Club Carlson℠ Rewards Visa® Card
- 30,000 Gold Points® sign-up bonus.
- 24,000 Gold Points® for everyday spend.
The easiest way to get the most value out of the rewards you earn with your credit card is to avoid paying fees and interest. With the plethora of rewards credit cards on the market that do not charge an annual fee, there are more options than ever. However, avoiding interest will be up to you. All credit cards have a grace period of 21 days after a statement is issued to pay your bill. Pay within that timeframe to avoid interest and maximize your rewards. To find the best no annual fee credit card, be sure to consider reward rates and bonuses in conjunction with your spending habits.
To pay or not to pay? That is the question. Although paying an annual fee can get you increased benefits and rewards, no annual fee cards should not be underestimated when it comes to rewards and perks. There is no better way to maximize the value of your rewards than to keep your out-of-pocket costs down. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a no-fee credit card. However, to get the best no annual fee rewards cards you will need good or excellent credit. Even if your credit is good, no-fee cards can be an asset to your credit health.
The Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard is a solid option for someone who’s not too invested in travel rewards and is looking for a no-fuss cashback credit card. You’ll earn $200 just for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days and continue to earn 1.5 points on all purchases, no matter the purchase category or time of year.
This is also a good option for those who cannot qualify for a Chase card because they’ve opened five or more credit cards in the last 24 months. If you fall into that camp, the competitive Chase Freedom Unlimited card is out of reach.
Up to 5% cash back offer
Discover it is a solid credit card that should be in just about everybody’s wallet. The card offers a great five percent return on categories that rotate quarterly, and one percent back on all other purchases. The first year as a cardholder can be really good for your bank account because all the rewards you earn will be doubled by Discover, with no limit!
In addition to being a great everyday earner, the Discover it card doesn’t have an annual fee and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees if you want to use the card abroad. Redeeming cash back is super simple with no minimum redemption amount and no restrictions about what you can use the cash back for.
Unlimited 1.5X rewards on every purchase offer
The Discover it Miles card is wonderful for two types of people. The first, and most obvious, is for someone looking for a single credit card that’s easy to use and that can do it all. The Discover it Miles card is a great option because it earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and redemptions areone cent per mile toward any purchase. Plus thereare a couple of other nice benefits, like $30 in annual Wi-Fi credits and no foreign transaction fees. As a no-fee card, all of that is essentially free.
The second type of person that the Discover it Miles card is a great option for is someone who is looking to truly maximize rewards. The Discover it is basically a no-brainer for the first year because all miles are doubled , meaning that it effectively earns 3 miles per dollar spent (1.5 when you purchase and 1.5 at the end of the year). After the first year it deserves a spot in the wallet of someone who wants to maximize rewards for purchases not included in the bonus earning categories of their other rewards credit cards.
If you’re looking for a no-fee rewards card that offers a solid sign-up bonus and hassle-free redemptions, than the the VentureOne card from Capital One is a great option. You’ll get 20,000 miles worth $200 for spending just $1,000 in 90 days, plus you’ll earn a generous 1.25 miles per dollar for every purchase.
Getting the card is a risk-free proposition because it won’t cost you a penny. Whatever miles you earn with the card are pure profit because there aren’t any fees. You can even use the card while traveling internationally, since there are no foreign transaction fees either.
Capital One’s Quicksilver card is a great card for earning cash back. If you want to simplify your wallet and you value cash more than miles and points, this is the card for you. Since you can earn 1.5 percent back on every single purchase you make and never pay an annual fee, you can earn some serious cash on everyday purchases, big ticket items, all types of travel or whatever else you choose.
Again, since this card has no annual fee, there’s little downside to the Quicksilver credit card. Yet, it still comes with the elevated MasterCard World Elite protections. As far as travel cards go, this is not a premium card that helps earn status, free checked bags or lounge access, but if you’re an occasional traveler or prefer to fly economy, this card is still a good bet. The cashback you earn can be used toward travel or any other purchase you make. Flexibility makes this a great card.
