Best Travel Credit Cards

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Looking over the sheer number of travel credit cards available is enough to overwhelm anyone. With so many cards offering points, miles or cash back, what should you look for in a new travel rewards credit card?

While having options is a good thing, trying to decide on the best travel rewards credit cards available can give you a difficult decision. When considering a new card, there are four factors you should consider before you hit the “apply now” button:

  • No foreign transaction feesWhile up to 3% in foreign transaction fees may not sound like much, it can add over a quarter to every $10 you spend abroad. The best travel credit cards may not have foreign transaction fees.
  • Good rewards for spendingFor every dollar you spend, you should earn rewards you can apply directly to your next trip: either flights, hotel rooms or other experiences.
  • Sign-up bonusesMost cards offer a sign-up bonus after a required minimum spend to encourage people to apply for their card. The sign-up bonus should offer a substantial award that justifies the spending.
  • Annual feeAlthough most cards come with an annual fee, the points or cash back you could earn should outweigh the cost.

Instead of getting lost looking for the perfect travel rewards card, start with this guide. We found the best travel cards for every lifestyle, each of which offer you some of the best rewards now and over time. If you want good travel rewards for the money you spend, consider adding these credit cards to your wallet.

Best premium travel cards

Premium travel cards come with the highest annual fees but also offer the highest level of rewards. From flexible points that can be transferred to travel partners, to elite hotel and lounge offers, your annual fee can be recovered through the luxury benefits on these cards. If you travel frequently and want to get the best experiences, these are the cards you’ll want.

Chase Sapphire ReserveSM

Why we like it: Because you automatically receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year, the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM offers solid rewards for what effectively turns into a $150 annual fee ($450 annual fee minus up to $300 in statement credits for travel purchases). Cardholders also receive up to a $100 application fee credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. In addition, you will earn three Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar spent on travel and dining worldwide, and one point per dollar spent everywhere else. If you make this your primary card, you could earn rewards which value more than the annual fee every year.

Fees and terms: The Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card comes with a $450 annual fee, with an additional $75 for each authorized user per year. Your APR would range from 16.99% to 23.99% variable, based on your creditworthiness.

Rewards program: Purchases earn points in Chase Ultimate Rewards®, a flexible point program that can be used for travel rewards. One point has a value of 1 cent, but when redeeming for travel through the Chase travel portal, points have a fixed value of 1.5 cents. You can get an even greater value by transferring points to one of Ultimate Rewards® nine airline partners or four hotel partners.

Pros:

  • Flexible points that offer good valueChase Ultimate Rewards® are among the most flexible in the travel space, with nine airline and four hotel rewards transfer partners – giving you many different ways to use your points. You can also use points through the Chase travel portal at a fixed rate of 1.5 cents each towards airfare and hotels of your choice.
  • Exceptional rewards for travel and diningOf all the premium credit cards, the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM offers the most points per dollar spent for both travel and dining. If you primarily use this card when you travel, you would earn unlimited triple points on most of your big expenses.
  • Great travel insurance optionsIn addition to points earning opportunities and flexible points, this card also offers one of the best travel insurance plans available. When you use your card or Ultimate Rewards® points to pay for your trip, you are automatically covered with baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, emergency evacuation insurance and roadside assistance.

Cons:

  • $450 annual feeOne of the biggest cons of this card is the $450 annual fee, due immediately in the first year. Even though $300 can be recovered from the annual travel credit, you still pay the $450 out of pocket. If you do not travel often, this card may not be right for you.
  • Limited travel lounge accessFor the high price tag, this card only offers lounge benefits through Priority Pass, a network of lounges around the world. It does not allow entry into any carrier’s lounges and comes with some surprising rules, including limited accommodation during busy times.
  • No elite status with travel partnersUnlike its nearest competitor, the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM does not come with any elite status with partner brands. If you get accepted for this card, don’t expect to get to the front of the line at any hotels or car rental locations.

Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM

 Chase Sapphire Reserve<sup>SM</sup>

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on Chase’s secure website

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Why we like it: Considered one of the oldest and most prestigious awards cards, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers the most elite status, luxury experiences and credits for your spending. When you book trips directly with airlines or American Express Travel, you can also earn five Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent, allowing your rewards to rack up quickly. All other purchases earn one point per dollar. If you value luxury experiences and airline lounge access, this card could be a better choice.

