Credit Cards

Reader Poll – Cash Back or Travel Rewards Credit Cards?

Cash versus Travel Credit CardsI have seen multiple posts and articles about credit cards that offer rewards.  The reward structure for said credit cards tend to be either cash back or travel miles.  When you read these articles, you will see that people are fans of either the cash back credit card or the travel rewards credit card.  You don’t see too many people liking both.  I am not sure why this is, but I figured I would put this to the test.  Hence, the reader poll!

It is your turn to tell me what type of credit card you like.  Are you a cash back kind of person, or do you prefer racking up travel miles in order to fund your next vacation?  What is your favorite card?  I am a cash back kind of man, but that is because we don’t travel that much right now.  My wife has started earning travel rewards with the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard.  I have both the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred card and the Discover it card.  Both are great.  I sometimes use my Upromise Mastercard in order to put some cash in to my son’s 529 account.

Some may note that I am a person that was in over $50,000 worth of credit card debt.  Why am I using credit cards again?  Before I get hate comments, tweets, or emails, I will say that my mindset has changed. I have used my cash back credit card for a year now and haven’t paid a cent in interest.  I mean, I have paid NO INTEREST!  I pay off my credit card every month.  I have earned well over $1,000 in cash back with my cards.  I use my credit card for practically every purchase.  I know understand my spending habits and credit cards do not increase my spending.  I am in full control of my spending.

If you are in credit card debt or can’t control your spending, then don’t get or use your rewards credit cards.  If you don’t pay off your cards in full each month, then the rewards will be worthless. 

OK, enough of the background and all of the fun talk.  It is time to get to the credit card war!  Vote below for which type of reward credit card is your favorite.

Let the Battle Begin!

online poll by Opinion Stage

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $50,000 in debt. I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I know talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a Wordpress management company, along with another blog. It is Empowered Shopper, which helps people get information about products they want to buy.

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34 Comments

  1. December 13, 2013 at 7:54 am — Reply

    Wow, $1000 is an awesome amount of cash back awards! Kudos to you for the awesome use of credit cards.

  2. December 13, 2013 at 9:11 am — Reply

    Neat idea for a poll, Grayson! I’m interested to see how the results shake out :)

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:45 am — Reply

      Looks like cash back is still king!

  3. December 13, 2013 at 9:40 am — Reply

    Good idea for a poll Grayson! I’m a fan of both. :) We’ve used travel cards to pay for our trip to Vegas next month and cash back cards to give us about $500 in spending money while there, so I guess you could say we use whatever gives us the better return at the time.

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:45 am — Reply

      Great point John. I use both, but there are many that are hard lined!

  4. December 13, 2013 at 9:48 am — Reply

    I have a Discover card that I never use anymore. I racked up a bunch of miles and am having a hard time using them. Now I’m stuck with the stupid annual fee to keep the miles. Arrrgggghhh. I did just purchase RT tickets to Belize for me and my partner. I used some more to buy my dad and his wife tickets to visit family and will have one more opportunity to use them early next year. After that I’ll transfer the balance to my dad’s card and ditch Discover.

    Currently I’m using my Costco AMEX, which is strictly cash back. I LOVE IT! If I want to fly somewhere, well, I’ll just earmark the dollars for vacation. I’m A BIG FAN OF FLEXIBILITY so not being stuck with miles I can’t use due to black-out dates, multiple legs on a flight that could be one leg, etc. is my choice.

    Great debate!
    Ree

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:47 am — Reply

      Sounds like you have the old Discover card. They only have the Discover it card now and it is a good one.

      Great point on the cash back.

  5. December 13, 2013 at 10:09 am — Reply

    Great idea for a poll!

    I’m a huge fan of rewards credit cards, but I can see the case for cash back for many people. I think the choice to go all out with rewards cards depends on a few things:

    1) Are you going to do any significant travel over the next few years
    2) Are you willing to open up 2-4+ new credit cards a year

    We open up about 5 new cards a year, and we’re getting huge bonuses each time. Depending on how you redeem, this means we’re getting a 15%-40% discount on every single purchase we make on our cards, which is essentially every purchase we make in life.

    The Barclaycard Arrival is a good example of this: Spend $1,000 on it (including your travel expenses) and get $400 off the travel you booked on the card. 40% discount. So my wife and I each opened one of those and then we moved on to yet another set of cards.

    This far surpasses the 1%-2% cash back you might get on a regular card, or 5% if you’re lucky enough to use it on a category bonus.

    If you’re not willing to open tons of new cards, I like the Fidelity Amex, which gives you 2% cash back on every purchase and it goes directly into your Fidelity account (so you can’t spend it!)

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:48 am — Reply

      Awesome point Brad. I agree with what you outlined here.

  6. December 13, 2013 at 10:34 am — Reply

    I’ve always been a cash back guy simply for ease of use. It’s also been tough to find anything better than the 2% back on everything I get with my Fidelity Amex.

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:49 am — Reply

      I have heard of this card, but don’t have a Fidelity account. I guess it is time to take a look into this.

  7. December 13, 2013 at 11:10 am — Reply

    When we were using credit cards, we used both at different times depending upon our agenda. We used a travel rewards card to earn points for a cruise…at other times when we had no vacation planned we used the cash back card. Overall, I liked the cash back so I could have more flexibility to use the money the way I wanted.

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:49 am — Reply

      I am with you there Brian. I use different ones depending on the need.

  8. December 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm — Reply

    Cash is where it’s at, baby! :)

  9. December 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm — Reply

    It really depends on what you want from your card. Travel rewards cards tend to provide more value than cash back, but that’s only if you’re going to use the points. If you plan to travel a lot, that would be a good way to go. However, for most people, I think it’s best to have both and use them according to your travel plans and cash back needs.

  10. December 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm — Reply

    Our priorities are to travel, so we prefer travel rewards through our ventra card. We are more motivated to put our expenses on that and pay it off in full when we can see our air points build up!

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:50 am — Reply

      That makes sense Michelle. If you are going to travel, then get a travel card!

  11. December 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm — Reply

    I like cash back. However, I am more likely to save them for a longer time if they are travel rewards points instead!

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:51 am — Reply

      Interesting Michelle. I think we all like cash back, but if you can rack up points and keep them, then travel rewards can be good!

  12. December 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm — Reply

    Definitely cash back, especially with high cash back rates for gas purchases. With three kids (and being in the middle of some serious student loan repayment), any travel we do is by car. My husband commutes, so gas is our highest expense each month (but we have free rent, so it’s not a bad deal).

    Congrats on a year of using credit cards responsibly! That is awesome!!

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:52 am — Reply

      I get 3% on gas and 6% on groceries. These are my biggest expenses. That is why I use a cash back card.

  13. December 13, 2013 at 3:35 pm — Reply

    Cash back for sure!

  14. Money Saving
    December 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm — Reply

    I go for the cash back every time! We don’t travel enough to make it worth the miles :-)

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:52 am — Reply

      I am with you there. I am in the cash back club right now!

  15. Levi @ Wealthnote
    December 14, 2013 at 1:07 am — Reply

    Cash is king. While I really enjoy traveling I don’t do enough of it to make the travel rewards worth it. I think you probably get more value from the travel rewards, but right now I need as much cash as possible.

  16. December 14, 2013 at 6:07 pm — Reply

    Like others, we also have the Fidelity 2% cash back AmEx card. We use it for everything that will take AmEx. We’ve only earned a little over $500 this year. I guess that just shows that we don’t spend that much.

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:59 am — Reply

      I don’ t have that card, but that is because I don’t have a Fidelity account.

  17. December 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm — Reply

    I voted cash back, but I’ve only had those kinds of cards. I do like the travel rewards card that my husband has because it can fund my trips back home to visit my family once in a while…if only he would have thought a little more before purchasing an expensive gaming laptop with the cc, the balance would be paid off every month. :/

    • December 17, 2013 at 10:59 am — Reply

      Oops! I am sure you will get it taken care of.

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