4 Credit Cards That Help Grandparents Spoil Their Grandkids

Will Your Grandchildren Ruin Your Retirement?

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

Spoiling your grandkids can get expensive, especially if you’re on a fixed income. But some credit cards can help out financially, earning rewards as you treat your grandchildren to ice cream or take them out on adventures.

Here are four credit cards that can help you spoil your grandchildren.

1. Blue Cash Preferred by American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual US supermarket purchases (1% cash back on purchases beyond that threshold); 3% cash back at US gas stations and select department stores; and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $200 bonus statement credit if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $95
Annual Percentage Rate (APR):
0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 24.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: This card offers a well-rounded variety of ways to earn cash back as you spend.
For Your Grandkids:
There are special cash back rates at supermarkets, gas stations, and eligible department stores. That means you’ll earn a lot of cash back whether you’re stocking up for a family dinner, driving your grandkids around town, or picking up some cute kids’ outfits.
Drawbacks: There is a $95 annual fee.

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
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: Every purchase earns the same dependable cash back rate.
For Your Grandkids: 
Every purchase you make (including grandchild-related expenses) earns 1.5% cash back.
Drawbacks: There are higher cash back rates available, especially if you’re willing to keep track of spending categories.

3. Citi Thank You Premier

Rewards: Three points per dollar spent on travel, including at gas stations; two points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment; and one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95.
APR: 
Variable 15.49% to 24.49% APR.
Why We Picked It: You can earn rewards as you take your grandkids on adventures.
For Your Grandkids: 
You’ll earn triple points on travel expenses (including gas), double points on dining and entertainment (including movie theaters, amusement parks, museums, and sporting events), and single points on everything else. If you’re out on the town with your grandkids, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to earn points, which can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards, and more.
Drawbacks: If you tend to entertain your grandkids at home, this card won’t offer as much value.

4. US Bank Cash Plus Visa

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $2,000 in quarterly purchases for two categories of your choosing; 2% cash back on one category of your choosing; and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: For one year, eligible purchases earn an additional 0.5% cash back.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 
Variable 14.99% to 23.99% APR on purchases; 0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening, then variable 14.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: This card gives you the power to choose how you’ll be rewarded for purchases.
For Your Grandkids:
Every quarter, you have the option to pick one 2% cash back category (current options are gas, dining, or grocery stores) and two 5% cash back categories (including sporting goods stores, movie theaters, electronics stores, bookstores, and more). This means you can tailor your cash back rewards to your grandchild’s hobbies or your favorite family activities. You can also switch categories each quarter, which means you can adjust as your grandkids grow.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to remember to choose your special cash back categories every quarter.

How to Choose a Card to Spoil Your Grandkids

Ultimately, the best card for spoiling your grandkids depends on how you spend on them. If you like to pick up random gifts here and there, a basic cash back card might be a good choice. If you take your grandkids on road trips or out on the town, a card that specifically rewards gas or entertainment might be a better fit.

If you plan to use your card for purchases unrelated to your grandkids, make sure to choose a card that will also reward those spending habits—especially if your “grandchildren budget” adds up to only a fraction of your total spending. 

What Credit Is Required for a Credit Card for Grandparents?

The best cash back and rewards cards will require good or excellent credit. You should check your credit before you apply, and submit an application only if you have a good chance of approval. That’s because a hard inquiry from a credit card application can ding your score a few points. You can check your credit report free at Credit.com. 

Image: istock

At publishing time, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards 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.

The post 4 Credit Cards That Help Grandparents Spoil Their Grandkids appeared first on Credit.com.

Our Top 5 Credit Card Picks for Fall Landscaping Projects

A summer garden can be a wonderful hobby and investment when you follow these money saving tips!

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

With cooler weather and better planting conditions, fall is the perfect time of year for a landscaping project. But whether you’re sprucing up your garden or aiming to improve your home’s curb appeal, the expense of a large outdoor project can be daunting.

Some credit cards can help, offering you ways to earn cash back or avoid paying interest on your purchases.

Here are five credit cards for your fall landscaping project.

1. Citi Simplicity

Rewards: None
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% APR for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 14.99% to 24.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Citi offers the lengthiest 0% intro APR period we’ve seen.
For Your Outdoor Project: 
You can avoid paying interest on your landscaping purchases for almost two years. That’s a long time to pay off your project.
Drawbacks: 
There are no rewards offered with this card.

