If you have a family, the costs can add up fast. While you’re busy paying for school supplies, clothes, doctor visits, sports, activities, insurance, and feeding everyone, you might as well earn cash back or travel rewards along the way. Choosing any of these top five cards should put you in the best position to maximize your rewards.
Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent overall credit card for people who enjoy travel and want to get extra rewards on restaurant and travel purchases. This card offers 2x points per dollar restaurant and travel transactions and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. The card charges a $95 annual fee.
Points are worth 1.25 cents each toward travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. You can also transfer points to partners like United, Southwest, and Marriott to book awards directly. If you put all possible purchases on this card, you’ll be on the way to grandma’s for free in no time! It comes with a list of valuable purchase and travel protections.
Points add up fast with this card, though you can earn even faster with the higher-tier Chase Sapphire Reserve. While that card offers 3x points in the two bonus categories and comes with a heap of valuable benefits, it charges a bigger $450 annual fee. You can pair this card with either of the Chase Freedom cards to earn rewards even faster with no additional annual fee.
American Express Gold was refreshed at the end of 2018, and the new benefits and rewards make it perfect for a busy family that regularly dines out, or likes to eat in general. This card gives you 4x points per dollar at restaurants in the US. Earn 4x points per dollar at US grocery stores as well, though the 4x on groceries is limited to $25,000 in annual purchases.
In addition to reward points on food, the Gold card gives you 3x points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or at Amex Travel. Get $100 back per year in statement credits for airline incidentals like baggage fees or in-flight meals. You can get $10 back per month from Grubhub, Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and some Shake Shack locations.
The card does charge a $250 annual fee, but when you add up the statement credits and reward points, you can easily get that back and more from this excellent credit card. It is loaded with useful benefits and protections when shopping or traveling. It also supports contactless checkout, which is really convenient at participating retailers. Click here for rates & fees for the American Express® Gold Card.
If you prefer cash back to travel rewards, stop here. Citi’s popular Double Cash credit card gives you 1% cash back on every purchase and an additional 1% when you pay your bill. That’s like earning 2% cash back on every purchase. There is no limit to what you can earn and there are no complicated bonus categories to worry about.
As with all rewards credit cards, you should only use this card for regular purchases if you can afford to pay off the balance in full every month by the statement due date. If you do, you won’t pay interest and can enjoy the card with a net profit to you! There is no annual fee.
While the card doesn’t offer strong benefits compared to the two above, it also comes with no annual fee. If you want simple cash back on every purchase for your family, this card is an excellent choice.
If your kids are college-bound, it’s never too early to start saving and planning. The cost of a college education has skyrocketed over the last decade, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The Upromise Mastercard from Barclays gives you cash back in a Upromise college savings account.
You’ll earn 1.25% cash back on standard purchases with this card. The Round Up feature lets you round up purchases to the nearest dollar for even faster savings, and the Round Up also gets a 1.25% cash back boost. If you link your Upromise account to an eligible 529 College Savings Plan, you’ll get a 15% bonus on all cash back, including Upromse Round Up.
This card charges no annual fee, includes a complimentary ShopRunner membership for free 2-day shipping at a wide number of online stores, and gives you free access to a true FICO credit score. While it doesn’t offer the best standard rewards rate, the Round Up and 15% bonus make it a serious contender for families looking to save for college with every purchase.
The Savor Cash Rewards credit card from Capital One fills your wallet with 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases. Get 2% back at grocery stores and 1% everywhere else. If you want the best cash back rewards for an active family, this card may be the best option for your needs.
The card charges a $95 annual fee, though it is waived the first year. A lower tier SavorOne card is available with no annual fee, though the rewards are not as good as you get with the top tier Savor card. For the rest of 2019, the card includes a statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited Membership as an added benefit.
Feeding your family is important, and bills for groceries and restaurants always seem to stack up faster than you’d like. With this card, you get a top reward rate on those popular categories. The 4% back on entertainment includes things like movie, concert, or sporting event tickets, theme parks and attractions, zoos, aquariums, and bowling allies, among others. If your kids like to be entertained, you might as well get 4% back at the same time!
Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel, and technology writer in Ventura, California. He is a former bank manager and corporate finance and accounting professional who left his day job in 2016 to take his online side hustle full-time. He has in-depth experience writing about banking, credit cards, investing, and other financial topics. You can connect with him at Personal Profitability or EricRosenberg.com.