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It’s a baffling task to figure out all those annual charges and rewards points and interest rates to determine the best credit card for you, no matter if your lifestyle is characterized by the use of a lot of travel or ride-sharing or (if we’re discussing the present streaming Netflix. And while there’s a lot of personal-finance-focused content out there these days to help you wade through your options, we at the Strategist have decided to come at the subject in our way. It’s by talking to lots of people about the cards they are using and why they use these cards.

In the following list, we spoke with various experts, including authors and managers of money. However, we also sought out more minor well-known sources that happen to be obsessed (and highly knowledgeable) regarding what’s happening with credit cards. The more conventional of our experts are:

  • Credit card journalists Eric Rosenberg, Jason Steele, and Holly Johnson.
  • Personal finance experts Trae Bodge and Tiffany Aliche.
  • Financial planner Nick Holeman.

In addition to this core group of experts, we talked to editors at the masthead of Conde The Traveler and analysts from companies such as Goldman Sachs and Barclays, and even a few 20-somethings who have such enthusiasm for their preferred credit cards that they agreed to allow us to facilitate a lively discussion about which one is the best. The suggestions that came out include recommendations for frequent travelers, Amazon shoppers, and people who eat out–or order takeaway in the present situation. (But perhaps when there is an outbreak, a simple cash back credit card might be the best choice.) Check out the article to decide for yourself. As always, we’ve divided the guidelines and suggestions into sections, so if you’d like to go to a particular topic, click any of the links below.

Note: The prices listed are annual fees paid by each card; for cards that don’t have annual fees, no cost is provided.

 

The best credit card for a pandemic | The second-best credit card for a pandemic | What’s the deal with APR or interest rates? | The best credit card for travelers | The best credit card for casual travelers who want to get into rewards | Is there a best airline credit card? | Two more good credit cards for travelers, according to Conde Nast Traveler editors. Why are reward-points systems so confusing (and are there ways to make them less so)? The only retailer-affiliated credit card worth having | The best credit card for entrepreneurs | The best credit card for college students | And a debate about travel-points vs. cashback credit cards

The most suitable credit card to deal with an epidemic

 

 

Blue Cash Preferred (r) from American Express $95Check out credit card offers at creditcards.com.

.com.

It shouldn’t surprise that this is not the ideal moment to sign up for an account that offers rewards for boarding the plane or eating out. Although some cards that utilize points-based systems, such as the Chase Sapphire cards and the American Express (r) Gold Card, let you convert dollars into points, you are likely to earn more value by putting these points towards things like hotel rooms and flights. This is why the most beneficial credit card to apply for right now is probably a primary cashback card that can be described according to Rosenberg states, “is like getting free money back on the money you spend” -basically wherever you use it since it lets you pay off purchases from your account or balance.

According to Steele, The best credit card to apply for right this moment is the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, which provides cashback of 6 percent on purchases at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 worth of assets each year, and on some U.S. streaming services, such as Netflix. (You can also earn 3% cashback on transit and gas station purchases in the United States, as well as 1% cashback on all other purchases.).”It covers urbanites and suburbanites equally,” Steele states because transit can include taxicabs, trains, ride-share services, and subways. It’s going to cost you an annual fee of $95, but “if you do the math,” Steele says, “it’s pretty hard to imagine you not earning hundreds of dollars in cashback on that card just with the supermarket benefit alone.” (However, the new cardholders will get an annual charge waived.) Tonya Rapley, the author, and co-founder of MyFabFinance believes that Blue Cash Preferred is the best option for pandemics. Blue Cash Preferred is the most effective pandemic option since it makes the most of your everyday spending while giving you the opportunity of using points to lower the cost of your monthly bills. “A lot of us aren’t doing the things that traditional credit cards reward,” she says. “That will be helpful because that way if you don’t have the cash, you can still use the benefits that you reap with that card to pay down your balance.” Check out the rates and fees for your card here.

