Citi Custom Cash Card: Best For Automatically Maximizing Rewards
Why we picked it: This brand new Citi card lets you earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent , no enrollment or tracking required. Eligible categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.
Pros: The card offers a lucrative sign-up bonus: Earn $200 in ThankYou points, which you can redeem for cash back, if you spend $750 in the first three months of account opening. Theres also a 15-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers .
Cons: Youll pay a pricey 5% balance transfer fee if you take Citi up on its balance transfer offer. The $500-per-billing-cycle cap eats into the cards value.
Who should apply? Anyone looking to take the guesswork out of maximizing rewards will likely appreciate this cards automatic adjustments on earnings. This card is also a good option for someone looking to take advantage of an introductory APR on purchases in the short-term, but earn rewards in the long-term.
Read our Citi Custom Cash Card review or jump back to this cards offer details.
Citi Premier Card: Best For Rewards For Travel And Everyday Spending
Why we picked it: The Citi Premier card offers 3X points on popular travel expenses, including air travel, hotels, and restaurants, and common everyday spending categories, like supermarkets and gas stations, for a relatively low $95 annual fee.
Pros: You get 1X points on general purchases, along with a decent sign-up bonus: Cardholders earn 80,000 points for spending $4,000 in their first three months, which can be redeemed for $800 in gift cards at thankyou.com.
Cons: The cards biggest drawback is that youll have limited transfer options for people traveling stateside. Most of Citis big transfer partners are international carriers, like Qantas, Virgin Atlantic, and Qatar Airways.
Who should apply? People trying to decide between a travel credit card and a credit card that rewards everyday spending can meet both needs with the Citi Premier card.
Read our full Citi Premier Card review or jump back to this cards offer details.
What Can You Redeem Reward Points For
Banks offer a variety of rewards to choose from under their rewards programmes, some more than others. Listed below are some of the rewards you could redeem your points for.
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How We Picked The Best Rewards Credit Cards
We analyzed over 300 credit cards to identify the best rewards credit cards currently on the market. These factors and more inform our decisions in which cards can work the hardest for you.
- Rewards rate: We took into account rewards categories and rates, earning caps and other fine print that may affect total earnings potential.
- Interest rate: Though you shouldnt have to worry about interest rates if youre paying your bill in full each month, we excluded rewards cards with exorbitant interest rates.
- Fees: We compared each cards fees to its rewards rate and sign-up bonus to determine whether the average consumer could earn enough rewards to justify the annual fee within the first year and years to come.
- Travel benefits: For the travel cards, weve assessed point values and transfer partners to help you weigh your options based on your lifestyle and goals.
All criteria used: Credit needed, rates & fees, transfer partners, travel benefits, point values, redemption options and flexibility, customer service, sign-up bonus, rewards rate.
Why Citi Premier Card Is A Great Rewards Card
The Citi Premier Card starts with a very generous sign-up bonus, as well as enhanced rewards points for travel, gas stations, restaurants and entertainment.
But its redemption options are fairly limited. For example, theres no cash option, such as a statement credit. The card has a balance transfer fee of the greater of $5 or three percent of the amount transferred, but there is no foreign transaction fee.
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Points & Miles Credit Cards
If you are an avid traveler like me, cash back cards arent getting you the largest value possible. My baseball analogy for cash back cards is that cash back cards are great for hitting singles and doubles all day long. However, if you want to hit triples and home runs, points and miles cards are the way to go.
Admittedly, points and miles cards can get tricky and complicated. Trust me here: Its worth the effort.
Each points and miles credit card will have earning categories similar to cash back cards. But, instead of of cash back, you will earn points or miles.
Capital One Savorone Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best For Fun Lovers
Why we picked it: The SavorOne offers a competitive 3% cash back on dining, entertainment , popular streaming services and at grocery stores for no annual fee, a great value for frequent foodies.
Pros: Cardholders earn 1% cash back on other purchases. Theres also a solid sign-up bonus: $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, which represents one of the lowest spending requirements on the market.
