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        华新村

        Best Credit Cards for Travel, Cash-Back, Airlines and More

        华新村Full Disclosure:华新村 We may receive financial compensation when you click on links and are approved for credit card products from our advertising partners. Opinions and product recommendations on this site are ours alone, and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure?for more details. We appreciate your support!

        When it comes to recommending the best rewards cards available, merely publishing a list is not indicative of our Upgraded Points style. We know that the more information you have, the easier it can be to make an educated decision on the best possible rewards cards for your own situation.

        We’re ready to provide all that fundamental card information of course, but we’d also like to step it up a notch and provide a broader view of our featured cards.

        That’s why our collection of recommended rewards cards has all have the essential information on华新村 earning rewards, redeeming those rewards, and benefits华新村 that come with each card, but we’ve added more.

        华新村We’ll tell you why we like the card, describe the attributes of a typical cardholder, and then throw in a good value redemption华新村 example that might expand your travel imagination as to what is possible.

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        We frequently recommend the 华新村Chase Sapphire Preferred card as a first choice for a rewards card when you’re just starting out.

        You’ll find accelerated earnings on travel and dining, flexible redemption options for maximizing the rewards you earn, and a 华新村suite of travel benefits you’d normally find on high-annual-fee premium cards.

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        Developing a financial relationship with a leading financial institution such as Chase early on will reap benefits in the long run.

        The ease of earning Chase Ultimate Rewards and their flexible redemption options make Chase Ultimate Rewards one of the most valuable rewards currencies available.

        The card provides a foundation of travel/shopping protections and benefits you won’t find on many cards. You’ll receive complimentary primary car rental insurance, trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage, baggage insurance, trip delay coverage, extended warranty, purchase protection, and much more.

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        Fly from the U.S. to Africa round-trip in business class for just 50,000 miles on South African Airways. Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic (1:1 ratio) and redeem Flying Club miles for your flight from Washington D.C. to Senegal.

        This is just one of the many ways you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards for great value.

        South African Airways
        Every seat is an aisle seat on this South African Airways flight from Washington, D.C. to Senegal. Image Credit: South African Airways

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        The simplicity of its earning structure and the ease of redeeming rewards makes the Venture Card a worthy choice for the beginner seeking a solid rewards-earning card.

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        There are no complicated earning structures with the Venture Card — you’ll simply receive unlimited 2x earnings on every purchase you make.

        When it comes time to redeem your miles for travel, your options are many. Transfer your miles to airline partners, redeem for travel, or use your miles to erase previous travel purchases with the Capital One Purchase Eraser.

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        Normally Capital One miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel on the Capital One Rewards Center. However, you can receive greater value by transferring your Capital One miles to airline partners.

        For example, you can fly from Tokyo to Hong Kong in business class on ANA by transferring 30,000 Capital One miles to ANA LifeMiles. This is just one of the many ways you can get maximum value for your Capital One miles.

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        Enjoy a flat-bed business class experience for 30,000 Capital One miles. Image Credit: ANA

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        Proclaimed as one of the best rewards cards in the marketplace, the Amex Platinum card hits a home run with its luxury travel perks, multiple times earning on airfare and hotels, airline statement credits, and its flexible redemption options.

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        The frequent business traveler who spends a lot on airfare and values premium travel benefits, such as lounge access, hotel elite status, and travel statement credits, will benefit most from having the card.

        Anyone currently paying for an annual airport lounge membership will also find the card an excellent value proposition.

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        Chase’s premium travel rewards card offers a nice collection of travel benefits, bonus level earnings on the purchases that travelers make most, and redemption options that deliver exceptional value when using your rewards for travel.

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        We like that the card has unlimited complimentary access for the cardholder plus 2 guests to over 1,200 Priority Pass lounges worldwide. Authorized users also have full Priority Pass Select membership benefits.

        Additionally, the $300 travel statement credit that comes with the card can be used for any travel purchase, not just airline incidental fees like other travel rewards cards.

        We also appreciate the added value you receive when redeeming Ultimate Rewards for travel. Points redeemed via the Ultimate Rewards travel portal are worth 50% more, plus there’s the additional option of transferring points to airline and hotel partners.

        The package of travel protections and benefits offered with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are genuinely impressive. Having primary car rental insurance, trip cancellation, interruption, and delay coverage, lost/delayed baggage insurance, and emergency evacuation coverage are just some of the useful travel benefits you’ll find complimentary on the card.

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        Flying in Avianca business class to South America from the U.S. is a great use of Chase Ultimate Rewards. Transfer points to United Airlines at a ratio of 1:1 and book your flights on Avianca using just 70,000 MileagePlus miles for a round-trip journey.

        For more ideas on the best use of your Ultimate Rewards points, we’ve put together a great list of options in 1 comprehensive article.

