The Platinum Card® from American Express is an exclusive charge card that carries a $450 annual fee and provides a host of luxurious and practical benefits for frequent travelers. As a charge card, the Platinum Card doesn’t come with any preset spending limits or regular interest charges, but it does require that cardholders almost always pay their balances in full each month. If you own a small business, consider the very similar Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN.
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card is a travel rewards credit card with a $99 annual fee. Its airline rewards program is built around Rapid Rewards, Southwest Airlines’ frequent flyer program, and is extremely attractive for active Southwest Airlines flyers who use this card as their primary plastic spending aid.
As a cardholder, you earn 2 Rapid Rewards points per $1 spent on all Southwest Airlines purchases, as well as purchases with select hotel (such as Club Carlson) and rental car (such as Hertz) companies. You earn 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. Accumulated points are good for Southwest Airlines airfare redemptions, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. A very good sign-up bonus and some powerful frequent-traveler benefits make this a worthwhile card for regular fliers with easy access to a Southwest Airlines airport – even if you’re not yet a Southwest convert.
Travel rewards credit cards take different forms. Some offer hotel-specific rewards, discounts, freebies, and benefits. Others accumulate points that can be used to fund or offset general travel purchases. And still others offer specific airline rewards that reduce or eliminate airfare costs.
The British Airways Visa Signature Card, which comes with a $95 annual fee, belongs to the third group. It’s an airline rewards card that accumulates an unlimited 3 Avios points – British Airways Executive Club loyalty program points – for every $1 you spend on airfare purchases with British Airways, Open Skies (a transatlantic carrier wholly owned and operated by British Airways), and members of the oneworld airline alliance, which includes Iberia, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas, among others. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent, also with no spending caps or restrictions.
According to projections by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), America will continue to spend more than it receives in revenues from 2016 to 2026, and perhaps beyond. The budget deficit is projected to be slightly below 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) through 2018, then rise to 4.9% by 2026.
If the CBO projections are accurate, the federal debt will grow another $9.4 trillion by the end of the 10-year period, with potentially dire consequences for the country. According to the authors of the report, “The likelihood of a fiscal crisis in the United States would increase. There would be a greater risk that investors would be unwilling to finance the government’s borrowing needs unless they were compensated with very high interest rates; if that happened, interest rates on the federal debt would rise suddenly and sharply.”
With many financial institutions experiencing a decrease in profits, banks are vying for your business. This is good news for you, because instead of just offering standard perks like no fees or a free pen when you sign up for an account, some banks are raising the stakes with cold hard cash, giveaways, and great interest-bearing products.
August is a good month for bank promotions from both big and small banks. Banks are giving away a lot of bonuses to attract new customers and get them to open up accounts. The banks listed below have some pretty sweet deals that you should take advantage of if you are in the market for a new bank.
The Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card is a rewards credit card with a $45 annual fee (waived in the first year) and a fairly generous rewards program that favors everyday spending categories, such as gas station and restaurant purchases. It also has a nice portfolio of travel benefits, including potentially deep discounts on hotels and airfare, as well as a better-than-average suite of value-added benefits such as extended warranties and cell phone protection insurance. Nice sign-up and annual relationship bonuses round out Propel 365’s perks.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Credit Card is a practical, no-annual-fee credit card with a points-based rewards system that favors gas station and restaurant spending. The rewards program is fairly generous, and a relationship bonus further sweetens the deal for moderate to heavy spenders. Plus, Propel has a fairly long introductory APR promotion for purchases and balance transfers.
The Wells Fargo Platinum Visa® Credit Card credit card is a low introductory APR card with no annual fee. Its signature benefit is a long (15-month) 0% APR introductory period for purchases and balance transfers alike. Its ongoing APR falls within a wide range, so its usefulness as an everyday spending credit card is largely dependent on cardholders’ creditworthiness.
The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Credit Card is a cash back credit card with no annual fee and a solid rewards scheme that treats all spending equally, with the exception of certain mobile wallet payments made within the first 12 months of account opening. It also has a very nice introductory APR promotion, making it a great candidate for new cardholders seeking to transfer existing high-interest balances or finance large purchases shortly after opening their accounts.
The Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® Card is a no-annual-fee rewards credit card. Cardholders earn Go Far Rewards, Wells Fargo’s far-reaching rewards currency. Due to favorable redemption rates on airfare, Wells Fargo Rewards is useful for travelers who aren’t loyal to specific airlines, but a wide range of other redemption options – including cash – broaden the card’s appeal. A sign-up bonus that favors gas, grocery, and drugstore spending – plus a long introductory APR – sweeten the deal further.