Top Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards
Consumers have gotten on the rewards credit card bandwagon in a big way in recent years. For those of us whose spending habits are fairly disciplined, cards that offer rewards and other benefits for purchase decisions that we would have made any way provide “found money,” and many of us have figured this out. The card issuers do quite well off of those cardholders who run up interest-bearing debt on the cards. Meanwhile, the merchants who offer discounts for card use have to do so because if they don’t, their competitors will.
Provided that you are able to pay your account balance off each month, you will incur no interest charges in using these cards, and your credit score will rise to boot. Following an exhaustive survey, we have come up with our top cash-back credit cards picks for 2015, and here they are.
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The folks at Chase have produced their Sapphire Preferred Card, which offers new cardholders 40,000 bonus points, once they have succeeded in spending $4,000 using the card within the first three months of ownership. If you add an additional cardholder and make any purchase within three months, you will collect an additional 5,000 points. The card also allows you to earn two points per dollar on restaurants and travel, and one point per dollar for all other purchases. This card offers a great deal of flexibility, allowing cardholders to redeem points for gift cards, merchandise, travel bookings, and more. The card offers a number of travel-related benefits, and has a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year.
2. BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card
The people at BofA have produced a card that lets you earn 2% cash back at supermarkets, and 3% cash back on gas purchases for the first $1,500 you spend on such combined purchases per quarter. For all other purchases, the cash back rate is 1%. The company also has an online-exclusive offer, whereby once you have made at least $500 in card purchases in the first 90 days after you open the account, you will receive a $100 cash reward bonus. There is no annual fee for this card.
With the Cash Rewards card, you do not need to enroll in a rewards program or follow rotating categories of point-eligible goods, and the cash back will not expire. And when you redeem your cash back into a BofA account, you will get an additional 10% bonus. There is an introductory 0% APR period that applies to purchases and balance transfers, and that runs for twelve billing cycles. After that, the variable APR rate runs from 12.99% to 22.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. Also balance transfer fees of 3% begin to apply on each transaction, with a minimum fee of $10.
3. Chase Freedom Card
The Chase Freedom card, which is issued by the folks at JPMorgan Chase, provides cardholders with a 5% rebate on $1,500 worth of combined purchases in quarterly rotating categories. This card is therefore good for people with powerful organizational skills who know they will keep up with those changes in categories each season. You will get a 1% rebate on all other card purchases, and the card has no annual fee.
After you have spent $500 on the card within the first three months, Chase will confer upon you a $100 bonus, and you’ll get another $25 when you make any purchase and add an authorized user during the same initial three-month period.
Many other rewards card do not offer that 0% introductory APR, but Chase does, and the 0% rate extends for the first 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. Thereafter, a variable APR of 13.99% to 22.99% applies on both balance transfers and purchases.
4. Discover’s Discover It Card
Discover’s offering in this space, the Discover It Card, provides cardholders with a 5% rebate for every card swipe-purchase in bonus categories that rotate on a quarterly basis, and you will receive 1% on all other purchases. A novel feature offered by Discover It is the ability to increase the value of your cash back by redeeming it for vouchers issued by listed merchants that include Hyatt, Samsonite, and Carnival Cruise.
There is no annual fee, and the card imposes no foreign transaction fees. The initial 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases extends for 14 months, and thereafter, a variable APR running from 10.99% to 22.99% applies.
5. Citibank’s Citi Double Cash Card.
The Citi Double Cash Card let’s you earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases, and you make another 1% on those purchases when you pay them off! To get that second 1%, you will need to make at least the minimum required payment against your balance. No rewards program enrollment is required, and no limit is placed on the amount of cash back you can qualify for.
When the time comes to redeem the cash back, you can choose between statement credit, a check, or gift cards. The introductory 0% APR applies to both balance transfers and purchases, and extends for 15 months. After that, a variable APR of between 12.99% and 22.99% will apply.
Top Airline And Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
These cards were designed with travelers in mind, and offer hotel and airline rewards. Let’s have a look at the best ones we were able to find.
