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Best Credit Cards for Grocery Shopping

Everyone’s gotta eat sometime, right?  With the ubiquitous cooking reality show emanating through our television sets and Hulu accounts hour by hour, many Americans are cooking at home.  Growing up with an amateur chef as a father, I can relate.  Though double points on dining out with products like the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card sounds nice, at the end of a long day, nothing beats a home-cooked meal.  So, let’s analyze some good cards for your grocery shopping needs, shall we?


Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

This credit card, at $75, may have an annual fee, but when a card like this offers 6% cash back on the first $6,000 in spending at supermarkets, you have to take notice!  Along with the 6% cash back, you’ll get $100 in Reward Dollars for signing up. In addition, the card offers 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% on all other purchases.


Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

Very similar to the card above, but without the annual fee, this card offers 3% cash back on the first $6,000 (that’s $180!) in spending per year at supermarkets, 2% at gas and select department stores, and 1% on everything else.


American Express Hilton

Those of you that prefer points and miles can rest easy, there are grocery credit cards for you as well.  The American Express Hilton card, which has no annual fee, offers 5 Hilton HHonors points per dollar spent at supermarkets (and five points per dollar at restaurants and gas stations).  To me, this card covers many of the essential purchases in one’s life!  Plus, if you stay at Hilton Hotels often, you’ll earn 7 points per dollar on all purchases there.


American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

This card is quite a powerful one, but it comes at a price- $175 for the year (but the first year of cardmembership is free).  With this charge card, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar at supermarkets.  In addition, you’ll earn three points per dollar on airfare and two points at gas stations (sounds like a trend, doesn’t it?).


Barclaycard Arrival

Ok, this card doesn’t offer a grocery category bonus. But, for the grocery spender also looking to reap travel rewards, the Arrival card from Barclays offers 2 miles for every dollar spent. You’ll also get 40,000 miles just for signing up for the card, which is $400 you can redeem toward travel expenses! That’s a sign-up bonus I can get into. Of course, it comes with an annual fee of $89. If that isn’t what you’re looking for, consider the no annual fee option (less rewards, but with no annual fee, that’s understood).


Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard®


Notes on What Constitutes a “Supermarket”

I know that when I was in college, I bought two things: beer and more beer.  And the best place for me to do that was Costco.  Those types of stores are NOT ELIGIBLE for these offers.  Only stores like Safeway, Von’s, and Albertson’s qualify.



It’s pretty clear that the American Express company has focused their efforts on many of their cards towards grocery rewards.  I think it’s great- why not get rewarded for eating in with your family around the dinner table.  It wasn’t the intention of this article to just feature Amex cards, but the best cards out there for super shoppers seems to be with them.

Again, it’s all about analyzing your spending.  If you spend a ton on groceries each year, clearly the Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card is the way to go for your family.  Good luck, and cook up something delicious, why don’t you?

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Cash Back Cards with Rotating Category Bonuses

A relatively new phenomenon in the world of credit cards are “rotating category bonuses.”  Around three credit cards offer this benefit of “bonus categories” that offer more than the standard 1% cash back.  The categories are varied across the credit cards, and change every three months.  Let’s dive into the product offerings and see how the cards stack up against each other!


Citi Dividend Card

The Citi Dividend card gives you $100 cash back when you spend $500 in three months upon card opening.  You’ll receive 1% cash back on every purchase, an intro APR of 0% for the first twelve months, and no annual fee.  The category for January is the only one available with information right now, but you’ll earn 5% back at all Macy’s, drug stores, and fitness clubs between 1/1/14 and 3/31/14.


Discover it

The Discover It card offers similar benefits to the Citi Dividend card.  No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, one percent cash back on regular purchases, and free FICO credit scores each month are some of the varied options.  If you forget to make a payment, the first fee of $35 is waived.  In addition, late payments won’t raise your APR, which is nice.  For the “rotating categories,” Jan-Mar 2014 will be restaurants and movies.  There is a limit of $1,500 per quarter in spend, though, so you’ll be getting a maximum of $75 in fun money from the bonus categories each quarter.

