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Comparing the Discover it and Chase Freedom 5x Categories

There’s nothing like getting paid to pay. It some ways, the now popular cash back cards feel like they’re providing free money. As folks say, ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’. Yes, cash-back cards are not the gravy train. As with any credit card balance, the 5% cash-back is quickly outweighed by the much more significant Annual Percentage Rate. However, a well-chosen cash-back card can be a valuable tool to keep in your wallet.

Two of the favorited cash-back cards are the Discover It and the Chase Freedom cards. They have reached this popularity because of their appealing 5% cash-back feature. In both cases, this attractive percentage is accessible to purchases that fall within certain categories. In order to choose one card over the other, the long-term factor that will affect your cash-back are these categories.

Discover ItChase Freedom

The Similarities

For both cards, the categories that earn 5% change quarterly. Every three months, you need to shift your mental spending to take advantage of the increased percentage. If you purchase outside of the categories, you’ll receive 1% cash-back. The price is right for this card, as neither one has an annual fee. Both cards have the same spending limit on which you can earn the prized 5%. You can spend up to $1500 in the quarterly categories and therefore receive up to $75 in cash-back.

Category Authorization

Both cards also use a category activation system that requires the cardholder to activate their access to these categories. This activation means that you have to log in to your account online or call to confirm that you will be purchasing in these categories and want to earn 5% instead of that measly 1%. This extra step is seemingly unnecessary and a pitfall for those who forget to activate. You’d think that it’s straightforward that people who are using the card would want to access the better cash-back rate.

For the category authentication, both cards have their strengths within this system. Discover It has no end date for when you can authorize your card to access these categories. The Chase Freedom card authorization period ends about two weeks before the quarter closes, which could leave some people out in the cold. The Chase Freedom card , however, has a clear email and text reminder system to make sure that you don’t miss your window (and have the widest window possible). And once you activate it, it provides the 5% on all combined purchases made within the quarter.

Current Quarter

To begin, let’s look at this quarter: July to September 2016. The Discover It card will give you 5% back for purchases at home improvement stores and on If you’re planning some small home renovations, this category could provide a big benefit. You could easily earn 5% ‘off’ of your reno, as the category is quite open as to the range of business it allows. Instead of providing a list of authorized establishments, Discover provides a description of the type of business. However, if you’re not planning renovations, the category isn’t that useful. Some purchases could provide certain cash-back opportunities, but likely you won’t near the same benefit.

The Chase Freedom card offers the 5% for restaurant tabs and purchases at wholesale clubs. Chase provides a lengthy list of the eligible restaurants, which they describe as places where their primary business is eat-in or sit-down dining. For example, almost every fast-food restaurant you can imagine is listed. However, hotel and casino restaurants, as well as grocery store cafes and bakeries are not eligible. However, you can earn 5% back at the grocery section of wholesale clubs, like Costco. This category is more useful to the average consumer, as food purchases, whether at restaurants or bulk groceries, are a common expense.

In the current quarter, you could be a big winner with Discover It’s home renovation plans and the more significant purchases that come along with that. However, most consumers will have better luck earning 5% back within the Chase Freedom restaurant and wholesale club category. You may not max out your $1500 allowance, but the category is still more accessible.

Next Quarter

Looking forward, we head to the last quarter of the year: October to December. Of course, this quarter holds the holiday shopping season. Both cards are holding out on the final category details. Perhaps the suspense adds to the end of year cheer, but it can make it difficult to pick the better holiday shopping companion.

We do know that the Discover It card will provide you with 5% on all your purchases. For those who don’t want to leave their home for the mall, this cash-back category could be a boon. The Chase Freedom card will continue to offer the 5% on wholesale club purchases. Looking towards the hearty eating season that it is, you could get all your holiday groceries at a great cash-back rate. However, the biggest winners of the quarter are yet to be announced.

