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The most appropriate variants of credit cards in the United States

Do you think of applying for a credit card? Consider an option that provides a refund of part of the purchase price. Just pay with your card for goods and services and receive welcome bonuses in the form of cash back to your account!

Other credit cards offers

The most appropriate variants of credit cards

Guideline for beginners

The ways credit cards operate

The idea of credit cards is simple and means a cardholder borrows money in order to pay for something. The borrowed funds must be returned later. Long repayment leads to interest accrual. The entire market of credit cards relies on this fundamental rule.

The basic transaction with a credit card is implemented in the following way:

  • A customer swipes a card. When something needs to be paid a cardholder uses a card at the cash register by passing it through a card reader. When doing shopping online the details of a card are entered on a checkout page.
  • The purchase is permitted. The card reader connects with the card issuer in order to verify that the card has enough funds for the purchase. If everything is ok, this transaction is authorized.
  • The merchant gets payment. The issuer of the credit card forwards money for the purchase to the merchant.
  • The customer pays. This transaction appears on a statement and the bank needs to get money back for the purchase.

How awards on a credit cards work

Variations of awards

Many of the most appropriate credit cards grant rewards for spending. Two main types of awards exist:

  • Miles and points. Miles and points can be redeemed for traveling, merchandise, gift cards as well as other items. Some issuers provide the option of points redeeming for credit on a statement.
  • Cashback. It can be used for direct reduction of the existing balance. In some cases, clients may receive cashback to a bank account or in the form of a cheque.

The remuneration applied to a card is set by the issuing bank. There are 2 major types of reward structures:

    • Flat rate. In this case a cardholder gets the same reward rate for all expenses incurred with the card, regardless the purpose of the spending. It is possible to get 2 points for 1 dollar spent or 1.5% cashback for any purchase.
    • Bonus rewards. A base rate on all expenses is applied, that is usually 1 point for 1 dollar spent or 1% cashback, followed by higher rates in certain categories, for example, 5% cashback for paying at gas stations along with 3 points for 1 dollar spent on traveling.

Note! Bonus rewards assessment is typically based on the place of purchasing and not on the items or services bought.

  • Each seller is assigned a specified category code. For instance, if bonuses on your card are awarded for buying at grocery stores means these rewards will be received every time payments are made at a place with a category code that identifies it as a supermarket or a grocery.

A lot of credit card users have multiple cards with bonus reward programs in various categories together with a flat rate card for purchasing out of these categories.

Rewards tracking

The rewards earned on a card are stored in a bonus account and a customer gets an access to them by logging in the account on the bank's website or with the mobile app. Some issuers accrue purchasing rewards to an account almost immediately while others use the method when a rewards account updates upon the billing cycle end and the issuer prepares a card account statement, that's why rewards from any particular purchase can appear at an account in a couple weeks.

Renumeration process

This process works the following way:

  • Buying is made with a credit card.
  • Awards are counted by the issuer. For a card with bonus rewards the issuer verifies the merchant's category code where the purchase was made and after that applies the rewards, if necessary. Otherwise, the issuer simply calculates the charges according to a flat rate.
  • Bonuses are credited to the account by the issuer. As mentioned before, the process of rewards receiving can take from a couple days to several weeks.
  • Rewards are got by logging into the account online. The procedure of cashback refund is pretty simple. Redeeming miles or points may involve booking a trip through an online tool or in another way.

The ways credit card percentage works

When dealing with money at a bank, a client usually has to repay interest that is the cost of the bank's funds usage. Credit cards are untypical as they provide the way to avoid interest entirely. A grace period is frequently offered which means if balance is fully redeemed on each statement, interest will not be accrued. Having debts results in percentage charge. Interest works the following way:

    • A rate of interest is set by the issuer. In general, a high credit score allows to qualify for lower rates but percentage rates tend to be significantly higher than those ones on other consumer debts.
    • A rate of interest is indicated at a card statement. This is a per annum rate but in most cases charged on a daily basis. In case the per annum rate is 17.5%, about 0.048% is actually charged every day.

Interest owed is calculated by the issuer upon the billing cycle end.

