The Best Credit Cards for 2017

A while ago I asked readers to name their favorite credit cards. That request spawned numerous comments, so I thought I’d distill the results for you guys. What follows is a breakdown of the cards that received the most love. This post will be updated regularly as offers change, so check back to get an update on the best credit card deals for 2017. Loyal and new readers, thank you for your comments!

Best Overall Credit Cards of 2017

For consumers who are looking for great cards for everyday use, these cards represent some of your best options. All of these three top picks have low interest rates, good rewards benefits, no annual fee, and have received positive comments from Five Cent Nickel readers.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Likely the card I use more than any other in my wallet, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers up $150 right away to new cardholders that spend $1,000 in the first three months.  Cardholders earn 6% cash back at the grocery store for the first $6,000 spent annually, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else.  A 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers is included for the first 12 months, then the variable APR of 13.99% – 24.99% kicks in.  There is a $95 fee to own the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

  • Biggest PRO – 6% cash back at grocery stores
  • Biggest CON – $95 annual fee

Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® – First time account holders of the Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® will earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.  The everyday cash back rate is 1.5% on all purchases plus a 5% redemption bonus (essentially making the cash back rate 1.575%).  A 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers is included for 15 months followed by the ongoing variable APR of 15.99% – 25.99%.  There is no annual fee and cash rewards never expire.

  • Biggest PRO – $200 up front bonus
  • Biggest CON – High interest rate after intro rate

Chase Freedom Unlimited(SM) – Newly approved applicants of the Chase Freedom Unlimited(SM) will receive a $150 bonus after spending just $500 in the first three months of account opening.  Another great feature of this card is that it carries a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a standard APR of 15.99% – 24.74% variable.  Unlike the standard version of this card that has rotating 5% cash back categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited(SM) offers a flat 1.5% cash back rate on ALL purchases.  There is no annual fee.

  • Biggest PRO – Low spend hurdle for $150 bonus
  • Biggest CON – Low cash back rate (comparatively speaking)

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2017

Here are the most popular 0% balance transfer credit card offers from different issuers. Balance transfer credit cards are good for off-loading your high-interest credit card debt. When combined with a high-yield online savings account these cards are also fantastic. They offer 0% APR and some offer rewards and/or signup bonuses.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – You’ll find the longest 0% intro APR balance transfer offer on the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card at 21 months.  This intro APR also applies to purchases and there is a 3% BT fee associated with all balance transfers.  After the intro APR expires, the ongoing APR becomes 13.49% – 23.49% variable.  Good / Excellent credit is required to obtain approval and there is no annual fee.

  • Biggest PRO – Long 0% intro APR of 21 months.
  • Biggest CON – No rewards program.

Discover it® – 18 Month Balance Transfer – The Discover it® provides a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months and on purchases for 6 months.  After the intro rate expires the APR becomes 11.99% – 23.99% variable.  Also included is a robust rewards program that offers 5% cash back on select purchases each quarter, 1% cash back on everything else and the ability to double your cash back earned for the first full year.  The Discover it® has no annual fee and Good / Excellent credit is required.

  • Biggest PRO – Robust Cash back rewards program
  • Biggest CON – Mediocre BT duration and BT fee

Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2017

Cash back credit cards are great tools for maximizing your expenditures. All you have to do is just sign up and then spend money as you normally would to accrue cash back; most of these cards have no annual fee, so it’s a no-brainer but it is advice-able to keep a check on your credit report too. Earn rewards for everyday purchases. Keep in mind charge cards don’t have associated interest rates, every bill is due in full each payment period.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card – A $200 bonus is earned after spending $1,000 in the first three months for new Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card members.  The everyday cash back rewards rate is 1.5% and for the first year, 1.8% cash back is earned on all mobile wallet purchases (like Apple Pay or Android Pay).  There is a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after which the interest rate reverts to 13.99% – 25.99% variable.  A cool bonus, everyone will receive up to $600 in cell phone protection ($25 deductible) should you pay your cell phone will with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card.  There is no annual fee.

