My husband and I have had a ton of credit cards over the years, mostly due to the fact we have pursued a lot of signup bonuses. We’ve also canceled many of our cards over the years, although there are ones we keep for the long haul. By and large, however, the bulk of our credit cards are travel credit cards and not basic rewards cards.
For the most part, I prefer to earn travel rewards over cash-back. Not only do I tend to get more value out of rewards specific to travel, but I know for a fact I get more bang for my buck when I’m able to transfer points to airline partners.
Still, some of the credit cards I’ve had the longest aren’t travel credit cards at all. Here are my favorite non-travel credit cards:
The Chase Freedom card is one of the first rewards credit cards I applied for, and I’ve kept it due to its lucrative rewards categories and the fact there’s no annual fee. Not only do you get a $150 cash bonus when you sign up for this card and spend $500 within three months of account opening, but you earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter and 1% back on all other purchases.
While the Chase Freedom is okay as a standalone card, I love using it in conjunction with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. That’s because Chase lets you combine all your points in one account for optimal travel redemptions. In my case, I move all our family points from our Chase personal and business credit cards into my Chase Sapphire Reserve account so I can get 50% more travel for free when I book through the portal. This also gives me the option to make 1:1 transfers to airlines and hotels.
Blue Cash Preferred From American Express
I’ve also had the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express for a quite a while, which is easy to justify despite its $95 annual fee. This card gives you 6% back on up to $6,000 in grocery spending each year along with all purchases made with U.S. streaming services. You also get 3% back at gas stations and on transit, including Uber and Lyft rides, and 1% back on all other purchases.
I like this card because it offers lucrative cash back anyone can benefit from. After all, maxing out the 6% grocery spending category gives you $360 in cash back every year, which is considerably more than the annual fee.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a new credit card, don’t forget to consider credit cards that aren’t necessarily travel cards. Some might let you pool points with other cards you have for better redemptions. Others might only let you redeem for cash back, but it’s easy to use cash-back for travel since you can use it to cover incidentals, meals, excursions, and more.
Which are your favorite credit cards outside the travel niche? Why?
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