If you’re in the market for a new credit card, it makes sense to look for one with great rewards. Unfortunately, not all reward cards are created equal. Before you sign up for any new card, it’s important that you read the fine print.
Here are five of the best reward cards and five of the worst:
1. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
To earn rewards, a card holder only needs to use their card; it truly is that simple. Every dollar you spend earns you two No Hassle Miles. Miles are redeemable as a statement credit against any travel expense that you choose, from plane tickets to meals at your hotel’s restaurant.
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Every dollar spent with the Chase Sapphire earns you one rewards point. If you use your card to pay for travel or dining purchases, you will earn two points for every dollar spent. You will also earn a seven percent points dividend at the year’s end.
3. Chase Freedom
With no annual fees, the Chase Freedom card is a favorite among consumers. Earned rewards rotate on a quarterly basis so card users must pay attention to which purchases will earn the most.
4. American Express Blue Cash Preferred
You don’t have to be a traveler to enjoy a rewards card. This card will earn you six percent cash back at the supermarket, three percent at major department stores and gas stations, and one percent everywhere else.
5. Citi ThankYou Card
Consumers earn one ThankYou Point for every dollar spent on purchases and bonus points for every year that the card is held. There are no caps when it comes to the amount of points that can be earned, and points can be redeemed for a variety of purchases.
1. Sears Rewards MasterCard
With a starting interest rate of over 25 percent and very few rewards benefits, the Sears MasterCard is one of the worst rewards cards available. If there is a benefit to be had with this card, it is the ability to make a large purchase with a “no interest if paid in full in 12 months” option. If you choose this option, you better make sure that your bill is paid in full or you’ll be hit with a 30 percent interest rate.
2. Kroger 1-2-3 REWARDS MasterCard
This card earns you a paltry 0.5 percent return on some, not all, purchases. When you turn in your rewards, you will receive a gift certificate that can only be used in a Kroger store.
3. Bank of America World MasterCard
While we would love to explain the benefits of this card, it’s virtually impossible without a doctorate in cryptology. The utter lack of clarity with regards to the earning of rewards and redemption of points makes this card one to avoid at all costs.
4. Discover Motiva Card
Marketed for college students, this card will earn users a quarter of a percent cash back for the first $3,000 spent in a year. Just so you don’t have to grab a calculator, this equals a measly $7.50.
5. Wal-Mart Discover
If you think that you’ll earn more rewards points by shopping at Wal-Mart with this card, think again. You’ll never earn more than one percent cash back with this store affiliated Discover card.
If you’re looking for a rewards card, make sure that you read the fine print before signing on the dotted line. While some cards offer amazing rewards for easily earned points, others bury their conditions under a mountain of legal documents, making it impossible to figure out if you will earn points, let alone how to use them.
Katie Hewatt is a financial adviser and contributing author for Gripevine, a consumer complaint website that allows consumers to submit their complaints with businesses so the appropriate business can resolve the complaint with the angry consumer. Gripevine is a great place for consumers to check out other consumers’ experiences with reward cards, such as the Sears rewards card, so consumers can make the right decision on which reward credit card to apply for.