What’s the Best Credit Card for Your Lifestyle?
As long as you manage your debt intelligently, using credit card reward programs to better your lifestyle can be a smart financial move.
Of course, you need to make sure the rewards actually fit your lifestyle to improve it. For instance, a family on a shoestring budget that likes to go camping would gain more from gift card bonuses than frequent flyer miles. A small businessman might do better with a card that offers cash back on every purchase. Or how a bout a good grades reward for college students?
Yep, picking the right credit card for your lifestyle can really pay off. So we’ve singled out a few great choices for various lifestyles. Read on to see if you can make your financial life more rewarding.
The Balance Transfer Seeker
If your goal is to get rid of a high interest rate on your credit card debt in an effort to pay that debt down, congratulations, that’s a smart move toward financial freedom. Transferring your balance to a card that offers 0% APR for a number of months means that you’ll pay down your principal faster. The key is to get a low transfer fee and a long 0% interest period. Here’s one good choice:
This card is a nice balance of zero transfer fee combined with an impressive 15 months of 0% APR on those transfers, as well as on new purchases. Of course, we don’t need to tell you that if your goal is paying down your credit card, you may not want to use it for purchases.
Added benefits to this Chase card include no annual fee, no penalty APR (paying late won’t raise your APR), and a lower credit score threshold (an average reported approval score of just 678). All in all, used wisely, this card could lower your debt, and improve your credit.
The Frequent Flyer
With the cost of flying hitting the stratosphere, points toward air travel is a major incentive. But choosing the card that will reward your spending habits best is not as easy as the most miles for each dollar. So, frequent flyers might want to check out:
This card is great for those who want to avoid an annual fee, and who travel abroad – there’s no foreign transaction fee. It’s also the choice for those who don’t spend a lot per month on credit card, but still want a sign-up bonus: you’ll earn 20,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Those points can be redeemed for $200 in statement credit toward travel.
As for points, you’ll earn 1.5 points on every purchase, redeemable at any airline or any hotel. There’s no limit to your points earned, there are no black out dates, and your points never expire. Finally, the 12-billing cycle 0% introductory rate on purchases is a nice extra bonus.
If you spend more than the average traveller, it’s worth checking out this card. It has a lot of the features of the BankAmericard, but if you spend $4,000 in the first three months, you’ll earn a 50,000-point bonus. Plus, if you add another authorized user, you’ll earn another 5,000 points. Finally, you’ll earn two points per dollar spent on travel and restaurant dining purchases (including fast food), with one point on everything else.
The Hotel LoverIf saving on your hotel is more important than saving on your flight, there are credit cards that offer great benefits in this area. For instance:
This card has been named a top rewards card by various publications for a few reasons. First, you can earn points fast, with one point per dollar for any purchase, and at least four for each dollar spent at a Starwood property. Second, because the Starwood portfolio of hotels include the Sheraton, Westin, and Le Meridian chains, you’ll have a lot of options for where to use your points.
You’ll earn a 25,000 point bonus if you make $3,000 worth of purchases in the first three months, and free night stays start at only 2,000 points, with many rooms at luxury hotels available for 10,000 points. Finally, if you do decide that airline miles are more important, these reward points can be converted to miles with more than 30 different airlines.
The Small Businessman
If you run a small business, you know that in today’s competitive atmosphere, you have to take advantage of anything that gives you an edge. A credit card that rewards you for all those business expenses can help. Consider this one:
If earning cash back for all your business purchases sounds good, this might be the card for you. You’ll earn 2% cash back on every purchase, period. Plus, the bonus is attractive: a one-time $500 cash bonus for spending $4,500 in the first three months. That works out to an 11% cash back offer.
In addition, you can set up automatic redemption of rewards, which are also unlimited. The card has a $59 annual fee, but it’s waived for the fist year.
As a student you have unique needs when it comes to rewards. Fortunately, there are some cards that cater to those needs and reward you for being a great student to boot. For example:
Getting a B average in school? How about a cash reward? This card will give you $20 every year your GPA is 3.0 or higher. Granted, it’s not much, but most students would say a little extra beer money is never a bad thing. The serious rewards come in the form of 5% cash back on all purchases from categories that change every month, and 1% cash back on every other purchase.
Plus, for new cardmembers, Discover matches your earned cash rewards dollar for dollar after the first year. Also, there’s no annual fee, no late payment penalty for your first late payment, and your APR won’t go up for paying late. Finally, as a student building your credit, you’ll enjoy the free FICO credit score available each month on your statement.
The Big Family
We’re guessing you go to the supermarket a lot. Same with the gas station. So, you might be interested in a card with high cash back rewards for groceries and gas, such as:
Here’s a card that gives you an impressive 6% cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 (after that, it still offers 1% cash back). It also gives unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores, and 1% on everything else.
Sign up by June 15 and you receive 10% cash back on U.S. wireless phone service, up to $200 cash back. Finally, while there is a $95 annual fee, there is 0% interest for the first year, and you could earn $150 bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. For big families, that’s easy to do.
The bottom line is that if you’re going to use a credit card, you want it to do more than just charge you interest. So ask yourself: Does the card in your wallet work well for your lifestyle?