The best credit cards for Millennials have the best rewards. Millennials, folks born between 1981 – 1996, get a bad rap for being entitled, spoiled, and generally clueless about the way the word works. However, dunking on younger generations has been the way of life by older generations since the beginning of time.
The reality is, Millennials aren't doing too bad with their finances and they certain aren't clueless growing up in the internet age. According to a Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Index survey:
- Nearly one-third (31 percent) of millennials said they have determined their financial goals and have a written plan. By contrast, just 20 percent of Generation X (born 1965-1980) and 22 percent of baby boomers (1946-1964) said the same.
- Millennials also are more likely than their older counterparts to have specific savings goals, work with an investment advisor, and, among those who invest, regularly rebalance their portfolio.
Millennials Are Making Strides
Millennials also became the largest generation in the workforce in 2016, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. In 2017, about 56 million members of the generation either are working or actively seeking work. This was compared to 53 million Gen Xers and 41 million baby boomers. In other words, Millennials is the largest generation in the workforce today and need to be taken seriously.
The oldest millennials are now middle-aged. With middle-age comes the responsibility of being a parent, owning a home, paying down student loan debt, and taking care of aging parents. You can also call the oldest millennials part of the sandwich generation, which is one of the toughest time period of one's life.
The one thing millennials do know how to do well is take advantage of great deals thanks to the internet. For savvy millennials, using a rewards credit card for all their spending is one of the best ways to build credit, get a 30-day interest free loan, get buyers protection and insurance, and get plenty of rewards.
The Best Credit Cards For Savvy Millennials
After spending a dozen hours reviewing over 100 credit cards, here are the best rewards credit cards for savvy millennials today.
Best for Online Shopping
If you're not shopping for everything on Amazon, you are not shopping online correctly. Amazon is the #1 online retailer today with the largest inventory, the best search algorithm, and the easiest way to compare products to get the best deals.
Although Amazon has crushed brick and mortar retail stores, they have provided a tremendous boon to savvy online shoppers through cost savings.
Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa
If you are an Amazon Prime member like I am, then the Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa card is the card for you. Not only do you get all the perks of the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, you also get a massive 5% cash back on all Amazon.com purchases and purchases at Whole Food Markets.
We now shop at Whole Foods Market every week using Amazon Prime Now delivery with our Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa card because the food is healthier and higher quality. Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.4 billion on August 28, 2017 and has lowered prices and added great value for its members.
The Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa card also offers 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, as well as 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Bonus Offer: You’ll get a $70 Amazon gift card upon approval instead of $50.
Other Benefits: The benefits keep on coming:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Travel and emergency assistance
- Lost luggage reimbursement up to $3,000 for you and immediate family members
- Baggage delay insurance for baggage delays over six hours, worth $100 a day for three days.
- Travel accident insurance for air, bus, train or cruises booked with the card, up to $500,000
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Roadside dispatch assistance
- Extended warranty protection – an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less
- Purchase protection for 120 days against damage or theft (up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account)
- Access to the Visa Signature luxury hotel collection and concierge services
Annual Fee: There is no annual fee for the card if you are an Amazon Prime member. Score! Another bonus for being a member.
Best Credit Card For Travelers
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
This popular travel rewards card waives its annual fee for the first year and offers flexible 2X miles rewards on every purchase. I’ve partnered with Capital One on several occasions and have always been pleased with their product offerings and customer service. Capital One is one of the best credit card companies because credit cards is their speciality.
For budget travelers who also wants rewards, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is my top choice.
Credit Card Rewards Details
• Earn a 100,000-mile bonus when you spend $20,000 within the first 12 months of membership. Or, earn 50,000 miles (equals $500 travel rewards) if you spend $3,000 on the card in the first 3 months.
- Earn unlimited 2X miles fast on every purchase you make
- Transfer miles to any of Venture's 10+ travel partners
- No foreign transaction fees
- No limit on how many miles you can earn
- Rewards don’t expire for the life of the account
- Get up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pres✔®
- Built-in coverage and purchase protections
Best Credit Card For Cash Back
Getting a cash back rewards card is always the default way to go if you can't decide what type of rewards credit card to get. With cash, you get spend it on anything you want without having to keep track of any of the spending categories. Using cash is also a responsible way to pay down your monthly balance.
