By MyBankTracker  Tue Feb 24, 2009

Credit card rewards programs

38_ccsg_cardartDue to a dreary economy and troubled financial industry, many rewards credit cards are either scaling back on their offerings or requiring excellent credit scores for decent interest rates. However, a few good cards still exist for those with less than top-notch credit at rates far south of 20 percent. Whether you prefer merchandise, cash or miles, a credit score in the decent range is all you need to access the benefits offered by the rewards cards listed below:  
 

Merchandise, etc. 

Blue from American Express   

Blue from American Express is a rewards card that allows you to earn points on card purchases through enrollment in Blue’s free Membership Rewards Program. You earn 1 point for every $1 you spend; you can also earn double points by shopping online with well-known retailers such as Apple and Barnes & Noble. Points have no expiration date and there is no limit to how many you can earn. Points are redeemable for travel, entertainment, merchandise and gift cards.  

Eligibility Requirements:  A credit score in the 680-720 range is needed to qualify for the card, and a higher score is required for the card’s lowest interest rate. 

Introductory Rate: 0% for 6-12 months, depending on credit history. 

Annual Fee:  None. 

APR (Purchases):  Ranges from 10.24% to 17.24%, depending on credit history. 

Cash Advance APR:  21.24% 

Grace Period:  20 days (if prior balance is paid on time in full) 

Balance Transfer Fee:  2.99% of the balance transfer amount ($5 minimum/$99 maximum fee). 

Late Payment Fee: $19 for overdue balances up to $399, $38 for overdue balances of $400+. 

Over-the-Limit Fee: $35 

Minimum Finance Charge: $0.50 
 

 

Cash Back 

Blue Cash from American Express   

A cash back rewards card with a decent interest rate, Blue Cash from American Express gives you 1 percent cash back on Everyday Purchases and 0.50 percent cash back on all other purchases that equal up to $6,500 in a given year. A year-to-date purchase total above $6,500 results in 5 percent cash back on Everyday Purchases and 1.5 percent cash back on other purchases. Everyday Purchases are card purchased goods or services made at U.S. supermarkets, gas stations and drugstores (not including superstores or warehouse clubs); cash back rebates are issued annually. 

Eligibility Requirements:  Like the first Blue rewards card listed, this card also requires a credit score in the 680-720 range to qualify, and a higher score will get you the lowest interest rate. 

Introductory Rate: 0% for up to 12 months, depending on credit history. 

Annual Fee:  None. 

APR (Purchases):  Ranges from 11.24% to 17.24%, depending on credit history. 

Cash Advance APR:  21.24% 

Grace Period:  20 days (if prior balance is paid on time in full) 

Balance Transfer Fee:  3% of the balance transfer amount ($5 minimum/$99 maximum fee). 

Late Payment Fee: $19 for overdue balances up to $399 and $38 for overdue balances of $400+. 

Over-the-Limit Fee: $35 

Minimum Finance Charge: $0.50 
 
 

 

Airline Miles 

Miles by Discover 

With the Miles by Discover card, you earn 1 mileage point for every $1 you spend, with no limit to the number of points you can earn. You’ll also earn Double Miles for the first $3,000 you spend each year on restaurant and travel purchases (including plane tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages) and 12,000 Bonus Miles the first year if you make a purchase each month during the first 12 months of card ownership. Mileage points do not expire as long as your account is active; otherwise, points expire in 3 years. Mileage points are redeemable for free airfare – 30,000 mileage points is equal to one round-trip coach plane ticket. There are no blackout dates and flights can be booked through any travel agent, airline or online travel site. Miles by Discover also lets you redeem points for gift cards, cash or a travel credit that goes toward other travel purchases. 

Eligibility Requirements:  A great credit score above 720 gets you the lowest rate; otherwise, a score above 680 to qualify. 

Introductory Rate: 0% until September 2009. 

Annual Fee:  None. 

APR (Purchases):  10.99% to 18.99%, depending on credit history. 

Cash Advance APR:  23.99%, plus an additional 3% fee (minimum $5 fee). 

Grace Period:  25 days.  

Balance Transfer Fee:  3% of the balance transfer amount until June 2009. 

Late Payment Fee: A $19 fee on overdue balances up to $250; a $39 fee on overdue balances of $251 or more. 

Over-the-Limit Fee: On balances up to $500, a $15 fee is charged; on balances of $501 or more, a $39 fee is charged. 

Minimum Finance Charge: $0.50

See our full list of bank deals.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

 

Add Your 2 Cents