Past Categories

Looking back to the fourth quarter of 2015, we can see what kinds of categories could appear. Of course, the categories change and are rarely the same year to year, but it provides some context. The Discover It card provided 5% at, department stores, and clothing stores. The Chase Freedom card provided the great rate at,, and Here, the Discover It card seems to come out the better option based on the wide range of store types, rather than specific websites. However, the preference really depends on whether you like to shop online or in person.


For this year, the Chase Freedom cash-back card is the best card to earn higher cash-back on everyday purchases. Everyone needs to eat, and you could earn on food bills or restaurant tabs. Home renovation and online shopping at is more niche, though highly useful for those consumers who fall into that niche. However, the release of the fourth quarter categories will be a key comparison point. Keep an eye out for the announcement, as it will likely come out in mid-September.

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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.


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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American Express Platinum 2016 Review

At first glance, the high $450 annual fee associated with the American Express Platinum card may seem overpriced and not worth it. A closer look, however,  will quickly reveal the many unique benefits this card has to offer. Now you can save money, improve your travel experiences, and bolster your point haul all at the same time.

Amex Platinum

The Benefits

The Platinum Card offered by American Express awards 1 Membership Reward point for each dollar spent. These Membership Reward points can be redeemed for a host of perks including travel and merchandise.

You can even earn 2 points per $1 spent when you use your card for booking trips online through the American Express travel services website. Sadly, car reservations and non-prepaid hotels don’t qualify for these double points though.

The sign-up bonus is impressive with this card. You can earn 40,000 points in the first three months if you spend $3000, just don’t forget to enroll in the Membership Rewards program the moment you receive your card.

Once you’ve racked up enough points, redeem them for rewards in travel, dining, entertainment, and shopping. If you’re so close to a reward and need a couple more points, you can buy them. Membership reward points don’t have an expiration date, allowing you to save them and redeem them whenever it is convenient for you.


$100 Toward Global Entry or $85 Towards TSA Pre✓™

With the Platinum Express card you can receive $100 credit toward the Global Entry program or $85 for TSA Pre✓™. These are government programs that give certain individuals a faster clearance upon re-entry into the United States and helps avoid long airport security lines allowing faster check-in times.

The programs have a lengthy application process, at least one interview, and an extensive background check process to ensure you aren’t a risk, but considering the card will rebate the $100 application fee (Global Entry) or $85 (TSA Pre✓™) it’s worth applying.

You will continue to receive this credit every five years when you reapply. Once approved you can skip immigration and re-enter the U.S. quickly. It’s totally worth it if you travel outside of the U.S. frequently. 


$200 In Airline Credit

Another perk of the Platinum card is the $200 credit toward expenses that you rack up with your favorite airliner. All you have to do is register your preferred and qualifying airline. Once you’re enrolled, charge your incidental air travel fees on your card and enjoy a $200 refund per year. These incidentals can include baggage fees, flight-change fees, and inflight meals, drinks, and airport lounge day passes.

Purchases of airline tickets, gift cards, award tickets, duty free purchases, mileage points transfer fees or mileage point purchases, and upgrades are not counted towards this annual rebate.


Companion Ticket Discount

Bring along a friend and save money on a companion ticket each time you buy a qualifying First Class international or Business class ticket with your card. Over 25 airlines currently participate in this perk.


Avoid Obnoxious Foreign Transaction Fees

If your oversea destination accepts American Express, then you have can avoid paying foreign transaction fees on purchases and enjoy more secure transactions thanks to an EMV chip. Just think, the majority of credit cards charge you a 3-5% foreign transaction fee when you pay in non-US currency.  You can avoid all of these fees and save money, regardless of what country you’re in.


Excellent Value for Lounge Access Worldwide

Frequent flyers who love luxury and travel frequently benefit the most from this card. Through the American Platinum card you will have access to Airport Club Access and Priority Pass Select .These two programs will give you access to over 800 domestic and international lounges, including Delta Sky Club and CenturionSM lounges. Just imagine, layovers can actually be enjoyable with this perk.  Access to these lounges usually costs $400 on its own, so it’s worth the annual fee that provides even more perks.