 Link: Discover it®


Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom card offers a similar sign-up offer as the Citi Dividend Card, $100 for $500 in spend over three months.  No annual fee, access to the Ultimate Rewards redemptions if you have a Sapphire card, 1% cash back on regular purchases, and 0% APR for 15 months are some of the standard benefits.  For the rotating categories, the first quarter 5% bonus categories fall with gas stations, movie theaters, and Starbucks stores.  Second quarter are restaurants and Lowe’s, third quarter are gas stations and Kohl’s, and fourth quarter are Amazon, Zappos, and department stores.


Who’s the Winner?

In all honestly, all three cards are solid choices for anyone looking for a no-fee credit card with some solid benefits.  Sure, there’s no option for high end travel redemptions, but if a lot of your spend falls into categories that offer the 5% bonus, you may end up with more money back in your pocket than some of the other, annual fee charging credit cards.  It’s all about keeping good track of your annual spend and seeing where your spending lies. does a good job of putting your spend into these categories automatically.

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Card Comparison: Chase Freedom vs. Discover It

Oftentimes, when I’ve given advice to friends and family about “the best card for [insert reason here],” the choice comes between two cards.  “Which one should I choose?” they ask.  It’s an entirely individual question that each of you, dear readers, must answer for yourselves (though feel free to ask me anything in the comments below).  One common one that I am frequently asked is deciding between the Chase Freedom® card, which for a limited time has an offer of $200, and the Discover It cards, both similar and different in ways.  Let’s see how they compare, category by category, below.


Discover it®

Chase Freedom®


Annual Fee 

One major category of benefits that is important to cardmembers is the annual fee for opening the credit card.  There is good news in this category for both cards: there is no annual fee.  So, any benefits you earn could potentially be “free” if you manage your expenses well and not pay interest on a revolving balance each month.  Advantage: Tie.


Introductory APR 

An introductory APR is important for some, since opening up a new credit line may be for a new, large purchase that will take time to pay off.  With an intro APR, you have interest-free lending for a specific amount of time.  For the Chase Freedom credit card, you’ll have fifteen months of 0% APR, and then between 13.99 and 22.99 percent after that.  For the Discover It credit card, the period is 14 months, with an APR of 10.99 and 22.99 percent after that.  Advantage: Chase Freedom.


Sign-Up Bonus 

Another big draw for customers, the sign-up bonus is that beautiful mannequin in the window to draw you in.  For these no-fee credit cards, bonuses are not as high as other credit cards.  For the Chase Freedom card, you’ll earn $100 cash back with $500 in spending over three months!  For the Discover It credit card, there actually is no sign-up bonus!  Advantage: Chase Freedom®


Bonus Categories 

These two credit cards are unique, in that they each offer “bonus categories” that rotate four times a year.  Each card offers 5% cash back for each category, up to $1,500 cash back.  At the time of writing, the Discover It card has only published the first category of bonuses for January-March, which is for restaurants and movies.  In addition, the Discover It card has an online shopping mall offering 5%-20% cash back for purchase.

For the Chase Freedom, gas stations, Starbucks and movie theaters are the category bonus for January-March, restaurants and Lowe’s for April-June, gas stations and Kohl’s for July-September, and Zappos, Amazon, and select department stores for October-December.  Winner: the Discover It card, with its online shopping mall option.


Regular Spend 

You will also receive bonus points for regular spend.  Each card offers you one point per dollar of regular spending, so this category is a tie.


Other Benefits

The Chase Freedom doesn’t really have any other “bonus” benefits to speak of.  However, the Discover It card offers free FICO scores every month, and no foreign transaction fees, which are valuable benefits in my book. Advantage: Discover It.



It’s hard to make a choice between the two, so I actually won’t render a verdict here.  If you value shopping over, say, travel, I would push you towards the Discover It credit card.  It has many more spending bonuses in those categories.  If you enjoy immediate rewards, the sign-up bonus for the Chase Freedom is a nice added perk.  Analyze your spending you think you’ll have in 2014, and make a decision!  Feel free to ask questions below!


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Best Credit Cards for Shopping Rewards

Credit cards, for many, are an enabler to see our world with less stress and out of pocket cash.  Their benefits allow some of us to stay in fancy hotels, travel first class for the first time in our lives, or have a (free!) pre-departure beverage.