        Avianca 787
        Fly to Peru, Ecuador, or other northern South American countries for just 70,000 miles round-trip in business class. Image Credit: Avianca

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        Perhaps your spending habits are more of the everyday variety. If so, you’ll find the Amex Gold card with its bonus-level earnings on U.S. supermarkets and world-wide restaurant purchases an expeditious way to earn lots of rewards.

        You’ll still earn big on travel purchases and when it comes redemption time, there are plenty of options to pay for your trip with rewards points.

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        The Amex Gold card strikes a balance between functioning as a travel rewards card and earning as an everyday spending card. You’re earning elevated rewards on restaurants worldwide, at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year), plus flights with the airlines and select Amex Travel purchases. When it comes time to redeem your rewards, you have several flexible options including transferring your points to travel partners.

        The card also earns its keep with travel statement credits for airline incidentals, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, and monthly dining credits.

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        You can book United Polaris transcontinental business class for just 25,000 Avianca LifeMiles after transferring your Membership Rewards points. Plan a special weekend getaway for 2 and spend just 100,000 miles total for round-trip tickets from Newark (EWR) to San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX).

        United Polaris Middle Seats
        Enjoy United Polaris on your transcontinental journey for just 25,000 Avianca LifeMiles. Image Credit: United

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        Just like the personal version of the card, the Ink Business Preferred card offers tremendous value. It’s an earning powerhouse for business purchases and delivers elevated value when it’s time to redeem your rewards.

        The card is also packed with shopping protections to cover qualifying business purchases and travel protections, along with other benefits that most businesses involving travel can use.

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        We like that this card functions as a powerful business credit card without a high annual fee. The earning categories alone recognize the most common purchases businesses make, allowing rewards to add up quickly.

        Businesses that have high travel expenses will appreciate the 25% additional value when redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for travel.

        We also like the package of travel and shopping protections that comes with the card, especially primary car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption coverage, and $600 in cell phone protection.

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        Nonstop first class flights on ANA can be booked for as little as 110,000 Flying Club miles round-trip from major U.S. hubs to Tokyo, Japan. Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic and use Flying Club miles to book with ANA.

        Alex Miller of Upgraded Points on ANA First Class
        Enjoy the luxury of first class to Tokyo, Japan by transferring Ultimate Rewards points. Image Credit: 华新村Alex Miller.

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        With a reputation of being one of the best business rewards cards available, the Amex Business Platinum card stands out as a card 华新村delivering tremendous value for the business traveler.

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        While welcome bonuses fluctuate, this card has been known to offer bonuses that exceed $1,000 in value. Watch for those offers! This card also 华新村comes with fantastic benefits.

        The excellent 5x earnings on flights and prepaid hotels via Amex Travel plus a 35% rebate on premium cabin airfare or your pre-selected airline make the card a fine choice for the business with high airfare expenses.

        This card comes with better earnings for large purchases of $5,000 or more. Instead of the common 1x earnings offered on most travel rewards cards for non-bonus spending, the Amex Business Platinum card earns 1.5% for these larger transactions.

        The lounge access benefit of the Amex Business Platinum card is best in class for a travel rewards card, allowing access for the cardholder and 2 guests to over 1,200 lounges worldwide. Authorized users also receive the same cardholder plus 2 guests access.

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        Why fly economy or business class when you can fly round-trip in first class for just 80,000 miles? Transfer Membership Rewards points to Cathay Pacific and redeem Asia Miles to book a New York to Vancouver first class experience.

        Cathay Pacific 777 first class cabin
        Experience Cathay Pacific First Class for just 80,000 miles round-trip. Image Credit: Stephen Au

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        The Amex Business Gold card doesn’t come with a long list of luxury benefits such as lounge access, hotel elite status, or rebates on high-end retail purchases.

        The card does focus on what matters most to your small business. And while the card isn’t perfect for every business, those businesses that can use its featured benefits and have expenses that align with the card’s bonus earning categories will find value by having the card.

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        The card may be a perfect fit for the small business due to its 华新村4x earnings on common business purchases华新村. The option to pay your statement balance over time could also be useful for small businesses just starting out.

        The card offers 4x earnings on the 2 highest expenses your business makes in qualifying categories each statement period. Categories include:

        • Airfare purchased from airlines directly
        • Online, TV, and radio advertising purchased from U.S. media
        • Select U.S. technology purchases of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
        • Purchases at U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, or U.S. shipping

        Receiving 华新村25% rebates on airfare华新村 and having the flexibility to transfer points to airline partners means you have the option to offset those business travel expenses or easily fund a family vacation.

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        Ever wanted to venture off to Hawaii but thought it was way too expensive? Transferring your Membership Rewards points to Air France’s Flying Blue program will allow you to book a round-trip economy ticket from the U.S. to Hawaii for just 30,000 Flying Blue miles.

        Maui Hawaii - Katie Seemann
        A round-trip ticket to Hawaii can be secured for just 30,000 Membership Rewards points when transferred to Air France. Image Credit: Katie Seemann

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        The 华新村Ink Business Cash card supports your small business operation by concentrating on the cost savings of no annual fee. Additionally, it earns rewards in the form of valuable Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash-back and invested back into your business.

