How to Pick the Best Rewards Credit Card

Posted:

Last update: 1/4/2016

Black-credit-card

America is becoming a more plastic driven economy. Even the smallest of merchants can accept credit cards with an inexpensive Square credit card reader. People start getting credit cards when they are in college, with the majority of the public possessing several credit cards in their wallet. There are safety advantages paying with a credit card over cash or a debit card. It is time to make the best of this situation.

Everyone loves to get rewarded for spending money. This is kind of an absurd statement, but a reward helps lessen the damage from paying your insanely high credit card bill.

We wrote this article because BuyVia is focused on helping you save money and shop smarter. A Google search looking for the best credit cards will inevitability bring you to websites, which promote cards that pay them referral fees, rather than the truth. There is no need to worry about that bias factor with this article, we do not receive any kickbacks if you apply for any of these cards.

Getting 1% back on your purchases is way too boring and miniscule. Our goal was to find the best credit cards and apply for them ourselves.

Credit Card Criteria

Here are some assumptions that we made in selecting the best rewards credit card.

  • We tried to minimize the total number of cards
  • No annual fee unless it is worth paying the fee
  • We pay off bills every month in full
  • We are not looking for the best APR or balance transfer deal
  • Cash back, not points
  • No caps on rewards

Credit Score

Our goal is to maximize rewards, but we understand people with differing credit scores will affect which credit cards they can get approved for. If you are trying to build up your credit score, you will probably want to apply for all these cards at the same time, minimizing the impact. Older credit cards should be stored away even if they are not used, this helps with your credit score.

Each category has a different optimal rewards card. We will now examine the most popular areas of spending and show you which credit card BuyVia has deemed the best.

Smartphone Deals

  • Best Buy logo
    Posted by: Posted by The Chief

    Expiring Today: Apple iPhone 13 Trade-In Offer for T-Mobile Customers

    Best Buy offering Apple iPhone 13 Trade-In Offer for T-Mobile Customers, Up to $975 Off Apple iPhone 13/Mini/Pro/Pro Max valid w/ qualified trade-in device & activation for New/Existing T-Mobile Customers w/ all rate plans qualifying listed below - Free Shipping. Expires: 10/23/2021

    Offer valid for in-store trade-in of a qualifying Apple smartphone in good working condition only. No prepaid phones

    • Apple iPhone 13 Smartphone
      • From $799.99
    • Apple iPhone 13 Mini Smartphone
      • From $799.99
        • Estimated Apple iPhone Trade-In Value (rates/prices may change w/o notice)
          • Apple iPhone SE
            • Trade-In Value: $165
          • Apple iPhone 6s
            • Trade-In Value: $185
          • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
            • Trade-In Value: $210
          • Apple iPhone 7
            • Trade-In Value: $200
          • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
            • Trade-In Value: $250
          • Apple iPhone 8
            • Trade-In Value: $245
          • Apple iPhone 8 Plus
            • Trade-In Value: $300
          • Apple iPhone SE (2nd Gen)
            • Trade-In Value: $370
          • Apple iPhone X
            • Trade-In Value: $390
          • Apple iPhone XR
            • Trade-In Value: $420
          • Apple iPhone XS
            • Trade-In Value: $430
          • Apple iPhone XS Max
            • Trade-In Value: $500
          • Apple iPhone 11
            • Trade-In Value: $550
          • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
            • Trade-In Value: $650
          • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
            • Trade-In Value: $700
          • Apple iPhone 12 Mini
            • Trade-In Value: $630
          • Apple iPhone 12
            • Trade-In Value: $725
    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: October 21, 2021 7:15 AM PDT


  • Google Shopping logo
    Post by: Posted by Team DealRUS

    Google Pixel 6 Unlocked 128GB + Pixel Buds A-Series Sale $599.99 + Free Shipping ($699.99)

    Google Shopping has the Google Pixel 6 Unlocked 128GB + Pixel Buds A-Series Sale for $599.99, discount applied in cart, with Free Shipping. Expires: 10/26/2021, Ships 10/28.

    Need to add the Pixel Buds A-Series (Clearly White or Dark Olive) separately.

    Specs:

    • Google Tensor Octa-Core, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage
    • 6.4" 20:9 AMOLED (2400x1080), dual camera (50MP+12MP)
    • Wi-Fi 6E, BT 5.2, 4K video @ 30 fps, USB-C, Android 12

    Best Buy has the Pixel 6 with free Pixel Buds A

    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: October 20, 2021 6:59 AM PDT


  • General Vendor logo
    Posted by: Posted by The Chief

    Up to $1000 off iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13Pro Max 5G - AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile

    Time to switch to a better carrier with a new iPhone 13 with Unlimited.. Up to $1000 off iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13Pro Max 5G - AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile when you activate service and trade in select phones.  Deals are way better than expected, time to upgrade and switch carriers. If you have anything older than an iPhone X, to time to upgrade. Now shipping.

