Top Picks: Best Rewards Credit Cards
By Gerri Detweiler
Personal Finance Expert
If you use credit cards strategically and pay off your balance each month, why not use a credit card that offers rewards benefits and get more out of your card? There are plenty of cards that will give you miles, merchandise and even cold, hard cash. Decide what's most important to you and pick a card that will get you there.
The usual warning applies, of course: You'll only get the maximum benefit if you choose cards with low fees and pay your bill in full each month, otherwise all those freebies will end up costing you more than they're worth.
What to watch for: Not all rewards cards are created equal so read the fine print. Pay close attention to spending minimums, rewards caps, black out dates and redeemable expiration dates. Annual fees are also important. Although all of our top picks have no annual fees, it's not uncommon for rewards cards to include annual fees. If you do opt for a card with an annual fee, make sure the annual fee more than pays for itself in rewards perks.
With no annual fee and an introductory APR of 0 percent, the Discover More Card allows you to earn 5% cash back bonus on everything you spend in categories like travel, gas, groceries, restaurants, home improvement and more. Cardholders can also earn up to 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases. The card comes with a 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers during the first 15 months, after which an 11.99% to 20.99% variable APR applies, depending on your credit rating.The good news: The penalty APR is as low or lower than some cards' regular APR. Rewards can be used in a variety of categories.
The bad news: The APR is variable, which means the rate is tied to the prime rate; if the prime rate goes up, so does your APR.
Not sure if you want miles, merchandise or cash? If you have excellent credit, you don't have to choose with the Chase Sapphire Card (25K). You earn 1 point for every dollar you spend and 2 for every dollar when you buy eligible airfare booked through Chase's online booking tool. For a limited time, earn $250 in rewards after you spend $3,000 within in the first three months after opening your account.The good news: This is one of the most flexible reward cards around and there is no annual fee - which is rare for a rewards card.
The bad news: Chase charges a hefty penalty APR of 29.99% if you miss a payment.
A generous rewards program that allows members to earn 2 miles for every dollar they spend. Miles can be redeemed for travel-related goods and services such as airfare, hotel bookings and car rentals. Air travel tickets are good for any airline with no blackout periods. There is no limit to the amount of rewards cardholders can earn, and miles do not expire. The card has a variable 11.9-19.9% APR.The good news: One of the few credit cards that doesn't charge a foreign currency transaction fee. There is a $59 annual fee, waived for the first year.
The bad news: This card is for the credit elite and only available to those with at least a 750 credit score.
Card Comparison Chart
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card See Complete Details Apply For This Card
|Credit Required||Excellent - Good|
|Highlights||Earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend on one of the few cards that doesn't charge a foreign currency transaction fee.|
|Annual Fee||$0 intro for first year; $59 after that|
|Balance Transfer||13.9-20.9% (V)|
|See Complete Details|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card|
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