        And while cost savings are prevalent with the card, it has good earning potential, plenty of redemption choices, and even travel benefits.

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        We like the bonus earning levels of华新村 5% cash-back on common small business expenses华新村 and 2% cash-back on travel and dining. For businesses starting out, 华新村having a card with no annual fee is a positive.华新村

        We also like that the card earns Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash-back but can also be transferred to premium Chase cards and redeemed for a greater value (up to 50% more) on travel or transferred to travel partners.

        The card also comes with travel and shopping protections such as primary car rental insurance, travel emergency assistance services, roadside dispatch, purchase protection, and extended warranty.

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        Planning time away as a small business owner can be challenging and expensive but you don’t have to break the bank when you’re using Ultimate Rewards points to book your travel.

        You’ll need a premium Chase card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Chase Sapphire Reserve card to transfer your points from your Ink Business Cash card. Then you can transfer your points to airline partners to book award tickets.

        Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines allows you to book round-trip economy saver level tickets to Alaska for just 35,000 miles or flights within the lower 48 states for just 25,000 miles.

        Alaska
        Alaska could be your next destination using Ultimate Rewards points transferred to United. Image Credit: Zetong Li via Unsplash

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        While we’re not able to give you all the details for each recommended rewards card here, we hope our summaries have helped you understand the cards’ key attributes and spark your interest to learn more.

        You’ll want to华新村 check out our in-depth reviews华新村 for cards that you’re interested in, read the associated pricing disclosures, and understand any card issuer requirements. For Chase cards, for example, you’ll want to reference the Chase 5/24 rule before applying. If you’re applying for a business card, you can learn more about the business card application process.

        Also, check out our recommendations for the best business credit cards and the best credit cards for travelers.

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        Credit CardWelcome OfferInfo
        Chase Freedom Unlimited? Card Chase Freedom Unlimited
        • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
        Apply Now Full review

        U.P. Rating ? The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

        The Platinum Card® from American Express The Platinum Card® from American Express

        Terms Apply

        • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards? points
        Apply Now 华新村Full review Rates & Fees

        U.P. Rating ? The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

        Ink Business Cash? Credit Card The Chase Ink Business Cash business credit card
        • Earn $500 bonus cash back
        Apply Now Full review

        U.P. Rating ? The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

        Chase Sapphire Reserve? Chase Sapphire Reserve
        • 50,000 bonus points
        Apply Now Full review

        (at Chase's secure site)

        U.P. Rating ? The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

        Ink Business Preferred? Credit Card Chase Ink Business Preferred
        • New Offer! Earn 100,000 bonus points
        Apply Now Full review

        U.P. Rating ? The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

        Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

        60,000 bonus points

        Apply Now 华新村Full review

        U.P. Rating ? The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

        American Express® Business Gold Card American Express® Business Gold Card

        Terms Apply

        • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards? points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases
        Apply Now Full review Rates & Fees

        U.P. Rating ? The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

        American Express® Gold Card American Express® Gold Card

        Terms Apply.

        • 35,000 Membership Rewards? Points
        Apply Now Full review Rates & Fees

        U.P. Rating ? The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

        The Business Platinum Card? from American Express American Express Business Platinum

        Terms Apply

        • Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards? points.
        Apply Now Full review Rates & Fees

        U.P. Rating ? The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

        The Blue Business? Plus Credit Card from American Express The_Blue_Business_Plus_Credit_Card_from_American_Express

        Terms Apply

        • Earn up to $300 back to boost your business
        华新村 Apply Now Full review Rates & Fees

        U.P. Rating ? The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

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        From picking a card to paying for your items to earning valuable rewards, let’s get back to basics and talk you through just how credit cards work step-by-step.

        At a high level, each time you use your credit card, you are borrowing money from your card issuer to pay for something. Your transactions are added together and at the end of each month, you must repay what you borrowed. If you take extra time to pay it back, you’ll be charged interest.

        While all credit cards work generally the same way, other features are unique to each card. We’re going to break down all of the things you should look for when choosing your next card.

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        There are a lot of choices to make when it comes to credit cards. It’s important to know what all of the features of a card are to choose a card that is best for you and your spending habits.

        Considering a debit card as well? Check out some of the pros and cons of debit vs. credit cards.

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        The next important step is to decide on the type of card you want.

        Credit card companies offer different kinds of cards to meet their consumers’ needs. For example, some people choose to put all of their monthly expenses on their card and pay it off in full each month. Those people benefit from a card that returns a portion of their spending in the form of cash-back or travel rewards.

        Others tend to make minimum payments and carry a balance from month to month. These people benefit from a card that offers a low ongoing interest rate. Still, others are working to build their credit, and cards with lower credit limits are designed for those people.

