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Money’s Best Cashback Reward Credit Cards

Money magazine recently did a recap of the best reward credit cards out there and they were surprisingly on the money with a lot of their picks. Personally, I roll with the Discover Open Road card for gas purchases and the Citi mtvU [3] card for food, and then my American Express True Earnings card for practically everything else.

For Big Spenders

Blue Cash from American Express [4] – The only knock against the Blue Cash is the tiered rewards system, something a lot of other cards have abandoned, but when you exceed the $6500 a year level, you can get 5% cash back on the coveted everyday purchase category of supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations and 1.5% everywhere else with no annual rebate cap. With how few 5% cash back cards there are for that category, if you are willing to use this card for a lot of things to get to that $6500 level, the 5% will reap rewards that very few other cards can meet.

Balance Carriers

Discover┬« More – If you are carrying a balance, I wouldn’t recommend the Discover┬« More card even though it offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for a full 18 months (then the Regular APR) because they now carry a fee, I’d instead go with any other Citi card because they don’t have a transfer fee. There are plenty of no fee or zero fee balance transfers out there that can get you the same offer and I’ve compiled a list of 0% balance transfer credit cards [5] here. The card itself is useful for its cash back potential because the Discover┬« More’s reward program rotates quarterly on where you can get the 5% Cashback Bonus.

Heavy Drivers

Citi Driver’s Edge Platinum Select MasterCard, Discover Open Road [6] – The really cool thing about the Citi Driver’s Edge Platinum Select is that for every hundred miles you drive, you basically get $1 in cash back. Another huge plus is 6% cash back on everyday purchases (gas stations, supermarkets and drugstores) but unfortunately that lasts only 12 months, then it falls to 3%, and is capped at $1,000 a year (which is higher than most caps). I think the whole free money for driving aspect is clever and if you consider the average annual mileage of 12k – 15k, that $120 – $150 isn’t chump change.

Money also recommended the Discover Open Road card, it used to be their Gas card, but the only advantage it has over the Driver’s Edge is the 5% cashback that lasts “forever,” instead of for only 12 months. The Open Road card doesn’t come with the especially lucrative cash back for driving bonus so I think it has to take a back seat to the Driver’s Edge.

Heavy Flyers

Discover Open Road, Capital One No Hassle Miles Rewards – I’m always ambivalent to cards that offer miles because I live so close to a Southwest hub and am able to get really good prices on flights to almost anywhere I want to go, so I’m a little inexperienced with what programs are good and what programs are not so I’ll just defer to Money’s judgment.

Source: CNN Money [7]