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Best Cashback Sign-Up Bonus Offers of November 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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You’re always looking for the best deals when it comes to credit card bonuses. A popular lure credit cards are using to bring in new customers is cashback sign-up bonuses.

In a recent study, we found that the average introductory bonus in the travel rewards credit card category in 2018 is now 40,556 points, more than double the average bonus in 2008 (16,050 points) and up from 34,327 points five years ago. But these bonuses also come at a steep cost to consumers, with the average annual fee on a card with a bonus offer is $120, up 62% from $74 in 2008, according to the report.

After looking at the available cards, we found three we felt offered the best benefits for those looking specifically for ones with cashback sign-up bonuses. All three cards offer the cashback bonus without having to spend large amounts of money to get it. And they all offer ongoing cashback options and perks once the cashback intro bonus is gone, all with no annual fees.

Cards with the best sign-up bonuses

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card starts with One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, the highest among the three cards highlighted in this review. Once you spend $500 in three months to get the cashback bonus, it’s applied to your rewards balance within two billing cycles.Cardmembers get a flat 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day, and you don’t have to register every quarter to get it. You’re also not limited to select categories to get the cash back and there’s a None foreign transaction fee.

Let’s say you spend $2,000 a month on the card. At unlimited 1.5% cash back, you’ll get $360 at the end of the year. Your rewards don’t expire during the life of the account, and you can redeem cash back for any amount.

The perks with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card are pretty good considering it’s a no-fee credit card. There’s the usual benefits that come with Visa Signature®, including free upgrades and special savings at hotels, resorts and spas, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and fine wine and food events, free 24-hour concierge service, shopping and savings and special offers from retailers. There are also popular benefits like purchase security, roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage reimbursement and travel accident insurance.

Other cards may offer more bonus points or miles — for a higher spend — than the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. They may also more in cashback awards, especially in targeted categories like travel and dining, than what’s offered with this card.

Uber Visa Card

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The information related to Uber Visa Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Uber Visa Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else.
New Uber Visa Card members can Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. The cashback bonus is applied to your card as soon as you make the required purchases within the first 90 days after you open your account. You don’t pay foreign transaction fees on the card.If you spend around $800 a month on dining, you’ll earn $384 a year in cash back. The cash back in the travel category includes airfare, hotels and home share services like Airbnb. Spend $1,500 a month with the Uber Visa Card on these categories and get $540 back after a year.After your bonus is credited, there are more perks that come with the Uber Visa Card. Music lovers who spend at least $5,000 a year on it can get up to a $50 credit for online digital subscription services. You get up to $600 for mobile phone damage or theft when you pay your mobile phone bill with your card. The card also gives you access to invitations to exclusive events and offers in select U.S. cities.

You can redeem your Uber Visa Card points for Uber credits, gift cards or cash back, all via the Uber app once your balance hits $5 or 500 points. You must add your Uber Visa Card to your Uber account to take advantage of this feature. As long as the account is active and in good standing, your points never expire.

There are other cards that offer higher cash back for popular categories like airfares, hotels and dining. The cashback balance on your Uber Visa Card must reach $25 before you can use it for gift cards, statement credit or direct deposit. Your cash back redemption is capped at $500 a day. And the card doesn’t have an intro balance transfer rate.

TruWest Visa® Signature Card

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on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website

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TruWest Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
9.90%-10.90% Variable
Annual fee
$0
With the TruWest Visa Signature Card, you get a $100 introductory bonus when you spend $100 in the first 90 days after being approved. It’s not the most lucrative bonus out there, but we like it for a different reason: This is by far the lowest spend requirement among the three cards in this review.The best feature of the TruWest Visa Signature Card is that it starts with a generous 0% intro APR for 18 months on all purchases and balance transfers. After 18 months, there’s a very reasonable variable APR.

You automatically earn 1.5% cash back under the card’s TruRewards program, plus you get up to 1 point for every $1 spent. If you spend $1,000 a month on the card, you’ll get $180 back after a year of spending.

The fine print: You must be a member of the TruWest Credit Union, with a minimum deposit of $5 to qualify, before you can apply for the TruWest Visa Signature Card. To become a member, you must either: live, work or own a business in Maricopa, Pinal, Pima or Yavapai counties in Arizona, or Travis or Williamson counties in Texas; attend school in Travis or Williamson, Texas; or be related to a member or be the surviving spouse of a deceased member.

How to use points

You can earn 5,000 bonus points when you add a cardholder to your account, which gives you more ways to boost your point totals. You also earn up to 10 extra points per $1 spent when you use them to make qualifying purchases on the TruRewards website.

You can use your points and cash back in the Get Extra Points program, where you can apply your cash back to your credit card account, buy gift cards from TruWest or retailers, book a flight, hotel or cruise, buy more than 300 different items ranging from electronics to jewelry and donate points to your favorite charities. You can choose the split-pay option, where you can redeem points and pay for items using your TruWest Visa Signature Card.

Like the, Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, the TruWest Visa Signature Card gives you access to all the benefits of the Visa Signature program.

Alternatives to these cards

If these cashback bonus offers aren’t quite showing you the money, you may want to consider cards that offer double cashback benefits — with no annual fee, but also no cashback sign-up bonus — as an alternative.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent, Good

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer doesn’t force you to register in order to get cash back. Unlike cards with higher cashback options, almost all of your purchases are covered.

There are no caps on the total amount of cash back you can earn. So if you spend $1,000 a month on the card, that means you’ll get $120 in cashback rewards in a year. And you can get another $30 a year back if you make payments of $250 a month.

Once your cash rewards balance hits $25 or more, you can redeem your cash rewards as a check, a statement credit to your account, a gift card or as credit to a linked Citi savings or checking account or to a checking account where you have paid a Citi credit card bill at least twice.

Benefits that come with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer aren’t as robust as other cards in this category. And don’t use this card when you travel outside the U.S., since it charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.

If your account is closed, you won’t be able to earn or redeem your cash rewards, and you forfeit any accumulated cash rewards. Your cash rewards balance will expire if you have not earned any cash back from purchases or payments for 12 months.

Discover it® Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

The great thing with the Discover it® Cash Back is that it matches all the cash back new cardmembers earn at the end of their first year. So if you earned $1,200 in cash back in your first year, Discover will match that to $2,400 after your first 12 consecutive billing periods. The cash back is then applied to your account in the following one or two billing periods.

Each quarter, you can earn 5% cash on specific categories up to the quarterly maximum. It’s stand-alone grocery stores in the second quarter, restaurants in the third quarter and Amazon.com and wholesale clubs in the fourth quarter.

You must register for the categories each quarter in order to get the cashback reward. The cashback quarterly maximum is $1,500 for the Discover it® Cash Back, but there’s no limit on the overall amount of cash back you can earn.

If you do a balance transfer, you can save money if you pay off the balance before the end of the card’s 14-month term. But you will pay a 3% balance transfer fee.

The Discover it® Cash Back gives you free access to your FICO® Score on monthly statements, online and on the mobile app, and allows you to use the Freeze it® on/off switch feature that stops purchases, cash advances and balance transfers if you misplace your card.

If you want to spend some of your Discover it® Cash Back cashback rewards or go shopping, you can do it on the Discover Deals website. Here you can earn more cashback bonuses when you shop for deals from top brands or get discounts at the Discover Travel Deals site for flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises.

After the first year, the Discover it® Cash Back’s cashback match rewards goes away, and you don’t get the more robust travel and purchase benefits of other cards.

The bottom line

The introductory cashback bonuses for these credit cards can seem appealing when you first sign up. But you need to ask which benefits remain once you spend that initial bonus. And you need to balance whether the card is just as appealing once the more attractive intro purchase and balance transfer rates expire.

Since you don’t have to worry about annual fees, focus on a card with benefits that go beyond the initial intro cashback bonus. You want to get unlimited rewards with at least 1% cash back at a bare minimum.

It’s even better if you get a card that goes above the usual 1% on items in selected categories. You also want to have access to a website that will let you maximize your cashback rewards and get discounts for shopping. And you want a card that offers secondary perks like travel discounts, purchase and travel insurance and car rental collision coverage.

Keep your balances low and pay your card on time because you may end up paying your credit card company for the privilege of getting cashback rewards.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

The New Amazon Business American Express Cards: What You Need to Know

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Amazon unveiled two new American Express-branded credit cards this week aimed at offering rewards and incentives to small business owners — the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card and the Amazon Business American Express Card. This is the Seattle-based company’s first foray into the business credit card segment.

What sets these cards apart from the pack is the flexibility in choosing which reward you want to take advantage of before making a purchase. At checkout, cardholders can either choose to earn points per dollar spent or finance the purchase interest-free for a set period of time. The rewards apply to spending at Amazon Business, Amazon Warehouse Stores (AWS), Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market.

We’ll break down the pros and cons of both Amazon cards so you’ll know which one could be a good option for your business. We’ll also look at two alternatives that could be more attractive than what Amazon is offering.