        For this reason, there are a few key decisions to make, so we’re going to give you all of the information so you can decide which is best for you.

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        Like we discussed above, each time you make a purchase on your credit card, you’re borrowing money from a company, and when you make a payment on your balance, you’re paying them back. This company is known as the issuer.

        The issuer is the lender that maintains your account from start to finish. You may know the big names like Chase, Capital One, or Wells Fargo, but credit cards are issued by smaller local banks or credit unions as well.

        First, the company reviews your credit card application and decides whether you qualify for the card. Next, it will set your interest rate and account fees. At the end of each billing cycle, it will send your statement. You make payments for your purchases directly to the issuer.

        华新村Bottom Line: 华新村There isn’t 1 issuer that is “better” than others. Most credit card issuers rank high in terms of customer satisfaction, so the best 1 is the 1 that offers you the card that works best for you.?

        Many of the rewards benefits come directly from the issuer. Things like cash-back, rewards per dollar spent, and statement credits are typically given by the card issuer.

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        The payment network is responsible for processing credit card transactions. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover are some of these payment networks. The network will report each transaction to the issuer so that the issuer can both pay the merchant and add the transaction to your outstanding balance.

        华新村Hot Tip: 华新村 American Express and Discover are slightly different because they are both the issuer and the network, so they will approve the transactions themselves. This is why they charge higher fees!

        The network determines where you can use your card. You’ll often see signs at retailers noting which cards are accepted and this refers to the network. Most retailers accept Visa and Mastercard, with only a couple of exceptions (such as Costco), while many choose to not accept Discover or American Express.

        Network-provided benefits tend to be protections and perks, like 华新村travel insurance and rental car coverage. It’s important to note that just because a network has perks on some cards, it’s not guaranteed. It is up to the issuer to decide which benefits each card will have.

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        Unlike the issuer and network, not all credit cards have co-brand partners. The partner is an airline, hotel, or store whose name appears on the card.

        The co-brand partner is responsible for managing the loyalty programs and associated rewards earned on the card. The partner also provides additional perks to cardholders, such as free checked bags for an airline card, automatic room upgrades for a hotel card, or extra discounts for a store card.

        This is not the same as transfer partners. For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to a variety of hotel and airline partners, but these partners are not directly listed on the card and aren’t considered co-brand partners.

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        Every credit card delivers value through its own unique combination of features. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to find a single card that offers a high rewards rate, a long 华新村0% APR period, a low ongoing interest rate, generous perks, and no annual fee.

        You will have to decide which offers the most value for you, so here are the major categories of credit cards and some of the benefits they provide.

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        Citi Aadvantage Executive Card GIG champagne
        Relax with a glass of Champagne at the airport lounge — access can come with your airline credit card! Image Credit: Chris Hassan

        These cards return a portion of your spending in the form of cash-back, points, or miles. Due to the nature of the card, many of these are co-branded cards.

        • 华新村General travel credit cards华新村 (like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points) give you points that you can use to book travel. These cards offer tons of flexibility because they are not tied to specific airline or hotel loyalty programs. Depending on the card, it may also offer Priority Pass access, reimbursement for Global Entry, and other travel perks.
        • 华新村Airline credit cards华新村 carry the name of a specific airline. Spending on these cards will earn miles that you can redeem for free flights or upgrades on that airline. If you typically fly with 1 airline, this would be a good option as the card usually offers things like free checked bags, priority boarding, airport lounge access, and more.
        • 华新村Hotel credit cards华新村 carry the name of a specific hotel group. Spending on these cards will earn points that you can redeem for hotel stays. If you are loyal to a certain hotel chain, this would be a good option as it offers things like a free night’s stay every year, automatic upgrades, elite status, and more.
        • 华新村Cash-back credit cards华新村 give you a percentage cash-back on your spending. This can be used to reduce your balance or even be deposited directly into your bank account.

        华新村Bottom Line:?华新村There are a lot of options when it comes to rewards credit cards. Be sure to look at all of the fees and perks to make sure you’re picking the card that will the best work for you.

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        Cards offering 0% APR to new cardholders for a year or more of 0% interest on purchases, making them suitable for a big expense (like furniture or appliances). If you don’t make your monthly minimum payment by the due date on your statement each month, it’s possible to lose the introductory purchase APR.

        Low-interest cards have a low ongoing rate that makes them a good long-term option. Both of these cards are good for spenders who typically carry debt from month to month.

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        Different from the 0% interest cards above, these balance transfer cards allow you to move debt from a high-interest card onto a new card and then give you a year or more at 0% interest to pay that debt off.

        You’ll often pay a 3-5% fee for the transfer, but depending on the balance, the interest savings can still be worth it.

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        These cards are designed for small-business owners. Their rewards and perks are tailored toward businesses, and they offer extra rewards that businesses typically pay for like internet, office supplies, 华新村advertising or shipping purchases.

        Since you would be the one making the payments, the issuer looks at your personal credit history when deciding if you qualify.