To enjoy these complimentary lounge programs you will have to enroll in the Priority Pass Select Program. Thanks to this program you don’t have to fly first class to enjoy comfortable sofas, complimentary food/drinks, internet, and more.


Bingo Wireless Access

Speaking of internet, owning  Platinum card will give you unlimited access to Bingo hotspots all around the world, giving you free Wi-Fi at most airports. You can even access the Wi-fi on up to four devices at a time.


Peace of Mind With Travel and Car Rental Insurance

Enjoy peace of mind with Travel Accident Insurance, and Car Rental Insurance. Platinum is known to provide one of the most extensive travel insurance benefit packages out there.

We all know that travel brings risks and accidents happen. With the Platinum card, you are insured up to $500,000 in the event of dismemberment or accidental death.

Along with Travel Accident Insurance you can also enjoy roadside assistance and baggage insurance. Knowing that your belongings are covered against theft, damage, and misplacement is comforting thought when traveling abroad. You’re covered up to $3000 per person per trip for carry-on baggage and up to 2,000 for checked luggage.


Roadside Assistance

A Platinum Card membership can eliminate the need for an AAA membership. You’re covered for up to four service calls per year in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Covered services include:

  • Towing up to 10 miles
  • Jump Starts
  • Flat Tire Change
  • Winching
  • Lockout device
  • Fuel Delivery

Renting a car with your card will automatically provide Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance without charging you an extra penny, though there are some terms and restrictions that apply. Thanks to this coverage you can say no to all additional insurances. Your also enrolled in Hertz #1 Club Gold, National Car Rental’s Emerald Club, and Avis Preferred, allowing you to skip tedious lines and paperwork.


Worry-Free Shopping

The Platinum charge card provides a worry free shopping experience. Have you ever turned down the extended warranty only to have it break just as the manufacturers warranty runs out? The Platinum eliminates this problem by extending your warranty up to a year.

Purchase protection steps in when your new purchase is stolen, damaged, or lost while return Protection works to reimburse you on items the store won’t take back. You’re covered up to $10,000 per occurrence, allowing you to repair, replace, or be reimbursed for the item.


Concierge Services And Hotel Benefits Are At Your Fingertips

With the Platinum Card you have 24/7 concierge service that you can call to make reservations for you. Simply call them and tell them what you want and they will do their best to get you in.

The Amex Platinum Dining program will help you experience the best when it comes to wining and dining. Premium Access is another great feature of the Platinum Express. This service allows you to purchase upgraded tickets to the best seats at sports, family events, concerts, and more.

If you frequently visit luxurious resorts and hotels, you can appreciate the Hilton Honors™  Gold Status Enrollment that comes with the Platinum card. This program provides bonus points on stays and complimentary in-room internet.

You also receive complimentary benefits at hotels and resorts if you stay at any of the 750+ Fine Hotels and Resorts properties around the world. These benefits include:

  • Free room upgrades at check-in if available
  • Late check-out
  • Complimentary breakfast for two  int eh mornings
  • Perks such as complimentary 3rd or 4th-night stay, foods, drinks, or spa credits that vary by property


The Verdict

Luxury comes at a price, and an annual fee of $450 proves it. This luxury travel card has so many features and privileges and for those that travel in style, the card pays itself off. Access to selected airport lounges worldwide, concierge services, hotel upgrades and more are all perks you can enjoy with the Platinum card.

Do the math; lounge access typically costs $400, you get $200 in airline fee credits and $100 toward global entry. These benefits alone come out to $700 and that’s not taking into affect all of the insurance coverages  and other benefits you are automatically enrolled in.

Whether or not the Platinum offers great value will depend on your spending and travel habits. If you travel frequently and lavishly, then the Platinum offers you perks that you would typically pay for anyway. If you don’t travel much or prefer to travel economically there are better cards out there to suit your needs.

