You don't have to be a big spender to earn plenty of rewards, CreditCards.com's Schulz said.
For example, the Citi Double Cash Back card offers 2 percent cash back rewards if you pay off your balance and doesn't levy an annual fee.
"If you are not using a rewards card, you are essentially overpaying by 2 percent," said Shawn Coomer, managing editor of travel and finance website Miles to Memories, who has more than 20 rewards cards and always pays off the balance on them.
Online shoppers can gain an edge this year with Discover cards. The "Discover it" cards provide a 5 percent cash back bonus on purchases at Amazon. That bonus doubles to 10 percent for people who have opened a Discover it within the past year, McQuay said.
Because card issuers want to attract more borrowers, you can find card offers to fit every lifestyle and income level as long as you pay your bills on time, Schulz said.
Just remember that rewards cards are typically not the lowest-rate cards people with good credit can find.
"The biggest mistake consumers make is overspending," Schulz said. "If you carry a balance regularly, a rewards card might not be for you."