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Cards That Earn Bonus Rewards On Every Dollar Spent

There are plenty of options for cards that earn bonus rewards for spending. These are cards that offer you either cash back or points on each purchase you make. Some of the most popular rewards credit cards will give you bonus points or bonus cash back. The Discover It, for example, offers bonus cash back on rotating categories. The idea of rotating categories is that the categories will switch quarterly. You will earn 5% cash back (or 5% points, depending on the card) for that quarter.

Popular categories for the bonus rotating categories include purchases made at gas stations, grocery stores, dining, online shopping, home improvement stores, and department stores. They can be anything that the credit card company chooses and thinks that their customers will enjoy. Typically there is a cap on the spending in the bonus categories. Going back to the Discover It example, it has a $1,500 spending cap for their rotating bonus categories.

Fixed bonus categories would refer to cards that offer bigger bonuses on certain categories all the time. For example, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard offers two points per dollar spent on all gas station, grocery store and utility purchases. This is offered year round with no spending cap. With no annual fee, cardholders get great rewards at a fixed rate all year long.

What if I don’t like rotating categories?

If rotating categories are not for you and you would prefer to get great rewards all year long on all purchases, you are in luck. We have put together a great list of options for you. Each of these cards offers greater than 1% cash back on all purchases. Take a look and see if any of them are right for you!

Citi Double Cash

Want to earn cash back—twice? The Citi Double Cash card lets you do just that. Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, plus earn another 1% cash back for every payment that you make. In addition to the great cash back offer, the Citi Double Cash card offers a 0% introductory rate for the first 15 months that you have the card.

After that, the card offers a competitive APR of 12.99-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There is no annual fee for the Citi Double Cash card, so you have nothing to lose with this gem. No worries about spending in certain categories, or registering for rotating rewards. You get the same rewards year round, with no spending cap other than your credit limit. There is no limit to the cash back that you can earn with this card.

Capital One Quicksilver Card

Unlimited cash back is the name of the game with the Capital One Quicksilver Card. You will earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make using this card with no limit to the cash back you can earn. There are no specific spending categories or bonus categories to think about. Just use this card for any purchase and get the full reward. Capital One Quicksilver also offers you a $100 cash back reward after you spend $500 in the first three months that you have the card. This is a substantial bonus right off the bat for new cardholders, at 20% cash back!

The cash back rewards are easy and flexible to redeem. You can redeem them at any time for a check, gift card(s), statement credit, or even merchandise. There is no annual fee for this card. You can also enjoy a 0% introductory APR for a limited time on all purchases and balance transfers made using the Capital One Quicksilver card. After the introductory period, the APR will be 12.9-22.9% on purchases and all balance transfers. Another great perk is being able to track your credit score for free so that you can stay on top of any changes right as they occur.

Capital One BuyPower Card

Are you in the market for a new vehicle? The Capital One BuyPower Card might be just the answer. This card offers you 5% cash back rewards on the first $5,000 you spend each year, and 2% on all purchases you make after that. This is a huge reward. You can use the cash back rewards toward the purchase of a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac.

The earnings never expire, as long as you have the card. You can really rack up a lot of cash back toward your next vehicle with this card. Because there are no rotating categories, you can use this card for any and all purchases, and watch your cash back rewards add up. Also, Capital One BuyPower card offers an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 months that you have the card, for all purchases and balance transfers. When the introductory period ends, you will pay 11.90, 15.90, or 19.90% variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness.

Looking For Travel Rewards?

Rewards cards come in many shapes and forms. Some offer cash back or credit toward a new vehicle, like the cards listed above. Others will offer some pretty tremendous travel rewards for those who really want to maximize their rewards. Travel rewards are some of the best in the credit card world, since you can often get more than $1 for each point or mile earned. Here are a few of the best ones we can find for you.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Super value can be found for travelers when they have the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card. You can earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days that you have the card. Earn 2 points for every dollar spent on travel purchases or earn one point for every dollar spent on every other purchase. One of the biggest perks of this card is that cardholders get an extra 10% rewards when booking their travel through Barclaycard or anytime they redeem their miles for statement credits.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus also offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, the APR will be either 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. There is an $89 annual fee for this card, but that is waived for the first year.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Earn travel rewards fast at a rate of 2 points per dollar spent on every purchase you make with the Capital One Venture Rewards Card. Earn an additional 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of having the card. Cardholders will get a 0% introductory APR rate for the first 12 months after approval on purchases and balance transfers, with a 13.9-20.9% APR after that period ends.

