Capital One Savorone Student Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best For Students
Why we picked it: The Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is absolutely worth it if youre a student looking for a chance to build credit with responsible use while enjoying terrific cash back variety.
Pros: This card offers 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023, unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores plus 1% on other purchases. It does not require a credit history for approval.
Cons: This card wont be much help if you need help paying off a large purchase over time, as it lacks a 0% introductory APR offer. Plus, if you already have good credit or better, you may be better off applying for the non-student version of the card to benefit from its intro APR offer and sign-up bonus.
Who should apply? Students with little-to-no credit history that want to earn rewards on a variety of bonus spending categories.
Who should skip? If you do not devote a large portion of your spending to this cards bonus categories you may be missing out on potential rewards.
Still stuck? Check out our step-by-step guide to choosing the right credit card.
How To Maximize Credit Card Rewards
In general, you will get the most value out of your points redeeming them for luxury travel if you earn miles directly with an airline or transferable points that can be transferred to an airline partner. For instance, a business class flight may cost four or five times the amount of an economy flight in dollars, but in miles only costs twice as much.
Consider that a round trip ticket to Europe costs 60,000 miles in many programs, but with recent sales weve seen flights under $500 with regularity. The same trip may cost 120,000 miles in business class, but could easily cost over $3,000. With the example above, you would receive only about 0.8 cents per mile in value when you redeem for economy but 2.5 cents per mile redeeming for business class travel.
Other types of points, like Southwest Rapid Rewards points, are worth a fixed value, so no matter how you redeem them you can rest assured knowing that you got the most value for your points.
What Are The Best Airline Miles Credit Cards For Free Flights
The average number of airline miles you need for a free flight depends on the airline you choose to fly with, your destination, and when you decide to travel. Keep in mind there are no completely free flights, even if you use your points. Youll still have to shell out the cost of taxes and any applicable fees imposed by the carrier. The best airline miles credit cards help you book free flights faster.
Heres what you need in regards to points for free flights, based on some of the biggest U.S.-based airlines.
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Why Transfer Credit Card Points
With airline miles credit cards like the Capital One Venture and Chase Sapphire Preferred, its easy to redeem accumulated miles for travel. Each card has a system for essentially erasing travel-related purchases from your monthly statement. So why would you want to transfer credit card points to your airline miles account?
The short answer is that doing so can often make your points go further. This is because it requires fewer points to book a flight. Obviously, if you would rather erase tour packages or Airbnb bookings, points and miles arent going to be very helpful on a frequent flyer account. Whether to transfer or not depends on what you want to do with the points you have.
Citi Custom Cash Card
Our pick for: Cash back 5% categories tailored to your spending
The Citi Custom Cash Card offers a lot of value for a $0 annual fee: 5% back automatically in your eligible top spending category on up to $500 spent per billing cycle . The list of eligible 5% categories is varied and includes biggies like restaurants, grocery stores and more. And unlike competitors, there’s no activation schedule or bonus calendar to keep track of. Read our review.
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Best Credit Card For Young Professionals
Often, young professionals are tech-savvy, ambitious individuals looking to make their mark on the world working hard during the day and spending as much time as they can with friends in the evenings .
Our top picks reward cardholders who are trying to do it all. Earn cash back or rewards for everyday purchases like trips to the store, rideshares to meetings and interviews, takeout and even binge-watching movies or TV shows on Netflix.
We compared the best credit cards for dining, entertainment and transportation using ourBest of Finance methodologyand ranked the cards that provided the highest first-year value.
|Cash back + travel insurance + mobile device insurance|
What Types Of Credit Card Rewards Can You Get
All of these cards earn some type of rewards, but the kind of rewards differs from card to card:
Transferable points These are the issuers currencies that can be transferred to certain partners to maximize value. For example, several Chase cards earn Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for several different things through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal but can also be transferred to one of Chases partners, including United or Marriott. Generally speaking, this type of rewards card is the most valuable because of its redemption flexibility.
Cash back rewards This is the most straightforward type of reward. Youre earning a percentage of each purchase that you can redeem for cash at a later date. Although cash back is always redeemed at a fixed value, it can be highly useful for both beginners and seasoned travelers. Points and miles are best redeemed for airfare or hotel bookings, but cash back has more flexibility without compromising its value. You can use cash back to save up for the day-to-day expenses of your travel or you can simply use it to save money on your statements each month.