Amazon Business American Express Card

The information related to Amazon Business American Express Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Amazon Business American Express Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3% Back or 90 Day Terms on U.S. purchases at a designated Amazon property when the % Back rewards option applies. 2% Back at U.S gas stations, U.S. restaurants, and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers. 1% Back on other purchases.
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

Excellent

Amazon Business Prime American Express Card

The information related to Amazon Business Prime American Express Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Amazon Business Prime American Express Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% Back or 90 Day Terms on eligible purchases made at a designated Amazon property when the % Back rewards option applies. 2% Back at U.S gas stations, U.S. restaurants, and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers. 1% Back on other eligible purchases.
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

Excellent

What we like about the cards

The rewards. Both cards offer generous rewards. How generous depends on which card you choose. The Amazon Business American Express Card offers 3% Back or 90 Day Terms on U.S. purchases at a designated Amazon property when the % Back rewards option applies. 2% Back at U.S gas stations, U.S. restaurants, and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers. 1% Back on other purchases. The Amazon Business Prime American Express Card comes with 5% Back or 90 Day Terms on eligible purchases made at a designated Amazon property when the % Back rewards option applies. 2% Back at U.S gas stations, U.S. restaurants, and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers. 1% Back on other eligible purchases. If you’re a business owner looking for a solid rewards card or an alternative to expensive financing options, they’re certainly among the best options out there.

Financing flexibility. Both cards give you the option to either earn rewards or get an interest-free loan when spending. The term for the Amazon Business American Express Card is 60 days and for the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card it’s 90 days on U.S. purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. Terms apply. It’s good that small business owners have this option for short-term financing as an alternative to accumulating costly credit card debt or taking out high-interest loans. Some short-term business loans can carry triple-digit APRs.

Prime membership not necessarily required. An annual prime membership starts at $119, but you don’t have to shell out that kind of cash to get the Amazon Business American Express Card. It requires no Prime membership, but you will earn lower rewards on your spending compared with the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card and have access to shorter interest-free financing periods.

The welcome offer. The Amazon Business Prime American Express Card comes with a $125 Amazon.com Gift Card upon approval with an eligible Prime membership. for those with an Amazon Business Prime or regular Prime account. If you choose the Amazon Business American Express Card, you’ll Get a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card upon approval for the Card. Eligible Prime members get a $125 Amazon.com Gift Card upon approval for the Card. The gift card can be used to help pay for your Business Prime or Prime yearly membership fee, or to spend at Amazon.com or Amazon Business. It’s more generous than the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card’s sign-up bonus where you Get a $70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval. It’s also better than the Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card‘s chance to Get a $50 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval.

No annual fee. There’s no annual fee on either card. Enough said.

Support for your business. Both cards have tools to keep track of your purchases and employee cards. Businesses can set up multiuser accounts, use shared payment methods, manage approval workflows, connect to Quickbooks, appoint an account manager, receive a year-end summary and monitor spending limits. Cardmembers also get special business-only prices on more than 5 million products.

The perks. These cards come with the benefits you’d expect from an American Express card, including car rental loss and damage insurance; travel accident insurance; Global Assist® Hotline; baggage insurance plan; roadside assistance; and a lowest hotel price guarantee. It also comes with return protection, extended warranty, purchase protection and a first crack at tickets to entertainment events when you use the cards.

Business Prime time. The Amazon Business Prime American Express Card comes with a free year of Business Prime Essentials, which starts at $179 a year. Cardholders are set up with a membership within 30 days of card approval. Business Prime comes with free two-day, one-day and same-day shipping, along with discounted expedited shipping, consolidated shipping and free delivery on special items.

What could be better

Pick a reward. With both cards, you must choose between earning cash back or taking the short-term, interest-free loan with each purchase. You can’t take both at once. On the plus side, however, you get to decide with each purchase which option you want, so you’re not locked down with one or the other.

Limited redemption options. Points earned on both cards can only be used at Amazon.com, Amazon Business or as a statement credit. Unlike other American Express cards, you can’t redeem rewards for travel, gift cards and merchandise. And they can’t be transferred to airline or hotel loyalty programs.

Lower rewards in other categories. While the rewards for both cards are good for Amazon-related purchases, you can do better with other cards on the market in categories like gas, restaurants and wireless telephone services. Plus you only get higher rewards for spending at U.S. locations.

Who the cards are best for

It all comes down to what’s most important for your business. If you spend regularly at Amazon, can take advantage of its higher points per dollar spent on its sites or the short-term loan for purchases and you don’t mind plowing your rewards back into the company, then the Amazon Business American Express Card and Amazon Business Prime American Express Card should be considered.

If you want an American Express-branded card that gives you fewer points per dollar spent in most categories but offers much more flexibility in redeeming them, along with some nice perks — all at a $0 annual fee — then The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is your best bet.

For businesses that don’t mind shelling out a $95 annual fee, then Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is the one you want. It comes with a robust sign-up bonus to earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, better points per dollar spent in the broadest categories and perks that are appealing to businesses.

Other great small business credit cards

How the Amazon Business American Express Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card stack up to other business cards

Amazon Business American Express Card

Amazon Business Prime American Express Card

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Annual Fee

$0

$0

$0

$95

Regular Purchase APR

16.24% - 24.24% (Variable)

16.24% - 24.24% (Variable)

13.24% - 21.24% Variable

17.99% - 22.99% Variable

Rewards

3% Back or 90 Day Terms on U.S. purchases at a designated Amazon property when the % Back rewards option applies. 2% Back at U.S gas stations, U.S. restaurants, and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers. 1% Back on other purchases.

5% Back or 90 Day Terms on eligible purchases made at a designated Amazon property when the % Back rewards option applies. 2% Back at U.S gas stations, U.S. restaurants, and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers. 1% Back on other eligible purchases.

2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.

Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.

Welcome Offer/Sign-up Bonus

Get a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card upon approval for the Card. Eligible Prime members get a $125 Amazon.com Gift Card upon approval for the Card.

$125 Amazon.com Gift Card upon approval with an eligible Prime membership.

10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 9/26/2018.

Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Foreign Transaction Fee

None

None

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

$0

While the rewards and perks for both Amazon cards aren’t bad by any means, you may want to earn more points per $1 spent in categories like travel, dining, gas and supermarkets. Or maybe having more ways to use your points outside of Amazon is important to you. We’ll compare the Amazon offerings with two other business credit cards — one from American Express card and one from Chase.

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

The information related to The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
13.24% - 21.24% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

This card has some similarities with the Amazon credit cards, including tools that help companies manage their businesses, basic travel and purchase perks and the backing of American Express. One difference with The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is it doesn’t come with a welcome offer to tempt you like the Amazon cards.

It offers 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter. Terms apply. Where this card shines when compared with the Amazon offerings is that you get much more flexibility when using the Membership Rewards® points you earn on it. They can be transferred to 17 airline and three hotel loyalty programs. Points can also be used for travel, gift cards, online shopping and on websites like Amazon.com, Ticketmaster.com and Walmart.com, along with donations to charities. The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express offers customer support for small businesses from Relationship Care Service.

The card’s flat rewards rate is better for travel, but not for dining, gas and supermarkets. The higher rewards on The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express have a yearly maximum at $50,000, dropping to the lowest points per $1 spent after that. The maximum spend per year covers spending on all cards under the business. If you take this card out of the country, you’ll pay a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars..

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

The information related to Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.99% - 22.99% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.
Credit required
bad-credit
Excellent

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

The perks that come with the Amazon cards and the are good, but of all the cards reviewed here, the is best by far. True, the card comes with a $95 annual fee, but that is more than covered in the first year, thanks to the card’s sign-up bonus, valued at between $800 and $1,000 (when you redeem it through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal). After that, as long as you spend at least $950 a year, you’ll earn enough points to break even.

Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn. This beats both Amazon cards and the because the offers more points in categories that are important to businesses like travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising on social media sites and search engines.

This card also has the broadest definition of travel, covering airline tickets, hotels, car rentals and cruises. And it comes with a benefit the other cards don’t offer — getting 25% more value for your points when you use them to book travel at Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Like The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, you can transfer the points you earn 1:1 toward nine airline and four hotel loyalty programs. Or you can redeem your points for cash, gift cards, travel, and products at Amazon.com.

The lets businesses issue cards to employees, set individual spending limits and accumulate points under one account. But once you spend $150,000 on the account during a year, the points per $1 spent drops to the lowest level.

Travel and purchase protections that come with the are more generous than the other cards reviews. They include trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, roadside dispatch, auto rental collision damage waiver, concierge service, cellphone protection, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.

Our final take

Now that we’ve laid out the pros and cons of the Amazon Business American Express Card and Amazon Business Prime American Express Card and compared them with the competition, ask these questions before making a final decision:

  • Does the card have yearly caps for top spending categories?
  • Do the categories most important to your business earn the top points per $1 spent?
  • How much flexibility do you get when using your points?
  • Do you shop and ship enough to get the full benefits of either Amazon card?
  • Would having a card with a short-term loan benefit be helpful to your business?
  • What tools does the card have to help manage your business?
  • If perks are important, which card offers the best ones?

For those who are loyal to Amazon when it comes to business, the Amazon Business American Express Card and Amazon Business Prime American Express Card are no-brainers, especially if you’re an Amazon Prime, Amazon Business or Business Prime member.

Both cards give you either generous points for Amazon spending or the ability to take a short interest-free loan on your purchases, with the option to switch each time you use the card. But you’re tied to Amazon.com and Amazon Business when it comes time to spend your rewards.

While the points per $1 spent on The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express are better for travel than the two Amazon cards, overall, they aren’t as good. This card also has far more flexibility in how you redeem your points than the Amazon Business American Express Card and Amazon Business Prime American Express Card. But the best among the bunch is the because of the 25% more value when your points are spent on travel at Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card from American Express Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

The highly anticipated Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express was unveiled with one of the most generous welcome offers — Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Offer ends 10/31/2018. — currently on the market. It was designed to attract those who are elite members of the newly merged Starwood, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton loyalty programs.

Because the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express is in the luxury card category, it comes with a high $450 annual fee. But you’ll get enough perks with this card that will more than cover its higher fee. They include an annual $300 statement credit, automatic gold elite status, a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership and up to a $100 credit to cover Global Entry or TSA Precheck enrollment fees.

