It can be exciting to earn benefits from a credit card. It isn't always easy to choose the best card for your wallet.

There are a lot of things to consider before you apply. You should consider your spending habits, the types of rewards you value the most, and the kind of credit card you are likely to qualify for.

Everything you need to know about credit cards.

If you use the right card, you can maximize your rewards. It's possible to try it with the free app.

Check your credit report

To find the right credit card, you need to check your credit report from any of the three companies. Whether you get approved or not depends on the condition of your credit. You can check your credit reports for free once a year at Annual


Go through each report in its entirety. You should get a sense of your credit's shape. Errors should be reported and checked. Credit errors can affect your credit scores in a negative way. Errors can be disputed with the credit bureaus. sample dispute letters may help

Even if the scores you find online are different from the ones your lender sees, you can still check your credit scores. There are different credit score requirements for different cards. If your credit score is in the fair range, it's probably not a good idea to apply for a premium rewards card that requires good credit to qualify.

There are six things you can do to improve your credit score.

Understand your spending habits

You should take a look at your spending habits. Are you spending a lot of money on groceries to feed a family? Do you eat out frequently?

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If you have the right credit card strategy, you can boost your earning potential. Extra rewards are offered when you spend on certain categories.

  • Travel
  • Dining
  • Groceries
  • Gas
  • Entertainment

You can earn more points, miles, or cash back when you use a credit card that has higher rewards for purchases you make frequently.


Imagine you spend an average of $1,000 per month on eating out. If you use a 2% cash back card like the Citi Double Cash Card, you could earn up to $20 per month.

Assume you put the same amount of money on the Chase Reserve. You would earn 3 points per dollar spent for a total of 3000 Ultimate rewards points. The 36,000 Ultimate rewards points could be worth up to $720 in rewards, which is a lot more bang for your buck.

These are the best credit cards to use.

Research the different card types out there

You can start looking through credit card offers once you know your credit score. You should try to figure out which features are most appealing and how you will redeem your points.

If you know which airline you want to use, you may want to get a co branded airline card or a card that provides flexibility in transfer partners, like the Chase Preferred Card.

Common types of credit cards are listed.

Cobranded airline and hotel credit cards

People who are loyal to a program but not elite can use co branded airline and hotel credit cards. Benefits on these cards can make your travel more comfortable.

If you have an airline card, you can get free checked bags, discounts on inflight purchases, and even advancement to elite status. On the other hand, hotel credit cards have perks like room upgrades, free breakfast and bonus points on paid stays.

Bank rewards cards

The flexibility of bank rewards cards is what makes them special. There are generous bonuses on these cards.

Cash back or transfer points can be used to redeem points, making them extremely versatile. Valuable perks like airport lounge access and annual travel credits can be obtained with a premium bank rewards card.

The American Express gold card is one of our favorite rewards cards.

Cash-back credit cards

People who prefer to keep things simple with their credit card rewards may be a good fit for a cash back credit card. You don't have to worry about a card issuervaluing your rewards because there are no rewards programs to track. Cash rewards allow you to spend your earnings on whatever you want.


If you want to maximize everyday spending, you can use a cash back card like the Blue Cash Preferred Card.

If you want to earn cash-back rewards that also have the potential for high- value redemptions, the Citi Double Cash Card is a great option. It comes with a $200 cash-back sign-up bonus after spending less than $2,500 in the first six months of account opening.

No-annual-fee credit cards

People who want to minimize their out-of-pocket expenses when earning rewards can use a no-annual-fee credit card.

The Chase Freedom Flex has no annual fee. You can maximize your earnings by using the 5% cash back categories. 5% cash back can be earned in rotating categories on the first $1,500 in purchases you make. You can transfer your Chase points to your travel partners if you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

How to maximize your rewards.

Learn basic credit card terms

It is important to understand the basic credit card terms when shopping for a new card. You will be able to compare offers from different card issuers if you know these terms.

  • APR: This stands for annual percentage rate — the interest a card issuer charges you stated as a yearly rate. A card’s APR may be less important than you think if you don’t carry an outstanding balance. With most credit cards, you won’t owe any interest if you pay your full statement balance by the due date.
  • Fees: Credit card fees are additional costs that may be associated with certain credit cards. Common fees to watch out for are annual fees, late payment fees, balance transfer fees and foreign transaction fees — to name a few. A credit card fee isn’t necessarily a deal killer, but you should understand what you’re agreeing to before applying for a new account.
  • Minimum payments: A minimum payment is the lowest amount of money you can pay to your card issuer each month. If you don’t pay the minimum payment, you may incur late fees and could damage your credit rating.
  • Perks: Aside from rewards, some credit cards offer other perks that can be extremely valuable. Airline fee credits, TSA PreCheck and Global Entry credits, airport lounge access and rental car coverage are just a few examples. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
  • Rewards: Credit card rewards are usually tied to how much you spend on the account. Rewards may come in the form of points, miles, or cash back you can earn and redeem.
  • Welcome bonus: A credit card welcome or sign-up bonus is an offer some card issuers make to attract new clients. Typically, you must spend a minimum spend requirement to qualify within a few months of opening your new account. For example, that might look like “spend $2,000 or more in the first three months of account opening”. If you meet the spending requirement, you’ll receive a certain number of points, miles or cash back in return.

There is a guide to credit cards.

Review credit application requirements

Good credit is important if you want to get a new credit card. Suppose you want to get a credit card. You should be aware of the other factors card issuers consider, like household income and debt.

Chase has stricter application rules than some other major card issuers. JON HICKS/GETTY IMAGES

Review credit card application restrictions from different card issuers to see if they hold you back. American Express limits welcome offers to once per lifetime, while Chase won't approve you for a new card if you've applied for five or more cards in the last 24 months

Before applying for a Chase card, you need to keep track of your credit inquires and apply for the highest Amex card bonus possible.

Do you want to open a new card? How to calculate your standing.

Bottom line

It's up to you to make a decision based on your needs. If you want to meet your travel goals, you should look for a card that gives you the most rewards in your spending categories.

It is important to know your credit score and any card issuer limitations that could affect your ability to get approved or earn a welcome bonus before applying for a credit card. It has the potential to be a great tool that can help you build credit while earning attractive rewards.

The additional reporting was done by Emily Thompson and others.