Best reward credit cards

Seven On Your Side
September 26, 2013 8:13:06 AM PDT
You may want free flights, hotel nights or straight up cash, and some credit cards can deliver if you have good credit.

The Capital One Quicksilver card is top of the rewards heap right now: No fees, 1.5 flat cash back and $100 buck sign up bonus if you spend $500. Like all the best cards, you've got to qualify to get one.

Before you're tempted by a television ad to commit to a credit card, clean up your credit. The best scores snag the best cards, like the Amex Blue Cash Preferred - 0 % interest for the first year and a healthy 6% back on supermarket purchases, which means if you spend $6,000 annually on groceries you get 360 bucks back.

"Getting a lot back is great for big families you're probably going to spend that much in that area anyway," Lisa Gerstner, Associate Editor at Kiplinger's Personal Finance, said.

The editors at Kiplinger financial magazine on the best cash back cards.

"Cards that give you really good rebates on basic things like groceries and gas are generally pretty good cards," Gerstner said.

In the best travel reward category, Capital One scores high with its Venture Rewards cards. If you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months, you get 10-thousand miles plus two miles for every dollar you spend.

"If you're planning a vacay, maybe use a lot of hotels. Choose a category that gives you the most back," Gerstner added.

Chase's Sapphire Preferred also offers a host of perks: 2 points for each dollar spent on dining and travel, including cab fare and tolls, plus a 7 % bonus on points you've earned throughout the year.

Here's something different: U.S. Bank's Flex Perks card automatically gives you 2 points per dollar on whatever category you spend the most each month and ups that to 3 points for what you give away on charity. Help Sandy victims and earn rewards doing it!

"If you're a generous person and you like to donate to charity, 3 points per dollar is a really good payback and is a great incentive to put that on your credit card," Gerstner said.

Tto get the most out of your reward cards, focus on three things.

1) Cards that reward you at a store where you do the majority of your shopping.

2) Don't be tempted to overspend to boost the rewards. The key to worthwhile cards is that you earn simply for buying your everyday shopping and nothing more.

3) The golden rule with rewards credit cards is ALWAYS pay your balance in full every month, otherwise interest charges can soon wipe out any benefits you've earned.