Best Credit Cards - Part 2
For Frequent TravelersThe Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is a top pick for travelers, whether you’re a jet-setter or your job keeps you on the road. This card offers a generous number of points for travel purchases. Each point is worth $.01, making the first 50,000 points worth $500. The bonus point redemption boosts this to $625 value. You'll get points on a $1 to 1-point basis on regular purchases and 2 points per $1 for travel-related expenses. You get a 25% bump when redeeming points for travel expenses (rental cars, hotels, airfare, cruises). There's a variable APR, from between 17.74% - 24.74%.
The Catch: You will need an “Excellent” credit rating to qualify. There's a $95 annual fee after the first year, and the APR is pretty high as well. Chase also imposes a 17.74% to 24.74% transfer APR and a 5% transfer fee, so this choice may not be for you if you're planning to transfer a balance.
The Capital One Venture® Card is another top pick for travelers. There's no transfer fee, so it's a better choice for those wishing to transfer a balance. The APR is a modest variable 14.74% to 24.74%, and the annual fee is 0 in the first year and a moderate $95/year after that. The bonus miles are less than some competitors offer, but the amount you need to spend to gain them is also less.
The Catch: You'll need excellent credit to qualify, and the rewards package is modest. However, if low fees and APR are more important to you than rewards, this is a good bet.
For Gas SavingsThe BankAmericard Cash Rewards® card is a top pick if gas and groceries make up a substantial percentage of your expenses. This card features a 0% APR for 12 months, then variable 14.99% to 24.99% after that. There's no annual fee, a significant benefit for many families focused on these basic expenses. The real attraction, though, is a generous cash back program: 3% on gas, 2% on groceries, 1% on everything else on purchases up to $2,500 each quarter, with an additional $150 cash reward for spending $500 in the first 90 days. You also get a 10% bonus when cash back value is returned to a Bank of America checking or savings account, which goes up to 25-75% for Preferred Rewards members. That’s pretty good value for money! If you spend much of your money on gas and groceries, this card is a solid choice.
The Catch: This card is not kind to careless spenders. You'll face a harsh 29.99% fee for late payment, with transaction fees of $10 or 5%, whichever is greater.
The PenFed Ultimate Cash Rewards Visa Card Plus® deserves a special mention here. It's not a conventional option, as it's issued by the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, but it offers an outstanding package for government employees or those in military service. Others can qualify by donating to and becoming a member of the National Military Family Organization or Voices for America's Troops and opening a PenFed Share Account. If that sounds like a lot of effort, consider the benefits. You'll get an outstanding 11.49% to 17.99% variable APR, with no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. There's a $100 bonus if you spend $1500 in the first 90 days. The reward system grants 5x points on gas, 3x on supermarket purchases, and 1x on all others, with special discounts from major retailers.
The catch: Not much, except for the restrictions on who can apply.
That's a quick roundup of some of the top contenders in the credit card market. As always, what's best for you will depend on your specific needs, but these options should be a good place to start your shopping!
See them here:
Capital One Secured MasterCard®
Discover it Secured®
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Capital One Venture®
BankAmericard Cash Rewards®
PenFed Ultimate Cash Rewards Visa Card Plus®