credit card rewards http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13635/all en-US Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles? http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-man-airport-Dollarphotoclub_68548189.jpg" alt="happy man airport" title="happy man airport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It can be really hard to place a value on airline frequent flier miles compared to other types of credit card rewards. For instance, we all know how much <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">cash back offers are worth</a>, and most other rewards points typically offer a fixed value, often one cent per point towards merchandise or gift cards. But the value of travel rewards miles depends on the carrier as well as which class you're flying. Also, international flights will net you a much higher value per mile.</p> <p>Nevertheless, there are some ways to compare the value of different airline mileage programs so that cardholders can choose the best credit card for their needs. Let's take a look at the major US airline frequent flier programs, and come to a reasonable value of what their points and miles are worth for various types of awards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>American/US Airways</h2> <p>These are the last two major carriers to merge, which should be complete within months. Even now, you can already redeem miles for one airline through the other's awards flights.</p> <p>When considering the value of these miles, keep in mind that American continues to offer some of the best award availability on its domestic routes, and it's often possible to find several award seats available at the lowest mileage levels. Furthermore, if you have their co-branded credit card, you can get reduced mileage awards, that can result in a savings of 5,000 to 7,500 miles round trip. So for most domestic travelers in economy class, these miles are worth about two cents each.</p> <p>On the international side, American offers few economy class awards and barely any business class award seats at the lowest mileage levels. Worse, its partner British Airways imposes huge fuel surcharges on award tickets that cost travelers nearly as much as an economy class ticket. Nevertheless, American miles are good for redeeming flights from other OneWorld partner carriers which get about three cents per mile from international economy class awards, about four cents in value from business class travel, and even more when booking awards in international first class. American's award chart offers better value than its competitors. For example, business class flights to Europe are still just 100,000 miles, while United and Delta are 20 to 40% more.</p> <h2>Citi&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg;</h2> <p><a target="_top" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-12082091?sid=jsteele-1263798"><img width="154" height="98" border="0" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiAAdvantagePlatinumSelectMasterCard.jpg" alt="" /></a>To start earning AAdvantage Miles, <a target="_top" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-12082091?sid=jsteele-1263798">sign up for the Citi&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg;</a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" src="http://www.awltovhc.com/image-2822544-12082091" alt="" /> and, for a limited time, get 50,000 bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. Earn double AAdvantage&reg; miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and earn 10% of your redeemed miles back (up to 10k per calendar year). Other benefits of this card include first checked bag free, Group 1 boarding, and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases. There is a $95 annual fee, waived the first year.</p> <p><a target="_top" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-12082091?sid=jsteele-1263798"><strong>Click here to sign up for the Citi&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg; today!</strong></a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" src="http://www.awltovhc.com/image-2822544-12082091" alt="" /></p> <h2>US Airways Premier World MasterCard</h2> <p>The US Airways Premier World MasterCard allows you to earn 2X miles on US Airways and American Airlines purchases. You also receive 25% off on US Airways and American Airlines in-flight purchases. Get first checked bag free for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights, as well as one companion certificate good for up to two guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each. There's a current sign up offer that gives you 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee.</p> <h2>Delta</h2> <p>Delta has gone through several rounds of devaluation, which is when they change their award chart to ask for more miles. Furthermore, Delta has the worst reputation for offering vanishingly few award seats at the lowest mileage levels, and few award seats from its partners Air France and KLM. To top it all off, Delta's award search engine offers very unreliable results, which makes booking an award an exercise in frustration. Travelers also have to find a return flight, since Delta doesn't allow one-way awards for half price.</p> <p>Therefore, I would value SkyMiles at one and a half cents for domestic travel in economy class. It's even very hard to find more than two cents in value per point in international business class, except for those who travel alone and are extremely flexible and persistent.</p> <p>The good news is that Delta claims it will make more award seats available at the lowest mileage levels in 2015, offer one-way awards, and fix the problems with its website.</p> <h2>Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card From American Express</h2> <p><a title="Gold Delta SkyMiles&reg; Credit Card from American Express" alt="Gold Delta SkyMiles&reg; Credit Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050763&amp;fot=1183&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=598429" target="_blank"><img width="154" height="97" border="0" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/73/598430.png" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>American Express offers the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050763&amp;fot=1183&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Gold Delta SkyMiles&reg; Credit Card</a> which offers 2X miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta, and one mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases. Also, get first checked bag free and Priority Boarding. There is a current sign up offer to earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first three months, plus a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase within the first three months. There are no foreign transaction fees. The annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year of Card Membership with an introductory offer. Terms and restrictions apply.</p> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050763&amp;fot=1183&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to apply for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>United</h2> <p>When it comes time to redeem miles, United's domestic award availability is not nearly as good as American's, but it's far better than Delta's. So I value their miles at 1.5 to 2 cents each for domestic economy class travel.</p> <p>Internationally, their award availability is much more reasonable than American's. Travelers can rely on its strong partnerships with Star Alliance airlines, although United does charge more miles for some international partner awards than it does for the flights it operates. Therefore, I would value their miles at 3 to 4 cents each for international flights in business class.</p> <h2>Sample Mileage Valuation and Comparison Chart</h2> <p>And now here's a helpful chart to compare all the data above.</p> <p><img width="605" height="361" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/Airline Table_0.png" alt="" /></p> <p>*Domestic data based on one RT ticket from JFK (New York) to LAX (Los Angeles). International data based on one RT ticket from LAX (Los Angeles) to CDG (Paris, France).</p> <h2>Other Carriers</h2> <p>These smaller or regional airlines don't offer the great miles programs of the larger carriers, but there are still deals to be had.</p> <h3>Southwest</h3> <p>Southwest offers several versions of its Rapid Rewards credit card from Chase, and each point earned is worth 1.4 cents each towards flights in its &quot;Wanna Get Away&quot; fare class. However, cardholders who have earned Southwest's Companion Pass can always get a second seat, doubling the value of these points to 2.8 cents each.</p> <h3>Alaska Airlines</h3> <p>Alaska's Mileage Plan credit card from Bank of America offers triple miles for Alaska purchases, and one mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Its frequent flier program is much like the major legacy airlines, and it has quite reasonable award availability and some great partnerships. I would value their miles at about two cents each for domestic and international economy class travel, and four cents each for business and first class travel both domestically and internationally.</p> <h3>Jetblue</h3> <p>Jetblue offers a credit card from American Express that earns double points for Jetblue purchases and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points tend to be worth about 1.5 cents each towards their fares, but sometimes slightly higher or lower.</p> <h3>Virgin America</h3> <p>This arm of the Virgin franchise offers a credit card from Comenity Bank that earns triple points for Virgin America flights, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points are worth 2 to 2.5 cents each towards flights.</p> <h3>Frontier</h3> <p>Frontier offers a credit card through Barclays Bank that earns double points for Frontier purchases, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points tend to be worth just about 1-2 cents each as cardholders now have to pay for both checked and carry-on bags, even on award tickets.</p> <h2>Other Considerations</h2> <p>Unlike other reward cards, there is never just one airline mileage card that can offer the best value for everyone. Those who have the most flexibility and travel as a single or a couple, can often find great value with the major airlines that have finite award seats. Otherwise, families who travel in larger groups and have less flexibility need a program that doesn't control awards so tightly like Southwest, JetBlue, or Virgin America. And of course, where you live and travel will often dictate which airlines that can most conveniently reach your destination. But by understanding the value of each airline's loyalty program, you can choose the best credit card for your needs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-tons-of-frequent-flyer-miles-without-flying">How to Earn Tons of Frequent Flyer Miles Without Flying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smartphone-apps-that-manage-and-maximize-your-credit-card-rewards">3 Smartphone Apps That Manage and Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards airline rewards credit card rewards miles rewards Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:00:10 +0000 Jason Steele 1265967 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Up To 8% Cash Back Shopping at Whole Foods (Limited Time Deal!) http://www.wisebread.com/get-up-to-8-cash-back-shopping-at-whole-foods-limited-time-deal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-up-to-8-cash-back-shopping-at-whole-foods-limited-time-deal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/groceries-184765038_0.jpg" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>NOTE: THIS OFFER HAS ENDED </strong>(However, the Blue Cash Everyday and Blue Cash Preferred cards still have great perks that make them one of our favorite for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">supermarket savings</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">cash rewards</a>!)</p> <p>Shopping at Whole Foods can definitely put a dent in your wallet. We've offered suggestions before on the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shopping-at-whole-foods-12-smart-ways-to-save">best ways to save at Whole Foods</a>. And for the next four months, you can save even more &mdash; up to 8% cash back on your purchases.</p> <p>Americans spend 130% more on average on groceries per week during the holiday season. And American Express Blue Cash Card Members can get a little help with their budget. Now through February 15, 2015, get an additional 2% cash back on top of your already <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">generous grocery rewards</a>. That's 5% with the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050771&amp;fot=1150&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card</a> and 8% with the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1150&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card</a>! And in case you were wondering, yes, it applies to online purchases made at <a href="http://www.wfm.com" title="www.wfm.com">www.wfm.com</a> as well! Note: You must enroll your card for the purchases to be eligible for the extra 2% cash back.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Blue Cash cards are a favorite here at Wise Bread. We've touted their benefits for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">cash rewards</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards">gas rewards</a>, and of course, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">grocery savings</a>. If you don't already have one of these cards, now's the time to get one! They're throwing in $100 (Blue Cash Everyday) and $150 (Blue Cash Preferred) statement credit when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months, but you also get a 0% Intro APR for 15 months (after that it will be a variable rate 12.99%-21.99% based on your creditworthiness and other factors).</p> <p>Check out the details below to choose which card is best for you.</p> <h3>Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1150&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" alt="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" title="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express"><img border="0" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/165588/536598.gif" /></a>The Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card offers a whopping 6% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 3% at US gas stations and select department stores, 1% on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. It does have an <strong>annual fee</strong> of $75, but if you have a big grocery budget, the rewards would be more than enough to cover this yearly cost.</p> <p><strong>Sign up offer</strong>: Get $1500 back after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months. You will receive the cash back in the form of a statement credit. Also, get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</p> <ul> <li>Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.</li> <li>Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.</li> <li>Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations &amp; select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.</li> <li>Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</li> <li>0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</li> <li>Terms and limitations apply.</li> </ul> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1150&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card today!</strong></a></p> <h3>Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050771&amp;fot=1150&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" alt="Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express" title="Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express"><img border="0" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/87/530403.gif" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>Don't like the idea of getting a card with an annual fee? The Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card has none, but still gets you 3% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%), 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</p> <p><strong>Sign up offer</strong>: Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.</p> <ul> <li>Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.</li> <li>Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.