Best Credit Cards RIGHT NOW – February 2023

Below we list some of the best credit cards on the market right now, with an emphasis on cash back and travel rewards cards:

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressWhy We Like It: Maybe the best rewards credit card for grocery purchases with no annual fee, plus a rare 3% reward for general online purchases. EARN: 3% cash back on groceries at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% cash back on U.S. online retail purchases on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% cash back on gas at U.S. gas stations on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. NEW CARDHOLDER WELCOME BONUS OPPORTUNITY: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. American Express is a ProudMoney advertiser.

 

Citi Custom Cash℠ CardWhy We Like It: No-brainer opportunity to earn 5% cash back in the everyday category you shop most each month, with no annual fee! EARN: 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter and on all other purchases. The 5% eligible categories are: Restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, live entertainment. NEW CARDHOLDER WELCOME BONUS OPPORTUNITY: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.

 

U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card – Why We Like It: Perhaps the best dining rewards credit card on the market, plus strong rewards at grocery stores, gas stations/EV stations, and other everyday purchasing categories. Earn: 4 points per dollar on dining, takeout and restaurant delivery purchases, 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services, gas stations and EV charging stations, 1X point on all other eligible purchases. NEW CARDHOLDER BONUS OPPORTUNITY: Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend at least $1,000 in the first 90 days after opening your account — a $200 value redeemable for cash back as well as travel rewards, gift cards and more.

 

Chase Freedom Flex℠ – Why We Like It: Good everyday earnings, plus the opportunity to earn 5% cash back in certain purchases throughout the year, all with no annual fee! Earn: 5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 3% on drugstore purchases, 1% on all other purchases. NEW CARDHOLDER BONUS OPPORTUNITY: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

 

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit CardWhy We Like It: Offers generous cash back in everyday categories where you are likely to be doing real spending, with no annual fee! Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. EARLY SPEND BONUS: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

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TSA Travel – How Big Is A Quart Size Bag (and what is a Quart Sized Ziploc Bag vs. Gallon Bag)

By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, adam@proudmoney.com

Everyone knows you are limited in how much liquid and other toiletries you can bring in your carry-on baggage, and TSA airport security is going to make you separate that quart size bag from the rest of your luggage for screening. But exactly how big is a quart size bag? Are there strict rules about dimensions? Is a Ziploc bag the only type of bag you can use?

Here’s What TSA Says About Quart Size Bags

Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately: TSA does NOT spell out what a quart size bag actually means.

On the official TSA website, you’ll find the following message:

“You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.”

TSA also has a video about what you can carry on an airplane, and the video calls it a “quart size zip top bag.”

And then there is the illustration on the TSA page of what looks a lot like a Ziploc type bag:

So if you absolutely want to be safe, you could buy quart-size Ziploc bags and use one of those. It says “quart” right on the box so you’ll feel confident it’s the right one:

That said, there is no official standard on what a “quart size zip top” bag is. The Ziploc bag above measures 7 inches by 7 and 7/16 inches. But Target has a quart size bag that measure 7 inches by 8 inches. And Hefty makes a quart sized bag that measures 8 inches by 5 and 11/16 inches. So, the quart size bag dimension controversy rages on. (Not to be dramatic.)

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Best Chase Credit Cards 2023

Chase offers a range of consumer and business credit cards that target different customers based on rewards preferences and credit history. Below we offer our ranking of the “best” Chase credit cards:

Chase Consumer Credit Cards:

Chase Freedom Flex℠ – Why We Like It: Good everyday earnings, plus the opportunity to earn 5% cash back in certain purchases throughout the year, all with no annual fee! Earn: 5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 3% on drugstore purchases, 1% on all other purchases. NEW CARDHOLDER BONUS OPPORTUNITY: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – This $95 annual fee card recently beefed up its rewards (including 3 points per dollar on dining purchases and 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®), making it attractive as an everyday credit card. It’s maybe even more attractive, though, as the foundation to a larger strategy of obtaining multiple Chase cards and combining points to redeem at a 25% premium through Chase’s travel booking site or to get access to Chase travel transfer partners including United, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott and more.

NEW CARDHOLDER BONUS OPPORTUNITY: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. (Worth $750 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.)

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited®Why We Like It: Good cash-back on everyday categories, and a nice “catch all” reward rate on other purchases, with no annual fee. Earn 5% on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel booking tool, 3% on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services), 3% on drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. INTRO OFFER FOR NEW CARDHOLDERS: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). Could be worth up to $300 cash back 👀

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Why Participation Trophies Are Good

By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, adam@proudmoney.com

I just heard another person give the tired rant about how kids are soft from getting participation trophies, how these trophies make them think they’re great when they’re not, how the kids who excelled got shortchanged by getting the same trophies as the kids who were terrible, blah, blah, blah.

I get it.

But I disagree with it. I think participation trophies are good, and I’ll tell you why:

Participation trophies encourage you to try things.

Kids know the best players on their teams. They know who runs the fastest, who scores the most goals. No participation trophy is going to fool them into believing everyone is the same. Kids start measuring themselves against others before they are out of diapers. Any parent could tell you that, assuming they are paying any attention.

The participation trophy isn’t telling kids, “You’re the best.” It’s telling them, “It’s awesome you tried! Keep trying things!” (Even if you didn’t finish first.)