2. Home Depot Consumer Credit Card

Rewards: None
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% intro APR for up to 24 months on qualifying purchase types, then variable 17.99% to 26.99% APR based on your credit.
Why We Picked It: Home Depot offers both the supplies you need and the card (reviewed here) that can help you afford them.
For Your Outdoor Project: 
Home Depot purchases of $299 or more get six months of 0% APR. Various purchase types, including pergolas, snow blowers, and siding, can qualify for up to 24 months of 0% APR. Cardholders can also access special discounts and have one year to make returns, which is nine months longer than Home Depot’s standard policy.
Drawbacks: 
If you don’t shop at Home Depot, this card isn’t right for you.

3. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus 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: This well-rounded card offers a solid cash back rate on every purchase, a nice little sign-up bonus, and a long period of interest-free purchases.
For Your Outdoor Project: 
All of your landscaping purchases will automatically earn 1.5% cash back automatically, and you get 15 months to avoid interest as you pay off your project. It should also be easy to meet the spending requirement for the sign-up bonus.
Drawbacks: There are higher cash back rates available with other cards.

4. Lowe’s Advantage Card 

Rewards: None
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% intro APR for qualifying purchase types, then variable 26.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Loyal Lowe’s shoppers have many ways to save on their landscaping projects.
For Your Outdoor Project: 
When you apply for a Lowe’s credit card, you can choose to receive 5% off all qualifying Lowe’s purchases or six months of 0% APR on purchases of $299 or more. Lowe’s also offers up to 36 months of low-interest financing on certain purchases; for instance, riding lawn mowers currently get 1.99% APR for 36 months.
Drawbacks: You have to choose between saving on every purchase or avoiding interest. 

5. Discover it – Cashback Match

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of purchases in quarterly bonus categories; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Discover will match all cash back earned in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 11.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: You can earn 5% cash back on your landscaping supplies if you get them from the right merchants.
For Your Outdoor Project: For October through December this year, the card’s 5% cash back bonus category is Target and Amazon.com purchases. You should be able to get at least some of your landscaping needs from these merchants, earning a great cash back rate as you spend.
Drawbacks: 
The card’s “home improvement store” bonus category, which would have been ideal, has already passed by this year.

Choosing a Card for Your Landscaping Project

General cash back cards without merchant restrictions will be suitable for a project that involves purchases at many different stores (or if you want a card you can also use for everyday spending). But if you’re sourcing your project at one type of store, you may want to look for a card that offers a special cash back rate at that merchant type.

If you’re after a 0% intro APR offer, you should start by estimating the cost of your project. Choose a card with a payback period that gives you enough time to pay off your estimated project cost in full before it expires. Otherwise, you’ll be hit with interest when the intro period is up.  

What Credit Is Required to Get a Card for My Landscaping Project?

Credit cards with cash back rewards and 0% intro APR offers often require good to excellent credit. Store-specific credit cards might be easier to qualify for, but they generally don’t hold as much long-term value. Before you apply for a card, you should be confident in your chances of approval. You can check your credit report for free at Credit.com.

Image: AleksandarNakic

At publishing time, the Citi Simplicity, Chase Freedom Unlimited, and Discover it cards 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.

The post Our Top 5 Credit Card Picks for Fall Landscaping Projects appeared first on Credit.com.

Top 3 Credit Cards for Rewards on Family Trips

Gas can make summer road trips expensive, but the right credit card can earn some of that spending back.

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

Field trips are a great way to entertain or educate the entire family, both kids and adults alike. But parents know that food, entertainment, and transportation costs can quickly turn one afternoon trip into a money pit.

Credit cards can help, offering rewards that can help parents or chaperones recoup a bit of that investment in the form of cash back or other bonuses.
Here are three credit cards for family field trips.

1. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual US supermarket purchases (and 1% cash back on supermarket purchases beyond that threshold); 3% cash back at US gas stations and participating US department stores; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
$150 statement credit if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 13.99% to 24.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It: Loading kids into the car for a long drive is a little easier with this card.
For Your Field Trips: If you’re frequently driving to your family activities, 3% cash back at gas stations can save you a lot. Supermarket and select department store purchases earn special cash back rates as well.
Drawbacks: There’s a $95 annual fee after the first year.

2. Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

 Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment; one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
None
Annual Fee:
$0
APR:
0% APR for 15 months on purchases, as well as on balance transfers made within the first four months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Why We Picked It:
You’ll earn points as you take your family out for food and entertainment.
For Your Field Trips:
Feeding and entertaining your family earns you two points on the dollar, while other purchases earn one point per dollar. The entertainment category includes museums, movie theaters, aquariums, carnivals, sporting events, and many other kid-friendly activities. Points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, charitable donations, and more. The card also provides benefits through the Citi Private Pass program, which unlocks special access to tickets for hundreds of events.
Drawbacks: If your field trips are usually free or inexpensive, you won’t earn as many points.

3. Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards: 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back on groceries and wholesale club purchases for up to $2,500 in quarterly combined purchases; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: $150 bonus cash rewards if you spend $500 in the first 90 days.
Annual Fee: $0
APR:
0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers completed in the first 60 days and all purchases, then variable 13.99% to 23.99% APR on transfers and purchases.
Why We Picked It: The card offers cash back rewards and a great program for museum lovers.
For Your Field Trips: 
Driving to destinations is a little easier with 3% cash back on gas purchases. Plus, with the Museums on Us program (which is available to all Bank of America debit and credit accountholders), cardholders get one free general admission ticket to over 175 museums and cultural institutions on the first full weekend of every month. This includes the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and many more.
Drawbacks: 
There’s a quarterly cap on special cash back rates, so big spenders may want to keep looking.

How to Choose a Card for Family Field Trips

Choosing a card for your family field trips largely depends on the types of excursions you tend to take. If you frequently drive long distances, a gas rewards card would be a great fit. If you go to live shows and dine out with the family often, a card with dining and entertainment rewards might be more appropriate. Or, if your trips span a wide range of activities, you might prefer a card with a solid rewards rate for all purchases.

What Credit Is Required for a Family Field Trip Credit Card?  

Credit cards with spending rewards usually require good to excellent credit. Before you apply, you should check your credit—you don’t want a hard inquiry to ding your credit score if you’ll be rejected. You can check your credit report for free at Credit.com.

Image: monkeybusinessimages 

At publishing time, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express and Citi ThankYou Preferred cards 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.

The post Top 3 Credit Cards for Rewards on Family Trips appeared first on Credit.com.

4 Cash Back Credit Cards for Frugal Spenders

Tragedy and identity theft is never a good thing, but in this case, it positively impacted a woman's credit.

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

You don’t have to be a big spender to earn big cash back rewards. Even if you rarely spring for any unnecessary extravagances, the right credit card can put money back in your pocket. The key is finding a card that rewards your responsible spending and helps you avoid unnecessary costs.

Here are our four favorite cash back credit cards for frugal spenders.

1. Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

Rewards: 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual US supermarket purchases; 2% cash back at US gas stations and participating department stores; and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
$100 bonus cash back if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Annual Fee:
$0
Annual Percentage Rate (APR):
0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers and purchases, then variable 13.99% to 24.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: Thrifty spenders can use this card to earn cash back on necessities.
For Frugal Spenders: This card earns great cash back rates on staples like gas, food, and clothes, so you can earn back a lot of cash even if you buy only the necessities. Plus, you can avoid interest for 12 months.
Drawbacks: If you don’t spend a lot at gas stations, supermarkets, or department stores, you may want to keep looking.

2. Citi Double Cash Card

Rewards: 1% cash back on purchases and an additional 1% upon payment.
Sign-Up Bonus:
None
Annual Fee:
$0
APR:
0% APR for 18 months on purchases, as well as balance transfers completed within the first four months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49% APR.
Why We Picked It: This card rewards those who habitually pay off their balance in full.
For Frugal Spenders: Cardholders earn 2% cash back on purchases once they’re paid off, so this card is valuable to those who religiously pay down their balance. You can also get 0% APR on purchases avoid interest for 18 months.
Drawbacks: If you tend to carry a balance, you won’t see as much value in this card.

3. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards 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 nine months, then variable 13.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: This card earns a solid cash back rate on all purchases, and the spending requirement for the sign-up bonus is reasonable.
For Frugal Spenders: All purchases earn 1.5% cash back, with no special requirements or restrictions. Plus, the $150 cash back bonus has a low spending threshold of $500 in the first three months. Purchases are interest-free for nine months.
Drawbacks: You have to jump through a few more hoops to access higher cash rates. 

4. Discover it – Cashback Match

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of purchases in rotating quarterly bonus categories; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:
Match of all cash back earned in the first year.
Annual Fee:
$0
APR:
0% APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 11.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: The first-year cash back match is impressive, and savvy deal hunters can earn cash in a variety of categories.
For Frugal Spenders: This card earns 5% cash back on bonus categories that rotate every quarter, so if you tend to shop around for great deals, you can use this card to earn more cash back. Discover will match all cash back earned in the first year, which boosts the initial value of the card. Purchases and balance transfers get 0% APR for 14 months.
Drawbacks: If you don’t want to track bonus categories, you might be better off with a more straightforward card.

How to Choose a Cash Back Card for Frugal Spending

To get the best cash back value for your thrifty spending, choose a card that rewards how you spend. For example, if gas is your largest monthly expense, try to find a card with the best cash back rates at gas stations. If you tend to spend at a variety of merchants, a card with a flat cash back rate on all purchases might be best.

Interest rates and fees can quickly diminish the value of your cash back, so look for cards with competitive interest rates and low fees. Reject cards with annual fees altogether, as there are plenty of cards without them.

Remember that a cash back card is most valuable when you pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest.

What Credit Is Required for a Cash Back Card?

Cash back cards usually require good to excellent credit. Before you apply, check your credit score to make sure you have a good shot at approval. You can check your credit report absolutely free at Credit.com.

Image: martin-dm

At publishing time, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, Citi Double Cash Card, Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, and Discover it – Cashback Match 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.

The post 4 Cash Back Credit Cards for Frugal Spenders appeared first on Credit.com.

4 Credit Cards to Help You Bar Hop Responsibly

These cards help you go out for drinks and get home safely.

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

If your evening plans often include multiple bars and clubs, you may need sober rides to ferry you and your friends between party spots or take you home after last call. But cabs, ride services and public transportation costs can get expensive, especially when combined with a bar tab. (Check out what happened when one Seattle bar went completely cashless.)

Some credit cards can help you go out for drinks and get home responsibly. These credit cards can earn you rewards at your neighborhood party spots and on your ride home or help pay for cab fare.

Here are four credit cards to help you barhop responsibly.

1. The Platinum Card From American Express

Rewards: Five points per dollar spent on flights booked with the airline or American Express Travel and on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com
Signup Bonus: 60,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $550
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): None. You must pay the balance in full each month.
Why We Picked It: Automatic Uber credits can help pay to get you home.
For Your Night Out: When you link this card to your Uber account, you’ll automatically get $15 in monthly Uber credits and a bonus $20 in December, for a total of up to $200 in annual credits.
Drawbacks: The card offers a wide range of benefits, but there’s a steep $550 annual fee.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on travel and dining, one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
APR: Variable 16.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: With this card, your night out earns you points for travel redemptions.
For Your Night Out: You’ll earn double points on travel spending, which includes passenger trains, buses, taxis, limos and more. Plus, you can earn double points at restaurants and some bars.
Drawbacks: Some bars that don’t serve food may not earn double points if they don’t use the right merchant category.

3. Discover it Miles Travel Credit Card

Rewards: 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases
Signup Bonus: Discover will match all miles you earn in the first year
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases, then variable 11.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: The miles matching policy boosts the first-year value of this card.
For Your Night Out: You’ll earn 1.5 miles on all spending, including drinks and transportation, and Discover will match all miles you earn after one year. Since miles can be redeemed for cab fare, that first year bonus can pay for many sober rides.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to wait a year for your signup bonus.

4. Citi ThankYou Premier

Rewards: Three points per dollar spent on travel, two points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment, one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
APR: Variable 15.49% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: There are many ways to rack up points while you party. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
For Your Night Out: You’ll earn three points per dollar spent on transportation, including ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis, limos and more. Plus, you’ll get two points per dollar spent at bars, restaurants and lounges and on live entertainment.
Drawbacks: The signup bonus is smaller than some other rewards cards.

How to Pick a Card for Your Night Out

The best card for responsible barhopping depends on how you spend. If you frequently need a cab because you’ve been hitting the bars, you’ll likely want to pick a card that rewards you for racking up bar tabs and catching a ride home. With any card, pay special attention to the merchant categories that earn the most rewards.

Beyond that, the right card for you depends on your goals and spending habits. If you simply want a card to take to the club, a card with strong rewards at restaurants and bars might suffice. But if you want a card to use for everyday spending, you might want to expand your search to include cash back cards and other types of rewards.

What Credit Is Required to Get a Card for Barhopping?

Cards that reward travel expenses and bar tabs often require good to excellent credit. If you aren’t sure where your credit stands, you should check your credit report and credit score before you apply. You can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

Image: jacoblund

At publishing time, the Platinum Card from American Express, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Discover it Miles and Citi ThankYou Premier credit cards are 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).

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.

The post 4 Credit Cards to Help You Bar Hop Responsibly appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Credit Cards for Flyers Who Love Special Treatment

If you’re looking for a better flight experience, you might want to see what an airline credit card can do for you.

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

Frequent flyers know constantly crisscrossing the skies is a grind. Dealing with security, airline fees and other hassles can make any trip a headache.

If you’re looking for a better flight experience, you might want to see what an airline credit card can do for you. Most major airlines offer credit cards with perks that can improve your flight experience.

Here are five credit cards that get you special treatment with the airlines.

