As many of you know, I don’t use credit cards. I have been well aware that there are some great credit card rewards programs out there that are very enticing. In fact, when we were paying off our consumer debts, I played the balance transfer game and continually transferred our balances to get 0% and earned some nice rewards in the process. But when we finally paid them off, we decided to get rid of them and just a cash-back debit card.
The main reason was that while I knew I was disciplined enough to reap the credit card rewards without getting burned, I just didn’t think it was worth the effort. Considering the fact that the late fee from just one missed payment could negate months worth of point, miles, or cash back rewards it just didn’t seem worth the effort.
I want to issue a strong warning about them. I have seen a lot of people who thought they could handle having a credit card end up in a bad situation. It really takes a unique type of person and a lot of pro-active diligence to be able to use a credit card specifically for rewards and come out ahead. Carrying a balance and paying 15% interest just to get some miles or points just doesn’t make any sense. Please don’t do this.
Do yourself a favor and know your weaknesses and if you aren’t a person who isn’t 100% confident that you will pay off your credit card balance each month – don’t even bother looking for the best reward credit card – just get started paying them off ASAP and avoid them like the plague.
So after that long disclaimer you are probably wondering why I am writing about rewards cards anyway. Well, the fact is that I am becoming increasingly aware that a lot of the CPF readers do use credit cards specifically for the rewards programs. I want CPF to have the articles that the readers want to read – so if a lot of you want to know about the best credit card rewards programs, then I want to write the article (with a big fat disclaimer to start it out).
Some of the best credit cards rewards offers out there
I just got my recent issue of MoneyAdviser (which is quickly becoming my favorite publication) and they did a lot of the heavy lifting in finding the great reward cards. Some of them offer cash back rewards, some points, and some miles that can be used to travel. According to them none of the cards listed limits the amount of points, miles, or cash back that you can earn. Also none of the cards charge an annual fee in the first year.
|Amazon.com Rewards Visa||13.24%, 18.24% or 21.24%||$30 back after first purchase. 3 points per $1 spent on Amazon.com; 2 points per $1 at gas stations, restaurants; 1 point per $1 elsewhere. Points never expire and can be converted to cash.|
|Blue Cash Everyday(SM) Card from American Express||0% for 12 mths, then 17-22.24%||3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations & department stores, 1% elsewhere.|
|American Express Costco TrueEarnings||0% for 6 mths, then 15.24%||3% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, 2% on travel, 1% elsewhere. No annual fee if you are a Costco member.|
|Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards||0% for 9 mths, then 14%||2% cashback on gas and groceries at major supermarkets, 1% on everything else. Rewards never expire and can be redeemed at any time. No balance transfer fee.|
|Capital One Venture||13.9%||2 miles per $1 spent. 10,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in first 3 months. No foreign transaction fee.|
|Chase Freedom||0% for 6 mths, then 15%||5% cash back in rotating categories like airline, gas, groceries, and home improvement. 1% for all other purchases.|
|Fidelity Rewards AmEx||13.9%||2 points for every $1 you spend. Points can be redeemed for merchandise or converted to cash and transferred to your Fidelity account.|
Credit card companies seem to change their rewards info regularly, so all of the above info is of course subject to change, so check with the card companies and check the fine print before signing up for any of the credit card reward offers.