The miles that you earn using the Capital One Venture Rewards card can be flexibly redeemed for flights, hotel, rental cars, and other travel benefits. There are no blackout dates or restrictions on airlines if you book through Capital One. If you prefer to book through your travel agent, the Purchase Eraser feature will allow you to redeem your miles and get credit within 90 days of making a travel purchase using your Capital One Venture Rewards card. Track your credit simply, with your credit score being available every month on your statement or through the online access. There is a $59 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card

With the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card, you will earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases made with the card. There is no limit to the number of points that you can earn. Apply online and earn an additional 10,000 points by spending $500 within the first three months. This adds up to a $100 statement credit when you book any travel rewards.

Conveniently, there are no blackout dates and no restrictions on your travel rewards. There is no annual fee for the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. Cardholders will enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers when they are approved for the card. After that, an APR of 14.99-22.99% will apply. There are no foreign transaction fees for this card.

Wyndham Rewards Visa

The Wyndham Rewards Visa is a great card for those who love to travel and want to earn free nights at Wyndham hotels and participating partners. Earn 5 points for every dollar spent on participating hotel stays, and earn 2 points for every dollar spent on all other purchases.

You can earn an additional 30,000 points after making your first purchase using the Wyndham Reward Visa card, and another 5,500 bonus points each year. That is enough for a one night stay at any participating hotel. This card has a $69 annual fee, which is not waived for the first year. The APR is 15.24% or 19.99%, depending on your credit history.

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

With the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, you will quickly build up plenty of points toward your next vacation at any Hilton hotel or participating partner. You can earn 10 HHonors points for every dollar spent on hotel stays at participating hotels. Or earn 5 HHonors points for other travel purchases, including flights and rental cars. Earn 3 HHonors points on all other purchases made using the card.

Cardholders will enjoy Gold Elite status with HHonors, which will be upgraded to Platinum status if you spend $40,000 in one calendar year. Spend $10,000 per year and earn a free weekend night each year on your anniversary. Earn two free weekend night certificates after spending $2,500 within the first 4 months after being approved for the card. This card has a $95 annual fee. There is a variable 15.24% APR for this card.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a variety of rewards cards available right now, with more being added frequently. One of them is right for you. Some people prefer rewards cards with straight cash back rewards options, but if you are not a fan of rotating categories and just want to earn tons of points, or you are a frequent traveler (or want to become one), then choosing one of the awesome travel rewards cards that are available will help you quickly earn points toward your next travel adventure!

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Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Review

When it comes to travel rewards cards, account holders have more to consider than simply the potential miles they can earn over time. Additional benefits like trip insurance, purchase protection, rewards redemption flexibility and unique card member perks should be weighed in marriage with how rewards are earned and at what rate. Card members also want to pay close attention to the fees associated with travel credit cards to ensure they are getting the most cost effective credit card to suit their specific buying needs. The Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa encompasses a wide range of card member benefits that may be attractive to frequent flyers. Let’s take a look at the rewards program first.




Card Basics

The Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa credit card offers card members the ability to earn up to five miles for each dollar spent when utilizing the Mileage Plan program. Under the Mileage Plan, card members can earn on every day purchases, including miles for spending at over 10,000 partner restaurants under the dining tier, through the online shopping mall offered exclusively to Mileage Plan members, or through other purchases made with every day partners such as Safeway, e-Miles, Diners Club International and Vinesse Wine Clubs. Miles vary for each partner but can add up quickly for card members who fully utilize the Mileage Plan partner sites.

In addition to the Mileage Plan partners, Alaska Airlines Visa card members earn three miles for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines plane tickets, vacation packages, cargo and inflight purchases. All other purchases made with the credit card earn card members one mile per dollar spent. Card members have the benefit of no mileage cap on earnings, and no expiration date on earned miles as long as the account remains open.

Flexibility in miles redemption is a feature the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa credit card does well. Card members have the option to redeem earned miles for flights on the following partner airlines:

  • American Airlines
  • AeroMexico
  • Air Frane
  • British Airways
  • Delta
  • Ravn Alaska
  • Fiji Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • PenAir
  • Emirate Airlines
  • Qantas Airlines

Card members should be aware that reward flights must be booked through the Alaska Airlines website to qualify, and some restrictions and blackout dates may apply depending on the partner selected.

Additional Card Perks

In addition to the everyday rewards program offered by Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa, new card members have the opportunity to boost miles earned under a current promotion. An additional 30,000 miles are credited to card members’ accounts if $1,000 or more in purchases is made within the first 90 days of account opening. Bonus rewards can be redeemed as soon as they are credited, making this sign-up bonus incredibly attractive to frequent flyers.

The mileage rewards program made available through the Alaska Airlines Visa is not the only perk of being an account holder. Card members also receive a coach companion fare after $1,000 is spent on the card within the first 90 days after account opening. No blackout dates apply to the companion fare, but the cost must exceed $121 including taxes and fees. Also, all card members have the extra perk of a free checked bag for themselves as well as up to six other passengers on the same reservation.