If you’re looking for a credit card that has no annual fee and earns bonus points in multiple categories, then the Citi ThankYou Preferred card is a good option. It’s also a great card for someone who wants to start earning rewards but is intimidated by complicated redemption options and point transfers.
Applying for this card costs nothing and you won’t pay a dime to keep it year after year. There’s absolutely no risk for the cardholder. Earning points means rewards at no cost.
The Citi Double Cash mostly makes sense under two circumstances. The first is for someone who is seeking simplicity. Since the Double Cash card doesn’t have rotating or any other type of bonus categories to worry about, all you have to do is swipe, pay off your card and reap the benefits!
The second type of person that the Double Cash makes sense for is someone who has a few other rewards cards that cover popular purchase categories, like groceries, gas and travel, but they’re looking for a card for other purchases that otherwise would not earn a bonus. The Double Cash is a great option for that!
The primary benefit of the Citi Diamond Preferred card is the 21-month introductory 0% APR. This benefit is very useful for people trying to get out of debt or for people anticipating a large purchase which they would like to pay off over time without incurring interest charges.
If you are currently paying a high interest rate on another credit card and have a considerable balance, transferring that balance to the Citi Diamond Preferred card could result in significant savings. If you are in debt, interest payments and late fees can make paying off your credit card balance seem difficult because these fees offset any potential reduction in the principal. However, making a balance transfer to a credit card with a 0% intro APR can be a successful strategy for reducing your debt.
Since the Citi Diamond Preferred card has a 21-month 0% APR period, you can essentially take your current balance and divide by 21 to determine how much you will have to pay each month in order to pay the debt off completely before interest charges begin.
Compare all credit cards by RE® Value, which is an estimate of how much you will earn during first year of credit card use minus annual fees.
Each facet of your credit habits will help determine your credit score. Although paying your bills on time is a major factor that usually accounts for about 35 percent your score, there are other factors that you may not have considered. For instance, how many accounts you have and how long you’ve had them can make up as much as 25 percent of your overall score. To keep your credit healthy and your score on the rise, consider the benefits of no annual fee credit cards that you may not have thought of before.
No annual fee cards are imperative to establish yourself in the credit arena. First, get familiar with your spending habits. Credit cards can be a great tool to help track your spending and see where your money is going. This can help you create a budget and prevent you from carrying a balance. If you know you might need to carry a balance, aim for a no annual fee credit card with a promotional 0% interest rate or an ongoing low apr.
Keeping balances low is especially important if you have not been given a high spending limit. You never want use more than 30 percent of your credit on any card as it will negatively impact credit utilization, which is worth about a third of your credit score. When starting out in the world of credit you will probably find yourself being granted small credit limits. You may get cards with limits as low as $500. In which case, just carrying a balance of $250 can put you at 50 percent credit utilization. Having several no annual fee credit cards can keep your out-of-pocket costs down while extending your overall amount of credit. This will prevent small balances from having a big impact.
Your credit mix is about 10 percent of your credit score. If you are trying to build your revolving accounts you should have several no fee credit cards for a solid foundation. You should have at least 11 accounts, but more than 21 is optimal. However, never apply for too many cards in a short time span. This may make you seem desperate for credit which looks risky to a bank. Also, too many hard inquiries can drop your credit score.
If you have 22 or more long term revolving accounts, opening or closing some additional accounts won’t have as much of an impact if you have an established credit history then if you are just starting out. These don’t have to all be credit cards. Having several different lenders on your credit report makes you seem like less of a risk.
Maintaining accounts is as important as opening them. More accounts equals more credit which is better for your debt to credit ratio, especially if you need to carry a balance. If this number goes over 30 percent it can have an unfavorable effect on your credit score.
For example, if you have 3 cards with a $5,000 limit each, for a total of $15,000, and you have an outstanding balance of $5,000 between the three accounts, you would be at 30 percent debt to credit. But if you closed one of those accounts, the debt would go up to 50 percent of your usable credit, which would have a negative impact on your credit score. Debt to credit ratio is responsible for 30 percent of your score.