</li> <li>Earn Cash Back: 3% U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% U.S. gas stations &amp; select U.S. dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.</li> <li>Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</li> <li>No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</li> <li>Terms and restrictions apply.</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050771&amp;fot=1150&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card today!</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-up-to-8-cash-back-shopping-at-whole-foods-limited-time-deal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shopping-at-whole-foods-12-smart-ways-to-save">Shopping at Whole Foods: 12 Smart Ways to Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-food-items-to-always-buy-in-bulk">13 Food Items to Always Buy in Bulk</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Food and Drink Shopping credit card rewards Whole Foods Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:40:11 +0000 Lynn Truong 1240222 at http://www.wisebread.com This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly) http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-168759740.jpg" alt="family on plane" title="family on plane" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are so many different types of reward programs that offer miles and points that it can be very difficult for those newer to the world of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">rewards credit cards</a> and (almost) free travel to know where to start. If you're interested in diving in, a very good place to consider starting is with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. These points are flexible, valuable, and easy to earn.</p> <p>However, a &quot;secret&quot; that many people don't know is that cards within the program (and a Chase checking account) can work together to help you earn even more for your purchases. Specifically, you can take advantage of what I call the &quot;Chase Trifecta&quot; to earn even more rewards for your everyday spending.</p> <p>Here are some details about how the program works and how to get the maximum value when earning and redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards.</p> <h2>What Is a Chase Ultimate Rewards Point?</h2> <p>A Chase Ultimate Rewards point is a credit card rewards point earned via a Chase credit card that falls under the Ultimate Rewards umbrella. Right now that includes cards such as the Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Cash, Ink Bold, and Ink Plus.</p> <h2>How Do You Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?</h2> <p>You earn at least one point per dollar charged on a card that earns Ultimate Rewards. But the real trick is to take advantage of the bonus categories of these various cards in order to rack up the points much faster.</p> <h3>Chase Freedom</h3> <p>Earn 5x up to $1,500 quarterly max at rotating categories that have historically included places like restaurants, gas stations, department stores, and more. There's also a 10% annual bonus if you have a Chase checking account. (No annual fee.)</p> <h3>Chase Sapphire</h3> <p>Earn 2x on dining. (No annual fee.)</p> <h3>Chase Sapphire Preferred</h3> <p>Earn 2x on travel and dining plus 7% annual bonus on points earned. Also, get 20% off travel redeemed via Ultimate Rewards. (Annual fee.)</p> <h3>Chase Ink Cash</h3> <p>Earn 5x points per $1 on the first $25,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, Internet, and cable TV services. Earn 2x points per $1 on the first $25,000 spent annually at gas stations and restaurants. (No annual fee.)</p> <h3>Chase Ink Bold or Ink Plus</h3> <p>Earn 5x points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services. Earn 2x points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and hotel accommodations (when purchased directly with the hotel). Also, pay 20% off travel redeemed via Ultimate rewards. (Annual fee.)</p> <h3>Ultimate Rewards Mall</h3> <p>Another great way to earn Ultimate Rewards points is via the Ultimate Rewards Mall. This is an online shopping portal that is open only to those with an Ultimate Rewards earning card. In this &quot;online mall&quot; you can earn 10x points or more for online purchases at retailers such as Home Depot, Sears, Kohl's, Pottery Barn, REI, Apple, and J.Crew. You click via provided links from the Ultimate Rewards Mall to your favorite retailer's site and then make your purchase like normal. For doing so, you earn a bonus number of Ultimate Rewards points that range anywhere from one extra point per dollar to 25 extra points per dollar.</p> <p>At 10 extra points per dollar this means that your $100 online purchase at Kohl's goes from earning 100 points to earning the 100 points it normally would on your card plus 1,000 bonus points for making the purchase at 10x via the Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall. This is a great way to earn a ton more Ultimate Rewards points in a hurry!</p> <h2>Redeeming Ultimate Rewards</h2> <p>You can redeem the points at a one point equals one cent value for merchandise such as a digital camera, retailer gift cards to places like Gap, as a direct deposit into a Chase account, at <a href="http://www.amazon.com/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon.com</a>, or as a statement credit.</p> <p>But that's as much as you can do with a Freedom, Sapphire, or Ink Cash cards as far as redemption.</p> <p>The other cards (the ones with an annual fee, of course) offer you more travel value.</p> <p>First, you get an additional 20% off travel redemptions through Ultimate Rewards.</p> <p>But the best redemption value comes when you transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to a hotel or airline partner such as United MileagePlus, Hyatt Gold Passport, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Korean Air Skypass, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Virgin Atlantic, and Amtrak Guest Rewards.</p> <p>Many people, myself included, get far more than the one cent per point value when you can transfer to some of those programs listed above. For example, via Hyatt Gold Passport you can book a room on the ski slopes at the Hyatt Escala Lodge in Canyons Mountain Resort for just 15,000 points per night. During peak ski season nights, rooms at this hotel can go for $400 - $500 per night, so clearly you get more than one cent per point value when you use your Ultimate Rewards points in this manner.</p> <p>Even better, you can combine points with spouses or domestic partners!</p> <h2>The Chase Trifecta</h2> <p>As I mentioned earlier, you can use Ultimate Rewards to its fullest power by having several cards and accounts under Chase. Specifically, if you have all three of the following:</p> <ol> <li>A Chase checking account;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A Chase Freedom Card;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus credit card.</li> </ol> <p>A Chase checking account combined with a Freedom card will get you a 10% annual bonus in Ultimate Rewards points. This 10% bonus includes the 5x quarterly bonuses and points earned via the Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping portal, so it can really add up to a pretty substantial number over the course of a year.</p> <p>As I mentioned above, the Freedom card allows you to redeem your points for gift cards, travel (spent via the Ultimate Rewards portal), or cash at one point equals one cent. However, if you also have one of Chase's top tier cards (Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, Ink Plus), you can transfer your Freedom points to these cards, which you can then use to transfer 1:1 directly to hotel and airline partners!</p> <p>This means you can take advantage of Freedom's 5x quarterly bonus points, plus the 10% annual bonus for having a Chase checking account, <em>and</em> be able to transfer them at a 1:1 rate to travel partners. You can't do this if you have the Freedom card alone. You must have either a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus card in order to do the 1:1 transfer.</p> <p>Note that you can transfer points to one of these three cards from a Sapphire or Ink Cash card, but you don't get the added 10% bonus for having a Freedom + Chase checking account. Also, the Freedom card has better point bonuses than the Sapphire or Ink Cash cards.</p> <p>Ultimate Rewards points, when used to their maximum potential, can bring otherwise unattainable luxury travel expenses like ocean-front resorts, first or business class flights, and more into the realm of very possible. Now get out there and start turning your everyday purchases into a pile of valuable Ultimate Rewards points!</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of the Chase Trifecta to wrack up the reward miles?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/summer-hull">Summer Hull</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-airline-credit-cards-to-score-premium-travel-awards">Using Airline Credit Cards to Score Premium Travel Awards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel airline miles credit card rewards travel travel rewards Tue, 29 Apr 2014 08:00:37 +0000 Summer Hull 1137336 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Earn Tons of Frequent Flyer Miles Without Flying http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-tons-of-frequent-flyer-miles-without-flying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-earn-tons-of-frequent-flyer-miles-without-flying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-178575598.jpg" alt="traveler" title="traveler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I earned my first airline miles as a teenager by flying on airplanes via purchased tickets. At the time, I assumed that was the only way to earn airline miles. Turns out, that isn't even the main way to earn airline miles. You can earn airline miles doing everything from dining out to shopping online to setting up an investment account. You can then use those miles that you earned in everyday life to fly to places near and far &mdash; virtually for free. If that sounds as intriguing to you as it did to me, here are a few simple ways you can rack up enough airlines miles to fly in first class on an award ticket without ever having to step on a plane.</p> <h2>Airline Credit Cards</h2> <p>The easiest and quickest way to rack up a whole bunch of airline miles is via the airlines' co-branded credit cards such as the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, the <a target="_top" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-12082091?sid=shull-1135028">Citi&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg;</a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" src="http://www.ftjcfx.com/image-2822544-12082091" alt="" />, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card, or the US Airways Premier World MasterCard. Virtually every major airline has at least one credit card partner, and they often have at least one personal and business credit card available, and sometimes more than that. Make everyday purchases on those credit cards, and watch your miles add up.</p> <p>The sign-up bonus alone is usually enough to get you a couple of free domestic flights, or a good chunk of the way to a premium international flight. In addition to being a fantastic way to earn airline miles, these co-branded airline cards often give you perks like free checked bags, early boarding, or an annual discounted companion airline ticket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-airline-companion-tickets-and-3-bad-ones?ref=seealso">5 Great Cards With Companion Tickets</a>)</p> <p>Some credit cards aren't specifically labeled an airline credit card, but they still earn points that can transfer to airline miles, so don't discount those either. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Travel Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>Online Shopping</h2> <p>If you do any of your shopping online, you could be earning major airline miles for those purchases. There are online shopping portals such as United MileagePlus Shopping and American AAdvantage e-Shopping that will pay you airline miles for going to your favorite online retailer websites such as Gap, Home Depot, Apple, Sears, and more via their website. They will track the purchases you make by first going to their site, and then pay you airline miles for each dollar you spend. I have earned as many as 30 extra airline miles per dollar for making online purchases during some lucrative airline shopping portal promotions. In this case, a $100 purchase would earn 3,000 valuable airline miles, so it can really add up quickly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-guide-to-cash-back-shopping?ref=seealso">Guide to Cash Back Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>Dining Rewards</h2> <p>If you register your credit cards with the Dining Rewards Network via programs like United MileagePlus Dining you can earn up to 5 miles per dollar when you dine at participating restaurants. This is <em>on top of any miles you might earn</em> directly from your credit card for dining purchases. Some areas of the country have more participating restaurants than others, but it is another free and simple way to pick up some extra airline miles. When you sign up, look for new customer promotions such as earning 1,000 United miles for spending $30 at a participating restaurant.</p> <h2>Send Flowers</h2> <p>If you need to send flowers to someone, then you can also have a smile put on your face by earning more than 30 miles per dollar for your generous gift! On a $50 flower order this would come to 1,500 airline miles! That is roughly the same as you would usually earn flying from New York City to Austin. The offers change from time to time, but FTD offers points for <a href="http://www.ftd.com/29649/">United MileagePlus</a>, <a href="http://www.ftd.com/13708/">Delta SkyMiles</a>, and <a href="http://www.ftd.com/29697/">American Airlines AAdvantage</a> members.</p> <h2>Investments</h2> <p>You can earn airline miles for funding investment accounts. This one may not work for everyone due to the amount of cash involved, but you can get up to 50,000 <a href="https://rewards.fidelity.com/offers/aa?ccsource=alliance">American</a>, <a href="https://rewards.fidelity.com/offers/united">United</a>, or <a href="https://rewards.fidelity.com/offers/delta">Delta</a> miles for funding a Fidelity non-retirement brokerage account.</p> <h2>Being Social</h2> <p>Airline frequent flyer programs have become very active on social media in recent years, so from time to time there will be opportunities to earn free miles for participating in promotions, completing surveys, or via contests that they advertise on Twitter or Facebook. I recommend following a few of the major airline programs on your social media accounts so you can stay on the lookout for the free and easy miles they sometimes make available. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-win-sweepstakes?ref=seealso">This Is How You Win Sweepstakes</a>)</p> <h2>Hotels and Rental Cars</h2> <p>Another way to earn airline miles is to stay on the lookout for bonus miles offers from hotel and rental car chains. You can often choose to earn airline miles instead of rental car or hotel points, and while this doesn't always make sense, occasionally bonuses make the airline miles you earn more valuable than the points you are forgoing.</p> <p>There are also hotel bookings sites like <a href="https://pointshound.com/">PointsHound</a> and <a href="https://www.rocketmiles.com/">RocketMiles</a> that will pay you literally thousands of airline miles for some hotel bookings that you make via their respective websites.</p> <p>These are a few of the main ways that you can earn enough airline miles to literally fly around the world without ever having to buy an airline ticket!</p> <p><em>Where do you pickup bonus airline miles? Please share some in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/summer-hull">Summer Hull</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-tons-of-frequent-flyer-miles-without-flying">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-mileage-hacking-creative-ways-to-earn-flier-miles">Extreme Mileage Hacking: Creative Ways to Earn Flier Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel credit card rewards miles Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:36:28 +0000 Summer Hull 1135028 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Wasting Your Credit Card Rewards on One of These Stupid Things? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-your-credit-card-rewards-on-one-of-these-stupid-things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-wasting-your-credit-card-rewards-on-one-of-these-stupid-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-card-1680448-small.jpg" alt="credit card" title="credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not all credit card rewards are created equal. The value of some depend on your spending habits, others depend on your needs, and others yet are just plain bad investments. Here's what you need to know to evaluate the best &mdash; or worst &mdash; credit card rewards for you.</p> <h2>Various Credit Card Rewards</h2> <p>Here are seven different kinds of credit card rewards and the cards that can earn you these awards. I've ranked them from smart to stupid, but as usual, there are exceptions to every rule.</p> <h3>1. Frequent Flyer Miles</h3> <p>If you fly, then <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">hacking the frequent flyer mile game</a> with credit cards earning you points on every purchase and lucrative sign-up bonuses is a must-use strategy. Case in point: most of my long-haul flights are in business class, for less than the price of equivalent economy tickets. See Wise Bread's picks for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">Airline Miles Credit Cards with the best Sign-Up Bonuses</a>.</p> <h3>2. Travel</h3> <p>Some credit cards are affiliated with specific frequent flyer mile programs, while others earn you universal points redeemable for multiple airlines or different types of travel reservations, including hotels and car rentals. These can be very flexible with lucrative options, but you need to pay attention to the value per mile. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Top 5 Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>).</p> <h3>3. Cash Back</h3> <p>Earning <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">cash back on your purchases</a> each month obviously affords you the most flexibility (but it's kind of boring). Generally, you earn an average of 2% cash back on purchases, with some cards giving you varying amounts depending on the type of purchase.</p> <h3>4. Groceries</h3> <p>Most grocery rewards are hybrids of cash back cards. Some are very store specific (the more store-specific the card, the less useful it is). Grocery rewards are often dependent on how and where you shop, and in some cases you only get cash back from specific purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=seealso">5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a>).</p> <h3>5. Restaurants</h3> <p>Having a restaurant credit card is not an excuse to dine out! Some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">credit cards affording restaurant perks</a> are again hybrids of cash back cards, with bonuses varying depending on the purchase. Although you might consider having a dining-affiliated credit card just for when you dine out, you might be paying for a privilege that doesn't even cover your annual fee.</p> <h3>6. Gas</h3> <p>Gas rewards are usually either expressed as a percentage savings on your total gas purchases, or a fixed savings rate per gallon. Beware: between annual fees, and having to drive farther (a cost of both time and money) to gas stations that service your card, you might actually spend more than you're saving. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=seealso">5 Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards</a>).</p> <h3>7. Blenders</h3> <p>&quot;Blenders&quot; is a euphemism for products that many reward credit cards offer. Although it might seem appealing to trade in your points for that blender or television or movie passes, more often than not you're getting stung. Why on earth would you use your points for an iPod Touch valued at $359 when you could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow">use the same points for airfare totaling $1,500</a>?</p> <h2>Determining the Value of Credit Card Rewards</h2> <p>Credit card rewards have both financial and intangible values; as with so many things, a clear answer is rarely easy to find.</p> <h3>Financial Value</h3> <p>A good <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximize-the-value-of-your-airline-miles-and-points">baseline to aim for is two cents in value</a> for every dollar you spend on the card. And since many cards earn you one point per dollar spent, it's a fairly easy calculation &mdash; at first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow?ref=seealso">Credit Card Rewards Tips That People Don't Follow</a>)</p> <p>One way to calculate the value of credit card rewards is to divide the retail cost of the underlying reward by the number of points required to get the reward. For example, if it costs you 71,000 points for a product retailing at $360, you're getting half a cent worth of value per mile &mdash; <em>bad value</em>.</p> <p>But this is also a crude way of calculating the value of points; it doesn't take into account sign-up bonuses, credit card annual fees, and other factors that skew your cost to attain each mile; not to mention the taxes and redemption fees that increase the cost of the reward itself.</p> <p>Thus, we turn to the intangible redemption values.</p> <h3>Intangible Value</h3> <p>What's important to you? What do you need? And what might be a special treat that you couldn't otherwise afford?</p> <p>These are all intangible factors that might go into your own perceived value of your points.</p> <p>For example with frequent flyer miles, you usually get the best value in redeeming them for long-haul travel. Most often better value yet comes with a business class fare. Even if this isn't quite the case, I'm prepared to spend a few more miles to fly in business class, a luxury I wouldn't pay for if I had to fork out the cash, but one I really appreciate when lounging in style at the front of the plane.</p> <h3>Remember the Key Factors of Reward Value</h3> <p>Remember the following factors when determining the value (financial and intangible) of your credit card rewards:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Annual credit card fees;</p> </li> <li> <p>Taxes and other fees paid to gain your reward benefit;</p> </li> <li> <p>Flexibility of your points and how they can be used.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Most importantly, to gain any value from credit card rewards, you must pay off your balances in full each month. Not doing so results in interest charges, which immediately reduce the value of any rewards, defeating the entire purpose of this exercise.</p> <h2>The Stupidest Thing to Waste Credit Card Rewards On</h2> <p>Although products (don't get the blender!) are usually the worst things to spend your credit card rewards on, there is an even bigger offender that depletes the value of your miles completely: Nothing. If you don't use your miles for anything, then there's no point in having a rewards credit card in the first place.</p> <p>Have a plan for what you want to use your points for, stick to that goal (don't get sidetracked by the blender!), and spend those points. Waiting for a rainy day can backfire on you, as points can be devalued or policies can change.</p> <p><em>How do you prefer to use your credit card rewards? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-your-credit-card-rewards-on-one-of-these-stupid-things">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit card rewards reward programs rewards ripoffs Wed, 12 Mar 2014 10:37:00 +0000 Nora Dunn 1129553 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Smartphone Apps That Manage and Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/3-smartphone-apps-that-manage-and-maximize-your-credit-card-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-smartphone-apps-that-manage-and-maximize-your-credit-card-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping-5117081-small.jpg" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm not a natural when it comes to technology. But in spite of that, I'm totally fascinated when technology and credit cards are brought together.</p> <p>Most recently, I've enjoyed tracking the progress being made with smartphone apps and credit card rewards. Keeping track of rewards is a major issue for a lot of folks. A 2011 study by COLLOQUY showed that Americans waste about a third of the rewards they earn. You want to know how much is wasted? A whopping $16 billion, give or take a few dollars. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-best-mobile-shopping-apps-for-your-phone">16 Best Mobile Shopping Apps for Your Phone</a>)</p> <p>I know it's easy to get confused about your rewards. There are some great sites out there to help you keep track of your credit card rewards, such as <a href="http://awardwallet.com/">AwardWallet</a> and <a href="https://www.points.com/">Points.com</a>.</p> <p>But here's the cool thing about smartphone apps for rewards. The apps, in general, aren't about counting your miles, points, or cash back. No, these apps want to play a bigger role than that.</p> <p>There are several players in the space, but there are three that I've kept up with over the past year. I've watched how these apps are evolving and changing with consumer needs.</p> <p>There are two things that are common to all three. They're free, which always gets my attention. And these apps all have bank-level security.</p> <h2>Reward Summit</h2> <p>This <a href="http://rewardsummit.com/">website has nice visuals and lots of white space</a>. Remember I said I'm not a natural with technology? For people like me, visual help is essential. I'll bet many of you can just download an app and figure it out on your own. I'd love to have that skill!</p> <p>OK, let's get to the details. This app tells you the best credit card to use for a given purchase based on your location and the rewards program. You don't have to share your credit card account numbers with the app. You just identify the cards you use.</p> <p>Since Rewards Summit keeps up-to-date information about credit card rewards, the app can recommend the best choice based on your location and purchase.</p> <p>The app even converts points into a dollar value so you can quantify the rewards you're getting from a specific credit card. It also shows you how much you could've earned if you had used a different credit card. And if you link your accounts through Intuit, the app will also recommend new credit cards based on your actual usage patterns over time.</p> <p>This app is available for both iPhone and Android phones.</p> <h2>Glyph</h2> <p>With <a href="https://www.paywithglyph.com/">Glyph</a>, you have the option to give your personal banking and credit card information, or you can simply choose a standard profile.</p> <p>If you feel comfortable handing over your banking information, you can take advantage of more features. Glyph looks at your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/building-a-credit-history">financial history</a> and offers recommendations for which credit card to use to get the best rewards when you make a purchase.</p> <p>But the recommendation considers a lot of factors: rewards, interest, fees, merchant surcharges, offers, your balance on each card, and how your credit score could be affected. I don't think I've seen another smartphone app consider how your credit score could be impacted.</p> <p>If you're <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-own-identity-what-to-do-when-yours-is-stolen">uncomfortable handing over your personal financial information</a>, you can use Glyph a different way. You can choose a standard profile (for example, young family or college grad) and get credit card recommendations based on that. It's nice to have a choice.</p> <p>At the moment, Glyph is available only for the iPhone. But I've been told that an Android version is in the works.</p> <h2>Smorecard</h2> <p>Don't you just love the name of this card? &quot;<a href="http://smorecard.com/">Smorecard</a>.&quot; I think it's brilliant marketing.</p> <p>With this app, you don't need to give your credit card account information. You just select the credit cards that you currently have. There's a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-iphone-can-save-you-money">GPS system</a> and the app picks the best credit card to use based on your location. If more than one of your credit cards is an option, you'll see the reward value for each card.</p> <p>You can use this app the way I just described or you can customize your credit card profile. If you do this, the app will consider (or not consider) intro offers and special reward opportunities.</p> <p>This app is available for both iPhone and Android phones.</p> <p>By the way, make sure you don't rely on these apps to choose new credit cards for you. It's great to get suggestions, but always do the research yourself before applying for a new credit card. Think of these apps as tools to help you choose a card when making a purchase, but not as a substitute for research if you're in the market for a new card.</p> <p>I'd love to hear about your experiences either with one of the apps I've mentioned or with an entirely different one. There are other apps out there that are also worth looking at. It's a rapidly growing niche, so look for abundant options in the future.</p> <p><em>Have you used a credit card rewards app?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beverly-harzog">Beverly Harzog</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smartphone-apps-that-manage-and-maximize-your-credit-card-rewards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit card rewards credit cards rewards Wed, 31 Jul 2013 10:36:39 +0000 Beverly Harzog 980927 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-with-cash.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people prefer cash back rewards to other credit card perks such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards?ref=internal">frequent flyer miles</a>. Cash has the advantage of being simple to understand and universally accepted. Unlike points and miles, cash can earn interest when unused and are not subject to the constantly changing terms and conditions of corporate loyalty programs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <p>My family is a perfect example of how you can use credit cards to receive cash back. Using our cards for day-to-day purchases, we may spend as much as $2,500 with them each month. When we are not looking for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">travel rewards</a>, we use a card that returns 2% on all purchases in order to earn an additional $50 a month in cash back. That equals a return of <strong>$600 each year</strong> that we can add to our discretionary spending or apply to our savings.</p> <p>Just one word of caution &mdash; cash back credit cards should only be used by people who can pay their credit card balances in full and on time. To do otherwise virtually ensures that you will owe more in interest and penalties than you will ever receive as cash back.</p> <h2>The Top 5 Credit Cards Featuring Cash Back Rewards</h2> <p>Once you have decided to earn credit card rewards in the form of cash back, you should definitely consider one of these top 5 cash back rewards cards.</p> <!--featured pick--><!--featured pick--><div style="background:lightgoldenrodyellow;padding:10px;margin-bottom:10px;"> <h2>Discover it</h2> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1022&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img width="154" height="98" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/210678/601513.png" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" alt="" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1022&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Discover it</a> offers 5% Cashback Bonus for gas and ground transportation on up to $1500 in purchases from Jan. through Mar. 2015 after you sign up for 5% Cashback Bonus, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. If you shop through their online portal, you can get 5-20% cash back at 200+ online retailers like Apple, Macy's and Best Buy. Besides being a great cash rewards credit card, it also offers protection from higher APRs due to late payments and you get a free FICO&reg; Credit Score on your monthly statement, online, and in their mobile app so you can keep track of your credit. <strong>There is no annual fee.</strong></p> <p>As a sign-up bonus, you can get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months &mdash; then a variable purchase APR applies (currently 10.99% - 22.99%). A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.