Rewards for your resolutions: Achieve New Year’s goals with these cards

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With the new year comes resolutions to better your life. Why not get rewarded for the spending you’ll do to reach your 2021 goals?

Whether you’re looking to travel more, live a healthier lifestyle or better yourself in general, the following credit cards can help you maximize spending associated with your goals.

Goal: Travel more

After a year of lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, you might be dreaming of flying to new places or finally making that cross-country drive. With a travel or gas credit card, you can earn points, miles or cash back as you check off another destination from your travel list.

If you’re a frequent flyer and mile maximizer…

As one of the most premium travel credit cards available, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns you 3X points on travel worldwide (after earning your annual travel credit) and dining at restaurants worldwide, plus 1X points on everything else. From now until Apr. 30, 2021, you’ll also receive 3X points on grocery store purchases (up to $1,000 in purchases a month).

There’s also a 60,000-point bonus when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening (worth $750 toward travel redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®).

The most notable card perks include a $300 annual travel credit received each year on your account anniversary, which can be used as reimbursement for travel purchases. If you’re interested in expediting your travel, the card also offers a Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit of up to $100 every four years when you pay for the application fee with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

The CSR’s big rewards come with an equally large annual fee ($550 per year), yet the perks of the card nearly offset the cost for your first year. If you tend to travel multiple times a month, you shouldn’t have a problem getting value out of the card for years to come.

If you’re a casual traveler…

You don’t need to be a jet setter to enjoy the perks of a travel credit card. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns you 2X miles on every purchase for a meager $95 annual fee.

You can earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. You’ll also receive up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck purchased with your Venture card.

Any miles earned can be maximized by transferring to one of Capital One’s 10+ travel partners. According to December 2020 point and mile valuations from The Points Guy, Capital One Miles are worth around 1.4 cents when you transfer to an airline partner.

If you’re a road warrior…

Spend more time driving than flying? A card that rewards you for purchases at the pump could help lower the cost of those upcoming cross-country trips you’ve planned.

If your plans include caravanning across states to visit Niagara Falls or hanging out with long-distance family, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card rewards you an unlimited 3X points at gas stations, among other purchases.

The card doesn’t charge an annual fee and there’s an opportunity to earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months (worth $200 when you redeem for cash). It helps that you receive car rental loss and damage insurance, roadside assistance and 24/7 travel and emergency assistance should you hit any roadblocks during your trips.

Goal: Get healthy…

Some of the most common goals going into the new year revolve around getting in shape and living a healthier lifestyle. Whether you’re looking to exercise more or eat better with a meal-kit, there’s a credit card that can earn you rewards for your spending in the process.

If you’re looking to hit the gym…

Want to earn cash back rewards on your monthly gym membership? The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card can help you do so (without paying an annual fee).

The card offers a few opportunities to earn cash back, including 5 percent back on two categories of your choice (up to $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter, then 1 percent). Of the 12 categories available, gyms and fitness centers should be your match.

There’s also a $150 bonus when you spend $500 on your card within the first 90 days of account opening, which could serve as an opportunity to buy new workout clothes or a pair of running shoes (with cash to spare).

If you’re interested in cooking at home more….

A healthy diet is a huge factor in losing weight, and what better way to stay on track than a meal-kit service. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express rewards you 6 percent cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent); 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming services; 3 percent cash back on transit; 3 percent back on U.S. gas station purchases; 1 percent back on all other purchases

You may be wondering how you can earn cash back from meal kits with the Blue Cash Preferred when the category clearly states U.S. supermarkets. Thankfully, more and more meal kit options are being sold in-store at places like Kroger or Publix, with Kroger selling Home Chef meal kits in brick-and-mortar locations after acquiring the brand in 2018.

Goal: Better yourself

There are a few ways to better yourself, from building stronger relationships to improving your financial situation. We’ve listed out three goals for the new year that can help you earn rewards along the way.

If you want to spend more time with family…

If you’re looking for new ways to spend time as a family, credit cards that offer entertainment categories can help you earn more. The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, for example, gets you an unlimited 4 percent cash back on dining and entertainment.

While this card could come in handy once it’s again safe to attend large events, it can also reward you for family movie nights.

If your family’s big on concerts, you can enjoy 8 percent back on tickets at Vivid Seats purchased with the Savor card through Jan. 31, 2022. The card also offers VIP entertainment experiences from football games to premier dining events. You can learn more about these VIP experiences, here.

If you want to get out of credit card debt…

Credit card debt is easy to slip into but can be difficult to shake. Make 2021 the year to pay it off for good (while earning rewards in the process).

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a no annual fee balance transfer credit card that earns you an unlimited 1 percent cash back as you buy and another 1 percent as you pay for those purchases.

Most importantly, there’s an 18-month 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers (13.99 percent — 23.99 percent variable APR after that). With this offer, you can take 18 months to knock out your credit card debt without owing additional money in interest.

If you want to get better grades…

It’s never a bad idea to try and boost your GPA, and with the right student credit card, you can get rewarded for your good grades.

With either the Discover it® Student Cash Back or Discover it® Student chrome, you have the opportunity to earn a $20 statement credit each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher (the perk lasts up to five years, just in case you take a victory lap).

The Student chrome earns you 2 percent back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1 percent), while the Student Cash Back offers 5 percent cash back in rotating categories like grocery stores and Amazon.com (up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter, then 1 percent, after activation). Both cards match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year of card ownership.

 

The information about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card, and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Written by
Claire Dickey
Editor
Claire Dickey is a products editor (and occasional reporter) for Bankrate, though you can find her work on CreditCards.com and To Her Credit, as well. Before joining the team, Claire worked as a copywriter for brands within the telecommunications industry, as well as a hybrid marketing and content writer within the education and oil and gas industries.