Credit Cards: Rewards, Benefits & The Best Credit Cards For You
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What if I told you that you are, very likely, missing out on countless benefits provided by credit cards. 

The best credit cards offer more than a free short term loan.  They can also offer free travel, free rental car insurance, free extended warranties and so many more incredible benefits that can save you lots of money.

You’re likely carrying around a credit card that can access some, or all, of these free benefits right now in your purse and wallet.  If you’re not, don’t worry because if you read through this page I will show you the best credit cards to earn free travel and other amazing benefits.

The Incredible Benefits of The Best Credit Cards

Credit cards are a magical little piece of plastic that, depending on the car, can allow you to:

  • Track all of your expenses in one place
  • Get a free short term loan (as long as you pay your bill on time)
  • Get free rental car insurance saving you money each and every time you rent a car
  • Access to trip cancellation insurance
  • Have short-term out of country health insurance
  • Earn travel reward points that can be redeemed for free travel and other rewards
  • Have an added layer of safety knowing that if you lose your purse or wallet you have zero liability for fraudulent charges
  • Not lose any money since you don’t have to carry money around
  • Have a personal concierge at your beck and call 24/7 that can help you book travel, dinner reservations and score tickets to the big game
  • Build up your credit score and history as long as you’re paying your balance off on time and in full each month
  • And so many more…

If you can’t tell by now, I’m a huge fan of credit cards for all of these additional benefits that you can enjoy for simply spending money that you would normally.

Before we go any further, there are two rule I must share with you.

The Two Most Important Rules When Using A Credit Card:

Rule #1: Pay your balance off in full on time every month.

This is the most important rule for you to follow when you’re using a credit card.  If you pay your balance off in full each and every month you will essentially be receiving a free short term loan each month.

A free short term loans that earn your travel and reward points or cash back is a good thing.

If you don’t pay your balance off in full each month you will still earn your travel and reward points or cash back but you will also be charge interest on your balance due.  Not paying your balance off in full each month is a bad thing.

Rule #2: Review your credit card balance each month.

Being able to track your spending in one single place each month is another gift from the credit card gods.

It’s very important review your credit card statement each month so you can identify any errors or fraudulent charges that you did not make.

I have never had a credit card that didn’t allow me to export my transaction history into excel, quickbooks, quicken and other popular financial accounting software.  Can your “cash” do this?  I didn’t think so.

Which Credit Card Is Right For You?

There are many different kinds of credit cards and I recommend you pick a card based on what kind of rewards you’re interested in earning.

Personally, I focus on travel related credit cards as I’m a huge fan of travel hacking so I can travel for free.  If you’d rather be rewarded with cash back, hotel points or need a credit card for bad credit, don’t worry, there will be a card that suits your needs.

Best Travel Rewards Credit Card with Big Air Miles Bonuses

The best travel reward credit cards provide, not only, a large amount of bonus miles when you sign up and meet the terms of the bonus offer, but also provide a good deal on rewards for everyday purchases for years to come.

Many experienced travelers know that travel rewards miles (or points) are like a currency all of their own that can buy you airline tickets, hotel reservations and even excursion and travel gear (among other perks) sometimes when you need them the most.

The best part about earning travel rewards miles is that you are getting a little perk (a trip to New York City, Europe or even Australia anyone?) for spending money that you would otherwise already be spending.  On top of that, many travel reward credit cards have an introductory bonus offering when you spend a certain amount of money over a certain period of time.

For example, if you sign up for a Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard and spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of receiving your card you can get 40,000 bonus air miles!  That means, in 90 days you will have 46,000 air miles that is good for $460 worth of travel related expenses!  How sweet is that?!?

Top 4 Travel Reward Credit Cards:

1. Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard

  • 40,000 mile bonus (worth $400 of travel related expenses)
  • Spend $3,000 in the first 90 days to earn your bonus
  • 2 points for every $1 you spend
  • WasterCard World Elite Concierge & Luxury Travel Benefits
  • Travel Accident & Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chip technology for global use
  • $89 annual fee that’s waived for the first year.
  • Click here to apply | Click here to read the full review

2. Barclay Card Arrival World MasterCard

  • 20,000 mile bonus (worth $200 of travel related expenses)
  • Spend $1,000 in the first 90 days to earn your bonus
  • 1 point for every $1 you spend
  • Worldwide Automatic Travel Accident Insurance
  • Reimbursement for expenses if your baggage is delayed or misdirected
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • MasterCard Global Service with 24-hour emergency assistance
  • 12 month introductory 0% APR for balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • This card does not have an annual fee
  • Click here to apply | Click here to read the full review

3. Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

  • 35,000 bonus miles
  • Spend $1,000 in the first 90 days to earn your bonus
  • Complimentary checked bag on flights purchased through Hawaiian Airlines
  • 50% off companion discount for a rountrip coach travel between Hawaii and North American on Hawaiian Airlines
  • Earn 5,000 annual bonus miles after $10,000 in annual spend
  • Get $100 off a companion ticket for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America at each account anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Click here to apply | Click here to read the full review

4. US Airways Premier World MasterCard

  • 40,000 bonus miles
  • Activate your card and use it once to earn your bonus
  • Complimentary checked bag for you and four companions on domestic flights purchased through US Airways
  • US Airways and American Airlines are merging so your 40,000 bonus points will be able to be redeemed on American Airlines (enough for a round tirp flight to Europe in the off season)
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation or interruption
  • 15 month introductory 0% APR for balance transfers made within the first 45 days of receiving your card
  • Two Companion pass good for a domestic flight for only $99
  • Complimentary US Airways Club day pass & check in at the First Class counter
  • Click here to apply | Click here to read the full review

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0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

The average American carries over $15,000 in credit card debt and with the average credit card interest rate being around 13% the cost to carry this balance cost $1,950 per year.

What if there was a way for you to reduce your borrowing costs which would help you pay down your debt sooner?  Would saving, on average, $1,950 per year on credit card finance charges interest you (pun intended)?

One of the easiest ways to reduce your finance charges is to get approved for one of the best 0% balance transfer credit cards. 

What Is A 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card?

Many credit card companies have special introductory offers that allow you to transfer a lump sum of money from your current credit card to your new credit card and, better yet, they will allow you to carry that balance for an extended period of time (sometimes up to 18 months) at 0% interest.

Now, you have to be sure to check the one time transfer fee which, typically, should be between 3%-5% but I always recommend you ask to have the fee waived or at least reduced.  It never hurts to ask as all they can do is say “no” and make you pay the normal rate.

Even with the 3%-5% balance transfer fee it should be clear that you can save a good amount of money by taking advantage of a 0% balance transfer credit card offers.

How You Can Save Money With A 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card

Let’s assume for the sake of this example that, when it comes to your finances, you’re a little better at managing your money than the average American and you have $10,000 of credit card debt at 19.99% interest.  The financing charges will cost you $1,999 per year or $166.58 per month.

If you were to take advantage of one of the best 18 month no interest balance transfer credit card offers below, with a 3% balance transfer fee, the total cost to carry your $10,000 credit card balance over those 18 months would be $300.

If you were able to pay $572.22 towards this balance per month for the 18 months that you are able to enjoy the 0% interest rate you would be able to fully pay off your $10,000 credit card debt while only accruing $300 in finance charges.

The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers

1. US Airways Premier World MasterCard

  • 15 month introductory 0% APR for balance transfers made within the first 45 days of receiving your card
  • 40,000 bonus miles
  • Activate your card and use it once to earn your bonus
  • Complimentary checked bag for you and four companions on domestic flights purchased through US Airways
  • US Airways and American Airlines are merging so your 40,000 bonus points will be able to be redeemed on American Airlines (enough for a round tirp flight to Europe in the off season)
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Trip cancellation or interruption
  • Two Companion pass good for a domestic flight for only $99
  • Complimentary US Airways Club day pass & check in at the First Class counter
  • Click here to apply | Click here to read the full review

2. Barclay Card Arrival World MasterCard

  • 12 month introductory 0% APR for balance transfers
  • 20,000 mile bonus (worth $200 of travel related expenses)
  • Spend $1,000 in the first 90 days to earn your bonus
  • 1 point for every $1 you spend
  • Worldwide Automatic Travel Accident Insurance
  • Reimbursement for expenses if your baggage is delayed or misdirected
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • MasterCard Global Service with 24-hour emergency assistance
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • This card does not have an annual fee
  • Click here to apply | Click here to read the full review

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Hotel Related Credit Cards

Hotels, just like the airlines, also have many great credit cards that you can sign up for to earn large point bonuses that can be used to redeem free stays.

I tend to prefer the credit cards that earn airmiles or money that can be used to pay for your travel related expenses but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with ALSO earning points that can turn into free nights at popular hotels.

If you’re looking to use credit cards to earn hotel points then be sure to check out the ones I recommend below.