</p> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1022&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to apply for the Discover it Card</strong></a></p> </div> <!--/featured pick--><!--/featured pick--><h2>Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express</h2> <p><a title="Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express" alt="Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050771&amp;fot=1022&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=530403" target="_blank"><img border="0" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/87/530403.gif" /></a>The <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050771&amp;fot=1022&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card</a> offers 3% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. <strong>There is no annual fee.</strong></p> <p>As a sign-up offer, you get $100 back (in the form of statement credit) after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months. You also get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99%-21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</p> <ul> <li>Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.</li> <li>Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.</li> <li>Earn Cash Back: 3% U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% U.S. gas stations &amp; select U.S. dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.</li> <li>Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</li> <li>No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</li> <li>Terms and restrictions apply.</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050771&amp;fot=1022&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express</h2> <p><a title="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" alt="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1022&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=536602" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/165588/536602.gif" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" alt="" /></a>You can get more cash rewards if you're willing to pay the $75 annual fee for the <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1022&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card</a>. Get 6% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 3% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</p> <p>As a sign-up offer, you can get $150 back in the form of statement credit after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new card in the first three months. You also get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99%-21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</p> <ul> <li>Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.</li> <li>Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.</li> <li>Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% U.S. gas stations &amp; select U.S. dept stores, 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.</li> <li>Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</li> <li>0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</li> <li>Terms and limitations apply.</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1022&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-12003694?sid=steele-1260193" target="_top"><img width="154" height="98" border="0" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiDoubleCash.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" /></a>The <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-12003694?sid=steele-1260193" target="_top">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" src="http://www.lduhtrp.net/image-2822544-12003694" /> stands out from other credit cards offering cash back rewards in that you earn cash back not once, but twice on every purchase. You get 1% cash back when you buy, plus another 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases. No need to wait until you pay off a purchase to earn the additional cash back &mdash; you'll get it whether you can pay in full or over time, as long as you pay at least the minimum amount due.</p> <p>Unlike many other cards, the Double Cash card has no category restrictions, no enrollments in rotating categories, and no limits on the amount of cash back that you earn. <strong>There's no annual fee, either.</strong></p> <ul> <li>0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness*</li> <li>There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater</li> <li>The only card that earns you cash back twice on every purchase with:</li> <li>1% cash back when you buy</li> <li>Plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time*</li> <li>No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories</li> <li>No Annual Fee</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-12003694?sid=steele-1260193" target="_top"><strong>Click here to apply for the Citi&reg; Double Cash Card today!</strong></a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" src="http://www.lduhtrp.net/image-2822544-12003694" /></p> <h2>Upromise World MasterCard&reg;</h2> <p>Upromise World MasterCard&reg; offers several ways to earn cash back. Get 5% cash back on eligible online shopping through their portal, 4% at thousands of participating Upromise Dining Restaurants, up to 3% cash back on eligible gas purchases from Exxon or Mobil, 2% cash back at movie theaters, and 1% on everything else. There are no caps. You also have various options on cashing out your rewards -- contributing to a Upromise 529 College Savings plan, depositing to a Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings Account, making a payment towards a Sallie Mae services loan, or redeeming a check. There is no annual fee.</p> <p>As a sign-up bonus, you can get $25 cash back with your first purchase, and a 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months.</p> <h2>Capital One&reg; Quicksilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards?ref=789703" rel="nofollow"><img align="right" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/219963/598864.png" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" /></a>Don't want to bother with rotating quarterly categories? The <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards?ref=789703" rel="nofollow">Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card</a> will get you 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There is no limit to the amount of cash you can earn, and no minimums to redeem the cash back. The cash back doesn't expire, either! You can get cash back in the form of an account credit, check, or gift card. There is no annual fee.</p> <p>There is currently a sign up offer of $100 bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months. There is also a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers until December 2015. (After the intro period, there is a 12.9%-22.9% variable APR, and a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred.) This card comes with the Capital One&reg; Credit Tracker, which allows you to easily monitor your monthly credit score anytime, anywhere &mdash; for free!</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards?ref=789703" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the Capital One&reg; Quicksilver&reg; Cash Rewards Card</strong></a></p> <p>Within the credit card industry, the term &ldquo;deadbeat&rdquo; is used as slang to describe customers who always pay their balances in full and on time. These customers don&rsquo;t provide the banks with any profits from interest payments or late fees, but they are still valued customers due to the merchant fees their spending generates and their impeccable payment history. If you are a proud member of this group, and you have no interest in travel rewards, you should be using one of these cards that offer the maximum cash back for your spending.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/personal-finance/credit-cards"><strong>Back to the Credit Card Guide</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smartphone-apps-that-manage-and-maximize-your-credit-card-rewards">3 Smartphone Apps That Manage and Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards cash back rewards credit card rewards credit cards Fri, 14 Jun 2013 11:48:20 +0000 Jason Steele 789703 at http://www.wisebread.com The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grocery-credit-card-483096459-small_0.jpg" alt="grocery credit card" title="grocery credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last year my credit card, with which I had earned 5% back on groceries and gas since 2007, suddenly changed. They switched to some sort of rotating-category-that-earns-more-points system that I didn't particularly care for. Every few months, I have to opt in all over again to take advantage of whatever category they're giving the most points for that month. Even though I do my best to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/perform-a-credit-card-rewards-annual-review?ref=internal" title="Perform a Credit Card Rewards Annual Review">keep up with credit card rewards</a>, I don't take credit card reward hacking to the extreme. I'd prefer not to have to carry around 10 cards in my wallet.</p> <p>Nevertheless, I do prefer to get the most points in categories that I actually spend a lot of money on. After our mortgage, the highest percentage of our monthly expenses comes in the form of groceries. We prefer organic and local food, which can be pricey. So, I set out to determine which credit cards actually give the highest percentage back on groceries. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=seealso" title="Best 5 Travel Reward Credit Cards">Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express</h3> <p><a title="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" alt="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1110&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=536598" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/165588/536598.gif" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>The <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1110&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card</a> offers a whopping 6% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases). Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. It does have an <strong>annual fee</strong> of $75, but if you have a big grocery budget, the rewards would be more than enough to cover this yearly cost.</p> <ul> <li>Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.</li> <li>Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.</li> <li>Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations &amp; select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.</li> <li>Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</li> <li>0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</li> <li>Terms and limitations apply.</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1110&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h3>Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050771&amp;fot=1110&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow" alt="Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express" title="Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express"><img border="0" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/87/530403.gif" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>If the idea of paying an annual fee for a credit card is unappealing, try the no-annual-fee <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050771&amp;fot=1110&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card</a>, which gets you 3% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases). Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</p> <ul> <li>Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.</li> <li>Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.</li> <li>Earn Cash Back: 3% U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% U.S. gas stations &amp; select U.S. dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.</li> <li>Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.</li> <li>No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.</li> <li>Terms and restrictions apply.</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050771&amp;fot=1110&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h3>Target REDcard&reg;</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://goto.target.com/c/27771/173676/2092" rel="nofollow"><img width="154" height="112" src="http://adn.impactradius.com/display-ad/2092-173676" alt="Target" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>If you shop at a SuperTarget for groceries, the <a target="_blank" href="http://goto.target.com/c/27771/173676/2092" rel="nofollow">Target RedCard</a> gives you 5% off at everything you purchase at the register. This isn't just a grocery rewards credit card; the cardholder will receive the same discount on all Target purchases (including at Target.com where you get free shipping). Unfortunately, this card has no affiliation with any credit card payment network such as Visa or MasterCard, so you can&rsquo;t use it outside of Target stores.</p> <ul> <li>5% off everything at Target</li> <li>Free shipping at Target.com</li> <li>$0 annual fee</li> <li>1% of your REDcard purchases get donated to your choice of eligible K-12 schools</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://goto.target.com/c/27771/173676/2092" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the Target REDcard&reg; today!</strong></a></p> <h3>Barclaycard&reg; Rewards MasterCard&reg;</h3> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=16840688&amp;fot=1110&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><img width="154" height="98" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/209832/602806.png" alt="Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a> The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard&reg; is a simple, straightforward rewards credit card that gets you 2x points on groceries, gas, and utilities.</p> <ul> <li>Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, grocery, and utility purchases</li> <li>1 point per $1 everywhere else</li> <li>No annual fee</li> <li>Use your points like cash to pay for any purchase you've made</li> <li>No redemption fees, no limit on the points you can earn and no complicated set up</li> </ul> <p><strong><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=16840688&amp;fot=1110&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Click here for more details on the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard</a></strong></p> <h3>BankAmericard Cash Rewards</h3> <ul> <li><strong>Sign up offer:&nbsp;</strong>$100 cash rewards bonus for making $500 in purchases in the first 90 days</li> <li>2% cash back at grocery stores</li> <li>3% cash back on gas</li> <li>1% cash back on everything else</li> <li>$0 annual fee</li> <li>Get 10% bonus if you redeem rewards directly into your Bank of America checking or savings account (instead of a statement credit)</li> </ul> <p>There is a $1500 per quarter limit on the 2% and 3% grocery stores and gas rewards ($1500 combined purchases between the two). However, if you are already a Bank of America card holder, the extra 10% bonus is attractive. Cardholders can receive their cash-back rewards as a direct deposit in any <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates?ref=internal">checking or savings account</a>, as a statement credit, or even as a payment towards a mortgage held by Bank of America.</p> <h3>U.S. Bank Cash+&trade; Visa Signature&reg; Card</h3> <ul> <li>Choose and change your 5% and 2% cash back categories every quarter</li> <li>5% cash back on your first $2,000 each quarter (combined) on two categories of your choice</li> <li>2% cash back on your choice of one category</li> <li>Earn $25 Cash+&nbsp;Bonus when you redeem $100 or more in a single redemption (limit 1 per year)</li> </ul> <p>This card offers flexibility in your &quot;bonus&quot; categories which other cards don't offer, so it's a great card for those who can't find a card that offers bonus categories that are useful.&nbsp;</p> <h3>The Best Credit Card Offer for You</h3> <p>If you like <a title="Credit Card Guide" href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-guide">credit card rewards programs</a>, but have recently been unhappy with changes to your card, it may be time to consider a new one. The best way to choose a cash-back rewards card is to simply look at what your biggest category of spending is each month, and find a card that gives you the most cash back on that category. For me, this category was groceries.