Best reward credit cards now, and for the holidays

November 14, 2011|Eileen Ambrose

This Sunday I wrote about reward programs on credit cards, which have become more generous for the most creditworthy consumers.

Beverly Harzog with, a credit card comparison site, put together this list of the best reward cards:

Cash Back:  Chase Freedom Visa — $200 bonus cash back after spending $500 in the first three months; 5 percent cash back on certain categories; 1 percent on all others. Ten percent cash back if shop merchants through Chase website. Annual percentage rate: 15.99 to 22.99, variable. Annual fee: none

Airline Miles: Chase Sapphire Preferred — Earn 50,000 points, worth $625 toward air or hotel, after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Two points earned for every $1 spent on travel and dining; plus extra point if using Chase online booking. Annual fee: $95, waived the first year. APR: 15.24, variable. No foreign transaction fee.

Low-Interest: Simmons First Visa Platinum — APR: 7.25 percent, variable. Annual fee: none Perks include $1 million in travel accident insurance. Foreign transaction fee: 2.7 percent.

Today, released it’s best cards for the holidays. The card comparison site says consumers can save up to $500 by using the right card.

CardHub also likes the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. The site’s other favorites: Capital One Venture Rewards for miles; Citi Platinum Select, no interest for 21 months on balance transfers; and Citi Dividend World MasterCard, cash bonus and cash back on purchases, plus interest-free for limited time.

Of course not everyone is happy about rewards. Michael, a reader from Monkton, emailed this comment to me:

“An important point missed in your story is how these “rewards” are paid-for. The cost is borne by the merchant when the credit card issuer adds percentage points to the transaction. Two, three, five, even NINE percent added cost. Large merchants - grocery chains and department stores just add this as a cost of business. Small businesses and those with narrow margins have a harder time making up these costs and consumers resent being told they can't use their card. So, consumers should be wary of these “rewards” because they pay higher prices on the goods that they purchase. Small business owners- the ones struggling the most really lose out. What a deal. Where's the reward?”


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