Cons: If your spending isnt concentrated on dining, entertainment or at grocery stores , you can probably earn more with a no annual fee, flat-rate cash back card, like the Citi Double Cash. On the flip side, if you spend a lot on dining, you might be better served by the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, which offers 4% cash back on dining and entertainment for a relatively affordable $95 annual fee, or the Citi Prestige® Card, which offers an industry-leading 5X points on restaurants and air travel, albeit for a $495 annual price tag. Our guide to popular dining rewards cards can help you determine which one is right for you.
Who should apply? Foodies looking for a no annual fee card that touts a sweet sign-up bonus they can earn after a few nights out should consider the SavorOne.
Read our full Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card review or jump back to this cards offer details.
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Redeeming Amex Points By Transferring To Partners
You can also transfer Membership Rewards points to partners. Amexs transfer partners include:
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton Honors
In most cases, points transfer at a 1:1 ratio meaning for every 1 Membership Rewards point you transfer, youll get 1 point or mile in the partner program in exchange. Before you transfer, though, its a good idea to check and see how many points youll get. Amex makes this easy by clearly listing the transfer ratios when you choose a partner program.
To transfer, click Transfer Points on the partner program youd like to transfer your Amex points to. Many transfers are instantaneous, but some, such as Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Aeromexico Club Premier, can take up to 48 hours.
We also recommend checking to see that you can use your points on your desired dates since some programs have blackout dates for points redemptions or might not have award availability then before you transfer to a partner.
Cash Back Points Or Miles: What’s The Difference
Credit cards that offer rewards, ranging from cash back, points or miles. At its core, all three things work in the same way. Whenever you spend on a rewards credit card, you’ll earn one of the three benefits mentioned above as a ‘thank you’ from your credit issuer.
The main difference between cash back, points and miles is the flexibility they provide to consumers. If you’re awarded points, you can redeem them for various prizes and services. If you earn miles, they will generally be tied to a specific airline’s frequent flyer program. Miles tend to have a more limited capacity than points most often, they can only be redeemed for airline tickets. Usually, points and miles are interchangeable. Rather than knowing if you’ll earn cash back, points or miles, it’s more important to see if you’ll earn general travel, airline or hotel rewards.
Finally, cashback rewards are the most flexible and straightforward to understand. If a credit card earns users cash back, it simply returns a certain percentage of their purchases to the consumer just like a rebate.
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What Are Credit Card Points
- Cash back
It’s important to note that 1 point or mile from one card isn’t necessarily worth the same as 1 point or mile from another card. This means comparing credit cards and their rewards can be challenging. Here we’ll compare the value of points from major credit card issuers and work through how to calculate a credit card’s rewards rate.
How Do Travellers Redeem Aeroplan Points
How you redeem Aeroplan Points has also been simplified. You no longer need to go to a separate website to redeem your points. Now you can search and redeem your flight rewards just like you would any other booking at aircanada.com or on the Air Canada app. The aircanada.com address is also where you can redeem your points for other items like merchandise, rental cars, hotel stays, gift cards, and more.
Travel redemptions include flights with any Star Alliance member , as well as other travel-related purchases such as hotels, car rentals, or vacation packages. As for merchandise options, theres a large selection of items to choose from ranging from fashion accessories to cookware. Alternatively, you can also use your Points for gift cards rather than actual products.
Also, its important to note that under the new Aeroplan Points program you can book with a combination of points and cash so you have more booking flexibility.
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Most Likely You’ll Earn Cash Back In The Form Of A Statement Credit
Cash back is typically awarded in the form of a statement credit to pay off existing charges on your account balance. If you made $100 in purchases in one month, with a 2% back credit card, you would earn $2 in statement credit. As soon as the rewards are credited to your account, you can lower your credit card bill by $2. Some credit cards will allow you to deposit cash back to a savings or checking account with the same back or issue you a check although this isn’t the norm.
What Is A Rewards Credit Card
A rewards credit card is a credit card that lets you earn points, miles or cash back on your spending. You might get rewards for specific types of purchases, like gas or groceries, or you might get a flat rate for all charges. Typically, youll need at least good credit to get a rewards credit card, though there are exceptions.
