Find the best credit card for your New Year’s resolution

Make sticking to your resolutions easier this year with the right rewards card

Best cards for your New Year's Resolution

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We’ve finally made it to 2019, and you might be thinking about your goals for this new year. Unfortunately, sticking to our New Year’s resolutions seems much more difficult than making them. While the momentum of a new start can encourage a few weeks or months of positive changes, it is difficult to find long term motivations. This year, you can let your credit cards serve as the extra push you need to form new habits.

Whether you want to eat healthier, cook more, lose weight, travel or spend more time with family and friends, there is a card that can help you achieve your goals – and earn a bit more while you do.

Here’s some of our favorite rewards cards for five of the most popular new year’s resolutions.

Best rewards cards for cooking more often

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to start spending less on eating out and more time cooking your own meals. Maybe you’re ready to try out some of those recipe videos you’ve saved, or maybe your wallet just needs a break from delivery fees. Either way, a card with bonus points on groceries can help you earn more rewards while sticking to your goal.

With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you can earn 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year), saving you quite a bit on ingredients while you try new recipes. The Discover it® Cash Back card allows cardholders to earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate from Jan. to Mar. 2019. The Discover card also has a great sign-up bonus, which matches all the cash back you earn in the first year.

 

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Discover it Cash Back
Discover it® Cash Back

Rewards rate

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply
  • Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Introductory bonus

  • $200 if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
  • Terms apply
Matches cash back earned at the end of the first year

Annual fee

$95
$0

Estimated yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend)

$371
$351

Best rewards cards for exercising or losing weight

Resolving to exercise more regularly or lose that extra holiday weight seems to be pretty common. However, this can be one of the hardest New Year’s resolutions to stick to. Developing new habits is difficult – but might be a bit easier if you are earning great rewards along the way.

Rewards cards that offer bonus points or cash back on gym memberships are not quite as common, but there are still some great options. The World of Hyatt Credit Card, for example, offers 2 points per dollar on fitness clubs and gym memberships.

Another good choice is the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card. It comes with a 2 percent cash back bonus category that lets users choose from rotating categories, often including gym memberships. The card also lets users choose two categories to earn 5 percent cash back, including sporting goods and department store purchases. These are both a great way to stock up on the clothes and equipment you need to reach your goal.

 

World of Hyatt card
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
U.S. Bank Cash+
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Rewards rate

  • 4 points per dollar on Hyatt hotel purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on restaurants, directly purchased airfare, local transit, commuting and gym and fitness club memberships
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • 5% cash back on 2 categories of your choice ($2,000 purchase limit per quarter)
  • 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category
  • 1% cash back on other purchases

Sign-up bonus

  • Earn up to 50,000 bonus points - 25,000 if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
  • Additional 25,000 points if you spend $6,000 total in first 6 months
$150 if you spend $500 in first 90 days

Annual fee

$95
$0

Estimated yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend)

$730
$265

Best rewards cards for spending more time with friends and family

If you are trying to dedicate more time to your family and friends this year, consider a card with rewards on the kind of activities you can do together. Whether it’s simply sharing a meal together or visiting a theme park, you can be rewarded for your purchases.

Several rewards cards offer bonus points for entertainment – a broad category which can include purchases such as movie, concert or sporting event tickets. Combining bonus points or cash back on these purchases with rewards for dining out can help get you more for the time you spend with loved ones.

Here’s a quick breakdown of two of our favorite cards with bonus rewards on dining and entertainment.

 

Capital One Savor
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Citi Premier
Citi Premier℠ Card

Rewards rate

  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • 3 points per dollar on travel, including gas
  • 2 points per dollar on restaurants and entertainment
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases

Sign-up bonus

$500 if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
50,000 ThankYou® points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Annual fee

$95, waived first year
$95, waived first year

Estimated yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend)

$390
$413

The Citi Premier also comes with Citi® Private Pass®, which gets you exclusive access to presale tickets and VIP packages to concerts, sporting events, movie screenings and more.

Best rewards cards for travel

If 2019 is the year you finally take the trip you’ve been dreaming about, there are all sorts of rewards cards to help you get there. To help build up the budget for your dream vacation, consider a travel card with a large sign up bonus.

 

Spark Miles card
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Spark Miles Select card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rewards rate

  • 10 miles per dollar on hotel rooms booked and paid through hotels.com/venture
  • 2 miles per dollar on other purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on travel and restaurant purchases
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases

Sign-up bonus

50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Annual fee

$95, waived first year
$95, waived first year

Estimated yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend)

$447
$391

Both of these cards include generous introductory offers, with the Sapphire Preferred card’s valuing up to $625 toward your next travel purchase. No matter which fits better with your everyday spending, you’ll have enough for your next trip in no time.

See Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture: Which card is best for you?

Best rewards cards for eating better

Another popular New Year’s resolution is to improve your diet or eat better. There are plenty of great nutrition plans to help you reach this goal, but you can also find credit cards that reward a new diet.

If eating better is a top priority for you this year, you might find yourself spending a bit more on food than you’re used to. By taking advantage of bonus points or cash back on dining and groceries, you can earn a bit more in rewards to make up for that.

The American Express® Gold Card and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card are both great options for those looking to earn more rewards on all food purchases.

 

American Express Gold card
American Express® Gold Card
Amazon Prime Rewards card
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card

Rewards rate

  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year, then 1X
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • Terms apply
  • 5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases
  • 2% back on restaurant, gas station and drug store purchases
  • 1% back on other purchases

Introductory bonus

  • 25,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months
  • For cardholders who apply by Jan. 9, 2019: 20% discount issued as a statement credit for U.S. restaurant purchases in first 3 months (up to $100 back)
$70 Amazon.com gift card when you sign up

Annual fee

$250
$0 ($119 Amazon Prime membership required)

Estimated yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend)

$380
$305

Bottom line

No matter what your new year’s resolution is, it is easy to get rewarded for sticking to your guns. Make 2019 your best year yet by using bonus categories to motivate spending where you want it.

See Related: Rewards credit cards resolutions for the New Year, Looking ahead to credit card bonus categories in 2019


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Updated: 01-17-2019