Terms and fees
Because The Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, there is no APR on balances — you will be required to pay off the entire balance every month. The annual membership fee is $550, while the annual fee for additional cards is $175 for up to three additional cards. The annual fee for the fourth or more additional cards is $175 for each card.

Rewards program: Your purchases will earn Membership Rewards® points, which can be used with American Express or transferred to their travel partners. When using Membership Rewards® points at American Express Travel, your points are valued at 1 cent each, so your best use of points is through transferring to their airline or hotel partners. Points transfer to 16 airlines and three hotels, offering the most choices for award travel.

Pros:

  • Best lounge access programsThe Platinum Card® from American Express offers you the most ways to get into lounges when you travel around the world. In addition to Priority Pass, you can also enter Centurion Lounges and the International American Express lounges on arrival or departure at select airports, as well as Delta Sky Clubs when you are flying on Delta.
  • Elite status for holding the cardThe Platinum Card® from American Express also comes with elite status at three car rental and two hotel loyalty programs: Avis Preferred, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, National Car Emerald Club, Hilton Honors Gold Elite and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.
  • Credits for Boingo Wi-Fi, Global Entry, Shoprunner and UberEven with the high annual fee, this premium card also comes with several credits and free services for frequent travelers. Cardholders get free Boingo Preferred Plan membership, free Shoprunner two-day delivery, along with monthly credits for Uber rides and one Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee waiver every five years.

Cons:

  • Highest annual feesWhile the card may offer the most status and immediate benefits, it also comes with the highest fee. At $550 for the annual fee, you will be pay for all your benefits in the first month, before you can get any value from them.
  • Only one bonus categoryAnother major downside of this card is that there is only one bonus category: five points per dollar spent directly with airlines or travel booked through Amex Travel. If you do not spend much on prepaid hotel reservations or airfare, you can’t maximize this bonus category effectively.
  • Limited airline fee creditFor years, The Platinum Card® from American Express was the only card to offer an airline fee credit. Today, it is one of the most limited: $200 only usable towards airline fees, available for only one airline you choose at the beginning of the year.
The Platinum Card® from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Best travel cards for simple rewards

While earning points and miles can be rewarding, some of the best programs are simple and straightforward. When we looked for the best simple rewards credit cards, we looked for those that not only offered cash back, but also bonuses for spending and redeeming, along with a low annual fee. After considering all our options, these are the best travel rewards cards for simple rewards.

Best cashback travel rewards card

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Why we like it: If you don’t want to chase rotating categories or juggle which card is best for whatever spending you do, The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
offers simple travel rewards. You will earn two miles per dollar spent on all purchases, with full chip and PIN capability outside the United States. Choose the flights, hotels and rental cars that work for you and pay for the charges to your card by redeeming miles. And when you redeem, you automatically get 5% back to use toward your next redemption.

Fees and terms
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® comes with an $89 annual fee, waived in the first year. Your variable APR for purchases will be 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.

Rewards program
Instead of earning traditional airline miles, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® earns miles that can be applied as cash back to your travel expenses. Qualifying travel purchases include those made at airlines, hotels, campgrounds, car rental companies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites and more. Miles are worth one cent each.

Pros:

  • Easy to use rewardsThe Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has one of the most easy-to-understand rewards programs available, with every point counting for one cent each. Instead of trying to figure out how many points you need for a flight, your available cash balance is always available and easy to understand.
  • 5% miles back every time you redeemThe best part about using miles on this card is that you’ll always get 5% back. For example: if you were to redeem 50,000 points for a $500 airline ticket, you would get 2,500 points back (worth $25).
  • Partial payment with miles allowedWhile some programs force you to either pay for your entire award with miles (or purchase more miles to cover your award), this card allows you to use your miles to pay off a portion of your travel expenses. How many miles you want to use is up to you.