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        Banks have designed cards specifically for people working to improve their credit. Getting one of these cards and using it responsibly can go a long way toward your goals.

        The best credit cards for bad credit are secured cards that require you to put down a cash deposit (refunded to you if you upgrade or close the card in good standing). There are “unsecured” cards for bad credit that don’t require a deposit, but they tend to charge high fees.

        If you’re building credit, you can also be added as an “authorized user” on someone else’s card. This basically means that someone else is vouching for you (like co-signing on a loan), and it can be a great way to rebuild credit.

        华新村Hot Tip: 华新村The Platinum Credit Card from Capital One? is an excellent option for those that want to build their credit. It also comes with several benefits — a real bonus for a card that has no annual fee.

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        Synchrony?and Comenity?are typically the banks behind retail stores. These cards may offer discounts at the retailer when you use the card. These are typically the easiest cards to qualify for but come with high-interest rates and low credit limits. They may also come with discounts when you spend with the retailer.

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        Now that you’ve selected the general category of card that works best for you, it’s important to look at the fees and other benefits associated with potential cards. Each card will come with its own set of fees and benefits, so be sure to read the fine print.

        First up, let’s look at some of the common fees that you might pay with your credit card.

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        This is a fee you pay annually for the privilege of carrying a credit card. Annual fees are common on?travel reward credit cards that tend to offer higher signup bonuses and bigger rewards than other credit cards.

        To decide whether a card is a good investment, you’ll have to do the math. Based on your spending, would you earn enough in rewards each year for the fee to make sense? Do those other perks like travel credits and lounge access add enough value to you to outweigh the annual fee?

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        A finance charge is just the interest that accrues on the balance you carry on your credit card. If you pay your balance in full each month, you’ll never pay a penny in interest.

        There are a few ways that interest fees can be charged, but the daily average balance is the primary one. Credit card companies will average your balance for every day of the month, then multiply that by the daily rate and the number of days in the billing cycle to determine your interest owed.

        Please refer to our complete guide on?credit card interest?for an in-depth look at this.

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        A balance transfer fee is charged when you move debt from 1 credit card to another. After that, the typical fee is 3% to 5% of the amount transferred. Depending on the circumstances, some cards?don’t charge a fee for balance transfers.

        Many cards offer an introductory rate of 0% interest on balance transfers for a year or more, but you have to decide whether the interest savings will make up for the transfer fee.

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        When you use your credit card to take out cash (at an ATM or bank), you will be charged a cash advance fee of 2-5% of the amount borrowed. You’ll also usually start accruing interest on this cash advance (and at a higher rate than your normal interest rate).

        华新村Bottom Line: 华新村Avoid taking out cash with your credit card if possible, otherwise you’ll be charged a cash advance fee.

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        Man Traveling Thailand
        If you travel abroad, look for a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Image Credit: Twinsterphoto via Shutterstock

        This fee is a charge of 1-3% added onto purchases made outside the U.S. While many cards charge this fee, most travel credit cards don’t have foreign transaction fees.

        Fees can be tacked on each time you swipe, so if you travel internationally, this is an important item to look into.

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        You can’t overdraft a credit card unless you’ve specifically opted into over-the-limit coverage with your card issuer. Paying for this fee may help you avoid the embarrassment of transactions being rejected at the register. If you don’t opt-in for this fee, your purchase would simply be declined.

        The first time you go over your limit, you will usually be charged a fee of up to $25. After that, the fee can go up to $35 if you go over your limit a second time within 6 months.

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        A late payment fee is charged when you don’t make at least the minimum payment by the due date. The exact amount varies by card.

        A returned payment fee is charged when an automatic payment out of your bank account or a check you’ve made out is blocked for insufficient funds. This fee will vary by card, but around $35 is common.

        华新村Hot Tip: 华新村Be sure to also check out our definitive?guide to credit card fees?and how to avoid them.

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        All credit cards charge interest if you carry a balance — that’s just the way they work! The interest that is charged will vary wildly according to the specific card you have qualified for and how long the card has been open.

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        Credit card companies offer people with good credit a low introductory interest rate. Many cards offer 0% on purchases and balance transfers for a year or more. Some cards don’t go as low as 0% but still offer a lower introductory rate.

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        After the introductory rate expires, you will pay the ongoing interest rate. The rate will vary by card and individual, but in general, the better your credit, the lower your rate. For super-low ongoing rates, your best bet is a credit union.

        If you have a card that has a variable interest rate, your rate may change multiple times a year depending on the Federal Reserve. Credit card issuers aren’t required to notify you when your variable rate is going to change, but some do so voluntarily.

        华新村Hot Tip: 华新村Remember that if you pay your balance in full every month, your interest rate doesn’t actually matter because you’re never charged interest.

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        Lastly, if you’ve decided to look at a card that offers rewards, there are a few more things to consider. Your answer to these questions will be subjective and really depend on how you typically spend money.