But, for many others, who maybe don’t value travel as highly as others, credit cards are for shopping.  Want that Prada purse now?  Charge it, and pay it off later.  Need to purchase that perfect holiday gift?  Break out the Visa.  This post is focused on the best credit cards for you avid shoppers out there.  Which ones offer good cashback options at retailers?  Which will save you the most money?  Let’s take a look at some below!


Chase Freedom Card

Much is written about on the internet on Chase Freedom’s bigger brother, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  It offers great travel rewards, and with two points per dollar earned for restaurants and travel, a good “everyday” card.

However, the Chase Freedom card is often overlooked as a viable “everyday” credit card to use.  For one, there is no annual fee, making it free to hold the card in your wallet.  In addition, it’s a cash back card, but has the ability to transfer those into Ultimate Rewards points if you have a Chase Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred card.  The card earns one point (or one cent) per dollar on all purchases, but features rotating categories, changing four times per year, that you’ll earn 5% cash back with.

For 2014, Chase has unveiled those categories.  The stipulations of the deal states that you can earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in each category, per quarter.  So, in total, you can earn $300 back on purchases each year.  The regular spending bonus has no limits.  For January through March, gas stations, Starbucks and movie theaters earn the bonuses.  April through June are restaurants and Lowe’s home improvement stores.  July through September features gas stations again, and Kohl’s department stores.  October to December feature “select department stores,” and

As you can see, certain parts of the year are more lucrative for the avid shopper.  However, the key points of the year when most shopping is done (holiday season), you’ll have many of your purchases covered under these bonuses. Also, you can enjoy 15 months of no interest on purchases and balance transfers!

Read our review of this card here.


Discover It Card

Another annual fee-free credit card, the Discover It Card is a great option for online shoppers.  The Discover It shopping mall features many of the world’s biggest brands, offering 5% – 20% cash back on every purchase.

In addition, Discover It has changing categories similar to that of the Chase Freedom card.  Currently, the quarterly benefit is for restaurants and movie theaters, and you can earn that 5% bonus up to $1,500 in spending, similar to the Chase Freedom card.

A new feature that Discover has added to this card is the monthly FICO credit report with your statement. This is a nice perk for those wanting to stay on top of their credit.

And another nice perk for shoppers, you’ll receive 0% APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers! There’s also no foreign transaction fee if you decide to do some shopping over the pond.

Read our review of this card here.

Apply Now: Discover it®


Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

Without argument, one of the better cash back credit cards out there, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express features a few categories that spenders will receive rewards back in a big way.  For one, supermarkets receive 3% cash back on all purchases, up to $6,000.  Furthermore, and the subject of this post, shoppers will receive 2% back on all purchases made at select major department stores, like Macy’s.  This is in addition to whatever deals the stores may be offering that you may find.  There is no annual fee for this card.

Also like the other cards, you’ll enjoy no interest for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. This is great if you plan on making any large purchases that you’ll want to pay off over some time.

The Preferred version of this credit card offers 6% back at supermarkets and 3% back on department store purchases, but carries a $75 annual fee.  It’s worth analyzing your spending to see if it is worth it to hold this credit card for the extra cash back.

Read our review of this card here.


There are many options out there for shoppers. These are just the top picks in my book.  It is my belief that one should never “overspend” or carry a balance on a credit card if they can handle it.  The cash back rewards are worth the most if you aren’t having to pay interest back to the credit card companies that give them to you.  I hope this post will help you decide which shopping credit card is best for you!

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The Top 5 Travel Rewards Cards with 0% APR

I’ve recently had a few people ask me what the best travel rewards cards are with a 0% intro APR. It’s a good question, since having no interest for 12 months or more is important to a lot of people. Whether you’re trying to consolidate debt (keep in mind balance transfer fees) or looking to make some large purchases soon, a rewards card with a 0% APR can help.

Bottom line: If you need to carry a balance for a time, a 0% APR card is a good idea. Just stay on top of when the intro period ends! You can do that with Card Watchdog (shameless plug).

Alright, below are our favorite travel rewards cards that offer a 0% introductory APR.