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Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Review

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Review

Last year, Citi made significant changes to its ThankYou® Premier Card. In some cases these credit card overhauls can present challenges for consumers. Citi’s rebranding, however, had several positive changes that will impress cardmembers. You can now earn triple ThankYou® Points on a large selection of travel-related purchases in addition to other outstanding offerings including a reduced annual fee.


ThankYou Premier


Is Citi’s ThankYou® Premier Card a good fit for you? Check out these card details and decide for yourself.


Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Pricing and Information

  • APR for Purchases: 14.24% to 23.24%
  • APR for Balance Transfers: 14.24% to 23.24%
  • APR for Cash Advances: 25.49%
  • Penalty APR (as it applies): 29.99%
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first 12 months)

How Citi ThankYou® Premier Card wins

This credit card offers extensive perks to cardmembers, including a great rewards structure that gives added bonuses to those who travel frequently. While domestic and international travel is not the only way to earn points with your ThankYou® Premier Card, it is the most financially lucrative, as you’ll see in the rewards structure described here. Other benefits include cardmember protection, additional savings opportunities and conveniences which are explained in further detail below. 


Citi’s ThankYou® Premier Card provides great rewards on travel, entertainment, dining and all other purchases. This is how the earning structure works for your rewards:

  • Earn 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on travel
  • Earn 2 ThankYou® Points per$1 spent on entertainment and dining out
  • Earn 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 on all other purchases


Details of the ThankYou® Rewards Program

Citi places no limitation on the number of points you can earn each year. Furthermore, there is no expiration to the points you earn and accumulate. This is an important element to note for cardmembers, as not all other credit reward programs provide this kind of allowance.

Cardmembers can redeem ThankYou® Points for a variety of gift cards, electronics, books, media, home goods or cash. You can get a close look at all of your choices at Citi’s reward redemption website at There are many notable retailers listed there including home stores like Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, Target, Walmart, HomeGoods, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma, and clothing retailers like Gap, Banana Republic, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Land’s End, and many more. You can also purchase select merchandise with your points, shop with Citi partners and even use transfer points for a selection of loyalty travel programs including hotels and airlines.

As an added bonus, ThankYou® Points are worth an additional 25% when you redeem them for hotels, airfare, car rentals and even cruises through the exclusive ThankYou® Travel Center when compared with the gift card redemption from the rewards collection. That means that each point you earn is worth $1.25 if you cash them in this way. If you travel extensively, this card is a great option for you!

Cardmember Protection

Citi knows that card security and travel protection are highly valued among credit card holders. There are multiple ways Citi ensures that your money and personal information are protected.

Purchase Protection

With the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, consumers are protected against any unauthorized charges on their cards. This $0 liability is in addition to Citi’s damage and theft purchase protection which covers up to $1,000 per item, up to $50,000 per calendar year. 

Travel Protection

The ThankYou® Premier Card’s chip technology gives users the assurance that use of this feature provides enhanced security. The chip feature on Citi’s card has been proven to reduce counterfeit fraud, as the cardmember information is difficult to duplicate when the card is used at a chip enabled terminal. This feature is great for those who travel internationally as well, because there is usually little difficulty finding merchants who provide chip enabled terminals.

Citi also offers car rental insurance, travel accident insurance, lost baggage protection and travel and emergency assistance to cardmembers. These features are a valuable asset to consumers who travel often.


Bonus Benefits

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has added perks to sweeten the deal.

Additional Savings

Citi Private Pass offers exclusive access to tickets to thousands of events each year. These include VIP packages and presale tickets to sporting events, concerts, dining experiences and movie screenings.

Citi Price Rewind offers additional savings to consumers by helping them get a lower price on items after making a purchase. Cardmembers simply register items purchased with their ThankYou® Card and Citi tracks prices at hundreds of merchants online for 60 days from the purchase date. If a lower price is found, consumers can request a refund of the price difference up to $300 for each item and up to $1,200 per calendar year.


Citi offers extra conveniences to take into consideration.

  • Additional cards for added authorized users
  • 24/7 access to accounts online
  • 24/7 access your own Personal Concierge Service
  • Apple Pay on applicable devices (providing quick and easy payments at check out)


Missing the Mark

While there are many great advantages of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, there are also a couple shortcomings.