And the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express lets cardmembers Earn 6X points on eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 3X points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. Earn 2X points on all other eligible purchases. That includes higher points per $1 spent in the popular categories of hotels, airline travel and dining. It’s also better than many cards for spending on supermarkets and gas.

You may want an alternative luxury card that gives you more flexibility for earning and redeeming points. Or you may find that the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express’s annual fee is a little too rich for your blood. So we’ll also take a look at the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express as other options.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express

The information related to Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
17.74% - 26.74% Variable
Annual fee
$450
Rewards Rate
Earn 6X points on eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 3X points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. Earn 2X points on all other eligible purchases.

Redeeming rewards

With the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, you can Earn 6X points on eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 3X points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. Earn 2X points on all other eligible purchases.. The points you earn don’t expire as long as card is active every 24 months and there are no limits on how many points you can earn.

You have plenty of ways to redeem your points. One of the best ways is transferring them to more than 40 global airline loyalty programs, at 3 points per mile. A nice side benefit is that for every 60,000 points you transfer to airline miles, you get an extra 15,000 points.

Use your points to buy or bid on exclusive member experiences like prime seats for sporting events or concerts, cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs like Dominique Crenn, or tours and dining at top restaurants like The French Laundry. You can also use your points for vacation packages, airport lounge access or merchandise, or you can share them with friends and family or donate to charity.

Is it worth the annual fee?

If you’re concerned about the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express’s $450 annual fee, do the math. The perks that come with it more than cover that fee — if you take advantage of the ones available to you as a cardmember. You earn a $300 credit every calendar year. A one-night stay in a deluxe guest room in late October at the JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa in Mexico would cost $474 at the Marriott Rewards member rate. Pair this with the Priority Pass Select Prestige plan’s $399 membership fee, the $100 Global Entry/TSA credit, and a year of global Boingo wi-fi service at a cost of $468 a year — that more than covers the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express’s annual fee.

Card advantages

Higher points in popular categories. You get top points for hotel stays and other hotel-related purchases. You also get more points for restaurants, airline tickets, supermarkets and gas.

Give me credit. For those who get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express before the end of 2018, you’ll get up to 15 elite night credits on your Marriott Rewards®, Starwood Preferred Guest® or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® accounts by March 1, 2019. If you open your card on or after Jan. 1, 2019, the elite night credits will be credited to your Marriott Loyalty Program within 60 days.

All the perks. This card comes with everything you’d expect with a luxury card under the American Express brand. It comes with automatic gold elite status and gives you the chance to hit platinum if you spend $75,000 on it within a calendar year. Get a free award night at a Category 6 hotel — like Mexico’s JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa — on your card anniversary.

If you need a quiet space to relax while traveling, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express comes with a free Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you and two guests access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the globe. You get free in-room premium Internet access when you stay at one of 6,700 participating hotels across 29 brands worldwide. You also get free Boingo land-based Wi-Fi on up to four devices.

Bountiful benefits. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express card comes with plenty of benefits under the American Express banner including: roadside assistance; car rental loss and damage insurance; travel accident insurance; baggage insurance plan that covers eligible lost, damaged, or stolen baggage; premium Global Assist hotline; extended warranty; return and purchase protection; and access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events.

What could be better

Fine print on welcome offer. As of Aug. 26, 2018, you may not be able to get the new cardmember welcome offer for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express if you have or have had The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card in the last 30 days; had Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card or Marriott Rewards® Premier Business credit card in the past 90 days; or received a welcome or upgrade offer for Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card or Marriott Rewards® Premier Business credit card in the last 24 months.

The banks won’t be sharing customer data with each other since their card agreements are with Marriott individually, said a company spokesman via email. Marriott has set up an automated process to determine the eligibility of card applicants for welcome bonuses.

Time limit. You must apply for the card by Oct. 31, 2018, in order to get the welcome offer’s bonus points. There’s no telling what the permanent welcome offer will be going forward.

Hey big spender. You may not want to spend what it takes to get the welcome offer bonus points. While platinum status at Marriott- and Starwood-branded hotels may be nice, you do need to spend at least $75,000 a year on the card to get it.

Points restrictions. Not all points are created equally on this card. The higher points you earn for restaurant spending doesn’t include those located in places like nightclubs, convenience stores, supermarkets or those inside a hotel, casino or event venue.

Lounge limits. Your Priority Pass Select membership covers two guests, but others will be charged $27 each. And while you have access to more than 1,200 global lounges, your membership doesn’t include entry into U.S. airline-branded lounges.

Where are the travel perks? If you’re a regular traveler used to the perks of a luxury credit card, you may be put off that the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card doesn’t come with trip delay or cancellation insurance like competing cards.

Card alternatives

 Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American ExpressStarwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressChase Sapphire Reserve®

Annual Fee

$450

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

$450

Regular Purchase APR

17.74% - 26.74% Variable

17.74%-26.74% Variable

17.99% - 24.99% Variable

Rewards

Earn 6X points on eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 3X points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. Earn 2X points on all other eligible purchases.

6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.

3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.

Welcome Offer/Sign-up Bonus

Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Offer ends 10/31/2018.

75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee

None

None

$0

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

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Rates & Fees

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
17.74%-26.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Rewards Rate
6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
Credit required
good-credit

Excellent/Good

Excellent/Good
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express’s $450 annual fee may be too high for you. Or you may not want or need all the perks that come with it, but you’re attached to the new Marriott Rewards® program. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express gives you a lot of the benefits of the more expensive card, but at a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

The welcome offer — 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. — isn’t as high as what’s being offered by the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express. But it’s still enough to book a weekend stay at the AC Hotel Beverly Hills, a Category 5 property, on Oct. 19-21, 2018, at the time of writing.

You earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases. Points per $1 spent at Starwood and Marriott hotels are the same as the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, but they’re lower on all other purchases.

While you do earn a free hotel award night every year after your card anniversary, you can only use it at hotels at Category 6’s 35,000 points or under rate.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express gives you instant silver status, but you have a chance to move up to gold by spending at least $30,000 per calendar year on the card ($35,000, effective Jan. 1, 2019). Silver status also gets you free premium in-room Wi-Fi at participating hotels.

A common perk that comes with both cards are the ability to transfer your points to more than 40 global airlines or redeem them for experiences, vacations, airport lounges or merchandise or share them with family, friends and charities.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express also comes with the same perks as the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, including roadside assistance, car rental loss and damage insurance, travel accident insurance, a baggage insurance plan, access to the Global Assist hotline, an extended warranty, return protection, purchase protection and access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events. But like that card, it also doesn’t have trip delay or trip cancellation insurance.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The information related to Chase Sapphire Reserve® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Regular Purchase APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$450
Rewards Rate
3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent
You’re not scared off by the high annual fee that comes with a luxury card. But you want one that gives you even more flexibility and perks than the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express. A viable option is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which also has a $450 annual fee. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® allows new cardmembers to Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. While it’s lower than the welcome offer of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, you do receive 50% more value on the points you earn. That puts the value of the sign-up bonus at $750, which you can spend at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website for things like airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises.

Earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees. For hotel stays, this is lower than what’s offered by the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express. But you do earn the same number of points for restaurants and travel — and you also get the 50% more value for your points to spend on travel at Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve® also comes with a yearly $300 annual travel credit, you must spend it before you earn the higher points for travel, which includes airline tickets/fees, ridesharing, public transportation, tolls, car rentals, lodging and cruises.

If airport lounge access is important to you, this card, like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, also comes with a Priority Pass™ Select membership. You also get the same credit to cover Global Entry or TSA Precheck enrollment fees.

Your points can be transferred 1:1 toward major airline and hotel loyalty programs including United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air France, British Airways, Iberia, JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG Hotels and Ritz-Carlton. This is fewer partners than offered by the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, but the points transfer rate is better with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with more extensive perks: trip delay/trip cancellation insurance; travel accident insurance; lost luggage reimbursement; trip delay reimbursement; emergency evacuation & transportation; rental car insurance and discounts; purchase protection; return protection; and extended warranty protection.

The bottom line

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express came roaring out of the gate with a very generous welcome offer designed to attract those looking for a luxury card to add to their wallet. The card also piled on the perks that have become almost standard in the luxury card segment: higher points per $1 spent in key categories, credits for fees, the ability to transfer points to airline partners, automatic elite status and airport lounge access. The value of these perks more than covers the card’s $450 annual fee.

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express comes with many of the same benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express without the higher price tag. That makes it a good option, with its $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with many of the perks and benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card from American Express, but gives you more value for the points you earn — if you redeem them at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website.

These three cards have and pluses and minuses to consider. Now that they’ve been laid out, it’s up to you to balance the annual fee with the points per $1 spent, along with the perks and fine print, and make your final decision.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Woos Premium Customers

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Southwest Airlines has unveiled a new card it hopes will appeal to loyal flyers who want more oomph to the carrier’s current offerings. But overall, it’s a mixed bag when it comes to the new Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.

The new card starts by offering new cardmembers a tempting new sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. But it has the highest annual fee — $149 — of Southwest’s two other personal cards. Fortunately, the potential to earn a $75 statement credit will take the edge off that fee.

If you were hoping this card would come with an upgrade on points per $1 spent than existing ones, you’re going to be disappointed. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card has the same 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. It’s surprising that there was no change, especially since competitors like American Airlines and United Airlines have upped points per $1 spent and expanded the categories that offer it.