    • iPhone 13 has twice the memory for the same price, 5G, better battery, camera, and processor!

    Wireless companies are giving phones away in exchange for locking you in for bill credits each month.

    Unlock your credit report if you locked it to pass credit checks.

    Special iPhone 13 Promotions when you Switch

    • AT&T - New and existing customers get the amazing iPhone 13 for up to $800 off with tradein. - Up to $1000 off iPhone 13 Pro, 13 Pro after tradein. Discount after AT&T Bill Credits.
    • Verizon: Get an iPhone 13 Pro on us, when you trade in your old phone. Plus $500 when you switch! New line required. These phones qualify for this offer: iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max. Expires Soon
    • Xfinity: Save $300 off iPhone 13 when you switch to Xfinity
    • T-Mobile: Get an iPhone 13 Pro on US, up to $1000 off (via 30 Monthly Bill Credits when you are on Magenta Max plan) with a Qualifying Device Trade-In valid for New Lines Only/Auto Pay only.

    Some Older phones are available with less trade in.  Trading in is a lot easier than selling your phone on eBay or Craigslist.

    New iPhones 13:

    • iPhone 13: Starts at $799 (128GB), $749 (256GB), $949 (512GB)
    • iPhone 13 Pro: Starts at $999 (128GB), $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB)
    • iPhone 13 Pro Max: Starts at $1,099 (128GB), $1,199 (256GB), $1,399 (512GB)
    • iPhone 13 Mini: 5.4" screen but same as iPhone 13! Starts at $699

    AT&T Unlimited Starter Plan

    • 1 Line $65/mon for Unlimited Talk, Text, Web, DVD Quality Streaming, Max 3Mbps data speed, No Hotspot
    • 5G Access
    • Standard Mobile Security
    • 5 lines for $150
    • Plus tax & fees

    AT&T Special Trade-In Offer: Monthly Price reflects net monthly payment, after application of AT&T trade-in credit up to $800 applied over 30 months after trade-in of eligible smartphone with min. $95 trade-in value. Requires upgrade of an existing line (or activation of a new line in stores) and purchase of a new iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, or iPhone 13 Pro Max on qualifying 30 month 0% APR installment plan, subject to carrier credit qualification.

    Verizon StartUnlimited Plan

    • 1 Line $70 for Unlimited Talk, Text, Web, DVD Quality Streaming, Unlimited Hotspot (600kbps)
    • 5G Nationwide
    • Disney+ 6 month on Verizon
    • Apple Music Free for 6 months
    • Plus tax & fees

    Verizon Special Trade-in Offer: Monthly price reflects net monthly payment, after Apple instant trade-in credit at checkout, and Verizon monthly bill credits applied over 24 months. Customer must remain in the Verizon Device Payment Program for 24 months to receive the full benefit of the Verizon bill credits. Bill credits may take 1-2 bill cycles to appear. If it takes two cycles for bill credits to appear, you’ll see the credit for the first cycle on your second bill in addition to that month’s credit. Requires purchase and activation of a new iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, or iPhone 13 Pro Max with the Verizon Device Payment Program at 0% APR for 24 months, subject to carrier credit qualification, and iPhone availability and limits.

    T-Mobile Essentials Plan

    • 1 line $65/month, 4 lines $105/month
    • Unlimited Talk Text and Web
    • DVD quality SD Streaming 480p
    • 3G Mobile hotspot
    • T-Mobile Tuesdays
    Sales tax in: Most States
    Posted: October 19, 2021 6:23 AM PDT


More Like This

Which Card to Use?

We place a little Post it note behind each credit card noting its rewards amount and categories. There are also apps that can give you this information.

There are several credit cards including the Chase Freedom card and a Discover Card, which rotate between 5% bonus categories every quarter. There is usually a limit of $1500, severely reducing the potency of the card.

Grocery – Supermarket

The average consumer spends $3800 on groceries every year. Let us get some money back, beyond the usual couponing and buying sale items.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

 

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

  • $75 per year
  • 6% back from supermarkets on the first $6000
  • 3% back from gas stations, department stores
  • 1% back from everything else
  • It does charge a foreign transaction fee

If you do not want to pay an annual fee or you spend less than $4000 on groceries, sign up for the American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card. It pays:

  • 3% back from supermarkets on the first $6000
  • 2% back from gas stations, department stores
  • 1% back from everything else

Gas

$2000 is spent on average every year for gas. A typical household blows through $4400 annually. Here are some ways to get a little back.