Limited Use of Transfer Points

If you prefer to travel within the United States, wanting to use your ThankYou® Premier Card transfer points will be a disappointment. Currently, Citi partners with twelve international air travel companies and only Hilton HHonors Worldwide in the hotel and accommodations category. Another credit card would suite your needs better if your primary intention is to use your earned points to travel domestically.

Complicated Reward Structure

While there are vast redemption opportunities for your ThankYou® points, it can be a difficult task to calculate the maximum value out of your earned rewards. Since the point structure is different for travel, gift cards, donations or cash payments, you’ll have to be cunning in your calculation of which option gives you the best monetary worth for your points. If variety of options is more important to you than monetary value of points, this may not concern you.


For More Information

Contact Citi to apply by phone at 1-800-479-0141. You can also visit for additional information, pricing and to see the card’s terms and agreement in its entirety. For more particulars regarding Citi’s ThankYou® rewards go to online.


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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!

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Changes its Benefits

Chase has recently announced several changes to the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, so we wanted to make our readers aware of what’s new!

If you didn’t already know, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a top choice when it comes to credit cards for travel rewards. Because of the high points earning potential and flexible redemption process, it is definitely a favorite for many.

When you can earn two points for every dollar spent on dining and travel, with one point on everything else, many can build up a nice account with tons of points, redeemable for great travel options. The Ultimate Rewards program allows for discount rewards and transfer partners that help to maximize the points, making them worth about 1.25 cents per point.

Alright, now that that’s covered, let’s talk about the changes. Here are the highlights that you will want to know about:

1. Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Previously, this coverage was secondary to your regular car insurance, but the benefit has become your primary coverage if you rent a vehicle using your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Don’t pay any extra insurance charges at the rental counter when you are using the Sapphire card, because you are already well-covered!

The person named on the credit card is covered, as well as any additional drivers listed on the rental agreement. You will be covered in the event of theft, loss-of-use charges in the event of damage, and any physical damage that occurs to the car. Towing is also included, in the event of a breakdown.

Coverage lasts for up to 31 consecutive days of rental, and may be within or outside of your country of residence. Most passenger autos are covered under this policy, with the exception of most luxury vehicles, open cargo bed trucks, antiques, motorcycles, recreational vehicles and limousines.

2. Increased Trip Cancellation Insurance

Previous coverage was up to $5,000, but you now have up to $10,000 in trip cancellation coverage. The cardholder and any immediate family members are covered during the travel dates established. In the event that the trip was paid for with Rewards points, you will be reimbursed the amount of points redeemed.

Here are more important details you should know:

A trip can be covered when it is paid for in advance, using the Sapphire Preferred credit card. Your destination must be more than one mile from your home, and cannot last longer than 60 days. Cancellation must occur for a covered reason, which includes bodily injury, death of one of the parties, severe weather which affects travel conditions, military orders, jury duty, documented illness, doctor’s orders prohibiting travel, terrorist acts, quarantine or bankruptcy of the travel agency.

You will not be covered for a voluntary change in plans, change in financial circumstances, pre-existing conditions, illegal acts, incarceration or suicide.

3. Change in 7% Bonus for New Cardholders

Previously, new cardholders could look forward to a 7% annual dividend on all points earned at the end of the year. This benefit is no longer offered. Existing cardholders will have this continued until 2016, when it will be completely phased out. It’s never fun to see benefits disappear, but the Sapphire Preferred still has excellent perks that make it worth having.



While losing the 7% bonus point benefit may sting a little bit, the auto coverage is a big deal, especially for those traveling and renting cars on a regular basis. That additional coverage will add up if you are paying it to the rental company, so keep that in mind when you are paying your annual fee!

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card still offers 2 points per dollar spent on travel, and has no foreign transaction fees, keeping it among the top credit cards for travel. And don’t forget about the many travel partners Ultimate Rewards has to offer. You have great flexibility with this card!