        • What do you get for every dollar spent (and where do you earn extra)?
        • How much do you get?for your rewards when it comes time to use them?
        • How much flexibility do you have in using your rewards?

        While specific rewards vary greatly depending on your card, you should look to see if some of these items are included with your card.

        • 华新村A card welcome bonus华新村 can be cash, points, or miles that you can earn by spending a certain amount of money in your first few months with a card. The bonuses on many travel cards are often big enough to justify the card’s annual fee.
        • 华新村Cash-back 华新村refunds a certain percentage of the purchase price. This might be a variable or flat rate depending on your card.
        • 华新村Points 华新村may earn a multiplier of points based on the category of the spend.
        • 华新村Insurance 华新村can include car rental coverage, purchase protection, extended warranties, and cell phone insurance.
        • 华新村Statement credits 华新村are money back for qualified travel expenses, purchases from selected merchants, or the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
        • 华新村Perks 华新村may include extras like lounge access, free checked bags, free upgrades, elite status, or late checkout.

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        Excited Girl on Her Laptop
        You may be approved for a credit card right away! Image Credit: asife via Shutterstock

        By now, you should have decided what card is best for you, so it’s time to apply!

        To apply for a credit card, you’ll need to fill out a credit card application through a bank, credit union, or another card issuer. You will provide information like basic information like:

        • Your name
        • Address
        • Phone number
        • Employment status
        • Birthdate
        • Social security number
        • Annual income
        • Other assets
        • Rent or mortgage payments
        • Other debt payments

        The company will review the application and check your credit score to determine eligibility. You may be approved right away, or it may take the credit card issuer a few days to notify you of your approval.

        If your application was rejected, be sure to check out our article on credit reconsideration and what to do next. You will typically receive a written explanation for denial within a few weeks.

        华新村Hot Tip:?华新村Issuers have individual rules and guidelines when it comes to applying for a credit card. For additional information, see our article: Applying for Credit Cards – The Rules for Each Bank [Limits, Bonus Eligibility & More].

        If you’re approved for a credit card, you’ll sign an agreement that obligates you to pay back any money that you borrow. The agreement will also list important information like 华新村annual interest rate, credit limit,华新村?华新村balance transfer interest rate华新村, and all other fees associated with the card.

        A 华新村credit limit华新村?is the maximum amount you can borrow at any time. For secured cards, the credit limit is usually the amount of your security deposit. On an unsecured card, the issuer will base your credit line on your income, 华新村credit scores, and other factors.

        Your?华新村interest rate华新村 is the price you pay for borrowing money, usually noted as an annual percentage rate (APR). If you don’t repay the loan in full each month, you’ll have to start paying interest at this rate on all of the money you carry on your account from month to month.

        华新村Bottom Line: 华新村You could have a great credit score but still be rejected if you’ve opened too many cards recently or if your debt or recurring payments (like your rent or mortgage) are determined to be too big in relation to your income.

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        There’s technically no limit to how many credit cards you can have, but individual lenders can decide how many they would like to issue you at 1 time.

        Here are some advantages to carrying more than 1 card:

        • 华新村Maximizing Rewards华新村 — 1 card may pay you a higher rewards rate on groceries. Another may reward you more points at restaurants or for spending on travel. Having multiple cards allows you to plan your spending to get the most out of your rewards.
        • 华新村Flexibility华新村— Some cards are more widely accepted than others. It’s good to have a backup for cards like American Express or Discover.
        • 华新村More Available Credit 华新村— Ideally, you’ll want to keep utilization below 30% and having more cards can help you with this since each card you have will increase your overall credit limit.

        On the negative side, having more cards can make it harder to keep track of your spending and payment due dates. This can lead to an increased risk of interest and other fees and a snowballing of outstanding debt.

        华新村Bottom Line: 华新村You don’t need to have multiple cards to maintain a good credit score. While credit utilization is important, 1 credit card that is responsibly-managed is enough to build a solid credit history.

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        Once you are approved for a card, it might take a week or so to receive the card. Once you receive it, use the information on the card to call the number or go online to activate your card. After this, you’re ready to start using your card!

        At a basic level, each transaction will involve the following steps:

        • 华新村You swipe/insert/tap your card.华新村 While the specific technology may vary, you can use your card at the cash register by swiping, tapping, or inserting the card into a card reader. Generally, you must sign on to approve these purchases, although exceptions may be at the gas pump or for other small purchases. If you’re online shopping, you enter all of your card information and submit it electronically.
        • 华新村The purchase is approved.华新村 This machine electronically contacts your credit card company to make sure the card is valid and that the purchase is within your credit limit.
        • 华新村The merchant gets paid.华新村 The merchant requests the money from the bank. The credit card issuer sends money for your purchase to the merchant. This is typically done daily through batch processing.
        • 华新村You pay back your issuer.华新村 On your statement date, all the transactions you made throughout the month will be totaled together. On the due date, you must repay the bank (in part or in full) for the purchase until it is repaid.
        • 华新村You can continue to use your card until the card’s expiration date.华新村 This doesn’t mean that your account closes on that date, but rather that the issuer will send you a new card in the mail (usually with updated technology like an EMV chip).