Keep accounts open to lengthen your credit history. No annual fee credit cards are ideal for this as keeping them doesn’t cost anything if there is no balance. Credit age accounts for 15 perecent of your credit score. Your credit age should be at least seven years, but more than nine years will help optimize your credit score. This is done as an average, so when you open new accounts it factors in and effectively takes time away from older accounts.
For instance, if you have a card for 5 years, getting a second card will drop the age of your credit history to 2.5 years. Therefore, it is good to have several revolving accounts on your credit history for a significant period of time before you consider opening and closing new accounts.
Closing accounts can also shorten your credit age. Be aware that some credit bureaus will remove dormant accounts after a period of time. To prevent creditors from closing an old card account, use it to make a small purchase and pay it off. This way the account doesn’t look unused.
There can be some clear benefits to getting a card that has an annual fee. For the most part, the higher the annual fee, the better the perks and benefits the card will come with. If you are considering paying an annual fee for a credit card, consider the shape of your overall credit first. Although the perks and benefits usually outweigh the cost, you should be sure to have your credit basics down before you begin to play the advanced game.
Getting a good sign-up bonus can be one of the biggest draws for credit card seekers. Some are attracted by the numbers, and others are attracted by the potential value. Some bonuses can be large enough for an entire vacation if you know how to use your points and miles to maximize their value.
When considering a bonus, one of the biggest factors is how much you must spend to get it and in what amount of time. For the most part, the larger the bonus the more you will have to spend to get it. Although there are cards that will reward you just for making your first purchase, in most cases you’ll have to spend from $500 to $2,000 in three months. Sometimes, for a small requirement like $500, they may want you to complete that spending in the first thirty days.
Some of the most valuable perks that can make an annual fee worth the cost are the travel benefits. To avid travelers, many of these perks are priceless. Things like preferential treatment, which can prevent you from getting bumped off an overbooked flight or land you in first class even though you only purchased a coach ticket, are invaluable if you travel often.
You may be wondering why you would continue to pay an annual fee after you already got the sign-up bonus. Well, many of these cards have benefits and bonuses that are awarded annually, like the companion fare that comes with the Alaska Airlines cards. Another example is the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card. While it has an annual fee of $49, you earn a free night at any IHG property every time you renew the card. That can easily be worth several hundred dollars.
Many of the best travel rewards credit cards help you to raise your rank within a certain loyalty program. Many of these loyalty programs have different status levels based on a tier system, and you guessed it, the higher your status the better the perks and rewards. This is mostly relevant for co-branded airline and hotel cards. Other travel benefits that make it worth paying an annual fee include free checked bags, lounge access and other types of preferential treatment, like TSA PreCheck.
Cards that charge an annual fee can easily outshine no annual fee cards when it comes to the reward rate, which is the amount of points or miles you will earn for the money that you spend. Paying an annual fee on a certain card can even make the rewards you earn on others more valuable.
For instance, if you pay the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can transfer rewards earned on other Chase cards to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. The value of a point also increases from 1 to 1.25 cents with the Preferred card if you redeem through the UR travel center. If you have a lot of points to redeem, this can easily significantly up the total value. The Ultimate Rewards site works with many partners, including airlines, hotels and car rental companies, which may be running promotions that can also add to the value of your rewards.
If you frequent a certain airline or hotel and are looking to get something out of it, carrying their card may help you reach your targeted goals. If the rewards from this card help you meet a targeted goal, such as earning free nights or saving money on baggage fees, paying an annual fee is a no brainer. Not only can you get better rewards on cards with annual fees, but better perks too.
In some cases an annual fee may be worth it for increased protection. Some cards offer increased protection in the forms of insurance, purchase protection or coverage for incidentals like trip cancellation. If you know these increased benefits can save you money or, more importantly, save you from a major headache, the annual fee can be a drop in the bucket.