Rewards with loyalty programs These are cards that earn points or miles for a specific loyalty program, typically for an airline or hotel. Most of the time, these cards also come with brand-specific benefits like complimentary elite status or priority boarding . These currencies arent as flexible as transferable currencies but they can still be highly valuable.
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Does Opening A Lot Of Credit Cards Hurt My Credit
While its true that opening and closing a lot of credit cards at once can hurt your credit, applying for a few credit cards over a period of time wont kill your credit score. Your credit score will slightly dip every time there is an inquiry into whether that is a credit card or home loan or car loan. Its how the system is set up.
But so long as you space out your applications and pay your bills each month, you wont find any long-term damages to your credit. Your credit rating rises over time as long as you maintain it, you arent going to have a bank officer tell you years from now, Sorry, because you canceled three credit cards in 2020, your loan is denied.
I once canceled 4 credit cards in one day and the impact on my score? Nothing.
I currently have a few dozen credit cards, a credit score of 825, and was recently approved for a mortgage. Travel hacking does not hurt your credit. Having lots of credit does actually help your credit because you improve your debt to credit ratio. This is the most important factor in your credit score. If you keep your balances low and have a lot of available credit, you look like less of a credit risk to banks and your score goes up!
So, as long as youre paying your monthly balances and spread out your credit card applications, youll be fine. Unless youre planning to make a big purchase in the near future , you dont need to worry about the small dip your credit rating might take.
Bank Of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best For Cash Back For Preferred Rewards Members
Why we picked it: If youre an existing Bank of America customer with assets in savings, checking or investment accounts, you could come out ahead with this new cash back credit card, which offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, plus a potential 25% to 75% rewards boost for Preferred Rewards members .
Pros: On top of the base rewards, you can earn $200 online cash rewards after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. You can also take advantage of an introductory APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers made in the first 60 days for 15 billing cycles, then 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR.
Cons: Youll need at least $20,000 across Bank of America and/or Merrill accounts to be eligible for any Preferred Rewards boost.
Who should apply? Bank of America customers with at least $20,000 across accounts may want to take advantage of the rewards boost the bank offers through its membership rewards program.
Who should skip? Unless youre a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member with a large balance across your checking, savings and eligible investment accounts, the card will likely fall short of other flat-rate cash back options.
Read our Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card or jump back to this cards offer details.
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How Can Someone Identify Whether A Rewards Credit Card Is Good For Them
Sara Rathner, NerdWallet:
Look for a card that rewards you where you spend the most, with terms you can live with. A card that’s trendy won’t necessarily be the right card for you. It’s a highly personal decision, and it’s worth it to not overlook a less flashy card that may suit your needs really well.
Luis Rosa, CFP:
To best identify if a rewards credit card is good for you, consider your lifestyle and spending habits. For example, do you have a preferred hotel brand or airline? Do you often travel abroad? Knowing the answer to these types of questions will help you narrow down your choices in order to best help you identify if a rewards credit card is good for you.
Summer Hull, The Points Guy:
It’s really 99% math. If you can place value on the rewards you earn and the perks included, it gets easy to see if a particular card is a good match for your spending habits and rewards desires.
Sarah Silbert, Personal Finance Insider:
Look at the card’s bonus categories and see if they align with where you spend your money. Also, remember to check if a card has a foreign transaction fee before you take it abroad many cash-back cards do charge this fee, so don’t assume.
How To Redeem Cash
Despite the term “cash back,” most people don’t actually take their cash-back rewards in the form of, well, cash back. The easiest and most common thing to do is to apply your rewards to your account as a statement credit. This directly reduces the amount you owe. You’re not getting literal cash back from the issuer, but less cash will be coming out of your pocket to pay the bill, so the effect is the same.
Depending on the card, you could also get your rewards deposited directly into your bank account or receive them as a check in the mail. Some cards set a minimum amount to redeem, usually $20 or $25. Other cards have no minimum for redemption.
» MORE: For cash-back options beyond those featured on this page, see our best cash-back credit cards.