1. United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Rewards: Two miles per dollar spent on United tickets, one mile per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 16.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: Special treatment from United starts before you step foot on the plane.
For Your Flight: The first checked bag for both you and a companion is free. Plus, you’ll get priority boarding ahead of general passengers. The card also provides two one-time United Club lounge passes each year with your card anniversary.
Drawbacks: If you tend to only carry on, you won’t get the benefit of the free checked bag.

2. Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select Card

Rewards: Two miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases, one mile per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95, waived for first year
APR: Variable 16.74% to 24.74%
Why We Picked It: You’ll get special treatment at the airport and save on in-flight meals. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
For Your Flight: Cardholders and up to four companions get their first checked bag free with domestic American Airlines flights. Plus, they’ll get priority boarding and a 25% discount on in-flight meals and beverages.
Drawbacks: Perks like priority boarding and free checked bags are restricted to domestic flights.

3. Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on Southwest Airlines flights and with select hotel and car rental partners, one point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Signup Bonus: 6,000 bonus points each card anniversary
Annual Fee: $99
APR: Variable 16.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: Southwest’s credit card helps flyers avoid fees.
For Your Flight: Cardholders get first and second checked bags free. There are no change fees if you need to modify your flights, although fare differences may apply.
Drawbacks: Southwest does not offer priority boarding with this card.

4. JetBlue Plus Card

Rewards: Six points per dollar spent on JetBlue purchases, two points per dollar spent at restaurants and grocery stores and one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days, 5,000 annual bonus points on your card anniversary
Annual Fee: $99
APR: Variable 12.74%, 20.74% or 25.74% on purchases, 0% intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers, then variable 12.74%, 20.74% or 25.74%
Why We Picked It: You’ll get deep discounts on in-flight meals and free checked bags and you can earn elite status with JetBlue.
For Your Flight: Cardholders and up to three companions get their first bags checked free. You’ll also get 50% off eligible in-flight beverages and food. If you spend $50,000 on your card in a calendar year, you can join the TrueBlue Mosaic program, which provides benefits including waived change and cancellation fees, expedited security lines, priority boarding and free alcoholic beverages.
Drawbacks: Earning Mosaic status requires a steep spending minimum.

5. Gold Delta Skymiles Credit Card

Rewards: Two miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, one mile per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first four months, plus a $50 statement credit with your first Delta purchase in the same time frame
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
APR: Variable 16.74% to 25.74%
Why We Picked It: Delta’s credit card provides basic flight perks and the potential for Medallion membership.
For Your Flight: Your first checked bag is free and you’ll enjoy priority boarding. In-flight meals, beverages and audio headset purchases receive a 20% discount. Each year, you’ll get a round-trip companion certificate for a domestic main cabin seat. The card also provides discounted Delta Sky Club lounge access. Finally, spending $25,000 in a calendar year can earn you Medallion Member status, which includes a number of additional premium benefits including upgraded seats, additional waived fees and more.
Drawbacks: Earning Medallion membership requires a steep spending minimum or earning Medallion Qualification Dollars.

How to Choose a Card for Airline Perks

Because most cards that convey special flight perks are offered by specific airlines, you should first examine the card that’s tied to your airline of choice. If the perks that come with that card aren’t particularly impressive, you may want to check competitor cards to see if it could be beneficial to switch loyalties.

Of course, you’ll want to weigh the offered benefits against the annual fee and other associated card costs. For instance, airport lounges are great for those that frequently arrive at the airport early or experience layovers. But if you tend to get to your gate at the last second and usually take direct flights, this benefit might be worthless. Make sure to look for benefits that actually enhance the way you travel.

If you have no specific loyalty to one airline and tend to choose flights based on factors like price or convenience, you may be better off with a general travel card.

What Is Required to Get a Credit Card With Special Treatment at Airlines?

Cards that provide special flight perks and elite status with airlines usually require excellent credit. You should be reasonably confident you can get approved before you apply, because a hard credit inquiry from a credit card application can ding your credit score a few points. You can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

Image: beer5020

At publishing time, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select, JetBlue Plus and Gold Delta Skymiles credit cards are 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).

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.

The post 5 Credit Cards for Flyers Who Love Special Treatment appeared first on Credit.com.

How to Throw a Killer Fourth of July Cookout on a Budget

Like parades and fireworks, Independence Day cookouts are a holiday tradition. But hosting one can get costly if you don't watch your budget.

Like parades and fireworks, Independence Day cookouts are a holiday tradition. But hosting one can get pricy if you don’t watch your budget. Here are some tips for hosting a fabulous cookout this Fourth of July without going broke, courtesy of Sarah Spigelman Richter, a food reporter based in Manhattan.