Not only will we take a look at what the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is offering, but we’ll also compare it to two other Southwest-branded credit cards and see how it stacks up.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Benefits

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

The information related to Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$149
Rewards Rate
2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Credit required
excellent-credit
Excellent

Redeeming rewards

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card allows you to earn Rapid Rewards® at the rate of 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

There are no blackout dates or seat restrictions, you earn unlimited points that don’t expire as long as your card account is open and there are no limits on how many points you can earn. You can redeem your rewards for flights, gift cards, merchandise, hotel stays, rental cars and exclusive experiences.

What we like

The annual fee isn’t insurmountable. Cardmembers are eligible for an annual $75 statement credit, plus you get two free checked bags, making it the only major U.S. carrier to offer this benefit. The card’s $149 annual fee is nearly covered after only one roundtrip flight, based on the baggage price of $25 for the first one and $35 for the second.

Perks upgrade*. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card now gives you an automatic $75 statement credit when you spend on the card every anniversary year. That credit can help you offset the card’s $149 annual fee. And you now get a 20% statement credit when you use the card for in-flight drinks, messaging, movies and Wi-Fi.

More bonus points*. Cardmembers can Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. The additional points is something Southwest’s other two cards don’t offer. Southwest also boosted the number of bonus anniversary points you can earn up to 7,500.

Points for elite status*. The chance to earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for every $10,000 you spend on the card is the same as the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. These are important, because they help you reach and maintain your Rapid Rewards A-List or A-List Preferred status on Southwest Airlines.

A-List status comes after you fly 25 one-way trips or 35,000 TQPs or A-List Preferred after 50 one-way trips or 70,000 TQPs in a calendar year. You want A-List for perks like priority check-in and dedicated security lanes (where available), along with priority boarding, a 25% points bonus, a dedicated customer service line and free same-day standby on flights. A-List Preferred status is even better, with all the perks of A-List plus a 100% points bonus and free in-flight Wi-Fi.

Good route network*. Your points are good on 100 Southwest Airlines destinations in the U.S., Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. But if you want to go beyond that network, Southwest Airlines’ More Rewards website lets you use your points to fly to destinations around the world.

All a-boarding*. Because Southwest Airlines has open seating on its flights, regular travelers value any chance to get higher boarding numbers to avoid the dreaded middle seat or risk being forced to check a carry-on bag. This card helps by reimbursing you when you buy up to four coveted A1-A15 boarding passes a year at the departure gate or ticket counter. That credit is worth between $30 and $50 for each flight depending on your itinerary, making this a perk worth between $120 and $200 a year.

Companion pass*. The chance to earn this popular perk — which requires you to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year — remains. Once you hit the numbers, you can bring a companion along for free, minus fees and government taxes, on flights you buy or redeem with Rapid Rewards during a calendar year.

Travel and purchase protection*. This card comes with benefits like delayed/lost luggage insurance, travel accident insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside dispatch, purchase protection and extended warranty, all under the Visa Signature banner.

*Terms and conditions apply.

What we don’t like

Lower points per $1 spent. Southwest Airlines had a chance to boost this in popular categories like dining, gas, groceries and a broader definition of travel — like its airline competitors have done — but it punted. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card’s rate still remains at 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Higher cost for international flights. While you can book international flights on Southwest’s More Rewards website, you’re only going to get a redemption rate around 1 cent per point. Booking travel on Southwest’s route network is a better value. Let’s say you wanted to fly from New York to London. It will cost you 83,275 miles on British Airways or up to 302,541 miles on United Airlines — in coach class.

Spending for points. There’s a heavy spend — $15,000 a year — to get extra bonus points. This goes along with the minimum $10,000 a year spend to get the TQPs.

Premium boarding. You can only use the four A1-A15 boarding passes on the day of travel, and there’s no guarantee that space will be available.

Check that score. You’ll need to have excellent credit to apply for this card.

Card alternatives

 Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Annual fee$149$99$69
Sign-up bonusEarn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year.Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
Rewards2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee$0$03% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

Both the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card have benefits similar to what’s offered by the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. They include the same points per $1 spent, companion pass, access to A-List and A-List Plus elite status, Transfarency and flexible domestic and international reward travel. But there are differences.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

The information related to Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$99
Rewards Rate
2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card starts with a similar sign-up bonus — Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus earn 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year.. But it doesn’t come with the chance to earn 25,000 bonus miles by spending $15,000 in a calendar year like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. You’ll pay $99 annual fee, but it’s higher once you factor in the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card’s $75 statement credit, which isn’t offered with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card comes with 6,000 bonus points on an anniversary year, 1,500 fewer than what’s offered by the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

The information related to Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$69
Rewards Rate
2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Credit required
excellent-credit

Excellent

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card also has the same sign-up bonus as the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, also with no chance to earn the latter’s 25,000 bonus miles. The card comes with only 3,000 bonus points on an anniversary year. This card only comes with lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, extended U.S. manufacturer’s warranty and purchase protection.

The bottom line

While the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card does come with a better sign-up bonus than Southwest’s two other cards, you also have to spend more to snag it. But thanks to the new card’s yearly $75 statement credit, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is cheaper to have in your wallet than the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

If you combine the lower annual fee with enhanced perks on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card — the $75 statement credit, the four high boarding passes and the 20% inflight discount — it may be a good alternative to the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.

But make sure you are a die-hard Southwest flyer, because you can only use them on the carrier’s Rapid Rewards website. That means you don’t get the flexibility to use your points that come with non-airline, travel-related credit cards.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card: What You Need to Know

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Wells Fargo is officially replacing the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Credit Card with the new Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card — just in time for folks looking for a new travel rewards card this summer. Applications for the new card have been open since July 16, and existing Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Credit Card cardmembers have already been transferred to the new card.

The biggest change for the new Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is the expansion of categories where you can earn higher points per $1 spent — all with a $0 annual fee. These higher earning categories happen to be dining, travel and streaming services, all which will likely appeal to the millennial consumer.

Millennials want credit cards that offer rewards in the categories they value the most, along with perks that enhance value, and they want it all on a card with low to no annual fees. Wells Fargo is using the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card to muscle in on a population segment that’s growing so fast, it will soon overtake the Baby Boomer generation. It’s also taking advantage of American Express’s recent brand overhaul that includes millennials as a target audience, using mobile, social platforms, podcasts and video streaming outlets to reach them.

The big question is whether the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has the right balance of rewards and perks attractive enough to entice millennials (and others) to apply — the points per $1 spent you earn on the card’s expanded definition of travel is better than many competitors in the market, making it a compelling option for anyone who favors this spending category. We’ll look at what this upgraded card offers and see if it stands up to competitors in the rewards category.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

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on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Regular Purchase APR
14.49%-26.99% (Variable)*
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in, 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Card benefits: At a glance

3x categories

What the category includes

Other card benefits

Eating out and ordering in

Restaurants, from fast food to bistros and fine dining.

  • Welcome offer: Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • 0% for 12 months variable APR purchase intro rate

  • 0% for 12 months variable APR balance transfer intro rate (after, 14.49%-26.99% (Variable) APR)

  • $0 annual fee

  • No foreign currency conversion fee.


Travel and transit

Airfare, car rentals, hotels and homestays, cruises, gas stations, ride sharing, railways, parking, taxis and tolls.

Online streaming

Apple Music
Hulu
Netflix
Pandora®
Sirius XM Radio Inc.
Spotify Premium

3x points on travel. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is appealing not only because of its higher points per $1 on travel, but its broader definition of travel. Most traditional travel-branded cards tend to only cover things like airfare and hotels. This card includes airlines, car rentals, hotels and homestays, cruises, gas stations, ride sharing, railways, parking, taxis and tolls.

3x on dining. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card’s dining category, which covers everything from fast food to fine dining and food takeout and delivery, targets millennials who tend to eat out more.

3x on streaming. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card also helps fuel millennials’ enthusiasm for streaming services by targeting more points per $1 spent popular ones like Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora®, Sirius XM Radio and Spotify Premium for higher points per $1 spent.

What we like about the card

$0 annual fee. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card comes packed with a welcome offer that lets cardmembers Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, higher points per $1 spent, along with travel and purchase benefits — all with a $0 annual fee.

Expanded spending categories. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has raised the bar on the categories where you earn more points per $1 spent. Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in, 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases.

Good purchase and balance transfer intros. The card offers a 0% for 12 months variable APR purchase intro rate, which is hard to find on many no-fee rewards cards these days. It also comes with a 0% for 12 months variable APR balance transfer intro rate (after, 14.49%-26.99% (Variable) APR). The balance transfer fee is 3% Intro for 12 months, then 5%.

Travel perks. The card comes with emergency help covering medical, legal, personal and travel; roadside assistance; rental car loss and damage insurance; lost or damaged baggage insurance; travel accident insurance; retail purchase protection; extended warranty; return protection; and cellular telephone protection. These are pretty generous for a credit card with no annual fee.

What could be better

Pay to play. If you want to book an airline ticket on the Go Far® website, you may end up paying a non-refundable $24 fee for the privilege. And you can only use your rewards to pay for a hotel room and corresponding taxes; you can’t use them to pay for other incidentals.

No way to transfer points. Unlike other American Express cards, you can’t transfer the points you earn on the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card to other airline or hotel loyalty programs.

Fewer cash options for non-Wells Fargo customers. If you want to turn points into cash, you can’t withdraw it from a Wells Fargo ATM unless you have a checking or savings account at the bank.

