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If you haven’t defined the “new you” for 2016, we’d like to help. Rather than challenge you with a dramatic change like giving up chocolate (insert sigh here) or running three times a week (insert gasp here, literally), we’d like to offer another change that doesn’t require you to do anything different than you already do: continue to use your credit card… But, get the most out of it! Don’t spend another year racking up points that you won’t use or miss out on rewards that can save you money on planned expenses. While you’ll need to look closer at each card’s specific terms and conditions, here’s our list of the cards with some great options for 2016:
If you like cash back:
Citi Double Cash Card: 2% cash back on all purchases up to any amount (1% when you make the purchase plus another 1% when you pay).
Discover It: 5% cash back in various categories, up to $1,500 per quarter. Categories change quarterly. Bonus: Double cash back in the first year for new card members.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred: 6% cash back on the first $6,000 spent at a supermarket, then 1% thereafter; 3% cash back at gas stations and various department stores; 1% on all other purchases. Note that there is a $75 annual fee for this card. Bonus: Spend $1,000 in the first 3 months, get $150 back.
If you travel:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: 2 points for every $1 spent on dining/travel, 1 point for $1 spent on all other purchases (1 point = 1 cent or 1.25 cents for travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards). No foreign transaction fees. Note that there is a $95 annual fee for this card after the first year. Bonus: Get $625 in travel rewards if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: 2x miles for every $1 spent on all purchases. No foreign transaction fees. Note that there is a $59 annual fee for this card after the first year. Bonus: Get $400 in travel rewards if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card: 1.5 points on every $1 spent on all purchases. No foreign transaction fees. Bonus: Get $200 in travel rewards if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Remember to only charge what you can afford to pay off each month, regardless of the rewards available. Interest charges on carried balances will likely offset any perks!