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The Best American Express Credit Cards for Travel Rewards

 I’ll admit it, I’m a pretty big American Express fan.  My first credit card was a Starwood Preferred Guest credit card by American Express, and I now proudly hold a American Express Platinum card in my wallet.  So, yes, I’m happy with the company and their suite of credit cards.  But, which ones are the best for travel rewards?  Let’s dig in with this post and see which cards are available, shall we?

Platinum Card from American Express

The ‘granddaddy’ of travel rewards credit cards, the Platinum Card from American Express has seen some competition as of late.  However, the benefits of this card are massive (and should be that way, with the $450 annual fee).  For one, you have access to the Membership Rewards partners, one of the most diverse group of transfer partners in the travel market.  And, most are available to transfer to at a 1:1 ratio.

Many of those same partners offer ‘transfer bonuses,’ sometimes up to 50% for a limited time.  You’ll receive two points per dollar spent on travel purchases on their booking engine, and one point per dollar on every other purchase.  Furthermore, you’ll receive $200 in statement credits for airline fees annually, and free Boingo internet for as long as you have the card.  A 40,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership isn’t half bad, either!

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

I’m in love with SPG.  For one, their hotels, from the hip W Hotels, to luxurious St. Regis properties, to the ubiquitous Westins, are some of the best properties in their respective cities.  I love the SPG Card from American Express especially because of the value of SPG points: the program allows for the most transfers to airline partners in the business.

And, when you transfer more than 20,000 at a time, you’ll earn a 5,000 mile bonus.  If you like sign-up bonuses, I would apply now: you’ll receive 30,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 in the first six months of cardmembership (20,000 for the spend, 10,000 on first purchase).  The annual fee is a reasonable $65 a year.

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

The little brother of the Platinum card, the Premier Rewards Gold Card is worth a mention because of its bonus categories.  You’ll earn three points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline, and two points per dollar on gas and grocery stores.  This can really add up for those making purchases regularly in these areas.


There are many American Express cards out there, but I believe these three to be the strongest out there.  The combination of transfer partners, either with SPG or Membership Rewards, combined with the backing of American Express makes these all winners in my book.  I love American Express’ purchase protection, and have had great experiences working with their customer service department.  So, what do you think?  Did I recommend your favorite cards, or do you have your own favorites?  Let us know in the comments.

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How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

For the last five years, Chase customers have been using the Ultimate Rewards Program to earn tons of points for travel perks. As the program has developed, many travel partners have been added, including airlines, hotels and more. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways for you to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points so that you can make the most of your purchases and earn vacations more quickly!

Three Credit Cards to Choose From

Chase offers three different cards when it comes to earning Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for airline miles or hotel points. You can opt for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Ink Bold or the Chase Ink Plus. None of these cards come without annual fees, but the annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year for each of these cards.

More Options For Earning Points

Chase does offer several other no-annual-fee credit cards that will earn points, but the points that are earned cannot be transferred for redemption by any of the partner programs. You can still use them for the actual program you are registered for, or exchange them for cash back or gift card options.

You can transfer your points among different Chase cards that are associated with the Ultimate Rewards, so if you have a higher-tiered card, you can transfer the points earned from your no-fee card, like the Chase Freedom, and then have more options when you want to redeem them.

Different Earning Potential Among Cards

There is a distinct difference when it comes to earning points if you are using the annual fee version or the no-fee versions of these Chase credit cards. All of the Chase cards mentioned offer earning potential of 1 point per dollar spent. When you have one of the annual fee versions of the cards, you will have the ability to earn bonus points in specific categories, up to 5 points per dollar spent.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 2 points per dollar spent on airfare, dining and travel purchases, while the business cards, the Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Bold, each offer 2 points per dollar spent on gas and hotels. The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers an additional perk of a 7% bonus at the end of the year on all of your points earned. This means if you have earned 40,000 points during the year, you will receive a bonus of 2,800 points at the end of the year!