I don’t know the statistics, but I’m sure less than 1/10 of one percent of us will ever be a professional athlete. The other 99.9%+ will compete in the work world, on playing fields where the rules are ever-changing and the “goal” is more than a little fuzzy. (Other than to make money, of course.) For those of us not literally throwing touchdowns, we could use a few more symbolic participation trophies in our lives.

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Instant Approval Credit Cards – Apply, Get Approved, Use Today


(This is a regularly updated post; last update 1/30/23.) If you’ve ever been pitched on opening a new credit card while making a purchase, you know that some stores are more than happy to give you instant credit — apply on the spot, get approved, use the card immediately. Below we offer a list of such cards, including regular bank credit cards as well as retail credit cards. Apply online and get shopping today. (Note that instant approval is not guaranteed.)

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Capital One Premier Collection Hotels List

Below we offer a list of the hundreds of hotels that are part of the Capital One Premier Collection, where Capital One Venture X cardholders can get a $100 “experience credit” (e.g., dining, spa) during your stay as well as free breakfast for two, free WiFi, room upgrades when available, early check-in and late checkout when available, etc. (Exact perks vary by hotel.)

United States

California

  • 1 Hotel – San Francisco
  • Balboa Bay Resort – Newport Beach
  • Hotel Healdsburg – Healdsburg
  • Hotel Per La – Los Angeles
  • Langham Huntington – Pasadena
  • The Madrona – Healdsburg
  • Montage Healdsburg – Healdsburg
  • Montage Laguna Beach – Laguna Beach
  • Pendry San Diego – San Diego
  • Pendry West Hollywood – West Hollywood
  • San Francisco Proper Hotel – San Francisco
  • Santa Monica Proper Hotel – Santa Monica

Colorado

  • The Crawford Hotel – Denver
  • The Oxford Hotel – Denver
  • The Rally Hotel – Denver
  • Viceroy Snowmass – Snowmass Village

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Best 0% APR Credit Cards on Purchases – February 2023

These cards offer a 0% APR on new purchases for as long as 20 months. The list is ranked based on the length of the 0 interest offer, but check details if you want cash back or travel rewards as well, because not every card listed has them! (Also see our Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards List if you want to transfer a balance with zero interest.)

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card0% APR Offer: 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 18 billing cycles. After that, 18.74% to 28.74% based on your creditworthiness when you open your account. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. No annual fee.

 

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card0% APR Offer: Introductory rate of 0% for 15 months from the date of account opening on purchases. After the introductory period ends, a variable APR of 18.24% – 28.24%, based on your creditworthiness.

AND MUCH MORE: No-brainer opportunity to earn 5% cash back in the everyday category you shop most each month, with no annual fee! EARN: 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter and on all other purchases. The 5% eligible categories are: Restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, live entertainment. NEW CARDHOLDER WELCOME BONUS OPPORTUNITY: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.

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What is my tax bracket? 2022-2023 Federal Tax Brackets and How Marginal Tax Rates Work

Below we offer two tables of Federal income tax brackets for the tax year 2022. (These are the brackets that will be used for the tax return that you file in 2023.) The tables also show what you may expect to pay based on your Taxable Income, which is found on Line 15 of your Form 1040 tax return. Look below the tables for a further explanation of how your taxes are calculated, because the U.S. uses a marginal tax rate system that means it’s not as simple as multiplying your income by your tax bracket to estimate your taxes!

If you will file as a Single Taxpaper:

 

If your taxable income is… Your tax bracket is… Your taxes due will be…
$1 – $10,275 10% 10% of your taxable income
$10,276 – $41,775 12% $1027.50 + 12% of the amount over $10,275
$41,776 – $89,075 22% $4807.50 + 22% of the amount over $41,775
$89,076 – $170,050 24% $15,213.50 + 24% of the amount over $89,075
$170,051 – $215,950 32% $34,647.50 + 32% of the amount over $170,050
$215,951 – $539,900 35% $49,335.50 + 35% of the amount over $215,950
$539,901 or higher 37% $162,718 + 37% of the amount over $539,900

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Does the American Express Gold Card have Priority Pass?

The American Express® Gold Card does not include Priority Pass or other airport lounge access. (At least this is true for the U.S. American Express® Gold Card — there are other Amex Gold versions in other countries that do offer limited Priority Pass memberships.)

Amex Gold Doesn’t, but The Amex Platinum Does

If you want Priority Pass as well as access to other airport lounges, The Platinum Card® from American Express is the way to go. It offers the Global Lounge Collection, which includes Priority Pass Select as well as the American Express Centurion network of lounges, Delta Sky Club lounges (when flying Delta), and more. (Amex says there are over 1400 airport lounges in the Global Lounge Collection.)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express also offers the same Global Lounge Collection, with access to Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Select, etc.

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Best Mortgage Rates – January 2023

Below you’ll find a list of the best current mortgage rates in the United States, based on rates published on the Web sites of direct mortgage lenders, with no teaser rates from mortgage brokers. For our purposes, this means the best rates on a 30-year fixed-rate home loan. (Rates change daily; be sure to check each site to confirm the lender’s current rate.)

In compiling this list, we look at the APR, which takes into account both the interest rate of the mortgage and any points you might pay to get it. Keep in mind that points are paid up front, and each “point” that you pay is equal to 1% of the mortgage amount. Also keep in mind that rates change every day, so this is just a starter list — be sure to go to each lender’s site for their current rates.

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