  • Biggest PRO – $200 up front cash rewards bonus
  • Biggest CON – High variable interest rate

Citi® Double Cash Card – One of the cleanest offers you’ll find on a credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card does exactly what you’d expect it to.  1% cash back is earned on all purchases and another 1% cash back is earned as you pay for those purchases.  The double cash back rate makes this an extremely attractive option, with no rotating categories or spend limits.  Also added is a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (3% balance transfer fee) and an ongoing purchase and BT interest rate of 14.49% – 24.49% variable.  There is no annual fee on the Citi® Double Cash Card.

  • Biggest PRO – Double cash back on every purchase
  • Biggest CON – No up front bonus

Discover it® Cashback Match™ – New cardholders of the Discover it® Cashback Match™ will receive a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months.  After that, the standard APR becomes 11.99% – 23.99% variable.  The reason this card is titled “Cashback Match” is because Discover will match every penny in cash back you earn for the first year.  So while this card offers a 1% cash back rate on purchases and 5% cash back rate on select categories each quarter, the first year cash back percentage is 2% and 10% respectively.   There is no annual fee to own the Discover it® Cashback Match™.

  • Biggest PRO – Up to 10% cash back the first year on select categories
  • Biggest CON – No up front bonus

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of 2017

Perhaps the best category of credit cards for big rewards and bonuses is the travel category.  If you find yourself a frequent flier or someone who spends a lot of nights on the road and in hotels, the cards below have the potential to save you thousands of dollars each and every year.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – 50,000 bonus points are earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card ownership.  Double points for every dollar spent are earned on all travel and dining purchases while single points per dollar spent are earned everywhere else.  Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 25% more when you book your travel through Chase, so for example the 50,000 bonus point intro offer can actually be worth $625.  There is a $95 annual fee to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but it’s waived for the first year

  • Biggest PRO – $625 up front bonus
  • Biggest CON – No intro APR offer

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card – New cardmembers of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card will earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months of account opening.  Every dollar spent will earn 1.25 miles and there is no limit to the number of miles you can earn.  A 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers is included for the first 12 months, after which the variable APR becomes 12.99% – 22.99%.  Unlike almost every other travel rewards credit card, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee.

  • Biggest PRO – No annual fee
  • Biggest CON – Small rewards miles rate

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® – You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days when approved for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.  Every dollar spent earns double miles, no tier levels or spend hurdles to meet and when you redeem your miles, you’ll earn a 5% miles back bonus.  Included with this card is a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months (the standard purchase and balance transfer APR is 16.99% – 23.99% variable).  There is no annual fee to own the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.

  • Biggest PRO – Double Miles on everything
  • Biggest CON – No 0% intro APR on purchases

 

 

50 Responses to “The Best Credit Cards for 2017”

  1. Anonymous

    I like my Chase Freedom card for its 0% intro apr for 15 months. I just recently consolidated my credit card debits using the chase freedom card offer to give me more time to pay off my debt and save so much money on interest charges. My other favorite card is my capital one which gives me 2 miles for every dollar spent.

  2. Anonymous

    Why is it that when I tried to change my future shop card to chase I was told that I couldn’t without an explanation although I paid my last purchase months before the 15 month no interest came into affect. If this is how future shop treats their customers I will no longer do business with future shop and will take my business elsewere. Unsatisfied customer.

  3. Anonymous

    I just picked up on the Chase Freedom cards, and it’s a good option for the rotating 5% categories, but not really much else. I use it the same way I use the Discover More card and the Citi Platinum Dividend card. All 3 of these cards have rotating 5% categories. Unfortunately, they’re all on similar schedules, and it’d be much better for us as consumers if they were staggered. It’s also a pain in the ass to keep track of the quarterly catergories, as well as the quarterly limits on 5% rewards.

    I still haven’t found a card out there that matches up with the discontinued Drivers Edge card. I just want a card that gives me 5% cash back on gas, groceries, and drugstores all year round. If anyone locates this type of card, please post it.

  4. Anonymous

    The best overall credit card out there up until recently was the Citi Drivers Edge card. It’s been my main card for 4-5 years. This card gave you drive rebate points for the miles you drove on your car, and you could match these rebates to purchase rebates. It basically allowed you to double your rewards. So if you used it correctly, it gave you 2% back on everything, plus 6% back on gas, groceries & drugstores. All you had to do was mail in auto service invoices and you’d receive statement credits.

