5 Credit Cards Every 50-Year-Old Should Consider
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Let me start by saying there is no one-size-fits-all credit card strategy, even for people who are the same age. Spending habits will vary from person to person, and that affects which credit cards are right for you. That being said, there are credit cards with bonus categories and benefits well suited to those in their 50s.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. Points are worth a flat 1 cent per point (both in the eyes of Bank of America and according to TPG valuations), meaning you’re getting $500 in value from these points.
Annual fee: $95
Rewards: The BoA Premium Rewards card has a unique rewards structure. You’ll earn 2x points on dining and travel purchases, plus 1.5x points on all other spending. Most cards offer either a flat-rate rewards structure (oftentimes at 1.5x points or 1.5% cash back) or bonus categories. It’s rare to see a card that offers bonus categories and a base earning rate more than 1x points or 1% cash back.
Other benefits: The card comes with travel protections plus access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection and the Visa Signature Concierge service. You’ll get up to $100 in statement credits for airline incidental expenses annually, plus up to a $100 statement credit for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee every four years. Loyal Bank of America customers can also receive additional benefits through the Preferred Rewards program.
Who should apply: If you have more than $20,000 in qualifying combined balances in Bank of America banking, Merrill investment accounts, this is definitely a card worth considering. The Preferred Rewards program offers benefits in three tiers — Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors — based on a three-month average combined balance in Bank of America and Merrill accounts. You could earn up to 75% more points on every purchase with Platinum Honors, which would mean earning 3.5x points on travel and 2.62x points on everything else. Preferred Rewards also comes with additional benefits like savings interest rate boosters, waived account fees and more.
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Welcome bonus: Earn a $300 bonus after you spend $3,000 within the first three months of account opening.
Annual fee: $95
Rewards: You’ll earn 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services, 3% cash back at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target) and 1% cash back everywhere else. Capital One has broad definitions for what qualifies for dining and entertainment, making this rewards structure even more lucrative. Whether you’re a fan of sporting events, theatre or even bowling, you can take advantage of 4% cash back. The dining category includes both dine-in and carry-out as well.
Other benefits: Through January 2023, you’ll earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats, which offers tickets for sporting events, concerts and theater shows. You’ll also receive access to purchase and travel protections, including extended warranty protection and travel accident insurance. The card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which makes it perfect for maximizing rewards on entertainment when you’re on vacation outside the US.
Who should apply: The Capital One Savor is extremely versatile in that pretty much everyone can find value with the card. Are you a sports fan? You’ll earn 4% cash back on tickets (and 4% cash back on dinner before or after the game). Enjoy taking your kids or grandkids or nieces and nephews to the zoo or out bowling? Both of those also fall under entertainment and earn 4% cash back. If you’re spending just $198 on dining or entertainment each month, you’re already offsetting the cost of the annual fee. Just keep in mind that Capital One only allows you to have two personal cards at once, and you can only apply for one new Capital One card (including both personal and business cards) every six months.
The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
Welcome bonus: Earn $200 bonus after spending $500 in their first three months.
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: After the first year, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on purchases.
Other benefits: You’ll get purchase protection and extended warranty protection, both of which are among the benefits being cut across Citi’s cards. The card also offers 0% intro APR for the first 15 months of account opening on purchases and balance transfers (14.99% – 24.74% variable APR after the intro period ends).
Who should apply: I am a strong believer that everyone needs at least one flat-rate cash back card in their wallet to maximize the purchases that don’t fall under other bonus categories. The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great choice for this, especially if you have other Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. When you pair the Freedom Unlimited with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your rewards can be redeemed for 1.25 cents through Chase’s travel portal. If you have the Reserve, you can redeem those rewards for 1.5 cents each.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening. Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each based on TPG valuations, meaning this welcome bonus could be worth as much as $2,000.
Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees)
Rewards: Earn 5x points on flights booked through Amex Travel or directly through the airline (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5x points on hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1x points on everything else.
