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American Express Business Gold Rewards Credit Card Review

American Express has long been a leader as a credit card issuer. They give customers a unique experience with points accumulation and redemption through their Membership Rewards program. They also have great ongoing customer service. While in-the-know card members are privy to these perks on the individual consumer credit card side of the coin, business owners can take advantage as well. With the American Express Business Gold Rewards credit card, business owners have a smart way to fund company spending while still getting in on the benefits offered through the American Express Membership Rewards program.

 

Card Basics

The American Express Business Gold Rewards credit card is a charge card. This means that balances accrued each billing cycle are required to be paid in full each month. A charge card is ideal for businesses with high, consistent cash flow. It’s also good for owners who want the ability to earn rewards on business-related purchases. The Business Gold Rewards card offers a slew of rewards options that are truly unique from other credit card points programs.

Membership Rewards are earned at a rate of 3 points per one dollar spent on purchases made with the Gold Rewards card. But card members have their choice as to which category the additional are earned. Business Gold Rewards card members can choose to earn three times the points on one of the following categories:

  • Airfare purchased directly from an airline
  • Purchases made within the U.S. for advertising in certain media categories
  • Gas station purchases made within the U.S.
  • Shipping expenses within the U.S.
  • Computer software, hardware, or cloud computing service purchases within the U.S. made directly from select providers

Reward Accumulation

While most other cards would reduce the rewards earning potential down to one point per dollar spent on remaining purchases, the American Express Business Gold Rewards credit card goes one step further. Any categories not chosen by the card member for the triple rewards earn two points per dollar spent, making the accumulation of valuable rewards easier than comparable business credit cards. For all other purchases that do not fall within these specific categories, card members earn the standard one point per dollar spent.

Membership Rewards earned in the three times and two times categories are applicable to the first $100,000 spent on the Business Gold Rewards credit card. All other rewards earned on ancillary purchases do not have a cap. New cardmembers have the opportunity to earn even more rewards with a bonus offer of 75,000 rewards points. However, this only applies when a minimum of $10,000 is spent within the first three months after the account is opened.

Redeeming Membership Rewards through American Express is simple. Business owners have the ability to cash in points for gift cards, travel, entertainment or dining experiences, or shopping directly through partner merchants.

American Express Benefits

Cardmembers with American Express have more to look forward to. For business owners, the ability to accurately track and manage spending limits on company cards is an important factor in ongoing expense monitoring. American Express Business Gold Rewards credit card members have the ability to earn additional points by activating employee cards with pre-set limits. Any activated employee credit cards also come with real-time alerts that provide insight into who is spending and in what amount.

American Express also offers cardmembers the ability to establish account managers for the Business Gold Rewards credit card. Trusted individuals, such as an executive level employee or business partners, can easily and quickly manage spending on the card, with either full or limited access. Tasks, like reviewing purchases and monthly statements, disputing charges and adding employee cards, are a breeze with this feature unique to American Express.

ReceiptMatch is also made available to Business Gold Rewards credit card members. This program allows business owners to manage expenses through the desktop or mobile application. Receipts can easily be added, tagged, or noted within this helpful feature. This creates a simple way to streamline monitoring and tracking. American Express provides additional benefits to card members, including:

  • Premium Roadside Assistance
  • Global Assist Hotline
  • Baggage Insurance Plan
  • Purchase Protection
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
  • Extended Warranty
  • Travel Accident Insurance

The Costs

Although the American Express Business Gold Rewards credit card is a charge card and therefore has no interest rate applied to purchases, there are some costs associated with its use. As a current promotion, new card members are not assessed an annual fee for the first year of membership. After the first year, an annual fee of $175 applies. Cardmembers who shop outside the United States do not have to be concerned with foreign transaction fees.

Cardmembers who are late remitting payment are charged a $38 fee, or 2.99% of the past due “Pay in Full” amount, whichever is higher. Additionally, any returned payments cost the card member a $38 fee. Cardmembers do not have pre-set spending (credit) limits with the American Express Business Gold Rewards credit card, so no over the limit charges apply.

The Verdict

The American Express Business Gold Rewards credit card is an ideal choice for business owners who want customizable options for rewards. The ability to select certain high-spending categories to capitalize on rewards is a feature unique to American Express. Cardmembers who spend heavily in the three times categories can accumulate a substantial rewards balance over time. The ability to earn an additional two times each dollar spent is a nice added bonus. Without a credit or spending limit, a waived first-year annual fee, and no foreign transaction fees, business owners have a smart choice in the Business Gold Rewards credit card.

Business owners who do not spend enough in the three times categories to justify the annual fee may want to look elsewhere for a company credit card. Also, companies with less than consistent cash flow each month, or seasonal dips in revenue, may want to consider a business credit card that allows for repayment over time instead of the pay in full monthly schedule set forth by American Express. Overall, the American Express Business Gold Rewards credit card is a solid choice for business owners who fit the spending and cash flow bill.

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Review of Wells Fargo Propel Card

Consumers looking for a rewards credit card that rewards loyalty without an annual fee might enjoy the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card.  Existing Wells Fargo customers can also earn additional loyalty rewards by using the Propel credit card.  Travelers who like to redeem reward points for travel will also enjoy the opportunity respectable redemption rates with their Go Far Rewards program.

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There are two different Propel credit card offerings available, the Propel and the Propel 365.  This review will primarily focus on the first offering as it offers similar rewards without an annual fee.

Sign-Up Bonus

The Wells Fargo Propel does not offer any sign-up bonus in the form of bonus points, as other rewards credit cards do.  But, new users can enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on all purchases and balance transfers.