    I just received notice that this card is being phased out. Apparently, most of the owners of this card weren’t bright enough to realize how good these rewards were, and how to optimize them. I think most people probably never read the pamphlet, and thought the drive rebates could only be used towards the purchase of a vehicle, ignoring the fact that you could use them towards any type of vehicle maintenance. These dumbasses complained to Citi to the point where now Citi is cancelling the Drivers Edge reward program altogether, and converting the card into a 1% back on everything, only usable as Thank You points. This new card sucks.

    So for all those people who complained to Citi about their most customer-friendly reward card… you’re the worst.

  5. Anonymous

    What is the best card to get while trying to improve my already bad credit? I’m not talking about one of those prepaid cards, I have seen the one where you pay a fee and you get a small available amount and when you pay on time you get more credit extended to you?

  6. Anonymous

    Doug,

    My debit card is with USAA and it’s no longer in force – I thought it was but when you asked I went back and double checked – so thanks for asking. They now have a points reward system. My debit card with Guaranty Bank has a cash back system that varies by merchant – up to 20% back based on their affiliate relationship with that vendor.

    I used to worry about rewards and cash back. I even justified purchases because I was “getting the reward” when I bought the item. Then I sat down and did the math on my 5%-back-on-a-new-car-purchase credit card. To get the $3,000 reward discount on a new car, I had to spend $60,000 with the credit card. Not cool.

    I also realized I could save so much more by having a plan for my money before the month begins. By saying no to wants, I put cash in the bank a lot faster than purchases rationalized by a few dollars of cash back each month.

  7. Anonymous

    Congrats on the Wedding Neil…In your search for the best reward card, keep in mind that some cards will cap your points. I had that happen on my Chase Amazon card when I was paying for MY wedding. I was expecting 3000 points for one month, but the monthly cap was 1500.

  8. Anonymous

    Hi, I don’t know if this would be the best place to ask this but I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for credit cards with good sign-up bonuses and/or good cashback/reward programs? In particular, I am about to get married in a few months and my fiance and I are about to make some fairly large (for our standards) purchases over the next 2-3 months (roughly $15,000 worth). We really don’t care about the interest rates (because we have all the money we need in the bank and plan to pay off the card right away) so basically we would just be using the card strickly for reward/cash back purposes. Also, we have no preference for travel vs. cashback vs. other rewards, just whatever would be the best deal in the end. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  9. Anonymous

    Matt,

    Which financial institution issued this debit card?

    And is the 5% still available?

    And is it across the board? That is to say you get 5% cash back on every purchase? Even purchases made at Walmart?

    Doug

  10. Anonymous

    Wow Carol, You are truly an anomaly. Way to go! Normal in America is broke, in debt and living without a plan. That makes people like us who plan out our spending totally weird!

    Btw, my debit card gives me 5% cash back when I use it as a credit card. Same reward, no credit card hassle.

  11. Anonymous

    @Matt
    I do believe there are quite a number of people who probably spend more with a credit card, not thinking it’s real money until it’s too late. I’m super anal with our budget. I have this massive spreadsheet where I track every expense, so I’m constantly checking our bank accounts and credit card online statements to write down what we spend. It all falls into buckets – for gas, household, misc, even an allowance for me and my husband for fun stuff like occasional lunch out at work. If one area goes over one month, we take it from another so it all balances out. My husband loves that I maintain this spreadsheet b/c at any given moment, he can see at a glance the status of our finances, how much did we spend on eating out last month, etc. I admit, most people would shudder at the thought of spending that much time on something like that. But I enjoy it.

    @Doug
    Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn’t really realized I could get better cash back. It’s worth looking into.

  12. Anonymous

    Carol,

    I think you can do better than 1%. Granted I am unaware of any cards being offered which payback 5% on EDP (Every Day Purchases [Gasoline, Groceries and Drugstores]) like they used to, but Associated Bank located in Green Bay, WI is currently offering a card which pay 3% cashback on EDP.