1. Barclaycard Arrival

There are two versions of the Barclaycard Arrival card: the annual fee version and the no annual fee version.

The no annual fee version offers no interest on purchases for the first 12 months of account opening. After that, it’s a variable APR of 14.99% or 18.99%, based on your creditworthiness. The intro APR doesn’t apply to balance transfers, so the variable APR will apply. There is a balance transfer fee of $10 or 4% (whichever is greater).

What we like about the Arrival:

First, the sign-up bonus of  $200 isn’t too shabby. We also like the simplicity of earning 2x or 1x for every dollar you spend. Since there are plenty of other cards that have category bonuses to think about, it’s nice to have one that’s just easy.

A new perk that we’re loving is the free credit score monitoring that Barclays is offering on this card (and several others). This is a handy tool, since it’s important to stay on top of your score when applying for cards.

Read our comparison review of the Barclaycard Arrival cards here.

Link: $200 in travel offer (no annual fee) –  Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard®


2. US Airways Premier World MasterCard

The US Airways Premier World MasterCard offers an introductory rate of 0% for the first 12 months, then it’s 15.99% or 24.99%. The introductory rate is for balance transfers. Good stuff.

What we like about the US Airways rewards card:

If you’re looking to make a balance transfer, this card is a good option since it allows you to earn up to 10,000 miles when transferred within 90 days of account opening (keep in mind the 3% balance transfer fee). We also like the annual companion certificate that comes with this card and the sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles isn’t bad.

FYI- Now is a good opportunity to grab the US Airways card if you don’t already have it, because it will most likely go away some time after the merger with AA is complete. Dividend miles will eventually be able to be used for OneWorld flights, so you might see it as a way to get some AAdvantage miles. Of course, you can still use Dividend miles for Star Alliance flights until March, 30, 2014, but finding space will be competitive and people are already seeing less award inventory.

Link: The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®


3. Lufthansa Premier Miles & More

The Lufthansa Miles & More card offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles after the account is opened. After that, your APR will be 15.99% or 24.99%based on your creditworthiness.

What we like about the Premier Miles and More card:

Well, we used to like the sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles, but that offer has been decreased to 20,000 after first purchase and 15,000 more after qualifying balance transfer. Still, the opportunity to earn up to 35,000 miles isn’t awful, and we like the chance to earn rewards on a balance transfer. The annual companion certificate is nice, too!

Link: Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard®


4. Chase Freedom

With the Freedom, you’ll get a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. For those looking to consolidate/eliminate debt, the 0% on balance transfers is helpful. There is still a balance transfer fee of 3% (pretty standard). After the intro period, the variable APR is 13.99%-22.99%.

What we like about the Freedom:

For starters, we like that Chase recently raised the sign-up bonus on this card from 10,000 points to 20,000 points. No, it’s not the best bonus in the world, but an increase is better than none, especially on a no annual fee card. And the Freedom definitely has its charm – like the 5x quarterly rotating categories. I earn a pretty 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points a year for taking advantage of the bonuses.


5. Capital One VentureOne

The VentureOne card comes with a 0% introductory APR on purchases until December 2014, then it jumps up to 11.9% – 19.9%, based on your creditworthiness. The same APR applies for balance transfers.

What we like about the Capital One VentureOne: 

The Capital One VentureOne is a solid no annual fee card, offering a $200 in travel singing bonus and 1.25 miles on every dollar spent. You really can’t complain about that. It also has no foreign transaction fees, making it good for – yep, you guessed it – travel.


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Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard vs. the US Airways Premier World MasterCard

Two airlines in the Star Alliance (for now, anyway), Lufthansa and US Airways, both have co-branded cards issued by Barclays.  For Lufthansa, there is the Lufthansa Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard®, and for US Airways, there is the The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®.  They each have their unique benefits, so let’s check out which one deserves the last spot in your wallet!

 Apply Now:

The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®

Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard®


The Face Off 

  • Annual Fee

The Lufthansa card features a $79 annual fee.  However, one benefit is if you have Senator or HON Circle elite status with Lufthansa, that fee is waived each year.  For US Airways, the $89 fee is to be paid regardless of elite status.  Advantage, Lufthansa!