The second-best credit card for the event of a pandemic

 

 

$95 CAPITAL ONE SAVOR CASH REWARDS CREDIT CARD

 

The only drawback to the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, as per Rapley, is that the card could be difficult to get approved for based on your credit score. However, the experts suggest two credit cards that are simpler to obtain and offer similar advantages. Rosenberg revealed that he prefers the Capital One Savor credit card because he enjoys the Blue Cash selected card. “It also has an annual fee of $95,” Rosenberg says, “but has excellent bonuses for a bunch of categories,” including food. With the Savor, you’ll receive a cashback of 2 percent at the grocery store as well as a one-percent discount on other purchases. However, its most fantastic bonuses are on entertainment and dining out, which is 4 percent cashback, which is great for when you’re planning to eat out and socialize again.)

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited CardVIEW CARD OFFERS AT CREDITCARDS.COM

Rapley offers a second option in place of one of the Blue Cash. The preferred card could be the Freedom Unlimited card from Chase, and she believes it tends to be more accommodating when it comes to issuing credit. Freedom Unlimited can earn 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, as well as a cash back bonus of $200 for spending $500 in the first three months after opening the account. There’s no annual cost, and there’s no minimum requirement to earn cashback. Trae Bodge, a personal expert in finance, likes this card in the event of a pandemic since it offers a zero percent annual percentage rate, also known as an APR, for purchases for 15 months (after that, the variable APR of 14.99-23.74 percent is applicable). Bodge states that this generous initial APR will (hopefully) let you avoid paying the interest due on your account for the majority of an uncertain financial time. In the case of cards that have a zero-percent intro APR, however, Rapley says to be aware of what will happen when you leave that first period of introductory. “Some cards will charge you back interest, so you end up paying the interest on the purchases from those 15 months if you have not already paid off,” the balance before the time comes to an end. She warns

What’s the issue regarding APR as well as interest rates?

 

A majority of the experts we talked to said that interest rates or fees charged for an account that isn’t in a position to pay off should not be an issue as, according to experts, you should not carry a credit card balance in the first place. If you’re concerned that you’ll never be able to pay off a monthly credit card balance, however, some experts advise that you’ll prefer using a credit card instead. However, Bodge admits that this scenario isn’t always reality: “That’s easy enough for us financial experts to say because we’re going to be more financially responsible than the average person.” Tiffany Aliche, a personal finance expert, concurs. She believes that telling people not to have a balance on their credit cards is similar to “telling children that the best method for avoiding pregnancy is to abstain. It’s certainly an ideal situation, but there will continue to be people in credit card debt. ”

This is why Aliche and Bodge say you should be aware of the interest rate on any credit card when you sign up for it. When it comes to which cards come with the best interest rates, Aliche advises that one should begin with a search for a credit card with no annual fees, “but it’s going to be you and your credit score that determines the rate of interest for the card you choose to use. If you have a credit score of at or above 750, it’s considered a perfect credit score, and you’ll be able to get a higher APR. ” Bodge adds that the ideal scenario is to choose a credit card that has an APR of less than 15 percent when you’re comparing choices according to the credit scores of yours. Except for one card, most of the cards on this list have variable APRs based on credit score, with lower rates typically ranging between 15 and 16 percent.)As for Aliche and Talaat, as well as Tai McNeely, the husband-wife team behind His and Her Money, they say you can check your credit score for free through websites like Credit Karma or Experian. Once you have the score, they recommend visiting MagnifyMoney, which is a site that assists you in finding the right credit card that gives you the best interest rate based on the credit score you supply.

The most suitable credit card for travelers?

 

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card $550See credit card offers at creditcards.com.com.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve was the credit card that our experts most often recommended. Eight of them claim to have it in their wallets, particularly for those who enjoy travel. It comes with perks such as a $300 annual travel credit and access to more than 1,000 lounges in airports with Priority Pass, and the possibility of transferring airline miles into hotel points. The downside is that the Reserve isn’t completely free, with an annual cost of $550. However, it’s worth noting that, as Rosenberg states, this is offset by the annual travel credit. When you’re spending this much per year on travel (including hotels and parking at airports), this effectively reduces the annual cost to $250. Plus, there’s the trip cancellation/interruption insurance: When you get stuck somewhere due to, say, a weather delay, Rosenberg notes that airlines aren’t required to do anything other than help you find the next flight, which could even be the next day–and in that case, you’ll have to pay for your hotel room. “But if you have a Sapphire card, that interruption insurance will kick in, and you can get them to pay for your hotel room, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket.”