    Another card worth a look is the cashback card offered by the Pentagon Federal FCU. It pays 5% on Gasoline, 2% on Groceries and 1% on everything else. One downside is that if your not qualified to join their credit union, you can qualify by joining a military support group and
    pay their dues. But you only have to join for one year.
    Whether this card make sense for you probably depends on how much money you spend on Gasoline each year.

    If you have an account with Fidelity, or the funds to open one, you should check out their credit card which I believe still offers 2%. No need to invest in stocks, etc., just open a Money Market account. Your 2% rewards will be deposited into the account each month and available when you want them.

    I guess that is pretty much it. There are a couple of cards (Discover and Chase Freedom come to mind) that offer larger cash back percentages in various categories which change every three months. Too much hassle to suit me.

    Anyone else have any suggestions on how Carol can exceed 1% cashback?

    Doug

  13. Anonymous

    Carol,
    You’re in a very small minority of people that think about every purchase before buying. Kudos to you.

    Believe it or not, McDonalds revenues went up some 47% when they started accepting plastic at the counter. It’s because most of us don’t think about what the current balance is on our cards when we make the purchase. We figure we’ll worry about it later, then a few days later we repeat the cycle. When the monthly statement comes in (it doesn’t matter if it’s the credit card or the debit card) we wonder how we managed to spend so much.

    I teach my clients to do a spending plan before each month so they know whether they can make the purchase before they are even in the buying situation. It’s a life-changing process for many of them but they always agree it’s well worth it.

    I’m confident my credit score is dropping because I don’t have any debt. I’m not worried about my credit score either because I don’t borrow money and will never borrow again.

  14. Anonymous

    I have a Chase card with 1% cash back. I like it more than any other rewards card b/c it’s true cash in my pocket (instead of some gift card), and it doesn’t require a lot of spending before I can claim a reward.

    I don’t agree that I spend more with a credit card. I’m so frugal that I agonize over just about every purchase. Sure, if I didn’t have enough cash on hand, I couldn’t make a purchase with cash. But I don’t think I fall entirely into the category of spending that much more just b/c I’m using my credit card.

    And we don’t care about the interest rate on the card. I’m not even sure I know what it is. We never carry a balance. I wish that were more reflected in our credit scores. We’re already over 800 so there’s not much more room to grow, but still – it’d be nice to have a perfect score. (Can you tell I’m somewhat of a perfectionist?)

  15. Anonymous

    Keep in mind that every time you use a credit card you are playing with snakes. These rewards cards sound great except that when you pay with plastic you subconsciously spend 12-18% more than if you had used cash. So the piddly 5% they’re paying you back is still costing you plenty.

    My wife and I haven’t owned a credit card for years, and we never will again. we pay cash for everything and we save tons of money that way. we never have to worry about our credit limit changing or our interest rates going up because we don’t play their games. It’s really liberating to be in control!

  16. Anonymous

    well. this really freaks me out. i decided to pay down my credit card balances to increase my FICO score. Involves 3 chase cards. First card had credit limit of 5,800 and I paid it down to a balance of 300$. Second card had a limit of 5,000$ and I paid it down to a balance of 200$. Received letters from Chase after these payments that my limits were reduced to
    900$ on each card. My FICO is 750. Wanted to increase it to 800. I closed these two accounts plus my Chase professional account that had also had the limit reduced from 12,000 to 5,000. I really don’t care if closing the accounts lowers my FICO score. It felt so good to tell that it lost a client for good. I’ll never do any business that involves Chase for the rest of my life. Reducing balances on credit cards lets them ruduce the credit limits. That’s all it does. Next month I’m going to decrease the balance on my Target card from 8,900$ to 900$ with a limit of
    9,200$. I bet Target reduces my limit to 1,000$. And then I’ll close that account too. You can’t win with the credit card companies.

  17. Anonymous

    Hey all,

    When you sign up for different cards over various times, what do you do with your old cards? Say I have older rewards cards I am not using, because I found a better one. Do I call and cancel them? Does that hurt my credit score? Thanks

  18. Anonymous

    Check out Charles Schwab’s Rewards Visa. It pays 2% cash (deposited into a brokerage account) and there is no limit. You can withdraw the cash immediately if you want, or invest it. It’s the best deal that I’ve seen.

