questionswhat credit card offers the best rewards?

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I was hoping to get another HSBC card but I don't qualify for their premier card as you need $100 000 in a checking account lol.

http://www.us.hsbc.com/1/2/3/personal/cards

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Credit cards? My wife and I have paid our Credit Cards off and plan on only buying what we can pay for up front in the future. I don't care how good the rewards are, they're the devil. They will find some way to destroy you. Unless you plan on carrying absolutely no balance, your best bet is to not use them.

You know, a lot of businesses will give you a discount for paying cash. Probably not your grocery store, but I know that gas stations have a discount for paying cash. A lot of specialty stores do as well. Of course, it's hard to carry cash in the modern electronic world, not to mention it's kind of dangerous

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@missallergic123: I have (soon to be past tense) a Chase Sapphire card. Unless you have more than $70,000 in investments or in your account, I believe it's an extraordinarily bad bargain. In addition, they will insist on sending you emails that, if they came from someone else, would qualify as Spam, under any definition of the word. After taking the problem of emails up to the corporate level, and having someone reluctantly admit that marketing was going to insist on continuing to send them to me, no matter how much I objected, I've replaced the card. I will be closing the account after I've received a statement (in about a week), and I'm strongly considering replacing another Chase card as well, just out of spite.

How long did it take me to get another different card with a different provider? How about five minutes? I'm still rather surprised that they are missing the mark on this one, but they are the biggest player in the marketplace right now.

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@missallergic123: You already have a credit card. I expect that you are paying off this card in total, each month, when the statement arrives. If you are not, then please do not get a second card. Going on the assumption that you are paying it off, however, I remind you that the "Rewards" business is extraordinarily profitable for the banks. This can only mean one thing. If it's profitable for them, it's probably not a good deal for you.

The only thing I ever did with the Sapphire points was to have them applied to the account. Every time I looked at any of the items available to spend it on, I wanted to point them here, to Deals, so that they could get an idea of how truly bad their offers were.

Why did I originally get this card? The one positive feature is that there's a phone number on the back, and a person answers. No pushbutton misery, no repeating the word "Agent" over and over. Talking to a person was nice. The rest? Not so much.

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@capguncowboy: "Unless you plan on carrying absolutely no balance, your best bet is to not use them."

Why don't you do exactly this? Pay it off every month, and don't buy things as if it's "free-money", but there's been credit vs. debit debates already, and this is not the time nor the place!

That being said, I have the Amazon Visa: 3% CB (cashback) on all amazon purchases, 2% on dining/gas, 1% everything else, and $30 back instantly once you sign up. You can use your "cashback points" as visa gift cards, or just use the points directly at amazon as monies. 1000pts = 10 dollars.

My wife just got a Chase Freedom Card: 5% CB in rotating quarterly catgories. Oct-Dec 2011 is all dining, movie theaters, charities. Other categories include: gas, grocery, home improvement, etc. We get 1% CB on anything else. She got $200 back instantly for signing up.

I use my credit card for all my purchases..it's free money so long as you pay it off every month + security of online purchasing=WIN!

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@zarfus: both of these cards are no annual fee, and I'd be willing to bet the 1-2 punch offer the best "no-annual-fee" rewards out there (unless you like travel rewards, we dont fly much)

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/cobrandcard/marketing.html

Freedom: http://www.smartbalancetransfers.com/blog/2011/06/chase-freedom-200-cash-back-bonus-limited-time-promotion-867/

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@shrdlu, I should have clarified yes I pay off my credit card statements every month and have good credit.

I did not think of an amazon visa card I shop a lot on amazon that's a good idea!

Thanks for the heads up about chase sapphire, I actually already have a chase freedom card, my brother suggested the chase ink card because that is what he has.

https://www.chase.com/online/business-credit-cards/ink.htm?cell=6TRP&msc=T3014388

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My wife and I have had the Chase Freedom card for a long time. I'd say, in the past 3 years we've gotten about $1500 cash back.

They have a program as talked about above where ever quarter they have a "promotion" that you have to physically log in and sign up for. But, if you do, you get 5% off what ever it is. Sometimes it's food and dining. Some times it's home improvements, and so on.

My wife just recently got a Amazon card, which is nice since we do order stuff from amazon often.

I also have a delta skymiles card that I use for when I fly since you get free checked luggage, priority seating, and bonus miles if you purchase using the card. I also got 25,000 miles for signing up for the card which was basically a free flight. + 15,000 miles the first time I used the card. So, I got almost 2 free flights for getting the card.

As others have said, and may not pertain to the OP now that he's responded. But to others... DO NOT, if ever possible, EVER carry a balance on your CC

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@bogie21: i gotta fly into miami soon, and delta is one of the few planes that dont only have fort lauderdale as their destination...i might check that out!

