Here’s What I Want From My Next One

This post contains links to products from our advertisers, and we may be compensated when you click on these links. Our recommendations and advice are ours alone, and have not been reviewed by any issuers listed. Terms apply to offers listed on this page.

When it comes to credit cards, I pride myself on being loyal. I limit myself to only having one personal credit card in use at a time, which means when I pick a particular credit card, I stick with it for a very long time.

The first credit card I had (a Bank of America credit card) was my go-to card for most of my twenties. Even though the rewards weren’t great and there were better cards out there, I stuck with the credit card for far too long. 

Read more: The best credit card offers right now: Earn points, miles, or cash back

I’m feeling the same way right now about my JetBlue Card, which has been my primary card for the past five years. When I first got the card, I loved it because I was a regular JetBlue flyer and enjoyed redeeming my points for free one-way tickets every few months. But when I heard about some of the rewards my friends get from their credit cards (discounts on hotels, more points per dollar spent, and more), it made me decide that it’s officially time to break up with my credit card and get a new one.

To help choose my next credit card, I put together a list of the top five features I want a credit card to offer. 

At least 2x rewards for every purchase 

Regular APR

17.24% to 24.49% variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Featured Reward

Earn 100,000 bonus miles once you spend $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months from account opening (or 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months)

Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • No bonus categories to keep track of
    • Includes up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
    Cons
    • Other credit cards offer higher rewards in certain categories of spending
    • Annual Fee: $95
    • Welcome Bonus: 100,000 bonus miles once you spend $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months from account opening (or 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months)

    Read Our Review
    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    Since I only use one personal credit card at a time, I want to make sure that I’m getting as much back in rewards as possible for every single purchase. My current card offers 3x JetBlue points for eligible JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and eligible grocery stores, and 1x points on everything else.

    Read more: The best cash-back credit cards

    I’d like my next card to offer, at minimum, unlimited 2x rewards for every single kind of purchase, just like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card does. I buy a large mix of things and want to make sure I’m always getting 2x or 3x points per purchase, and not just for specific categories. 

    Big rewards for booking travel

    As my year progresses, I expect to plan a handful of vacations and trips. To help earn more points for those travel purchases, I’d like a card that offers a bonus on travel spending, especially when booked through the card’s travel portal.

    Read more: How to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal to book flights, hotels, rental cars and more — and get the most from your points

    My current card offers 3x the rewards when booking a JetBlue airline ticket or getaway (pre-packaged vacations). When I did research, I found offers — like The Platinum Card® from American Express
    — that caught my attention because it earns 5x points on airfare purchased directly through the airline, and on flights and hotels booked through Amex Travel. (Note: Starting January 1, 2021, the 5x points will apply up to $500,000 on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel per calendar year.)

    Annual credits 

    Regular APR

    16.99%-23.99% Variable

    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
    • Strong travel insurance
    • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify
    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

    Read Our Review
    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    My current JetBlue Card is extremely limited and simple when it comes to statement credits. It only offers credits for food and cocktail purchases inflight (50% back as a statement credit). When I was chatting with a lot of my friends who have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card, they were sharing how they get statement credits for making certain purchases.

    Read more: Cards like the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve offer annual credits for travel that can offset their high annual fees

    For example, Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders get up to $120 back in statement credits for eligible Peloton digital memberships. I’d like to get a card that offers a variety of these types of credits as a way of buying from businesses I already use and getting money back. 

    Flexible points redemptions

    One of my biggest headaches with my current card is the lack of redemption options for my points. I can redeem the points for flights and vacation packages, but there aren’t any options to redeem points for purchases.

    Read more: The 5 best credit card rewards programs for socially distant travel in 2021

    For example, some loyalty programs let you redeem points for Amazon purchases, and others for travel excursions — like how the Chase Sapphire Reserve® lets you redeem points for activities when you book through the Chase portal.

    No annual fee

    Regular APR

    11.99% – 22.99% Variable

    Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases

    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Unlimited 1.5x miles on all purchases
    • Discover matches all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year
    Cons
    • Limited benefits compared to other travel rewards cards
    • Unlimited Bonus: Only Discover will automatically match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
    • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase – with no annual fee.
    • Redeem Miles to pay any part of your monthly bill, including your minimum payment.
    • Turn Miles into cash in any amount, any time. Or redeem as a statement credit for travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more with no blackout dates. However you redeem, Miles keep the same value. And Miles never expire.
    • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
    • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
    • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
    • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
    • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
    • Click “APPLY NOW” to see rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.

    Read Our Review
    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    While this last guideline might be harder to meet (there are credit cards with no annual fee, like the Discover it® Miles, but the card doesn’t come with the benefits I’m looking for), it’s definitely something I plan to keep an eye out for.

    Some credit cards will even offer promotions where they waive the annual fee for the first year — which is a good way to tempt me to apply for the card and decide if the benefits are worth it — or offer you an option after the first year to downgrade to a lower-tiered card with no annual fee (and different benefits) instead. I’d be open to signing up for a card that offered either of those choices after the first anniversary.

    Read more: Annual fees aren’t always worth it, but with these 5 cards the benefits are worth more than what you’ll pay each year

    While no one card can meet all of these benefits that I’d like, it felt important to me that I sat down and wrote out what I wanted in my ideal credit card. My next step will be to take my list and compare a variety of cards to see what each offers and find the card that offers the majority of things on this list —  or decide what I’m willing to compromise (most likely it will be that annual fee).

    Jen Glantz is a personal finance writer, small-business owner, and the author of Amazon-bestselling books “All My Friends are Engaged” and “Always a Bridesmaid for Hire.” 

    Featured credit cards from our partners

    Featured Reward

    100,000 points

    Credit Needed

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    3 Free Nights (valued up to 50,000 points each) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10x total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases in select categories within your first 6 months

    Credit Needed

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening

    Credit Needed

    Good to Excellent