Travelers looking for a bonus point sign-up bonus have the opportunity to earn 3,000 Go Far Reward points and the $45 annual fee is also waived for the first year.

Purchase Rewards

The Wells Fargo Propel has a decent reward payouts for those that will use this credit card for an everyday purchase or tend to drive to most of their vacation destinations.

Cardholders will enjoy the following purchase reward rates:

  • 3 points for every dollar spent on gasoline
  • 2 points at U.S. restaurants
  • 1 points for all additional purchases

With a 3% rewards rate, Wells Fargo Propel is one of the best gas rewards credit cards available.  Before signing-up solely for this reward, you should know that gasoline purchased at warehouse clubs (Sam’s or Costco), supermarkets, or superstores will not earn the 3% bonus award.  This is a common term & condition regarding gas rewards for most gas rewards credit cards.

Loyal Wells Fargo banking customers that have a qualifying checking, savings account, or PMA account will earn an annual 10% relationship bonus on non-bonus reward points.  This simply means a 10% bonus on the 1 base point for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases.  So if you spend $10,000 in a year, you will be rewarded 1,000 bonus Go Far Reward points.

Travel Rewards

Other than gasoline & restaurants there is not the ability to earn bonus points on travel-related purchases.  But, it is possible to receive a discount on travel purchases.

  • 20% off best available rates at over 18,000 hotels
  • 25% off car rentals with the major car rental companies
  • Up to $100 off qualifying air & hotel packages
  • Discount cruise fares and up to $300 in shipboard credit

For those that prefer immediate cash discounts compared to earning and eventually redeeming reward points, these discounts might be worthwhile for the occasional traveler.

Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards

Although the Wells Fargo Propel is issued by American Express, it earns Wells Fargo Go Far Reward points instead of American Express Membership Reward points.  The points offer the best rates for when redeemed for gift cards and travel rewards with a 1% redemption ratio.  For example, a $25 gift card is worth 2,500 Go Far reward points.

Points redeemed for merchandise or statement credits have lower redemption ratios at 0.5% (5,000 points are worth $25) or lower.  The redemption ratio varies depending on the dollar value of the reward, typically the most valuable rewards can be redeemed at a better ratio.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Go Far reward points expire after 5 years from the earning date.

Additional Perks

Other benefits that Well Fargo Propel card holders can enjoy is complimentary access to their FICO score.  This is nice as it is the credit score pulled by the overwhelming majority of lenders compared to the “FAKO” scores offered by other credit agencies that offer a similar score but it still isn’t the “real McCoy.”

Fees and Other Important Information

The Wells Fargo Propel does not charge an annual fee (the Propel 365 is $45 annually after the first year).  After the introductory 15-month period of 0% APR, the interest rate rises to 13.24% to 25.24% depending on the individual creditworthiness of the cardmember.

The APR for cash advances ranges from 24.24% to 26.24% and there is no introductory period for this rate.

International travelers might want to consider a different credit card as there is a 3% foreign transaction fee.  As the Propel credit card is issued by American Express, it might be hard to find merchants outside major tourist destinations that will accept Amex as well.

Prospective applicants will also have to create a relationship with Wells Fargo before being able to qualify for the Propel credit card.  These applicants can apply for membership at their local Wells Fargo branch.

Who Can Benefit From Having the Wells Fargo Propel?

The Wells Fargo Propel isn’t a full-scale travel rewards credit and is more of a hybrid between a cash back credit card and a travel rewards card.  People looking to transfer an existing credit card balance stand to benefit the most from this card because of the 15-month 0% introductory rate and the opportunity to still earn purchase rewards.  Of course, new applicants probably will need a very good credit score (approximately 700+) to qualify for this card.

Other people who will benefit from this card are consumers that might “burn up the road” by driving a long distance to work or purchase gas several times per month.  The 3% gas rewards rate can be pretty awesome if you do not purchase gas at a warehouse club or grocery store.  Plus, it also offers rewards on other spending categories as well.  Other credit cards that are labeled as “gas reward credit cards” have reduced or eliminated the purchase rewards for non-gas purchases.

It might seem rather obvious, but, existing Wells Fargo customers should also strongly consider this credit card.  With no annual fee, it can make a great primary or secondary credit card that pays an annual point bonus and earns rewards on nearly every purchase.

Who Should Look Elsewhere?

Frequent fliers should consider other credit cards.  There are a plethora of travel rewards credit cards that pay at least 2% on hotel stays or plane tickets.  When used properly, the point bonuses can be more valuable than the cash discounts.  Other credit cards also offer travel portals that might offer discount prices and pay bonus payouts simultaneously.

Other people that should consider another credit card is somebody that is chasing reward points due to the lack of a sign-up bonus.  The redemption rates are similar to the American Express or Chase Rewards programs that also offer the best redemption rates for gift cards and travel rewards.  Even the current sign-up bonus of 3,000 points by upgrading to the Propel 365 doesn’t offset the $45 annual fee (which is waived during the first year).  Essentially Propel’s sign-up bonus only benefits those that plan to transfer the account balance from an existing credit card.

Summary

The 3-2-1 reward payout is competitive with most cash back and travel rewards credit cards.  If you plan to spend a lot in gas or restaurants, you can maximize the purchase reward benefits and do better than the industry purchase reward standard of 1% per $1 spent.

