The World of Credit Card Rewards
I’ve had many people reach out to me who are interested in getting started with credit card rewards after reading some of my posts regarding the benefits I’ve gotten from them (here’s the most popular of those posts). Some of these benefits include thousands of dollars in cash, countless free hotel nights for our weekend trips, free flights to Jamaica and Aruba, and free flights for our upcoming around the world trip! We will also be getting 20+ free hotel nights while on that 5 month trip, which I haven’t written about to this point but will in the future.
There’s no doubt that credit card rewards can be extremely beneficial when the cards are used correctly, meaning that you only use the card for the rewards and do not carry a balance or spend money that you don’t have. What I often hear, though, is that someone wants to get started but isn’t comfortable jumping into a card with a big spending requirement to get the sign up bonus, or that they don’t have the credit to get approved for the premium cards. Well, if one of those is a concern for you, then you came to the right place. Here I’ll highlight the three cards that I think are the easiest for someone to start with who wants to dip their toes in the credit card reward world without completely jumping in!
- The sign up offer: This card offers a $200 bonus after spending only $500 in the first 90 days of being a card member. This should be very achievable for most and is a pretty decent cash bonus for such a low spending requirement.
- Continued perks from keeping the card: This card also offers 5% cashback in rotating categories each quarter, which include: gas, groceries, restaurants, etc. This card also does not have an annual fee, so it is worth keeping even after the sign up bonus for the reward categories.
- I first got this card about eight years ago and still use it consistently. I actually have two of this card now in order to further maximize the valuable 5% categories (because they cap the amount of cash back you can get for each category, so if I go over in a category during one of the quarters like groceries or gas, I switch to the other card to continue getting more cash back at 5%).
- The sign up offer: This card offers a $50 bonus after your very first purchase with the card, which means no spending requirement! Discover It is especially lucrative right now because Discover is matching (doubling) all of the cashback that you earn in the first year of being a card member, including the sign up bonus, which makes this effectively a $100 bonus with no spending requirement.
- Continued perks from keeping the card: Discover It also offers 5% rotating categories like the Chase Freedom card above. But, the doubled cashback for the first year actually makes the rotating categories worth 10% instead of just 5% during the first year, which can be very valuable depending on the categories for that quarter.
- These categories are often similar to the Chase Freedom, but occasionally will be different, meaning that it is possible to be earning 5% in one category from Chase Freedom while earning 10% in another category with Discover It if you have both cards (which is what Whitney and I do).
- The sign up offer: This card offers $150 cashback after $1000 in purchases in the first 90 days. This is a little higher spending requirement, but still reasonable for almost anyone to meet in 90 days.
- Continued perks from keeping the card: In addition, this card has no annual fee, so it is a good one to keep for the long haul. Another big benefit of this card is 3% cashback at grocery stores and 2% cashback at gas stations all year long (no rotating categories here)!
Take Home Points
You can’t go wrong getting started with one, two, or all three of these cards. I personally have two of the Chase Freedom cards, two of the Discover It cards, and one of the AMEX Blue Cash cards. I keep them all because they don’t have an annual fee, so there is no point in me closing the cards. I take advantage of the categories for more cashback when I’m not meeting the spending requirement for a sign up bonus on a different card.
These cards are a great intro to credit card rewards while not requiring a perfect credit score or having to spend a lot of money to get the bonuses. Another great things about all of these is that they are good cards to keep for the long term since they are valuable even after the initial bonuses.
Do you agree with my recommendations? Do you have any of these cards yourself?
*Please note: The above links for each credit card are my personal referral links. If you have gained value out of my blog and this article, please consider using my referral links. I will receive a bonus for the referral, and you will still get the same great offer and benefits you would get by going through the site directly!
4 thoughts on “The Three Best Cards to Get Started with Credit Card Rewards”
Thanks for the breakdown–just signed up for the Chase Freedom through your link!
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I appreciate it, Mathew! It’s a very good card to have!