1. Think Quality Over Quantity

You may think you’re getting a deal on that discount meat, but chances are the pricier goods are a better value, said Richter. Though you’ll have fewer burgers to go around, you’ll feel better about eating meat that was raised ethically and sustainably — it’s better for your health, the environment and animal welfare. Of course, “sustainably sourced everything does cost more,” Richter said, so don’t feel pressured to serve up a steak. “Go for any sort of poultry that’s interesting to you,” she said, or choose sausages, fish or ground meat. The latter is often cheaper and more delicious.

2. Serve Veggies 

“You don’t want to forget people who don’t eat meat at your cookout,” said Richter, who advised hitting the farmer’s market to stock up. “My general rule of thumb is, whatever looks best that day, get it,” she said. Veggies usually taste good either right off the grill or when they’ve cooled down, so they’re a perfect snack for after the pool. Try loading kebabs with veggies and a small amount of meat, or serve up meatless grilled mains like beans and tofu. “Things that can fall through the grates like asparagus can always be put in a foil pouch placed directly on the grill,” Richter said.

3. Grill Fruit 

The surprising, smoky flavor of grilled fruit is like “dinner theater,” said Richter, who explained that grilling brings out the natural sugars in fruit, which makes them sweeter, like caramelized onions. Remember to brush whatever you’re grilling with a little olive oil and keep a close eye on your fruit so it doesn’t go up in flames (indirect heat is best). Richter advised grilling stone fruit like peaches, plums, nectarines, pluots and apricots. Leave the skins on, then peel afterward and serve with a dollop of cool whipped cream. “It’s a really easy dessert,” she said.

4. Ask Friends to BYOB

We won’t dissuade you from stocking up on basics like water and soda, but it never hurts to ask your friends to pitch in. If they have particular tastes — yes way, rosé — encourage them to round out the offerings. As Richter jokingly put it, “Get your friends to bring exactly what they like so you don’t wind up with three bottles of white zinfandel that nobody drinks and eventually turns into vinegar in your pantry.”

5. Use Rewards Credit Cards 

If you’re going to go shopping, you may as well get a little kickback for it, which is what rewards credit cards are all about. You can earn points toward perks like gift cards, account credit and discounts at your favorite stores. Just remember to check your credit before you apply, as many issuers require decent credit in order to qualify. (Not sure where your finances stand? You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

6. Keep Side Dishes Simple 

“Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to make a risotto in the kitchen while everyone’s outside enjoying themselves,” said Richter. “Grab a bag of chips and some coleslaw and enjoy the day.”

Image: M_a_y_a

The post How to Throw a Killer Fourth of July Cookout on a Budget appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Credit Cards That Take the Bite out of Pricey Pet Bills

The cost of pet supplies can add up, but these cards can help you save.

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

Your pets are more than just cute — they’re members of the family. Like any family member, you want to keep them happy and healthy. But the cost of pet food, veterinarian visits, medication and other supplies can add up.

Some credit cards make spending on your pet a walk in the park using cash back, rewards points or 0% interest offers.

The best cards for pet lovers make it easier to afford your animal friends. These credit cards do the trick.

1. American Kennel Club Visa

The Draw: Three points per dollar spent at pet stores, vets and the AKC, two points per dollar spent on gas and groceries and one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 12.98%, 18.99% or 22.99%
Why We Picked It: This card rewards pet purchases, helps with gas and groceries and supports the AKC.
Benefits: All purchases made on this card earn rewards points, with special value put on pet, fuel and grocery expenses. Points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards and more. Plus, a percentage of sales made on the card goes to benefit the AKC, an organization that supports dog breeders and canine health. You can get your card customized to include your pet’s photo.
Drawbacks: If you’re not a fan of dog breeding, keep looking.

2. Chase Freedom

The Draw: 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter, and 1% unlimited cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 when you spend $500 in the first three months
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% for 15 months, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: The card earns 5% cash back on rotating categories, but Shop through Chase can help you save on pet purchases.
Benefits: Cardholders earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories such as grocery stores and gas. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. You’ll also get access to Shop through Chase, which offers 1% to 15% extra cash back rewards at select online retailers, including PetSmart. Plus, there’s a $150 signup bonus.
Drawbacks: If you don’t want to track and activate cash-back categories on a quarterly basis, this card will be a headache.

3. Amazon Rewards Visa Card

The Draw: 3% cash back at Amazon.com (5% if you have Amazon Prime), 2% cash back at restaurants and drugstores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 14.99% to 22.99%
Why We Picked It: If you prefer to shop for your furry friends online, the Amazon card can help you earn back some money.
Benefits: Your earnings can be redeemed for cash back, Amazon purchases and more. With cash back ranging from 3% to 5% on Amazon.com purchases, you can save on those bulk bags of dog food.
Drawbacks: This card won’t deliver as much value if you prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar locations.

4. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

The Draw: 6% cash back at supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $95
APR: 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.74% to 24.74%
Why We Picked It: This card is a no-brainer if you make pet purchases at the grocery store.
Benefits: With 6% cash back at supermarkets, this card can earn cash quick if you make pet purchases at the grocery store. Plus, that $150 bonus boosts the first-year value of the card.
Drawbacks: You’ll have to pay an annual fee of $95.

5. Citi Simplicity

The Draw: A 0% intro APR period that’s perfect for big balances
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% for 21 months, then variable 14.24% to 24.24%
Why We Picked It: For large vet bills, this card offers plenty of time to pay down your balance interest-free. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
Benefits: The card’s greatest asset is the 21-month intro 0% APR offer. If you have a large vet bill coming due, charging it to this card (or initiating a balance transfer) would give you nearly two years to pay it off with no interest.
Drawbacks: There are no rewards points or cash-back offers, so the card isn’t as valuable for everyday spending.

How to Choose a Card for Pet Expenses

If you’re looking for a card solely for pet expenses, choose a card that most rewards your supplier of choice. For instance, if you buy all your pet supplies online, the Amazon.com credit card might be best. If you buy all your supplies at grocery stores, a card with a high grocery store cash-back rate would be appropriate. If you need to transfer a hefty vet bill from an existing card to a new one, a card with a long intro 0% APR period would be suitable.

However, if you also plan to use your card for everyday spending, you’ll probably want to look at your spending activity and choose a card that will reward your overall behavior. This way, you’ll get rewarded on everything you buy.

Consider your goals, spending habits and the needs of your animal companions before you choose a card.

What Is Required to Get a Credit Card for My Pet Spending?

Cards with cash back, spending rewards and other enticing offers usually require good to excellent credit. You should know where your credit stands before you apply for a credit card, as a hard inquiry into your credit can lower your score a few points. You can check your score for free on Credit.com before you apply to reduce the risk of a rejected application.

Image: bluecinema 

At publishing time, the Chase Freedom, Citi Simplicity and Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express credit cards are 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).

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.

The post 5 Credit Cards That Take the Bite out of Pricey Pet Bills appeared first on Credit.com.

3 Credit Cards That Help Music Fans See the Coolest Shows

These cards can help you see shows from your favorite artists and earn rewards for everyday spending.

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

Concerts let you experience your favorite musical artists with a community of like-minded fans in a live setting. Live music fanatics know the thrill of the concert experience, and they’re constantly watching to secure tickets for the best shows.

Whether you prefer bombastic arena events or intimate venues, you could benefit from a credit card that helps connect you with tickets. Some cards can help you hit shows from your favorite artists and earn rewards for everyday spending.

1. Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment, one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 15,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% intro APR for 12 months, then variable 14.24% to 24.24%
Why We Picked It: Dining and entertainment purchases earn double points, and cardholders get access to presale tickets and VIP concert packages.
Benefits: This card earns two points for every dollar spent on dining and entertainment, which includes live concerts, record store purchases and music streaming services. Other purchases earn one point per dollar. Points can be redeemed for dining, entertainment, retail goods and more. Plus, with Citi Private Pass, cardholders get access to tickets for thousands of annual events, including concert presales and VIP packages.
Drawbacks: If you tend to prefer cheaper shows and don’t dine out often, you won’t be taking full advantage of the double points. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on travel and dining, one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
APR: Variable 16.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: Cardholders can get presale tickets and exclusive access to many live music events in New York City.
Benefits: Cardholders earn double points for every dollar spent on dining and travel and one point per dollar spent on everything else. Points can be redeemed in many ways, but the greatest value is reserved for travel redemptions made through Chase’s booking platform. Chase Inside Access grants VIP access and presales to exclusive events at venues including Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theater.
Drawbacks: When it comes to concerts, Chase is primarily focused on New York City venues, so if you aren’t an NYC local (or reasonably nearby) you may want to look elsewhere. The card’s greatest value is also reserved for frequent travelers.

3. Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express

Rewards: Two points per dollar on up to $6,000 a year spent at U.S. supermarkets, one point per dollar spent on everything else
Signup Bonus: 10,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months, then variable 13.74% to 23.74%
Why We Picked It: Redeeming points for concert tickets is simple with this card.
Benefits: Cardholders earn double points for U.S. supermarket purchases and one point on the dollar everywhere else. American Express customers often get access to presale tickets and special events when buying tickets through the Membership Experiences website. Plus, points can easily be redeemed directly with Ticketmaster for ticket purchases.
Drawbacks: The card’s points system is only valuable to those who spend a lot on groceries.