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I'm pretty happy with my Capital One Platinum card. No annual fee, no transaction fees for foreign purchases, 2% CB on gas/groceries, 1% CB on everything else. I pay almost every monthly expense I can with it and I have my CB set to automatically deposit into my account once I reach $25. I estimate we save around $500 a year this way.

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I have to agree with the amazon card being a good general card for rewards redeemable for visa cards.

In general relating to your credit score, try not to have more than 2-3 cards. Greater or less than this affects your score negatively. Try not to switch around your cards too often, having a card less than 2 years affects your score negatively.

Just hoping to pass on the hard-learned lessons of the mysterious credit score.

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@zarfus: I have the same cards you do (Amazon and Chase Freedom) and we squeeze them for every reward point possible! We also got the $200 for signing up with Chase and I registered for text updates for the quarterly rewards Btw, next quarter dept. stores are 5 cash back and Kohl's is an additional 5%. Today i got a $10 gift card from Kohl's so I'm taking that as a sign to go shopping at Kohl's :-)

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@darthemerald yea I have canceled quite a few cc I dont use anymore, the HSBC one I've had since 2008 and the chase freedom I'v had for a while. I don't use my chase card to much I think I will start using that more now that you have mentioned all the benefits for it I just need to increase my credit limit on it.

@bogie21 I did not know that about delta skymiles, so many cards to choose from! But yes I agree with you one should never leave a balance on a cc. I always pay off every card I have.

In case anyone is interested a good place to manage all your finances is mint.com I have started using this a few months ago would highly recommend it to keep track of everything.

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@missallergic123: One more thing I forgot to mention, a high credit limit isn't as important to your credit score. Whats more important is that your % rotating credit (meaning available credit) is always over 70%, which means if you have a $1000 limit, don't carry balances over $300. To be safe (since the different credit agencies might use different %rotating credit values in their equations, try to stay under 20% of your total available credit to make sure you can keep growing your credit score. Easy :). Also never using a card will affect you negatively.

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I'll echo a lot of what's been said here and say better to not have one if possible, and if you do pay it off each month religiously.

BUT to answer your actual question: I prefer American Express for rewards program. Why?

1) The nature of the card is to pay if off each month. Yes, they have various pay-over-time options, but they're options. When they ask if you want "sign and travel" or "major purchases" programs JUST SAY NO.

2) The rewards points are generally the most flexible. You can apply them to many airline programs, products, websites, gift certificates, etc. They are NOT the "maximum" discount option, but the cards that ARE maximum-payback are usually restrictive (e.g. the real 'payoff' is only at one website, one airline, etc.)

3) Yeah it has an annual fee. So? You really think cards that have "no annual fee" are a better deal? They're making it somewhere (usually 20% interest). They're gonna getcha somewhere, better to have it be a fixed annual fee, IMHO.

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I primarily use my Capital One Platinum Rewards card and run almost all purchases through it, getting 1% (2% on gas and groceries) back as a statement credit every time I've accumulated $25. No fees and I pay it off every month so never pay the 9.9% interest. I'd guess I get about $500 a year back.

I occasionally park short-term debt in one of my other credit cards, but never with an APR higher than about 3.84% (4% fee, then 0% for 14 months). In fact, I'm considering getting a Discover card just because they are offering me 0% for a year with no fees and it will make it easier to pay my daughter's tuition bills without having to pull out of some investments that I'd rather leave alone for the next nine or ten months.

(It's a shame the days of <1% and no balance transfer fees with CD's at 3-5% are gone. I used to pay for vacations and other cool things with those deals.)

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@Zarfus & @missallergic123 Make sure to read the fine print as well. It takes 4 to 6 weeks for the initial 25,000 miles to go into your delta account. Same goes for the 15,000 after the first purchase. So plan accordingly :)

Having it for the free luggage checking saves me more money than any rewards plan. Delta baggage fees; $25 first bag, $35 for second bag (Same with United). So, my wife and I fly, that's $50 each way (First bag for each person) with a potential savings of $240 if we travel with 4 checked bags.

Thus the card saves me at least $100 every time we travel, which is far more than the 1% cash back.

Delta flights recently have been the cheepest we've been able to find as well.

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@missallergic123: I do want to point out that these problems are only with the Sapphire card. I have another Chase card that doesn't have the spam-a-lot sorts of issues. Chase actually has the largest percentage of specialty cards (Amazon is issued by Chase, for example). I also own some stock in Chase, one of the few whose stock price increases.

The second largest position in the market place is held by Bank of America.

When you said HSBC, is that actually Hong Kong/Shanghai Bank? Interesting, if so.

I just now noticed that the Delta Skymiles card (mentioned by @bogie21) is offered by American Express. Interesting. That sounds like a useful card to have.