Editors Choice: Best Credit Cards in each category
This is where we highlight what we think to be the best credit cards in the various categories. We will explain our decision and keylight key points for each credit card that we have chosen
Best Travel Reward Credit Card
Most hotel frequent guest members use their points and convert them into air miles. The Starwood Preferred Guest program encourages you to do so by giving you extra 5,000 miles for every 20,000 points that you convert into miles! They have 30 airline partners and you can convert most of them on a one point for one mile ratio. Because Starwood awards 2 points for every dollar you spend at eligible Starwood Hotels, it is like earning double miles. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express allows the cardholder to earn 3 points (rather than 2 point) for every dollar spent at Starwood Hotels (equivalent to earning triple miles). Even if you do not visit a single Starwood Hotel, you can earn one point for every dollar you spend on "other non-Starwood purchases" and convert them to air miles of 30 airline partners. If you decide to use the points for a free nights' hotel stay, Starwood has one of the best program, with no blackout dates.
The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Rewards Card is the only reward credit card that lets you earn 5 points for every dollar you spend at standalone supermarkets, gas stations and drugstores and 1 point for other purchases. This is a very important feature because you earn points very faster when you charge your grocery and gasoline purchases to your card.
Consider this example, if you spend $417 a month (equals to $5,000 a year) on groceries and gasoline (very realistic number for a family), you will be able to earn 25,000 points in one year just from grocery and gasoline spending, and get a free roundtrip airline ticket within the Continental USA. Let's look at the math again, one free airline ticket on just $5,000 in grocery and gasoline spending. No other card allows you to earn faster points than this card.
The Blue Sky from American Express is a unique travel credit card. Like other reward credit cards, you earn points for the dollars you spend on the card (one point for every dollar). However, unlike other reward credit cards that require you to book any travel rewards through their in-house travel agents, you can make reservations through airlines, hotels, car rental companies, cruise lines, travel agencies, tour operators, and online travel sites that are submitted under an appropriate industry code or identifier for the above-listed categories. After you have booked them, you can use reward points to get a credit into your next statement ($100 credit with 7,500 points).
Because you can book your travel anyway you want, you can search for the best deals. Furthermore, you avoid restrictions like blackout dates, having to book your travel 21 days in advance and staying over a Saturday.
The Citi® PremierPass(SM) Card is another very unique travel reward credit card in the market. You earn points ($1.00 = 1 point) when you use your credit card, but you also earn points on the miles you fly (at a rate of 1 miles for every 3 miles). Hence, if you are a frequent flyer, you can chalk up points very quickly. These points you earn are on top of the frequent flyer points you will get. If you pay for your companion's airline ticket, you will also earn points on the miles they fly. There is also no annual fee for the Citi Premierpass Card. The elite version allows you to earn double points for purchases at standalone supermarkets, gas stations and drugstores and one point for every mile flown. But you have to pay an annual fee of $75.00.
Best Cash Back credit cards
As both the Chase Cash Plus Rewards and Citi Dividend Card have been discontinued, the Blue Cash® is the best cash back credit card in the market at the moment. Ithas the following rebate formula. For spending up to $6,500, you earn 1% on "everyday purchase" and 0.50% on "other purchases". Once your annual spending exceeds $6,500, you earn 5% rebate on "everyday purchases" and 1.5% on "other purchases". This is the only cash back credit card that lets you earn more than 1.5% on "other purchases". You earn rebates for up to $50,000 in annual spending on the card.
Best Gas Credit Cards
The The Discover� Platinum Gas Card allows you to earn 5% cash rebates at ANY gasoline station. What is more impressive is that if you decide to exchange your cash rebates for gift certificates of partner merchants (60 partners at present), you can up to double the value of your cash rebates. For example a $20.00 cash rebate can get you a $40.00 gift certificate!. If you choose to redeem your cash rebates this way, it means you have effectively earned an unheard of 10% rebate.
Best Credit Cards: 0% apr credit cards
We recommend a couple of cards for those looking to either transfer a balance or want to get a 0% apr for purchases. The first is the Citi® Platinum Select® Card. You get a 0% introductory apr for both purchases and balance transfer for 12 months. For the balance transfer, the 12 month period starts from the date of transfer, not account opening like most credit cards. Furthermore, you are given 12 months to make your first balance transfer. You also do not pay any balance transfer fee for the introductory offer. Thereafter, the apr is very low as well.
Best Low Interest Credit Card
You need excellent credit to get a credit card issuer to give you a really low apr. But if you do have a very good credit, then the card you should consider is the Bank of America Visa Signature� with WorldPoints�. This the is elite card in Bank of America's line up of WorldPoints reward credit cards. A 0% introductory apr on balanc transfers and advance checks for 12 billing cycles awaits the new cardholder. The apr is fixed at 7.90%. The reward program is comprehensive as well. If you have very good credit and want a low interest rate credit card, check this one out.
Credit Card for people with bad credit
The Orchard Bank Secured Mastercard® is the first credit card we would recommend to anyone who is looking to rebuild their credit. You pay a very reasonable annual fee of $35.00 and none of the one-time application or processing fee common in other secured or sub-prime credit cards. You can deposit anywhere between $200 and $15,000 and you are given a credit limit based on 100% of your deposit. Orchard Bank reports to the three major credit agecies as well.
Best Credit Cards - For College Students
The Citi mtvUTM Platinum Select Visa Card is probably the most innovative student credit card. The reward program is based on Citibank's ThankYou Network reward program. You can earn five points for every dollar you spend at (1) bookstores, (2) record stores, (3) restaurants (including fast food), (4) motion picture theaters and (5) video entertainment rental stores and earn one point for every dollar spent on other purchases. But in addition to that, you earn 25 points each time you pay your minimum bills on-time and if you do not exceed your credit limit. You can also earn point twice a year for getting good GPA scores (4,000 points for a perfect score). This is a good incentive to develop good money habits and to motivate you to do well in studies.
Update : The Citi ThankYou Redemptions Network reward program now allows you to exchange reward points that be used to reduce your student loans. This means that the Citi mtvUTM Platinum Select Visa Card is perhaps the only student credit card where you can use reward points to reduce your student loan principal.
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