Bank of America does a great job of offering additional benefits and security to card members, including the following features:

  • A $0 liability guarantee for fraudulent transactions
  • ShopSafe service that generates a temporary credit card number for online shopping, protecting the card members true card details
  • Chip technology that offers enhanced security and global acceptance
  • Overdraft protection that works to prevent declined purchases, returned checks or other excessive spending when a Bank of America checking account is linked to the credit card
  • Account alerts to assist with money management including payment due dates and postings
  • Digital wallet technology that allows card members to pay via mobile devices

Each additional feature offered with the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa credit card comes with full disclosures and program restrictions, each available within the card member agreement.

The Cost

The Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa credit card has a strong rewards program, and when coupled with the supplemental benefits presents a strong option for frequent travelers. However, there are fees associated with the travel credit card that card members should understand and consider prior to applying. First, an annual fee of $50 applies to all card members, and unlike some current promotions with similar travel credit cards, the fee is not waived for the first year of membership.

Card members must also be aware of the inherent costs associated with the Alaska Airlines Visa that come into play when a balance is carried over from billing cycle to billing cycle. The purchase interest rate for the travel credit card ranges from 12.49% up to 19.49% and may fluctuate over time based on broad interest rate market movements. Compared to other travel credit cards, the Alaska Airlines Visa offers a relatively low purchase APR for well-qualified applicants.

Fees also come into play with balance transfers and cash advance transactions. The interest rate associated with balance transfers is the same as the assigned rate for purchases. However, a 3% balance transfer fee is added to each transaction. Cash advance interest rates range from 15.29% up to 22.49%, depending on the applicant’s credit history at the time the card is opened. Fortunately, card members are not assessed any foreign transactions fees for purchases made outside the United States.

Final Thoughts

Frequent travelers who fly on Alaska Airlines or its partner airlines on a consistent basis are the best fit for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa credit card. The sign-up bonus currently offered is an added perk that all but makes up for the annual fee, and the free checked bags and companion airfare add up to substantial savings for frequent flyers. Prior to adding the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa to your wallet, it is important to understand the total fees associated with the card by way of purchase, balance transfer and cash advance interest rates. Similarly, card members need to be aware of how miles are earned and credited to the account, as well as restrictions associated with redemption.

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5 Best Business Cards for Travel Rewards, Winter 2014

Some might argue that the recent announcement by Chase offering a bonus of 70,000 points for signing up for the Ink Plus business card makes it the greatest offer out there. But, don’t be afraid to explore the options, there are currently some great deals floating around that you might want to take advantage of. Here are just a few of the top business cards that we have found.

Ink Plus Business Card

As mentioned, this current offering from Chase gives cardholders a bonus of 70,000 points after they spend $5,000 within the first three months of having the card. Cardholders earn a whopping 5 points per dollar spent on office supplies, cell phone services, internet services, and cable and landline services. Earn 2 points per dollar spent at hotels and gas stations, and one point per dollar elsewhere. All points can be redeemed through the very flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal, for a wide variety of options.

With an annual fee of $95, some may shy away from this card, but the many perks, including complimentary Lounge Club membership for several airlines. Recent news indicates that this offer may be ending soon, so if it interests you, then you had better act fast to take advantage.

Citi Business AAdvantage World MasterCard

This business card offers cardholders a bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months after approval. You can earn 2 AAdvantage points per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases, and also when you spend money on office supplies, car rentals and telecommunications services. There is an annual fee of $95, but it is waived for the first year. With a high sign-up points bonus, this is a great card. When you consider this bonus, plus the first year’s annual fee waived, the Citi Business AAdvantage World MasterCard ranks high among the best business cards available this season.

United MileagePlus Explorer 

The United MileagePlus Explorer Business card not only has a great sign-up bonus of 50,000 after spending $1,000 in the first three months, but you also get a free checked bag when traveling on United flights, which can be up to a $50 savings every time you fly. Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases at restaurants and gas stations, as well as on business supplies at office supply stores. Earn 2 points for every dollar spent on United Airlines purchases.

Get an additional bonus of 10,000 miles when you spend $25,000 in one calendar year. There is an annual fee of $95, but this is waived during the first year. With no foreign transaction fees, this card is great for international travel.

Business Platinum Card from American Express

The Business Platinum Card from American Express offers a great sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of having the card. There are occasional offers that are even better, sometimes up to 75,000 or 100,000 points for sign-up. With additional perks including Priority Pass membership, Delta SkyClub benefits, a $200 airline rebate, TSA PreCheck application and more, this card is worth considering.

It does have a hefty annual fee of $450, but if you play your cards right (pun intended), then you can make the most of the perks and make it worthwhile. Travel rewards are available at a rate of 1.25 cents per point, so each point has a great value. Tons of extra discounts are also available, including discounts for Hertz, Hyatt, FedEx and Barnes & Noble.

