The 5 best credit cards for parents, according to a father of 2
- Expenses add up quickly when you have children, writes father of two Eric Rosenberg, so you'll want to understand your spending habits to pick a card that offers bonuses where you spend most.
- Only use credit cards if you can pay them off in full each month. Otherwise, the interest costs will probably cost more than the value of the rewards.
- Parents might want to consider cards like the American Express® Gold Card or the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card to earn cash back and points.
- See Business Insider's list of the best rewards credit cards »
If you have kids, the costs of everything from feeding to clothing to medical care for your kids can add up fast. There are many reasons it makes sense to use a credit card when paying for your family's needs. Credit cards can help you manage your cash flow, give you added purchase protection, and, of course, the rewards.
As long as you can pay off the balance in full each month, rewards credit cards can put a ton of value back in your bank account or for discounted travel, whichever you prefer. I have two kids of my own and have two of the cards below myself.
Here are five of my favorite credit cards for parents, with a focus on maximizing your family's spending (whether you want to earn travel rewards or cash back).
Best travel card for foodies: American Express Gold
If you love travel and love food, you'll do well with the American Express Gold card. This card offers an unlimited 4 points per dollar on dining, 4 points per dollar on the first $25,000 per year (then 1x) at US supermarkets, 3 points per dollar on flights booked at airlines or amextravel.com, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Points can add up very quickly depending on your spending habits.
The card comes with an annual airline credit of up to $100 for incidentals like bag fees, upgrade fees, or in-flight meals. It gives you up to $10 back per month (up to $120 per year) at Grubhub, Seamless, and additional participating partner restaurants. Those help offset the $250 annual fee, as do other purchase and travel benefits.
Best for easy travel redemptions: Capital One Venture
Venture from Capital One gives you an unlimited 2 Venture miles per dollar on every purchase. It charges a $95 annual fee, waived the first year. It also covers the cost of your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee, worth up to $100 every four years.
The card has some good travel-focused benefits like primary car rental insurance, travel accident insurance, and more. Miles are worth 1 cent each when redeem to reimburse yourself for travel. You can also transfer miles to one of 15 partner airline programs, though not at a 1:1 ratio. It's always worth comparing partner availability compared to the cost of using your points with the purchase eraser to pick the best redemption for each trip.
Best for simple cash back: Citi® Double Cash Card
For a card with no annual fee, Citi Double Cash packs a lot of punch. It gives you 1% cash back on every purchase and another 1% when you pay your bill. That's an effective 2% cash back on all purchases everywhere you go with no limits.
The card is a little lighter on the benefits, which is typical with no-annual-fee cards. However, 2% back on everything is a great deal no matter how you look at it.
Best for luxury travel: Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Sapphire Reserve credit card from Chase has a big annual fee at $450 per year. However, if you prefer a luxury travel experience, this card delivers. It also comes with a $300 credit on the first $300 in travel purchases per year. That makes the card effectively $150 per year if you would have spent $300 on things like flights or hotels anyway. I have this card myself and love it.
The benefits are huge. It gives you 3 points per dollar on travel and restaurant purchases worldwide (minus the $300 travel credit) and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Points are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel in Chase's portal or you can transfer to partner airlines and hotels at a 1:1 ratio. It offers extensive purchase and travel protections and gives you access to premium travel lounges at airports around the world with an included Priority Pass Select membership.
Best cash-back card for foodies: Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Savor Rewards card from Capital One offers an unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% everywhere else. The card charges a $95 annual fee, waived the first year, but it's easy to see how a busy and hungry family can make that up and more in cash back.
This card also offers some helpful benefits like an automatic extended warranty, travel accident insurance, and a complementary concierge service.
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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.