Five Best Rewards Credit Cards

Five Best Rewards Credit Cards

A credit card can be a useful tool if you know how to use it, and rewards cards offer great perks to smart shoppers with financial savvy. This week, we’re looking at five of the best, based on your nominations.

Earlier in the week we asked you for your favorite rewards cards, whether they offered perks on travel, shopping at your favorite stores, online shopping, gas, or pure cash back. We ran down our favorites not too long ago, but this week we wanted to hear your picks. You gave us tons of great nominees, but we only have room for the top five. As always, here they are, in no particular order.

Costco TrueEarnings American Express

Five Best Rewards Credit Cards

If you’re a Costco shopper, and we’ve highlighted more than a few reasons you may want to be, American Express’ Costco TrueEarnings cards gets you 2% cash back on your purchases at Costco (in the form of a rewards coupon) that can get up to $4000 per year. You also get 2% cash back on travel purchases, a full 3% cash back on gasoline purchases, 1% cash back on all other purchases, and more. There’s no annual fee (as long as you have a Costco membership), a 15.24% variable APR (after a 6 month 0% APR introductory period), and it comes with the perks you would expect from a good credit card, including extended warranty protection (up to an additional year), 90 day purchase protection, fraud protection, and more.

In the nominations thread, you praised the card’s features, and American Express’ customer service. Many of you also pointed out that because Costco and AMEX have such a close relationship, it makes sense to get this AMEX if you’re going to be a Costco customer at all. Others of you noted that even if you’re not a regular Costco shopper, the card is worthwhile. You can read more in its nomination thread here.


Chase Amazon Rewards Visa

Five Best Rewards Credit Cards

For those folks who swear by Amazon Prime and do a ton of shopping at Amazon, the Amazon Rewards Visa from Chase may be a good option. The Chase Amazon Rewards Visa offers 3% cash back on all of your purchases at Amazon, 2% cash back at eligable restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores, and 1% cash back on all of your other purchases. As soon as you sign up and get accepted, you get a $70 Amazon gift card instantly applied to your account, and you can even use your rewards points dollar for dollar on Amazon purchases. There’s no annual fee, and it comes with a 14.24%-22.24% variable APR depending on your credit history.

Those of you who praised the Chase Amazon Visa in the nominations round all noted that the rewards are great, and that since the rewards are calculated monthly instead of annually like some other cards, you can even apply the rewards to your card balance, which is a great self-feeding way to keep the bills paid. Others of you praised the customer service experience with the card, and all of you pointed out that for those people who buy everything from Amazon, it makes perfect sense to have this card in your wallet. Read more in the nomination thread here.


Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Five Best Rewards Credit Cards

American Express’ Blue Cash Preferred card isn’t associated with a specific merchant or type of purchase, but it does offer hefty rewards for your purchases. For every $1000 spent on eligible purchases in the first three months, you get $150 back in the form of a credit on your statement. You get 6% cash back on at supermarkets, 3% cash back on gasoline purchases and department stores, and 1% cash back on everything else. You don’t have rotating reward categories or anything either, and your rewards and balances are kept up to date in real time online. The card comes with a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, after which it goes up to 12.99%-21.99% depending on your credit history. There’s no annual fee for your first year, but after that it’s $75/yr. As with every AMEX, you get warranty protection, return protection, fraud protection, and purchase protection with your card as well.

In the nomination thread, those of you noted that while the annual fee is really steep, he perks and benefits are worth it. You pointed out also that AMEX also has regular offers and perks at specific retailers that can virtually pay for the annual fee on its own. The one thing many of you pointed out was to pay attention to what they consider a supermarket or not, but beyond that, you praised AMEX’s customer service, perks, and rewards—some of you even noted that you use the rewards to pay for holiday shopping and gifts every year. Read more in it nomination thread here.


Discover/Discover It

Five Best Rewards Credit Cards

While there are specific Discover cards for different needs, the plain old Discover Card (now the Discover It Card) earned high praise in the nominations round. Discover offers 1% cash back on all of your purchases, and 5% cash back on purchases in specific categories that change regularly, including gas stations, home improvement stores, restaurants and movies, and department stores.. You can earn anywhere from 5%-20% cash back at over 200 online retailers as you shop as well. There’s no annual fee, you can use your rewards points dollar for dollar at Amazon, paying late won’t raise your APR, there’s no overlimit fee, no foreign transaction fees, no late fees for your first late payment, a relief APR if you lose your job or suffer some loss of income, and a 0% intro APR that goes up to 10.9%-22.99% variable APR after the first 14 months.

Disover got a few nominations in the call for contenders thread, but in all of them you praised the card for being useful at checkout at Amazon and easy to rack up cash back rewards. You note that it’s not difficult to rack up cash back rewards if you know how to use the cards, and you can even get a free FICO score, along with an explanation for why it’s high or low. Read more in the nomination threads here and here.


Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Visa

Five Best Rewards Credit Cards

Capital One’s Quicksilver Cash Rewards Visa comes with an 1.5% cash back on all purchases, a $100 bonus once you’ve made $500 in purchases after you get the card, and no rotating categories or tiers of rewards to sign up for. Similarly, there’s no annual fee on the card, the cash back you do get never expires, and you can use the cash back rewards and apply them to your credit statement if you choose. The card comes with a 0% introductory APR that goes up to a 12.9%-22.9% variable APR after the first 10 months. The card comes with fraud protection, complimentary travel perks and upgrades, shopping discounts at specific supported retailers, and even travel and roadside assistance without additional fees or subscriptions. You also get extended warranties on your purchases and purchase protection.

In the nominations thread, many of you noted that you also have the card, or have the Mastercard version. You pointed out that you don’t have to worry about categories and you can rack up the rewards easily. There are versions of the card for people with excellent and with average credit, making it accessible to anyone who wants one. You can read more in the nomination thread here.


Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put them to an all out vote to determine the community favorite:

The honorable mention this week goes out to the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card. It missed the top five by a few votes, but still deserve praise thanks to its impressive cash back, and the flexibility to deposit your 2% cash back rewards into an eligible Fidelity brokerage or investment account if you have one. You noted it’s useful to be able to deposit your credit card rewards into your investments, making your cash back work for you to make you money, instead of just getting recycled back into the purchase cycle. You can read more about it and the discussion about it in its nomination thread here.

Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread earlier in the week. Don’t just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

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