In 2015, the credit card industry continued to be incredibly competitive, and the winner was credit card users. Acquiring new cardholders is so important that banks are offering valuable points, miles, and cash back to new applicants who are willing to give their products a try. Alternatively, card issuers are willing to offer 0% APR introductory financing on new purchases and balance transfers, to help you save money on interest charges while paying down your balance.
So looking back at 2015, here were the seven best offers:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best cards for travelers. Cardholders will earn two points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Eligible travel may include airlines, car rentals, and hotels, as well as taxis, tolls, and parking garages. You can also earn additional points through the Ultimate Rewards bonus mall. One of the best features of having the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is the use of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which allow you to book travel directly with points and receive a 20% discount. Points are redeemed for 1.25 cents per point for travel reservations, and you can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to airline and hotel loyalty programs, including Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards or United Mileage Plus, as well as Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards Club, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Hyatt Gold Passport.
You may also redeem your points for gift cards or cash, although the rate of exchange is one cent per point instead. New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points, enough for a $625 flight when booked though the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center, after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. You can earn an additional 5,000 bonus points after you add an authorized user and make your first purchase. This card has no foreign transaction fees and a $95 annual fee that is waived in the first year.
Citi® Double Cash
Citi® Double Cash offers cash back rewards both when purchasing and when paying off a balance. All purchases will earn 1% cash back. You will not need to worry about category restrictions or deal activation to receive the rewards. You will be able to earn an additional 1% cash back as you pay the statement in full or when making a minimum payment. Once your cash rewards balance reaches $25, you can redeem the rewards in the form of a statement credit or a check, as well as deposit it directly into a linked checking account that you have used to pay the credit card bill at least twice. You can also convert the cash back rewards to gift cards. Citi® Double Cash cardholders may take advantage of access to Private Pass, which offers preferred and pre-sale tickets to concerts, comedy shows, and events with top chefs and celebrity athletes. With Price Rewind, Citi will refund the price difference of an item you purchased on the card within 60 days if a lower price is available. Should an item you purchased be damaged or stolen in the first 120 days since you bought it, Citi will provide insurance up to $1,000 per item. This card is compatible with Apple Pay so your shopping experiences are easy and secure. You can also access a personalized concierge that will provide assistance with a number of services, from travel arrangements to scheduling a cleaning service. Your first late payment fee is waived, and this card has no annual fee.
Citi Prestige® Card
Citi Prestige® is an excellent option for travelers who want to make the most of their journey. Cardholders will earn $250 in air travel credit each year to cover airline baggage and other incidental fees and a $100 Global Entry application fee credit every five years that will help you bypass lines and have expired entry into the U.S. You will receive complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges and other VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select, which will make traveling smooth and enjoyable. Spend an extra night at any hotel with a stay of four consecutive nights. Earn three points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels, two points per dollar on dining and entertainment and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. New applicants can earn 40,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of opening the account.
Redeem points for travel, merchandise, and experiences. You can also receive statement credits, cash, and gift cards or donate points to charity. With Citi Prestige® Global Concierge, you will be able to make dinner or travel reservations with the help of a personalized customer service representative. You will benefit from other services, including lost baggage insurance, roadside assistance, medical evacuation, car rental insurance, and travel and emergency assistance. Receive trip cancellation or trip delay protection, as well, which provides reimbursements of change fees and meals and hotel rooms when your plans change. This card has a $450 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
Chase Slate® is one the best cards to help consumers reduce debt and get their finances under control. New cardholders will benefit from a $0 introductory fee for balance transfers in the first 60 days of opening the account and 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After the introductory period, a variable APR of 15.49% to 24.24% will apply, and paying late will not raise your interest rate. Each balance transfer is subject to a $5 or 3% fee, whichever is greater. If you are looking to track your credit, this card gives you the ability to see your monthly FICO® score online at no extra cost. You can also view detailed information about your Credit Report and see the reasons behind your score.
Cardholders will also be able to utilize Chase's Blueprint program, which gives you the option to monitor your debt payoff. Cardholders can select which categories they want to pay in full each month to avoid paying interest on everyday purchases, such as utilities or groceries. You can also choose to pay for a large purchase over time using the Split feature by setting a time frame and a monthly payment plan. You will not earn any direct rewards from using this card, but you may find that the helpful tools will make be worth it to reduce your debt. Feel confident that your card is safe with the ability to set fraud alerts by phone, text, or email. This card has no annual fee.
Discover it®- Cashback Match™
The Only from Discover it® - Cashback Match™ with No Annual Fee card is one of the best cash rewards credit cards this year. It offers 5% cash back on the first $1,500 that you spend in varying categories during each quarter. You must activate the rewards at the beginning of each quarter to take advantage of the cash back deal. Categories may include gas and ground transportation, department stores, and restaurants and movies, and all other purchases will earn 1% cash back. New cardholders will be eligible for double cash back on all rewards earned in the first year of opening the account, meaning twice the rewards with no extra effort. You can redeem rewards at any time for any amount in the form of a statement credit or an electronic deposit for a bank account. You can also pay with rewards at select online stores, including Amazon, Overstock, and Facebook. Cardholders may redeem cash rewards for instant eCertificates starting at $20 and gift cards from over 100 Discover partners. Finally, you can donate your cash rewards to a charity of your choice, such as Make-A-Wish, American Red Cross, or Junior Achievement. Your rewards will never expire as long as you keep your account open and active. Cardholders may access their credit score online for free at any time. If your card is lost or stolen, you can easily freeze your account using the Discover it mobile app or online, and the late fee will be waived the first time you pay late. This card has no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee.
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