Bank programs offers great opportunities to earn rewards on everyday spend. These programs aren't associated with any particular airline or hotel program. Instead, they are offered directly through the bank. You'll also want to note that there are two types of bank rewards programs. Those that allow you to transfer points to partners and those that don't. The more popular programs are of course the ones that allow you to transfer points to airline miles and hotel points.
Transferable Rewards Points
When you're diving into bank rewards programs, there are several major programs that allow you to transfer your earned points to other rewards programs. Those bank programs are:
- AMEX Membership Rewards
- Capital One Venture & Spark Rewards
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Citi ThankYou Points
- HSBC Rewards
The reason these type of bank rewards programs are popular is because it gives you more flexibility when it comes to redeeming your points. You can redeem your rewards directly with the bank, but you can also transfer your points to your favorite rewards programs. Since airline miles (and sometimes hotel points) can be worth 1.2 to 2+ cents or more, these kind of programs will generally give you a higher return over programs that do not feature the ability to transfer points.
For example, when earning AMEX Membership Rewards Points I can redeem them directly through the AMEX Travel Portal towards airfare or I can transfer my AMEX Points directly to an airline program and use them to book award travel.
American Express Membership Rewards
American Express Membership Rewards is one of the top rewards programs in the world. Membership Rewards Points can be redeemed directly with AMEX and their partners for up to 1 cent in value or you can transfer your earned points to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs which can give you even more value per point. If you like to travel, the American Express Membership Rewards Program is one of the rewards program you should heavily consider looking into. They have a total of 10 credit cards with most of the cards offering great returns and superb benefits.
|AMEX Membership Rewards|
Bank of America Points
Bank of America Points offers three credit cards that earn Bank of America Travel Rewards Points. These points are generally worth 1 cent each and basically operate like cash back. What sets the program apart from others is that you can earn up to 75% bonus points based on total investment with Bank of America and their partners which can easily give you high returns on your spend.
|BOA Travel Rewards|
Capital One Miles
Capital One has two reward programs called Capital One Venture Rewards and Capital One Spark Rewards. Venture Rewards consists of two personal credit cards that earn Venture Miles per $1 spent. Spark Rewards consists of two business credit cards that earn Spark Miles per $1 spent. Both currencies are pretty identical when it comes to redeeming them and transferring them to Capital One's airline and hotel partners. Capital One Miles are worth 1 cent each for most redemptions, but can be transferred to partners to obtain higher value.
|Capital One Rewards|
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Chase Ultimate Rewards is a top tier rewards programs that is great for anyone who wants to build flexible rewards points that are transferable to airline frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. There are a total of three Ultimate Rewards credit cards, but you can also convert cash back earned with any of Chase's four cash back into Ultimate Rewards Points as long as you have at least one Ultimate Rewards Card attached to your account. This gives you a total of seven credit cards to work with.
Citi ThankYou Rewards
Citi is one of the top programs alongside AMEX Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards due to the flexibility of being able to redeeming points directly with Citi and their partner or transfer them to airline frequent flyer programs. Citi has a small handful of ThankYou Point earning cards, but these cards earn 2 to 5 points per $1 spent across various categories. You can also convert cash back earned with the Citi Double Cash until ThankYou Points to ensure that you never earn less than 2 points on any purchase.
Comerica offers a few rewards points credit cards that can earn you a decent return on your spend. The Comerica Premier Rewards AMEX Card earns a great return on restaurant and airline spend while the Comerica Visa Real Rewards Cards both earn a 1.5% return on all spend.
|Comerica Rewards Points Calculators|
|Comerica Premier Rewards AMEX Card Calculator|
|Comerica Visa Real Rewards Card Calculator|
|Detroit Tigers Visa Real Rewards Card Calculator|
The Discover Miles program is a single card program that features one flat-rate 1.5x mile earning card which pretty much acts as a 1.5% cash back credit card. These miles cannot be transferred to airline partners and aren't to be confused with actual airline miles. The draw to the Discover Miles program (as well as their cash back program) is that Discover matches your first year of earnings. So it's basically an unlimited 3% cash back credit card the first year which is superb.
HSBC is a great program for those looking to earn points transferable to several airline frequent flyer program. HSBC has a total of three credit cards that focus on categories like dining, travel, and entertainment. Their cards also feature a bunch of useful benefits such as credits, discounts, travel insurance/protection, and more.
Luxury Card offers three tiers of credit cards that are focused on benefits more than the actual earning of rewards points. The Titanium Card is your standard priced entry card that offers great travel insurance/coverage, the Black Card offers a few additional benefits on top of the Titanium Card for a higher fee, and the Gold Card (made of 24K Gold) is a nearly $1,000 per year card that offers the ultimate in benefits and services.
|Luxury Card Rewards|
PayPal Points are earned by using the PayPal Extras Mastercard. If you heavily deal with PayPal, it can be a decent card to have but in my opinion the PayPal Cashback Mastercard is the better option due to earning 2% cash back on all purchases and having no foreign transaction fee. PayPal Points are worth 0.83 cents each which means you will not be earning too much on purchases outside of gas and dining.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union offers two PenFed Point-earning credit cards that covers the categories of travel, gas, and grocery. PenFed Honors Advantage members can even earn an extra point per $1 spent on travel with the AMEX PenFed Pathfinder Card. PenFed Points are worth between 0.85 cent and 1.12 cents depending on the redemption.
The PenFed Pathfinder is currently being revamped. The launch of the revamped card has been delayed: Doctor of Credit PenFed Pathfinder Details.
PNC Points and PNC Miles both fall under the PNC Rewards program. Both programs feature a personal card and business card. PNC Points are worth a very low 0.25 cents on average and just aren't worth the trouble of going for or building up. PNC Miles are rewards points disguised as miles that are worth 1 cent each when redeemed towards travel. If you're really looking to build great rewards with PNC, you should turn your attention towards the PNC Cash Rewards Card.
TD Bank offers one TD Miles credit card called the TD First Class Visa Signature Card. It earns triple TD Miles on travel and dining purchases and 1 TD Mile on all other purchases. TD Miles can be redeemed for 1 cent each which basically makes this a cash back card.
|TD First Class Visa Signature Card Calculator|
USAA has a total of four cash back credit cards split up into two standard USAA cards and 2 military affiliate cards. The standard USAA cards focus on dining, gas, and grocery and comes with various military benefits along with travel and purchase protections. USAA Points are worth 1 cent each for most redemptions.
U.S. Bank Rewards
U.S. Bank's primary rewards program is the Altitude Rewards program which features three credit cards. The Altitude Reserve Card is a premium travel card that has a superb return for those who both spend on travel and use mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.) to pay for purchases. The Altitude Connect Visa and Altitude Go Visa are also great options for those looking to build up Altitude Rewards Points. The big thing here is that points earned with the Altitude Reserve cannot be combined with points earned with both the Altitude Connect and Altitude Go. Points earned with the Reserve are worth 1.5 cents each where as points earned with the other cards are worth 1 cent each.
FlexPerks FlexPoints is also a rewards program of U.S. Bank, but the program is being discontinued and most of the cards are now closed to new applicants.
Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards
Wells Fargo has two credit cards that are capable of earning Go Far Rewards Points. The Wells Fargo Propel AMEX is the main credit card of the program which earns triple points on travel, dining, transit, and streaming services. Go Far Rewards Points are worth 1 cents each on average, but you can bump up the value of points to 1.5 cents each if you own the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card. The Visa Signature Card only earns points for the first six months of having the card, but it's essential if you want to maximize the value of your points. Overall, the program is great for those who want to earn simple, yet valuable rewards on great categories.
|Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards|