Best Credit Cards Best Credit Cards Mon, 03 Mar 2014 17:45:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Reducing Debts Should Be a Priority in Financial Planning and Goals For 2014 Tue, 31 Dec 2013 01:01:36 +0000 As of December 2013, the average US household credit card debts stood at $15,279 while average mortgage debt and student loan debts stood at $149,456 and $32,140 respectively. These figures imply that a considerable number of households are still struggling to get themselves out of indebtedness. Reducing debts is something that consumers should emphasize on especially in their financial planning and goals for 2014.

With a keen dedication and prior planning, consumers are able to reduce their own debts and start enjoying lower interest rates in loans while also improving their credit score. Understanding exactly where you stand in terms of your debts may be the first thing you need to look at as you plan for debt reduction. Evaluating your debts places you in a better position to device methods on how to start reducing them.

You need to collect all your financial information and documents and then have a print of your credit reports. This makes an important step in the move towards managing and reducing debts. Although you can pay for consolidation agencies and debt counselors, it is always good to make personal efforts to get things in the right track.

These agencies and companies require upfront fees, which you may not be in a position to pay during this time you are heavily indebted. You can write down the loan or debt balance, the respective interest rates, and the monthly amounts that are due for each type of debt. Priority should be given on those debts, which are carrying higher interest rates because they can multiply so fast when you miss the payments.

These include payday loans, credit card debts, personal loans, and auto loans
. The other component you need to look at is your budget. This is the most basic thing, which people do not take seriously, yet it has a big impact on how consumers can manage their debts. What you need to do is take your monthly income and then subtract the recurring expenses including rent, mortgages, utilities, insurance, student loans, childcare, and groceries.

All the expenses you incur on monthly basis will assist you in arriving at the current financial base. The amount you are left with is what will enable you pay off the debts. The more you pay towards the debt recovery, the sooner you can come out of the indebtedness. This is not an easy task and you have to keep your spending as low as possible.

Unnecessary expenses need to be cut down significantly or done away with altogether. Next, you need to make a plan to reduce the debts. Once you have subtracted the minimum debt payments and the monthly expenses from your monthly income (after taxes), then the remaining amount is used to pay off debts. As a rule thumb, start paying off the debts with highest interest rates and highest balances first.

This is one area where many consumers fail cause they want to pay off debts that appear to be smaller, not knowing that they are allowing the high interest loans and high balances to grow very fast. With your plan in place to recover from indebtedness, you should check whether your creditors could improve the terms of debt payments.

Starting negotiations with creditors may allow you to get lower interest rates or have a reduced settlement in some of the debts. Besides, you need to think of transferring some of the credit card debt to new cards that attract lower interest rates. With 0 percent balance transfers intro periods for about 12 months, it can help you save money on the interest rates.

Brought to you by the editorial team from 2014 top credit cards, a website focused on helping consumers find the top card offers and save money with their finances in 2014. Learn more by visiting today for updated consumer credit card news and reviews.

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How Borrowers Can Lock In Savings during the Holidays with a Zero Percent Balance Transfer for all of 2014 Thu, 12 Dec 2013 02:30:35 +0000 The holiday season is filled with cheer but the dent it can cause on your finances may leave you unhappy and struggling. The spending during the holidays racks up very fast as you try to scramble for every other deal you see in the boutique store, gift shops, supermarkets, and electronics stores. This is the shopping season when stores are giving out unbeatable promotional offers, and you do not want to miss out.

Using your plastic chip to pay for the holiday spending should be done properly otherwise, you risking carrying a credit card debt in the New Year. However, for those already carrying debts in their cards, a 0% percent balance transfer for all 2014 may be a good option. Consumers transfer balances on their card to another in order to take advantage low APR, something that saves them money as they continue to pay off their debts.

Other people may transfer balances in one card to enjoy special offers and reward points. For those carrying debts attracting higher interest rates on the other hand can consider transferring to a card with a lower APR. By shifting an existing card debt to a new balance transfer, it can save consumers hundreds of dollars.

While the zero percent balance transfer card will save you money, you need to make sure that at least you make the minimum repayments. By setting up a direct debit for the minimum repayment once you are approved, it will help you retain the deal, and be able to make the other repayments smoothly. Although you are paying at an introductory rate of 0 percent, the fact is that you are still making repayment of your debt.