As a Chase credit card customer for over 10 years, I think the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is the best cash back rewards credit card on the market today.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
If you’re looking for a flexible cash back rewards credit card that isn’t complex, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is it. The 1.5% unlimited cash back rewards percentage is above average, plus the card comes with an introductory $200 bonus offering.
- Great cash back percentage: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- Annual fee: $0
- Sign up bonus: Get a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months
- Bonus cash back categories
- 5% cash back on travel purchased in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal
- 3% cash back dining at restaurants and eligible delivery/takeout
- 3% cash back on eligible drugstore purchases
- Rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.
- 0% APR for the first 15 months
- Credit score needed: good to excellent
- No minimums to redeem for cash back
Best Side Hustle Rewards Credit Card
One of the best things about Millennials is their ability to leverage the internet to earn more money. Today, a job is often not enough to achieve financial freedom given the lack of pension programs and a lack of loyalty. Employees can and will get fired without a moment's notice given the globalization of industries.
I personally side-hustled for three years while working in finance before I decided to permanently leave the working world in 2012. Driving for Uber, blogging, and selling a book on how to negotiate a severance helped give me confidence to retire early and give me something to do.
Today, Financial Samurai is my main hustle that keeps me intellectually stimulated and pay the bills as I raise a family in expensive San Francisco. If you haven't started your own website, I highly encourage you to do so today.
Don't let Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter get rich off you. Get rich off yourself! Here's my step-by-step tutorial on how to start your own website / business.
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
I’ve been a cardholder of the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card since I started Financial Samurai in 2009. I signed up for this card because it had no annual fee and has reliable benefits that helped my business get going. Best of all I’ve earned thousands of dollars in cash back rewards.
Key Credit Card Benefits
- Get $750 cash back if you spend $7,500 in the first three months
- 0% intro APR for the first year on purchases
- Earn 5% cash back on office supplies, internet/cable/phone each year ($25,000 combined limit)
- 2% cash back rewards on gas and restaurants each year ($25,000 combined limit)
- 1% on all other purchases, unlimited rewards
- No annual fee to worry about
- Employee cards are free
- Set personalized account alerts and spending limits for each employee
- Flexible rewards can be redeemed for cash, travel, gift cards, Apple purchases and more
Even More Benefits
- Built-in fraud and purchase protections covering newly bought items for 120 days against damage or theft (up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account).
- As a cardmember you’ll also enjoy extended warranty for eligible purchases, as the card extends the US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year (on eligible warranties of three years or less).
- A final perk of holding the Ink Business Cash Card is that it offers an auto collision damage waiver. Essentially, when you rent a car for business purposes and charge it to this card, you can decline the rental car company’s collision insurance and be covered by the card in the case of theft or collision damage. This is valid on most rentals both in the US and abroad — make sure to check the fine print for more details.
One misconception people have about a business credit card is that you need to own an S-Corp or LLC with an Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). You don’t.
If you’re a freelancer or you have a side gig driving for Uber, for example, you should consider applying. In fact, you don’t need a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) to apply for most business products, since most issuers let you use your Social Security Number instead.
If you're just starting your side hustle or business, the Chase Ink Business Cash Card is the right card for you due to all the benefits and no annual fee.
Save Aggressively, Spend Wisely
You've only got one life to live. Please save aggressively and spend wisely. Never carry a revolving credit card balance due to the high interest rate. Rack up those rewards points and use them to improve your lifestyle.
Pay off Your Debt Faster
If you don’t have enough cash, getting a personal loan from Credible is a good place to start.
Personal loan rates have come down significantly in comparison to the average credit card interest rate. Thus, if you have expensive credit card debt, consider consolidating your debt into a lower interest-rate personal loan.
Credible has the most comprehensive marketplace for personal loans. Up to 11 lenders compete for your business to get you the best rate. Get real personal loan quotes in just two minutes after you fill out an application. Check out Credible today and see how much you could save.
For further suggestions on saving money and growing wealth, check out my Top Financial Products page.
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About the Author: Sam worked in investment banking for 13 years at GS and CS. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $250,000 a year in passive income, most recently helped by real estate crowdfunding. He spends most of his time playing tennis and taking care of his family.
Financial Samurai was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites on the web with over 1.5 million pageviews a month.