Other benefits: The perks that come with the Amex Platinum are what ultimately set it apart from the rest. You’ll receive up to $200 in airline incidental fee credits, up to $200 of Uber Cash credits, up to $100 of Saks Fifth Avenue credits and up to $100 in statement credits (every four years) for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. Additionally, you’ll get access to The Hotel Collection and Global Lounge Collection, plus automatic Gold elite status at Hilton and Marriott. The card comes with purchase protections, including extended warranty and return protection. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Who should apply: If you’re looking to travel in style, this is the card for you. The Amex Platinum offers some amazing luxury perks, and those perks alone more than offset the cost of the annual fee when you take full advantage of them. Lounge access can help you decompress while you’re at the airport, and elite status at both Hilton and Marriott can greatly improve your hotel stays. If you fly enough throughout the year to justify that annual fee, the Amex Platinum should have a slot in your wallet.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
Welcome bonus: Get 40,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this online offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account. TPG values Alaska miles at 1.8 cents each, making the bonus miles from this bonus worth up to $720.
Annual fee: $75
Rewards: You’ll get 3x miles per dollar spent on eligible Alaska Airline purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases. Most other cobranded airline credit cards only offer 2x miles/points for airline purchases, so this is one way Alaska sets itself apart from the competition.
Other benefits: Most notably, cardholders get Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) every year on their account anniversary. Additionally, you’ll get free checked bags for you and up to six other guests, 20% back on inflight purchases and 50% off Alaska Lounge day passes.
Who should apply: If you frequently fly Alaska (or with its partners) you can get a lot of value out of this card. Alaska miles are hard to earn and very valuable, and the card itself comes with some great perks. Alaska isn’t a member of one of the three major alliances, but its lineup of individual partners includes Cathay Pacific, Qantas and more. Add in the ability to book stopovers on one-way trips with Alaska (including those made with a partner-operated flight) and this card becomes a no-brainer for any frequent flier.
Other Cards to Consider
This is a solid list of cards that will be beneficial to most frequent travelers in their 50s, but there is always the possibility other cards might make a better fit for your specific spending and travel habits.
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card is a great choice if you fly with Alaska or its partners. However, you might find more value with other cobranded airline cards if you wouldn’t use the perks the Alaska Airlines Visa offers. Delta and American Express have a solid lineup of cards available for both personal use and small business owners, including the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. Whether you’re loyal to JetBlue, United, American, Southwest or even Hawaiian Airlines, there are options available to help you maximize both your rewards and your experiences while in the air.
All of the major hotel brands also have credit cards available, and many of them offer perks such as automatic elite status, fourth-night-free awards and more. Fans of Marriott have a full lineup of cards to choose from, ranging from the no annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card to the luxury Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Those who are more loyal to Hilton also have multiple card options. Plus, top travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum allow point transfers to Marriott and Hilton, making their cobranded cards great complements to your general travel card.
If you spend a sizable portion of your budget on gas and groceries each month, you may want a card that caters to those categories over (or in conjunction with) the dining out and entertainment categories offered by the Savor. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is an excellent option whether you live in the suburbs or the city — the card will earn bonus cash back at US supermarkets, US gas stations, on transit and on select US streaming services.
Parents who are housing college kids during the summer but have different spending habits in the fall and winter might want to look at a card that lets you choose your bonus categories each month or quarter. The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card and Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card both allow cardholders to choose which categories earn cash back, so you can cater your rewards to your spending habits throughout the year.
The information for the U.S. Bank Cash+ card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
While it’s impossible to give a definitive list of the cards every person in their 50s should have, there are a few cards that lend themselves to the spending categories common among many 50-year-olds. As long as you’re choosing cards that make sense for your lifestyle and offer you bonus rewards across as many of your purchases as possible, you’ll be in good shape.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
Updated on 11/3/21.
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TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $2,000
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber Cash annually (only for use in the U.S.) (Enrollment required for select benefits)
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
- American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
- $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
- $695 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees