Curious what they’d come up with, I asked online concierge site ‘FancyHands’ to find out what the best rewards credit card is and let me know — and explain why.
I’m actually impressed with the answer, though I don’t agree with it. They pointed out that the most rewarding card will depend on what you spend the most on (bonus categories).
Then they came back with what are essentially three cash back cards. And that’s a pretty reasonable strategy for most people who aren’t interested in travel, and certainly for people who aren’t interested in premium travel.
- It’s better to straight-up buy tickets than use miles if you’re going to fly coach to Florida. You’ll probably get as much value for your points and don’t have to worry about award availability (plus you earn miles for the flights!)
- Cash is better than an airline’s proprietary currency, all things equal.
I’m not inclined towards cash back, I do much better with cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card which has a great signup bonus, some of the fastest points-earning (double points on travel and dining) and some of the most valuable points (since they transfer to several airline and hotel programs).
But they came up with a respectable list. Here are their suggestions, and what I think would be better.
- Chase Freedom: They called it “the best general rewards credit card” because of the rotating categories each quarter that earn 5 points per dollar. It’s a no fee card, and earns an ‘extra’ 24,000 points per year with the 5x feature. But it’s best as a companion to the Chase Sapphire Preferred in my view because you can transfer the points earned with Freedom to your Sapphire Preferred account and from there to airline miles.
- Blue Cash Preferred from American Express: Again they note category bonuses — 6% (capped) at supermarkets, 3% at US gas stations and department stores. The old uncapped grocery store version I’ll concede was better was than most miles cards for supermarket spend.
- Citi Double Cash Card: has no annual fee and gives you 1% cash back when you purchase and then another 1% cash back when you pay off the purchase. That’s the strongest cash back card in their list.
A pretty solid list for non-specialists in the field. I the Citi Double Cash Card to be the best overall cash back card — because it gives you value like the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express 2% cash back card without being an American Express (so offering greater acceptance).
The Barclaycard Arrival+ World MasterCard gets you a 10% better return if you redeem points for travel.
The Discover Miles Card actually is even stronger, since it gets you 3% back for your first year at places that take American Express.
Of course if you invest $100,000 with Bank of America you can get 2.6% on all spend with greater acceptance than discover.
If you’re willing to look beyond cash back, though, here are four cards that deliver superior value.
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