With no annual fee, this can be a great pairing for existing Wells Fargo customers and can serve as a great primary or secondary credit card for somebody that is looking for a credit card that will reward for everyday purchases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amex Business Green Rewards Card Review

For any business owner, having affordable access to funding is a key to ongoing success. The additional of a credit card geared specifically toward operating a business is ideal for making major purchases for the company without having to tap into precious cash on hand. Having the opportunity earn rewards on those credit card purchases for the business is beneficial as well, as it ultimately leads to valuable points that can be used for a variety of business – or personal – redemption.

American Express offers a number of credit cards designed with the business owner in mind. The Business Green Rewards credit card is a simple business card that provides a number of benefits and perks only found under the American Express name. But first, the card basics.

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The Ins and Outs of Business Green

True to the American Express way, the Business Green Rewards credit card is not truly a credit card. Instead, it operates as a charge card for business owners. This means that any purchases made with the Green Rewards card are to be paid in full by the time the due date rolls around, and balances are not carried forward from month to month. This allows American Express to offer the Business Green Rewards credit (charge) card to business owners without the confines of a spending or credit limit, and without any interest charges each billing cycle.

The absence of a spending limit is beneficial to business owners in times where cash flow is tight, but the Membership Rewards offered through American Express provide an additional perk to utilizing the Green Rewards card for the majority of business-related spending. Card members earn one point for each dollar spent on qualifying purchases. The spending categories that qualify for rewards points are generally in the realm of business purchases, making this card a great fit for business owners who buy often, or buy heavily for the company.

In addition, card members earn two points for each dollar spent on travel accommodations booked through the American Express Travel website. For business owners always on the go, the bonus points earned for travel purchases are a valuable added benefit. Regardless of how they are earned, accumulated Membership Rewards points can be used toward over a million reward options through American Express. Shopping and gift cards at partner merchants, restaurants, retailers and travel can all be purchased with Membership Rewards points. Card members also have the newly added option of paying with accumulated points through the American Express travel site when reservations or bookings are made.

Currently, American Express is offering a welcome bonus for new card members who apply for an accept the Green Rewards card. After the first qualifying purchase is made with the card within 365 days of account opening, 5,000 bonus Membership Rewards points are added to the account automatically.

Green Rewards Benefits

Business owners who are Green Rewards card members have access to a wide range of additional perks offered through the American Express program. Both mobile and tablet applications are available that make paying monthly bills, checking an account balance, reviewing benefits and general card management simple on the go. Card members can also establish account alerts that provide real-time information on payment due dates, irregular spending activity or purchases.

To assist business owners in maintaining a solid grip on purchase habits and total spending each bill cycle, American Express Business Green Rewards card members also have access to free features that include the ability to add a trusted partner as account manager. Green card account managers can handle everyday tasks related to the credit card, like making payment and disputing charges. ReceiptMatch is another great tool offered directly to Business Green Rewards card members that allows card members the ability to easily add receipts to an account and tag, note or manage transactions to ensure spending is monitored and controlled.

Additional cards can be authorized for use by card members, giving them the opportunity to earn additional rewards through employee spending. Fret not, however; employee cards can be set-up with specific spending limits and account alerts that let the business owner know who is spending on what each month, and to what extent.

One of the most helpful features of American Express is the OPEN Forum – a repository of articles and educational information focuses on financial management for business owners. Tools and advice are available at no additional cost to card members.

Finally, Business Green Rewards card members have built in purchase protection and extended warranty provisions up to certain limits on qualified purchases. Card members also have travel accident insurance, baggage insurance coverage, rental car loss and damage insurance as well as access to the Global Assist Hotline.

Green Rewards Card Costs

As a chard card, the American Express Business Green Rewards card does not accrue interest on outstanding balances; instead, card members are required to pay any accumulated spending in full each month. The Green Rewards card does carry an annual fee of $95, but the charge is waived for the first year for new card members. For business owners who plan to spend or travel heavily outside the United States, the Green Rewards card may not be the smartest option as it does impose foreign transaction fees of 2.7% on purchases made outside the country.

The American Express Business Green Rewards card does not have a spending or credit limit as a charge card, but card members should be aware that late payment fees apply. A charge of $38 or 2.99% of the outstanding balance, whichever is greater, is due on any payments made past the due date. Additionally, a returned payment fee of $38 applies.

Final Thoughts

The American Express Business Green Rewards charge card is a smart choice for business owners who like simplicity in a card and in their rewards program. The ability to earn two times the points on certain business-related categories allows card members to accumulate valuable points that can be redeemed for a wide range of rewards. Even more value is attached to travel purchases when made through the American Express Travel sit. However, for business owners who have concerns over steady cash flow and do minimal spending on travel, another business-focused credit card may be a better, more suitable choice.

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Review of American Express Blue Cash Everyday rewards Card with Tina Fey

Haven’t you always wanted to be shrimp-rich? How about high-end doggie toys? Or have enough cheesies to ride out any storm? Well, all of these desires can come true while you can earn between 1 and 3 percent cash-back on them, just likely the hilarious Tina Fey. Fey is featured in a series of ads for American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Rewards card showing how you can earn cash-back in some delightfully funny everyday ways.

AMEX Blue Cash with Tina Fey

Earning Cash Back

Although you may not be as indulgent or as quick-witted as Fey, this American Express card will also allow you to enjoy earning money back on your regular purchases. The biggest winner is at the supermarkets. You can earn 3% cash back at certain U.S. supermarkets such as Stop and Shop, Foodtown and Whole Foods. Just like Fey, you can earn 3% on your food bill up to $6,000 annually, after $6000, your earning goes down to 1%. Next up are the gas stations. Earn 2% on your gas station purchases. There’s no limit, but the stations must be on an approved list, such as Gulf and Shell. Purchases at at grocery store gas stations, like Costco don’t make the 2% cut though. The 2% also applies to certain department stores, like J.C. Penny, Sears and Saks Fifth Avenue. For anything else you put on your card, you’ll receive 1% cash-back. With these categories and the range of eligible stores, you’ll easily be able to quickly earn cash-back. Plus, all of these earnings are available for a $0 annual fee.

Spending Your Cash-Back

Once you earn $25 in cash-back, you can start spending it. You put any special item or travel you’re interested in on your Amex card, and you can pay it off using your Cash-Back account. You can apply the cash in increments of 25. There are a couple downsides of the Blue Cash Everyday Cash Back. Unlike some other cash-back systems, you cannot get cash in hand. Cash back is only applicable to purchases on your card. There’s no way to retrieve the money from your account except as credit. In addition, you can’t use this Cash-Back for your Minimum Due payment.

Sign-Up Bonus and Annual Percentage Rate

If you’re signing up for this card for the first time, you can take advantage of their welcome bonus. If you spend $1000 in the first three months of your account approval, you’ll receive 10% back in cash. And you can earn cash-back on purchases made on your card and any additional cards associated with your account. That $100 can be spent on any purchase you make. Perhaps an even better introductory offer is the 0% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for new purchases. This intro APR is also charged on balance transfers requested within 30 days of opening your account. You could move a balance and pay it off over those first 12 months, which saves you the interest that you would pay elsewhere. The first 12 months are a very inexpensive time to borrow money. After that, the APR will go up to somewhere between 13.24% and 23.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.

Travel Perks

American Express is generally a great travel card. The insurances that come with the card are handy, though, with the Blue Cash Everyday card you receive cash-back for everyday purchases, not for those when you’re traveling. Though you may encounter lots of points for shopping at the approved list of retailers during domestic travels, you won’t be earning 2 to 3% cash back on those purchases.

You can use your cash-back for booking trips and cruises through American Express Travel and its partners. You also receive the range of travel benefits and insurances that come along with the card. When renting a vehicle, your AMEX card covers your Loss and Damage insurance. Heaven forbid something happens on the road, but if it does, your card provides a roadside assistance hotline. Call them to organize a boost or a tow, and they’ll coordinate it. If you’re near home, it’s likely not that useful of a service, but when traveling, it can be a huge relief to let someone else take care of all those calls. But remember, you’re responsible for all charges. Worse, imagine if you’re abroad and your passport gets stolen. Or you catch a severe flu and you need to find an English-speaking doctor. The Global Assist Hotline will direct you in your emergency if you’re traveling more than 100 miles from home. You are also responsible for any fees for the services arranged. The card also includes a travel accident insurance, which I hope you will never use.

Shopping with Protection

You can do your shopping with a bit more peace of mind because of the extended warranties and purchase protection. Purchases made on your card with between 1 and 5 year warranties get an automatic additional year of coverage. If that new shiny item gets stolen or damaged within the first three months, you’re also covered. If those new kicks that arrived in the mail don’t fit and the shop wouldn’t allow you to return them, you can get up to $300 back for that mis-sized set under the Return Protection coverage. With the Blue Cash Everyday card, you also get access to ShopRunner, an online store similar to Amazon Prime, but with specific member deals and high-end brands.

Conclusion

The American Express Blue Cash Everyday card is a great option to earn cash-back on those everyday purchases. Since you’ll be buying groceries, gas and clothing anyway, it might as well provide a nice cash-back return to you. Although the cash-back is only eligible for card credit, you card can be used to buy almost anything, so it’s not a huge hindrance. Plus, these earnings are available for no annual fee. The travel and shopping perks are not unique to this particular American Express, but they are nice. The real benefit of this card is the cash-back for no fees and for a great introductory APR. If you use it right, this card will simply pay you back for your everyday spending. As Fey notes with her twenty bags of cheesies, you could be “Living the Dream”.

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Review of the Black American Express Centurion Rewards Card

Not many rewards credit card are secretive – issuers make card member benefits, the details of rewards programs, interest rates for purchases and balance transfers, as well as total carrying costs readily available to the masses. But one credit card breaks that common mold. Rumors surrounding the American Express Centurion Rewards card, also known as the AMEX Black card, surface far more than accurate data about how the card works and to whom it is offered. This review provides a detailed look into the mysterious AMEX Black credit card, assumptions and misinformation aside.

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Centurion History

The American Express Centurion Rewards credit card may be the only one in history that had a presence in the market before it actually existed. Whispers of a secretive credit card made available to only the financial elite – those with big bank accounts and even bigger spending habits – swirled around like wildfire. Everyone wanted the coveted Black card as a sign of status among friends and colleagues. The problem? It didn’t exist.

In response to numerous inquiries regarding the non-existant card, American Express delighted questioning consumers by creating an invitation-only program available only to highly qualified applicants. The American Express Centurion rewards credit card was born, and has been sought after since its establishment in 1999.

Black Card Basics

As an invitation-only program, AMEX Black card holders do not go through an application process to see if they qualify for membership. Instead, American Express evaluates potential card members by reviewing spending habits on current American Express cards, total reported income and in some cases, total net worth. While the details regarding the criteria for acceptance into the Centurion card member class are not listed anywhere on the American Express cite, data leads one to believe that spending of no less than $250,000 each year and an income or net worth high enough to support that level of spending is the starting point for an invitation. Some suggest that being a heavy spender with American Express for a minimum of one year is also a requirement, although there is no specific language in the card member agreement that makes this fact.