Starwood Preferred Guest 

Amex has a great business version of its popular Starwood Preferred Guest card, the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Business Card. This great business card offers a 25,000 point sign-up bonus in the form of 10,000 points after cardholders make their first purchase and an additional 15,000 points after cardholders spend $5,000 in the first 6 months that they have the card.

Enjoy two points earned for every dollar spent on Starwood purchases, and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. One of the great benefits is the ability to earn elite status qualification after 2 stays, and redeem that for 5 nights credit at any Starwood location. Gold Status is achieved when you spend $30,000 in the first year that you have the card. The annual fee is $65, which is not only reasonable, but also waived for the first year. Because Starwood Preferred Guest points are considered to be among the best in the industry right now, and it is easy to earn elite status, this is a card that you might want to seriously consider.

Do You Need a Business Card?

Not everyone needs a business card, but there certainly are many advantages. These advantages may be magnified when a person has a personal and a business version of the same card and can combine points and rewards to really maximize the returns. Often the sign-up bonuses are much larger for business credit cards and can help you build up a large rewards account. You don’t have to own a large company to get a business credit card, most allow you to sign up as a sole proprietor using your own credit history and social security number.


If you have been thinking about exploring the benefits of getting a business credit card, now is a great time with several terrific offers out there for you to check out. Your business credit can be separate from your personal credit, allowing you to build credit for your business, just like you would for yourself. This may ultimately lead to some new business opportunities for you! Check out these offers today!

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A Comparison of the Top 3 Fixed Value Travel Rewards Cards

Travel credit cards offer some of the best rewards in the business. Usually you can earn tons of points, and, in some cases, these points can be redeemed for travel rewards worth more than $1 per point. Let’s take a closer look at the top three fixed value travel reward cards that you can choose from right now.


BankAmericard Travel Rewards

The BankAmericard Travel rewards card has great earning potential and very nice bonus opportunities. There is no annual fee for this card. You will earn 1.5 point for every dollar spent, with no limit to the amount of miles that you can earn.  They offer a 10,000 point bonus to new cardholders after spending $500 in the first three months that you have the card, if you apply online; this corresponds to a $100 statement credit! There is a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months. After the introductory period, the APR will range from 14.99-22.99%, depending on your credit. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Redeeming your points earned using the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card is simple. There are no blackout dates, and no restrictions. BankAmerica checking and savings customers will receive a bonus of 10% of their annual points each year, based on their total spending for the year. Chip technology makes this card very safe to use, and helps reduce fraud and unauthorized transactions.


Barclaycard Arrival Plus

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is one of the most popular travel rewards cards, and it is not hard to see why. Cardholders pay an $89 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. You will earn double miles on all purchases, with no limit to the miles you can earn. New cardholders will receive a bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This is the equivalent of a $400 travel credit! Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months for purchases and balance transfers, with an APR of 14.99-18.99% at the end of that period.

Booking your travel is simple with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. There are no blackout dates or restrictions that apply. For each travel booking, you earn 10% bonus miles, based on the travel spending, making each mile you redeem worth even more. The card is EMV chip enabled, giving you confidence that fraud is unlikely and your personal information is safe. There are also no foreign transaction fees.

Apply Now: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

For those who do not want to pay an annual fee, there is another version of the Barclaycard Arrival that offers no annual fee with smaller, yet still substantial travel rewards available. Link: Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard®



Capital One Venture

Capital One has an excellent option for those who love to travel. The Capital One Venture Rewards card offers two points for every dollar spent on all purchases. Earn an additional 40,000 bonus points by spending $3,000 in the first three months you have the card. There is no limit to the number of points that you can earn. There is no annual fee for the first year, after that you will pay an annual fee of $59. There is no introductory APR rate, the APR is 13.9-20.9%, depending on your credit.

Redeem your Capital One Venture rewards with the No Hassle guarantee for flights, hotels, rental cars, gift cards and more, with no blackout dates or restrictions. Capital One will help you book your travel, or you can use the Purchase Eraser to pay for the cost of booking the travel through an agent. There are no foreign transaction fees to use this card abroad and it comes with smart chip technology. Capital One offers free credit tracking for customers, too, making it easy to stay on top of your credit score.

For those who wish to earn travel rewards without having to pay any annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne card has no annual fee, offers 1.25 points for every dollar spent, and a bonus of 20,000 points for spending only $1,000 in the first three months.



Each of these travel rewards credit cards has something great to offer. If you’re looking for the most rewards possible, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus stands out from the crowd. It offers the highest fixed travel rewards rate in the industry right now, and the flexible process to redeem the points (as well as additional bonuses available when you redeem for travel rewards) makes this our first choice. Take a look for yourself to compare the options, and see if you agree!

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Bank of America Introduces Preferred Rewards Program

Bank of America checking account customers have a new offer to consider for a great credit card. The Bank of America Preferred Rewards Program has some unique offerings for their best customers, including great credit card benefits with added investment opportunities. Let’s take a look!

Best Customers Get the Best Deals!

