. If the reward credit card gives cashback, check when this is actually paid. It might only be credited to your balance once a year. Also check if you have to spend a minimum amount to get any cashback or rewards.

For Amex, bear in mind that not all shops accept the cards, so you may not be able to spend on them as much as you like.

Disclaimer: The terms of conditions of each card are not fully represented in the tables below and, as terms and conditions can change at any time, check before applying for these cards. Furthermore, a product or firm being well placed in this article based on past performance is no guide to their likely future performance. Our ranking does not amount to a recommendation.

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The best reward credit cards in 2022

1. American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday: Best no-fee cashback card

Interest rate: 24.7% | Apply now

Amex cards usually come with a fee, but this one is completely free. You get 0.5% cashback on purchases of up to £10,000, rising to 1% on spending above £10,000. For the first three months, you get a massive 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £100) as a special bonus.

There’s no cap on the amount of cashback you can get: as long as you spend at least £3,000 each year, every full £1 you spend qualifies for cashback. The cashback is paid into your card account every year.

As well as the absence of any fee, we also like that the interest rate is relatively low, at 24.7%.

The downside is that not everywhere accepts Amex, so keep a Visa or Mastercard handy in your pocket in case the card machine says “no”.

Apply now

Rewards/cashbackWelcome bonusAnnual feeInterest rate (APR)
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday0.5% cashback up to £10,000 spent; 1% cashback above £10,0005% bonus cashback on purchases (up to £100) in first 3 monthsNo fee24.7%

2. American Express Platinum Cashback: Best card for maximum cashback

Interest rate: 30.0% | Apply now

This is a top deal for those looking for the highest amount of cashback. It pays 0.75% cashback (on spending up to £10,000) or 1.25% (on spending above £10,000), which is more than the Platinum Cashback Everyday card. However, it does come at a price: there’s an annual fee of £25, plus the interest rate is higher (if you don’t pay your balance off each month), at 30.0%.

For the first three months, just like the Platinum Cashback Everyday card, you get a higher cashback rate: 5% on purchases (up to £125). Perfect if you’re getting the card to make a large purchase.

Apply now

Rewards / cashbackWelcome bonusAnnual feeInterest rate (APR)
American Express Platinum Cashback0.75% cashback up to £10,000 spent; 1.25% cashback above £10,0005% bonus cashback on purchases (up to £125) in first 3 months£2530.0%

3. Amazon Platinum: Best for regular Amazon shoppers

Interest rate: 21.9% | Apply now

This is a great way to earn money from all those Amazon purchases. If you’re a Prime member – and more than half of British households are said to be – you get three Amazon Reward points for every £2 spent at the e-commerce giant. Those who haven’t signed up to Prime get 1.5 Amazon Reward points for every £2 spent at Amazon, while shopping elsewhere gets you 0.5 points.

The points translate as one Amazon point = 1p to spend at Amazon. For every 1,000 points earned, the retailer gives you a £10 gift card.

We like that the card has no annual fee, plus you get a £20 Amazon gift card as a welcome gift.

The interest rate is fairly low, at 21.9%, and you actually get your first three months interest-free, which sweetens the deal.

Apply now

Rewards / cashbackWelcome bonusAnnual feeInterest rate (APR)
Amazon Platinum1.5 Amazon Reward points for every £2 spent on Amazon (3 points for Prime members); 0.5 points for every £2 spent elsewhere£20 Amazon gift cardNo fee21.9% (0% for 1st 3 months)

4. Santander All in One: Best for interest-free shopping and balance transfers

Interest rate: 23.7% | Apply now

If you’re looking for a cashback card that also has a nice long interest-free period for purchases and/or balance transfers, look no further. Santander has a 0% offer on purchases for 20 months, and 0% for balance transfers for 26 months.

It also pays 0.5% cashback on all purchases. If you sign up to its “Retailer Offers”, you earn a higher cashback rate, of up to 15%, on certain purchases such as at Costa and Sky.

Santander scored well for customer service in our first ever Expert Reviews Money Awards, with 79% of customers saying they were likely or highly likely to recommend the bank.

The sting in the tail with the All in One card is the £3 a month fee (or £36 a year).

Apply now

Rewards / cashbackWelcome bonusAnnual feeInterest rate (APR)
Santander All in One0.5% cashback; up to 15% cashback on Retailer Offersn/a£36 (£3 a month)23.7% (0% on purchases for 20 months; 0% on balance transfers for 26 months)

5. American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit: Best for rewards

Interest rate: 60.1% | Apply now

For those looking for a card that gives a wide range of perks, this Amex card certainly delivers. Customers typically get one point for every £1 spent – although they can earn extra points for certain travel-related spending.

The points can be converted into Nectar points, used at a variety of merchants including Amazon and Ticketmaster, or transferred to airline or hotel loyalty schemes, such as British Airways Executive Club, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Hilton Honors.

The welcome bonus is generous: spend £3,000 in the first three months and you'll get a 20,000-point windfall, enough for a £100 shopping voucher. Amex also promises to make your lifestyle “more rewarding” with this card: customers get two free airport lounge visits a year, plus cashback on Deliveroo orders.

We like that the points never expire. We’re not so keen on the £140 annual fee – although this is waived in the first year – and the sky-high 60.1% interest rate.

Apply now

Rewards / cashbackWelcome bonusAnnual feeInterest rate (APR)
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold1 point for every £1 spent; 2 points for any airline or foreign currency purchase; plus two free airport lounge visits20,000 bonus points on £3,000 spend in first 3 months£140 (no fee in year 1)60.1%

6. Sainsbury’s Bank Nectar: Best no-fee card for shopping rewards

Interest rate: 20.9% | Apply now

If you tend to do your weekly shop at Sainsbury’s, and perhaps spend at Argos and Habitat too, the points on this card can rack up fairly quickly. Customers get three Nectar points per £1 spent at Sainsbury's, Argos, Habitat and Tu Clothing when they use their credit card at the same time as their Nectar card. They collect one point for every £5 spent elsewhere.

You can collect 8,000 bonus points if you spend £400 or more on the card at the brands listed above during the first two months. This is equivalent to a £40 introductory bonus.

Nectar points can be spent at many places, from Sainsbury’s and eBay to Vue Cinema and Eurostar, or swapped for BA air miles.

We like that there’s no fee (there’s also an Amex Nectar card, but it comes with a £25 annual fee). We’re also impressed with the card’s zero-interest introductory period of up to 17 months for both balance transfers and purchases.

One thing to be mindful of is that you must have been a Nectar member for at least six months to qualify for the card.

Apply now

Rewards / cashbackWelcome bonusFeeInterest rate (APR)
Sainsbury's Bank Nectar3 Nectar points for every £1 spent at Sainsbury’s, Argos and Habitat when using Nectar card / app; 2 Nectar points for every £1 spent at those shops if not using Nectar card / app; 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere8,000 bonus points on £400 spend at Sainsbury’s, Argos or Habitat in first 2 monthsNo fee20.9%

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