Cons:

  • Annual fee for a cashback cardThe card is rather expensive for earning two miles per dollar toward travel. If you don’t travel abroad often, there are other cards that offer the same cash back with no annual fee.
  • High redemption thresholds and miles won’t transfer to other programsIf you would rather travel in first class using airline loyalty program miles, you will be out of luck with this card. While most rewards programs offer transfers after 1,000 points and cash-equivalent rewards at 2,500 points, you have to have at least 10,000 miles to use them for a $100 reward. Furthermore, miles can only be used to pay for travel expenses on the card, and can’t be transferred to other airline partners.
  • Poor value for everything not travel relatedWhile the earning two miles per dollar on all purchases is good when redeeming for travel, you shouldn’t use them to get gift cards or cash back. When using your miles for those options, you will lose 50% of your value in translation.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard<sup>®</sup>

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on Barclaycard’s secure website

Best travel card for millennials

Uber Visa Card

Why we like it: The Uber Visa Card offers high cash back rewards at the places millennials spend the most — all restaurants (including UberEATS), travel, online shopping and streaming services — along with no foreign transaction fees and up to $600 in mobile phone protection with no annual fee. Plus, some of the bonus categories are the biggest in their category: no other credit card offers 4% cash back on all dining purchases. Conditions apply.

Fees and terms
This card has no annual fee, and your APR for purchases would be 15.99%, 21.74% or 24.74%, variable based on your creditworthiness.

Rewards program
The card offers cash back rewards for spending in four different categories:

  • 4% cash back on restaurants, takeout, and bars, including UberEATS
  • 3% cash back on airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals
  • 2% cash back on online purchases including Uber, online shopping, video and music streaming services
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Cash back can be used as statement credits, credits towards Uber rides, redeemed for gift cards or transferred to a bank account with a limit of $500 in transfers per day. Conditions apply.

Pros:

  • Big cash back categoriesOf all the cash back cards we have reviewed, the Uber Visa Card has the biggest rewards for both dining and online purchases. Using this card as your primary option for restaurants and digital shopping could help your rewards add up quickly.
  • Up to $600 in mobile phone protectionWhile many cards offer travel insurance, not many offer cellphone insurance. If you pay your cellphone bill with your Uber Visa Card, you could qualify for $600 in protection for accidental damage or theft. Conditions apply.
  • $50 online subscription service creditWho doesn’t have at least one online subscription service anymore? If you spend at least $5,000 in your cardmembership year, you automatically get a $50 credit for an online subscription you pay with your card.

Cons:

  • Limited transfer optionsWhile the cash back is good, The Uber Visa only has one transfer partner for their points right now: Uber. You can’t turn over your points into any other loyalty program, limiting their overall usage.
  • Limited definition of “online purchases”The Uber Visa Card also comes with a very narrow definition of “online purchase” that qualifies for 2% cash back. If you make an online purchase through a mobile service (like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay) or a third party (like PayPal), it won’t count for bonus rewards.
  • No travel insuranceAlthough you may get up to $600 in mobile phone protection, you won’t get any travel insurance benefits when paying for your next trip with this card. If your flight gets delayed or your luggage gets lost, your card won’t reimburse any of your expenses.

Read our review of the Uber Visa Card

Best travel card with no annual fee

Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card

Why we like it: While the Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card compares closely to other cards with no annual fee, the details make this card a real winner. At the end of your first year, Discover automatically matches all of your earned miles, giving you double the travel purchasing power. The card also comes with strong back-end features, including free Social Security number alerts and FICO score checks.

Fees and terms
If you qualify for the promotion, your introductory purchase APR would be 0% for 14 months. Afterwards, your APR would range between 11.99% to 23.99% variable, based on your creditworthiness. There is no annual fee with this card.

Rewards program
The Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card offers miles that can be used as cash back to pay for travel experiences. When you book trips using the Discover it® Miles card, you can redeem your miles towards statement credits on the trips, with no blackout dates. Your miles never expire as long as your card is active.

Pros:

  • Good credit security tools and customer serviceIn addition to having call centers based in the United States, this card also comes with solid credit security tools. These include free FICO credit scores, Social Security number alerts, Experian® credit report monitoring and the ability to freeze your credit card from the Discover mobile app or website.
  • Wide acceptance in China and JapanIf you travel to Asia often, the Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card may be your best bet for secure spending. Discover is accepted by China’s largest credit card network, UnionPay, and one of Japan’s largest payment processors, JCB.
  • Matched miles in the first yearCurrently, no other company offers matched points or miles for your first cardholding year, effectively doubling your rewards. If you use this as your primary spending card, you could earn a lot of cash back towards travel.