</p> <p><em>What's your biggest category of spending each month? Do you earn extra credit card points for those cards?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-up-to-8-cash-back-shopping-at-whole-foods-limited-time-deal">Get Up To 8% Cash Back Shopping at Whole Foods (Limited Time Deal!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Food and Drink Shopping cash back credit card rewards groceries supermarkets Fri, 19 Apr 2013 10:00:00 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 784541 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couples-vacation-beach.jpg" alt="Couple on the beach" title="Couple on the beach" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are few things as alluring as the promise of free travel to exotic destinations. The banks know this, and have long offered travel rewards to their customers for using their credit cards. In turn, savvy credit card users have learned how to exploit these offers to travel in comfort and style well beyond their means. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Recently, I was explaining this to an European executive sitting next to me in Lufthansa&rsquo;s Airbus A380 business class while returning home from a vacation in Italy. I told him that my family and I could not possibly have paid for our three $7,000 tickets for this flight. But thanks to my travel rewards credit cards, my journey was all but free after some taxes and fees. Through careful selection and use of rewards, these kinds of trips have become an annual occurrence for my family. While there are innumerable ideas, tips, and tricks to be gleaned from endless hours of research, my mission is to do the work for you and deliver only the most valuable advice to busy people who lack the time and patience to discover and decipher these deals.</p> <h2>Choosing The 5 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</h2> <p>It would be nice to pick the best travel reward cards in a purely empirical manner, the way one would choose a card with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">lowest interest rate</a>. Unfortunately, each travel rewards card offers a unique mix of benefits and drawbacks, and rarely is one card ideally suited for everyone's travel aspirations. I have read thousands of blog and forum posts, written hundreds of credit card reviews, and personally held dozens of different travel rewards cards over the last twenty years. In the end, I judge these cards based on three criteria:</p> <ul> <li><b>Value: </b>The return in cents per dollar spent</li> <li><b>Flexibility:</b> Cards that offer the most opportunities for redemptions -- no blackout dates, a variety of partners, etc.</li> <li><b>Costs And Fees:</b> If fees are justified by its rewards and benefits</li> </ul> <p>Of all the travel rewards cards currently offered, these are the five I find most rewarding.</p> <!--<h2>Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite Mastercard&reg;</h2> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=1" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'cardimage', 'citplaselaadmc']);" target="_blank"><img width="154" height="98" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/217189/586975.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>The Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite Mastercard&reg; offers a big sign up bonus, plus double miles on <em>all</em> purchases. Also, get 10% miles back when redeeming travel statement credits. The annual fee of $89 is waived the first year.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Sign up offer:&nbsp;</strong>Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit</li> <li><strong>Sign up offer:&nbsp;</strong>0% intro APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.</li> <li>Earn 2X miles on all purchases - Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing</li> <li>Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home</li> <li>Redeem your miles for travel statement credits - redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25 toward travel purchases made in the last 120 days</li> <li>Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits</li> <li>No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country</li> <li>Complimentary online FICO&reg; Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=1"><strong>Click here to apply for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite Mastercard&reg; today!</strong></a></p>--><!--<h2>Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite Mastercard&reg;</h2> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=1" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'cardimage', 'citplaselaadmc']);" target="_blank"><img width="154" height="98" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/217189/586975.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>The Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite Mastercard&reg; offers a big sign up bonus, plus double miles on <em>all</em> purchases. Also, get 10% miles back when redeeming travel statement credits. The annual fee of $89 is waived the first year.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Sign up offer:&nbsp;</strong>Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit</li> <li><strong>Sign up offer:&nbsp;</strong>0% intro APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.</li> <li>Earn 2X miles on all purchases - Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing</li> <li>Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home</li> <li>Redeem your miles for travel statement credits - redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25 toward travel purchases made in the last 120 days</li> <li>Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits</li> <li>No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country</li> <li>Complimentary online FICO&reg; Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=1"><strong>Click here to apply for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite Mastercard&reg; today!</strong></a></p>--><h2>Discover it&reg; Miles</h2> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26073410&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=1" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'cardimage', 'discoveritmiles']);" target="_blank"><img width="154" height="98" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/220435/604050.png" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>A new travel rewards card from Discover whih offers good rewards and flexibility in redemption. You earn 3x miles for each dollar you spend on any purchase for the first year, then it's 1.5x miles. Miles can then be redeemed for statement credit on travel expenses, or deposited as cash into an account you designate. Unlike other travel rewards cards, you can book and travel whenever and with whoever you like, and use Miles to pay for those expenses. You're not limited to a specific airline or hotel, and you don't have to deal with blackout dates and limited award seats. The downsides of this card are that Discover is not as widely accepted. There is no foreign transaction fee, and there is no annual fee.</p> <ul> <li>No annual fee.</li> <li>Unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar you spend on purchases.*</li> <li>Exclusive Double Miles Offer: At the end of your first year &mdash; when other travel rewards cards charge an annual fee &mdash; Discover doubles all the Miles you've earned.</li> <li>100 Miles = $1 value. Redeem Miles in any amount toward travel purchases on your statement. Or get cash as a direct deposit to your bank account.</li> <li>Discover pays you back for your in-flight Wi-Fi fees &mdash; up to $30 a year &mdash; with an automatic statement credit.</li> <li>Free FICO Credit Score on your monthly statements, on mobile app and online.*</li> <li>100% U.S. based service at your dedicated phone number -- day and night</li> <li>*See rates, rewards, free FICO Credit Score terms and other info. See complete Discover it Miles details.</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26073410&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=1"><strong>Click here to apply for the Discover it&reg; Miles today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg; Card</h2> <p>Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders are able to transfer their points to Chase travel partners at full value - 1,000 Chase points equal 1,000 partner miles/points. For most cards, some value gets lost during the transfer. Get double points for dining and travel transactions, and get 20% off travel booked through Chase&rsquo;s site. That means that their points are worth 1.25 cents for travel booked through their site.</p> <ul> <li>Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards SM</li> <li>Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening</li> <li>2X points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other puchases</li> <li>No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel</li> <li>1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points</li> <li>24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists</li> <li>Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h2>Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express</h2> <p><a title="Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express" alt="Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050761&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=531849" target="_blank"><img border="0" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/70/531849.gif" /></a>Don't mistake the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050761&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card</a> for simply a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">co-branded hotel credit card</a>. The great thing about this card that earns you Starwood Points is that you can not only redeem them for hotel stays, but transfer them to airline programs for flight awards through American Express Membership Rewards. You also get discounted travel if you purchase or redeem tarvel through their travel portal.</p> <ul> <li>Earn up to 25,000 bonus Starpoints&reg;</li> <li>Earn 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase on the Card and an additional 15,000 Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months.</li> <li>Redeem Starpoints for free nights at over 1,100 hotels &amp; resorts in nearly 100 countries and for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights - all with no blackout dates.</li> <li>Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.</li> <li>Starpoints stay active as long as you continue to spend on your Card.</li> <li>$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65.</li> <li>Terms and Restrictions apply.</li> </ul> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050761&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=1" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards?ref=775181" rel="nofollow" alt="Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card" title="Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card"><img border="0" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/161204/602905.png" alt="" /></a>This innovative card offers two miles per dollar spent on all purchases, plus it's got an attractive bonus offer right now.</p> <ul> <li>Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel</li> <li>Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day</li> <li>Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime</li> <li>Travel when you want - no blackout dates</li> <li>Miles don't expire and there's no limit to how many you can earn</li> <li>No foreign transaction fees</li> <li>No annual fee for the first year; $59 after that</li> <li>100% free Capital One&reg; Credit Tracker &mdash; see your monthly credit score anytime and get automatic alerts</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards?ref=775181" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card</strong></a></p> <h2>American Express&reg; Premier Rewards Gold Card</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050774&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=514522" rel="nofollow" alt="American Express&reg; Premier Rewards Gold Card" title="American Express&reg; Premier Rewards Gold Card"><img border="0" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/4564/514522.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" /></a>American Express Membership Rewards allow its card members to transfer points to their selection of frequent traveler programs, adding more value to their reward points. Members can also use points for rewards from over 500 leading brands in travel, gift cards, merchandise, or entertainment. The <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050774&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Premier Rewards Gold Card</a> offers 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets, and 1X points on other purchases.</p> <p><strong>Sign up offer</strong>: Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards&reg; points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. The <strong>annual fee</strong> of $175 is waived for the first year.</p> <ul> <li>Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards&reg; points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.</li> <li>3X points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases.</li> <li>With the Membership Rewards&reg; program, you can use points for rewards from over 500 leading brands in travel, gift cards, merchandise, or entertainment.</li> <li>You can also transfer points to our selection of frequent traveler programs.</li> <li>$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175.</li> <li>Terms and Restrictions Apply.</li> </ul> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050774&amp;fot=1021&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to apply for the American Express&reg; Premier Rewards Gold Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Citi&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg;</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-12082091?sid=jsteele-775181" target="_top"><img width="154" height="98" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiAAdvantagePlatinumSelectMasterCard.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>For travelers who are fans of American Airlines, this card offers some nice rewards and perks. With their generous sign up bonus and travel benefits like Group 1 boarding, this card is worthy of a place in any frequent traveler's wallet.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Sign up offer: </strong>For a limited time, earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage&reg; bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening</li> <li>Your first eligible checked bag is free</li> <li>Group 1 boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases</li> <li>Double AAdvantage&reg; miles on eligible American Airlines purchases</li> <li>Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage&reg; miles back &ndash; up to 10,000 AAdvantage&reg; miles each calendar year</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-12082091?sid=jsteele-775181" target="_top"><strong>Click here to apply for theCiti&reg; / AAdvantage&reg; Platinum Select&reg; MasterCard&reg; today!</strong></a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" src="http://www.awltovhc.com/image-2822544-12082091" /></p> <h2>Conclusions</h2> <p>No discussion of rewards credit cards is complete without the warning that these products are only best for those who always pay their balances in full and never incur interest. Everyone else should use the card with the lowest APR. That said, if you do pay your balance off every month, and you love to travel, then you have much to gain by applying for and using one of these top travel rewards cards. Join me in the exciting world of those who regularly travel for free.