How to redeem your rewards

There are eight ways to redeem your rewards:

  • Cash back. Go to MyWellsFargoRewards.com or call rewards customer service at (877)-517-1358 to set up a cash redemption option. With that option, the cash can automatically go into your qualified checking or savings account or receive a paper check. You can also take out cash at Wells Fargo ATMs if you’re a bank customer.
  • Statement credit. After setting up your redemption option via MyWellsFargoRewards.com, you can have your points go toward your credit card balance.
  • Online auctions. Go to the auction website and use your points to bid on items including event tickets, experiences and brand-name merchandise. You’ll get updates on your bid status and points are automatically deducted from your account if you win.
  • Travel. Use your points at the Go Far Rewards website to pay for flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals or vacation packages.
  • Merchandise and gift cards. Buy gift cards from dozens of major brands or more than 800,000 merchandise items on the Go Far Rewards website.
  • Digital downloads. Redeem your points at the Go Far Rewards site for music, ebooks, emagazines, games and audiobooks.
  • Pay down a credit card, loan or mortgage. Use your Go Far Rewards points to serve as a credit to Wells Fargo mortgage, credit card, personal or direct loan or home equity loan accounts.
  • Share your rewards. You have three ways to do this — pool your rewards with other Go Far Rewards customers, donate then to charities or give them as a gift to friends or family.

Alternatives to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card:

While the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers generous rewards on travel and dining, it’s not the only option for foodies and frequent travelers.

Here are some other cards to consider:

Uber Visa Card

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The information related to Uber Visa Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Uber Visa Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else.

The Uber Visa Card is one of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card’s closest competitors, since it offers higher rewards in popular categories favored by millennials — 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else. You get all of this with a $0 annual fee. The sign-up bonus allows you to earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. You’ll have to do the math to find out which card gives you the most bang for your buck.There aren’t any travel perks with this card, but you do receive a $50 yearly credit for online subscription services if you spend at least $5,000 a year on your card, which is less generous than the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card. You also get $600 in protection insurance for your mobile phone in case of damage or theft if you pay the bill with your card.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

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Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 24.99% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

If you’re looking for a simpler cashback rewards card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer is an option to consider. It offers 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, which converts into a $200 statement credit to use toward travel purchases. You Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases and there’s a $0 annual fee.

While you don’t have to register for different categories to get your rewards, the points per $1 spent is lower than the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, especially in the travel and dining categories. Redeem your points via a statement credit. You can earn bonus points if you have a relationship with Bank of America. The only real perk with this card is access to a free FICO® score.

Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

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Rates & Fees

Discover it® Miles

Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 Months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

Redeeming the miles you earn on this card is easy. You get cash back as an electronic deposit to a bank account or as a credit for travel purchases, including airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation. Your miles don’t expire, and there’s no cap on how many you can earn. Again, compared to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, there aren’t any travel or purchase benefits, although you do get a free FICO® score.

Our final take

If you’re looking for a new credit card, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, with its higher points per $1 spent in expanded categories and no annual fee, is a good option. It’s especially appealing when spending regularly on dining, streaming services and the card’s expanded definition of travel. There are cards with more generous welcome offers, but the rewards you can earn with this one balance that out.

You’re offered different options to cash in your points, but most of them are tied to Wells Fargo’s Go Far ® Rewards website, which gives you a little less flexibility. Travel and protection benefits on the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card are not bad when compared with other cards, especially those that charge annual fees.

In the end, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is a solid option for those who spend in its top categories and want good travel and protection perks — all without paying an annual fee. But you may want more flexibility in how you redeem your points or want the chance to earn more in other categories like gas and supermarkets, so study all your options before making a final commitment.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
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Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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The information related to the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card & Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Starbucks released the new Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card in June, just a few months after the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card was introduced.

This branded prepaid card targets customers who don’t want, or may not be able to obtain, a traditional credit card. It packs similar spending perks for Starbucks fans in a prepaid card that charges no fees. You can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted, not just at Starbucks.

A prepaid card is often used as an alternative or companion to credit cards for myriad reasons, like controlling spending, keeping card debt down, having the flexibility of cash without actually carrying it or as an alternative to a checking account. Many prepaid cards come with card activation and/or monthly maintenance fees, which is why it’s nice to see a no-fee option.

If you’re a big fan of the ubiquitous coffee chain and are in the market for a no-fee prepaid card, then the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card is a good option. But if you want a prepaid card to help control your spending, using this card — which incentivizes you to spend to earn rewards — may not be the way to go.

Benefits: At a glance

After becoming a Starbucks Rewards™ member, you apply for the card by giving Chase Bank basic information — name, address, birthday, social security number, ID, email and phone number. After you’re approved, you add money onto the card, either via a debit or credit card or a Chase account, which can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted.

Earn points. Earn 1 Star for every $10 you spend with your card. Earn 2 Stars per $1 when you spend at participating Starbucks stores with your registered card or via the app.

No fees. Most reloadable prepaid cards have multiple fees — the cost to buy it, monthly maintenance fees and charges to add money to it. However, the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card doesn’t charge users any fees. You can reload the card at Starbucks stores, on the Starbucks website or on the Starbucks app.

Free stuff. Once you go through the card’s application process and are approved, you’re awarded 125 points, enough for a free food item or a beverage. Your Starbucks Rewards come with a free drink on your birthday, the ability to order and pay using the Starbucks app on your smartphone, free in-store refills and access to member events and offers.

Earn status. The card comes with automatic gold membership status in Starbucks Rewards, which earns you the chance to get more bang for your buck on monthly double star days, a personalized gold card and a free reward after earning 125 points.

What to watch out for

  • Can’t withdraw money from the card at an ATM.
  • Points expire six months after the calendar month in which you earned them.
  • A replacement card will cost you $5.
  • Can’t add additional users to the card.
  • A foreign transaction fee of 3%.
  • Not every Starbucks store participates in the Starbucks Rewards program, so you may not be able to earn or redeem Stars at locations including kiosks within grocery stores, bookstores or some airports.

Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card vs. Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card

 

Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card

Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card

Annual fee

$0

$49

Rewards

Earn 1 Star for every $10 you spend with your card. Earn 2 Stars per $1 when you spend at participating Starbucks stores with your registered card or via the app.

Earn up to 3 Stars for every $1 you spend at Starbucks® stores and 1 Star per every $4 you spend outside of Starbucks® stores.

Sign-up bonus

Earn 125 Bonus Stars the first time you use your Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card to load $10 or more to your registered Starbucks Card. That's enough for one food or drink Reward.

Earn 2,500 Stars after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.


Starbucks unveiled its first co-branded Visa card in February 2018. The key to telling which card is best for you is how you want to use it, how often you frequent your local Starbucks and how much you spend when you’re there.

The Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card has a $49 annual fee. The sign-up bonus allows you to earn 2,500 stars after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That gives you 20 rewards you can use for food or drink after making the required spend.

If your average Starbucks spend each visit is around $5.25, the price of a Venti caramel frappuccino, the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card’s 20 rewards would be valued at around $105, which covers the annual fee for about two years. If you want to cover that fee outside the bonus, you would need to spend at least $4.75 a month on something like a grande caramel macchiato — or $57 a year — to cover it.

The $0 annual fee Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card comes with a bonus of 125 stars, enough for one beverage or food item. Since the card has no annual fee, you’re already ahead of the game.

The trick to maximizing your Starbucks Rewards with both cards is to use your points to “pay” for higher-priced items, like a Venti iced caramel macchiato or a Chicken caprese sandwich, to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Which card is right for you?

If you’re not a diehard Starbucks fan, the rewards might not be enough to justify the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card‘s $49 annual fee. In that case, the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card is probably the way to go.

Just keep in mind you can only redeem the Stars you earn for food/beverage items at the coffeehouse and points expire six months after you earn them. But it’s also a solid prepaid card offer even without the coffee perks, because many prepaid cards charge multiple fees, whereas this card has none.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

It’s time to get a new credit card and you’ve decided that getting cash back is what’s most important to you. If you’re interested in a simple, no-fee card that doesn’t make you jump through hoops to earn your cash back, and you’re not too concerned about bells and whistles, then you should consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

What we like about this card

Unlimited cashback opportunities. The ability to earn unlimited cash back on purchases can be a benefit if you use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card regularly. Let’s say you spend the $500 needed to get the $150 new cardmember cash bonus. You would walk away with $157.50. And you can earn another $25 if you add an authorized user and they also make a purchase in the first 3 months of the account opening, for a total of $182.50 in bonus cash. Earn Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase and your rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is convenient because although the cashback rate is lower than some other cards, it doesn’t have categories that change every quarter, nor do you have to sign up to get your cash back.

Combine cards for more rewards. If you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, you can combine those points with what you earn on the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. They can all be used at the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website, where you can earn 50% more value with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or 25% more value with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card when you redeem points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. You can also transfer those points 1:1 to four hotel or nine airline partners.

If you just want straight cash back, you can get it as an account statement credit or an electronic deposit into an eligible U.S.-based checking or savings account. If you close your Chase Freedom Unlimited® account, you have 30 days to use your cash back.

A few perks to consider. Card perks include purchase protection that covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account; an extended warranty on an eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less, by another year; and auto rental coverage that includes theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad. Terms & Conditions apply.

The information related to Chase Sapphire Reserve® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

What we don’t like about this card

The foreign transaction fee. If you travel outside of the country regularly, the 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign transaction fee charged on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can really add up.

Lower cash back in popular categories. If you spend more money in specific categories, such as travel or dining, there are other cards that offer larger cashback rewards.

Your points aren’t as valuable in the Ultimate Rewards Portal as some other Chase cards. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, every 100 points are only worth $1 in the portal.