For Bank of America customers, there are three tiers to the Preferred Rewards program. The first tier, the Gold Tier, is for customers who have a balance of $20K-50K in combined balances on all accounts for a period of three months. These customers will earn 5% boost on their interest rate on their Money Market accounts, which can add up for large balances. In essence, if the regular interest rate is 1%, the 5% boost will bring that rate up to 1.05%. In addition, Gold Tier customers will enjoy a 25% rewards bonus on their Bank of America credit cards.

Customers with balances between $50K-100K, combined in all Bank of America accounts, will qualify for the Platinum Tier. These customers will earn a 10% interest boost, bringing a 1% interest rate up to a 1.1% interest rate. Additionally, Platinum Tier members will earn a 50% rewards bonus on their credit cards with Bank of America.

The highest tier, Platinum Honors, is reserved for those customers with a combined balance of over $100K in their accounts over the course of three months. Platinum Honors members will earn a 20% interest boost, raising that same 1% interest rate to 1.2%. The credit card rewards are high, at a 75% bonus rate.

ATM Withdrawals

Platinum and Platinum Honors members will enjoy being able to withdraw from any non-Bank of America ATM throughout the year. There is a 12 withdrawal limit for the Platinum Tier, but the Platinum Honors members will have no limit for their non-Bank of America ATM use.

Online Investment Benefits

Members with large balances are often looking to diversify their financial portfolios, and Bank of America offers an option for using the Merrill Edge program. Platinum and Platinum Honors members will be entitled to make online trades for their investment accounts, with no fees.  The Platinum level includes 30 trades per month, while the Platinum Honors level has up to 100 trades per month with $0 charge.

Mortgage Benefits

Preferred Rewards program members will receive benefits when using Bank of America for their mortgage needs. Gold Tier members will receive a $200 relationship credit at the time of closing. The benefits hop up to $400 and $600, respectively, for the Platinum and Platinum Honors levels.

Home Equity Discounts

Preferred Rewards Program members will also receive discounts on home equity loans and lines of credit. Gold level members receive a discount of 0.125%, Platinum members get a discount of 0.250% and Platinum Honors members will reap the biggest benefits, at 0.375%. These discounts are considerable, when you take into account that mortgage and home equity rates are at very low rates already!

Great Bank of America Benefits

Preferred Rewards Program members will not pay any checking or savings account fees for many common services, including checks, cashier’s checks and stop payment orders. Top notch customer service, as always, is a priority for Bank of America, and the Preferred Rewards program customers will be able to access dedicated customer service representatives easily to handle any issues or questions.


Credit Card Eligibility

From the Bank of America website: “Most Bank of America® branded consumer credit cards (such as theBankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card and the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card) are eligible to receive the Preferred Rewards bonus as long as the card account is open and in good standing.  The Preferred Rewards bonus will replace the customer bonus you may already receive with the card.

Cards not eligible for the rewards bonus:

  • Non-rewards credit cards
  • Business purpose credit cards
  • BankAmericard Privileges® (except Cash Rewards customers in the Platinum Honors tier)
  • Bank of America Accolades®
  • BankAmericard® Better Balance Rewards™
  • Merrill Lynch branded (including Merrill Accolades®, MERRILL+®, Total Merrill® Cash Back, Total Merrill Match® and Merrill Lynch®Octave™)
  • U.S. Trust branded (including Bank of America Accolades and U.S. Trust® Octave™)
  • AAA Dollars® Visa credit card
  • AAA® Gas Rebate
  • Alaska Airlines®
  • Amway™
  • Asiana Airlines®
  • Azamara Club Cruises®
  • Bass Pro Shops®
  • Celebrity Cruises®
  • Elite Rewards®
  • MelaleucaSM
  • Royal Caribbean International®
  • Spirit Airlines®
  • US Airways®
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways®

This list is subject to change without prior notice.”



For those Bank of America customers with larger balances, the Preferred Rewards Program is a great way to earn a little bit more and pay a little bit less when managing their financial portfolio. Bank of America is offering their customers a way to streamline their financial needs, by combining checking and savings benefits, investment perks, free services and great credit card rewards, all in one place!

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Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2014

Simply put, cash back credit cards are great. They put money back in your pocket – cold, hard cash. Sure, some critics may argue, with plenty of merit, that there are other types of rewards cards—such as travel cards—that may ultimately give you more value in return for your points. But, if you are not the jetsetting type, or you simply do not travel enough to take full advantage of the rewards, then cash back can be the way to go.

Lots of people can benefit from travel rewards, but EVERYONE can benefit from cash back. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the best cash back credit cards out there!

Chase Freedom

After hearing about the cash back and bonus rewards offered by Chase Freedom, it may be difficult to debate whether or not it comes out on top for this year. This card offers 5% cash back on many categories that people spend money in nearly every day—groceries, gas and restaurants. Although the categories rotate somewhat each quarter, at least one of the biggest categories is almost always on the list.