Elite Rewards

The American Express Centurion rewards credit card offers similar incentives for ongoing use as do other American Express credit cards. Rewards accumulate at a rate of one point per each dollar spent, with no listed limit on earnings. With typical AMEX membership rewards, redemption can be used for the following:

  • Statement credits
  • Retailer gift cards
  • Travel
  • Shopping

While these rewards categories are fairly common not only among American Express but from other competing card issuers, Centurion card members are given additional rewards and perks that boost them to a truly elite status.

American Express Centurion rewards can be used for points transfers to specific partners, including airline frequent flyers programs and frequent stay programs through luxury hotels. The ability to transfer points from the Centurion coffers to frequent flyer or frequent stay programs gives card members a much faster way to reach top tier status, thus earning free flights, free stays and other perks not available to regular travel or rewards credit card members. In addition, Centurion card members gain access to certain airport lounges and clubs, priority boarding and seating programs, fine hotels and resorts programs, cruise privileges, and luxury destination programs, all at no cost. A $200 airline reimbursement is also available each year the card is maintained.

An incredibly valuable benefit afforded American Express Centurion rewards card members is the dedicated concierge. Card members have access to a 24/7 concierge line that provides benefits not common to other rewards credit cards. Perks include reminder calls before important dates, such as anniversaries or birthdays, personal shoppers at high-end retailers, assistance with making travel arrangements and the ability to secure pricey tickets to sold-out sport or entertainment events. While other American Express card members have access to a concierge services that is similar, Black card members are given priority each and every time.

The Cost to be a Black Card Member

One of the only revealing pieces of information readily available to those interested in becoming an American Express Centurion rewards credit card member is the cost associated with the card – arguable the highest among all rewards credit cards. Card members who are invited to accept the Black card are assessed a $7,500 set-up fee to start, followed up by an annual fee that averages $2,500, making the initial cost of simply accepting the card $10,000. The annual fee changes based on the country in which the card member lives, but the invitation fee remains steady for all new card members.

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While the upfront and ongoing fees for the American Express Centurion rewards credit card may seem stark, the value of the ongoing rewards and the elite status the card brings are far greater for most card members. Additionally, no other fees are charged for using the card, such as foreign transactions fees or redemption fees. Card members are not assessed an interest rate for purchases, balance transfer or cash advance transactions because any balance charged on the card must be paid in full at the end of each billing cycle. Any late payment that exceeds 60 days is assessed a $37 fee or 2.99% of the outstanding balance, whichever is greater. Card members are not restricted by a set credit limit each month.

Final Thoughts

The American Express Centurion rewards credit card is not something most everyday credit card users have an opportunity to experience. The lofty qualifications in terms of income, net worth and annual spending make most ineligible for the card; even if you believe you meet these requirements, American Express does not allow individuals to apply for or explicitly request a Black card membership. Instead, a thorough evaluation process is done in house, and invitations to accept a new Centurion card are sent directly to qualified card members.

If you are fortunate enough to receive an invitation, the Centurion card is far from free. The initial $10,000 fee and annual $2,500 membership charge can be well worth it if a high level of spending is maintained throughout the year. Rewards translate quickly to elite status among major airlines, hotels and resorts, and the added bonus of the dedicated concierge service may wipe away any concern over the Black card’s fees.

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Starwood Preferred Guest Rewards Card Review

Starwood Preferred Guest Rewards

Do you have big travel plans this year? Or are you always on the road for work? Is so, and if you are a fan of the hotels like the Westin, Le Meridian or W Hotels, the American Express® (AMEX) Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG) Rewards card or the SPG business card is a big win for your travel plans. This card pairs up with the existing SPG hotel rewards program to amplify the rewards you collect on eligible purchases. Spend on hotels and flights, accumulate 2, 3, 4, or even 5 points for each dollar, and then take your self on that trip you’ve been waiting for.

Starwood Preferred Guest Rewards Card

Starpoints® Rewards

For every $1 spent on eligible purchases, you earn 2 Starpoints. These points can total to 4 or 5 Starpoints for that same $1 you spend because you receive Starpoints from both the AMEX SPG Card and from the SPG Membership card.

You can use the points to stay at any of the 1,300 participating hotels in over 100 countries. And there are no black-out dates. Instead of blocking off limited rooms for rewards guests, Starwood has a simple policy for booking: if a suite is available and you have the Starpoints, it’s yours. The hotels are ranked by category with the higher ranking hotels requiring more points, obviously. However, for the still very nice category-one Sheraton or FourPoints hotels, you can stay for only 2000 Starpoints on weekends or 3,000 on weekdays. If you’re using your card to book hotels, it won’t take long before you’ll be booking a night or two for free. You can also use the SPG online airline ticket reservation system to book a flight with over 150 airlines. If you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a participating frequent flyer program like Delta SkyMiles®, you’ll actually get 5,000 bonus points. It’s nice to have a benefit in transferring for once!

Eligible purchases range from hotel night stays at the Starwood or partner hotels (like Caeser’s Palace or Planet Hollywood) or food and beverages purchased at Starwood hotels. Starpoints can be earned when purchasing flights on Delta or Air Emirates as SPG Rewards can be connected with the airlines’ miles systems, with additional perks available for elite members. You can even earn with Uber! Take Uber for hopping around the city during your stay and you’ll earn Starpoints, too!

The double Starpoints eligible purchases are generally travel-related, however, any purchase will earn you 1 Starpoint for $1 spent. These additional points can rack up and help earn your way to more free night stays.

 

Starwood Preferred Guest Rewards

 

One Card Leads to Another

In order to reap the benefits of potentially 5 Starpoints on eligible purchases, you have to be a member of the Starwood Preferred Guest Rewards Program. Conveniently, membership is free, though the level of benefits of Starpoints eligibility per dollar spent is tiered. The Preferred (a.k.a. basic) level is 1 Starpoint for $3 spent. If you have 10 Eligible Stays or 25 Eligible Nights in a calendar year, you’ll become a Gold level member, earning 1 for every $2 spent. If you can’t quite make that level of stays, there’s another benefit of the AMEX SPG Rewards Card in that each year you’ll receive credit for five nights and two stays towards an SPG Elite status. Those bonus stays could put you over the top to your Gold level and extra Starpoints. If you’re a particularly big spender, $30,000 in eligible spending will also up your elite status to the Gold level. There’s also a Platinum level, but the points per dollar are the same as Gold, so although it sounds flashy and has other hotel perks, in looking at pure Starpoints rewards, who cares?

 

A Warm Rewards Welcome

To entice you to sign up, AMEX is providing a welcome offer of 25,000 Starpoints if you spend $3000 on the card within the first three months. The purchases can be made on the main card, or on an additional card if you have one, and purchases from both cards count towards the total.

This welcome offer can translate into a great trip fairly easily. The Welcome rewards can translate into six free nights at a category 2 hotel, such as certain Westin or Sheraton hotels. If you’re feeling indulgent, you can put all your points towards a one night stay at a top category hotel at one of the premier global destinations. If you’re looking at using the points for air travel, the 25,000 Starpoints can pay for a flight ranging from $280 to $345, which could take you on a nice domestic adventure.

The Fine Print

For the first year, the annual fee of $95 is waived. This first year provides a nice trial period to see if the card is a good fit for your travel and rewards lifestyle. You may discover that your travel plans don’t quite match the hotels or airlines offered (unlikely given the global coverage, but anything’s possible!). On the other hand, the Starpoints could add up very quickly with the combination of the AMEX SPG Rewards card and the SPG Membership card, and the year two annual fee could be paid off in one trip.

The annual percentage rates (APR) are fairly reasonable for this credit card. They range from 15.49% to 19.49% depending on your creditworthiness. This card allows a balance to be carried unlike other AMEX cards, and though it is not recommended, a balance without late payments will only accumulate the interest charges and no additional fees.

During international travel, there are no foreign fees charged to the card for use abroad. This perk seems only appropriate given that this card is intended to take you globetrotting. While planning your travel, keep in mind that point transfer to other airlines, or your welcome bonus rewards can take a while to arrive. The transfer can take up to 12 weeks, so be sure to give yourself lots of leeway before booking.

Extra Benefits

As the SPG Rewards card is an AMEX card, it comes along with a number of additional benefits. For insurance, the card comes with a baggage insurance plan, a travel accident plan, as well as extended warranties for purchases. If you’re on the road and something goes awry, there’s the convenient roadside assistance hotline to connect you to a repair truck and help you on your way. If things really go wayside and your rental is damaged or stolen, AMEX provides auto rental insurance. Though all the insurances have their limitations, it’s a reassuring set of tools to literally have in your back pocket in case your travels don’t go according to plan.

Conclusion

The AMEX SPG Rewards Card is a great rewards card for the avid traveler who loves Starwood Hotels. If you enjoy the high-end comfort of these hotels (and who doesn’t?), and spend quite a few nights on the road, the Starpoints will rack up quickly with the combined point system and you’ll be enjoying the benefits. If you don’t stay at Starwood Hotels, this card holds some perks in the airline bookings, but there’s likely a better for a rewards credit card out there. For the Starwood lovers, this rewards card is a great deal.

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How to Spend 100,000 American Express Reward Points

So you have 100,000 American Express Membership Reward points, but how do you spend it all? With so many ways to use reward points it’s important to understand just how to use them up in the best way possible. Terms and agreements from credit card companies can make this process seem daunting, but in reality redeeming your American Express Membership Reward points is simple and can get you that low cost vacation you deserve, or gift cards to stores you use everyday. So let’s take it one step at a time and learn the ins and outs of American Express Membership Rewards points.

 

american express points

 

First it’s important to understand that your American Express Membership Rewards points can be used on so much. It’s truly one of the most versatile point’s rewards cards there is. Just looking at the American Express Membership Reward website you can see how your points can be redeemed to things like flights, Uber rides, and events on the Ticketmaster website. Using up 100,000 points can get you a ton of thing in which can be useful for your everyday life.

If you are looking into travel with 100,000 points for example there is so much you can get! With 21 airline and hotel transfer partners America Express Members get the most bang for their points. When doing your research you have to remember that sometimes transferring your points to a partner is the best way to use up your points. One good case is British Airway’s Avios. Avios part of a flight company that is partnered with America Express and your point value there end up about 4.9¢ per point so with 100,000 points you have about 4,900$ to spend on flights that average between 500-800$ a piece.

Not that into travel? How about Apple products? On the American Express Member Rewards page you can scan through Apple products and for less than 100,000 points get some awesome Apple gear. Things like the Apple Watch Sport (79,800 points), Apple TV 4th generation, 64 GB (39,800 points), and IPhone SE (99,800 points) are all available on the website for less than 100,000 points. This makes points worth less than with some other places, but it’s still a great way to get that Apple product you’ve been eyeing.

If you don’t see a product you’d like to buy or prefer to shop in person you can swap your points for gift cards. There are hundreds of gift cards for everything, from Home Depot to movie theaters, theme park tickets, and experiences like the ski resorts in Aspen, Colorado. The gift cards conversion on points is 10,000 points equaling 100$ worth in the gift cards. This option is great for someone that wants to redeem your points, but wants to do the shopping or experience at a later time.