      Percentage is based on a daily balance along with a daily rate.

Interest instalments are included in a minimum payment the following month.

    Percentage on a credit card does not generally increase and it is not added to the balance. But interest should be fully repaid every month.

Various kinds of credit cards

Issuing companies offer diverse types of cards that are able to satisfy different needs of consumers. Some deposit funds to the cards every month and repay immediately, thus, they benefit from the card which returns a part of expenses in the form of bonuses. Others tend to shift debts from one month to another, and the best option for such clients is a card offering a low constant rate of interest. Still others do their best to improve credit history and issuers provide cards for such people as well.

Below are the main credit card types.

Options that provide rewards

Such cards pay back a part of incurred expenses in cash, miles or points.

  • Credit cards allowing cashback return cash that can be used to reduce the existing balance and, in some cases, deposit to a bank account or received in the form of a cheque.
  • Regular credit cards for traveling provide points that can be utilized to pay for trips. Unlike cards tied to specific loyalty programs of hotels or airlines, these cards allow more flexibility. Thus, rewards can be used for hotel nights, airline tickets as well as other expenses.
  • Credit cards of hotels are the property of a specific hotel group and points earned can be exchanged for a hotel stay. Likewise airline cards, the benefits can be really nice like a free night a year, elite status, automatic upgrades, etc.
  • Credit cards of airlines belong to a particular airline. Using them a customer earns miles that can be exchanged for free flights or upgrades at this airline. Such cards don't afford much flexibility regarding the way rewards can be spent but they provide exclusive benefits like free check-in baggage, access to numerous airport lounges, priority boarding, etc.

Ranking of the best cards on the market

There is common option suitable for every person, every buying or every budget. Thus, credit history, family composition, income and spending, whether an applicant is a regular traveler and personal convenience of multiple cards holding can influence the choice of the most appropriate card.

Therefore, a proper credit card for a wealthy single spending money on traveling abroad and eating out may not be an appropriate option a budget-conscious family that go hiking on vacation and spends mostly on everyday purchasing.

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred®

Card is the suitable option for cashback. The benefits are:

  • Getting a credit of $250 upon spending $1000 on new card purchasing over the period of the first 3 months.
  • 6% cashback on certain US streaming subscriptions.
  • Cashback of 6% on purchasing at US supermarkets for the sum up to $6,000 a year ( after that 1%).
  • 3% cashback at gas stations in the US and on public transportation, including parking, taxis, rides, busses, tolls, trains, etc.).
  • Cashback 1% on other purchases.
  • Beneficial starting per annum percentage rate of 0% for 12 months for purchasing from the date of an account set up, afterwards the 13.99%-23.99% variable rate is applied.
  • Cashback is received in the form of awards in dollars that can be paid off as a loan for a statement.
  • Plan It enables purchases selection for $100 or more in order to split into monthly instalments with a flat fee.
  • Per annum fee of $95.

The card Citi® Double Cash

  • Grants 2% on every purchasing with unlimited cashback of 1% on purchasing and an additional 1% when these purchases are paid.
  • To receive cashback at least the minimum sum needs to be timely paid.
  • The offer of balance transferring with an initial 0% per annum percentage rate within 18 months. Thereafter, the 13.99%-23.99% variable rate is applied and it depends on creditworthiness.
  • Provided a balance is transferred, percentage is charged on purchasing unless the entire balance, including its transfers is fully repaid by the due date monthly.
  • Transfer of a balance does not bring rewards.
  • The balance transferring fee is $5 or 3% of the each transfer amount, which is greater.
  • Citi Flex Plan has the standard 13.99-23.99% variable rate and it depends on creditworthiness.