Cons:

  • No transfer partnersAlthough doubled miles in the first cardholding year and unlimited rewards are great, you may not get to fly first class with them. Miles do not transfer to any airline partners – they can only be applied as cash back for travel expenses.
  • No bonus categories for earning milesWhile other Discover cards offer rotating 5% cashback bonus categories quarterly, the Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card offers no bonus categories. This means no matter where you use your card, you will always earn 1.5 points per dollar.
  • Low miles earning after first yearWith no bonus categories, this means you may not earn very many miles after the first year. If you don’t travel to Asia often or don’t want to use your cash back for travel only, you could find more value out of other credit cards.

Best credit union travel card

First Tech FCU Odyssey™ Rewards World Elite MasterCard®

Why we like it: We searched over 50 credit unions with few membership restrictions for the best travel rewards credit cards, and found it at First Tech Federal Credit Union. The Odyssey™ Rewards World Elite MasterCard® offers competitive bonus categories (three Rewards Points for every dollar spent on travel; two Rewards Points for every dollar spent on dining; one Reward Point for every dollar spent on all other purchases), but comes with a lower annual fee and interest rate than its competitors.

Fees and terms
The card comes with a $75 annual fee, which is waived in the first year. Your APR will be between 11.99% and 18.00% variable when you open your account, based on your creditworthiness. There are no international transaction fees, cash advance fees or balance transfer fees.

To apply for the card, you must be a member of First Tech Federal Credit Union, which requires you to work for a sponsor company, live in Lane County, Ore., or become a member of the Financial Fitness Association or the Computer History Museum. A membership share in the credit union is $5 (held in a membership savings account), a membership in the Financial Fitness Association is $8, and a membership to the Computer History Museum is $15.

Rewards program
Points earned with the card go towards the Scorecard Rewards program, which fulfills rewards. Your points can be used towards travel experiences including cruises, hotels, or car rental certificates, merchandise available in their catalog, or can be redeemed for cash back. While your points value may vary for awards, cash back rewards are valued at one cent per point.

Pros:

  • Strong bonus categoriesThe bonus categories offered by the Odyssey™ Rewards World Elite MasterCard® are comparable to other major rewards cards, because it offers three points per dollar spent on travel and two points pers dollar spent on dining. This gives it strong value with better terms for the cardholder.
  • Flexible rewards optionsLike other programs, points earned on the Odyssey™ Rewards card can be used toward several different awards. Airfare, cruises, hotel certificates and car rental certificates are all available when you use your points and miles.
  • Lower annual fee and APR than other cardsCredit unions often offer better terms to cardholders than banks, and this card is no exception. The APR may be lower on balances held on the card, and the annual fee is at least $20 less than other comparable cards.

Cons:

  • Points vary in valueThe two downsides about Odyssey™ Rewards points are that points vary in value, and they can’t be transferred to other airline partners. Because of this, using them for non-travel rewards may value them under one cent per point.
  • Credit union membership requiredWhile the card is a good deal, you must be a member of the credit union to get the card. If you decide to take your money out of the credit union, your card could be canceled as well.
  • Upfront membership feesThis card is subject to membership in the credit union and an associated organization. Before you can apply for this card, you have to pay $13 in fees.

The post Best Travel Credit Cards appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

5 Credit Cards with Consistent Cash Back Rates for Every Purchase

Credit cards are a super convenient financial tool, but they can often be confusing.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

Cash back credit cards often reward certain forms of spending more than others. But if your spending habits don’t heavily favor a specific purchase type, a card with the same cash back rate for all purchases could be the better choice.

Here are five credit cards that provide consistent cash back no matter what you’re buying.

1. Citi Double Cash Card

Rewards: 1% cash back on purchases with an additional 1% cash back upon payment.

Sign-Up Bonus: None

Annual Fee: $0

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR; variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR on purchases.

Why We Picked It: For each paid purchase, you get 2% cash back.

For Every Purchase: All purchases automatically earn 1% cash back, and an additional 1% is awarded once you pay. In other words, you have the potential to earn double cash back on everything.

Drawbacks: If you don’t pay your minimum due each month, you won’t earn your full cash back.

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus cash back if you spend $500 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $0

APR: 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.99% to 24.74% APR.

Why We Picked It: You get a solid cash back rate on every purchase.

For Every Purchase: You’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back with every purchase you make. There’s also a $150 sign-up bonus with a low spending requirement.

Drawbacks: The balance transfer fee is 5% of the transfer amount with a minimum of $5, which many other cards can beat.

3. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: $200 bonus cash back if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $0

APR: 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 25.99% APR based on your credit.

Why We Picked It: This card offers cash back on all purchases and a big sign-up bonus.

For Every Purchase: All purchases earn 1.5% cash back. There is a 1.8% cash back incentive for mobile wallet purchases, but that rate reverts to 1.5% after one year. And if you can spend $1,000 in the first three months, you’ll get a nice $200 sign-up bonus.

Drawbacks: For some, the spending requirement for the sign-up bonus may be out of reach.

4. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: None

Annual Fee: $39

APR: Variable 24.99% APR.

Why We Picked It: Good cash back rates aren’t limited to those with excellent credit.

For Every Purchase: Those with average credit can earn a competitive 1.5% cash back rate on every purchase.

Drawbacks: The starting APR is quite high, which is normal considering the lower credit requirements. There’s also a $39 annual fee.

5. Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: $200 bonus cash back if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days.

Annual Fee: $0

APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.99%, 20.99%, or 25.99% APR based on your credit.

Why We Picked It: This card has a decent cash back rate and offers extra value as you redeem.

For Every Purchase: All purchases earn 1.5% cash back. When you redeem, 5% of the redemption amount is credited back into your account, giving your earnings a little boost every time you cash in your rewards.

Drawbacks: You must have at least $50 in cash back earnings before you can redeem.

How to Choose a Card with a Consistent Cash Back Value

If you’re choosing a credit card for its consistent cash back value, you’ll probably want the card that offers the best rewards rate on all purchases. Cards with 1.5% cash back for all purchases are commonplace, so don’t settle below that threshold. Some cards offer more, but they may require you to jump through extra hoops.

You should also review any available sign-up bonuses, as they can boost the initial value of the card. If you’re looking to avoid interest on purchases or balance transfers, look for 0% intro APR offers.

Remember that cash back cards should be paid off in full each month before interest is applied. Otherwise, interest can reduce the value of your rewards.

What Credit Is Required for a Card with Consistent Cash Back?

Cash back cards are available to consumers with a wide range of credit scores. While the best cards are usually reserved for those with excellent credit, those with bad credit aren’t necessarily locked out of rewards. No matter your credit standing, you should check your credit score before you apply. You can check your credit report for free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Citi Double Cash Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card, Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card, Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, and Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

Image: Peopleimages

The post 5 Credit Cards with Consistent Cash Back Rates for Every Purchase appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Credit Cards with Consistent Cash Back Rates for Every Purchase

Credit cards are a super convenient financial tool, but they can often be confusing.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

Cash back credit cards often reward certain forms of spending more than others. But if your spending habits don’t heavily favor a specific purchase type, a card with the same cash back rate for all purchases could be the better choice.

Here are five credit cards that provide consistent cash back no matter what you’re buying.

1. Citi Double Cash Card

Rewards: 1% cash back on purchases with an additional 1% cash back upon payment.

Sign-Up Bonus: None

Annual Fee: $0

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR; variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR on purchases.

Why We Picked It: For each paid purchase, you get 2% cash back.

For Every Purchase: All purchases automatically earn 1% cash back, and an additional 1% is awarded once you pay. In other words, you have the potential to earn double cash back on everything.

Drawbacks: If you don’t pay your minimum due each month, you won’t earn your full cash back.

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus cash back if you spend $500 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $0

APR: 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.99% to 24.74% APR.

Why We Picked It: You get a solid cash back rate on every purchase.

For Every Purchase: You’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back with every purchase you make. There’s also a $150 sign-up bonus with a low spending requirement.

Drawbacks: The balance transfer fee is 5% of the transfer amount with a minimum of $5, which many other cards can beat.

3. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: $200 bonus cash back if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee: $0

APR: 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 25.99% APR based on your credit.

Why We Picked It: This card offers cash back on all purchases and a big sign-up bonus.

For Every Purchase: All purchases earn 1.5% cash back. There is a 1.8% cash back incentive for mobile wallet purchases, but that rate reverts to 1.5% after one year. And if you can spend $1,000 in the first three months, you’ll get a nice $200 sign-up bonus.

Drawbacks: For some, the spending requirement for the sign-up bonus may be out of reach.

4. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: None

Annual Fee: $39

APR: Variable 24.99% APR.

Why We Picked It: Good cash back rates aren’t limited to those with excellent credit.