  19. Anonymous

    just found a credit card better than first premiere since i am waiting for my bk to be charge off. i been pre approve for a hsbc credit card. when should my wife and i apply for this card at 14.99%,should this be a everday card

  20. Anonymous

    Marion, my thoughts are…stay away! Their cards has many, many fees, that are just not worth it! It’s much cheaper to get prepaid Visa/MC/AMex/Discover cards at your local store or bank. Look at all the fees that you will pay, most of the 1-time fees are imposed when the account line is open..usually minumum credit line of $250. The FirstPremier credit card fees include: Account Set-up=$29 (1-time fee), Program Fee=$95 (1-time fee), Annual Fee=$7 each month. Other fees: Credit Limit Increase Fee of $25 each time your account is eligible and approved for a credit limit increase; a $3.95 internet access, 1-time fee; an account maintenance fee $3 for any month in which you have an outstanding balance of $20 or greater after you have closed your account. Another fee: an Autodraft Fee, where they impose $11 charge for each payment made through an autodraft service they provide. Autodraft payments requested through their automated systems (like voice response, internet) is $7 per transaction. This is ridiculous! Late payment and over-the-limit fees=$29 each.

  21. Chetan: You only get the 5%/1.25% for purchases in excess of $6500. In other words, once you hit the $6500 level, the higher rewards apply from that point forward.

  22. Anonymous

    Looking to get a new reward card soon. I currently have a Visa United Airlines card and am not happy with it. I was thinking I would get the Citi Forward card and an American Express Blue Card. I think I should be able to get over the $6500. The two cards would get be 5% on restaurants, groceries, and Amazon. Can I ask why you have the Discover Card over the American Express Blue? The Discover give 5%/1% and American Express give 5%/1.25%. Is it because of the $6500 minimum? Thanks

  23. Anonymous

    Discover doesn’t pay 1% until you’ve charged over $1,000 or even more than that. They start at .25%, then go up to .50%. It’s graduated, so basically I use Discover for the 5% promotions they offer throughout the year. Each quarter they will offer the 5% usually on up to $400 of purchases in certain categories. For instance, this quarter it’s on gasoline, hotels, bookstores and amusement parks. The best thing about this is that you can buy gift cards worth $25 with $20 of your Discover Card earnings. I’ve earned several gift cards over the years.

  24. Nickel

    ciswt: They give you ThankYou points which I typically redeem for higher value store gift cards. Once you hit the $100 price point, you can exchange them for a penny per point (i.e., $100 for 10k points). It’s not straight cash, but I shop at places like Home Depot often enough that gift cards are just as good.

  25. Anonymous

    Did I miss something on the Citi Forward offer? It looks like they only give you points which you can redeem for cashback at a 1:0.7 ratio. Is there another link for cashback instead of points?

  26. Anonymous

    I would like to know why Chase asked Nickel to remove them too; all of my cards are Chase and the Visa Borders and Amazon reward cards are what I use the most. They are paid off every month so I haven’t had to pay the interest at 10.99 and 13.99 respectively. The problem I have now is that all my cards have sent the wonderful notice that the rates are no longer fixed. All of my Chase cards and my fiancee’s AmEX and Dicover have sent notices that the rates have been converted to variables. Anyone know who is still offering fixed rate cards?

  27. Anonymous

    My husband and I each have our own American Express Blue Cash card. In order to reach that $6500 threshold sooner, would it be a good idea for me to get an “extra” card on my account for us both to use this year, then switch and both use his account next year? Not as a joint account, but as an extra cardholder… Any thoughts?

  28. Anonymous

    I was wondering why the Chase Freedom card didn’t make the top list? I noticed it was mentioned positively in a couple of the comments. At least for Chase banking customers, it’s a pretty good deal (0% intro rate, fairly low APR after that, and 3% back on the 3 highest spending categories).

  29. Anonymous

    Nickel,

    Following my previous post I went browsing. Found this link: http://www.disclosure.hsbccreditcard.com/media/disclosure?cmd_lpage=&indicator=HS007&media=H1AG037WA_UNJEI1

    Apparently HSBC is offering a Weekend Card which pays 1% on weekdays but 2% on weekends. But if you read the fine print they seem to indicate that the 2% all the time card is still available as of 9/15/2008.

