Money Nation’s 5 Best Rewards Cards of 2015

Money Nation’s favorite rewards card for 2015 is the Citi Double Cash rewards card, followed closely by the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card. Other cards on our list include the Chase Sapphire Preferred rewards card, the Discover It rewards card and the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card.

1. Citi Double Cash Rewards Card

The Citi Double Cash card may not just be the best rewards card we’ve seen, but the best credit card period. It offers 2% cash back on all purchases – 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it back.

best rewards cards citi doublecashMost rewards cards sound this good. They might offer 2% cash back on purchases, but read the fine print. The 2% only counts for spending in specific categories like gas, groceries or airline tickets. Or it’s 2% back on everything but they cap the rewards at $500 a year.

best rewards cards citi double cash twoNot so for the Citi Double Cash rewards card. This card offers 2% cash back on all purchases, with no category restrictions and no rewards cap. That means if you spend $100 on the card and pay it back, you get $2. If you spend and pay back $1,000, you get $20. For every $10,000 you get back $200.

Other than its stellar rewards rate, the card acts pretty much like any other rewards card. It has no annual fee, 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 15 months and a 12.99% to 22.99% interest rate, depending on the applicant’s creditworthiness.

The only downside we could find to this rewards card is that it requires an excellent credit score.

Related: Credit Score Help: 7 Ideas to Boost a Credit Score Fast

2. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card

A close second is the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card. While it only offers 1.5% cash back compared to the Citi Double Cash card’s 2% rate, it does have an added perk. The Quicksilver Cash Rewards card pays its 1.5% up front, without waiting for the payback. That’s a nice feature for those who don’t pay off their balance every month.

best rewards cards capitalone quicksilver

Like the Citi Double Cash card, the Quicksilver rewards card has no spending caps or category restrictions, so it offers its 1.5% rewards with no limit regardless of how the money is spent. As an additional perk, the card gives a $100 cash bonus when users spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.

best credit cards capital one rewardsThe Quicksilver Cash Rewards card has no annual fee, and a 0% interest rate not only on transfers but also on purchases made until January of 2016. After that, the card switches to a 12.9% to 22.9% interest rate, depending on the applicant’s creditworthiness.

Like the Double Cash rewards card, the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card is only for those with excellent credit.

Related: 6 Surprising Ways to Hack Your Credit Score

3. Chase Sapphire Preferred Rewards Card

Third place in our list of best rewards cards goes to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. This is a card for those who travel often, and those who like to take a hands-on approach to earning rewards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred rewards card didn’t come in higher on our list because making the most of its rewards hierarchy will take more figuring than most consumers are up for.

best rewards cards chase sapphire preferredThe card works on points, not percentages, so it can be a little challenging figuring out exactly how much the rewards translate to in actual dollar amounts. Per their website, 80 points = $1. Put another way, one point is worth 1.25 cents. Having said that, this rewards card does offer some pretty sweet rewards and perks. Here’s a rundown:

  • 2x points (2.5%) on travel and dining in restaurants paid for with the rewards card.
  • 1 point per $1 (1.25%) on all other purchases made with the rewards card.
  • 40,000 bonus points ($500) for spending $4,000 with the rewards card in the first 3 months.
  • best rewards cards chase5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the first 3 months.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Embedded chip increases security.
  • 20% off travel when points are redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards card program.
  • Automatic trip cancellation insurance reimburses the cardholder for cancelled airfare and other trip costs paid for with the rewards card.
  • $500,000 of automatic travel accident insurance for trips bought with the rewards card.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement.
  • Baggage delay insurance.

The best feature of the card by far is the 20% extra its users will save when booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.

Cons: $95 annual fee after the first year. Making the most of the rewards on this card may take a little planning.

4. Discover It Rewards Card

The Discover It card is a popular rewards card that offers up to 5% rewards on purchases depending on the spending category.

best rewards cards discover itLike the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the Discover It rewards card has different rewards rates for different spending categories.

The card offers a nice minimum 1% cash back reward on all purchases regardless of category, with no spending cap. There’s a bonus 5% cash back category that rotates each quarter. For instance, in January, February and March the card may offer 5% cash back on gas and ground transportation. In April, May and June, the 5% back applies to restaurants and movie purchases. In July, August and September the card gives 5% back on “summer spruce up” costs, and in October through December it’s 5% back on holiday shopping.

best rewards cards discoverThe 5% cash back in the rotating spending categories is capped at $1,500 per quarter.

Other nice features include a free FICO credit score, no annual fee and Discover’s new “Freeze It” feature that lets cardholders freeze an account from a mobile app. The Freeze It feature comes in handy for those whose cards are stolen or for those with authorized users, such as teenage children, added to their accounts.

5. American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

Coming in at #5 on our list, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card is another rewards card that works on a point system. Unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card points, American Express points can’t be figured out on a percentage basis. That’s because the value of American Express points can change depending on how a consumer uses them. That said, sources online put the value of an American Express rewards point at about 1.9 cents.

5 best rewards cards american express

The card earns 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2x points at U.S. gas stations and supermarkets and 1x points on all other purchases. Cardholders also earn 25,000 points for spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months.

One big downside to this rewards card is a $175 annual fee after the first year.

Related: 6 Easy Ways to Reduce Credit Card Debt

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