Credit cards are important and establishing credit early can really benefit you throughout your life. Additionally, the amount of rewards and benefits that credit cards offer really help to maximize the returns on your purchases. Since, I emphasize travel as my main focus for credit rewards the credit cards are geared towards earning miles. However, overall it is more important to focus on rewards for everyday purchases like groceries, gas, travel and food and drinks.
Disclaimer: I am not a credit card turner. I only have 3 credit cards and I only recommend two credit cards for 2017.
Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred –
Chase has been offering incredible benefits for their flagship credit card the Sapphire Reserve (or Preferred). Personally, I own the Chase Sapphire Reserve as my main credit card. I got this one because the 100,000 bonus miles (expired in march – replaced by 50,000 bonus) they were offering as well as the travel benefits. Everyone that travels should purchase this card as it offers travel insurance, reimbursement for lost bags, cancelled flights, access to travel lounges, reimbursement of $300 travel credit, pre-boarding and much more. Yet, one of the best parts of this card is it extends warranties for all items that do not have 2+ year warranties. However, the main drawback is the $450 annual fee but if you minus the $300 travel credit this credit cards fee is really $150 per year.
Bonus – Reserve VS Preferred
The Preferred offers many of the same benefits but cost $95 but does not give access to travel lounges and has no travel credit reimbursement. Also, since you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining with Reserve, compared to 2 with the Preferred card, based on our calculations you’ll need to spend $2,619.05 in a cardmember year in order to come out ahead with Reserve, which breaks out to just $218.25 per month. My recommendation is to go Reserved.
American Express –
American express up their game with their newest cash-back rewards card that offers 3% on groceries, 2% on gas and 1% on every other purchase. Because, groceries and gas are likely to be large expenditures for almost everyone this card essentially pays for itself. I choose to go with the unpaid version because I am not fond of paying credit card fees. However, American Express offers a $95 per year card that offers 6% for groceries, 3% for gas and 1% on everything else. Based on your expenditures and other credit card annual fees you can decide which one works best.
Overall, if I was to choose one credit card, it would be the Chase Reserve as it offers the best benefits for travel. Yet, collectively the Chase Reserve and American Express Cash Back card cover all the majority of my expenditures. Between the cards, they have covered the cost of ownership and have allowed me to use the other card benefits to my delight.
***Please note, proper credit card use comes down to a budget and not overspending. It is smart to be careful and wary of accruing debt but holding off on establishing credit can have long lasting effects on your ability to borrow and get access to these excellent credit card benefits. **
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