Because of this, you can earn massive cash back rewards using the Chase Freedom. For example, the current bonus categories include restaurants and Lowe’s stores, both popular among many credit card users. Next quarter will be gas stations and Kohl’s department stores. As you can imagine, at a 5% cash back, you can reclaim a significant amount of your hard earned cash—by spending it!

The cash back program is sweeter than others, and here are a few reasons why. First, another thing we love about the Chase Freedom is the sign up bonus. You will get a bonus of $100 in your cash back account after you spend a mere $500 in the first three months. Just about every cardholder will hit this limit, making it a nearly sure thing.

Add in the introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, and you have yourself a true front runner. Oh, and if that is not enough, add an authorized user and get another $25 bonus, if you do this within the first 3 months. Did we mention that there is no annual fee? There really isn’t. Finally, those who have Chase checking accounts will get a 10% annual bonus cash back reward at the end of the year.


Discover it

Another great cash back rewards card is the Discover it. This is another card that offers plenty of benefits, with no annual fee. Discover it also offers 5% rewards on rotating categories, making it easy to really build up a nice cash back rewards account. You will still get 1% cash back on all of your other spending, but the bonus categories are certainly very nice.

With an introductory APR of 0% for the first 14 months, you can pay off your purchases and balance transfers without accruing any interest whatsoever. Discover is also very forgiving, and does not charge you any late payment fee for the first late payment that you make. Be careful after that, though, because you will be charged $35 if you forget again!

Another feature of the Discover it card is the free FICO credit score you receive with your monthly statement. This makes it that much easier to stay on top of your score, which is a nice added benefit.

Apply Now: Discover it®


BankAmericard Cash Rewards 

Earning a consistent 1% on all purchases and a consistent 2% on groceries is great for most people. On top of that, you earn 3% on all gas station purchases. With the price of gas so high, getting 3% cash back is pretty nice and helps take the sting out of filling the tank.

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card also offers $100 cash reward as a bonus, which you can earn by spending only $500 on purchases in the first 3 months. Another great perk, for Bank of America customers, is that you can earn a 10% annual bonus when you have a checking or savings account with them in addition to the credit card account.


Capital One Quicksilver 

Although most cash rewards credit cards offer a basic 1% back on all regular purchases, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit card offers a 1.5% cash back reward rate. In addition, there is a great sign up bonus of $100 after spending $500 in the first 90 days, which is not hard to do!

Add in the fact that there are no annual fees, and no limit to the spending or cash back that you can earn, and you have yourself another great card to choose from. Although there are no bonus categories or rotating bonuses, this card offers a steady value to customers.

How to Choose?

As mentioned in the beginning of this post, cash back rewards are not always the best or most valuable options, but they are certainly more of a sure thing when it comes to redeeming your rewards. Frequent travelers should be exploring some of the other rewards cards out there, but cash back rewards still offer plenty of great things—like cash back!

Read the fine print, make sure you understand rotating categories and how they apply, any caps on spending, and any associated fees that you might pay before you decide which card is going to be best for you. All in all, these cards are definitely all solid choices.

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The Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Nobody likes fees.  Especially when they’re unneeded.  That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards.

For the longest time, since credit cards were invented, they have carried the dreaded ‘foreign transaction fee.’  This usually was a two or three percent charge on every dollar you spent outside of the United States while travelling or on business.  These fees, though, are slowly but surely going the way of the dinosaur.  There are many cards out in the marketplace today that do not charge a foreign transaction fee.  This post is to detail some of the best cards out there!


Barclaycard Arrival Mastercard

This badboy is one of the best credit cards out there on the market for travelers.  It makes earning points easy- you’ll earn two points per dollar spent everywhere, and, you’ll receive a 10% redemption rebate when you use them, totaling 2.2 points per dollar!

Furthermore, when you apply for the credit card, you’ll receive 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more in the first three months of card membership.  The annual fee is $89, but your first year is free, and the usual host of card benefits like insurance, purchase protection, and customer service is included.

Link: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®


British Airways Visa

This credit card makes noise on the internet every now and then, due to its 100,000 mile sign up bonuses that are often offered.  Today, though, you’re stuck with 50,000 miles for spending $2,000 in the first three months on the credit card. Still not a bad bonus, but you may want to wait it out until the 100,000 offer comes back.

This card earns Avios miles, which can be very valuable when used for short-haul domestic flights on American Airlines or US Airways (partner airlines of British Airways).  You’ll have to pay tall fees and surcharges for longer haul flights.  Coupled with their 2.5 Avios for every dollar spent with British Airways, this is a great offer for any person who frequently finds themselves in London or will take advantage of the shorter domestic flights.  The annual fee for this card is $95.