The Best Credit Cards For Hotel Points

1. Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature

  • 12,000 bonus points (good for 2 free nights)
  • Earn your 12,000 bonus points by using this hotel credit card once
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent at participating hotels
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on everything else
  • No annual fee
  • Click here to see the participating hotels
  • Click here to apply

2.  Choice Privileged Visa Card

  • Up to 32,000 bonus points (good for 4 free nights)
    • 8,000 bonus points after your first purchase
    • 24,000 bonus points after you use the card to book a stay at a Choice Privileged hotel
  • Earn 15 points per $1 spent at participating hotels
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on Choice Privileged points or Choice Hotel gift card purchases
  • Earn 2 pints per $1 spent on everything else
  • No annual free
  • Click here to see the participating hotels
  • Click here to apply

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Best Business Rewards Credit Cards

There are many reasons why a business owner would want to know which are the best business rewards credit cards.  Mainly they are looking to get something in return for using their business rewards credit card for their business expenses.

For most people, I recommend a travel rewards credit card since you can typically get enough bonus air miles when you sign up and spend a specific amount during the bonus period to get a free domestic flight.  For business owners, especially those who are spending hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars per year on business expenses I suggest you compare the travel rewards to the business reward credit cards offers below.

The reason I recommend that business owners primarily use a business rewards card is because their business spending typically out paces their travel needs.  If a business owner is spending $300,000 per year on business expenses he/she would be able to take 12 flights per year that were 25,000 air miles each.  If that is more than the business owner would be want or be able to use they are better off getting a 2% cash back bonus ($6,000 for this example) rather than a bunch of air miles he/she will never use.  Consider the business owner with $2 million dollars in business expenses per year.  That amount would equal 80 round trip flight or $40,000 in cash back.

If you are a business owner who’s business spending out paces your travel wants/needs than I suggest you apply for a business rewards credit card.

Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards

Gas rewards credit cards can be a great option if you do a lot of driving.  Getting a perk for paying for something that you are going to spend money on anyway is a nice little bonus that everyone should enjoy.

The most important thing to look at when looking to sign up for a credit card that give you gas rewards is how much those rewards are worth.  I’ve seen too many “reward cards” over the years that yield peanuts for points.  With great cards, like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard that rewards you with $400 worth of free travel when you sign up and meet the minimum spend plus 2 points for very $1 spent on gas (or anything else) it is a great alternative to a dedicated gas rewards card.

Don’t get me wrong, if there is a gasoline rewards credit card that is worth more to you than 2 travel points per $1 then, by all means, apply for it and use it for when you buy gas.

If the points you earn on this gas card are later used to pay for gas when traveling, you could call that a travel hack!

Best Credit Cards For People With Bad Credit

There are some credit cards that are the best credit cards for people with bad credit.

You might be one of the many people who short sold their home or were foreclosed on since 2008.  Or maybe you missed a few payments over the years.  Whatever is dragging down your credit score (click here to check your credit score for free) shouldn’t be an automatic no if you apply for one of the following credit cards.

When you have bad credit, you might need to be willing to accept a credit card with a higher interest rate, a lower limit or possibly both.  You really shouldn’t let this get you down.  Just because you have less than ideal credit, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get a credit card.

If you do have poor credit and you want to apply for a credit card, please only do so after you have learned from your past credit blunders and promise yourself (and me!) that you will pay off your credit card balance in full each month and never miss a payment.

It’s likely that a few late payments from the past have lead you to be searching for the best credit cards for people with bad credit.  If you get another card, you will want to make sure to use this one to rebuild your bad credit rather than continue to make it worse!

REmember, your credit score should improve over time.  If you don’t have the luxury of multiple year, and you want to raise your credit score it can help to be pro-active and get started by signing up for a free credit score consultation to work on a plan to improve your credit.

Best Student Credit Cards

The best student credit cards are typically those that offer credit to people that have little to no credit history, do not have a job and are currently enrolled in college or university.

Although I highly caution college students about taking on credit card debt, it can be a good idea to start building a credit history by using a credit card AND PAYING IT OFF IN FULL EACH MONTH.

Of course, if student loans, family or outside support and even employment income cannot cover the cost of going to school you might need to take on some credit card debt to fund your education.

I understand that a post-secondary education can be very expensive (I worked two jobs and had many different entrepreneurial ventures and I still graduated with over $20,000 in student loan debt which is now all paid off by the way) and taking on debt is a necessary evil for some.  Please use credit responsibly to fund your education… not your spring break trip to Panama City, Florida (use a travel rewards credit card for that).

I also strongly encourage you to explore some ways to make extra money.

If you are a student and are looking for college friendly credit cards, here are the best options.

The Best Student Credit Cards Currently Being Offered

 

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