For Every Purchase: Those with average credit can earn a competitive 1.5% cash back rate on every purchase.

Drawbacks: The starting APR is quite high, which is normal considering the lower credit requirements. There’s also a $39 annual fee.

5. Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: $200 bonus cash back if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days.

Annual Fee: $0

APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.99%, 20.99%, or 25.99% APR based on your credit.

Why We Picked It: This card has a decent cash back rate and offers extra value as you redeem.

For Every Purchase: All purchases earn 1.5% cash back. When you redeem, 5% of the redemption amount is credited back into your account, giving your earnings a little boost every time you cash in your rewards.

Drawbacks: You must have at least $50 in cash back earnings before you can redeem.

How to Choose a Card with a Consistent Cash Back Value

If you’re choosing a credit card for its consistent cash back value, you’ll probably want the card that offers the best rewards rate on all purchases. Cards with 1.5% cash back for all purchases are commonplace, so don’t settle below that threshold. Some cards offer more, but they may require you to jump through extra hoops.

You should also review any available sign-up bonuses, as they can boost the initial value of the card. If you’re looking to avoid interest on purchases or balance transfers, look for 0% intro APR offers.

Remember that cash back cards should be paid off in full each month before interest is applied. Otherwise, interest can reduce the value of your rewards.

What Credit Is Required for a Card with Consistent Cash Back?

Cash back cards are available to consumers with a wide range of credit scores. While the best cards are usually reserved for those with excellent credit, those with bad credit aren’t necessarily locked out of rewards. No matter your credit standing, you should check your credit score before you apply. You can check your credit report for free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Citi Double Cash Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card, Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card, Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, and Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

Image: Peopleimages

The post 5 Credit Cards with Consistent Cash Back Rates for Every Purchase appeared first on Credit.com.

I Have an 800 Credit Score. Why Was I Rejected for This Travel Rewards Card?

You can imagine my shock and frustration when I received a rejection letter from Barclaycard a few days after submitting my application online.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

It started simply enough. For months, I’d had my eye out for a premium travel rewards card, one that had a great rate of return, a sweet signup bonus and a rare miles redemption.

After a week of research, I settled on the Barclayard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, a popular option that packs perks, carries a low annual fee of $89 and offers miles that never expire. It also features a 5% redemption, awarded every time you cash out your miles.

To ensure I’d be able to qualify, I did my due diligence and pulled my credit reports on AnnualCreditReport.com (you can also view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.) Nothing looked suspicious: After years of keeping a budget and dutifully paying my credit card bills on time, my hard work had paid off and my credit score was in the solid 800 range.

So you can imagine my shock and frustration when I received a rejection letter from Barclaycard a few days after submitting my application online. What had I done?

“Too few accounts with sufficient satisfactory performance,” read one of the bullets. “Insufficient number of credit cards on your credit report,” read another.

Armed with this information, I gave Barclaycard’s customer service line a call. Yes, I was a reliable customer, I explained. Yes, I paid all my bills on time. See? It said so right there on my credit report. After responding to a few more questions, which mainly involved why I’d closed the other cards in the first place, I was approved.

“Consumers should always try to call and speak with a human if they want a different outcome,” said Eric Lindeen, vice president of marketing for ID Analytics in San Diego. “Sometimes they are able to take care of you.”

The Curse of Closing Two Credit Cards 

I could’ve avoided all of this. The two cards I’d canceled were the only ones I had — a big no-no in the world of credit, said Lindeen, whose company offers credit-risk management scores to issuers to help them onboard new customers.

“If the two cards you canceled were your only two cards, that would have a big impact on your score,” he said. Having “one to two cards is good, three to five is great; zero is not good. That probably was a 30- to 50-point hit to your score.” (You can learn how credit utilization — your total amount of debt versus how much credit has been extended to you — affects your credit score here.)

The issuer may also have perceived my lack of cards as a sign that I was “experiencing a high turnover of cards,” Lindeen said, referring to the practice of card, or mile, churning. For the unfamiliar, card churning refers to the act of signing up for rewards credit cards, spending just enough to earn the signup bonus and ditching the plastic before the annual fee kicks in.