Chase Sapphire Preferred

Everyone who owns this credit card loves it (including me!).  For one, it’s made of metal, so you’ll receive compliments from everyone who touches it.  No, really, I’ve probably received fifty comments about the card over my time with Chase.

It’s sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles is a great start in its Ultimate Rewards program, since it has great transfer partners like British Airways, Southwest, and United.  You’ll also receive 7% of the points you earn as a bonus at the end of the year.  You’ll receive two points per dollar at restaurants, and one point per dollar on everything else.  The annual fee is steep at $95, but that is waived for the first year.


The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card

With no annual fee, you’ll want to take a look at this card from Bank of America.  A sign-up bonus of 10,000 points when you spend $500 is available, and you’ll earn 1.65 points per dollar spent, since you receive a 10% bonus each year on the 1.5 points per dollar you earn.

So, if you’re not interested in paying an annual fee but still want to earn travel rewards and enjoy no foreign transaction fees, this might be a match for you.  This card works similar to the Barclaycard Arrival (which has a comparable no annual fee version here: Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard®) when you’re ready to redeem your rewards.



These are just a few of the cards out there that don’t have foreign transaction fees.  It’s important to look at whenever you’re applying for a credit card, even if you don’t do international traveling often.  You don’t want to add a straight 3% to your trip costs, and, in our internet economy, if you make a purchase online from a foreign retailer to ship to your home, you may incur a fee!  But, stick with any of the cards above, and you’ll be safe.

It’s also important to mention that all of the cards mentioned above, besides the Barclaycard Arrival, offer smart chip technology. This can come in handy, since many countries don’t used the ‘swipe’ method of transactions we’re used to here in the States.  I recommend having at least one credit card with a smart chip if you’ll be traveling internationally!

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5 Best Secured Credit Cards of 2014

Secured credit cards are sometimes overlooked in the world of credit card reviews.  No bonuses? No rewards? No points? No thanks, some say.  However, they are credit card products for a reason, because they serve a very important need.  Those of us that have had credit troubles in the past, or a bankruptcy, need a safe way (or any way, really) to rebuild their credit.  Credit is a very important aspect of society, and bad credit can have a negative effect on one’s life.  From securing a business loan, to taking out a mortgage to purchase a home, the ghosts of credit scores past can come back to haunt you at any time!

How it works

A secured credit card works like this- the credit card holder must provide collateral in the form of a security deposit.  Then, that forms your credit line.  The bank has zero risk of default, since anything you spend will be backed up by your collateral.  And, in exchange, one can rebuild (or just build) their credit score.

How to choose

The best way to choose a secured credit card is to pick one with a bank that you trust or have done business with.  They offer many more features than other cards out there, and have lower APRs.  In addition, some even allow your deposit to earn interest, so the money isn’t just ‘sitting there’ while you rebuild your credit worthiness.

Let’s check out some of those below!

First Progress Platinum Cards

These three secure credit cards with very similar, no nonsense benefits.  The major difference between the two being their annual fees and APRs.  Read on through the links below to see a comparison and apply, and to see if First Progress is a good fit for you!

Check out our full review here.

Link: First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Link: First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Link: First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Capital One Secured

With a minimum security deposit of $200, running up to $3,000 the Capital One Secured credit card offers one safe way to start rebuilding your credit.  A low annual fee of $29 is great, but a high APR of 22.9% may deter you.

Check out our full review here.

CitiBank Secured

With a similar annual fee of $29, but an 18.24% APR, the CitiBank begins to look great.  The ability to receive a $5,000 credit line through a secured deposit may also sway you to apply for this card.  Furthermore, you’ll be able to earn interest on that deposit, which is a low 1.01%, but better than nothing!

Check out our full review here.

Wells Fargo Secured

The ultra-low $25 annual fee, a low 18.99% APR, and the ability to apply only one year (twelve months) after bankruptcy makes the Wells Fargo Secured credit card an attractive option.  In addition, you can make your credit line between $300 and $10,000 (yes, you read that right!).

Check out our full review here.

Bank Americard Secured Credit Card Review

No application fees, a credit limit of $300 to $4,900, and an APR of 20.24% may seem like a bad deal, but when you have the backing of Bank of America, and it’s purchase protections, the extra fees may be worth it to you.

Check out our full review here.

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The Best Fixed Value Travel Rewards Cards for 2014

When it comes to travel cards, you generally get more bang for your buck with transferable miles and points, as opposed to fixed value miles and points. But not all fixed value travel credit cards are bad, and some of them even make sense for us rewards junkies.

Even though you can’t transfer your points out to travel partners with fixed value cards, there’s still value to be had. There’s no shame in wanting some $$ for car rentals, miscellaneous travel expenses, cruises, B&B’s, or even cheaper airfare. No shame at all. Plus, you don’t have to worry about rewards program devaluations. But then there’s price inflation, so pick your poison.

Here’s a breakdown of my favorite fixed value card offers.


