Which Credit Card is Best for You?

Is your wallet on autopilot?

Maybe you’ve had the same credit cards for years and haven’t read the fine print or comparison shopped in a while. If that’s the case, Amber Stubbs, senior managing editor at CardRatings.com, says you could be missing out on serious perks like 100,000 airline miles or 6 percent cash back on groceries.

“People should look around and see what is out there because right now companies are really targeting people with higher income and high credit scores,” Stubbs says.

Let your lifestyle guide which cards you choose. If you’ve got kids, you might want a card that gives cash back on groceries and gasoline. Stubbs recommends the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, which she says gives 6 percent back on groceries, 3 percent on gasoline and 1 percent on other purchases.

If you’re an empty-nester who travels frequently, a card that offers airline miles or hotels points might suit you. Stubbs says one of the best deals right now is the British Airways Visa Signature card. You get 50,000 miles after your first purchase and another 50,000 after you spend $20,000.

Her tip for staying on top of reward deals: make “friends” with your credit card company. Stubbs says if you “like” American Express or Visa on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, you may be among the first to hear about new offers.

Anisha Sekar, vice president of credit and debit products at NerdWallet.com, recommends carrying three cards:

  • One with high rewards on all purchases
  • One with bonus rewards in categories where you spend most
  • One with an EMVchip and no foreign transaction fees for international travel

Jet-setters may want to consider so-called “prestige cards” like American Express Platinum. Sekar says hefty annual fees ($450 and up) might be worth it if you use perks like access to airport lounges, credits toward travel incidentals and even the privilege of skipping customs lines.

One caveat to opening new cards: Sekar says stay-at-home parents who don’t have their own income may no longer qualify because of provisions in the Credit Card Act of 2009.

If you sign up for the right cards, you could rack up enough rewards to take a free vacation. Libertyville native Parag Raja couldn’t afford to travel after college, so he made it his business to figure out how to take trips using rewards. He shares his expertise on his blog, Frequent Flyer University.

Want to reap the rewards without the legwork? Enroll in Raja’s concierge service. For $60, he’ll help you sign up for and manage all the right cards to score a vacation on points and miles.

Which card is your top pick for perks?