The Best Credit Card Rewards Deals

Great Credit Card Rewards Deals

The Credit Card Accountability, Reform and Disclosure (CARD) Act may have made it harder for many Americans to obtain credit, but it’s also allowed the credit elite to reap the most benefits. Issuers looking to attract individuals with credit scores around 750 or above constantly change their rewards program to stay competitive in the current economic climate. However, settling on a rewards card can be difficult, even if it’s under the best credit circumstances. After all, according to Gerri Detweiler of Credit.com, these cards generally carry great higher annual percentage rates, annual fees and a contract full of fine print that isn’t always easy to comb through. Additionally, while consumers in the market for a good rewards program should generally seek out a program that offers more than 1% back on a certain category of purchases, Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com, points out,  “there’s no single best rewards card, there’s only what’s best for you.” To help you find a card most suited to your lifestyle, MainStreet rounded up some great credit card rewards programs. Photo Credit: gingerpig2000


Best Card for Cash Back: Discover More Card

If cash is your king, Detweiler suggests the Discover More Card, which currently gives cardholders a 5% cash-back bonus on department stores, restaurants and clothing stores during the holidays. To sweeten the deal, you’ll also get double cash-back bonus on holiday purchases up to $1,000. Plus there's no annual fee and a 0% APR for balance transfers during the first 18 months. Photo Credit: Credit.com


Another Cash-Back Alternative: Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card

Another quality cash-back rewards card, according to Arnold, is Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card, which allows cardholders to earn 2% on purchases that is then deposited directly into their Fidelity account. “Cardmembers who feel like splurging can also redeem points for specially selected travel and luxury retail rewards,” Arnold says. “You can earn as many points as you like, and take up to five years before redeeming them.” Photo Credit: aresauburn


Best Sign-On Bonus: American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

Amex’s Premier Rewards Gold Card lets you accumulate points that can be cashed in for travel, shopping and more. Additionally, if you spend $1,000 during the first three months (a feat that might easily be achieved as consumers do their holiday shopping), you'll get 25,000 bonus points. Participants can earn one point for every $1 purchase, two points for gas and groceries and three points for travel. The card does come with a caveat, Detweiler warns: After the first year, the card starts carrying a $175 annual fee. “You'll need to make sure you charge enough to make it worth that steep annual fee,” she says. Photo Credit: Credit.com


Most Flexible: Capitol One Venture

Capitol One’s Venture cards stand out for two reasons. First, its elite Capitol One Venture Rewards Card is great for travelers since it gives you two miles per dollar spent that can be redeemed for any travel expense – airfare, hotels, etc. – with no blackout dates. However, Detweiler explains, customers who want to skip out on the $59 fee can opt for the alternate VentureOne Rewards card, which offers only 1.25 miles per purchase, but ditches the annual fee. The pairing represents a common trend that’s emerging among competing rewards programs. “Quite a few issuers are offering a choice between no annual fee and less in rewards, and more rewards with a higher annual fee,” Detweiler says. Photo Credit: Credit.com


Best Card for Big Spenders: Blue Cash by American Express

Unlike most rewards cards that incentivize new consumers with bonus offerings upon signing that peter out over time, Blue Cash by American Express rewards cardholders that are in it for the long haul. As Arnold explains, the card starts with a relatively low return rate. Cardholders earn 0.5% back on everyday purchases, and 1% back on gas and groceries. However, once a cardholder begins spending more than $6,500 a year, the reward jumps up so they earn 5% back on gas or groceries, and 1.25% on everything else. “Once you do [spend that amount], it turns into the ultimate soccer mom card,” Tim Chen, CEO of NerdWallet.com, says, citing the card doesn’t carry an annual fee. “It’s a great card to have if you live in the ‘burbs.” Photo Credit: Credit.com


Best Card for Foodies: Citi Forward

A prime example of why you need to pay attention to what spend your money on, the Citi Forward card carries minimal rewards on general purchases (you get one reward point per dollar), but offers a 5% return for each dollar spent at a restaurant. The card also offers a reasonable annual percentage rate between 12.99% and 19.99%, depending on credit history, and no annual fee. “A lot of cards carry a random 5% return on certain purchases,” Chen says, pointing out that all foodies should apply for a CitiForward card based on the return they get from restaurant purchases alone. Photo Credit: Credit.com


Best Card for Frequent Fliers

Frequent fliers should take advantage of a card that allows them to skip pesky airlines fees.  Continental, for example, doesn’t charge its Chase credit card holders to check a bag when they fly. And Delta offers a similar benefit to those who hold its branded American Express Sky Miles card. “The Delta card actually lets you check a bag for free for up to four people,” Detweiler says. Since the airline tends to charge $25 for each piece of luggage, travelers could save significantly. Photo Credit: Credit.com


Best Card from a Credit Union: Pentagon Federal

Chen explains that while many people believe PenFed cards offered by the Pentagon Federal credit union are restricted to members of the armed forces, employees of the Department of Defense, or their families, anyone can obtain a membership by donating $20 to the National Military Family Association. The donation may be well worth it since many PenFed cards actually offer great rewards deals. Visa’s PenFed Platinum Cashback card, for example, lets cardholders earn 5% cash back on gas purchases, 2% on supermarket purchases and 1% on all other purchases. “You don’t have to spend $6,500 to get it,” Chen says. The card also has no annual fee and reasonable APR rates. Photo Credit: Wigwam Jones


10 Credit Card Myths

What else do you need to know before selecting a credit card that’s right for you? Check out this MainStreet article that breaks down 10 credit card myths. Photo Credit: Andres Rueda


Join us on Facebook

Join the MainStreet team and other readers on our lively Facebook page! Discuss our newest stories and get links to breaking content, automatically. Click here to add us. Photo Credit: lawtonchiles


Show Comments

Back to Top