</p> <p><em>My wife and daughter on one of our trips earned through travel rewards cards</em>:</p> <p><img width="605" height="405" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/my-family-on-vacation.jpg" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-guide"><strong>Back to the Credit Card Guide</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow">7 Credit Card Reward Tips Many People Don&#039;t Follow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel credit card rewards travel rewards Fri, 05 Apr 2013 09:48:24 +0000 Jason Steele 775181 at http://www.wisebread.com Stupid Credit Card Tricks: How Your Credit Card Company Lies to You http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-credit-card-tricks-how-your-credit-card-company-lies-to-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stupid-credit-card-tricks-how-your-credit-card-company-lies-to-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6902180872_56da9287f1_z.jpg" alt="credit card offer" title="credit card offer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It didn't exactly make headlines outside of personal credit and finance websites, but <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/24/pf/discover-penalty-telemarketing/index.html">Discover announced</a> last week that it would pay out millions in refunds to customers who claim that they were deceived by telemarketers. The scandal in question involved customers signing up for payment protection and credit monitoring services they didn't actually want because the telemarketers spoke too quickly. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit in tandem with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Discover settled the suit to the tune of $200 million in refunds paid to 3.5 million customers and $14 million in fines.</p> <p>Whether or not Discover was willfully committing fraud is sort of beside the point. What is important is that there is a current of deceptive and quasi-legal system-gaming processes designed to maximize profits in the financial sector at the expense of consumers. This is just business as usual, and for every story about Discover getting caught red handed, there are probably hundreds of stories of companies not getting caught deceiving customers. While some deceptions might be more obvious than others, most fall under the rubric of &quot;read the fine print closely.&quot; Of course, this only helps if you actually know what it is that you're looking for. I've put together this handy list that no one should apply for a credit card without having read. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-we-spend-more-when-we-pay-with-credit-cards">Why We Spend More When We Pay With Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Zero Percent APR</h2> <p>This is a favorite of credit card companies looking for new customers. It's especially attractive when it includes <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=inarticle" title="the best balance transfer credit cards">balance transfers</a>, as it allows you to move your debt from a high-interest card to a no-interest card.</p> <p><strong>The Catch:</strong> The intro APR is legit, but it has an expiration date. Cinderella's carriage turns into a pumpkin when the ball is over, and you get hit with all the back interest charges that would have accrued over the course of a year. This can run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on how much debt you have on the card.</p> <h2>No Annual Fee</h2> <p>A lot of rewards cards require that you pay an annual fee for the privilege of taking advantage of their programs. In many cases, the annual fee can totally be worth it. If you're going to save $500 over the course of a year, it's not a bad idea to pay $100 up front. A lot of credit companies will waive these fees, especially for the first year. But unsurprisingly, there's a catch.</p> <p><strong>The Catch:</strong> This could be an entire article in and of itself. The biggest reason that no annual fee is a scam, though? A lot of times it comes with terms and conditions a mile long. Fail to meet these terms and conditions, and you're going to be paying that annual fee, despite the fact that you got a letter in mail saying that you wouldn't have to.</p> <h2>&quot;Rewards&quot;</h2> <p>It used to be that you used credit cards for emergencies or for purchases you couldn't afford at the time but couldn't get bank financing for. Nowadays, people pay for all kinds of things on their credit cards to accrue points. This is dangerous if you can't pay off the entire balance at the end of the month. However, even if you can do that, there might be a catch.</p> <p><strong>The Catch:</strong> A lot of times the rewards points aren't worth anything. What I mean by this is that if you never buy pumpkin seeds (for example), it doesn't matter how many rewards points you have if they can only be used for pumpkin seeds. Always read what you can purchase with your rewards points before you start racking them up. Further, if you're using rewards points for travel, look into the blackout dates and restrictions before you get too excited. Finally, note that many credit card rewards programs have expiration dates.</p> <h2>Cash Back</h2> <p>People hate paying bills, and credit card bills are probably the least favorite bill going. So what better way to entice customers to use your credit cards than by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-earn-cashback-rewards-without-extra-spending">offering them cash back</a>? But you're going to be totally unsurprised that there's a lot more smoke than fire here.</p> <p><strong>The Catch:</strong> The devil is, of course, in the details. You might only get cash back on a certain amount. Or the percentage of cash back that you can get fluctuates. Or you might be required to spend a certain amount and keep a balance for a certain period of time to be able to collect on the cash back. No matter what the case is, remember that credit card companies are in the business of making money off of the money that you spend. They're not just going to give you cash because they think you're a nice guy.</p> <h2>Repayment Hierarchies</h2> <p>You have a high-interest card carrying a high balance. In an attempt to make your finances healthier, you get a zero-interest credit card and transfer the balance over. You have a plan to pay down the debt within a year to ensure that you aren't going to incur the massive interest rates and fees that come along with not paying off the card within the year. But the unexpected happens, and you need to make new charges on the card.</p> <p><strong>The Catch:</strong> Your plan to pay down your debt has just been thrown into total disarray, thanks to a little something known as repayment hierarchies. Put simply, this means that you pay down different debts in different ways. If your credit card has different interest rates for balance transfers and purchases, guess which one you pay down first? The one with the lower interest rate. This is so your credit card company can maximize the amount of money it is getting from you via interest.</p> <h2>Caveat Emptor</h2> <p>There are few places where caveat emptor (&quot;let the buyer beware&quot;) are more applicable than with credit cards. Read the fine print, but also <em>understand</em> the fine print and its long-term consequences. This will keep you from turning advantage to adversity and help you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today">get out of debt</a>, not accrue more.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nicholas-pell">Nicholas Pell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-credit-card-tricks-how-your-credit-card-company-lies-to-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit card rewards fraud frugal tricks Wed, 31 Oct 2012 10:36:34 +0000 Nicholas Pell 954803 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Myths About Credit Card Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-credit-card-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-myths-about-credit-card-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-couple-with-shopping-bags-and-credit-card-iStock_000019095990Small.jpg" alt="Young couple shopping online with credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I first started writing about credit cards in 2007, I was surprised by the demand for information about this subject. Credit cards are incredibly popular, yet there are relatively few unbiased voices out there compared to the banks' constant siege of marketing propaganda. In the absence of credible sources, an entire mythology has been constructed around credit cards that bears little relation to the truth. And it doesn&rsquo;t help that many of these beliefs concern the credit scores and the secret formulas used to come up with them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>So let&rsquo;s deconstruct these myths a little and shine some light on how your credit cards and credit scores actually work. Here are five common myths about credit card rewards.</p> <h3>1. &ldquo;Applying for a Credit Card Will Hurt My Credit Score.&rdquo;</h3> <p>Since so many people get into trouble with credit cards, many believe that applying for a new card will hurt their credit score. While it is true that credit scores take into account your number of recent applications for credit, applying for a single credit card will not hurt your credit score. In fact, it will probably help your score. Although the exact formula that the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt/credit-scores">Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO)</a> uses to create credit scores is a secret, they do <a href="http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/whatsinyourscore.aspx">disclose what factors they use</a>.</p> <p>&quot;New credit,&quot; a factor that includes the number of recent inquiries does compose 10% of your credit score. Yet even this relatively minor factor is not affected by a single application for new credit. Apply for several new credit cards in a short period of time, and you may see only a small (and temporary) decline due to this factor.</p> <p>At the same time, being granted new credit affects other factors that will help your score. By being extended new credit, you will decrease your debt-to-credit ratio (also known as &quot;debt utlization&quot; or &quot;debt-to-limit ratio&quot;). This is part of the &ldquo;amounts owed&rdquo; factor that makes up 30% of your credit score.</p> <p>So if you find a credit card that is worth applying for, don&rsquo;t let this unfounded myth stop you.</p> <h3>2. &ldquo;Canceling Credit Cards Will Help My Score.&rdquo;</h3> <p>If people mistakenly believe that applying for a credit card is bad for your score, it follows that cancelling your credit cards must improve your score. Actually, it will usually hurt it.</p> <p>Cancelling credit cards will reduce the total amount of credit you have been extended and increase your debt-to-credit ratio. Cancelling credit cards that you have held for some time will also reduce your average length of credit history.</p> <p>So as long as you are not paying an unreasonable annual fee, it is best to keep your existing cards on your credit report.</p> <h3>3. &ldquo;Earning Points and Miles Is Not Worth It.&rdquo;</h3> <p>Everyone who has collected points and miles has found out the hard way that rewards can be over-promised and under-delivered. In response, many have concluded that all these points and miles are just a scam.</p> <p>It is true that airlines have limited availability of awards seats at the lowest mileage levels and hotels are great at hiding blackout dates and capacity restrictions in the fine print of their program terms. Yet the value is still there for those who are willing to look hard enough for it.</p> <p>I can still find business class international award seats if I am flexible and search far in advance.&nbsp;In addition, domestic award seats for last minute flights can be a great value when compared to full-fare, walk-up prices.</p> <p>I also try extra hard to find eligible partner award flights that may not be included in online search results.&nbsp;Most airlines allow you to redeem their miles for flights on a dozen or more of their partners, yet few do a good job of displaying these partner's results when you search for award seats online. Often you have to search the partner's own website and then call the airline to have the award booked over the phone.</p> <p>Finally, there are still <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">several programs that offer awards with no blackout dates or capacity controls</a> such as Starwood Hotels and Southwest Airlines.</p> <h3>4. &ldquo;You Can&rsquo;t Just Apply for a Credit Card to Get the Sign-Up Bonus.&rdquo;</h3> <p>Many people have trouble accepting that banks will offer you something for nothing. But when you apply for a new credit card and accept a sign-up bonus, you are giving the bank an opportunity to earn your business. You are under no moral or legal obligation to renew the card at the end of the year. If you compare the terms and conditions of these cards, you will conclude that the banks understand this and choose whether or not to include incentives for your use and renewal of their card.</p> <p>For example, many cards require that new applicants spend a minimum amount before receiving some or all of the promised bonus. Other cards grant bonuses not just when a card is received, but only upon renewal. The fact is that credit card customers are so profitable for banks, that they are willing offer up plenty of free bait in order to reel in a catch of new customers. </p> <h3>5. &ldquo;I Can Carry a Balance and Still Earn Rewards.&rdquo;</h3> <p>This may be the most dangerous myth of all.&nbsp;Credit card rewards are great, but they should only be earned by those who always pay their balances in full and on time every month.</p> <p>If you carry a balance and think that you are earning rewards, you are forgetting three things:</p> <p>First, you are not getting the lowest interest rate you can, as reward cards will always have a higher interest rate than comparable non-reward cards.</p> <p>Second, the value of the interest paid will be far greater than the rewards that you receive.</p> <p>Finally, earning a reward for spending is the last thing that you should be thinking about when you have credit card debt. If you are carrying credit card debt, you should always find the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=inarticle" title="5 Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards">card with the lowest interest</a> and be working to pay off your debt as soon as possible.</p> <h3>Make Credit Cards Work for You</h3> <p>Credit cards are powerful and complex financial tools, and you shouldn&rsquo;t rely on popular myths when you make decisions about their use. By understanding how these myths are wrong, and using trusted sources to learn the facts, only then can you make your credit cards work for you.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-credit-card-rewards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management credit card rewards Wed, 17 Oct 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Jason Steele 954961 at http://www.wisebread.com Common Money-Saving Mistakes That Can Cost Big Bucks http://www.wisebread.com/common-money-saving-mistakes-that-can-cost-big-bucks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/common-money-saving-mistakes-that-can-cost-big-bucks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7658196436_9cf5155a71_z.jpg" alt="tearing money" title="tearing money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thrifty shoppers are always looking for <a href="http://dealnews.com/editors-choice?eref=wisebread">ways to save money</a> whenever possible, whether by cutting weekly or monthly spending, or by stretching your dollar through sales and coupons. But take heed, because some common efforts to save actually result in wasting money. Changing the way you shop, switching to a different financial service, and more &mdash; all under the guise of saving &mdash; can often be more detrimental than you might think. Instead, think twice and avoid these common pitfalls. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-do-to-save-money-that-end-up-costing-you-more">10 Things You Do to Save Money That End Up Costing You More</a>)</p> <h2>Switching Banks</h2> <p><strong>Why You Think It Saves Money:</strong> &quot;Why am I paying all these bank account fees? I'm going to switch banks for a free checking account and more ATMs.&quot;</p> <p><strong>How You Can Overspend:</strong> Despite last year's fervor for <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneywisewomen/2011/11/04/will-bank-transfer-day-really-change-anything/">Bank Transfer Day</a>, switching banks can be costly. You can easily incur overdraft fees from un-posted or pre-written checks and from transitioning automatic bill payments and direct deposits. New deposit requirements or availability policies can result in low-balance fees while you learn how to maintain &quot;free&quot; checking accounts.