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Along with our top picks, we've also included some takes from other experts and supplemental information to help you with your decision. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels. Credit Card Adviser Comparison Tool. For combined categories we assume that the use of the cards is proportional to the total amount spent. The cashback product has expanded to cards that give cash back in statement credits, checks and deposits in bank accounts. Some give you a percentage back in cash for your purchases, and others reward you with points or miles.
Comparing Rewards Credit Card Offers
And while you will be hard pressed to find a cash back card with extensive travel benefits, travel cards will likely have them in abundance. When earning rewards, whether it's cash back or points or miles, you'll want to make sure the card you choose reflects how you shop. When it comes time to redeem, you might choose a statement credit, a gift card or merchandise, or travel. Just know that certain cards favor certain types of redemptions — for example, in some cases, it may be more to your advantage to redeem for travel than to use the rewards for a gift card.
Take your time, shop around and use our excellent tools to pick the right card for you. Remember, if you don't choose a card that plays to your spending strengths, you are just leaving money on the table.
This is a higher amount and lower requirement than most comparable cards. If you love to travel and dine out, the Citi ThankYou Premier card is likely your best bet for maxing out rewards since it specializes in these categories. Its 3X points per dollar spent on travel includes gas stations, making it perfect for the globetrotter no matter your preferred mode of transportation.
With 2X points on dining out and entertainment, the card is very suitable for an outgoing lifestyle. This card has a feature not available elsewhere — earn an amazing 10X miles on thousands of hotels through hotels. That compares in some fashion to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, with a couple of notable differences. But the Sapphire Preferred has one big advantage, which we'll get into in a minute. Recently relaunched with much strengthened rewards, the Propel truly stands in a unique class that's a cut above the competition.
In terms of its rewards, there is a great amount of variety in categories that many consumers can take advantage of: In that way, the Propel is very balanced - you can take great advantage of it on special occasions like trips abroad, but also benefit from it on everyday expenses like your Netflix or Spotify subscription.
In terms of bonus amounts, this far surpasses the bar that has thus far been set by credit cards that have no annual fee. A rotating categories cash back card is a must have if you want to maximize rewards on all your spending, and the Chase Freedom card is one of the best options out there. Quite possibly the best part about this card is the ability to pair it with a Chase Sapphire product so you can earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points, which are worth way more than just generic cash back, especially if you like to travel.
But what makes the Quicksilver stand out is that it not only has no annual fee, but also no foreign transaction fees, which is handy when you travel overseas or make purchases online with merchants that use foreign banks. But the Freedom Unlimited has an unusual feature in that you can match it up with a Chase Sapphire card to get those cards' bonuses with travel redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards. With a flat rate card, such as the Quicksilver or the Freedom Unlimited, there's no hassling with required quarterly sign-ups or rotating categories, although the cash back is lower.
But the rewards on the Cash Back make it a special treat, because instead of a sign-up bonus, Discover matches your cash back at the end of your first year.
Rewards cards can deliver great benefits, waived fees, and of course, points, miles or cash back. However, if you have trouble meeting your budget, or you tend to overspend, then they may not be so great for you. Some disadvantages may actually be a blessing in disguise, such as annual fees, because they can be indicative of a card that offers superior rewards. But that's not always true. That's why you should thoroughly research your choices before applying. Here, we look at the pros and cons of rewards credit cards to help you decide if they are right for you.
Accrue points, miles or cash — Earn hundreds of dollars a year in points, miles or cash back. It doesn't get better than this. Travel and shopping perks — Rewards cards can offer extended warranties, rental car insurance and other travel and shopping benefits.
With some cash back cards, you may not pay an annual fee at all. Here's what consumers report about the cards they have:. Make sure you check the required score of a card before applying. For example, if it's a card with rotating categories, you need to sign up for categories, then make sure you maximize spend without going over budget.
And some travel cards have blackout dates and limit your choice in travel partners. However, there are rewards cards with flat rates if you don't want to invest time on your rewards. Also, you can blow your budget it you don't pay attention to your spending, as well as undo any earnings you've made through rewards. But if you plan to pay in full each month, that shouldn't be a problem.
The number who actually followed through was considerably lower:. There are a number of different types of rewards credit cards, including cash back, hotel and airline loyalty cards, and even retail and gas. Here are different types of rewards cards:. Also called fuel cards, this product dates back to the s when the primary purpose was convenience.
With the advent of rewards cards that also reward you for groceries, wholesale clubs and restaurants, rewards cards have all but replaced the gas credit card. That said, gas cards can reward you generously for each gallon and sometimes only require fair credit. If you're on the road a lot, this might be a good choice.
Some travel cards reward you for most brands through a redemption portal that tracks your travel expenses. While the redemption rate may be lower than a loyalty travel card, you might want this card if you don't travel with a particular brand. Frequent flier programs became popular in the s. You can choose between a single loyalty card and a card with multiple airline partnerships. This is an option for the traveler who is loyal to a specific brand.
A version of the airline loyalty card, this type of card product is good for the consumer who has a favorite hotel brand.
