Credit Card W/ Rewards

Updated on September 09, 2011
K.M. asks from Chicago, IL
22 answers

My husband and I rarely pay with cash anymore. We buy everything with our debit or credit cards (and pay off the entire balance each month). Anyway, I've been thinking it would be nice to get some rewards/cash back for all those purchases we make. What credit cards do you use that 1) do not have any monthly/membership fees and 2) give useful (i.e. doesn't take 10 years to earn a toaster) rewards? Just looking for some personal recommendations before I sign up for any. Thanks!

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answers from Chicago on

yeah Chase has good cards like this; I think I pay a $25 fee on my amazon credit card but i probably get about $200 a year which I use for amazon gift certificates :) and the debit cards for chase (ultimate rewards - it's called a credit card but is really a debit card) can do the same thing, and then you aren't using a credit card at all!



answers from Chicago on

I think there us a website you can go to to compare credit cards and see which one benefits you. I believe it is

As a side, I think Citibank is a good card. You can compare the cards they offer on their website. Chase is good too.

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answers from Phoenix on

I was like you and used my credit card each month and paid it off each time. I also had Discover which paid me 1% cash back. But something happened and now we have a $9,000 debt on this card that can't be paid back all at once. I've been paying tons of money each month in interest. We paid it off every month for years before it caught up. Now I use cash only. I did get a debit RED card at Target that takes money directly out of my account and I save 5% on each purchase. It isn't credit but debit. Otherwise, I don't use credit cards and use mostly cash. I read Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" and it helped. Good luck!!

Thanks for your comment KE. If my story helps someone great!!! If not, then maybe she can move on. No need for the snippy comment. The Red card is awesome saving 5%. Hope it helps someone. =D

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

The Costco Amex card pays back cash once a year, has no fee and pays 3% on gas, restaurants and travel. Chase Bank has several Visa cards that pay rewards, and have no fees. Mine gives travel rewards or gift cards for places I shop, like Target. The points never expire.



answers from Chicago on

We are just like you and have been for YEARS! We've gotten rewards for the past 11 yrs and make over $1000 a year just paying for our everyday things with our CCs and paying them off every month. We have 2 Chase rewards cards. Our really good one, they just took away and changed to the Freedom card, so we will be losing reward money, but it still looks good...especially if you have an account with Chase there are extra perks. We also have a business card from Chase and it gives us 3% back at places that we shop at a lot for home and business (sole proprietorship so we don't HAVE to keep it separate). We also got the Costco AmEx when we joined there so we didn't need to use our debit cards, plus as a business we get 4% on gas everywhere and 1% on everything else. We also have a Discover that's really old and we keep if they come up with a great promotion. I do think that it is a pain to keep track of 3-4 CCs each month, but the money that we earn is worth it. I also put all of their due dates at the same time and that made it much easier too. I do not pay any fees for any of my cards - never have. We get the rewards in different chunks depending on the card, but I always just put them back as statement credits and depending on the account and card from Chase, they wave the bank account fee every month that you use the card that's linked with it (ie: our business card with our business account). I LOVE getting FREE money!!!!!!!!!!!!




answers from Chicago on

We do the same thing. I use Costco's American Express. You must be a Costco Member and their fee is automatically charged every year BUT the rewards structure is GREAT! You receive a higher percentage on Costco purchases but do receive a percentage on every purchase. The amount that you earn accumulates all year (you can see your earnings balance right on your statement) and in February they mail you a check. You take the check to Costco and cash it ( for real cash). I earn over $500.00 a year!

I also have a Sears Mastercard that I earn points with for gift cards. I only use it at Kmart and Sears and places that don't accept American Express. That being said, in December I usually choose a Kmart Gift Card (between $200 - $300) and I take that gift card to Kmart and buy Itunes and restaurants that I give as gifts to my nephews for Christmas.



answers from San Francisco on

We pay our balances in full every month too, and with the cash back rewards cards it's like banks are paying us to use their credit cards. Gotta love that! Most cards offer at least 1% on general purchases but there are ways to get more. Here's what I use to maximize our rewards:

Discover Card--keep track of what the bonus categories are and use it for those purchases. It earns 5% on those (I keep track until I reach the limit, currently it's 5% on up to $400 in purchases at home improvement, department, and clothing stores.)

Target Red Card--only for purchases at Target, saves 5% right on the spot.

Amazon Visa (from Chase)--For purchases (3% back) and 2% for gas stations, restaurants, drug stores, and office supply stores.

Costco's American Express--They currently have a tiered system like the Amazon Visa, but I am still under the old plan of 1.5% on all purchases. I use this card for everything that doesn't fall under any of the other cards' bonus categories. Some merchants don't take American Express, so I use the amazon visa which still earns 1%.