    A final comment or two;

    With gasoline selling at $4 per gallon, 5% cash back is a reduction in price of $0.20 per gallon.

    Assume I charge $1000 per month and receive 3.5% cash back using the two cards I am proposing. That amounts to $35 per month ($420 per year) cash back, not small change!

    Doug

  30. Anonymous

    Nickel,

    Perhaps you are correct, especially given the uncertain financial situation.

    The two HSBC 2% cards used to appear and disappear regularly on their websites. But even if not being advertised they seemed to be available if requested.

    Personally, I would advise applying for one and then canceling it unless they are not/will not give the 2% cash back option.

    I just called the Associated Bank phone number. The automated message clearly states the 5% card is still available.

    Doug

    ps – any insight on exactly why these cash back cards have a maximum limit? If the Credit Card companies are making money with a $300 limit, wouldn’t they make twice as much money with a $600 limit. The only reason I can see is people overspend the limit and then get no additional benefit.

  31. Anonymous

    I would like to suggest a couple of other credit cards:

    AssociatedBank pays 5% cash back at Gasoline Stations, Groceries and Drugstores. $300/year limit. Must apply by phone. 1-877-577-9485. (affiliated with Citicard)

    Orchard Bank/Household Bank (both associated with HSBC) offer cards with 2% cash back, $400/year limit. May have to speak with a representative to see if they are still available. The 2% seems to apply everywhere, even WalMart.

    I probably average 3.5% cash back using these two cards appropriately. Charge almost everything I can. Payoff balance each month.

  32. Anonymous

    Has anyone any feedback on the Capital One Card Lab? On the Capital One website, you can choose the rewards and the APR of your card. Of course, you have to be approved, but it offers a 10% CASHBACK rate on every purchase, with no annual cap. Everything else seems standard (25 day grace period, etc.) but I’d love if fivecentnickel could uncover any uglies associated with this option.

  33. Anonymous

    My experience with Discover has been quite the opposite.

    Most of my interaction with customer service has been regard to payments

    They have accepted 1 day late payments with no fees, and when I missed payments later than that, I was able to get them to reverse the charges based on my payment history.
    Once, when I was in the hospital, and I didn’t have my card or number with me. I called them up and explained the situation, and helped me make a phone payment with fee. Plus they are the only credit card I have that allows me to pay by phone (on the automated system) with no fee.

    Another thing I like is that I can choose the payment due date. Other cards I’ve owned move it around depending on whether or not I paid off the balance, and how many days in the billing cycle.

    At one time I was really irritated with the interest rate on the card, so I called them up to complain. I told them that it was higher than all my other cards, and they reduced the interest rate to 10.99. It’s not phenomenally low, but it’s decent. Most of the time I pay if off, but it’s reasonable if I need some flexibility.

    I’ve always been nice to the customer service reps and they’ve been nice to me in return.

    Now Citibank … that’s another story.

    Some time ago I got a Citi rewards card offer in the mail that promised a $100 gift card for my choice of a number of popular retailers. The only conditions were transferring a balance and spending charging at least $100 within the first 3 months. I followed the conditions and kept calling about when the bonus points would be added. They kept telling me it takes a couple of months to show up. They never did. When I escalated it, they told me they knew of no such offer, and I had to produce the original offer (which I had already tossed). They offered some measly compensation, which I refused. I cancelled the card and they lost a good customer.

  34. Anonymous

    Except discover has the worst customer service ever and is a pain in the ass to deal with. I have twice canceled discover cards because of how frustrated they made me. I like the Amex options. I might switch out my Amex card.

  35. Anonymous

    I currently have four main cards:

    1) Discover Open Road: 5% cash back on gas and car repairs (on first $100 in purchases a month — this is usually a tank of gas and some months an oil change), 0% APR for the first year. The other rewards are not much to write home about but the 0% has in handy. (I have cash in hand to pay it off when the time comes.) They also will give you a temporary credit card number that’s only good for one purchase, which is a nice security feature when dealing with online merchants you’ve never done business with.