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Best For Travel Rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
|Rewards Earning Rate||Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.|
|Balance Transfer Fee||Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.|
|Foreign transaction fee|
- Pros & Cons
We chose the Chase Sapphire Reserve as the best travel rewards card because it offers tremendous value for travelers. You’ll earn unlimited 3x points on travel and dining purchases anywhere in the world . All other purchases earn 1x points. When you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, hotels and car rentals earn 10x points and flights earn 5x points. New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Excellent points rewards rate for travel and dining
Large bonus for new cardholders
Premium travel features
Points are worth 50% more for travel bought through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Weigh Rewards And Benefits Vs Annual Fee
Whether or not to pay an annual fee is a personal decision. Some people are against paying an annual fee for a credit card. But, if the rewards you earn and the benefits you receive are worth it, paying an annual fee can make a lot of sense.
For example, some hotel credit cards offer one free night each year after paying an annual fee of $100 or less. Depending upon how it is redeemed, that free night can be worth much more than the annual fee that you paid.
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Best Hotel Credit Cards By Major Hotel Chain
Best Initial Bonus & Best Hotel Credit Card Overall
The best hotel credit card is IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card because it is affordable and highly rewarding. The IHG Club Premier Card offers 125,000 points to new cardholders who spend $3,000 within 3 months of opening an account. That isnt the extent of this IHG credit cards value, either. It also gives cardholders a free night after each account anniversary, a free night when booking at least four consecutive nights with rewards, Platinum Elite status, bonus points on purchases, and more. Its annual fee is $89.
Why its one of the best hotel credit cards: The is the best Marriott credit card as well as one of the best hotel rewards credit cards overall because it offers lots of opportunities to earn bonus points and free nights. The bonuses range from 6 points per $1 spent on purchases at eligible Marriott-owned hotels to an initial bonus good for free nights at Marriott Bonvoy properties.Cardholders also receive a free night after each account anniversary and automatic Silver Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, among other perks. All of the bonuses and benefits help soften the blow of the cards $95 annual fee.
Were the editors picks helpful?
Is A Rewards Credit Card Right For Me
If you already use a credit card for most of your daily purchases and pay off the balance in full each month, using a rewards credit card can give you the opportunity to earn some tangible benefits for doing so. With a rewards credit card, every purchase you make helps you earn cash back or points that can later be redeemed for flights, hotel rooms, or other rewards. If you are one of the 70% of Canadians who pays off their credit card balance every month and successfully avoids interest charges, a rewards credit card would be a great way to get more out of your daily purchases.
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Citi Double Cash Card
Best for up to 2% cash back
- This card is a good fit for: Anyone who wants an everyday card with a simple rewards structure.
- This card is not a great choice for: Sign-up bonus seekers.
- What makes this card unique? This card effectively offers 2 percent cash back, but in a unique way. You earn 1 percent as you make purchases, and 1 percent as you pay those purchases off. This doesnt require any extra work on your part, but it does encourage responsible habits.
- Is the Citi Double Cash Card worth it? Its not tough to make a case for this cards value. People who pay their bill in full each month will earn a flat 2 percent back on every purchase . If your monthly credit card bill is $600, you would earn $12 in cash back per month, or $144 per year.
Jump back to offer details.
Which Are The Most Popular Credit Card Rewards Programs
There are more than a dozen credit card rewards programs out there, from airline and hotel loyalty programs to issuer programs. Each month, TPG publishes our monthly rewards valuations that outline how much each point or mile currency is worth in our eyes, but each program has its advantages and disadvantages. The three largest issuer rewards programs offer flexible points, a wide range of credit card options to earn points and a solid list of transfer partners.
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How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Work
Travel rewards credit cards can be general purpose or specific to a certain airline or hotel. General travel rewards credit cards earn points or miles that can be redeemed through your issuers rewards program, often by booking directly through the issuer site or transferring to a travel partner.
A co-branded travel rewards credit card earns points or miles you can instead redeem through a specific airline or hotel chains rewards program. These cards can be advantageous if you always fly with a specific airline or stay at a certain hotel brand, but otherwise limit your redemption options.
Keep in mind that you dont have to redeem your points or miles for travel with travel rewards cards, though this will often result in the best value for your points. Many issuers also offer points and miles redemptions for cash, statement credits, directly for items when shopping, or gift cards. Check your card account to figure out all the ways you can redeem your rewards currency.