For business customers using the Chase Ink cards, it is possible to earn 5 points per dollar spent on all of your business expenses—including cell phone, internet services and cable charges. You can earn up to 250,000 points per year this way!

Redeeming at the Ultimate Rewards Mall

One of the great things about the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is the many ways in which you can redeem your points. The online shopping portal, the Ultimate Rewards Mall, not only offers amazing deals from hundreds of your favorite retailers, but you can also enjoy bonus points for most purchases—some may be up to 30 points per dollar spent!

Just as an example, if you spent $200 with a 30 points-per-dollar bonus, you would earn 6,000 points. When you consider that a standard rate is $35 for 1,000 miles, purchased through the airline, you are essentially getting 6,000 miles for $200—a significant savings—because you are not just buying the miles, you have $200 worth of merchandise to go along with it.

Bottom Line

Maximizing earning potential is a priority for any rewards credit card holder. After all, why have the credit card if you are not going to take advantage of the perks? Learn how you can get the highest earning rates, and how to spend in a way that gets you the most points or cash back.

In this case, you can see just how great the Chase offers are, especially if you want to redeem your points with the travel partners of United Airlines, British Airways, Marriott, InterContinental, Korean Air, Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton and more!

Read this post for ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards.

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Get 60,000 Points with Citi Hilton HHonors Card

Another sign-up bonus boost?  Say it is so!  Usually, a successful application to the Citi Hilton HHonors nets you 50,000 Hilton HHonors points after meeting the spend requirements, but not so today!  Now, you’ll earn 60,000 Hilton HHonors points at sign-up.  What else is available on the card?  Let’s check out the benefits below!


The Benefits

Sign-Up Bonus

For this card, you’ll receive 60,000 HHonors Bonus points after spending $1,000 in four months.  That means you’ll be able to spend those for a free night at a pretty decent Hilton property (you can always check out this site for what a specific Hilton hotel will cost you).

Bonus Points

You will have plenty of opportunities to earn bonus points when using the Citi Hilton Visa Signature Card.  When you spend money at a Hilton property, you’ll earn six points for every dollar spent (that includes room rate and on-property spending, so spend away at that mini-bar!).  Furthermore, every dollar spent at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations will earn 3 bonus points.  This point value for these categories are found on other cards, but it’s great to see here as well.  Every other dollar spent will earn two points per dollar.


You’ll receive Silver status automatically by owning this credit card (the fee-based Citi Hilton Reserve card gets you Gold status automatically).  Benefits include a 15% bonus on base points when staying at a Hilton and complimentary health club access.

Plus, if you stay four times at a Hilton in the first four months of card membership, you’ll be placed with Gold status, which gets you room upgrades, free breakfast, and more bonus points.  I’d recommend doing this, as the free breakfast and room upgrades I’ve received as a gold member at Hilton are outstanding!

Annual Fee

Another great benefit of this card over other Hilton cards is the fact that it does not have an annual fee, making cost of card membership free if you pay your bills on time and in full!


The Nitty Gritty

This card’s APR is 14.24%, and balance transfers of 14.24% APR as well.  Cash advances carry a stiff 25.24% fee, and a penalty APR of 29.99% applies if you make a late payment or have a returned payment.

Transaction fees are stiff as well, with foreign transaction fees racking up 3% of every purchase, balance transfers at 3% or $5, whichever is greater, and cash advances at $10 or 5%, whichever is greater.  Penalty late fees are up to $35.



The new sign up bonus associated with this credit card, at 60,000 miles, makes this a no brainer for anyone in the market for a hotel branded credit card.  The no annual fee and low spend requirement makes it a great deal!  Also, free silver status with Hilton ain’t so bad either.

I would take advantage of the Gold status, 4-stay offer, since the benefits of this mid-level status are better than most other similar levels in the hotel space.  The breakfasts that I’ve had with this status are absolutely amazing, and my recent ‘double upgrade’ at the Waldorf Astoria Berlin to a junior suite was a welcome, awesome surprise!  Are you applying? Let us know below!