Monday, June 18, 2012

Top Rewards Cards

To win over customers, banks around the world have initiated rewards cards for acknowledging customer loyalty. Banks earn customers' trust and yearly APRs, and in turn, customers earn cash back or rewards on their purchases. The only downside to this phenomenon is the overwhelming wealth of rewards card options from which there is to choose. So if you’re in the market for a new rewards credit card but don't know where to begin, below is a brief overview of the highest-rated cash back rewards cards currently available.

Discover Card Cashback Bonus
The Discover Card Cashback Bonus card offers an extended 0% introductory APR period of 15 months (compared to the typical one year), which also includes 0% balance transfers. This card is an excellent choice for big ticket purchases, as you can pay them off interest free over 15 months.

Following the first 15 months, the 10.99%-20.99% APR (depending on credit score) is very reasonable. Unfortunately, at this point, balance transfer fees come at 3%, so if you plan to use this card for the aforementioned big ticket purchase, you’ll want to pay off your debt by this point.

In terms of cash back, the Discover Card Cashback Bonus offers a generous 5% cashback on annually rotating categories. The downside: once you’ve hit a Discover-designated amount in a category, your returns drop to 1%.

According to a recent graduate of UC Santa Barbara, the Discover Card Cashback Bonus is a great starter card. "It was great when I was learning financial independence," he said. "I tended to overspend when I was first getting my financial bearings, but the consequences were limited because I could only spend $1000 at a time with zero APR."

Blue Cash American Express
Though the exact introductory offers change every so often, the Blue Cash American Express card typically comes with a start-up bonus, such as $100 cash back with your $1000 in purchases over the first 3 months.

After 12 months, APR is raised to 17.24%-22.24%, which is high, but shouldn’t be a problem if you pay off your bills on time. The card offers 3% cash back on groceries, 2% on gas and department store purchases, and 1% on everything else. Unlike Discover’s cash back card, there is no limit to your cash rewards. While this may seem like a benefit, it's American Express’s way of pushing you to spend more.

The card allows you to redeem your rewards as statement credit, gift cards, or a variety of merchandise. The card also automatically enrolls you in the Blue Savings Program, which offers you discounts on restaurants, car rentals, hotels, cruises, and much more.

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card
In addition to no annual fee, the Citi Thank You Preferred Card offers an introductory special of 25,000 bonus points (which equals $250 in gift cards) when you spend $2,000 during your first four months with the card.

The Citi ThankYou Preferred card works by allotting you 1 point for every dollar you spend. There is no limit to the points you can earn, and your points won't expire as long as you make one yearly purchase. The card allows you to earn extra points by signing up for an online account, opting for paperless billing, and shopping through their Bonus Center retailers, including Sears, The North Face, and Sephora. Every year, you will receive an anniversary bonus, which is calculated by your yearly ThankYou points. In the first year, you will earn 1% of your points, in the second, 2%, and so on. Like the Blue Cash, you can redeem your points as cash or as merchandise/travel expenses.

This is just a small sampling of some of the best rewards cards currently available. For a comprehensive overview of rewards credit cards and further rewards card comparisons, check out's rewards page.

About the Guest Author
Lynn Jackson blogs on a variety of financial and business-related topics. She wrote this particular post on behalf of

1 comment:

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