As evidenced by the wildly popular Chase Sapphire Reserve — which touted an unprecedented 100,000-point bonus for spending $4,000 in the first three months — and the backlash Chase received on dozens of blogs and Reddit after reportedly establishing a 5/24 Rule (you won’t be approved if you’ve opened five or more accounts in the past 24 months) to prevent this kind of behavior, it’s no wonder issuers have grown wary. Who wants to give away money and not make a profit?

Certainly not American Express, whose Platinum Card touts some of the best travel rewards out there. Prospective applicants are warned: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.” Likewise, Citi notes that its bonus ThankYou Points “are not available if you have had a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months.” [Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.]

“Your application was initially declined because the system found that there had been at least two recent account closures — which flagged the application,” said Barclaycard representative Nicole DyeAnderson over email.

Now I knew why I was in this predicament.

How to Avoid Rejection (by a Credit Card) 

Keeping an eye on your spending and credit behavior is a big deal. Even one purchase can cause your score to plummet, said Lindeen, and the last thing you want is to permanently damage your standing. Keeping debt levels low, applying for cards as your score can handle them and paying bills off on time are the right ways to build up your credit. But all too often, people get carried away or lured by a large signup bonus.

Lindeen also stressed the importance of keeping your oldest credit card open as long as possible. “Mortgages and car loans reach an end point and later drop off your report,” he said, whereas a “credit card is something you can keep on file for your entire life.” A key metric in most scores is the age of your oldest tradeline, or item on your credit report, so holding onto your credit cards is important for building and maintaining credit.

For yours truly, it might be worth it to call my old issuers and see if they’ll reopen the cards with the original open date. Until then, I’ve learned my lesson — and probably won’t cancel another credit card again.

At publishing time, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard and Platinum Card from American Express are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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Barclaycard Beefs Up Signup Bonus for CashForward Card

Barclaycard is offering a nice cashback signup bonus just for using the card.

Opening a new credit card usually means an opportunity to earn a signup bonus. In the case of the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard, that bonus comes in the form of cold, hard cash.

Starting Tuesday, Barclaycard is beefing up its signup bonus for the CashForward card from $100 for spending $500 in the first 90 days to $200 for spending $1,000 within the same time frame.

On top of that, Barclaycard is keeping its introductory 15-month, 0% APR for balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, but is extending the 0% APR to purchases as well for the same 15 months. After the introductory period expires, the variable for both new purchases and balance transfers goes to a variable 15.74%, 20.74% or 25.74% APR, depending on your creditworthiness at the time of application. (There’s a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount being transferred, whichever is greater.)

Other Noteworthy Perks 

For those in search of a seriously simple cash back card, you can’t do much better than the Barclaycard CashForward card. It offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, plus a 5% cash rewards bonus, which you receive every time you redeem. Redemptions start at just $50 and come in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit into your U.S. checking or savings account. As a further incentive to swipe, rewards never expire so long as you keep the account open, active and in good standing.

The CashForward card offers other perks as well. Chip-card technology helps make purchases more secure, while cardholders on the go have access to MasterCard’s 24/7 travel assistance service. Beyond that, Barclaycard offers $0 fraud liability, meaning cardholders will not be held responsible for any fraudulent charges that they report.

Before You Apply 

If the thought of unlimited cash back has you thinking of applying for the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard, you’ll want to be sure you’ll actually use it. Though the card doesn’t carry an annual fee, its variable APR may strike some as relatively high, so you’ll want to consider whether this card is a good choice for you if you tend to carry a balance.

You’ll also want to check your credit to make sure you’re able to qualify, as Barclaycard requires excellent credit. You can do that right here on Credit.com, where you’ll receive two of your free credit scores, with helpful updates every two weeks. Checking your credit scores won’t hurt them one bit and is a great way to stay on top of your finances, especially if you’re trying to improve your standing.

At publishing time, the Barclaycard Cash Forward World MasterCard credit card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

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The post Barclaycard Beefs Up Signup Bonus for CashForward Card appeared first on Credit.com.

How to Visit Disney World for Free (or Close To It)

Anyone with kids understands that Disney World is a vacation they need to take at least once. After all, it’s the happiest place on earth. The only problem is, the place is expensive, and it’s only getting more so. In February, Disney announced they were raising ticket prices.

Last year, Disney parks started implementing tiered admission prices based on the season. This was to help fight overcrowding at some of the busiest times of the year.

