Top Picks by Category
Wednesday, 14th September 2011 (By Joe Taylor Jr.)
If shopping for the best credit card deals was a sport, the offers you'll find on this page would make up the all-star team. Keeping an open mind about brands, bonuses and other rewards could lead you to some of the biggest money-saving opportunities in personal finance.
Our MVP credit card list features the very best deals in each of our most popular categories. Cash back rewards, zero percent APR, air miles, and low fees all rank highly on this chart. Deals change frequently, especially with competition heating up among banks. You may have to act quickly to snag one of today's best credit card offers.
- Get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the APR will be 11.99%-21.99% based upon your creditworthiness.*
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.
- Citi® Easy DealsSM Get what you want for less. Earn Citi Easy Deals Points for the purchases you make with your card. Redeem your points for great online deals on name-brand merchandise, gift cards and even local deals.
- 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 21.99% based on your creditworthiness.
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- No late fees - EVER
- Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
- Earn 2X miles on travel and dining and 1X miles on all other purchases
- Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points. Bonus points are redeemable for up to $500 in gift cards, up to $625 for airfare or other great rewards
- Earn 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn an additional 30,000 points after another $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember
- Enjoy 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99% - 22.99% based upon your creditworthiness*
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater*
- 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment
- Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and 2 Admirals Club® Passes after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership.*
- Your first eligible checked bag is free*
- Group 1 boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases*
- Earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $1,500 in card purchases within 3 months of account opening - redeemable for $200 in gift cards or other great rewards!
- 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 12 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99% based upon your creditworthiness*
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.*
- Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 5% CASH BACK in categories every quarter. Right now, on eligible purchases within the Hilton Portfolio, car rental agencies, movie theaters and theme parks from 7/1/14 - 9/30/14
- Enrollment each quarter is quick and easy
Disclaimer:*These quotes are from credit card issuers which have paid for a link to their website. Offers are subject to change without notice and may not be the same for all consumers.
Find the Best Credit Cards Across Categories - Top Recommended Cards
Cash back rewards
Recent research shows that American consumers respond very well to cash back rewards and signup bonuses. If you're disciplined about paying your balance at the end of your statement cycle, you could earn a few pennies back from every dollar you spend.
Cash back credit cards have become somewhat controversial, since they rely partly on the fees that merchants pay each time you pay with plastic at the checkout counter. Retailers claim they'd rather pay lower transaction costs and pass the savings along to you.
Until that happens, cash back credit cards are the next best way to stretch your budget. Look for special deals that double or triple your rewards on products and services you buy often. Even if you have to remind yourself to sign up for bonus offers, getting that rebate credit on your statement can feel like getting a raise.
0% APR credit cards
Zero percent interest credit cards appeal to two kinds of consumer: those who don't really need credit cards, and those who want to save money while paying off existing credit card debt. In past years, banks balked at luring either of those kinds of customer, preferring to recruit "revolvers" who didn't mind paying interest on their monthly balances. But the rules have changed. Lenders need to show government watchdogs that they've got access to quick cash, and that they're offering a broad array of services.
If you've got enough cash in your emergency fund and your checking account to cover your annual expenses, you'll enjoy the security features of zero percent interest credit cards. You can shop online and make major purchases without putting your cash balances at risk, while also floating reimbursable business expenses and other short-term charges. If you're recovering from emergency medical expenses or just trying to get your financial life back on track, a 0% balance transfer credit card can help you redirect your monthly payments toward principal instead of finance charges.
Air miles and bonus points
Whether you crave executive treatment at the airport or you're just trying to squeeze an extra vacation from your budget, airline affinity cards and other bonus programs can help. The best rewards credit cards let you earn points against your daily purchases, which can really rack up if you use your credit card for business travel or other work expenses.
You don't have to settle for discounted airfares or room stays, either. A growing number of credit card issuers now use special events and cardholder experiences to differentiate their brands from the competition. Racking up a significant number of loyalty reward points can earn you a trip down the red carpet at a movie premiere or a fashion show.
You can trade your points to play golf or tennis with the stars, or to score hot tickets to the biggest games and concerts. Most Americans admit they use their rewards credit cards for goods and experiences they wouldn't ordinarily budget for, so don't be afraid to find the loyalty program that really can help you achieve some of your dreams.