2012 will be an interesting year. It’s impossible to predict specifically what will happen within the credit card industry, but you can be sure the issuers will continue to compete aggressively for new business and offer the best deals to customers with the best credit. If trends continue, here are the offers I expect to be the best credit cards of 2012.
Category: Cash Back
For everyday use, nothing beats the Blue Cash EverydaySM Card from American Express for earning cash back. The main attraction is that you can earn 3% at supermarkets, 2% at gas station and department stores for the whole year round and you can earn unlimited cash back. With gas and food prices rising, this card will help you get some cash back from these purchases.
The Chase Freedom® Visa - $200 Bonus Cash Back is a card that I have and what I like about this card is that it provides me with other means to earn cash rebates that are different from the Blue Cash. For example, you can earn 5% rebates each quarter of the year in various expense categories (see our review for full details). Further, there is an online shopping portal with over 400 online merchants that gives you extra cash rebates as well. While most cash back cards allow you to earn just cash rebates, you can instead use your cash rebates and exchange them to merchandise, gift cards and other travel rewards.
The Discover More Card is in our opinion the best credit card for online shopping and redeeming rewards for gift cards. It is very similar to the Chase Freedom in that it has a rotating category that pays 5% percent rebates on spending categories each quarter. Their online shopping portal gives you a minimum of 5% rebates when you shop with their merchants (which is a higher baseline than Chase). You can also get more value for your cash rebates if you exchange them for gift cards instead. For certain merchants, you can get up to double the value!
Category: Frequent Flier
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card is one of the most popular credit cards among the really frequent fliers and travelers. This is because it has probably the best hotel reward program, and the main attraction is that you can use their points for air miles in a couple of ways. Firstly, you can transfer points you earn to airline partners. Furthermore, you get a 5,000 airmiles bonus if you transfer 20,000 points into miles. Effectively, you only need 20,000 points or miles to get a free domestic flight (since most require 25,000 miles!). Or you could also book your airline tickets through Starwood (the program is called StarFlights). Starflight allows you to use a certain amount of points for tickets up to a certain value and I must say many will find this system attractive as most credit card reward programs have gotten away from this. Many American Express Centurion and Platinum cardholders also carry this card.
The Premier Rewards Gold Card is one of the rare cards that actually lets you earn triple points on airfares. In this aspect, it is even better than the Platinum or Centurion Card. Furthermore, you get to earn double points for gasoline and grocery spending which is great because no frequent flier cards allow you to earn double miles on these types of expenses except for their own airline ticket.
Category: Balance Transfer, 0% APR and Low Rates
Getting a card with a 0% APR introductory offer cannot exactly be for the reason of "everyday use". But nevertheless, the long introductory period means you will be keeping these cards for a while.
Right now, the Slate® from Chase has the best 0% balance transfer deal right now. They are offering a 0% APR for both balance transfer and purchases for 15 months with no balance transfer fee if transferred within within 30 days. This is the longest deal with no BT fee in the market today and will enable those looking to cut their credit card debt via saving on interest a means of doing so.
The Citi® Platinum Select® Visa® offers 0% Intro APR deal on balance transfers for 18 months and and 0% Intro APR* on purchases for 18 months. 18 Months is the longest introductory period in the market today and if you are looking to quickly pay off your credit card debt, this card will give you breathing room on your interest payment with the offer.
Category: College Students
The Discover® Student More Card is best card for college student because you can earn great cash rebates with this card. This card is exactly like the Discover More Card. You can earn 5% rebates for spending categories that changes every three months. They also have a great shopping portal where you can earn 5% to 20% rebates when you shop