    2) Chase Freedom MasterCard: You all know this one. I use it for groceries and a couple of other categories I get 3% on. I was using it for everything, until I got…

    3) FNBO Direct Visa: 2% on everything for the first year. I use this one for everything I don’t get 3% on with the Chase card.

    4) Chase Buy.com VISA. Basically the same deal as the Amazon card, 3% on purchases from Buy.com and 1% on everything else, with a $30 spiff after your first purchase. Except that Buy.com offers 10% off most of Amazon’s prices on books. And I don’t have to pay sales tax like I do with Amazon (I live near Seattle).

    I also just got a WaMu personal business card that is 0% on purchases for the first 18 months. They also give you a free FICO score every month, which is nice (though it’s from your TransUnion report). I have some fairly big technology purchases I will be making soon and not having to pay for them until 2009 will be nice; I will earn north of 7.5% by being able to keep the cash in the bank all that time.

  36. Anonymous

    Another good thing about Amex Blue Cash is its Buyer’s Assurance Plan which Mirrors manufacturers’ warranties for covered products purchased entirely with your Card account, for up to one additional year.

  37. Anonymous

    As regards the Blue Cash vs. Fidelity:

    For the first 6500, your redemption rate is 0.5% vs. 1.5%: Basically, you give up $65 in rewards for the Blue Cash card…

    Is giving up $65 in rewards worth the 5% cash back on groceries. Well, just compare the 1.5% you would get at Fidelity with the 5% you get with Blue Cash. How much grocery shopping would make up for the $65 loss: Answer: $1800 of groceries. Most people do spend more than $1800 in groceries, which makes the Blue Cash a good deal.

    A lot of places don’t accept American Express, so the Fidelity card has a good use as an overall card (once you’ve hit the $6500 limit for Blue Cash).

    I am grandfathered in on a 5% cash back on Groceries through a Chase card (no longer offered). That makes the Blue Cash card redundant for me.

  38. Most people don’t spend more than $1800 in groceries? You’ve gotta be kidding me! That’s only $150 per month. Maybe if you’re single, but I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of people spend more than $150/month on groceries.

    And you also forgot to account for gas station and drugstore purchases. These also qualify for the 5% reward.

    Don’t get me wrong… Pairing the Blue Cash Card with something like your Fidelity card, or Chase Freedom (3% on you 3 highest spending categories) is a smart strategy. But if you have “typical” spending patterns (and especially if you have a family) it’s hard to beat the Amex Blue Cash.

  39. Anonymous

    True Earnings for Costco Business if you can qualify is really good since it also adds 5% on Costco gas to the normal card. (most other gas cards disqualify warehouse gas)

  40. Anonymous

    I have the True Earnings, and Nickel you’re right, there’s no cap, I’ve already earned over $700 this year. (Yes, I travel and eat out alot, but the majority was when I was able to charge my wedding reception @ 3% cash back) I pay off the card each month, so it’s a good deal.

    Cheapster – It doesn’t actually promote eating out. I mean, when deciding between eating at home and going out, it was never that 3% cash back that pushed me over the edge.
    It’s just about being realistic on what you spend your money on – and picking the most advantageous creditcard.

    Eating out isn’t always evil. My friend is an attorney and works 70+ hours a week. He rarely has time to cook and eats almost all his meals out. But he also makes $175,000+ a year. I guess he could get a job with less hours, and cook himself every meal, but that doesn’t really make sense.

    I know that’s the extreme, but the bottom line is everyone likes to spend their money on something, and works hard to be able to afford that “luxury”.

  41. Anonymous

    That true earnings Card from AMEX looks like a stinker unless you are a traveling salesman. It promotes eating out which goes against basic personal finance rules for saving money.

    I think that should be removed from the list as it is counter productive in the end.

  42. Anonymous

    I have the True Earnings from Costco–there is a cap of $500 a year you can earn.

    Interesting no Citi card represented. I guess everybody has learned to dislike Citi as much as I have.

  43. Siena: They must’ve updated the program since you signed up, as the application page clearly states that there is no limit on the amount of cash you can earn with the Costco card.

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