Some credit cards are for travel, others give cash back and others group their juiciest rewards into rotating categories. But if you have a favorite store, brand or team, there might be a specialty card that a bank dreamed up just for you.
You can use these cards anywhere in most cases, but they’re designed to maximize rewards for brand-specific purchases. That brand could be a store or website, a payment service, an airline, a sports team or a network of hotels, concert venues or theme parks.
Many branded cards offer lesser rewards for the same kinds of purchases as standard credit cards — things like gas, groceries and entertainment. But, no matter the niche, branded cards all have the same purpose: to amplify the rewards you earn for spending on the things you care about most.
Unfortunately, many branded cards, especially store cards, have reputations for lackluster rewards, high fees and confusing policies. Here is a roundup of the branded cards that are simple to use, don’t come with any catches and deliver top-notch rewards.
If you’re a Costco club member, Citi designed one of its best cash back cards just for you. Costco Anywhere offers 4% cash back on gas and EV charging, up to $7,000 annually. After that, you get 1% back. Restaurants and travel purchases earn 3% unlimited cash back, all Costco and Costco.com purchases get 2% cash back and all other purchases earn 1%. There are no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee, but you must be a Costco member to apply.
House of Mouse fanatics can earn big rewards if they fund their obsession with the Disney Premier card by Visa. Cardholders save 10% on select purchases at shopDisney.com, as well as on purchases of $50 or more at Disneyland and Disney World. You also get 5% in Disney Rewards Dollars for purchases made through DisneyPlus.com, ESPNPlus.com and Hulu.com.
You can redeem your Rewards Dollars for most things Disney or for a statement credit toward airline travel. Also, the card offers special vacation financing — but it does come with a $49 annual fee.
If you’re a Prime member, you’re not taking full advantage of the Amazon experience until you get the Visa Signature card that pays you back. The Chase Amazon card pays Prime members 5% cash back for all purchases at Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, but Amazon has a rotating selection of items and categories that pay 10% back.
Cardholders also get 5% back on Chase Travel purchases, 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and local transit/commuting, and 1% back on everything else. The card has no annual fee and no international transaction fees. Plus, there’s no cap on cash back and points never expire.
Capital One Walmart Rewards Card
Amazon may be the king of e-commerce, but Walmart is still the biggest retailer in the world. Its rewards card from Capital One delivers 5% unlimited cash back during the first year when you shop in store with Walmart Pay — it falls to 2% after the introductory period.
You also get 2% cash back on travel and restaurant purchases. On delivery or pickup purchases made through Walmart.com or the Walmart mobile app, you’ll get 5%. All other purchases earn 1% back.
Football fans can pick their favorite team cards when they apply for the NFL Extra Points card from Visa. Cardholders earn 3% cash back on qualifying NFL and NFL team purchases; 2% for restaurants, food delivery, gyms, sporting goods and grocery purchases; and 1% rewards for everything else. If you’re approved, you’ll get $100 cash back after you spend $500 on non-NFL purchases in the first 90 days as well as 20% off NFLShop.com purchases.
Like the NFL card, NHL Discover It lets fans support their favorite squad with a special card for all 32 hockey teams. It’s a rotating card that pays 5% cash back in categories such as grocery stores, fitness clubs, gas stations, Target, restaurants, PayPal, Amazon and digital wallets, which are grouped into four seasonal categories that change throughout the year.
All other purchases get 1% back; and, during your first year, Discover offers an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match for all the cash back you’ve earned. There’s no annual fee, and the card comes with a 0% introductory APR for 15 months.
The best flat-rate cash back cards pay 2% back — anything above that is typically reserved for introductory promotions, rotating categories or categories that have spending and earning caps.
PayPal’s cash back card offers the same industry-leading 2% cash back everywhere you shop, with no cap or limits — but it pays 3% on all purchases you make through PayPal. There are no restrictions, no rotating categories and no annual fee, which puts it in contention for the best flat-rate cash back card on the market, branded or otherwise.
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Ashleigh Ray contributed to the reporting for this article.
Note: The information related to the credit cards mentioned was collected by GOBankingRates and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this product/card. Product details may vary. Please see issuer website for current information. GOBankingRates does not receive commission for this product.