Which credit card to use for a big purchase

Do you plan to spring for a shiny appliance, fancy new furniture or a pricy gadget?

Instead of impulsively reaching for the top card in your wallet or signing up for a store-financing deal at the register, take the time to assess your finances — and pick a credit card that helps you rack up rewards and protect your investment.

Follow these five strategies for making a big credit card purchase pay off:
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Experts confess their travel-rewards mistakes

One of our own staff members just confessed to burning his American Airlines miles at Points.com (at half a cent per mile) for gift cards several years ago. And that got us wondering which bloopers other reward experts have made.

We reached out to four of the savviest rewards-bookers in the business to find out which mistakes still have them wishing for a rewards do-over. Read more

Get $15 back when you use your Marriott card with Apple Pay

Photo courtesy of Verifone

Want a relatively easy way to get a $15 rebate?

A limited-time partnership (May 15 to June 15, 2017) between the Chase Marriott card and three mobile payment apps (Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Apple Pay) lets you do that, and you don’t have to jump through too many hoops. Read more

How to use your first job to build great credit

The good news is you recently graduated from college and landed your first job. Unfortunately, your credit history is scant, and this can be as challenging a financial hurdle as having poor credit—because the absence of credit makes building positive credit difficult. Yet building credit after college is an essential step toward a secure financial future.

“Building credit goes beyond your student loans,” says Kevin Gallegos, credit expert and vice president of Phoenix operations with Freedom Financial Network. “Now that you’re officially in the real world, you’ll realize building and maintaining a healthy credit score is essential for landlords, insurance companies, employers and utility companies to approve your applications.”

Luckily, you can use your new employment status to your credit-building advantage. Read more

Are you ready for a high-annual-fee luxury credit card?

Last summer, premium cards grabbed the spotlight when the $450-a-year Chase Sapphire Reserve made its big debut. Due to high demand, the company ran out of metal cards in the first few weeks and had to issue temporary plastic ones to new cardholders. In May, U.S. Bank got into the premium-card game with its $400-a-year Altitude Reserve.

Premium cards, which dangle benefits like airport lounge access and travel credits, also come with a high price tag – upwards of $400 per year. Partly for that reason, they’re sometimes portrayed as ridiculous, but they’re not, says Gilbert Ott, creator of the travel and miles blog God Save the Points.

“Depending on your travel patterns they can mean major savings, far greater than the annual fee, but it’s all geared to travel,” he says.

Still, these costly cards are not for everyone, so think it through before you apply. Read more