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NFL Fans: Draft a Credit Card Wisely, Score Game-Day Rewards

July 6, 2020
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

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Pigskin fans, take note: It’s possible to get a credit card that behaves like a football rewards card, whether you like to cheer from the stands or shout from your couch.

How’s how to draft a card that suits your spending, depending on the kind of fan you are.

» MORE: Is the NFL Extra Points Credit Card right for you?

The road warrior

You hoard your vacation days for away games and your frequent flyer miles to get there. You could use a card that earns you extra rewards for going the distance. Consider the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which earns 2 miles for every dollar you spend.

The card also comes with a juicy sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. You could use it to pay for that flight to Green Bay, Wisconsin, or to cover those hotels in Jacksonville, Florida. There are no airline or hotel blackout dates.

Redeeming rewards can be done either through the Capital One travel portal or by requesting a statement credit toward the cost of your trip.

The annual fee is $95, so you can try it out for a season to see whether it deserves top-of-wallet status.

The bar regular

For you, paradise is multiple screens flashing multiple fields. You crave the companionship of fellow home-team fans, with a side of nachos and a nice cold brew. Your football spending is mostly on drinks, finger foods and a way home from your favorite game-day watering hole.

If this sounds like you, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could be your ticket to big rewards. It earns 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel (you’ll earn a total of 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022), and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

Parking garage fees, taxis, transit and rideshares all count as travel with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, so however you choose to get to and from your preferred barstool or booth, this card has you covered.

Plus, points earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card take on a 25% increase in value when used to book travel through the card’s portal. So buying a round for everyone this week could help get you around on your next trip — maybe even to the playoffs, if you can peel yourself away from the sports pub.

The card’s annual fee is $95, so you can try it on for size this season. It also offers the following sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. That could be something to cheer about, too.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for entertainment spending

The couch potato

On any given Sunday, there’s a you-shaped indent in the sofa. You’ve got one hand in a bowl of something crunchy and salty, and the other on the remote. Friends and family know that your fridge is stocked, the snacks are abundant and your eyes are glued to the big screen.

If you’re filling your shopping cart to the brim every week with munchies and libations to keep you company at kickoff, you might as well earn some cash back for it.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express pays 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms apply. If you spend at least $31 a week at the supermarket, it’s worth the annual fee of $95. Beyond groceries, the card also earns 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including such things as taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains and buses), and 1% back on other purchases. Terms apply. It also comes with a welcome offer: a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. That could help cover the cost of plastering team logos and memorabilia all over your den.

The casual observer

Ultimately, you don’t have a particular way you spend your money when it comes to football season. As long as you can see the game, it’s not a big deal where you watch it. Sometimes, you’ll watch at home, other times at a bar or friend’s place. You may even splurge for tickets if the spirit moves you.

You could benefit from a general purpose flat-rate rewards card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. The card pays 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you buy, and 1% when you pay the bill. So whether you choose to stay in and order a pizza or chip in on a tailgate extravaganza before the big game, you can still earn solid rewards.

Game on.

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