Because hotel partnerships are so large today, you can access hotels in the hundreds in dozens of countries with a single card. Originating in , Discover developed its products as a way to give money back at the end of the year based on the amount of charges. The cashback product has expanded to cards that give cash back in statement credits, checks and deposits in bank accounts. If you want rewards without thinking about it, a general-purpose cashback card might be the right decision.
Sometimes called co-branded cards, this product is a type of loyalty card that is tied to department stores or other store brands. These cards can offer high percentages of cash back for first purchases and more. Many card issuers offer varying types of rewards cards, frequently with greater rewards than consumer rewards cards. You can get cash back or points for business-related spending. If you often spend on business items, a business card might be an option.
Credit card rewards programs come in any number of flavors, and one of them is bound to work well for you. There's Chase Ultimate Rewards, with generous rewards for your loyalty. And what about American Express Membership Rewards? Then, there are popular hotel rewards plans. Chase Ultimate Rewards is a travel portal that can pack points into your account if used correctly. There are 2 types of Ultimate Reward cards, a total of 6 cards:. Earn points through worldwide travel and dining, business categories, rotating categories such as gas and groceries, and more.
With the Ultimate Rewards portal, you can book all types of travel with partner brands, including air travel and cruises, or enjoy redemptions for such items as gift cards and merchandise. You can earn Membership Rewards through airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, retail purchases and more.
Membership Rewards points can be used toward a shopping portal for such brands as Amazon. You can also use your points to cover card charges or for gift cards. One of the most popular uses is as a travel portal. You can enjoy more value when you transfer the Membership Rewards points to miles and redeem them for international flights in business or first class. You can also experience bonus points for transfers with American Express' airline partners. Heads up that if you cancel your booking, points will be returned in the form of a statement credit.
Also, you have to use an Amex card that is enrolled in the Membership Rewards program and redeem at least 5, points. With the Hilton portfolio, which includes such brands as Waldorf Astoria, Homewood Suites and Curio, you have access to 5, hotels and resorts around the world.
Add to that, you can experience the benefits of the Hilton Honors program, which gives you access to these properties through the points you have collected with purchases. In addition to earning points at member properties, earn points through partners for car rentals, cruises, even mobile roaming while abroad. You can use the points as a gift by purchasing gift cards at Hilton locations or treat yourself with a weekend at a favorite spot.
Also enjoy using the points toward flights and rail travel, vehicle upgrades and more. With the unification of the Starwood Preferred Guest, Ritz-Carlton, and Marriott loyalty programs into one rewards program, you have access to 6, participating hotels across 29 brands after combining your rewards accounts.
With the Starwood Preferred Guest program, you can earn points through bonus sign-ups and ongoing purchases with a credit card partnering with the program, such as the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express.
Also, earn points or miles through purchases at Hilton properties or participating partners. Points can be used toward stays at these properties or through partners, allowing you to use them toward air travel, ground transportation, and gift certificates to such brands as Starbucks and iTunes.
They can also be donated to charity. When you are trying to choose the right rewards card for your lifestyle, it can be overwhelming. But with a little homework, you will find the perfect card.
It's really just a matter of asking yourself a few questions, such as what you plan to use it for and what benefits does the card offer, then deciding if that card will work into your shopping and budgeting routine. Most rewards cards call for at least good credit at least a score of on a scale of , but there are exceptions, such as some student cards and even secured cards. While many rewards cards have annual fees, these fees together with the required good credit are the trade-off for superior travel and shopping benefits, such as price protection and free checked bags.
However, there are many cash back cards with no annual fee. Here are sample cards, their purposes and their credit ranges:. To take full advantage of your points, you need to look at the rewards card from all angles, including how much you'll spend and what you'll buy.
Find out how you can apply for this card here. However, it comes with a nice twist: Just remember to opt in after signing up.
The categories are usually pretty broad and have wide appeal. This is especially useful if you frequently shop on Ebay and make payment through Paypal. See our Chase Freedom Review for more information. Example spending categories include department stores, gas stations, restaurants, movie theaters, home improvement stores, and Amazon.
At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover automatically doubles all the cash back you earned over the previous 12 months. You can redeem your cash in any amount as a statement credit, bank account deposit, check, or Amazon purchase credit. See our Discover it Card Review for more information.
Gas Stations and Select U. Cash back comes as a statement credit. Your cash back comes as a statement credit. Capital One Savor Cash Rewards is a no-annual-fee cash back card designed with foodies in mind. The frequent-purchase points bonus is juicier than the non-preferred version of the card, too, if you can manage it: Point values vary depending on how you redeem.
Otherwise, a more traditional cash back card may be in order. Capital One QuicksilverOne is very similar to the Quicksilver card. The main benefit of QuicksilverOne is its relatively lax credit history requirements. Quarters begin January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st. See our Discover it Chrome Review for more information. At those rates, carrying a balance for even a single month can seriously eat into your cash back earnings.
And if you worry about your ability to keep your credit card spending to a level that allows for in-full payments each month, choose a credit card with a low spending limit, or a secured credit card that requires you to make an upfront cash deposit.