  • Sign-Up Bonus

Sign Up Bonus for the Lufthansa Credit card is 20,000 award miles after first purchase or balance transfer.  To earn another 30,000 award miles, cardmembers will have to spend $5,000 within the first 90 days of account opening.  For the US Airways Credit card, you’ll get 40,000 bonus miles, plus 10,000 miles with a balance transfer within 90 days of account opening.   I believe the advantage goes to Lufthansa for this one, but things may change after December 15th, when the current 50,000 point offer expires.

  • Bonus Miles

Earning Lufthansa miles on your credit card is easy when you get two points per dollar spent on Lufthansa and the Miles and More Integrated Airline Partners.  You’ll receive one mile per dollar on every other dollar spent.  That offer is identical for the US Airways credit card.  It’s a tie!

  • Extra Benefits

The Lufthansa card offers a free companion ticket after the first year of cardmembership and no foreign transaction fees.  The US Airways credit card offers the chance to redeem US Airways award flights for 5,000 fewer miles, Zone 2 boarding, and annual companion ticket for $99, first class check-in, and a free US Airways day pass each year.  While no foreign transaction fees is a powerful benefit, I think for domestic travelers, the US Airways card is a better fit.



I think that while there is a $10 cheaper annual fee, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard wins in a landslide.  With more bonus points earned for a first purchase, first class benefits at check-in, Zone 2 boarding, a free day pass, and 5,000 fewer points needed for award tickets on US Airways, I see the extra $10 as easily justified.

Thus, I would recommend US Airways for anyone planning to fly domestically.  However, if one does a lot of travel to Europe, things change.  The foreign transaction fees abroad can really add up, so not getting charged fees in other countries is huge.  Also, Lufthansa will have more award availability in first class and more award space for flights to Europe than US Airways, even though you can redeem US Airways miles on Lufthansa flights.


Apply Now:

The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®

Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard®

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Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® Comparison: Annual Fee Version vs. No Annual Fee Version

There are many credit cards out there.  The Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® is one of them, and very popular at that.  However, there are many consumers out there that are a bit confused by the differences between the Annual Fee Version and the No Annual Fee version.  Let’s check the differences out in this post!


Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard®



  • Annual Fee

The obvious difference between the two products is the annual fee.  The Fee version charges consumers $89 per year to hold the card.  The no-annual fee version does just that – not charge a fee to consumers!

  • Sign-Up Bonus

The fee version offers 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days, which is the equivalent of $400 off your next trip.  The no-fee version still gives you 20,000 miles, or $200 off your next trip.

  • Bonus Points

The major difference between the two cards is this: the fee-version of the card gives you two miles per dollar on every purchase, where the no-fee card gives you just one point per dollar on every purchase.  However, the no-fee card does give you two points per dollar on travel and dining!


Shared Benefits

  • 10 Percent Miles Back on Travel Purchase

When redeeming your miles for travel, you’ll receive 10% of those miles back in a few weeks.  This offering is available on both cards.

  • TripIt Pro Subscription

Both cards offer TripIt Pro as a standard benefit.  This gives you extra flight updates, and organizes travel automatically for you!

  • Free FICO Scores

A big benefit for me, who is maniacal about checking his credit score.  Both cards offer this benefit as well.

  • Balance Transfers, APR Fees, Cash Advance Fees

All of these numbers are identical for each of the credit cards.  You’ll get 14.99% or 18.99% charged to you for balances and balance transfers, and cash advances will incur a 25.24% APR.


The Conclusion

There are many ways to approach evaluating whether the $89 annual fee version of the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® is worth it, or if one should just apply for the regular version of the credit card.  There are a lot of factors that would play into each individual’s decision, but I see some real benefits for the fee version of the card.

For one, you receive double points on every purchase.  This is huge.  This means there’s no worrying about which card in your wallet to use, since you’ll get the same bonus everywhere you shop.  While this may not be the most lucrative option, it’s certainly easier and gives you two cents per dollar back!  In addition, I feel that the extra $200 at sign-up more than makes up for the $89 fee they charge.  As the cardholder, it’s ultimately up to you to view all the options at hand, but that’s my opinion on the matter!