If something goes wrong and you miss one repayment, you are likely to lose your zero percent deal, and the rate will jump besides being subjected to a charge for the missed repayment. This could hurt your finances than you may think. You have to trade carefully when repaying the debt not to make a mistake. In addition, for the deal to work out for you, you need to clear the card within that period you are granted zero percent interest rates.

Going one month beyond the given promotional period will subject you to skyrocketed rate. In the event that you do not repay the debt within that period of intro promotion, you need to prepare to switch to another card when the deal ends, something that might not work best for you since it attracts an inquiry from the credit reporting bureaus. Nonetheless, this is better than being charged and starting to pay the hefty interest rates.

If you do not switch by the end of the deal, the interest rate you are attached will outweigh the benefits of the card, and plunge you into more debt. If you can repay your debt within one year, then this balance transfer card could help you settle the debt, and start enjoying lower interest rates. The longer intro rate allows you to budget for your monthly repayment so that you do not miss any. So the debt you may have acquired during the holiday season, you are able to repay it comfortably at the zero interest rates.

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The Fine Print on No Late Fee Credit Cards Tue, 24 Sep 2013 17:14:09 +0000 Late fees on credit cards seem simple enough to avoid. You can just pay on time, right? Yet a recent large survey, conducted by credit issuer Citibank to study preferences of card users, said that late fees were one of their biggest annoyances. The same surveys said that the most frequent reason that people paid late was simply that they forgot, not that they couldn’t afford the payment.

Credit card issuers have decided to use that information to create cards that have no late fees, targeted at people with higher credit scores who are likely to pay even if late. This type of card has become so popular that many companies now have some type of no-late-fee card. While no late fees sounds like a great benefit, there are a number of issues with this type of card that you should keep in mind before you apply for one.

The first thing to realize is that while they say there is no late fee or penalty, they may have a different definition of penalty than you. Some cards do actually have announced high penalty rates that are triggered by missed payments. Other cards claim to have no penalty rates, but do include a disclaimer saying that your future interest rate may go up dramatically if your credit score drops.

That clause seems reasonable enough on the surface, but it’s an important detail. One thing that will happen if you pay late or miss your payments with any of these no-late-fee cards is that you will be reported to credit agencies in the same way as any card. That reporting can lower your credit score. A lesser credit score can affect your ability to get credit in general, and can raise the rates on these and any other cards you might have.

Another thing that can happen when you miss or are late with a payment is that your grace period disappears, sometimes for months with one late payment. The grace period is the time between when you purchase something, and when they start charging interest. This increases your debt, and makes it impossible to do what most people at least plan to do, which is to pay the balance in full each month and incur no charges.

Interest is still accumulating on your full debt, every month. If your payment is late or skipped, you will increase your debt instead of paying it down. These cards also tend to have significantly higher interest rates to start with than other cards. Your credit card may also be cancelled, after missed payments. They are not going to simply carry your debt for long. They don’t make you pay a late fee, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t use other weapons in their creditor arsenal, such as turning you over to collections.

These cards may be a good choice for some people, but before you decide on one make sure you know the full story. The rewards and lower interest rates of other cards may give more benefits long-term than no-late-fee cards. Read the fine print on your specific credit card agreement and weigh your options before you decide.

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What Lessons Consumers Should Learn From Perkstreet Finance Removing Rewards Fri, 30 Aug 2013 16:14:36 +0000 PerkStreet Financial, was a quasi-bank that endeavored to offer generous (2%) cash-back debit-card rewards. Quasi-banks, look and sound like a bank, but they are not banks. Quasi-banks borrow funds from personal or corporate lenders and PerkStreet Financial had two federally insured banks, Bancorp Bank and Provident Bank, which held their funds. PerkStreet made most of its money from interchange fees paid by merchants when consumers swipe their debit card. PerkStreet offered cash-back advantages to consumers that used its card. With certain restrictions, rewards included 1%, 2%, and up to 5% of the purchase. PerkStreet recently announced its discontinuation of perks cash-back rewards program, its cancellation of all reward balances as of Monday, August 12th, and the closing down of all of its operations in September. In a recent interview, PerkStreets’ Chief Executive Officer, stated that the reasons for the company’s demise included regulatory changes, lack of funding, and the interest-rate environment.