The Reserve program lets you earn three points per dollar for dining and traveling around the world, and one point for all other items, in addition to cash towards DoorDash (through the end of March 2022) and a Lyft Pink membership (through December 2021). Meredith Carey, an associate editor at Conde Nast Traveler and cohost of The Women Who Travel podcast, claims the Reserve is used to pay for almost everything she purchases. The points accumulate quickly. for her everyday purchases. According to her estimates, she can typically receive three to four economy flights per year from the card. The Reserve comes with a tempting initial reward of 50,000 points if you make $4,000 worth of purchases within the first three months after you have the card. But financial planner Nick Holeman warns that one of the most common ways people cannot earn money using credit cards is by spending more than they usually would reach the threshold to receive the bonus. That’s the reason, according to Holeman, it is essential to time when you apply for an additional credit card in conjunction with a significant purchase you’re already planning on making, as they did on their honeymoon. Bodge suggests that achieving the minimum requirement for the reserve bonus for signing up is something most people have a tough time doing in their usual way of life. “If you could pay your rent with a card, that could make an immense difference. However, not all places where you live allow you to pay rent with a credit card. I’m unable to pay my mortgage using my credit card,” she adds.

The perfect credit card for travelers who are looking to earn rewards.

 

 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a BUY AT CHASE FOR $95

 

If the Reserve’s annual $550 fee is too much of a commitment, several experts suggest considering Chase’s primary Sapphire card, called the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Experts recommend this card as the most suitable option for anyone interested in learning the way that travel rewards such as miles and points work because the Preferred is a card with an annual fee of $95 and earns double points for dining out and travel expenses, and one point for every dollar spent on all other costs. In addition, Rapley suggests it’s a good alternative for those who don’t necessarily qualify for the Reserve but still need access to the Chase portal, which is her top booking tool because of the ease of the redemption process. The ease of use that is the Chase website, she claims, is what makes it “literally like a central booking station to redeem your points instead of having to use them across the board.” The bonus for signing up with Preferred is 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the initial three months. One of the investment bankers we spoke to said that his roommates had the Preferred card right out of college. They then upgraded to the Reserve after two years.

Like the Reserve, the Preferred card also offers travel cancellation/interruption insurance, which also applies to car rentals. Ashlea Halpern, the editor-at-large at AFAR Media, says one of the most important things to remember when you decide to rent a vehicle is to avoid the rental company’s insurance and then charge the entire rental cost to your card. Then, it acts as your insurance. This will allow you to receive a reimbursement equal to the cash value of the vehicle in the case of theft and collision. (Multiple experts we talked to, including Halpern, mentioned that Chase provides exceptional customer service when dealing with car rentals.) Rosenberg says that insurance for rental companies generally costs around $10-20 per day. So, if you used the card to pay for your insurance on your car during a 10-day vacation, that’s a savings of $100. “That right there in one trip paid for the whole annual fee,” Rosenberg states.

Is there an airline that is the best credit card?

 

On the other hand, if there’s an airline you appreciate and are committed to, such as United, There are benefits in joining their credit card (which in the United case is it’s United Explorer Card that comes with an annual fee of $95 as well as “comes with a free checked bag benefit,” according to Rosenberg). However, as Halpern explains, an airline can alter the miles plan at any moment, as well as “if you put all of your eggs in one basket and the airline devalues it on a whim, you’re screwed.” Steele declares that airlines are notorious for cutting down the value of reward miles and “moving the goal post in a very frustrating way for people who have been using the credit card and saving their miles.”

Suppose you’re concerned about points being devalued by airlines. In that case, Steele suggests that you reduce this risk by choosing an account such as that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred because you can utilize points on various airlines. “Just because someone says it’s the best airline card doesn’t mean it’s the best for your lifestyle,” adds Rapley, noting that a card that is devoted to an airline that does not fly near where you are or have an airport nearby is unusable. “Make sure it’s an airline that you know you would be able to utilize frequently to take advantage of those perks.”

Two more credit cards that are great for travelers, as per Conde Nast Traveler editors

 

The Platinum Card (r) comes from American Express and costs $695. View card offers at credit cards

.com.