You can’t transfer points to airline or hotel loyalty programs. Unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your Chase Freedom Unlimited® card points can’t be transferred to Chase’s nine airline and four hotel loyalty program partners.

The cashback rate leaves something to be desired. It’s nice to get a flat 1.5% rate for everything, especially if simplicity is your style. But you can certainly find other no-fee rewards cards — like The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card — with better cashback rates in popular categories like travel or dining.

Redeeming points

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase and those rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.

Convert your cash into points that can be used on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website for travel, gift cards and merchandise.

After linking the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to your Amazon.com account, you can instantly redeem your cashback rewards to pay for all or part of your eligible orders at checkout, which includes tax and shipping costs.

Other cards to consider

If you’re looking for alternatives to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, here are four other cards you might want to consider if you’re looking for better cashback deals.

There are more perks with The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, including roadside assistance, collision damage coverage for rental cars, 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial or other emergency coordination and assistance services and travel accident insurance. You also get an extended warranty on eligible purchases and purchase protection, limited to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year. Terms apply.

Under The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express’s Membership Rewards program, you can use your points with more than 500 leading brands in travel, gift cards, merchandise and entertainment. You can also transfer your points to 16 airline and three hotel loyalty programs. Conditions may apply.

Book your travel via Membership Rewards and you don’t have to worry about blackout dates or seat restrictions. And you can use points for all or part of your flight, hotel, vacation package or cruise. Your points don’t expire as long as the card is active, but there’s a 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars. foreign transaction fee.

The information related to The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

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Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The current category offers 5% cash back in grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) or when you use PayPal® and Chase Pay®. Earn $100 — up to $500 a year — when you refer friends and they are approved for the card. And cashback rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.The perks with the Chase Freedom® aren’t quite as robust as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, but you still get purchase protection for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account, and extended warranty protection, which adds another year to an eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranty. Terms apply.

There’s no minimum to redeem for cash back with the Chase Freedom®. You can get it as a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. If you link your card to your Amazon.com account, you can instantly redeem your cashback rewards to pay for all or part of your eligible orders at checkout, including tax and shipping.

Like other Chase cards, having the Chase Freedom® card gives you access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, where you can do things like book travel.

But you will pay 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars as a foreign transaction fee with the card.

Discover it® Cash Back

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Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

This card allows you to earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. You can redeem your rewards for cash at any time and your cash back never expires.Unlike the other cards in this category, the Discover it® Cash Back is not big on perks, except for a free FICO® credit score. It also doesn’t charge a  foreign transaction fee.

 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Regular Purchase APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Rewards Rate
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Credit required
good-credit

Good/Excellent

When it comes to benefits and perks, this card is more robust than the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows you to maximize your points with 25% more value when you redeem them for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. You can do 1:1 transfers of your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points over to nine airline or four hotel loyalty programs. There’s a $0 foreign exchange fee.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has all the perks you would expect in its category, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement and travel and emergency assistance services. You also get purchase protection and extended warranty protection. And you can earn 10,000 points for each friend you recommend for the card who are approved, up to five friends.

The bottom line

If you want a simple card where you don’t have to register for cashback rewards and don’t need a lot of perks, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is the one for you. There are alternatives that have more perks and better cash back, but you may not want to pay an annual fee to get them. There are no caps on the cash you can get back and the 1.5%, while less than other cards, covers everything — and you don’t have to register to get it.

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Chase Freedom®

Discover it® Cash Back

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual Fee

$0

$0

$0

$0

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

Purchase Intro Rate

0% Intro APR for 15 months

intro 0% for 15 Months

0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

intro 0% for 14 months

N/A

Balance Transfer Intro Rate

0% Intro APR for 15 months

intro 0% for 15 Months

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

intro 0% for 14 months

Balance Transfer Fee

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

$0 balance transfer fee.

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

3%

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Regular Purchase APR

16.99% - 25.74% Variable APR

14.74%-25.74% Variable APR

16.99% - 25.74% Variable APR

13.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

17.99% - 24.99% Variable APR

Rewards

Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase

2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.

2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Sign-Up Bonus

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

None

$0

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
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Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

American Express Cash Magnet Card Review: What You Need to Know

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

American Express Cash MagnetTM Card

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Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

American Express Cash MagnetTM Card

Regular Purchase APR
14.99%-25.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

American Express is plunging further into the cashback rewards credit card segment with its new American Express Cash Magnet™ Card, which hit the market on June 14. This card provides stiff competition for three other popular cashback cards: the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. All three offer cashback programs and don’t charge an annual fee. But what sets the new American Express Cash Magnet™ Card apart from the pack? We’ll cover that and more in this review.

How the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card stacks up

American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Annual Fee

$0

$0

$0

$0

Regular Purchase APR

14.99%-25.99% Variable

14.99%-25.99% Variable

15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)

16.99% - 25.74% Variable

Rewards

Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases

3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase

Welcome Offer / New Cardmember Offer

Earn up to $250 back. Here’s how: Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 statement credit after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months.

$150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

No bonus

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

3%

3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

What we like about the card

The Welcome Offer. Like many rewards cards on the market today, the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card is looking to woo new cardmembers with a Welcome Offer — Earn up to $250 back. Here’s how: Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 statement credit after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months.

Simplicity. Earn a straightforward Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases Unlike rotating category cards, you don’t have to worry about remembering points in different spending categories, nor do you have to sign up quarterly to get higher rewards.

Good intro offers. The American Express Cash Magnet™ Card comes with an intro 0% on purchases for 15 months on purchases and an intro 0% on balance transfers for 15 months on balance transfers (after, 14.99%-25.99% Variable APR).

Flexible repayment. The card offers access to the Plan ItSM feature, which gives cardmembers flexibility by allowing you to create up to 10 payment plans for purchases costing $100 or more. You’ll have a fixed finance charge each month a plan is active.

Some travel perks. It comes with the familiar rewards and protections you expect from American Express, including auto rental insurance; Global Assist® Hotline; roadside assistance; travel accident insurance; extended warranty; return and purchase protection; and access to presale tickets to events like concert tours and sporting events.

What could be better

You get your cash back as a statement credit. You can’t redeem it on things like airline tickets, hotel stays, gift cards and merchandise. You also can’t transfer it to airline or hotel loyalty programs. However, the card may occasionally offer other ways to redeem reward dollars, like gift cards or merchandise.  Note: cash back cannot be used to pay your minimum due.

You can do better than 1.5% cashback these days. If you’re looking for a higher cashback rate, check out the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer as an alternative, where you Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.

Not the best for travel. If you travel regularly, this card doesn’t offer things like trip delay/interruption or baggage insurance like other travel credit cards. And you’ll pay a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars..

Check out our roundup of the best travel rewards cards.

Alternatives to the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card:

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.99%-25.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: If you’re looking for a flat-rate cashback card for supermarket spending, this is a hard one to beat. It also carries a $0 annual fee and a welcome offer of a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

Read Full Review

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent, Good
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer: The card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, but you have the potential to earn a higher cashback rate. It offers the same cashback rewards simplicity as the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card, but at a better rate. Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits or credited to either your linked Citi savings or checking account, or to a checking account from which you have paid a card bill at least two times, among other options.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Chase Freedom Unlimited®: This card looks quite similar to the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card. Cardmembers can Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. This is a lower spending requirement than the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card and you have the potential to redeem your cash back in more ways. If you use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® in combination with your existing Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, there are opportunities to earn even more cash back.You can do this by combining the cash back on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® with points earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. You can then use those points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, where you can get 25% to 50% more value when you redeem them for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. You can also transfer those points to four hotel or nine airline partners.

The information related to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Our final take

For those who are loyal to American Express-branded cards, the new American Express Cash Magnet™ Card could be a good proposition. It offers simple cashback rewards with a $0 annual fee. It has a limited time welcome offer that can put extra rewards in your pocket if you spend the amount required to get it.

The American Express Cash Magnet™ Card comes with better travel and protection perks than what’s offered by other credit cards in the no-annual-fee, cashback rewards category. And getting flexibility in how you make payments on the card is something not offered by competitors.

So if you want a simple cashback rewards card with good perks, this is a good option. But if you spend more on things like travel and dining, and you don’t need the payment flexibility option, there are more robust card offerings out there.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

Scoring the Best Sports Tickets with Your Points and Miles

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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You’ve used your credit card points or airline miles for trips and hotel stays, but have you considered using them for major sporting events? This summer’s hottest seats can be expensive, so if you’re sitting on a pile of points or miles, they could unlock access to experiences like a view from the 18th hole or meet-and-greets with players.

But attention sports fans: Availability and programs vary widely. For example, Chase is a major sponsor at Madison Square Garden, where most of its sporting events are centered around New York Knicks basketball and New York Rangers hockey games, along with WWE wrestling and championship boxing. Delta Air Lines partners with sports teams around its Atlanta headquarters, along with hub and “focus” cities including New York, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Marriott Moments tends to pair unique sporting events with its top-of-the-line hotels.

Sussing out the best deals can be tricky — it might be cheaper to buy Major League Baseball seats this summer through your favorite team. But what if you could play catch on the field after the game? We found that points and miles are best used for these one-of-a-kind experiences.

The pros and cons of using points or miles for sporting events

The pros include access to unique experiences not generally available to the public. This includes access to luxury boxes — complete with food and beverages — prime seating and other perks. You could score seats to big-ticket events like the Super Bowl or NBA Finals, especially if your credit card or preferred hotel or airline is a sponsor. Online auctions give cardholders the chance to set their own price for ball games or compete for once-in-a-lifetime experiences like playing in the BMW International Open in Germany.

