It can be challenging sifting through all the credit card options out there, but website Credit.com has done the legwork and declared its picks for the best low-interest and airline miles credit card offers currently available.
In a noteworthy shift, the top airline card is a general-purpose card rather than a co-branded product that ties travelers to a single carrier if they want benefits. On the low-interest side, it’s heartening to know that consumers who don’t mind getting a no-frills card with no rewards can still score a deal on APR — although they need excellent credit to do so.
Airline miles cards
The site chose the Chase Sapphire Preferred card as its top miles card. Chase is currently offering a sign-up bonus for customers who spend $3,000 within the first three months. That makes this less-than-ideal for light spenders, but heavy chargers can earn a bucket of 50,000 bonus points that convert to $625 in either airfare or hotel spending. Just keep in mind, the interest rate is a steep 15.24 percent and there’s no lower promotional rate for balance transfers, so this is only a good deal if you pay your balance in full every month and weren’t looking to roll a balance over from another card.
Second best was the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. It has a $59 annual fee, although that’s waived for the first year. That might be worth the cost for frequent overseas travelers, though. Unlike most other cards, even cards marketed to travelers, this one doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which add around 3 percent to your total.
The site’s third travel rewards pick is the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. It will be of most value to people who stay at Starwood properties a lot, since it offers five points per dollar spent at these hotels. Rewards can be cashed in for flights as well as hotel stays. Two bummers: The APR can be as high as 19.24 percent, and the card has a $65 annual fee, although AmEx waives it for the first year.
Low-interest rate cards
And for those who want to lowest possible APR? Credit.com named the Simmons First Visa Platinum as the best low-interest credit card. It’s not issued by a big, national bank and doesn’t offer a rewards program or many other frills, but when it comes to low interest, this card delivers with a 7.25% APR. It also doesn’t charge an annual fee. The big catch is that you need spectacular credit — 750 or higher — to qualify for this card.
Next is the IberiaBank Visa Select card. If your credit is top-notch, you could get an intro APR of 0% for a year, and 1.99% for a year on balance transfers. After that, the interest rate will climb to 7.5%, 9.5% or 11.5%, depending on your credit. Even at the high end, though, these rates are lower than the national average by a few percentage points. The two drawbacks are the $35 annual fee and the 3% the issuer will charge if you want to transfer a balance.
The final low-interest shoutout goes to the Capital One Platinum Prestige card, which has an intro APR of 0 percent on both purchases and balance transfers until January 2013. (Balance transfers will still cost you a 3% fee, though.) There’s no annual fee or rewards program, and the APRs after those teaser rates expire range from 10.9% to 18.9% — hardly what we’d call “low interest” at the high end. But if you’re trying to pay down a big balance at a conventional APR, this card could be helpful, provided you complete paying it off before the teaser rate expires.