The Chase Freedom Card is similar to Discover with rotating 5% cash back categories. I've got one but haven't been using it much simply because I was getting mixed up between which categories it had the bonus on and which were Discover's. When I get my act together with that, I'm sure I will utilize it more.


answers from Tulsa on

I use State Farm Bank. I also work for State Farm, so you can take my opinion with a grain of salt if you'd like. Their credit card offers 1% back in State Farm dollars that you can redeem once you hit $50. They can only be rewarded for State Farm products, but you can redeem them to pay your credit card bill, so it's still beneficial. The interest rate is low, credit limits are pretty high, and customer service is great.



answers from Anchorage on

I like USAA, but you can only use them if you or a family member is military. We just cashed in our reward points for $300 gift card to Walmart, but they have a lot of things you can get in their points store.



answers from Chicago on

Love Discover, Costco Amex, Nordstrom Visa and a few other cards that do have a yearly fee. We got ads in the mail for American airlines Citi rewards cards for years,, offering 15-25,000 miles, the card has a yearly fee, always refused, after MANY years received an offer for 75,000 miles, my husband and I both got one, weighed the yearly fee against the value of the extra miles and went for it. I think sometimes you get specail offers in the mail, you have to pay attention to the offers tailored to you. Rewards are the way to go if you pay off in full every month.



answers from Chicago on

We are like you too and use Chase Freedom, Discover and RBS. But, most credit card companies now a days have rewards. Just keep in mind that you can call the companies you already have cards with and ask if you can transfer over to a rewards type of card (for no charge). The reason I say that is if you have a card you have used for 10 years, you don't want to close it (you'll lose all the history you've built up and your credit score will drop). You also don't want to open up new cards because your credit score will drop (due to the new-ness of the credit card and you will be dinged for 2 years just because the inquiry). So, just contact the banks you already have cards with and see if they can switch you to a rewards cards.

Never pay for perks.

Keep up the great work!



answers from Chicago on

I use 3 cards.

Chase Freedom - accumulate points that are redeemable for cash or gift cards. Like others have mentioned - I accumulate points all year long and redeem them at the end of the year for gift cards. Last year I had over $750 for Christmas shopping. We put almost everything on this card - including my cable bill and cell phone bill. I believe there is a yearly fee but it far outweighs the benefits. It has a very high interest rate so make sure you can pay it off monthly.

Target Visa - I use this because I am a Target addict and you get 5% off every time you use it at Target.

Gap Visa - I like Gap visa not because of the rewards but the special discounts and coupons you get as a member. (Though the rewards seem to accumulate pretty easily). Since I buy most of my kids clothes at Gap or OldNavy - this makes sense for us. You often get coupons for members only, you get 10% off every Tuesday and you get free shipping for all online purchases. Most of my out of town nieces and nephews get gifts from the Gap. :)

If I were you - I would get one all purpose card and then maybe one or two cards for whatever store you frequent the most. Often it is not the rewards that are great about the store cards but the coupons and cardholder only events that you are privy to.

Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

Chase Freedom. I earn about $1,000 free bucks a year.


answers from Dallas on

We have our business cards through Bank of America. We run all expenses through it and other things as well. It is PAID IN FULL before a statement is even cut. There is NEVER a balance... we live debt free.

That said, we just got $250 back about a week ago and will average $1000/year in rewards. Granted, we run business expenses through it so we rack up some expenses but it never carries a balance.

I don't know about fees, Ours came with our business account and we have no fees at all with our BOA accounts unless we wire money in our out and get the standard wire fee.

Another good one is Citibank Drivers Edge. When we knew we'd be in the market for a car, we used this one for business. You can get up to $500 per year on a car rebate. We used this card 80% of the time until we got the $500 limit per year. We we bought my car this past Dec, all I did was sent my bill of sale to them and they sent me a check for $2000. it is harder to get this reward, which is a good one because you are limited to the $500 per year.

We used to do the airlines but the airlines ones nickel and dime you to death now and it is not worth it. We like cash back!!



answers from Charlotte on




answers from Chicago on

We love our discover cash back card. There is no annual fee and you earn a percentage cash back on every purchase, up to 5% on different things in given months/quarters. Your cash back gets added to your account when the statement closes and you can start redeeming when your balance hits $20. At that point you can redeem for gift cards and can often redeem $20 in cash back for a $25 gift card. Once your cash back balance hits $50, you can redeem for statement credit.



answers from Washington DC on

Discover is pretty good.
Disney also has one that lets you earn points towards Disney items and vacations.



answers from Portland on

I have liked LLBean's credit card. The rewards are all their products, but I actually get to cash in 2 or 3 times per year, and I like their well-made, practical clothing.



answers from Chicago on

My husband and I have the chase credit/debit card and love it. We try to put everything on the credit side to earn points, which comes directly out of our checking account. We redeemed around 500 in various gift cards for christmas gifts this year - it was fantastic! There is some fee associated, but the fee pays for itself early each year. Good luck!


answers from St. Louis on

Discover card. It has a true grace period, my dad even charges his cars and pays them off every month.



answers from Chicago on

We do the same thing you do. We love our Capitol One Ventures card. We recently upgraded to that from their regular card. You get double the points per dollar. We've used this for several years. You can buy things through their rewards system, but the best deal we like is for travel. You search and buy your own tickets, and they will just deduct the points. Every year, we are able to fly at least 3 people for free (sometimes 4). This works out great for vacations, b/c we also use my mom's timeshare. So basically, we only pay for expenses during travel. Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

We use American Express Gold. We receive 1 point for every dollar we spend. Sometimes we receive double or triple points. The good thing is you have to pay it off each month. We have enough points that at Christmas we use them to shop for the kids. This summer we are applying points to airline travel. It is saving us a ton.

Good luck!

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