There’s other ways other than travel or shopping that these points can be taken advantage of. As previously mentioned theme park tickets are available for points and they are much more affordable than you think. For 11,200 points you can get a ticket worth two visits for one person at Sea World Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, or Adventure Island Tampa Bay. That means a family of 4 could visit any two parks for just under half of their 100,000 reward points (44,800 points)! Take that same family of four and take them to Universal Studios Resort in Orlando, Florida. Even if both the children in the family qualify as adults the four tickets still clock in at under 100,000 points for admission to both Universal Studios and Universal Islands of adventure. These tickets mean that family trip to Harry Potter world you have been dying to take just got a lot more affordable.

If you want to stay in town and still spend points without actually shopping there are ways in which you can utilize your points to fit just that. As an American Express Reward Members you can use your points for tickets to that basketball game you wanted to catch via Ticketmaster and to help you get there, avoid parking, and be able to drink to your hearts content you can use your points to grab an Uber lift to the stadium. These options can make using your points in your city to do things you have been wanting to do easy and simple.

Another way to look at redeeming your points is swapping them out for Plenti points. Plenti points are a reward system put in place with American Express that lets you use the points like money at Exxon/Mobil, AT&T, Nationwide Insurance, Direct Energy, RiteAid, Hulu, Macy’s and car rental companies including National, Alamo, and Enterprise. America Express is working on adding in large restaurant and grocery store chains to expand their list. Plenti points are earned with you spend money and are usually 1 point per dollar spent. While this may seem like a waste to redeem your points to Plenti points there are a few reason it can be a smart way to use your points. When you first sign up to Plenti there are offers you’ll get to help you gain Plenti points like crazy. Ones like 100 points for your first fill up at Exxon or 100 points for spending 80$ at Macy’s can make it worth while if you already shop at their partner stores. Plenti offers better deals than coupons and the deals are constantly changing giving you different options all the time.

With your American Express Reward Member points it’s easy to see just how far 100,000 points can go. With so many options out there you can get a ton of bang for you points using this versatile rewards program. The points can be used for anything from airplane tickets, to Uber rides so no matter what type of lifestyle you may have your American Express Reward Membership points have you covered. The American Express Reward Member points are one of the best in the game and with its easy to use rewards program it is worth getting into.

 

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Transferring American Express MR Points to Travel Partners

With American Express Rewards Membership Rewards points being one of the biggest and pest rewards systems out there it’s no wonder it can cube confusing to figure out how exactly you can use your points to get the most out of them. American Express Rewards Members literally have hundreds of ways and thing they can spend their points which can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because the American Express points are easy to spend on things you want, and a curse because the points have very smart ways in which the points can be sent, and very well, less than desired ways to spend them.

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The hard part is that most consumers don’t even know where to begin to research what is the best way to use your points and get the most out of them. If you are looking to travel and have American Express Reward point there is good news for you! American Express offers a very exciting, and overall some of the best value, way to use your points and if you have 100,000 point to spend you can get very far. The process in which I am talking about is of course, point swapping.

What exactly is point swapping? Well it is simply put that you take your points, transfer them to a American Express partner and get to use them to buy things such as airline tickets and hotels for travel along with them actually being worth more money per point in a lot of cases! This point swapping or transferring is a simple process worth looking into if you plan to travel with your points. The points you have could very well be your ticket to a free or low cost vacation and who doesn’t love that?

American Express has 17 airline and 4 hotel partners that will allow you to transfer points to big names like American Airlines, Delta, and Hilton. These partners along with their others cover so much of the world I would be surprised if you could find a place it didn’t cover. America Express has one of the most ambitious and best rewards program recently offering a 100,000 point offer for signing up with them and their offers, while constantly changing, are always good. With 100,000 points to transfer to 21 different partners you have options.

One of the best transfer partners to use points to is British Airways. This partner has a program called Avios which are for short hauls flights. British Airways is the most frequent point transfer partner with American Express. They offer great deals like 40% extra points when you transfer your points and overall are the best bang for your points. They are also a partner in Oneworld. This means you can take your Avios points you got from transferring 100,000 over to them and use them on more airlines that may not be partners with American Express. Also, in addition to more airlines, British Airways Avios is priced on distance with the shortest flights costing about 4,500 points each way. This can be a huge help for usually expensive short flights like ones to Montreal from New York. You can also buy a normal ticket on British Airlines and use your Avios points for that expensive upgrade. A good example to show you exactly how much this can save you is a flight from JFK to London. The premium economy seating is 30,000 Avios points each way, while business is 40,000 Avios points. That means you spend 20,000 Avios points for a way more comfortable flight and a saving on average of 3,000$. Avios conversion is 1:1 with Amex points normally. But wait for deals on transferring points for better bang for your points.

While there are many other airlines you can transfer your 100,000 points to, looking at hotels for your future destination is just as important and that’s the great thing about American Express, it is partnered with a hotel chain like Hilton. Hilton is all over the world and is one of the largest hotel chains in the world. The one down side to transferring your points to Hilton is the conversion rates. They depend on what country you are going to. Some countries are great to transfer points over, the UK being the best conversion rate at 1,000 American Express points for 2,000 Hilton’s HHonor points and one of the worse being Hong Kong at 8,000 American Express points for 1,250 HHonor points. Checking out the rates in the country and the conversion rate in which you will get for your points is the. It’s important thing here if you are going out of country for your trip. A lot of places have a 1:1 ration for their point conversions like Brazil, Argentina, Canada, France, and Germany, but their prices in hotels can greatly differ what is considered a good place to use your points.