</p> <p><strong>Smarter Saving:</strong> Find a bank that offers free checking with no requirements and a ready-made bank &quot;switch kit.&quot; Keep your old checking account open for several months until you are certain all automatic payments and checks have cleared.</p> <h2>Spending for Rewards</h2> <p><strong>Why You Think It Saves Money:</strong> &quot;I get cash back for things I buy anyway, so put it on the credit card.&quot;</p> <p><strong>How You Can Overspend:</strong> According to a <a href="http://www.credit.com/press/statistics/credit-card-statistics.html?">recent Nilson Report</a>, average monthly spending on a non-rewards credit card totaled $465; with rewards, it reached $890. Clearly, it's easy to feel compelled to spend more when you think that you're earning rewards. But be careful, balances carried over can quickly eclipse rewards as you'll have to pay off interest on your principle balance. Personal finance experts warn, also, that mental accounting weakens with credit card spending. You'll likely have a harder time keeping track of what you're charging than if you were paying for everything in cash.</p> <p><strong>Smarter Saving:</strong> Stick to your shopping budget and always pay off credit card balances before their due date. For rotating rewards categories, spend only in those higher-paying categories (for example, 5% on groceries vs. 1% on gas). Search for a reward credit card with no rewards expiration dates and no annual fees.</p> <h2>Sharing Your Max Monthly Payment</h2> <p><strong>Why You Think It Saves Money:</strong> &quot;The salesman will stick to my monthly payment budget if I tell him what it is.&quot;</p> <p><strong>How You Can Overspend:</strong> Rather than offering you the best price for an item (paid for in installments, like a car or loan), salesmen often try to bloat the package cost so that it reaches (or goes slightly over) your max budget. If they know you're willing to spend a certain amount each month, you can bet they won't opt to <i>under</i>sell you.</p> <p><strong>Smarter Saving:</strong> Stay focused on cutting the overall price of your purchase so that you'll end up with a lower monthly payment. Don't let salespeople pack any extras into your plan.</p> <h2>Shopping at Warehouse Clubs</h2> <p><strong>Why You Think It Saves Money:</strong> &quot;Everybody knows that buying bulk results in a lower cost per unit.&quot;</p> <p><strong>How You Can Overspend:</strong> Not every item at a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-or-saving-money-with-a-warehouse-club-membership">warehouse club</a> like Sam's or BJ's Wholesale is a great deal; many are bundled and packaged specifically for the warehouse clubs. So even though you're buying a cellophane-wrapped crateload of regular-size items that appears to be cheaper overall, you may not be saving much per unit in the end. Instead, you've succumbed to an expensive impulse buy that you might not actually use completely.</p> <p><strong>Smarter Saving:</strong> Know your grocery store's regular and sale prices, as well as the package sizes of items you buy in bulk at warehouse clubs. Then, do the math to compare the unit price to confirm savings. Make a list of only those warehouse items that save you money and stick to it.</p> <h2>Outlet Shopping</h2> <p><strong>Why You Think It Saves Money:</strong> &quot;They sell last season's brand names at a lower price.&quot;</p> <p><strong>How You Can Overspend:</strong> Not everything at the outlets is of the same quality you'd find at a full-price department stores. In fact, manufacturers often produce cheaper goods specifically for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-outlet-malls-worth-your-time">outlet stores</a>. Moreover, there are plenty of outlet stores online, and many of them will frequently offer additional promotions that beat the savings of shopping at the traditional, brick and mortar outlets.</p> <p><strong>Smarter Saving:</strong> Be sure to compare outlet prices with department store prices, and learn the differences between designer or brand name items. When considering an item, look at the fit, stitching, fabrication, and embellishments, as this is where manufacturers tend to cut costs on producing outlet goods. At department stores, you'd do well to shop end-of-season clearance sales and can save a bundle with&nbsp;<a href="http://dealcoupon.com/">stacking store coupons</a>.</p> <h2>Using a Prepaid Debit Card</h2> <p><strong>Why You Think It Saves Money:</strong> &quot;My paycheck gets deposited directly onto the card so I can automatically use it and avoid bank fees!&quot;</p> <p><strong>How You Can Overspend:</strong> The ads makes prepaid debit cards sound easy, but don't fall prey to their marketing without understanding the swipe/usage or reload fees. These can end up costing more than a &quot;free&quot; checking account with a debit card.</p> <p><strong>Smarter Saving:</strong> Read the fine print on these offers and be sure to read through the fee chart. You should consider a free checking account with no requirements instead; it will help you learn to budget your money and track spending better.</p> <p>The trick is not to act impulsively when employing new ways to save money. Think carefully about the actual costs of your purchases and savings attempts, especially if &quot;saving&quot; costs you upfront.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealnews">Dealnews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/common-money-saving-mistakes-that-can-cost-big-bucks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/knowing-your-triggers-can-prevent-stupid-spending">Knowing Your Triggers Can Prevent Emotional Spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-switch-banks">How to Switch Banks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/price-adjust-your-big-fat-shopping-safety-net">Price adjust - your big, fat shopping safety net.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-cant-save-if-you-dont-try">You Can’t Save if You Don’t Try</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-buy-and-avoid-buying-in-december">What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in December</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Banking buying in bulk credit card rewards financial mistakes shopping switch banks Mon, 27 Aug 2012 10:24:40 +0000 Dealnews 952371 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Credit Card Reward Tips Many People Don't Follow http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4211839788_5f49a7bc09_z.jpg" alt="credit cards" title="credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As someone who advises a lot of people about credit card rewards, I'm often surprised by what the average person forgets to do when it comes to their rewards credit cards. Here are some helpful tips for making the most of your card rewards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>1. Conduct an Annual or Bi-Annual Award Card Audit</h3> <p>This is the biggest mistake people make. Ten years ago, you might have done some research and found that card XYZ was the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-type-of-rewards-credit-card-is-right-for-you">best card (according to your needs)</a> on the market. The result is that 10 years later, you're still using the same card.</p> <p>Credit card reward earning rates and redemption benefits change. New card offerings can easily make old card offerings obsolete. Recently I was talking with a relative about his use of a certain card, and I realized that by re-evaluating the current card offerings, he would be able to earn an extra $100-$200 per year.</p> <h3>2. Don't Chase After Rewards When Payments Are Costing You More</h3> <p>It's human nature to think that we're smarter than most other people, and it's amazing the number of people who carry a balance on their rewards cards, thinking they are doing something smart because after spending $10,000, they get a $100 reward. The problem is that the $100 award is costing them $1,000 in interest . That simply doesn't make sense.</p> <h3>3. Don't Use a Point Card If the Value Is Less Than a Penny Per Point</h3> <p>Personally, I'm a big fan of<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards"> airline and hotel points</a>. I find that our family can easily get a 2-5 cent value out of each dollar point we spend on different credit cards. However, there are a lot of people who will redeem their points at below even a .05 cent value. That's a bad idea. If you're not going to redeem your points for valuable items, then you should just use a straight cash back card that will at least give you 1-2% on every purchase. If you're earning less than 1% value from your points, it's time to consider a new card.</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: Georgia, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 1.4em; line-height: 2em;">4. Always Know the Most Valuable Use of Your Points or Miles</span></p> <p>Free is good, but more free stuff is better.</p> <p>You can use your points to buy things like an iPod, but here are some other things you could do:</p> <ul> <li>You could transfer your points to British Airways and pay 50,000 points plus about $100 in taxes and fees to fly business class return from Miami to Lima. That trip is pricing out at Orbitz starting at $1,500. &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You could transfer those points to Delta and have enough miles for almost three round-trip tickets anywhere in the US (three tickets would require 75,000 Delta miles). With the average cost of a domestic ticket over $300, that's nearly a $900 value.</li> </ul> <p>That's a bad feeling when you realize you wasted your award points.</p> <p>Don't spend all your time focusing on how you earn your points. Learn how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">maximize using your points</a> as well.</p> <h3>5. Develop a Credit Card Spending Strategy</h3> <p>If you own more than one awards card, do you know which is the best card to use for specific situations?</p> <p>Certain cards offer extra points for gas, office supplies, restaurants, travel, and other specific categories. You must know the best ways to use your cards.</p> <p>Right now I have three cards that I rotate. How, when, and where I use them is determined by the rewards potential by each use. A spending strategy doesn't just consider award benefits, but it also considers other benefits like warranty coverage, rental car benefits, and foreign currency exchange fees.</p> <p>Some cards offer one additional year of extended warranty coverage, so use those to buy electronics. When renting cars, you should give consideration to cards that offer primary rental car insurance. And you don't want to spend a few thousand dollars on your vacation overseas only to find out that if you used a different card you could have saved hundreds of dollars in foreign currency exchange fees. Be sure to use a 0% foreign currency exchange credit card when traveling overseas.</p> <h3>6. Don't Overlook a Reward Card Simply Because It Has an Annual Fee</h3> <p>If you can get a good reward card that doesn't have an annual fee, then that's great. However, I've known people who could earn a lot more points by using a rewards card with an annual fee, but they refuse to do it out of principle, even when the rewards value far outweighs the annual fee cost.</p> <p>Don't pay an annual fee if you're not going to get more awards for doing so. However, I've advised a lot of people to get an award card with an annual fee because they'll actually end up with more rewards value than the cost of the annual fee.</p> <h3>7. Focus on Diversity in Card Brands</h3> <p>IIf you're going to have multiple cards, be sure that they are from different companies, as you'll be able to have the most flexibility to maximize the rewards. Often, the rewards are not just spending bonuses, but cards might offer different discounts the companies will run throughout the year.</p> <p>Visa Signature card holders have different perks than American Express users.&nbsp;By having a diversity of cards, you'll be able to take advantage of all the best current offers each company is promoting.</p> <p><em>What other important credit card reward tips do you think people don't follow?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craig-ford">Craig Ford</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards annual fees credit card rewards travel rewards Tue, 24 Jul 2012 10:24:37 +0000 Craig Ford 942738 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_eating_41560824_sm.jpg" alt="Family eating lunch" title="Family eating lunch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At first glance, dining out would seem to be the opposite of frugality, as it is easy to spend enough in one meal at a restaurant as you could buying a week's worth of groceries. Yet frugal people like me have been able to turn this equation on its head by taking advantage of rewards points.</p> <p>On a recent night out, I made my reservation with Open Table just before departing in order to receive points worth future dining credits. When I arrived, I presented a coupon from <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-5674459">Restaurant.com</a> that took $25 off my $35 bill. Finally, I paid for our meal with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which earns double points at restaurants. On other occasions I have use coupons from the <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-11600473">Entertainment Book</a> and participated in many of the dining miles programs offered by the airlines. By dining out frugally, I cannot claim to be saving money over the price of home-cooked meals, but I can come pretty close to the price I would have paid for just the <em>ingredients</em> I would have used to prepare a similar meal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=seealso">Credit Cards for Groceries</a>)</p> <h2>Restaurant Rewards Credit Cards</h2> <p>No matter what your situation, anyone can save money by using the ideal credit card to maximize the rewards they receive from their dining expenses. Just as with any reward credit card, cardholders must always pay their balances in full and on time in order to assure that interest payments do not overwhelm any rewards received.</p> <h2>Best Credit Cards for Dining Out at Restaurants</h2> <p>These are my picks for the top credit cards to use when dining out.</p> <h3>Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card</h3> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards?ref=918805"><img width="154" height="98" alt="credit card" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/161204/602905.png" /></a></p> <p>The <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards?ref=918805">Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card</a> offers 2x miles on every purchase, unlimited! They're also offering a great bonus offer right now: get 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months (equal to $400 in travel). Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime &mdash; no blackout dates or seat restrictions. Also, if you're traveling aboard, it's the perfect card to bring with you, since it has no foreign transaction fees. <strong>Annual fee:&nbsp;$59, waived for the first year.</strong></p> <p><strong><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards?ref=918805">Click here to apply for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card</a></strong></p> <h3>Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg; Card</h3> <p><img width="154" height="96" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/slate.png" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" alt="" />Chase offers several different cards that earn points in its Ultimate Rewards program, but their Sapphire Preferred card earns double points for charges at restaurants. I carry the Sapphire Preferred for several reasons. Despite its $95 annual fee (waived the first year), Preferred card holders receive double points on all travel expenses, and 20% off travel when redeeming travel through their website. The card also offers a 1:1 point transfer to partner programs. Finally, the Preferred card has no foreign transaction fees.</p> <!