Although credit cards that give cash rewards and points rewards can both usually be counted on to give you a 1% return on your spending – one point equals one cent – the best values in credit card rewards are almost always found in travel. Whether they are hotel rewards cards like the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card (expired offer) or frequent flyer cards like the Delta SkyMiles from American Express, travel cards give great rewards. Cards that offer the American Express Membership Rewards program and the Chase Utimate Rewards program are especially valuable because they let members transfer reward points to a frequent flyer program of their choice.
Keep in mind that just because a rewards card has an annual fee, that doesn't mean it isn’t a good value. In fact, many cards that offer the highest value do have annual fees. In general, credit cards that carry annual fees tend to offer very high value rewards – so that if you make good use of the rewards, you will earn back the fee plus more.
Gift cards are another good option for value redemption. Through the Citi ThankYou center, you can trade your points in at a value of 1 cent per point when you buy gift cards from Barnes & Noble, Sephora, Zappos, Amazon, and many more retailers.
Watch out for merchandise redemption. Turning in reward points for merchandise could cut your reward point value nearly in half. Gift cards always offer better value than buying merchandise directly from a credit card rewards site.