Regulatory Changes

Congress passed regulations in 2009 which limited the amount of money that large banks could make from interchange fees costing banks an estimated $14 billion in annual revenue. The Durbin Amendment was enacted because studies showed that the existing debit interchange system was “uncompetitive, inefficient, and harmful to consumers.” The Durbin Amendment approved a 21-cent limit on swipe fees which was half of the average swipe fee of 44 cents on October 1st, 2011. Many banks allow Visa and MasterCard to fix the interchange charge that banks receive from merchants every time a debit card is swiped. Visa and MasterCard get paid a network fee by merchants and since they have enormous market power and control, about 80% of the debit cards used by consumers, they are able to increase interchange rates and merchants cannot say no.

PerkStreet was exempt from the new regulations and the interchange fees they could charge merchants were not affected by law; still the trend has been to put downward pressure on interchange fees for exempt banks. Still PerkStreet had a competitive edge with customers because they could still use the higher interchange fee, offer their rewards program, and win customers from regulated banks that were seriously impacted by the new cap regulations. Banks, in response, started experimenting with fee increases in non-regulated areas, tougher account requirements, and cost-cutting.

The Durbin Amendment’s cap of the 21-cent limit was rejected by a District Court Judge on July 31st of this year for “inappropriately inflating all debit card transaction fees by billions of dollars” and for not providing merchants with options. Large banks are looking at losing billions of dollars of revenue as the ruling determined that the cap must go lower and could revert to the original proposal of 12 cents per transaction. The current cap of 21-cent limit will remain in place until there is a new regulation or an interim standard is set. With appeals and new legal maneuvers, the current fees could stay in place through 2014 or longer. Businesses such as Perk Street, that made most of their money from interchange fees, are no longer feasible in light of the federally mandated lowering of the cap and the fact, that with the financial losses of interchange fes, there are fewer potential bank partners available.

Interest Rate Environment

Along with the July 31st decision, over the next year, large banks face the prospect of a continuing rise in tax rates which will challenge forecasts of their earnings growth. Banks are having to thoroughly examine what costs they can reduce, where they might be able to add charges, what the market will stand, and what measures will not cost them to lose customers.

The lessons consumers should learn from PerkStreet Finance removing rewards is best stated by Mallory Duncan, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Retail Federation, “The rest of the world is beginning to understand that this is a game Visa, MasterCard and the banks are playing.” Consumers are upset because they aren’t getting a 2% cash-back reward on what they spend. Banks are upset because those same transactions provided them with billions of dollars of revenue. Unfortunately, banks will no doubt find other ways to make up their losses.

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Learn How Credit Unions Play A Key Role With Saving Consumers Money Fri, 26 Jul 2013 15:34:40 +0000 The Credit Union National Association or CUNA has stated that credit unions are controlled, owned, and operated by its members, who combine their resources and assets to offer loans and other financial products and services at a favorable price. All credit unions are governed by common bonds that also lay out the terms and qualifications of membership. Credit unions are fast becoming as alternatives for conventional banks and loans and savings firms.

Who can become members of credit unions?

CUNA maintains that credit unions are available for everyone. However, law mandates that all credit unions must have well-defined terms of membership. The common bonds of credit unions define the membership qualifications. A common bond can be the area of residence of the members, their work places, and their membership to an association like trade unions, churches, schools, etc. For example, individuals can join a credit union if it is sponsored by their employer.

Advantages of a credit union membership

Credit unions are owned by its members. Hence, they are more sensitive to the needs of its members and work hard to offer more favorable services as compared to normal banks. They may provide free business checking services and/or loans with low interest rates. Such services can result in considerable cost savings as opposed to banks. In addition to more personalized services, credit unions also provide helpful seminars and business courses for small business owners. It may also be noted that credit unions have stringent lending terms which in turn result in fewer charge-offs as compared to banks and other financial institutions.