1. United Mileage Plus Explorer Card
The folks at Chase have put this card together, the United Mileage Plus Explorer Card provides double miles for each dollar spent on United flight bookings, and one mile per dollar for all other purchases. You will collect 30,000 miles by spending $1,000 during the first three months of ownership, and another 5,000 miles by adding an authorized user and making a purchase within those same three months. Since they know you’ll be traveling, no foreign transactions fees apply, and the annual fee is $95, waived for the first year.
2. CitiBank’s Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
Those who prefer Hilton hotels and stay there often may wish to consider obtaining a Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card. The card offers you the chance to earn 40,000 points by spending $1,000 within four months of opening the account, and that comes to eight hotel nights. If you use the card at a participating hotel you will receive six points per dollar spent, and you will receive three points for each dollar you spend on groceries, gas and at the drugstore. For all other purchases, you will get two points per dollar. There is no preset spending limit on this card, so you’ll have to impose that limit on yourself!
3. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One has produced the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which allows you to acquire air miles at a rapid rate. The card offers two miles per dollar spent on all purchases, and you can receive a promotional bonus of 40,000 miles, provided you spend $3,000 with the card within the first three months. Those points equate to $400 applicable toward travel costs. Made with travelers in mind, the card imposes no foreign transaction fees.
There is no limit on the points you can earn, and no expiration date for them. The miles, moreover, can be redeemed not only for airfare, but also for hotel bookings, car rentals, and gift cards, among other possibilities. The annual fee is $59, and is waived for the first year.
4. BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card, produced by BofA, allows cardholders to earn 1.5 points for each dollar spent using it. The points are unlimited, and they do not expire. When the time comes to redeem them, you can choose from a range of travel purchases, with no blackout dates. Users are instructed to make travel bookings as usual, and then go online or call to redeem points for a statement credit toward those travel-related purchases.
There is an online-exclusive offer which allows you to earn 10,000 bonus points, provided that you spend at least $500 on purchases during the first 90 days after the account was opened. Those points amount to $100 toward travel purchases. An introductory 0% APR applies on purchases for the first twelve billing cycles, and thereafter, a variable APR of 14.99% to 22.99% will apply. There is no annual fee for the card, and BofA bank account holders will receive another 10% over their customer points on all purchases.
5. Discover It Card – 18 Month Balance Transfer Option.
The folks at Discover are offering an 18-month balance transfer option, which provides a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months following the sign-up date. After that, a variable APR 10.99% to 22.99% applies. This is a very long 0% period, and will be very attractive to people who want to pay off their existing credit card debt and avoid paying interest while doing so.
You should be aware that a 3% balance transfer fee will be imposed, with the 0% interest applying during the 18-month period after that. The 0% APR applies for six months on all purchases, and a variable APR of 10.99% to 22.99% applies on purchases after that. As with all Discover cards, the card offers 5% rebate up to a quarterly maximum spent in rotating categories after you sign up for 5% cash back. A 1% rebate will apply to all other purchases, but if you are using this card to pay off credit card debt run up elsewhere, you may want to pay off that debt first before going on to use the card for purchasing.
6. Ink Cash Business Card
The people at Chase have created the Chase Ink Cash Business Card, which is uniquely valuable to business people. The card provides 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent during each account year on wireless services, office supplies, and landline and cable service charges. In addition, a 2% cash back applies to the first $25,000 spent annually on restaurants and gasoline purchases, and an 1% unlimited rebate on every other purchase.
The card has no annual fee for the cardholder, or for any extra cards issued to employees. The 0% promotional APR extends for twelve months on purchases and balance transfers, and thereafter, a variable APR of 13.24% applies. A $200 bonus cash back applies when you spend $3,000 during the first three-month period.
7. Citizens Bank Everyday Points Business MasterCard
Citizens Bank has produced the Citizens Bank Everyday Points Business MasterCard, which offers 3,500 bonus points once you make your first purchase, and that goes on to provide two points per dollar spent on purchases using the card. The points are redeemable for goods and services including travel, office equipment, and cash back. The Citizens card also features an accessCARD Command feature that provides cardholders with comprehensive online control over their business spending and employee cards.
The card requires no annual fee, and as a further plus, it ensures that you will have $0 liability for fraudulent purchases and direct savings when you join Mastercard’s Easy Savings, and then purchase merchandise at participating merchants, who include major car rental and courier firms.