When it comes to using credit cards, you already know the importance of being smart and responsible. Especially because their use can greatly impact your credit score and your ability to get a loan or a mortgage.
And since well-managed credit cards can be such a useful tool for your overall financial goals, it’s smart to also compare different reward options, but that’s where things can get confusing. It can be tough to compare perks, points, annual fees, and determine which card best suits your needs.
Here is a cheat sheet, including some factors to consider before you apply for the card, plus six great credit card options for you.
In order to maximize the options available, you have to know your FICO score.
Generally, the best credit card offers are available to those who have good (670) to excellent (750 or above) credit.
If your credit is only fair, or you want to increase your score from good to very good (740) or above, you may need to pay down debt to improve your loan balance-to-credit limit ratio.
Perks, like free checked luggage or access to an airport lounge, are available to most credit card holders regardless of how much money they’ve spent on the card.
Points, on the other hand, are dependent on how much money is spent on the card.
If you travel frequently, looking for a card that has perks like free checked luggage may make sense.
Some cards may have a point bonus if you spend above a certain amount in a set period of time.
Because of this, it can be smart to plan to apply for a credit card shortly before you invest in a large purchase, like a television or trip, or prior to the holiday season.
Make sure to pay off the purchase before you start incurring interest charges though; those charges can quickly negate any point bonus benefit you get.
Some annual fees can throw people off. However, a $95 annual fee may be worth it in terms of points accrued, which can then be used either for cash back or travel.
Knowing how the fee will factor into the reward can help you suss out which one is worth it for you. If you know how much you expect to spend on the card in a year, you can do simple math to calculate whether the value of your points is higher than the membership fees you’ll pay annually.
Reward cards tend to fall into these two categories.
Cash back may make the most sense if you frequently use a credit card for everyday purchases, like groceries or gas.
Travel rewards, on the other hand, may make the most sense if you travel frequently (even annually or semi-annually).
Do your research and figure out the best option for you.
Be aware, though, that travel rewards could come with restrictions like blackout dates. The legwork involved with travel rewards may be trickier than cash back-rewards, which could be simpler to redeem on everyday purchases.
After you’ve considered the questions above, you may want to take a look at the following credit card options.
If: You travel all the time.
Why: Charge $4,000 in the first three months and get $625 back in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Other Things to Know: No foreign transaction fee; no annual fee the first year, $95 subsequent years.
If: You travel overseas frequently for business.
Why: 2 travel miles for every dollar spent.
Other Things to Know: Rewards don’t expire; $0 intro for the first year; $59 annually after that.
If: You always find yourself at the gas station or grocery store.
Why: 6% back on grocery purchases; 3% back on gas.
Other Things to Know: $150 back if you spend $1000 on the card on three months; 0% intro APR.
If: You use your credit card for every single purchase.
Why: Automatic 1.5% cash back on every purchase, plus $150 back when you spend $500 in the first three months.
Other Things to Know: 0% intro APR, full purchase protection on transactions.
If: You have a balance on your old credit card.
Why: A 0% balance transfer offer for 18 months.
Other Things to Know: A freeze-it option ensures you only spend when you want: It allows recurring charges but will not authorize new purchases, so if you’ve temporarily misplaced your card, you’re protected.
If: You’re trying to build credit.
Why: Your credit line automatically goes up after five months. If you pay your balance every month, that can help up your credit score.
Other Things to Know: No annual fee and easy access to your FICO score.
If: You’re not good at deadlines.
Why: The Citi Simplicity doesn’t have any late fees or penalty rates.
Other Things to Know: A “Price Rewind” option lets you get a lower price on an item after you purchased when you register the item with your card. 0% APR for 21 months.
Fabric exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.
Fabric by Gerber Life exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.
Information provided is general and educational in nature and is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, financial, legal, or tax advice. Laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of this information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. We make no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use, and disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information.
Fabric by Gerber Life offers a mobile experience for people on-the-go who want an easy and fast way to purchase life insurance.
UGMA accounts are custodial accounts you can use to save money or build investments for your child. Learn UGMA limits and advantages to see how this could fit into your savings plans.
College savings is easier when the whole family’s on board. Include your child in the conversation early to save and plan for their education.
When you have a baby, there’s a lot to consider. Now's the time to focus on your financial priorities. Here's where to get started.
Several life insurance options exist with no medical exam. If you’re in great health, no-exam term life insurance is likely your best fit.
The life insurance gender gap shows that women are less likely to have the coverage they need than men. Explore reasons and ways to close the gap.
If you have a permanent life insurance policy that has a cash value, you might be considering surrendering your policy as a source of cash. That’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Term Life Insurance Policy Series ICC22 2205-4004 WSA and Accelerated Death Benefit Rider policy series ICC22 2205-2623 WSA (and state variations where applicable) issued by Western-Southern Life Assurance Company, Cincinnati, OH which operates in DC and all states except NY, and distributed by Gerber Life Agency, LLC using Fabric Technologies. Gerber Life Agency, LLC is an affiliate of Gerber Life Insurance Company (est. 1967). All are members of Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern). Issuance of coverage for Term Life Insurance is subject to underwriting review and approval. Please see a copy of the policy for the full terms, conditions and exclusions. Product provisions, availability, definitions and benefits may vary by state. Payment of benefits under the life insurance policy is the obligation of, and is guaranteed by, the issuing company. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer. Products are backed by the full financial strength of the issuing company.
All sample pricing is based on a 30-year old F in Excellent health for the coverage amount shown and a 10-year term policy, unless otherwise stated. Gerber Life Agency, LLC (GLA) is an insurance agency licensed to sell life insurance products. GLA will receive compensation from Western-Southern Life Assurance Company for such sales. The NAIC Company Code for Western-Southern Life Assurance Company is 92622.
Western-Southern Life Assurance Company's A+ Superior A.M. Best Rating: Superior ability to meet ongoing insurance obligations (second highest of 13 ratings; rating held since June 2009). Ratings are subject to change from time to time. The ratings shown here are correct as of 09/03/2022. For more information about a particular rating or rating agency, please visit the website of the relevant agency.
Plan like a parent. is a trademark of Fabric Technologies, Inc.
Gerber Life is a registered trademark. Used under license from Société des Produits Nestlé S.A. and Gerber Products Company.
In the State of California, Gerber Life Agency, LLC is known as and does business as Gerber Life Insurance Agency, LLC.