#best credit cards to have
A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Rewards with The Best Credit Cards We Can Find
If you’re finally ready to jump into the credit card rewards game, now is the perfect time. With fall and the holiday season approaching, some of the best opportunities for earning rewards are just around the corner.
With that being said, not all rewards cards are equal. Before you hop on the rewards wagon this fall, it makes sense to research some of the best rewards cards – and the best card combinations.
Best Rewards Credit Card Combo for Fall 2015
Chase Sapphire Preferred® + Chase Freedom®
With the end of the year on its way, it’s smart to come up with a rewards strategy that lets you maximize all this hobby has to offer. That’s why I recommend getting both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and the Chase Freedom®.
By getting both cards, you can take advantage of the 5X categories on the Chase Freedom® and the 2X earning potential offered with the Chase Sapphire Preferred®. And since you can transfer points between the two cards, you can use points earned through either card in the best rewards program out there – the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, now is the perfect time to lump all of your spending onto a rewards credit card. But the rewards you can earn aren t just for regular spending; you can also earn huge sign-up bonuses as well. With my favorite rewards combo, Chase Sapphire Preferred® + Chase Freedom®, for example, the signup bonuses alone are worth $500 if you redeem them for cash back. No matter who you are, that’s a lot of money you can earn in a relatively short amount of time.
Choosing the Right Rewards Card
But, which type of rewards card should you choose? Although some cards offer flexible rewards that can be redeemed in more than one way, others dole out rewards in the form of airline miles, hotel loyalty points, or gift cards and cash back. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you hone in on the perfect rewards credit card:
Do you want to travel?
If you travel frequently or plan to in the near future, it might be wise to focus on travel rewards cards above all else. However, it’s still important to decide whether you want to earn frequent flyer miles or hotel loyalty points – or both.
Would you rather earn cash back?
The top cash back cards allow you to earn cash back on all of your regular and holiday spending this year. If you don’t travel often, one of our cash back cards might be your best bet.
Do you want some flexibility?
If you’re not sure which type of rewards you ultimately want, it might be wise to get a flexible rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred®. This card allows you to use your points for travel, gift cards, cash back, or merchandise – and you don’t have to commit until you’re ready to redeem your points.
Keep these questions in mind as you read detailed descriptions on all of our top rewards cards. Here are our top picks for fall 2015 and beyond:
The Simple Dollar s Best Rewards Credit Cards for Fall 2015
If you look at the top five cards, you ll see a combination of more general rewards cards and the more specific cash back rewards cards.
The main difference is that the general rewards cards offer up to 2x points per dollar spent (or 2%) rewards on popular purchases with no limits on the amount you can earn. Cash back cards offer a higher rewards rate (sometimes up to 5-6%) in specific spending categories or rotating spending categories. However, cash back credit cards tend to impose caps on the amount you can earn rewards on in a certain timeframe.
I always recommend pairing a consistent everyday rewards credit card with a cash back credit card to maximize your rewards.
I would start by getting one of these two cards:
A great strategy is to use one of the cards above and then combine that card with a rotating category cash back card, like the Chase Freedom®.
An added benefit to combining a general rewards card with a cash back card is that you can usually add a cash back card with no annual fee. This is an economic way to get extra rewards for free!
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Most Versatile Rewards Credit Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is one of the most popular cards in 2015 mostly due to the card’s versatility. The reason it’s such a versatile travel card goes beyond the 2x points on travel and dining. You also get the benefit of a 1:1 point transfer to participating frequent travel programs at full value.
If you’ve accumulated points from other rewards programs, like United MileagePlus®, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, Marriott Rewards®, or many others, you can easily consolidate. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, you can redeem your points for statement credit, book trips through Chase Ultimate Rewards, use your points on Amazon.com, and have the opportunity for unique entertainment and shopping experiences.
The hidden gem with this card is that points earned from Chase Sapphire Preferred® are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel on the Ultimate Rewards® website. Additionally, if you have another Chase credit card like the Freedom®, you can transfer your Freedom® points to your Sapphire Preferred® and now those points are also worth 25% more when redeemed for travel.
Check out the Ultimate Rewards home page below taken from my account:
Best Cash Back Credit Card
As a cash back card, and even a rewards credit card, the Chase Freedom® is about as popular as they come. With rotating quarterly cash back categories, you re able to take advantage of new ways to earn rewards all throughout the year and you earn at a very high rate (5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases).
As an owner of this card, I can also say you ll receive great protection from Chase as well as quality customer service. Their fraud monitoring is one of the best around. When you redeem rewards, it s a smart move to take a look at the Chase Ultimate Rewards page and look for any special deals.
As you can see below, at the time I took this screenshot of my account, Chase was offering some great deals through their Ultimate Rewards home.