The Three Hottest Credit Card Offers Of 2011


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Interested to see what new credit card offers are worth your time this year? You’ve come to the right place.Over on my site, I feature and review some of the most lucrative credit card offers out there. My guidelines are fairly simple:

1. Before reviewing a credit card offer, I apply for the card myself and spend at least two months using it “out in the field.” I also have a standardized testing methodology, which includes checking to see how long it takes before a swiped transaction posts to the online account activity overview, how annoying (or competent) the card issuer’s fraud department is when I place an unexpected large purchase on the card, and how long it takes to reach a real human being when I need help with my account. Of course, I also take into account the credit card’s interest rate and terms when reviewing it.

2. If I have a financial relationship with the bank that issues the card, I clearly state that at the bottom of the review. Can’t stand when personal finance bloggers push their “favourite” credit card offers, when they are doing so only for a kickback or commission of some kind. (It’s a different story when you’re recommending a card or product you personally use, and happen to get paid for doing so.)

That’s it.

Based on these criteria, which cards have I been recommending to Outlaw‘s readers a lot so far this year? Here are my top three:

  • Chase Sapphire (see my full review here) is my personal favourite at the moment, and it’s the card I use most often. I also recently recommended it to my father, who was unaware that spending $20,000 per month on a card with no cash back or rewards is the equivalent of giving up “free” money. There’s no annual fee for the standard Sapphire, it has all the added travel protections and benefits of VISA Signature, and their customer service is unrivalled. The number on the back of your card is different from Chase’s main support line. No matter when you call, you will reach a real person — located within the United States — in 2 or 3 rings. I have spoken to customer service five or six times thus far, and each time has been the same pleasant experience.
  • Chase Freedom (review here) is another great credit card offer, in my opinion, due to the generous 0% intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers, and 0% on purchases for the first six months. You also earn 1% cash back on all standard purchases, and 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories, such as gas, home improvement, department stores, etc.
  • Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards is another great credit card offer to snag this year if you can. It is a fantastic no-frills cash back card (you get 1% cash back on all purchases, with no limits, cash back ceilings, or weird restrictions) plus you get a bonus if you redeem more than $300 of cash back at once. You get a generous 0% intro APR for the first 12 months, only on purchases (NOT balance transfers), making this a solid credit card offer for BofA customers. Another thing I liked about this one when I reviewed it for my site’s readers is that your swipe transactions usually appear immediately on Bank of America’s excellent online account overview. No waiting a day or two for transactions to “post” before you can review them.

Disclosures: I used to review credit cards for a living. Also, my web site has a financial relationship with Chase — we participate in their affiliate program. No financial relationship or position on Bank of America or Visa at time of publication.

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