The American Express Blue Business Plus card best suits for business

  • With this card a holder can earn double Membership Rewards® points on business related expenses like customer lunches or stationery. 2X is applied to the first purchases of $50,000 within a year, afterwards 1 point for 1 dollar spent.
  • Clients can utilize the card in excess of the extended purchasing power credit limit.
  • It provides flexibility to spread more purchasing on this card and obtain rewards provided the credit limit was excessed.
  • More purchasing power for businesses means more possibilities to get points.
  • No maximum amount that can be spent in excess of the credit limit is applied. It is regulated by the card usage, payment, credit history, financial resources as well as other factors.
  • Introductory per annum rate of 0% on purchasing during 12 months starting from the date of an account set up, afterwards the variable of 13.24%-19.24% takes into force and it depends on creditworthiness.
  • No annual charge is required

The card Chase Sapphire Preferred is the proper option that provides rewards for traveling

  • This option allows to obtain 60,000 points if $4,000 is spent on purchases over the period of the first 3 months upon an account set up. By exchanging points with Chase Ultimate Rewards®, clients get $750 for travels.
  • Get additional 25% value by spending on traveling with the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program. For instance, 60,000 travel points are equal to $750.
  • Double points are granted for traveling and dining at restaurants worldwide of delivery services of eligible level, dining out and takeaways and also 1 point for 1 dollar spent on the remaining types of purchases.
  • The service Pay Yourself Back makes bonuses worth 25% more within the current offer duration if these points are redeemed for credits on a statement of existing buying in selected, shifting categories.
  • Earn double points for paying at grocery stores for the sum up to $1,000 a month.
  • Obtain unlimited shipments with free shipping and reduced service charges on orders over $12 during least 1 year with qualifying purchases at groceries.

The card Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority is the best among airline ones

  • It allows to earn up to 80,000 points. Cardholders can obtain the amount of points equal to 50,000 by spending on purchases $2,000 over the period of the first 3 months and obtain additional 30,000 points if $10,000 is spent during the first 9 months.
  • Get 7,500 points upon the card issuance anniversary every year.
  • 20% discount on Wi-Fi and in-flight drinks.
  • $75 per annum travel credit of Southwest.
  • 4 priority boarding a year, if available.
  • Clients get 2 points for 1 dollar spent on the rest of Southwest purchases.
  • Every dollar that was spent on the remaining types of purchases brings 1 point.

The card Chase Sapphire Reserve is the appropriate premium card for traveling

  • Holders receive the mount of points equal to 50,000 if $4,000 is spent on purchasing over a period of 3 months upon an account set up. If points are exchanged with Chase Ultimate Rewards program a client receives $750 for traveling.
  • Existence of the per annum Travel Credit of $300 for travel expenses reimbursement that are charged to the card every year upon the account anniversary. Purchasing at gas stations and groceries counts towards the Travel Credit too.
  • 3X Travel Points are accrued immediately upon obtaining of Travel Credit of $300. 3X points for delivery services of eligible level, dining in restaurants, dining out and takeaways and 1 point for 1 dollar spent on the rest of purchases.
  • Obtain 50% more profit by spending points on traveling with Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Thus, 50,000 travel points are equal to $750.
  • The service Pay Yourself Back makes the points worth 50% more within the current offer duration if they are redeemed for credits on the existing purchases statement in selected, shifting categories.
  • 1 point transfer to loyalty programs of leading hotel chains and airlines.
  • It grants access to more than a thousand airport lounges with a simple check-in with Priority PassTM Select along with the credit up to $100 for registration at Global Entry, TSA PreCheck.
  • Cardholders are able to obtain 3x Points on purchasing at groceries up to $1,000 during a month.

