Rewards credit cards keep getting more and more rewarding. For the past several years, card issuers have been hustling to attract customers with generous sign-up bonuses and ongoing perks that have the potential to line your pockets with hundreds of dollars a year. The six largest credit card issuers are spending more than twice as much on card rewards than they did in 2010, according to a study by personal finance site MagnifyMoney.com. Chase pumps the most money into its cards, and it shows: Five cards issued by Chase grace our latest list of the best rewards credit cards. Plus, the release of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card last year shook up the market for premium travel rewards cards–those with fees in the hundreds of dollars annually and perks to match–spurring competitors to beef up their offerings or introduce new cards.
As you choose the card that suits you best, take stock of your spending habits. Do you rack up big grocery bills to feed your family? Burn through a lot of gas on your commute? Travel frequently? We’ve selected top cards in those categories and more. Also keep in mind that if you don’t pay off your credit card bill in full each month, a rewards card probably isn’t for you. Interest charges will likely cancel out any earnings that you capture.
To help you evaluate the winners, we calculated a typical annual rebate for each card, drawing on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey to determine average spending in various categories and assuming a total of $22,000 spent on the card annually. Except where noted, the rebate doesn’t account for sign-up bonuses or annual fees if they are waived the first year; earnings do not have caps or expiration dates; and the travel-oriented cards do not charge foreign-transaction fees.