The cons are that some events are easily available other ways — in that case, save your points or miles for premiere events and unique experiences, not to mention the multiple other ways you redeem them for rewards. Many of these one-of-a-kind experiences are available through online auctions, which will require you to check in frequently to see where you stand.

American Express Membership Rewards

How to redeem: Use your points through a special American Express Ticketmaster website here to buy tickets to sporting events.
Special requirements: You must have at least 2,000 points to redeem for an event.

American Express cardholders can use their points for one of the widest ranges of professional sports including basketball, football, hockey, baseball, mixed martial arts, tennis, NASCAR and golf, thanks to its partnership with Ticketmaster. The buying process is easy, but for things like general admission game seats, you may get a better value by paying for those with your card or cash. That way you can save your points to splurge on premier experiences.

Example: Tennis fans can score tickets to the men’s/women’s quarterfinals of this year’s U.S. Open tournament, which runs from Aug. 25 through Sept. 9. Tickets on Sept. 5 range from $80 to almost $4,000, or between 7,000 and 40,000 points. That’s also more than enough for a two-night stay this fall at the Harrah’s New Orleans Casino & Hotel.

Here’s how to redeem points for sporting events.

On the American Express page, click on Find Tickets.

Next, click on Go To Ticketmaster.

This takes you to the Amex Ticketmaster sports page. Click on the U.S. Open tickets.

On the booking page, choose your tickets, then hit Get Tickets.

Next, you can decide whether to get your tickets via email or mobile app.

At checkout, select the option of “Use all or some Membership Rewards points.” Choose the number of points you would like to redeem and select “Apply.” Then enter your credit card information — in this case, your American Express card — and pay for the tickets. Your American Express card will be charged for your purchase, but your points will be debited and a credit will appear on your account to cover the cost of the tickets.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

How to redeem: Start at the Ultimate Rewards portal here, where you can redeem points for all kind of rewards, including sports events.
Special requirements: None, points don’t expire as long as your account is open.

Most Chase members have access to the Ultimate Rewards program, but the number of sporting events are limited. Some of the best rewards are available to those who have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® in their wallets. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points at Chase Reserve Experiences, which is offering opportunities to buy special packages to the PGA Championship in August in St. Louis.

Or, of you’ve dreamed of attending the Ryder Cup, use your points to see the 2018 tournament at Le Golf National in Paris from Sept. 25-30. Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardmembers can buy daily grounds passes at the event for 7,000 points. If you want to go big, spend 475,000 points for a grounds tickets and hotel package, which includes four days’ access to the tournament’s championship grounds and five nights’ hotel accommodations. Sapphire members can sometimes flash their card to gain access to the Sapphire cardmember club — at the PGA championship, for example, the club features better views and seating, snacks and, perhaps most important in steamy St. Louis, air conditioning.

Not a Sapphire cardholder? You may be better off redeeming your points for trips or gift cards available through the Ultimate Rewards portal, where each point is worth a penny. Chase Freedom® cardholders, for example, earn 1% cashback on every purchase — 3,491 points equals $34.91 in cashback rewards. A perk for all Chase cardholders who live near one of Madison Square Company’s seven venues is preferred seating at everything from concerts to boxing matches. Cardholders may also be invited to pre-event receptions there and receive discounts on merchandise and food.

Here’s how to redeem points for tickets

Example: MMA fans who want to check out the burgeoning Professional Fighters League can attend PFL2 in Chicago where fighters in the lightweight and heavyweight divisions will compete to be their weight class champion, bringing home $1 million prizes. Chase members get preferred seating — in this case, main floor seats for $75. Make sure “Chase Cardmember Preferred Seating” is checked under “Type” and check out using your Chase card.

Delta SkyMiles

How to redeem: Use your miles at Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles Experiences.
Special requirements: Auction items have minimum miles bids; must bid in 1,000-mile increments.

Exchanging Delta miles for tickets could be a great option for baseball fans — Delta lets members use their miles mainly for baseball tickets in cities the carrier serves. Games up for auction or “buy-it-now” — you can search by either option — include seats ranging from Atlanta Braves baseball to Seattle Sounders Major League Soccer, although there are also tickets to the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR race in Daytona Beach, Fla., up for grabs, too.

Games versus flights, what’s better? Buy-it-now options range from 20,000 SkyMiles for a pair of lower level tickets to a baseball game to 90,000 miles for four tickets to an Atlanta Braves-Arizona Diamondbacks game, a package that includes four Delta Sky360°Club seats, all-inclusive food and beverage, in-seat food and beverage service and access to a climate-controlled indoor club. By comparison, one round-trip economy class flight from Baltimore to San Francisco in September costs 23,000 miles, while a Delta Comfort seat costs 36,000 miles.

Our recommendation: Save the miles for a unique experience like the NASCAR Quaker State 400 package for two that includes seats in the Kentucky Club on July 13 and 14, a “hot lap” ride around the Kentucky Speedway, VIP parking, Victory Lane passes and passes to the garages and to meet the drivers. This auction ends June 22. (Keep reading for more information on how bidding works.)

Here’s how to use your miles

After logging into your SkyMiles account, go to the top right side of the screen for the “Get To Know SkyMiles” tab.

After touching that tab, move to “SkyMiles Experiences.”

Once you’re on the SkyMiles Experiences page, click on “Bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” then click on ‘Start Bidding.”

You can target your search by category — sports — along with buy-it-now or bid, by a range of miles, location or keywords.

The advantages of bidding. Some bargains may come about by bidding on sports events. Four private suite tickets to the Washington Nationals-Atlanta Braves game on July 21 in Washington are up for auction at 40,000 miles. The package includes four Delta private corporate suite tickets, free catering of food and alcoholic beverages, access to a SkyMiles host and Delta representative and a VIP parking pass. Bidding is open until July 2.

Compare these auctions with booking award travel on Delta between New York and Atlanta. A four-day trip in July booked in coach class on Delta.com runs between 21,000 miles and 71,500 miles.

Hilton HHonors

How to redeem: Hilton HHonors Sports Experiences and, for members who have a Hilton-branded American Express card, here.
Special requirements: Bidding increments depend on the experience, ranging from 5,000 points to 50,000.

Two different sporting experiences — one for HHonors members and one for members who also have a Hilton-branded American Express card — offer a mix of sports events where members may redeem hotel points or use them to bid.

Redeem versus bid. At press time, items available for redemption included a chance to attend the British Touring Car Championship, the country’s premier motorsport series, on Aug. 26. Four packages for two attendees are available, and they include: VIP admission to rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the BTCC; five-star catering in a private hospitality tent that includes lunch and refreshments; a BTC Norlin Racing garage tour; a guided pit lane and grid walk; a Q&A with James Nash and Chris Smiley of BTC Norlin Racing; autograph session with the drivers; and access to watch the support races: Porsche Carrera Cup, F4 British Championship, Ginetta GT5 Championship. A package can be redeemed for 100,000 Honors points. On your own, a pair of VIP tickets for this event — which includes access to a hospitality suite, seated grandstand and bar areas and an exclusive table/seat all day — will set you back about $600.

Redeem or bid? Though point redemption was the only way to buy at press time, it pays to check on “experiences” up for auction as well. A recent auction gave members the chance to play in the pro-am section of the BMW International Open with a star of the European Tour. With an ending bid of 200,000, the winning bidder scored VIP hospitality tickets to the Open, transportation and a three-night stay at the Hilton Cologne, (but not the flight to Germany). On your own, a pair of VIP tickets to the June tournament cost $844 with a three-day hotel stay around $462 for a total of about $1,306. But fans might say there’s no price for playing in the tournament or going home with signed merchandise from Hilton golf ambassadors Chris Wood, Jamie Donaldson and Matteo Manassero.

Maximize your points. If you don’t have enough points for an experience, Hilton allows members to buy up to 80,000 points a year to top off your account.

Unique experiences available through Hilton Honors seem like a good deal, but with so few sports experiences available for bid, it’s hard to say overall if using points is a good way to spend them. When the pickings are slim, you may be better off using your points for hotel stays or even transferring them to one of Hilton’s 40+ global airline partners.

Here’s how you pay or bid with Hilton points

Below is how you can check which experiences are available to pay or bid for with points.

Once on the experiences site, you can filter activities by category, date, points and location.

For Hilton Amex cardholders: Honors members with a Hilton-branded American Express card have access to their own special sporting events. While there weren’t any available at press time, a past item up for bid was attending the final round of the 118th U.S. Open Championship for 200,000 points. The package included access for two to a private American Express hospitality suite complete with complimentary food and beverages, reserved seating and views of the 13th hole at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., on June 17.

Marriott Rewards

How to redeem: Use your points at Marriott Rewards.
Special requirements: Auction items have minimum bids

Two years after Marriott International acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts, their two rewards programs will be merged into a new loyalty program starting Aug. 1. But until then, Marriott Rewards members can use points to buy or bid on tickets to sporting events through the Moments program. Redeem 30,000 points for two tickets to Qualifying Day at the Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Deutschland in Germany on July 21 or 90,000 points for a pair of tickets for the San Francisco Giants-Chicago Cubs game at AT&T Park in San Francisco on July 10. Those same 30,000 points can buy you two nights at Courtyard Santa Fe.

Like some of the other programs, Giants fans might be better off saving their points and buying tickets directly through the team’s website where ticket prices range from $165 for field club seats to left field seats at $26.

Bidding may be your best bet. As with other programs, unique experiences available through online auctions may be worth cashing out your points. One experience up for auction, at 155,000 points, is watching the Tour de France from the finish line with professional sports photographer Erin Hogue. Hogue will lead participants in a photography workshop before the race — attendees also are invited to such events as a VIP champagne “moment.”