As she was planning her wedding this year, Stephanie Wu, the article director of Conde Nast Traveler, was a member of the American Express Platinum Card, knowing that she would spend enough to earn an initial welcome reward of 100,000 points when spending $6,000 within the initial six months after signing up for the account. In terms of why Wu decided to use the Platinum at all, she says the main motive was that it offered “unbeatable” five points per dollar spent on airline tickets (all other expenses are worth one point for every dollar). “Between my bachelorette trip, honeymoon, and other weddings I was attending, I knew I’d be on a lot of planes,” Wu says. Wu’sSome other benefits were helpful throughout her travels, including access to Delta Sky Clubs. “With this Platinum card, you can access Delta Sky Clubs anytime you fly with Delta regardless of what class you’re flying in. Although AmEx’s Centurion Lounges are certainly better than other Sky Clubs, I found that they were not always located in the best locations or terminals for my travels. However, the Delta Sky Club always was.” The Platinum card imposes an annual cost of $695 and is the one mentioned that doesn’t have a yearly APR. Instead, for those who do not pay the account in full every month, American Express offers the option of paying off certain charges that exceed $100 on the card over time. However, the balance of any month’s carry is dependent on a variable rate that ranges from 15.99 to 22.99 percent. Find rates and fees for the card here.

 

Bank of America Travel Rewards CardBUY AT BANK OF AMERICA

Although she currently uses a Sapphire Reserve Card, Carey could share with us how much she enjoyed the Bank of America’s Travel Rewards card that she had for a long time before switching. “The points game is not for everyone,” she declares, “since calculating the best way to earn and spend points can sometimes feel like a full-time job.” Instead of granting points to plan your next trip, the facts on this card could be utilized to pay for the travel-related expenses you’ve billed to it within the last 12 months (making it more like the cashback cards specifically designed for use in travel). Carey says it “allows you to reap travel benefits” when you purchase the everyday food items, meals out, clothing, whatever you want to buy by using this card. “All the while, you’re racking up points that you can then use to retroactively pay off travel costs and knock, say, a flight to London or your $33-weekly MTA pass off your previous statement.” Additionally, there are no annual fees, points that will never expire, and any charges for foreign transactions (we are reminded that there is no card listed on this list specifically designed for travel that will charge foreign transaction charges).

What makes rewards-points systems so difficult to understand? (and is there a way for them to be less confusing)?

One of the most significant issues in the world of points, according to Holeman, is that they are not as straightforward as one point equals one dollar. This conversion rate is contingent on what you’re making use of the points for. “If you redeem your Chase points for cashback, you might get $0.01 of value per point; if you redeem your Chase points for travel, then you can get 50 percent more value for each point,” Holeman says. Steele states: “The more valuable systems tend to be more complicated.” In regards to getting the most bang for your points for travel, Halpern suggests using an online booking service that will assist you in finding the most efficient method of converting your points into miles when you’re using a credit card that isn’t devoted to a particular airline (one of Halpern’s top picks is the Juicy Miles).

The sole retailer-affiliated credit card worthy of having

 

 

Even though the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Our experts believe that you should avoid all credit cards with retailer affiliation; the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card is an exception. However, Rosenberg claims that this is the only one he owns due to the 5 points per $1 Amazon Prime customers earn for every Amazon or Whole Foods purchase. “If you shop at either of those regularly, getting a rate of 5 percent (or five points per dollar) is about the most you’re going to get on any card wherever you spend,” the man adds, noting that the card does not have an annual cost. In addition, you earn two points for every dollar spent at pharmacies and gas stations and one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases, which can all be used to reduce your balance. Bodge says she agrees, describing the card as “a stellar card” about the rewards offered and the ease of the advantages. “It’s obvious what you’re getting,” she states. “For me, I need to find a card that’s easy to use with good points on offer for the things that matter to me,” noting that her status as a frequent Amazon as well as Whole Foods shopper makes her sure that she’ll enjoy the benefits without overthinking about it. “Any card with no annual fee that has this level of benefits is, I think, one to strongly consider.”

