Selecting The Best Credit Card Is A Personal Choice
There are hundreds of reward credit cards and finding the right one for you can seem like an overwhelming task. We heard from seven credit card and finance experts and writers who provided us with their favorite rewards credit card.
This turned out to be a fascinating insight in to the factors people consider when selecting a credit card. The key takeaway here is that no one card will fit every individual. Your spending habits and reward preferences need to be at the forefront when selecting the best card for you.
This list is in no particular order. All cards have been reviewed prior to their inclusion to ensure they offer great rewards. Let’s take a look at the cards these experts carry in their wallets.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred
Jared Weitz is the CEO and Founder of United Capital Source Inc. He believes the key to selecting a rewards credit card is finding a card with long-term value.
“I always stress finding a credit card for its long-term benefits, not its sign up perks,” Jared said. “Many consumers see the flashy bonus rewards and temporary low APR % but then after a year with the card they no longer attain any value from it.”
With this in mind, Jared believes the Chase Sapphire Card is a top choice for consistent rewards. “It holds a great opportunity to build up points for cashback with double points on every dollar spent towards travel and dining. There is an annual fee of $95 however this is often covered quickly by points earned,” said Jared.
Igor Mitic is the editor-in-chief at Fortunly.com. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is also his top reward credit card choice.
“What makes it unique is the benefits it offers for car rental, a great perk to have, especially when you can use it both locally and internationally,” said Igor. “It offers a primary collision damage waiver for any card you rent, anywhere in the world.”
This card comes with a $95 annual fee but the bonus and card benefits will be well worth the cost for frequent travelers.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred
David Bakke is a credit card expert with Money Crashers. He believes the best rewards credit card is one that rewards you most for everyday purchases.
“You earn 6% cash back on the first $6,000 of grocery purchases each year, an unlimited 3% cash back on gas, and 1% on everything else,” said David. “There’s an annual fee of $95, but this can easily be offset if you make a lot of purchases in those categories, which most of us do.”
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is a favorite “everyday spending” credit card. As David points out, this card rewards customers big for common purchases including 6% back on groceries and 3% back for gas.
Logan Allec, a CPA and founder of personal finance site Money Done Right, also prefers the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred.
“Not a week goes by where I think, “Yeah, I could go out to eat and drop $20…or I could pick up some chicken breast and salad at the grocery store for less than $10 and get 6% back,” said Logan.
Logan brings up an excellent point which is that this card encourages frugal (and often healthier) eating habits. He advises that he and his wife come close but rarely exceed the $6,000 annual grocery limit.
Our Take: Blue Cash Preferred has recently announced that select streaming services are also eligible for 6% cash back. Groceries and gas are some of the biggest expenses for many consumers which makes this card a top cash back option.
The annual fee comes in at $95 but there are very few cards that can compete with the cash back rate. Even modest grocery bills will very likely cover the annual fee very quickly.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve
Zina Kumok is a personal finance editor with Dollar Sprout. She believes that credit card reward flexibility is essential to finding the right card for you.
“My favorite credit card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offers a bunch of travel rewards,” said Zina. “It’s easy to earn points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and you also get a $300 travel statement credit every year.”
A substantial annual travel credit is not the only reason Zina prefers this high tier travel card. “Chase makes redeeming points for flights really easy and you can use any airline. I fly out of Indianapolis which isn’t a major hub so I need to have a lot of flexibility in my rewards cards.”
For Zina, the option to use her points with whichever airline she chooses is a major factor. Airline branded travel credit cards are very popular but you are only given one choice when redeeming for travel. The Chase Sapphire Reserve allows cardholders to spend their rewards whichever way their travels require.
Our Take: The Sapphire Reserve Card is a top tier travel card. It comes with a substantial annual fee of $450. For frequent travelers, the $300 annual travel credit will offset much of this fee. However, many consumers may feel this cost is too high for their needs.
This card will mostly be limited for frequent travelers who prefer a card which provides some of the fanciest travel perks available.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority
Jerry Brown is the owner of the finance blog Peerless Money Mentor. He prefers one of the most popular airline branded credit cards – The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card.
“You can get a huge bonus of 40,000 points after spending $1,000 within three months,” said Jerry. “I think the card is ideal for long term earnings for these two reasons: There are no foreign transaction fees and you get annual statement credit of $75 that offsets the cards high annual fee of $149,”
Southwest Airlines is one of the most popular low cost domestic airlines in The US. Jerry also provided one of the most important considerations when using a rewards credit card. “As always, pay your balance in full each month. Not doing so can negate the benefit of any rewards earned.”
Our Take: The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card is a awesome option for anyone who frequently travelers with Southwest. The big sign up bonus alone will cover the cost of most flights. In many instances, cardholders find that they still have points left over after their first round trip purchase.
This card will appeal to travelers who frequently fly with Southwest. In addition to the annual $75 Southwest Travel credit, customers also receive 7,500 each year for their card anniversary. These two features will offset the annual fee for many cardholders.
Capital One Quicksilver Rewards
Emily Stork is a Finance Associate at Holland & Hart LLP. Emily provided some excellent insight, speaking to the fact that the best reward card will vary from person to person.
“Before you choose a card, arm yourself with data about your spending habits. It will help you pick the one that is best for you,” said Emily.
This is one of the most important considerations consumers must keep in mind when selecting the best card for them.
“There is an upfront reward of $150 if you spend $500 in the first three months, but you also get 1.5% cash back on every purchase,” said Emily. “You don’t need to worry about the category of your spending.”
The Quicksilver Rewards is a great cash back card that provides a solid 1.5% cash back on all purchases without consideration of the type of spending.
Our Take: This card is a great option for consumers who are looking for a zero annual fee credit card. The card offers a generous sign up bonus and requires an extremely low spending threshold of only $500 to earn your sign up offer.
You’ve Heard From The Experts – What Now?
We took a look at some of the most popular reward credit cards that the experts keep in their wallets. As you can see, there is no consensus. No one card will be the best option for every individual. For more top picks you can review our 2019 Guide To The Best Credit Cards For Every Category.
When you are looking for your next credit card keep the following in mind:
- How do you want to use your rewards?
- Where do you spend most with your credit card?
- What credit cards are you eligible for based on your credit score?
- How much are you willing to pay, if at all, for annual fees?
After answering these questions you will easily be able to narrow down your search to the options which will provide you the most benefit. Sign up offers are a big consideration but equally important is the ability to earn long term benefit. Let us know in the comments below which reward credit card is your favorite and why it’s your number one choice!