Searching for the perfect credit card isn’t impossible, but first, you need to define what you value in a credit card instead of taking advice from bloggers (like me!) who are telling you what they value in a card.
Do you want cash back? Do you want to travel to Africa? Do you want to stay at a luxury resort? Are you only interested in Delta Skymiles? Knowing the answers to these questions will make finding the right credit card for you a cinch.
Since I don’t know each individual who reads this or their preferences in a card, some of my own biases will creep into how I order the cards. For instance, I prefer travel redemptions over cash and flexibility of redemption over program loyalty in my redemptions. If you think differently, you’ll still find the information you need in this article, you’ll just have to run from my unwelcome, opinionated advances.
If you want Ultimate reward Points . . .
Put your everyday spend on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Yes, I know the $450 annual fee is high, but 3x points on travel and dining will get you great value. Besides, the $300 travel credit casts a wide net, covering Uber/Lyft, public transit, and Airbnb purchases. Essentially, the annual fee should be considered $150 after what is basically a rebate.
If the lesser annual fee ($95) of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card tempts you right now, keep in mind this is only $55 less than the unrecoupable part of the CSR annual fee. Furthermore, the 3x bonus categories of the CSR will quickly make up this difference:
If you want Membership rewards Points . . .
Put your everyday spend on the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card. The $195 annual fee is waived the first year and offset by a $100 yearly travel credit with which you generally can buy airline gift cards. You’ll also get 3x points on airfare and 2x points at restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets.
Since the AMEX PRG is a charge card and not a credit card, I’ll also give a shout out to the AMEX everyday preferred card. You’ll get 3x points at supermarkets for the first $6K you spend per year and 2x at gas stations. You also get a 50% bonus on points earned each statement cycle, if you use the card 30+ times.
If you want ThankYou Points . . .
Put your everyday spend on the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. You’ll get 3x points on dining and entertainment purchases and 2x points on airfare and hotel purchases. I believe the above to points programs offer better transfer redemptions, but if you specifically need to transfer to a ThankYou points partner, this should be your card.
One caveat: for frequent travelers who spend big on travel, the Citi Prestige card is the better options, but the high amount of spend on travel to justify it has me relegate it behind the Premier in this instance.
If you want a particular airlines’ miles . . .
Go with the co-branded card of the airline you want miles on most. In my opinion, though, anyof the options listed above are better.
If you want Cash Back to apply to your travel in whatever way you wish . . .
There are numerous cash back cards that deserve mention here: the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has great category bonuses that rotate each quarter, and the Citi Double Cash Back card has a great 2% flat rate on all purchases that are paid off, but the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred takes the cake here.
The AMEX BCP gets you 6% cash back on your first $6K spend per year at supermarkets and 3% at gas stations and department stores. These are categories everyone uses and, despite its annual fee, should get you a solid cash back bonus each year.
Best Everyday card Verdict . . . ?
It’s the CSR, son. Get it.