With the price increase, most Disney theme parks will see mid-tier tickets increase to $107, up from $102. Peak season tickets (think spring break, summer and Christmas break) will increase to $119 from $114. And one-day tickets for the low season will go up to $99 from $97.

Tickets for the Magic Kingdom will cost a bit more for mid-tier tickets, up from $110 to $115, but peak prices will remain unchanged at $124.

Obviously, it gets expensive for a family. Just visiting the Magic Kingdom would end up costing a family of four between $396 and $496 depending on the season. And that’s for just one day at the park. Disney does offer special discount ticket packages, however, so be sure to check out what’s on offer before booking. You might be able to get a really good deal, especially during the off-season.

Of course, there are other ways to reduce your costs for visiting the happiest place on earth. You can start by using the rewards you receive from credit cards, for starters. There are three different cards you will need to make your trip nearly free (excluding food costs).

The Flights

Southwest Airlines is a favorite for many people. They’re inexpensive, they’re friendly and the overall flying experience is considered quite pleasant. Frequently the airline runs sales with prices starting at $59 one-way, or approximately 4,130 Southwest Rapid Reward points. That means for a family of four, it’s possible to get round-trip flights for as little as 33,040 points.

To cover this expense, you can sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card. You will receive 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 within the first three months. In addition to this signup bonus, you will also receive 2 points per dollar on Southwest Airlines flights and on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. For all other purchases you will receive 1 points per dollar. There is a $69 annual fee, but you will receive 3,000 bonus points on every card member anniversary.

The Hotel

A couple of years ago, Wyndham Resorts changed how many points were needed for a free night at any property. Instead of using a tiered system like other hotel brands, they moved to a flat rate. It now costs 15,000 points per night at every hotel.

Located right outside the Disney Park is the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek. This hotel is extremely kid-friendly with multiple pools, water slides and themed rooms. There is also a free shuttle that will take you to the Disney World gates.

To cover the expense, you could sign up for the Wyndham Rewards Visa card from Barclaycard. You will receive 30,000 points after your first purchase and another 15,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days. These 45,000 points would be good enough for three free nights. If you and your spouse both sign up for this card, you could earn up to six free nights.

In addition to the points you earn after signing up, you will also receive 5 points per dollar spent at any Wyndham property. Purchases made at gas stations, grocery stores and on any utility bill will receive 2 points per dollar. All other purchases will receive 1 points per dollar. There is a $75 annual fee, but you will receive 6,000 bonus points on each anniversary.

The Theme Park

We have already talked about how expensive it can be to purchase Disney World tickets. Luckily the cost can be mostly offset by the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. With this card you will receive 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days. You will also receive 2 miles per dollar on every purchase that you make.

The points you earn are worth statement credits on any travel expense. Each mile is worth one cent each. That means the 50,000 mile signup bonus is worth $500, enough to cover the costs of four Disney theme park tickets at peak season prices. However, it’s important to understand that purchases at Disney won’t be coded as a travel expense and you won’t be able to use your miles. Instead, you would need to purchase your Disney tickets through either Expedia.com or UndercoverTourist.com.

Another perk of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus credit card is that you will receive 5% of your rewards back in your account upon redemption. That means if you redeem the 50,000 miles for Disney tickets, 2,500 miles will be put back into your account. There is an $89 annual fee with this card, but it’s waived the first year.

Being Smart About Multiple Credit Cards

One of the big things to consider before applying for multiple credit cards, is that it’s wise to space out your applications. Too many new credit requests all at once can ding your credit scores, meaning your application for your second, third or even fourth card could be declined. Plus, multiple credit cards aren’t for everyone. They mean you’ll have to keep track of multiple initial-spend requirements, plus multiple due dates for your monthly payments.

Also keep in mind that, while the rewards may be attractive, especially if you’re trying to take a free vacation, you may not want (or be able) to spend the necessary amounts to reap those rewards. It’s important to understand whether or not that kind of spending will fit within your household’s budget. The last thing you want to do is end up coming home from Disney World with debt you’ll struggle to pay off.

Whatever you decide, checking your credit scores before applying is an important step. It can help you understand whether you’ll actually qualify for the particular rewards card you have your eye on (rewards credit cards tend to require higher credit scores). You can get your two credit scores absolutely free and updated every 14 days, right here on Credit.com.

At publishing time, the BarclayCard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

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The post How to Visit Disney World for Free (or Close To It) appeared first on Credit.com.