A trip can already be stressful to plan and cost a ton to take but with your American Express Member Rewards Points it can really take that stress down. There is so many ways you can use your points to get that trip and while understanding how to use them knowing that there are plenty of options definitely makes the process at least seem so much better. While planning your trip with 100,000 American Express Points not only is it prudent you look into all your options, it’s important you look at prices as well for the places once you get there, especially if you are using your points to transfer to a hotel chain. With 21 partners and some of those partners have their own partners it is impossible to run out of ideas or places to go to. 100,000 points on the American Express Member Rewards program is your ticket to your next free or low cost vacation and if you spend them wisely and do your research you’ll see that those 100,000 can truly go a long way.

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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.

Conclusion

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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Top 10 Points Credit Cards for Everyday Spending Bonuses

When it comes to everyday spending bonuses, you have plenty of cards to choose from. We’ve selected the top ten credit cards for everyday spending, meaning you can get more than a 1% rewards rate on more than one “everyday spending” category, such as gas or groceries.

In this post, we’re focusing on credit cards that earn points or miles in a rewards program. Take a look and see if any of these capture your interest!

1. Citi ThankYou Cards

There are 3 different versions of this card, and each one offers some great bonuses.

The Citi ThankYou Preferred card offers a 20,000 point sign on bonus after spending $1,500 in the first three months. Earn two points for every dollar spent on dining, travel and entertainment, one point on every dollar spent in other categories. There is no annual fee for this card. There is a 12 month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. You can redeem your points for cash, statement credit or gift cards. There is a separate offer for the Citi ThankYou Preferred card which also has no annual fee and offers a 15-month 0% introductory APR with no annual fee, and no sign on bonus.

The Citi ThankYou Premier credit card has a 20,000 point bonus after spending $2,000 in the first three months, and an additional bonus of 30,000 points after spending another $3,000 in the first three months of the second year you have the card. Earn 3 points for every dollar spent on dining, travel and entertainment, one point on all other purchases. There is no annual fee. Redeem for cash, statement credit, travel rewards and gift cards.

The Citi ThankYou Prestige offers 30,000 ThankYou points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of card membership. Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels, 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment and 1 ThankYou Point per $1 spent on other purchases.

2. Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard

Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Earn two miles per dollar spent on all dining and travel purchases, one point per dollar on all other purchases. There is an introductory APR of 0% for the first 12 months that you have this card. Redeem for cash back or travel rewards; when redeeming for travel rewards you earn an additional 10% bonus on the travel purchases. There is no annual fee for this card.

Apply Now: Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard®

3. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months that you have the card. Earn an additional 5,000 points for adding another authorized user in the first three months. Earn two points for every dollar spent on dining and travel purchases, and one point for every dollar spent in other categories. Redeem for cash, travel, gift cards and more. There is no annual fee for the first year, after that the annual fee will be $95.

4. Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard

Although there is no sign on bonus for this card, you will earn two points for every dollar spent on gas, groceries, and utilities. Earn one point for every dollar spent in other categories. There is no introductory APR for this card. Redeem your points for travel, cash back, or gift cards. There is no annual fee for this card.

Apply Now:

Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® – Excellent Credit

Barclaycard® Rewards MasterCard® – Average Credit

5. American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first three months you have the card. Earn three points for every dollar spent on flights, two points for every dollar spent at gas stations and grocery stores, and one point for every dollar spent in other categories. There is no annual fee for the first year, after that the annual fee will be $175. Redeem your points with flexible options through many travel partners or gift cards.

6. Amex Everyday Preferred Card

Earn 15,000 points, plus a one year membership to Amazon Prime (worth $99 per year) after spending $1,000 in the first three months that you have the card. Earn a 50% bonus on all points when you make at least 30 purchases per month using the card. Earn three points for every dollar spent at grocery stores, up to $6,000 annually. Earn two points for every dollar spent at gas stations. Earn one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. There is an introductory APR of 0% for the first 15 months. Use your Membership Rewards to pay for flights and hotel stays. The annual fee for this card is $95.

7. Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card

Earn 40,000 bonus sign on points after spending $1,000 in the first three months you have the card. Earn six points for every dollar spent at Hilton hotels. Earn three HHonors points for every dollar spent at grocery stores, gas stations and drug stores. Earn two HHonors points for every dollar spent on all other categories. There is no annual fee for this card. Redeem your HHonors points for hotel stays at participating Hilton group hotels and other travel.

8. Playstation Card from Capital One

Earn 5,000 bonus points after you make your first purchase in the first 90 days that you have the card. Earn 10 points for every dollar spent on Playstation Store purchases. Earn three points for every dollar spent on Playstation purchases at Sony Stores. Earn three points for every dollar spent on quick serve restaurants, movie theaters and mobile phone service. Earn one point for every dollar spent in other categories. There is a 0% introductory rate until September 2015 on purchases and balance transfers. Redeem your points for Sony products, movies, music and more. There is no annual fee for this card.

9. USAA Rewards Amex

Earn two points for every dollar spent on gas station and grocery store purchases. Earn a 2,500 point bonus after making your first purchase within the first three months you have the card. Redeem your points for cash, gift cards, travel and more. There is no annual fee for this card.

Apply Now: USAA Rewards™ American Express®

10. PayPal Mastercard and eBay Mastercard

Earn three points for every dollar spent at gas stations and restaurants. Earn two points for all PayPal and eBay transactions. Earn one point for every dollar spent in other categories. There is no annual fee for this card.

Each of these cards has something special to offer when it comes to earning rewards for your every day spending. Any time you can earn more than one point for every dollar you spend, it is worth taking a look at the options!