Barclays Arrival Mastercard 

Arrival Card


In my mind, the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® is easily the best fixed value travel card out there. Not only do you get $400 in travel after spending $3,000 in 90 days, you also receive 10% back on your redemptions, really making the sign-up bonus worth $440 in travel. Sweetness.

I also like that you get 2x miles on all purchases, no foreign transaction fees, 0% APR on purchases for 12 months, and that the $89 annual fee is waived the first year. There’s also the Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard®, but the sign-up bonus and perks aren’t as good.

Apply now: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

Apply now: Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard®


Capital One Venture


You wouldn’t believe how many people ask me about the Capital One Venture card. Or how many people I meet who think they are killing it with their 2x points on all purchases.

I’m not saying it’s the worst card out there, but I do think that the mainstream perception of this card is way off. But hey, that’s just me and what do I know? Well, I do know that Capital One will most likely pull all three credit bureaus when you apply, so there’s that.

You get 10,000 points (equal to $100) when you spend $1,000 in 3 months, which is…ok. It also doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, the $59 annual fee is waived for the first year, and you do earn 2x miles on all purchases.

I may or may not be saying that Alec Baldwin and Jimmy Fallon are liars. You decide.


US Bank Flexperks Travel 


The US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards credit card is an interesting option. You’ll receive 17,500 Flexpoints after spending $2,500 in 3 months. 20,000 Flexpoints is worth $400 in travel, so you’re barely under that value.

The Flexperks travel card does come with EMV chip technology, but there’s a 2-3% foreign transaction fee. What’s the point?! See what I did there. You will earn 1 Flex point per $1, and 2x points on the category you spend the most in (gas, groceries, etc).

A cool little perk is that you get a $25 airline allowance with each award ticket, which means you’ll be reimbursed up to $25 toward incidental airline expenses, such as baggage fees or in-flight food and drinks charged to your card.

Note: US Bank backs the Flexperks card and is pretty stingy about too many recent inquiries.


Bank of America Travel 


A nice no annual fee option is the Bank of America Travel Rewards card comes with a sign-up bonus of 10,000 points ($100 in travel) after spending $500 in 3 months. Other perks of the card are no foreign transaction fee, 1.5 points per $1 on all purchases, and 0% apr for 12 months. This card also has smart chip technology, which all travel cards should have. If they’d all just offer no foreign transaction fees and smart chip technology, the world would be a better place.

Since I want bigger rewards, this one is so-so in my book. But if you’re a no annual fee kinda person, it’s a nice option.


Wrap up

I think it’s obvious that the Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases leads the way. I can only hope that Barclays’ aggressiveness will encourage the other banks to offer more perks and higher sign-up bonuses. I can dream, can’t I?

Anyway, I hope this helps if you have your heart set on a fixed value card, but it’s hard to suggest any of them over most of the more lucrative rewards credit cards. However, fixed value point cards can definitely serve a purpose and bring some diversity to your wallet. So it’s not a bad idea to add one to the mix.

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BankAmericard Secured Credit Card Review

Sometimes, your credit falls below the level that you want it to be.  Sometimes, it’s not your fault, like identity theft, and sometimes it’s those giant chandeliers that you maybe didn’t need.  Whatever the case, there are cards out there to resurrect your credit score from the depths of the FICO underworld.  The BankAmericard Secured Credit Card is one of them.  Let’s dig in below and see what the fuss is about!

The Benefits

For one, there are no application fees, and no activation fees.  Much like other secured credit cards, you must deposit funds into an account to secure a credit line.  This ranges from $300-$4,900 on this credit card.  In addition, all of your account information, like paying on time, is shared with the credit card bureaus to make sure that you’re getting ‘credit’ for being a good customer.   Then, after a happy twelve (12) months of card membership, you can apply to have your security deposit returned, now that you’ve become trustworthy in the eyes of the bank.

Furthermore, you have the standard Bank of America guarantees, like online shopping protection, paperless statements, mobile banking, text banking, and account alerts.


The Nitty Gritty

There is no Introductory APR, only a variable APR of 20.24%.  Again, you’re trying to prove to the banks and to the credit bureaus that you are a trustworthy customer, so I would recommend not carrying a monthly balance.  Then, cardmembership is really free!  Well, that is, minus the $39 annual fee.  Unlike other secured credit cards, you can transfer balances to this card, but at a 3% fee.

The direct deposit and check cash cash advances APR is 20.24%, and 24.99% for bank cash advances.  Furthermore, a 29.99% penalty APR applies to you if you miss a payment.  A late payment fee of $35 also applies.



Aligned against other secured credit cards, the Bank Americard Secured credit card looks very similar.  I do like, though, the Bank of America backing of the card, with its safety features that other smaller banks may not offer.  The APR is a bit high, yes, but as I stated above, pay off your bills each month, and it’s a non-detail!