Apply Now:

Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard®

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Best Credit Cards for Gas Rewards

In the US, cars are an essential piece of daily life for many.  Unless you live in a large city with great public transportation (ie- not in Southern California), you’ll need one.  And what do cars need?  Gas.  So why not get rewarded for all of your gas spending? This article outlines some of the best credit cards for earning points on gas and gas station purchases.


Chase Bank

1. The Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus cards are business cards issued by Chase that earn Ultimate Rewards points.  These points are incredibly valuable, because of their transfer partners (including United Airlines, British Airways, and Southwest Airlines).  For every dollar spent on gas with these cards, you’ll earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points (up to $25,000 in purchases).  I value my Ultimate Rewards points at 2.2 cents per dollar, so every dollar spent, I’m receiving 4.4 cents back.  Over 4% return on these purchases is AMAZING.

2. The IHG Rewards Club Select Visa earns two IHG points per dollar spent on gas and gas station purchases.  With these points significantly less valuable, at around 0.5 cents each, your return is only about 1% per dollar.  IHG points can be used at Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, and Crowne Plaza hotels.


American Express

American Express has many card products that offer extra bonuses for gas spending.  Let’s dive into a few that offer the best “bang for your buck!”  For starters, you’ll need to see what points are earned on each card, as each reward point and mile is not equal from program to program.

1. The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card is a great option, as it’s a simple “cash back” card, meaning you’ll receive straight cash (in the form of a statement credit) for your bonus option.  On this card, you’ll get 3% back, meaning 3 cents per dollar spent, on every gas station purchase made, up to $6,000 per year. Not into the annual fee? Check out the American Express Blue Cash Everyday, which offers 2% back on gas with no annual fee!

2. A little known card is the Mercedez-Benz Card from American Express, a branded version of their Platinum card.  On this card, you’ll earn three Membership Rewards points per dollar.  With a value of about 1.8 cents per dollar for every Membership Rewards point, you earn over 5% back on every gas purchase!  This is two more points per dollar than the regular Platinum American Express credit card.

3. The Premier Rewards Gold card from American Express earns two points per dollar on every gas station purchase, a little under a 4% return on every dollar purchased. The annual fee on this one is high (at $175), so it’s not a card to get for gas rewards only. However, you do get 25,000 valuable Membership Rewards points for signing up and meeting the spending requirement of $1,000 in 3 months.

Other American Express cards that offer gas rewards include the SimplyCash Business Credit Card from American Express, which earns you 3% on the first $12,000 in fuel purchases, and the TrueEarnings Business Card from Costco and American Express, which earns 4% on the first $7,000 at gas stations (this is 1% more than the personal credit card).


Other Credit Cards

1. The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Card offers you a huge bonus: 5% cash back for up to $50,000 in gas purchases per year.  This card works a bit differently, as you’ll receive a straight rebate back on your credit card statement, instead of a deposit to your bank account.  For a small business that may spend this much per year on gas, these are real savings ($2,500!).

2. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card from Bank of America is a good option for those who wish to have a simple card for their yearly gas purchases.  This card gives you 3% back (three cents) for the first $1,500 in combined gas and grocery purchases each quarter (you get two cents back at grocery stores).   A nice option as well is the fact that you can take the rewards in the form of a bank deposit, statement credit, or check!



The options are numerous for those looking for a credit card to reward them for gas purchases.  I think the most important variable to recognize is the type of point being earned, and your confidence in using them efficiently.  For me, I would choose the Mercedes-Benz Platinum Amex, because I know I can get over 5% back in value from the points that I would earn from the card.

However, those that wish for a straight discount should absolutely look at the PenFed Platinum Visa Card, as its 5% cash back option is unparalleled.   I know this post gives you a lot to think about, but next time you’re filling up for over $3.00 a gallon, think about how much money you could be getting back!

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Chase Sapphire Credit Card Review

Many who follow the credit card space may know of the spectacular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, with all its untold benefits and points earning capabilities.  It’s held at an almost mystical status by all of those who mine points and miles for all they are worth.  But, did you know that there is another Chase Sapphire card?  While it may not hold all the perks of its bigger brother, let’s review the benefits of the card, as may fit the needs of a specific customer.