Such packages may sound pricey, but consider the value: Auctions offer one-of-a-kind experiences such as private dinners with players or a photo with a winning NASCAR driver.

Here’s how to use your points

After logging in, you’ll go to the “Use Points” tab, then scroll down to “Explore Moments.”

That will take you to the Marriott Moments page. On that main page, click on the “Sports” tab.

After clicking on the “Sports” tab, the page shows a list of upcoming sporting events, with the option of searching by points, location, date or bid versus purchase.

Example: Use your points to bid on unique events including the 2018 Ford Championship Weekend Nov. 16-18.

You can also buy suite seats to see the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field for 75,000 points. But again, baseball fans may be better off just buying their tickets directly from their favorite teams.

SPG Moments

How to redeem: Redeem your Starpoints at SPG Moments
Special requirements: Bids are done in 500-point increments.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ SPG Moments and Marriott Rewards will be merged into a new loyalty program on Aug. 1, and while the two programs have always had a lot in common, SPG has a more international focus on sports events and experiences. And like some other rewards programs, bidding on unique experiences — seats in fully-stocked luxury boxes, watching batting practice on the field and attending pre and postgame press conferences — may offer the most bang for your buck. Baseball games, for example, include VIP access and experiences like playing catch in the outfield.

Example: Racing fans recently bid on two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 packages. For 36,000 or 39,000 points, the winner came away with access to the Kentucky Club, with a free buffet, premium views and climate control, along with passes to the Cold Garage and the pit, a “hot lap” ride before the race and the chance to go to Victory Lane to watch the trophy presentation.

Here’s how to use your points

Starwood Preferred Guest® members sign into the SPG Moments portal.

Once inside, you can scroll down and click on sports, where you see a list of events and experiences. After choosing between all events or available events only, click on “View Events” where you’ll see all the sports activities available for points redemption or bidding.

Up for bid, currently at just over 30,000 Starpoints®, is VIP access to the Calgary Stampede in Canada July 13-14. The package includes a Friday evening show in the Lazy S premium seating section for the GMC Rangeland Derby, the Grandstand Show and fireworks. On Saturday, sit in your exclusive infield seating for a close-up view of the Stampede Rodeo. Then see country superstar Luke Bryan perform at the Scotiabank Saddledome plus pick up $500 of western merchandise, $100 in food tickets, WestJet Skyride tickets and more.

Or, for 25,000 Starpoints®, you can watch a Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals baseball game in the SPG® Luxury Suite at Wrigley Field behind home plate. The suite includes complimentary food and beverages during the game.

United MileagePlus Exclusives

How to redeem: Redeem your miles at United’s MileagePlus Exclusives.
Special requirements: Miles expire if you go 18 months without earning or redeeming miles on United or a partner.

Like other programs we’ve mentioned, you’re better off spending your points on more unique experiences or games that come with extra perks. And like rival Delta, perks are centered around United hub cities including Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Those include the chance to walk inside the ropes at the 2018 John Deere Classic at the TPC Deere Run course in Silvis, Ill., at a current bid of 34,000 miles.

Games versus trips. If you were to use your miles to book roundtrip reward travel on United in coach for a trip between Newark and Atlanta in June, it would range from between 30,000 and 65,000 miles. If you wanted to upgrade to business class, that would range from 70,000 to 100,000 miles.

Here’s how to use your miles

After logging into the MileagePlus page, click on the airline’s MileagePlus Exclusives, which allows you to refine your search by listing type, category or location.

Once there, you’ll see a robust list of sporting events with a mix of redeem or auction bid options, including The National golf tournament or a Chicago White Sox-Minnesota Twins baseball game.

The bottom line

These loyalty programs offer exclusive access to myriad sporting events and special experiences that appeal to fans and non-fans alike. Using your points and miles is a great way to get premium seats for a sporting event or access to a unique experience that may not always be open to the general public or could be expensive if you’re paying by cash or credit card. So remember to check your airline, hotel or credit card websites regularly to see what sports opportunities might be available.

*Tickets may not be available for all events and aren’t guaranteed. All tickets are subject to availability and terms apply.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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Credit Cards

A review of the IKEA® Visa® credit card

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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IKEA lovers, rejoice! The Swedish home goods store has unveiled the brand-new IKEA® Visa® credit card that rewards you the most for spending on everything from the popular Billy bookshelf system to its iconic meatballs.

If you’re a regular shopper at IKEA, you’ll get 5% back in rewards on IKEA® purchases, including Traemand installation and TaskRabbit assembly services, 3% back in rewards on dining, grocery and utility purchases, and 1% back in rewards on all other purchases. That’s pretty appealing, because the higher cashback rate not only includes products, furniture and food but it also applies to companies that can help you assemble furniture for those who can’t make heads or tails of IKEA’s infamous instructions.

But be warned: As generous as the rewards are on this card, you can only spend them at IKEA — in $15 increments. So if you’re not an IKEA fan, consider another card that gives you more flexibility in how you spend your cashback rewards.

IKEA® Visa® credit card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Comenity Capital Bank’s secure website

IKEA® Visa® credit card

Regular Purchase APR
21.99% Fixed
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% back in rewards on IKEA® purchases, including Traemand installation and TaskRabbit assembly services, 3% back in rewards on dining, grocery and utility purchases, and 1% back in rewards on all other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Card benefits at a glance

The IKEA® Visa® credit card benefits

Cashback rewards

  • Get 5% back in rewards on IKEA® purchases, including Traemand installation and TaskRabbit assembly services, 3% back in rewards on dining, grocery and utility purchases, and 1% back in rewards on all other purchases.

Pros

  • The card has a $0 annual fee
  • $25 bonus IKEA® Reward Certificate when you spend $500 or more outside of IKEA, Traemand and TaskRabbit within the first 90 days of account opening with your IKEA® Visa® credit card.

Cons

  • Rewards earned on the IKEA® Visa® credit card are issued certificates that can only be used at IKEA.
  • The card doesn’t offer an intro purchase or balance transfer APR.
  • The card’s sign-up bonus isn’t as robust as other cards in the rewards category.

You have to love a credit card that offers both a $0 annual fee and pretty good rewards in popular categories. If you shop at IKEA regularly, then the rewards it offers can add up, especially since there’s no limit on how much you can accumulate. The rewards for dining and groceries are good, and including utility purchases in this tier is great, since most cards don’t even include this category for higher rewards.

What we like about the IKEA® Visa® credit card

One interesting thing about the IKEA® Visa® credit card is that you earn rewards on utility spending. It includes electric, gas (for home heating only), water, sanitary, telegraph services, television, radio and telecommunication services.

The IKEA® Visa® credit card gives new cardmembers a $25 bonus IKEA® Reward Certificate when you spend $500 or more outside of IKEA, Traemand and TaskRabbit within the first 90 days of account opening.

The card automatically enrolls you into the IKEA FAMILY loyalty program, which offers exclusive product discounts and special offers, along with free coffee or hot tea at its restaurants, 30 extra minutes in the Småland Time children’s play room and 90-day price protection on your purchases.

You also get access to Visa’s auto rental collision damage waiver when you use the card. You’ll be reimbursed for damage due to collision or theft up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles.

Another great thing about the IKEA® Visa® credit card is its foreign transaction fee: None.

What we don’t like about the IKEA® Visa® credit card

The rewards you earn on this card comes with a big catch — you only get them as certificates issued in $15 increments, and they can only be redeemed at IKEA.

While the free shipping offer is nice, delivery areas are limited, depending on the location of the IKEA where the purchases were made. You’re warned that some items may take longer for delivery, and items ordered together may not arrive in the same box. You can’t have food, bistro products or plants delivered. And after Aug. 31, 2018, the offer ends.

If you’re not a big IKEA shopper, there are other cards that offer better rewards in the popular travel category than the IKEA® Visa® credit card. These cards also offer better sign-up bonuses, more flexibility in spending your rewards and more travel and purchase perks.

An alternative to the IKEA® Visa® credit card

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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on Citibank’s secure website

Read Full Review

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent, Good

Not everyone is going to want to get the rewards offered by the IKEA® Visa® credit card, especially because you can only spend the rewards at IKEA. So for those who want to shop at more than just IKEA and get more flexibility in how they use their cashback rewards, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is a good option. (You can check out other top cashback credit card picks here.) It starts with No bonus, so the IKEA® Visa® credit card has the edge there. Your cash back can be redeemed for checks, statement credits or gift cards. There are no caps on the total amount of cash back you can earn with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer.

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer comes with perks that are better than the IKEA® Visa® credit card, including purchase protection and auto rental collision damage waiver. You get access to Citi® Private Pass, which offers special access to buy tickets to events and VIP packages to concerts, sporting events and dining experiences, and Citi® Concierge for help with with travel, shopping, dining, entertainment and personalized service.

You also get access to Citi® Price Rewind, which does a 60-day search for a lower price on purchases made with your card. If a lower price is found, you may receive the difference up to $200 per item, and up to $1,000 per year. Terms apply.

There are other cards that offer higher rewards for travel, dining, groceries and gas. You also have to decide if the rewards on the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer are good enough.

So unless you are obsessed with IKEA, shop there regularly and don’t mind redeeming the IKEA® Visa® credit card’s rewards at the store, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer may be a better option if you for you, since it offers much more flexibility on spending rewards and gives you more travel and protection benefits.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson
Benét J. Wilson |

Benét J. Wilson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Benét J. at benet@magnifymoney.com

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