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There are a lot of benefits to having multiple credit cards. But as you determine which cards to add to your wallet, it's important to consider different types of credit cards, so you can take advantage of varying rewards rates, bonuses and benefits.
Here are four types of credit cards to consider getting, so you can get as much value from your everyday spending as possible.
Cash-Back Credit Card
Cash-back credit cards offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to redeeming your rewards. If you don't want to restrict yourself completely to travel rewards or general credit card points, cash back is a great way to go.
Also, many cash-back credit cards offer introductory 0% APR promotions, so if you've got a big purchase coming up or you're looking to pay down a high-interest balance, the right card can give you that intro 0% APR benefit along with some excellent cash-back rewards.
Finally, for the most part, the best cash-back cards don't charge annual fees, so you can hold onto them for years without ever needing to justify their yearly cost. While there are some exceptions, such as the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you'll usually get enough value from the card to make up for that annual fee.
To pick the right cash-back credit card, think about your spending habits and also your preferences for rewards. Some cards offer excellent bonus rewards rates on select everyday spending categories, while others offer a single high rewards rate on everything. Compare top cash-back credit cards to determine the right one for you.
Best Cash Back Credit CardsVisit the Marketplace
Hotel Credit Card
Hotel credit cards provide special benefits that you can't get with most other types of travel credit cards. For starters, you'll typically get elite status without needing to book several stays with that particular hotel brand. Depending on the card and hotel rewards program, status benefits can include free room upgrades, late checkout, welcome amenities, free breakfast and more.
You can also earn rewards that you can use directly to book hotel accommodations every time you travel, and most of these cards come with large welcome bonuses when you first sign up and meet the spending requirement.
But what makes hotel cards so valuable is that many of them offer a free anniversary night's stay every year when you redeem your card membership and pay the annual fee. In most cases, the value of the free night far outweighs the cost of the annual fee. So even if you don't travel often, the free night benefit is enough to justify paying the card's annual fee every year.
As you search for the right card, consider going with a hotel brand that you enjoy staying with. Alternatively, you could open multiple hotel credit cards and take advantage of free nights at more than one brand's properties.
Airline Credit Card
Like hotel credit cards, airline credit cards can offer some unique benefits, but for a specific airline instead of a hotel brand. Common airline credit card perks include priority boarding, discounts on certain in-flight purchases and free checked bags.
The free checked bag benefit alone can make an airline card worth it, especially if you regularly travel with a partner or a whole family. In many cases, you'll get a free checked bag for you and multiple others on your itinerary.
Airline cards also offer you the chance to rack up points and miles fast, which you can use to earn award flights more quickly. However, most airline credit cards don't have standout rewards programs, so it's generally best to use them for their airline-specific benefits.
As you try to decide which airline card is best for you, take a look at your local airports and figure out which airlines use them as a hub. You can generally find more flights and better deals on an airline if you live near one of its hub airports.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Secure application on issuer’s website
- Our Rating 4.0/5 How our ratings work
- APR21.49% - 28.49% (Variable)
- Annual Fee$99
Sign Up Bonus
75,000Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months Dollar Equivalent: $1,050 (75,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points * 0.014 base)
This middle-of-the-pack Southwest card is a good option for occasional travelers. In exchange for a moderate annual fee, you'll enjoy strong travel perks on top of 6,000 bonus points every anniversary. Another nice perk is this card charges no foreign transaction fees, unlike the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus.
In addition to perks like no foreign transaction fees and being able to earn A-list flight status, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card also offers a generous 6,000 bonus points every cardholder anniversary. It’s these types of benefits that help round out the value of the $99 annual fee.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card also offers two EarlyBird Check-Ins each year.
- Land A-List status faster with 1,500 TQPs for every $10,000 you spend
- All points earned count towards Companion Pass®
- 6,000 bonus points awarded every cardmember anniversary
- $99 annual fee
- Must fly Southwest often for this card to make sense
Transferable Rewards Credit Card
While hotel and airline credit cards offer special benefits that you can use with specific hotel brands and airlines, they don't offer a ton of flexibility. If you want to diversify your credit card rewards even more, consider a card with transferable rewards.
There are a handful of rewards programs like this, including Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi Thank You Rewards.
These travel credit cards tend to offer a ton of flexibility with your rewards. For example, you may be able to book travel through the card issuer's travel portal, book with other travel providers and get a statement credit or even transfer your rewards to another loyalty program.
Chase, for instance, has a list of several airline and hotel rewards programs that you can transfer your rewards to. Because many airlines and hotel brands offer dynamic pricing with their rewards programs, you could potentially get a lot more value out of your transferable points than you could with points and miles from a co-branded credit card.
To find the right transferable rewards credit card, take a look at the different programs and determine which offers the best level of flexibility for you. Also, consider each card's welcome offer, rewards rates and travel-related perks.
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Secure application on issuer’s website
- Our Rating 5/5 How our ratings work Read the review
- APR21.49% - 28.49% (Variable)
- Annual Fee$95
Sign Up Bonus
60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the gold standards for earning travel rewards. It has a generous sign-up bonus and you can earn points on travel and dining expenses. The card does have an annual fee, but you can continue earning points through bonus categories and an anniversary points boost.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is pretty flexible as it lets you transfer rewards points into miles or points several airlines and hotel programs. You can take advantage of strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt. Similarly, you can book any reservation you want through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Although the card might not be ideal for the most frequent travelers, it has a built-in upgrade path, so when it’s time to level up your travel rewards game, you won’t have to start from scratch.
- Points are easily transferable to airlines and hotel partners
- Accelerated earnings on dining, travel & household purchases
- Excellent travel and purchase protections
- No foreign transaction fees
- Not ideal for the highest spenders
- $95 annual fee
Best Credit Card BonusesVisit the Marketplace
The Bottom Line
Carrying multiple credit cards at the same time can come with a lot of benefits, especially if you have different types of cards. This strategy can allow you to take advantage of bonus rewards rates on more of your top spending categories, as well as diverse benefits that you can't necessarily get with just any credit card.
Be careful, though. The more cards you add to your wallet, the harder it is to keep them organized and to track your transactions. Make sure you have a system in place to ensure that you always pay your bills on time and in full to avoid late fees and interest charges.