Earning Points 

With the Chase Sapphire, you’ll receive one point for every dollar you spend, and two points per dollar on dining and airfare and hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards. The points you earn can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards, or cash back.

On sign-up, card users can receive $100 after spending $500 in the first three months.  This is the equivalent of 10,000 bonus points, a great boost to any Ultimate Rewards account!

Note: These points can only be redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, and are non-transferrable. However, if one were to already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (or Ink Bold/Plus business cards), your points can be transferred for use with all of Chase’s travel partners.

Also, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred card receives two points per dollar on all travel, the regular Chase Sapphire card limits this benefit to travel booked through their portal.  This may be a problem for frequent travelers, who really value double points on many of their daily purchases.

However, both cards do share two points (or cents) per dollar on all dining at restaurants.  For those of us that hate to cook, this is a great benefit!


Cardholder Benefits

The Chase Sapphire card does have foreign transaction fees, unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, so take that into consideration when applying for the card.  There are many of us who travel abroad often, and this card would not be a smart thing to use when buying that BMW in Europe (only kidding).

The Chase Sapphire card has one thing over the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and that is the fact that there is no annual fee, ever.  So, if you are a responsible spender and never carry a balance from month to month, the card is effectively free to use, making the points you receive free as well.


Card Strategy

One strategy that I have advised some who have come to me on credit card advice is the following: Use the Chase Sapphire card as a stepping stone to a bigger card in the Chase ecosystem.  Many I advised had never had a credit card before, so by using the Chase Sapphire card as a starter card, as it is designed, and then upgrading in the future to a better card with Chase is a great strategy.

For those with a Chase card product already that uses Chase Ultimate Rewards as its rewards currency – I would definitely nab this card, as its 10,000 points is an excellent boost to your Ultimate Rewards account.  You can transfer the 10,000 points into Hyatt, using them for a free night, or maybe transfer into British Airways to use for a short, cheap one-way flight.  The options are endless.



Sure, this will card will not be many people’s first choice for a travel credit card, especially for use when traveling abroad.  However, the no annual fee with ability to earn rewards is a nice benefit. Also, there is value in building up credit to begin applying for much more travel lucrative cards, and the Chase Sapphire credit card can do just that.  It is all dependent on the place you are in (credit-wise) when you apply.

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Card Comparison: Capital One VentureOne and Capital One Venture

Don’t you just love when the names of two different credit cards are so similar? Enter: Capital One VentureOne and Capital One Venture. It can get quite confusing. So for those of you wondering what makes these cards different, this post is for you.

First, both of these cards are rewards cards aimed at the frequent traveler, as they both offer miles for each dollar you spend. The main differences between the two are the miles per dollar earned and the annual fee. The Capital One Venture has an annual fee of $59 and the Capital One VentureOne doesn’t have one at all. But before you say “yikes” to the Venture, know this: you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar with the Venture, whereas you’ll only get 1.25 per dollar with the VentureOne. We’ll get more into that later, but let’s take a look at the other similarities and differences first.

Capital One VentureOne  Capital One Venture





What’s Similar

The Sign-Up Bonus.

With both cards, you’ll get 20,000 miles after meeting the spending requirement of $2,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.

There’s no cap on how many miles you can earn.

This is always a nice feature. Who wants a cap on how much they can be rewarded? That would just be silly.

Your miles won’t expire.

You don’t have to waste any energy worrying about an expiration date on your hard earned miles. They’ll be there as long as you want them to be.

You can redeem your miles for ANY travel expense. Seriously.

We’re talking flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals, vacation packages…all of it. One of the reasons people love having a Capital One Venture card in their wallet is for its simplicity. You simply use your card to make all of your travel purchases and then you get reimbursed in the form of a statement credit after redeeming online or by phone. Say you’ve earned 30,000 miles with your Capital One card. That’s $300 of travel you can be reimbursed for. The redemption rate of .01 miles per dollar is the same for both cards. And you don’t have to go through a certain rewards portal. You can purchase from the company of your choice, whether it be directly with an airline, or through a site like In other words, you have options!