Holeman says that the sole reason to be cautious about applying for an account with a retailer but only the first time you’ve used one. To improve your credit score, Holeman suggests holding on to the first credit card you acquire for the duration of your life “because they help build your credit score over time.” Although it’s true that you “might shop at, say, Old Navy right now,” he says, “Ten years from now, will you continue to use the card? If not, then you may be enticed–particularly in the event of a charge to close it. ” Whatever the case, you’re in a difficult spot. “You’re either paying a fee to keep a credit card open that you don’t use and get value from, or you close it to save the fee and take a hit to your credit score.” However, Holeman has a different opinion about his Amazon card, calling it a “pretty low-risk” card with an excellent rewards program. “I prefer it because Amazon is very flexible. It’s not as if you can only purchase one type of thing. You can purchase anything on Amazon, “he says.” “And Amazon is probably not going anywhere anytime soon.”

The most suitable credit card for entrepreneurs.

 

 

$95 for the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit CardBUY AT CHASE

The McNeely team warns that the right card for businesses is dependent on the type of expenses you’re facing. However, those who are just setting up their own business and hoping to promote their business to potential customers suggest using the Chase Ink Business Preferred card that they use for personal use only. “For an entrepreneur who spends a good portion of their marketing budget on online advertisements, the Chase Ink Business Preferred is going to make the most sense,” says Talaat McNeely. It gives triple points for purchases of advertising through social media sites as well as search engines. Rapley is also using this card for her company due to the same reason. In addition, there are reward categories, the areas in which her business will spend money in any way. “I’m able to get points for the Facebook ads that we run–something we’re already doing in our business, but now we’re getting perks for it,” she elaborates. Tai McNeely states she believes that “the nice thing about Chase points is that you can actually merge or transfer the points to redeem them for something of a larger ticket,” such as the cashback option, travel for business on using the Chase portal, or even pay for items on Amazon.

This Chase Ink card comes with an annual cost of $95. However, you can earn 100,000 bonus points when spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months following joining. In addition to the points you reach for search engine and social media ads, The card also gives triple points when you pay for internet/cable/phone services, shipping, and travel, and one point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases. (Though there’s an annual limit of $150,000 for charges that earn three times the points, once you go over that amount, the costs will get one point for every dollar.) Note that since it is a business card, you are required to submit additional documentation regarding your company to sign up.

The best credit card for college students

 

 

Discover It Student Cash Back CardPurchase at Discover

According to Steele, the most crucial element for college students deciding on credit cards should be ease of use. He suggests that you get a card from a bank that has an existing account. This makes it easy to make a purchase. “It’s just one login, payment is instant, and they can keep all their reminders and balances in one place,” he states. If you’re looking for one that will also offer rewards, three experts ranked”the Discover it student cashback card a top credit card for students in college. (The minimum age required to apply to your credit card, to be precise, is 18 years old, and to get this card, you’ll be required to prove your educational attainment). There is no annual fee and offers five points for every dollar spent in the categories that rotate (such as Uber and Walgreens purchases) and one point for every dollar spent in other categories. The points can be used to pay off the balance. In the words of Aliche, “Cashback is probably the most important reward for a student to start to earn, and the rotating categories give you a little bit of everything.” Credit card blogger Holly Johnson adds that this card provides bonuses for good grades. It also gives students in college an annual $20 credit on their statement every year if their grade point average is 3.0 or better. Johnson declares that she believes that “the best card for a student would be one you could grow with, or that has programs you can throw on it.” That’s why she prefers to Discover it. Program Discover It: “They’ve done a lot of work in the past to ensure that their cards are less predatory when it comes to students, as well as making it easy for students to understand.”

Johnson, Rapley, and Steele All three of them have said that students in college should be looking at credit cards that have no annual fee–with Rapley going so far as to say that college students ought to “absolutely not” apply for credit cards that charge annual fees. In actuality, she doesn’t think students should apply for any credit cards at all until they can find a way to pay for them. “Do you have a job that can pay for it? If you don’t, then it could be difficult,” she warns. She suggests that students should consider having an authorized user on their parents’ or guardians’ credit cards instead of possessing their own. Authorized users still enjoy the advantage of building their credit score and being supervised by someone who can monitor their expenses and spending habits, which Rapley mentions is especially beneficial for anyone dipping their feet into the credit card world. “It’s easy for debt to get out of hand quickly–and a kid might not recognize that until it’s already happened,” she states.

 

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