The American Express Hilton Honors Aspire card is the best hotel chain option

    It allows to receive 150,000 Hilton Honors points if $4,000 is spent on card purchasing over the first 3 months period of membership.
  • The card grants Hilton Resort Credit equal to $250 that is received as a statement for every year of membership for eligible purchasing at participating resorts of Hilton.
  • The ability to earn 14X bonus awards of Hilton Honors by making Eligible Card purchases at participating resorts or hotels the Hilton Portfolio.
  • The possibility to get 7X bonus awards of Hilton Honors on eligible purchasing on the card which include flights booked via or direct airline websites, auto rentals directly at selected companies and eating in restaurants in the United States.
  • Clients can get 3X bonus awards of Hilton Honors on the rest eligible purchasing.
  • The card grants the possibility to get free Hilton Honors Diamond Status that includes such Hilton benefits as 100% additional points on all base ones earned, room upgrades, etc.
  • A weekend night rewarding and every year thereafter for this card's holders. Additionally, an extra night is granted if $60,000 is spent on card purchasing during a year.
  • Hilton Credit of $100
  • Clients can do the shopping more confidently with the return protection. It means in case a customer wants to give back an eligible item over the period of 90 days upon the date of purchasing and the merchant does not want to take it back, the full purchase price may be refunded by American Express to the account of the card excluding handling and shipping up to $300 for 1 item and in total up to a maximum of $1,000 within a year provided the item was entirely paid with an eligible American Express credit card. It also should be noted that purchases have to be made in the United States.
  • The service Priority Pass Select allows to have a proper rest at numerous lounges for a cardholder and up to 2 guests once a client signs up for free of charge Priority Pass Select membership that provides access to over a thousand airport lounges all over the world.
  • Concierge is the free round-the-clock service thanks to which cardholders can get an expert advice on preparing and booking a dinner, buying Broadway tickets or a perfect present. In all these and other cases, clients can be sure that concierge will take care of the requests, regardless whether they are large or small.
  • The credit of $250 for air traveling. The card Hilton Honors Aspire also grants the advantage of $250 Charge Credit for incidental fees coverage charged by airlines on the card account.
  • Clients can count on round-the-clock Premium Global Assist Hotline regarding financial, medical, legal and other kinds of emergency assistance services when traveling on the distance over 100 miles from home.
  • Insurance for rental vehicles against loss and damage.
  • Luggage insurance plan's coverage may apply to eligible people for damaged, lost or stolen luggage while traveling by common carriers (which are planes, ships, trains or buses) when the full ticket price (round trip or one way) is charged to the relevant card account. The insurance covers up to US $1,250 for hand luggage and up to US $500 for check-in baggage in excess of insurance coverage provided by common carriers. The aggregate maximum cap of $10,000 for all covered people at a trip is applied for New Yorkers.

The card Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature is the proper solution for online shopping.

  • Clients are given $70 gift card by upon approva.l
  • Eligible Prime membership provides 5% off for buying at Whole Foods Market,
  • Get 2% for paying at restaurants, gas stations and pharmacies.
  • Earn 1% on the rest of purchases.
  • Utilize Amazon Rewards to cover all or a part of purchasing expenses.
  • No minimum rewarding balance is required for redemption.
  • Concierge service of Visa Signature.

The Target RedCard card is the proper option for those who are involved in construction

  • The variable per annum rate of 22.9% on purchasing.
  • No overseas transaction fees.
  • No per annum charges.
  • Helps save 10% on hotels stays booked via
  • Charge-free door delivery of thousands of items within 2 days if ordered through
  • Unique items, gifts and offers.
  • Extended duration of goods return providing additional 30 days for exchanges and returns.
  • Cardholders receive 10% off at their anniversaries once subscribed to targeted newsletters.

The Discover it® Student Cashback card is the right solution for those who study or obtain the first credit card

  • The unique introductory Unlimited Cashback Match offer. Any cashback got at the first year end is compensated automatically. Thus, clients are able to get a $200 cashback instead of $100. No minimum costs or maximum bonuses are applied. The simple match of a dollar for a dollar.
  • Cashback of 5% on everyday purchasing at, groceries, restaurants, gas stations and PayPal to a quarterly maximum upon activation. In addition, unlimited cashback of 1% on the rest of purchases is automatically received.
  • No per annum fee, no penalty if the first payment is delayed, no annual amendments for arrears.
  • Good grades awards in the form of the credit of $20 for every academic year in case GPA is equal to 3.0 or higher over the following 5 years.
  • Enjoy 100% US customer service and obtain a charge-free credit card indicating FICO credit score, recent requests and more.
  • Cardholders are notified if the company finds the number of social security on any of hundreds of dark websites.
  • This card is valid across the USA in 99% of places where credit cards are accepted.
  • The zero introductory per annum percentage rate on purchases with the 6 months duration, afterwards the standard variable of 12.99%-21.99% is applied.