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What’s the Best Credit Card for Outdoor Enthusiasts?

Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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What's the best credit card for outdoor enthusiasts?

If communing with nature is your favorite way to spend the weekend, you’re in luck. Not only is fall the perfect time of year to get outdoors, the Nerds have a few credit card suggestions that will reward you handsomely for the things you need to enjoy your favorite hobby.

Take a look at our top picks below:

If you need a lot of outdoor gear: Rei Mastercard

The Nerds rarely recommend retail credit cards, but if you spend a lot on outdoor gear and want to take advantage of REI’s legendary, no-questions-asked return policy, opting for the Rei Mastercard might be a good choice.

With this card, you’ll earn 5% back on all your purchases made at REI and 1% back on purchases made elsewhere. That’s a very high rewards rate for your REI spending, and nothing to sneeze at for your non-REI purchases, too. Plus, the card’s annual fee is $0.

You must be a member of REI’s rewards program to get the card, which requires a one-time $20 donation, but the rewards you earn with the card are on top of the bonus you’re already getting as a member. Usually, this is 10% of your eligible purchases, paid out as an annual dividend.

That brings us to the one big drawback of the card: You can only redeem your rewards (those earned with the card and those you’ve built up as a rewards program member) once per year. But this could make for a pretty killer annual shopping spree to upgrade your gear, or replace items that you’ve lost to wear and tear. All in all, if you’re an REI devotee, this might be a good card to add to your portfolio.

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If you do a lot of camping: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

If camping is your favorite outdoor activity, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is a great choice. With it, you’ll earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend. Since each mile is worth $.01, you’re scoring a 2% rewards rate with this card. You’ll also get 5% of your miles back when you redeem.

Aside from stellar earning power, another feature that makes the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® special is how you can redeem those rewards. You simply book your travel with the card, however you normally would, then pay yourself back with your miles in the form of a statement credit. This level of flexibility is hard to find in a world of co-branded travel cards.

What’s more, you can redeem for a wide range of travel options, include airfare, hotels and campgrounds. This means that whether you’re planning a long-distance camping trip or one that’s right in your hometown, the rewards you’ll earn with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® can cover all or part of the fees.

To get you started, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® will provide a nice sign-up bonus: Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase. Keep in mind that its annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $89. But with all the great perks this card offers, this is probably a small price to pay.

If your adventures keep you on the road a lot: Chase Freedom®

If you’re a city person who craves outdoor adventures to get away from the hustle and bustle, you probably have to drive a fair distance to find a spot remote enough to truly unwind. In this case, you’ll want a card that provides good rewards on gas, and the Chase Freedom® definitely fits the bill.

With it, you’ll earn 5% back in rotating quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter. Plus, you’ll get unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Gas stations have historically been featured as a 5% bonus category at least one quarter per year. This will go far toward getting you on the road faster for your next biking, hiking or backpacking trip.

The Chase Freedom® charges an annual fee of $0 and even provides a small sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. All in all, there’s a lot to love about this card. Keep it in mind for the drive to all your outdoor excursions.


Hiking image via Shutterstock.