        华新村Hot Tip: 华新村Your card’s credit limit determines how high your current balance can be at any given time, so you’ll want to pay attention to how much you’re charging to your card throughout the month to avoid maxing out your card.

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        At the end of each billing cycle, your card issuer will send you a statement that lists your credit card account balance, statement balance, the individual transactions you made that month, the minimum payment due, any fees incurred, and the due date.

        Most credit cards give you an?interest-free grace period on purchases. The grace period is the time between the end of your billing cycle and your bill’s due date.

        Here’s an example of exactly how that works. Let’s say you make a $100 purchase with your card on January 1, the billing cycle closes on January 24, and your payment due date is February 21. The time between the end of the billing cycle (January 24) and the due date (February 21) would be your grace period. During this time, you won’t accrue any interest if this purchase is paid off in full by the due date.

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        You’ll need to pay at least part of the balance due, called the?华新村minimum payment华新村, each billing cycle. You ideally strive to pay off the entire statement balance by the due date to avoid paying interest on your purchases.

        华新村Hot Tip: 华新村You can set up auto-pay directly from your checking account to ensure your payments are made timely. This will eliminate late payment fees and reduce the likelihood of accruing interest charges.

        Many people choose to do this automatically on the due date so that they don’t have to worry about missing or being late for a payment. You can always choose to make additional payments throughout the month if you are close to maxing out your credit limit.

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        If you only make the minimum payment, you’ll be charged interest on any remaining statement balance at the rate set when you were approved for the card. This can also be called “carrying a balance” on your card as you have a balance from 1 billing period to the next.

        This is where many individuals can get into trouble. Those fees start adding up over time and can begin to snowball into a much larger problem. Be sure to read more about credit card interest and how it adds up.

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        Each month when you receive your statement, you should also check to make sure that all charges on the account are yours.

        If you find unauthorized charges on your credit card statement, you should take the following steps:

        1. 华新村Call Your Credit Card Company?华新村— As soon as you notice charges you don’t recognize, call your credit card company (or the issuer) using the number on the back of your card. They’ll likely put a stop on your current card, issue you a new card with a new card number, and investigate the charges immediately.
        2. 华新村Change Your Account Passwords?华新村— If it’s not clear how your information was obtained, make sure you change your password to your lender’s website just to be safe.
        3. 华新村Notify the Credit Bureaus?华新村— If you notice unauthorized charges on more than 1 card or account, be sure to contact the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to alert them and request a?credit freeze. This can help stop any more accounts being opened under your name.
        4. 华新村Contact the Federal Trade Commission (If Necessary)?华新村— If you have encountered fraud on more than 1 account, it could be considered identity theft. This should also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission. They can assist you in developing a plan to prevent further issues.
        5. 华新村Call the Police (If Necessary)华新村?— If you notice a pattern of credit card fraud, the police can use your records to open an investigation.
        6. 华新村Monitor Your Statements and Credit Reports?华新村— You should keep monitoring your credit card statements for a few months as fraudulent charges can appear for months after the initial occurrence. Your credit report can show if any new fraudulent accounts have been opened under your name.
        7. 华新村Monitor Your Rewards华新村 — While the Fair Credit Billing Act limits your liability for unauthorized charges on your credit card, these same protections may not cover credit card rewards points or miles.
        8. 华新村Check Your Online Shopping Sites?华新村— Most of us store credit card information with our favorite online shopping stores. It might be a good idea to remove this information or, at the minimum, change your passwords to these websites.

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        One of the best benefits of using a credit card is the protections you receive in the case of unauthorized purchases. 华新村Many credit cards promise zero liability for all fraudulent transactions.华新村

        After you report an unauthorized purchase to your credit card issuer, the charge will be removed from your outstanding balance while it is investigated.

        华新村Bottom Line: 华新村The important thing is that you have lost no money when a fraudulent transaction occurs on your credit card. You won’t have to make a payment for this transaction, so it will never affect your bank account.

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        If you have a card that earns rewards or other benefits, it is important to know how they work to make sure that you’re maximizing the value you’re earning from the card.

