Reward card issues are continually stepping up their game. Some card issues pay up to 6% cash back on certain purchases while others are luring potential customers with sign-up bonuses for those who spend a certain amount within a specified period of time. However, how can you tell which rewards cards are right for you and your lifestyle? Depending on how you spend your money and the type of rewards you prefer, there are several options available.
These cards typically offer a clear dollar value so that you may use the rebate to purchase whatever you would like. Consumers typically redeem their rewards with a deposit in their bank accounts, a check or a statement credit.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred
This card offers a 0% interest rate for 12 months, then 12.99% to 21.99% after 12 months have expired. Consumers are charged an annual fee of $75, but this card pays 6% back on grocery store purchases. After spending $6,000 in these stores, the rate drops to 1%. The card also pays 3% at certain department stores, gas stations and 1% with every other purchase.
These cards often let you redeem the points for rewards other than travel, but they do offer more points if you use the card on any travel-related benefits or travel spending.
Capital One Venture Rewards
This card offers an interest rate between 13.9% and 20.9% with an annual fee of $59 that is waived for the first year. If you spend $1,000 in the first three months of holding the card, you will obtain 10,000 miles. This card lets you earn two miles for each dollar you spend, and you can redeem these miles for hotel rooms, flights, car rentals or cruises. Plus your miles never expire!
These cards allow consumers to make different purchases and still be able to redeem a sizeable rebate. Typically, you can expect to earn either 3% or 5% back in the retail or gas categories, at least 2% in other purchases and 1% on everything else.
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa
Offering an interest rate of 9.99% through June 30, 2014, this card does not charge any annual fee. Consumers can expect to receive five points for every dollar they spend on gas and three points per dollar for shopping at grocery stores. You may also obtain one point per dollar on every other purchase you make. You can redeem your points for prepaid cards, gift cards, merchandise or travel.
Customers who have been using a single airline for many years may decide to apply for a rewards card with that particularly company. However, these rewards often expire, and you may still be obligated to pay for fees and taxes even if the flight is free.
Gold Delta Skymiles
Customers can expect to pay an interest rate between 15.24% and 19.24 percent along with an annual fee of $95 that is waived for the first year. You can earn two miles per dollar for Delta transactions and one mile on the dollar for every other purchase. Delta also offers 30,000 free miles if you spend $500 within your first three months as a cardholder. Cardholders also benefit from one free checked bag and priority boarding on their flights including family and friends for a total of up to nine people. They also receive a 20% discount on purchases made onboard.
Good rewards cards should make it not only easy on the consumer to accumulate miles or points but should also be generous when it comes time for the consumer to redeem them. While some rewards cards are geared to those with lower credit, if you want to snag the best cards, you will often need a FICO score of 750 or higher.
Blair Thomas is the co-founder of eMerchantBroker.com in Los Angeles, CA. He has been in the electronic payments industry for over 10+ years. When he is not running his business he spends his time writing and producing music, which has been featured in a variety of films.