Banks versus credit unions

Credit unions are not for profit co-operative bodies that are usually run by volunteer board members. This allows credit unions to offer varied flexible and low-priced financial services and products like competitive service fees and fair interest rates. Members may even avail of dividends in case of profits. Due to their non-profit co-operative status, credit unions are also exempt from several federal and state taxes. As opposed to this banks are owned by stockholders. Also, banks are organizations that work towards maximization of profits.

Drawbacks of using credit unions

One of the major shortcomings of a credit union is the fact that its customer base is restricted to only its members. Therefore, they may not have sufficient funds to cater to your big-purchase needs. It is therefore advisable to weigh the benefits of credit unions against its cons, before closing all your accounts with traditional banks.
A number of credit unions do not give mortgages. Additionally, the lending ratio of credit unions, as of September 2010, has been restricted to 12.25 percent of its overall assets. Hence, large loans can usually be availed from traditional financial institutions.

The scope of services provided by credit unions can also very limited, particularly as regards to business accounts. Merchant account services or business checking accounts are offered by select few credit unions. Also, only about 1/3rd of the total credit unions in US provide business loans.

Lack of contacts, expertise, and products may also prevent credit unions from efficiently handling certain accounts, particularly if the business operates internationally. Many credit unions now offer consumer credit cards, debit cards and saving opportunities. Learn more about finding the best credit cards and online credit card offers by visiting

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Consumers Play The Balance Transfer Game To Avoid High Interest Charges Mon, 01 Jul 2013 20:36:37 +0000

Credit card debt is one of the biggest problems for consumers out there. Whether they used their credit cards irresponsibly, or they had to put certain charges onto the card because they were emergency expenses, accruing too much debt that way can be an issue. This is especially true for people who have a high interest credit card, which can start adding even more money onto the balance that a consumer owes. While some consumers are playing the balance transfer game to help deal with this debt, that is often a temporary reprieve instead of a final solution if people aren’t very careful with how they play it.

What is The Balance Transfer Game?

The short version is that the balance transfer game is when people transfer the balance owed from a credit card with a higher interest rate, to one with a lower interest rate. In essence people are paying one balance with their second card in order to shift the burden to a place where it won’t accrue interest as quickly. It’s a tricky game of debt juggling, but the results are hard to argue with if it means a person is actually helping to stop from getting deeper into debt.

How Many Balls in The Air?

The question when it comes to the balance transfer game is how many times can someone realistically pull the bait and switch? Introductory rates on a new card, or even grace periods for purchases, can’t last indefinitely. Consumers need to know their limits, and more importantly they need to actually start paying down their debt. Otherwise they’re just going to be paying more money, and more money, until the debt begins spiraling out of control.

Why It May Be A Bad Idea to Pay Off One Credit Card With Another

Shifting a balance around from one card to another can come around to bite consumers when they don’t expect it. The more credit cards someone opens, the bigger the hits their credit rating will take. This is in addition to all of the additional debt that will accrue out of the interest which stacks up from the time spent without being paid off. It can buy people some time, occasionally several months of time. If all someone needs is to get back on his or her feet while recovering from a financial difficulty, then this is a legitimate strategy for shuffling debt around for a short period of time.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and just because people can put off having to pay their debts for a short period of time, that doesn’t mean they can do it indefinitely. This is especially true for people who still need to cover their own living expenses, racking up more and more debt in the short term. For those who really need help paying down their debt, it will take more than just a quick change around to get to where they need to be.

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What Is The Best Way To Negotiate With Your Credit Card Company Tue, 11 Jun 2013 13:34:24 +0000 For many people, the most intimidating aspect of getting the most of credit cards in negotiating with creditors. Although there are other options to repair credit, it is always a good idea to negotiate the payment first. By negotiating promptly, at the right time, you may be able to get a discount on the total debt owed or get the creditor remove negative scores on the credit report.

Negotiating Plan

Before creating a plan for negotiation, review your budget and figure out how much money you need to invest towards debts and determine the goal. In fact, your long-term goal for credit card is to pay down all of your delinquent accounts and outstanding balance. Unless you hit a lottery or get access to a large bag of cash, paying off the debt will certainly take time. But then, again, you need to make choices to get there. Decide which of those debts to pay first. If you have the choice between using the funds to pay off an old debt and more recent one, it makes sense to pay off the more recent one first simply because older debts are less important to creditors than more recent ones.

