Cashing in on credit cards: How to get the best rewards

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DENVER -- Credit card companies are getting more competitive trying to win over consumers.

The industry is packed full of plastic charge cards promoting glamorous rewards, points, cash-back offers, free trips, miles and sign-up bonuses.

How do you sort it all out? How do you protect yourself from getting burned by these big businesses?

The FOX31 Problem Solvers sat down with travel and finance writer Jason Steele to get advice on how to get the best bang for your buck without getting baited into a bad deal.

Cash reward credit cards

If cash rewards are what you’re after, Steele says cards offering one-point-per-dollar is the old industry standard.

Steele suggests Chase Freedom Unlimited, Capitol One QuickSilver Cash and Barclay CashForward World MasterCard.

All three cards offer 1.5 percent cash-back on all purchases with 0 percent annual fee.

Citi Double Cash offers 1 percent cash back on purchases and another 1 percent when you pay off your purchase.

Chase Freedom and DiscoverIT offer 5 percent cash back on rotating categories when you buy things like gas, food and groceries.

Travel reward credit cards

If you’re more interested in travel:

Chase Sapphire Reserve
$450 annual fee
3 points per dollar on travel
Earn $300 a year in travel credit
Spend $4,000 in first three months and earn 100,000 bonus points to spend toward airfare, hotels, cruises, car rentals
Access to airport business lounges

Barclay Arrival Plus
No annual fee for the first year
$89 annual fee after first year
Receive two times miles on every dollar purchase
Spend $3,000 in first three months and earn 50,000 bonus miles

Capitol One Venture Card
No annual fee the first year
$59 annual fee after first year
Receive two times miles on every dollar purchase
Spend $3,000 in first three months and earn 40,000 miles

Keep in mind, too, Denver hub airlines such as United, Frontier and Southwest each has a card with perks, points and bonus miles.

If you’re more interested in sign-up bonuses, Steele suggests going for the greatest roll-out bonus but says it’s not for everyone.

“If you’re an inexperienced credit card user, you don’t want to be lured into a product that might not be right for you” Steele said.

Steele said paying off your credit card in full each month will rake in the most rewards.

If you aren’t able to pay off your credit card statements in full, Steele suggests shopping around for a credit card that boats an interest free balance transfer to help pay off the debt.

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