--<h3>Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite MasterCard&reg;</h3> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1033&amp;foc=1" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'cardimage', 'barclayarrivalmc']);"><img width="154" height="98" alt="credit card" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/217189/586975.jpg" /></a>This Barclaycard starts with a great bonus of 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days &mdash; that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit &mdash; and then piles on the rewards with 2x miles on all purchases. Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits. Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing. On top of that, it comes with a 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each balance transfer completed within the first 45 days of account opening. After that, it's a variable APR of 14.99% or 18.99%, based on your creditworthiness. You also get complimentary online FICO&reg; Credit Score access as a benefit to Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers. <strong>There is an annual fee of $89, waived the first year.</strong></p> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1033&amp;foc=1" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'applytext', 'barclayarrivalmc']);"><strong>Click here to apply for the Barclaycard Arrival&trade; World MasterCard&reg;</strong></a><strong><em><br /> </em></strong></p>--><!--<h3>Barclaycard Arrival Plus&trade; World Elite MasterCard&reg;</h3> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1033&amp;foc=1" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'cardimage', 'barclayarrivalmc']);"><img width="154" height="98" alt="credit card" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/217189/586975.jpg" /></a>This Barclaycard starts with a great bonus of 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days &mdash; that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit &mdash; and then piles on the rewards with 2x miles on all purchases. Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits. Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing. On top of that, it comes with a 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each balance transfer completed within the first 45 days of account opening. After that, it's a variable APR of 14.99% or 18.99%, based on your creditworthiness. You also get complimentary online FICO&reg; Credit Score access as a benefit to Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers. <strong>There is an annual fee of $89, waived the first year.</strong></p> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&amp;fot=1033&amp;foc=1" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'applytext', 'barclayarrivalmc']);"><strong>Click here to apply for the Barclaycard Arrival&trade; World MasterCard&reg;</strong></a><strong><em><br /> </em></strong></p>--><h3>Citi ThankYou&reg; Preferred Card</h3> <p><a target="_top" href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11997141?sid=steele-918805"><img width="154" height="98" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiThankYouPreferredCardBonusPointOffer.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" alt="credit card" /></a></p> <p>The <a target="_top" href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11997141?sid=steele-918805">Citi ThankYou&reg; Preferred Card</a><img width="1" height="1" border="0" src="http://www.awltovhc.com/image-2822544-11997141" alt="" /> offers <em>unlimited </em>double points on purchases spent on dining and entertainment, and one point spent on other purchases. As a bonus offer right now, you can get 20,000 points after spending $1,500 within the first 3 months &mdash; this is redeemable for $200 in gift cards. They're also offering 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. Citi also offers special benefits like Price Rewind. Citi will search hundreds of retailers' sites for 30 days from the date of purchase to help find a lower price. If one is found that's lower by at least $25, you automatically get the price difference back. <strong>There is no annual fee.</strong></p> <p><strong><a target="_top" href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11997141?sid=steele-918805">Click here to apply for the Citi ThankYou&reg; Preferred Card</a></strong><img width="1" height="1" border="0" src="http://www.awltovhc.com/image-2822544-11997141" alt="" /></p> <h3>U.S. Bank Cash+&trade; Visa Signature&reg; Card</h3> <p>With the U.S. Bank Cash+&trade; Visa Signature&reg; Card, you can receive 5% cash back on your first $2,000 spent each quarter on combined purchases in two categories of your choice, which range from department stores to fast food. In addition, you can also receive 2% cash back on one everyday category of your choice, which include gas, grocery, and restaurant purchases. You'll get 1% cash back on all other purchases you make with the card. There is no minimum you need to meet before you can start redeeming your cash back rewards. Currently, there is a special introductory offer of 0% APR for the first 9 months on any balance transfers made within the first 30 days from account opening. <strong>There is no annual fee</strong>.</p> <p>Without a doubt, most consumers will save money when they <a title="Teach Yourself to Cook" href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-yourself-to-cook">prepare their meals at home</a>. Nevertheless, I find a frugal night out to be a needed respite from our family's normal routine of cooking and cleaning. By using all available coupons and discounts, and by choosing the best credit card to pay for your dining expenses, you can have affordable meals that ultimately lead to valuable rewards.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-up-to-8-cash-back-shopping-at-whole-foods-limited-time-deal">Get Up To 8% Cash Back Shopping at Whole Foods (Limited Time Deal!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Food and Drink affordable restaurant dining credit card rewards dining out Fri, 13 Apr 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Jason Steele 918805 at http://www.wisebread.com Extreme Mileage Hacking: Creative Ways to Earn Flier Miles http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-mileage-hacking-creative-ways-to-earn-flier-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/extreme-mileage-hacking-creative-ways-to-earn-flier-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/extreme-airplane-shot.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most people have a frequent flier account of some sort, even if they haven&rsquo;t given it much thought lately. Others have made collecting points and miles not just their hobby, but their passion. While the rest of us sit in awe of extreme couponers when they save a few hundred dollars off of their groceries, these extreme mileage hackers regularly earn tens of thousands of dollars worth of travel. They fly around the world in first and business class, stay in suites at luxury resorts, and barely pay a fraction of what these services would normally cost.</p> <p>I recently attended a weekend seminar where many of the top mileage collectors in the world gathered to tell their stories and share their techniques. Of all the travel award enthusiasts that I met, three people told stories of extreme mileage earning that were so mind-boggling, they held this well-traveled crowd at the edge of their seats. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-maximize-the-value-of-your-frequent-flier-miles">How to Maximize the Value of Your Frequent Flier Miles</a>)</p> <h2>The Pudding Guy</h2> <p>Have you ever done anything so cool that a Hollywood director decided to include it as part a movie? That is what happened to a Californian named David Phillips. In 1999, Phillips learned that the Healthy Choice company was offering a few hundred frequent flier miles for the purchase of each of their food products. He realized that by buying pudding, their least expensive item, the miles he earned would be worth more than the product itself. He ended up purchasing $3,380 worth of pudding from distributors across the state. As he ordered the pudding by the truckload, some distributors would ask what he needed it for. Slyly, would just mumble something about Y2K. Upon receipt of the pudding, he donated it to the Salvation Army, which in turn provided volunteers to help him process the paperwork. He thoroughly documented everything he did, making copies of his entire submission.</p> <p>Although the people at Healthy Choice initially claimed not to have received his voluminous submission, they quickly relented in the face of his evidence, and even enlisted him in a publicity campaign. In the end Phillips earned over 1,250,000 miles from airlines such as American, Northwest, Delta, and United Airlines, as well as a tax deduction for his charitable contribution. This is enough for ten first class trips to Europe. If this story sounds familiar, then you have probably seen the movie <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000G02H/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=lx-03-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00000G02H" target="_blank"><i>Punch Drunk Love</i></a>, where the character played by Adam Sandler does this exact same thing.</p> <h2>Mr. Pickles</h2> <p>Another amazing speaker at this convention prefers to remain anonymous, but goes by his online pseudonym Mr. Pickles. In 2009, he achieved some measure of notoriety when an acquaintance of his spoke to a reporter and disclosed his obsession with ordering coins from the United States Mint. Although most people would find coin collecting is a perfectly normal past time, Mr. Pickles is no average collector. He enjoyed ordering the new commemorative one dollar coins which are only worth their face value. He used his credit card to place the order under their Direct Ship program, which offered free shipping in order to encourage the circulation of these unpopular coins. Upon receipt, he would immediately deposit the coins at a local bank and use those funds to quickly pay off his credit card balance. Doing so earned him frequent flier miles at no cost to himself.</p> <p>So far, this story is not very remarkable. Many people, myself included, ordered a few thousand of these coins from the Mint to use around town while earning a few <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">miles on our credit cards</a>. On the other hand, Mr. Pickles ordered well over one million coins during the life of the program. To find banks that would accept deposits of thousands of coins a day, he mapped out every branch location within 50 miles of his home. He would then tell the managers what he was doing and be extra nice to the bank&rsquo;s tellers. Although the coins were delivered and deposited in rolls, each bank would eventually grow tired of regularly receiving hundreds of pounds in coins. Often, he would bring the staff pizza, donuts, or coffee in order to put off the inevitable day when they told him to take his business elsewhere.</p> <p>Once his story and those of others like him was leaked to the mainstream media, the United States Mint decided it would no longer accept credit cards for the purchase of coins at face value. Before that happened in mid 2011, Mr. Pickles earned over 1.2 million miles, enough to travel around the world in business class four times.</p> <h2>Steve Belkin<span> </span></h2> <p>It was appropriate that Steve Belkin gave a closing address to the conference, as he was one of the most engaging and enthusiastic speakers there. For him, earning a mere million miles is just child&rsquo;s play. Belkin, who goes by the name BeauBeau on various travel forums, treats frequent flier miles like a Wall Street investment banker treats stocks. He has figured out exactly how much each company&rsquo;s points and miles are worth, and he will heavily invest his money in any scheme that allows him to acquire them at rates that are below his pre-determined values. When an airline offers bonus miles for traveling on a certain route, he doesn&rsquo;t just buy himself a ticket, <i>he pays for other people to fly</i> as long as they agree to let him use their miles. He told stories of paying Asian farmers to fly around Thailand and American students to travel through Europe, so he collects bonus miles being offered on particular routes.</p> <p>Like the Pudding Guy, Belkin is constantly looking for opportunities to make purchases that earn more miles than the item is worth. In late 2009, he and I both purchased large quantities of the TrackItBack Lost &amp; Found Recover Service, when we learned that US Airways was temporarily awarding 140 miles per dollar spent on this product during a holiday promotion. According to <a href="http://www.trackitback.com/">their website</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>TrackItBack provides its customers with uniquely coded ID labels that come in various sizes, shapes, and languages. Customers affix the ID labels to their personal items and register them online at TrackItBack's website or by phone. When an item is lost, the ID label instructs the finder to &quot;Return for Reward&quot; and TrackItBack facilitates the return of the lost device at no charge to its customer. The finder is rewarded with a pack of TrackItBack product and any optional cash reward that the owner of the item has chosen to provide.</p> </blockquote> <p>After thoroughly reading the terms and conditions of the offer and consulting with others online, my wife and I eventually decided to purchase $3,000 worth of this product. We carefully considered the possibility that US Airways would not honor the terms of the deal, but we were reassured when the company responded to customer&rsquo;s concerns in public online forums. Although we eventually received a 475,000 US Airways miles, Belkin earned millions of miles to be used by his family and friends, potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars more than he paid.</p> <p>Although less tasty than pudding, I love the TrackItBack system. Better yet, I was also able to realize a tax deduction by donating my surplus product to a non-profit organization. Most of it went to the NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, which was able to distribute it to other worthy charities that needed such a tracking system. After our tax deduction was taken into account, we essentially purchased miles for approximately one half of a cent each. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">We later redeemed 360,000 of these miles for our family to fly in business class to Italy and Israel this fall</a>. I donated the remainder of the miles to my parents who traveled to visit family in a Williamsport, Pennsylvania, a town whose airport only has service from US Airways.</p> <h2>What We Can Learn</h2> <p>I have been earning miles my whole life, but really started spending time researching award travel within the last four years. Although I was previously aware of some of these stories, I was still thrilled to meet these people hear their experiences first hand. But I also tried to learn something from each of them. For example, the Pudding Guy only received his million miles because he kept meticulous records of his compliance with the terms of Healthy Choice&rsquo;s offer. This is a great habit no matter how many miles are at stake. Likewise, you should always save your boarding pass in case your mileage is not credited. In addition, Steve Belkin&rsquo;s experiences show how you can always find creative ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frequent-flier-programs-for-infrequent-fliers">earn miles without ever leaving the ground</a>. Finally, Mr. Pickles proves that just being extra nice to the people you meet will encourage them to go out of their way to help you out. If there is one lesson that I learned from everyone I met at this conference, it is that the only limit to the amount of points and miles that can be earned is that your own determination and creativity. There is no doubt that these opportunities continue to present themselves, and I will do my best to share them with you as soon as I learn about them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-mileage-hacking-creative-ways-to-earn-flier-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-maximize-your-airline-mileage-redemptions">How to Maximize Your Airline Mileage Redemptions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-frequent-flier-program-has-the-best-awards-availability">Which Frequent Flier Program Has the Best Awards Availability?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel credit card rewards extreme thrift frequent flier miles Mon, 30 Jan 2012 11:36:32 +0000 Jason Steele 876059 at http://www.wisebread.com