How to Choose a Card for Live Music

Credit cards for music lovers should reward cardholders as they spend and grant special access to tickets and events.

When evaluating cards for your live music habit, look at the purchase types that earn the most rewards. You’ll want to choose a card that incentivizes the type of purchases you already make.

You’ll also want to look at the types of events and tickets your card can help you access before you take the plunge and apply. The events should reflect your live music preferences. If they don’t, you probably won’t get much use out of them.

One last thing to keep in mind is that most “exclusive” ticket programs are available through all or many of the credit cards offered by the issuer. If the main appeal is access to these programs, look at all available cards from the issuer. Chances are, they’ll have a card that fits your lifestyle.

What Is Required to Get a Card for Concerts?

Cards that provide live music rewards often require good to excellent credit. You should be aware of where your credit stands before you apply. A hard inquiry from a credit card application can cause your credit score to dip a few points. If you aren’t sure where your credit stands, you can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

Image: PeopleImages 

At publishing time, the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card and Amex EveryDay credit 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 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).

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.

The post 3 Credit Cards That Help Music Fans See the Coolest Shows appeared first on Credit.com.

How to Plan a Fabulous Wedding on a Budget

Yes, you can have the fabulous wedding of your dreams while staying on budget.

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

From the cake and dinner to your dress and flowers, there’s a lot to think about when planning a wedding, especially when you’re trying to establish a budget for the big day.

According to an annual study by The Knot, the average wedding cost more than $35,000 in 2016. To cover this expense, some people decide to take out a wedding loan, but if that isn’t for you, you may want to figure out what areas are most important to you and where you can cut back.

Trimming back on your wedding expenses certainly doesn’t mean your wedding will be less extravagant. In fact, you can have the fabulous wedding of your dreams all while staying on budget. Here are five areas you can easily adjust in order to help you save.

1. The Big Day

If you’re flexible on when you have your festivities, you may really be able to save a bundle.

“Saturday is the prime day for a wedding, and you pay for that,” shopping expert Trae Bodge said. “Instead, have a Friday or Sunday wedding, as venues are less in demand, and therefore less expensive, at these times.”

2. The Dress

The Knot study found that the average U.S. bride spent $1,564 on her wedding dress in 2016. If you can’t see spending this kind of money on a dress you’ll likely only wear once, you have some options to help you save.

“Consider buying your dress pre-worn — after all, it was only worn once — and/or selling your dress after the big day,” Bodge said. “Another option is, when you’re shopping, look not only at wedding dresses but general formal wear,” she said. “Once you take ‘bridal gown’ out of the equation, the price decreases.”

3. Food & Cocktails

If you want to provide drinks for your guests, but don’t want to have a full open bar, Bodge recommended you “opt for beer, wine and possibly a signature mixed drink, which will reduce your bar bill substantially.”

In terms of cutting back on costs for food, she recommended “placing appetizers on tables rather than having them passed” so you don’t have to hire a wait staff. And you may be able to save when it comes to selecting your menu. Bodge advised “serving cheeses, dips and veggies rather than meats or fish.”

4. Flowers

Instead of having a professional put together your flower arrangements, Bodge recommended tapping into your crafty side.

“Order seasonal flowers from your local florist and arrange them yourself,” she said. “It can be a fun project for you and your bridal party!”

5. Photos

You’ll certainly want to capture the moments you experience on your big day, so it’s a good idea to hire a photographer whom you trust to get it right.

“When it comes to negotiating a photography package, forgo the pricey prints and opt for CDs or Dropbox files with high-res images,” Bodge said. “This gives you the freedom to shop around for the best print prices on your own time.”

Get Rewarded for Your Big Day

It may seem counterintuitive, but you may be able to save some money on your expenses. You’re likely going to put some of these on a credit card, so you may as well get something back for it. One way to do this: reward credit cards.

If you don’t currently have a credit card that rewards you for your spending, it may be time to check out some of your options, which can include everything from cards that give you cash back to cards with travel perks that can help you fund your honeymoon.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card comes with a $95 annual fee but will reward you with 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months (which probably won’t be too hard with the down payments you’re making).

Those bonus points are equal to $625 when redeemed through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal. With that type of kickback, the bills for appetizers and cake won’t sting as much when you realize they’re helping you get to Tahiti.

At publishing time, the Chase Sapphire Preferred 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).

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: simonkr

The post How to Plan a Fabulous Wedding on a Budget appeared first on Credit.com.