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        At a high-level, the rewards process works like this:

        1. 华新村You make a purchase华新村 华新村with your credit card华新村.
        2. 华新村The issuer calculates your rewards华新村. If you earn bonus rewards based on the category of your spend, the issuer looks at the category code of the merchant where you made your purchase and then applies bonus rewards as necessary. Otherwise, you will earn rewards based on the flat rate.
        3. If your card comes with a 华新村sign-up bonus华新村, these rewards will typically show up on the 华新村next statement华新村 you receive following the date when the requirements were met.
        4. 华新村The issuer credits your rewards to your account华新村. This could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the rewards to show up.
        5. You 华新村redeem rewards华新村 by logging into your card issuer’s account online.
          • 华新村Cash-back redemptions华新村 are pretty straightforward, but typically require contacting the issuer and requesting a check, a direct deposit into a bank account, or a statement credit.
          • 华新村Redeeming points or miles华新村 might involve booking travel through an online tool or transferring to a travel partner. Transfers could take a few weeks depending on the card/partner, so be sure to plan accordingly.
          • You can also redeem points for things like gift cards, merchandise, or rental cars, but typically these offer the worst value and we don’t recommend doing this if possible.

        华新村Hot Tip: 华新村Cash-back redemptions are seen as non-taxable as opposed to interest earned at the bank, which is taxed.

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        Statement credits work a little differently. Basically, a credit is the opposite of a payment since you get money credited back to your account instead of borrowing it to pay for a purchase.

        Some cards offer cash-back in the form of statement credits. These would be requested by you whenever you have earned enough points. Other cards offer statement credits for certain categories of spend. For example, it’s very common to see travel credit cards offer automatic credits for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

        Other cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or the Amex Platinum card, offer statement credits for transactions that are categorized as travel. Each card categorizes these expenses differently, so it’s important to read the fine print to determine which purchases will receive credits.

        In these cases, you simply华新村 make the relevant purchases with the credit card, and then the statement credit should appear on your account.华新村

        Statement credits or returns can result in having a negative balance on your card. This means you’ve paid more than you owed! In these instances, you can continue to spend like normal to offset this balance or even request a check from your issuer for the balance.

        华新村Bottom Line: 华新村While most of these credits are automatic, it is still up to you to make sure that they are being applied to your statement!

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        It’s a lot of information to digest, but the fundamentals to keep in mind when selecting and managing a rewards credit card are few.

        When selecting a rewards card, you’ll want to make sure it 华新村matches your spending patterns华新村 in order to be rewarded well for the purchases you make most. You’ll also want to spend only what you can afford to pay off each statement period. Carrying a balance incurs interest charges which negate the value of the rewards you’ve earned.

        Selecting a card with an 华新村annual fee you’re willing to pay华新村 is also important. If the card does have an annual fee, it should deliver more value to you personally than the cost of that fee.

        And in the end, it’s all about the rewards. The card you select should have华新村 redemption options that match your travel goals华新村 so that you can experience the ultimate value of having a travel rewards card.

        While it may take more than 1 card to reward all of your spending and meet your travel goals, start with 1 and manage it well. Remember, your credit is an asset that can yield great things in the future.


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        The best rewards-earning credit card will depend on your individual or your business spending patterns, how you’ll use the rewards you earn, whether you want to pay an annual fee, and whether you can use all the benefits offered by a specific card.

        If you spend a lot on travel, for example, you’ll want a card that has bonus earnings in this category, a good value redemption option for travel purchases with the rewards you’ve earned, and perhaps a good selection of travel benefits and protections.

        If you value cash-back rewards, however, an entirely different card may be the best rewards credit card for you.

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        Normally, yes. If the card offers a generous welcome bonus, the value of that welcome bonus often exceeds the expense of the first year annual fee.

        If you’ll earn enough rewards and utilize most of the benefits that come with the card, you can also offset the annual fee in future years of having the card.

        For example, if you pay for annual airport lounge access and it comes complimentary on your credit card, those savings may more than justify paying an annual fee.

        There may also be statement credits, car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption coverages, and other additional benefits that provide direct value to the cardholder that make the annual fee worth paying.

        The bottom line is that you will need to determine personally if the value you receive from the card exceeds the expense of the annual fee you’re paying.

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        Earning cash-back, points, or even miles all have their advantages.

        Cash-back is most liquid, of course, but points can often yield greater value when redeemed for travel or transferred to airline or hotel partners.

        Airline miles earned on a rewards card may be the least flexible rewards when they can only be redeemed for flights on the specific airline or partner airlines.

        The best rewards-earning choice will depend on how you want to redeem your rewards. Points are generally better when redeemed for travel.

        Cash-back can be a good choice when it is allowed to accumulate in your account and be redeemed for a specific purpose in a lump sum.

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        All credit cards charge interest rates that are quite high. The average credit card interest rate is nearly 17% APR (annual percentage rate) and charged each month when you carry a balance. Interest rate charges are also variable and can be as much as 25% APR.

        If you’re considering a rewards-earning credit card and plan to carry a balance each month, you will negate the value of any rewards earned as you’ll be paying interest charges each month.

        It’s best to only consider a rewards-earning credit card if you can comfortably pay off the entire balance each statement period.

        Alex Miller

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        Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a?young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug.?Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most?points possible on each dollar spent.

        华新村Disclaimer:华新村 Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

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        Advertiser Disclosure

        Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. 华新村Click here to see a list of advertisers that we work with.华新村