Contact the Creditor/Creditors for Discount

Determine what you want – the goal of your negotiation – before contacting the creditor. Most people have multiple goals before paying off outstanding debts. Your first goal should be to obtain a convenient long-term payment terms. This means you will ask the creditor for additional time to make the payment, or lower the payment if that is not an option. You may want the creditor to remove penalties and fees or reduce the interest rate and re-calculate the total amount. This is a wise move after all. The next action is to request the creditor to directly lower the debt. You may be able to get the creditor reduce the owed amount by making a convenient lump-sum payment to the account.

Let the Creditor Take Back Secured Property

If making the required payment is impossible, you can let the security – such as property, car, or household items – taken away by the creditor in return for eliminating the outstanding debt. This works well when the amount you owe is more than the value of the security.

Get the Creditor to Re-age the Account

Some creditors may agree to re-age your account, when there is a balance, if you are able to make regular payments. Your outstanding past due payment information will get erased and your account becomes current, even in the presence of delinquency. The creditor may also agree to erase all penalties and fees accrued due to non-payment. This re-age is possible when you make two or three regular payments.

Ask the Creditor to Remove Account Reviews From Credit Report

As a part of the negotiation, you may want the creditor to remove all tradeline – information about your account from the creditor – in exchange for a full or partial payment.

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What credit card providers have the best offers when you have had a previous bankruptcy Wed, 08 May 2013 14:24:36 +0000 Filing bankruptcy is not the end of the world as many people may think. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will erase all your credit card debt; you will need to find a good bankruptcy attorney to help you file bankruptcy. It is not a good idea to have too many credit cards because before you know it, you have so much credit card debt, and you may not be able to make even the minimum payments. If you cannot make your minimum payment, then the bank starts adding late fees, and before you know it, you are drowning in debt.

Declaring bankruptcy not only affects your credit score, but also your finances. Many banks and other lenders will look at your FICO score to see if you are a good risk for them to lend you credit. A FICO score above 700 is very good. A bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for up to ten years, making it very difficult for you to obtain any type of credit at all.

The first thing you will want to do after your bankruptcy is dismissed is to apply for a secured credit card. With a secured card, you have to put down a security deposit with a Credit Card Company. It is a very good idea to pay off the balance in full each month so you do not incur any interest charges. Secured credit cards often carry very high interest rates so you will want to make sure you pay them on time, because your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score.

There are quite a few credit card companies that offer secured credit cards. One secured card is First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card. This card requires a refundable security deposit. While finding the right secured credit card may be a bit more challenging then going out with a 750 credit score and shopping for a cash back card with lots of perks, the good news is that there are cards available for consumers who are rebuilding their credit profiles,

Capital One offers a Secured MasterCard is another good card to get to help repair your credit.

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard Secured Credit Card is another good card to get, and it has no an annual fee.

Some other secured credit cards include: The Secured Visa from Merrick Bank is a good card to get to help repair your credit history. Never pay just the minimum amount, try to pay the balance off in full each month. This will get your credit score up there much faster. Also shop around for the lowest interest rate card.

Remember it is very important to learn to be patient. Bankruptcy did not happen overnight, and neither will the road to improving your credit.

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Credit Card Use Expected to Remain Steady amidst Fears of Consumer Cutbacks Sat, 20 Apr 2013 02:32:21 +0000 Consumer spending growth has dipped in the first quarter of 2013 and as credit card issuers show signs of hiking interest rates, analysts say that credit card use will continue to remain steady. Credit card users have seen a twist of arm in their card usage considering that as from January 2013, store owners in many states were allowed to directly charge shoppers a surcharge amounting to a maximum of 4 percent of the bills for using their cards.

This meant that card users will in future have more burden added to their credit card. Consumers use credit card to purchase goods and services and also obtain loans but the interest rates charged on card balances can be high. If you miss payment, this may compound the credit card balance payment problem.

Although stores that intend to charge customers for paying using the cards are required to make it known to the consumers by posting a sign at their entrance or website homepage, if this happens, then consumers will have a choice to buy or source for goods from other stores. This move to post a sign indicating that consumers would be charged a surcharge fee for using their credit card could otherwise influence the buying decision and this means many stores may not opt for this owing to the effects it may create in their sales.