Sam’s Club MasterCard

Sam’s Club MasterCard

  • Free with a Sam’s Club Membership ($45/year)
  • 5% back from gas stations on the first $6000
  • 3% back on dining and travel
  • 1% from everything else

Even though the closest Sam’s Club is over an hour away from the San Francisco area, we signed up for a Sam’s Club membership just to use this credit card. You can apply online and join their membership online. You will also have access to purchasing items on samsclub.com. The downside is that they send a rewards certificate that needs to be redeemed in store, even if you want to credit your account.

TrueEarnings Business Card from Costco and American Express

Free with Costco Membership. This relationship is ending soon.

  • 4% back from US gas stations and on gasoline at Costco on the first $7000 per year
  • 2% back on US dining, and eligible travel purchases
  • 1% from everything else including Costco

If you shop at Costco, this card is almost as good as the Sam’s Club Rewards credit card.

For those without a business account, the regular card is slightly lower in rewards.

TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express

TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express

Free with Costco Membership. This relationship is ending in 2016.

  • 3% back from gas stations on the first $4000 per year
  • 2% back on US dining, and eligible travel purchases
  • 1% from everything else including Costco

Restaurants

Eating out costs a lot of money. The following credit card helps reduce the $2800 an average person spends on restaurants every year.

Sam’s Club Mastercard

  • Free with a Sam’s Club Membership ($45/year)
  • 5% back from US and Puerto Rico gas stations on the first $6000 per year
  • 3% back on dining and travel purchases (Excluding purchases at wholesale clubs other than Sam’s Club)
  • 1% from everything else

With one card, you can save on gas, dining, and travel!

Department Stores

It makes sense to apply for a credit card from a specific store, if you purchase many items from them every year. Here is a list of the top department store credit cards due to their rebate or coupon policy.

Airline Miles

If you are loyal to a specific airline, you should sign up for the rewards card tied to that airline. Other credit cards that you should consider include those, which have transferrable miles. Also be on the lookout for special credit card offers which include a bunch of miles for spending a certain amount of money within the first couple of months.

sapphire_preferred_card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • Free for the first year, $95 per year there after
  • Get 40,000 points when you spend $3000 in the first 3 months. That is worth $500 in travel from the Chase Ultimate Rewards site.
  • Get 5000 points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase within the first 3 months
  • 2X points on travel and dining
  • 1X points on everything else
  • 1:1 point transfers to leading frequent flyer programs
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 20% off travel when booked through Chase

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite offers a very similar reward profile but costs $89 per year after the first year is free. You do get a free copy of TripIt pro ($49/year value), access to a no fee travel planner and discounts on hotels.

Best Rewards Card for Hotel Points

This specific hotel chain credit card offers great rewards if you like their hotel brands. These include: Westin, Sheraton, W, The Luxury Collection, and more

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest

  • Free for the first year, $65 thereafter
  • Sign on bonus of 10,000 points after first purchase, additional 15,000 for spending $5000 within 6 months
  • Up to 5 reward points on their hotels
  • 1 point for everything else
  • Transfer points directly to miles

The Best General Rewards Credit Cards

For regular consumers, we recommend:

Citi Double Cash Card

  • No annual fee
  • 2% cash back on all purchases

You get 1% reward after you make a purchase and the other 1% after you pay.

If you own a small business, we recommend:

spark_cash_select_business_credit_card-300x184

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

  • Free for the first year, $59 per year there after
  • 2% back on all purchases

If you do not own a business, consider this Capital One credit card:

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • No annual fee
  • 1.5% back on all purchases

For those who like American Express and visit stores that accept it:

Fidelity Investments Rewards Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • 2% back on all purchases

They deposit rewards into a Fidelity Investment account, so this is a major requirement. This is a great way to save for retirement though. This transitioned from an American Express card in 2016. A Fidelity 529 rewards credit card is also available.

US Bank Cash Plus Visa Signature Card

  • No annual fee
  • 5% cash back on first $2000 in combined net purchases each quarter on 2 categories of your choice (cell phone plans, gym membership, restaurants, and more)
  • 2% cash back on your choice of 1 everyday category (gas, drug stores, or groceries)
  • 1% cash back on rest

Must apply in a US bank branch.

Conclusion

With a little bit of effort, you can really maximize the rewards you receive from a credit card. We hope you enjoy this list of the best rewards credit cards. If you have other favorites please be sure to leave a comment below.

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One response to “How to Pick the Best Rewards Credit Card”

  1. Valerie Acosta says:

    Thought the information was very interesting and valuable.

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