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Hypothetical Airline Mile Redemption Values
If you simply redeem frequent flyer miles for a domestic ticket that normally would only cost a couple hundred bucks, the results are terrible you get less than a penny per mile! Worse that if you just earned 1% cash back.
But look what happens when you cash in miles for a more expensive ticket. The value per mile goes up to a penny and a half or even three cents if you save them up for a trip across the Pacific in business class. .
What Are Credit Card Miles
Credit card milesthe same thing as;pointsare the currency of loyalty programs attached to certain travel rewards credit cards.
With these rewards credit cards, you earn miles or points that you can later redeem for airfare, hotel stays, or other travel expenses. Under most programs, youll earn miles or points for every dollar you spend;as well as bonus miles or points for spending in certain categories;or spending a minimum amount of money within a certain period of time after opening a new account.
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What Are Credit Card Miles Really Worth
Miles-based programs are typically best for frequent travelers who are loyal to one airline and dont need to redeem rewards for cash back.
Its important to note that when it comes to airline loyalty programs, the value of miles can vary dramatically depending on how you redeem them.
Airline rewards plans, such as United MileagePlus® and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan as with many other airline loyalty programs miles have no set value.
Heads up: In most cases, the value you get for your miles may vary depending on factors like timing and seat availability.
To find the best deals, Jared Kamrowski, founder and blogger-in-chief of ThriftyTraveler.com, suggests comparing prices, flight routes and seat options through your loyalty programs partner airlines.
For example, Kamrowski says you can find good deals when you use Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to book business- or first-class flights on one of the airlines 23 travel partners.
The potential drawback for both programs? You have to really love redeeming miles for flights and not much else. With the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, you can redeem for flights, magazine subscriptions and donations to charity. United MileagePlus® allows you to redeem for travel purchases, gift cards, select merchandise and statement credits toward flights and annual fees.
How do I choose between an airline travel card and a general travel card?
What Is An Aeroplan Points Value
With the new chart update, an Aeroplan points value is not concrete when it comes to flights, and varies depending on what the points are redeemed for and the time of year theyre redeemed. Generally speaking, when it comes to travel, youll receive the highest value for your Aeroplan Points if you use them toward flights and the lowest value if you use them toward car rentals.
Outside that broad rule of thumb, there are several other redemption factors that affect the value of points. Under the old Aeroplan program, we could state with confidence that youll get better value for your points if you use them for a domestic flight in Canada or the US rather than an international flight. Now, however, given the wide range between possible points needed for each and every flight the value you get for a point doesnt just depend on distance but rather on miles travelled, how popular the flight is, and the time of year .
When redeeming your Aeroplan Points, youll want to make sure you get the best CPM , which means aiming for the lowest possible end of the points range for Air Canada flights.
If I booked a flight from Toronto to Paris in November with Air Canada, the ticket, according to the website, would come to a total of approximately $905.97. To figure out the net value of my flight I would first subtract $141.97 .
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Reach New Heights With Status Lift
The WestJet RBC® World Elite Mastercard is taking you higher with Status Lift.3 As a cardholder, everyday purchases;on the card will bring you closer to achieving;status. Experience;more benefits such as lounge passes, priority;boarding, advance seat selection, increased WestJet dollar earn;and more.;
Bank Specific Credit Card Rewards
Many of us have heard of cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Platinum Card® from American Expres. These cards are the holy grail in the credit card industry because of the versatility of the points earned.
But what do these cards earn exactly? They earn bank specific points that can be transferred to several partners.
For example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you are earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to many travel partners, including:
- Aer Lingus
- Choice Hotels
- Hilton Hotels
These types of cards are highly coveted because the points can go to so many different places. And the card themselves come with incredible benefits.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® has the following perks
- Earn 60,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
- Earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining.
- Incredible travel protection including trip cancellation insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance service, and more.
- No foreign transaction fees.
Another layer to this entire conversation is not only points and miles, but status. Many of these credit cards in this space will come with automatic status within a loyalty program.
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