Consumer spending is generally strong and the use of credit cards is expected to grow, according to analysts. However, there may be some skepticism as to how long this trend may hold having seen some banks increase credit card rates. After years of low credit card rates, some banks are pushing their rates higher and the latest to join the trend is the Danske Bank, which hiked its interest on credit cards by about 2 percent.

Consumers may be subjected to higher interest rates in the future as more banks are expected to fall suit. Last year, 2012, MBNA increased interest rates by up to 4 percent. Despite the fears of a weak consumer spending in year 2013, big credit card companies like Visa, American Express and MasterCard are showing that consumers are swapping their cards meaning that they are using their the cards.

Card spending is health for card issuers taking into consideration that credit card loans have been shrinking and consumers are now paying for their balances in time. Credit card loans have not grown since the recession and this is because consumers do not want to carry a lot of debt and they are now paying their bills off every month and not carrying balances.

However, there is a significant number of consumers still struggling with credit card debt burden. Indeed, credit card debt is the most prevalent among consumers. The change in consumer behavior has reduced the income, which lenders generate from charging interest rates on credit card balances.

The largest US credit card issuer, American Express may be less affected by the changing patterns of the consumer characterized by less credit card borrowing and this is because, this company generates much of its revenue from the fees that is charged on merchants when customers make purchases. American Express does not heavily rely on revolving loan balances interest rates. However, other companies that count on interest rates charged in revolving loan balances are expected to feel the pinch.

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Tips For Finding The Best Travel Credit Cards For Your Dream Vacation Plan Thu, 28 Mar 2013 15:08:11 +0000 Discovering the Best Travel Credit Cards

When people travel they want to use a credit card that is the best possible fit for their situation. From frequent business travelers to a person looking for deals when making family vacation plans, choosing the right travel credit card is important. There are travel credit cards that can help a person earn miles or points for staying at a hotel, using a particular airline and a variety of other travel rewards. Some effort into researching for the right travel credit card could result in large travel savings.

One of the first things a person should do is determine the most important benefits the travel credit card should provide. Is it going to be used for international travel? Should it provide points for hotels and airline miles? Is having an annual fee an issue? Can you work with a card that require a certain amount of monthly purchases? Credit card companies will gladly provide answers to these and other questions.

International Travel
People who plan to spend time traveling in foreign countries should consider a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. It’s common for many credit cards to charge their cardholders a foreign transaction fee of at least 3 percent.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card enables users to earn up to two miles for every dollar they spend on purchases. There is no limit to the number of miles a person can earn. It has no blackout dates and provides extended warranty protection for car rental insurance, travel insurance and more. It also does not charge its customers any foreign transaction fees.

Airline Credit Cards

One of the biggest advantages of getting a credit card from an airline is how they provide people with the opportunity to fly for free. Many come with a variety of great program that offer such things as free checked baggage, bonus miles and more. Airline cards can also be a great way to avoid baggage fees, get upgraded seating and take advantage of discounts and promotions specific to an airline, these are a must have for the serious traveler!

The United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card provides its users a chance to get 30,000 bonus miles when they use the card for $1,000 during the initial three months. Card holders are also able to get two miles for every dollar they spend on purchasing tickets from United Airlines. If a cardholder used the card for $25,000 or more annually, they’re able to receive 10,000 bonus miles. During the first year, cardholders who fly on United Airlines will be able to check their initial bag into their flight for free. During the first year cardholders are also not charged a yearly fee.

Hotel Credit Cards
One of the things many experienced travelers do is get credit cards from a hotel. Many of them offer people the opportunity to earn bonus hotel point as well as free hotel stays and more. Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card provides its card holders the chance to earn six points for every dollar they spend at a participating Hilton hotel located anywhere in the world. Cardholders also earn points for using the credit card to purchase things from gas stations, grocery stores as well as drug stores and more. When staying at a Hilton Hotel cardholders will only have to pay $10 dollars for every thousand points they earn.

The editorial team at is determined to bring you the best credit offers and online promotions to help you save with all of your finance nees.

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