You can redeem your miles in other ways, too.

Speaking of options, in addition to travel expenses, you can redeem your miles in the form of cash, gift cards, or actual stuff, like cameras or other gadgets. So if you like flexibility, there you are.

No foreign transaction fees.

Just another reason this card is great for travel! You can take it with you when traveling abroad and avoid paying unwanted transaction fees.

No balance transfer fee, BUT no intro 0% APR on balance transfers.

Unlike a lot of credit cards, Capital One doesn’t charge you a balance transfer fee for transferring over a balance from another card. However, neither of these cards offer an introductory 0% APR for balance transfers. What this means is, you shouldn’t transfer over a balance just because there isn’t a balance transfer fee. First, make sure that the APR is lower on one of these cards than the one you’re transferring from. If it isn’t, look into another card instead. There are plenty of cards that offer a 0% intro APR for balance transfers, and some even offer no balance transfer fee, like the Chase Slate (for the first 60 days, then it’s 3%).

Free Extended Warranty AND Purchase Security.

Before you go buying that additional warranty on your new item, check this out. If your new item comes with a manufacturer’s warranty of up to 3 years, you’ll get that warranty doubled up to 12 months, just by purchasing with this Visa Signature card. This applies to most items, and is especially good for electronics.

Also, should your new item get stolen and/or damaged within the first 90 days of your purchase, your free Purchase Security will repair, replace, or reimburse you for eligible items up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per cardholder. Can’t complain about that.

Auto Rental Insurance.

If you pay for your car rental with this card, you’ll be covered for any accidental damage or theft to the vehicle IF: a) you decline the rental company’s collision/damage waiver, b) you rent the car for less than 15 consecutive days in the US or less than 31 consecutive days outside the US (excluding Jamaica, Israel, The Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland).

Travel Accident Insurance.

As long as you pay for your travel tickets with your Capital One Venture or VentureOne card, you’ll get $250,000 of accidental death or dismemberment insurance. This applies to you and the family members you bought tickets for.

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

As long as you pay for the total cost of travel for you and your immediate family members with your card, your luggage will be covered for up to $3,000 (per trip) if it’s lost or stolen. Peace of mind!

Enjoy Visa Signature Benefits.

We’re talking round-the-clock concierge service, complimentary room upgrades, special discounts at certain hotels & spas, access to advance event ticket sales, special movie ticket offers, and more. Check out our post on Visa Signature benefits to see why you should have a Visa Signature card.


What’s Different

You earn more miles with the Venture.

Like earlier mentioned, the Capital One Venture earns you 2 miles per dollar spent, while the Capital One VentureOne earns you 1.25 miles per $1.

The Venture has an annual fee.

Again, with the Venture, you’ll pay an annual fee of $59 (though this is waived the first year), while there’s no fee on the VentureOne.

The Venture has a slightly higher variable APR.

For purchases and balance transfers, you’ll have a variable APR of 13.9%-20.9% with the Capital One Venture, while the Capital One VentureOne is a little less, from 11.9%-19.9%. Of course, your rate depends on your credit score. The better the score, the better the rate!

The VentureOne offers an Intro 0% APR on Purchases.

The Capital One VentureOne offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases until December, 2014, while the Venture does not. This makes the VentureOne a great option for those looking to make larger purchases, as you’ll have plenty of time to pay off your debt interest-free.


Which is Better?

This is really up to you. The big thing to consider is how much you’ll be running through the card. You’ll have to spend $3,000 to cover the $59 annual fee on the Venture the second year ($3,000 x 2 miles per dollar = 6,000 miles or $60). But if you’re a big spender, you’ll earn more miles with the Venture in the long run.

However, if you’re not a big spender, the VentureOne might be your best bet. No annual fee and the opportunity to earn miles is simple and rewarding! And if you do need to make a large purchase up front, you can enjoy the 0% intro APR on purchases that the VentureOne offers.

Bottom line: Both cards are great cards when you consider all the benefits they offer. Both offer $200 in travel, both earn miles for every dollar you spend, and both are Visa Signature cards, offering a host of perks. You really can’t go wrong.