Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
4 / 5
$200 statement credit
Annual fee waived for the first year
2 points per $1 spent at Starwood hotels
$95 annual fee starting year two
Ill-suited for financing
The Verdict: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (American Express is a WalletHub partner) is the perfect travel companion for fans of hotel brands such as Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis and the seven other members of Starwood’s luxury lodging portfolio. The most striking feature of this card is the fact that its rewards currency, dubbed “Starpoints,” is worth nearly three times as much as Marriott’s and nearly five times as much as Hilton’s.
All things considered, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express could yield the average person around $1,600 in value over the first two years — according to our calculations — even considering the $95 annual fee that kicks in during year two. However, that assumes use of the card for all purchases, not just for hotel reservations. The card can still be valuable when used more selectively, but infrequent travelers must be careful, as Starpoints expire after 12 months of account inactivity.
Raising a child in America is extremely expensive, costing the average parent over $230k, and health care accounts for a big chunk of the bill. And while more kids are insured today than at any other point in history, the higher coverage rate hasn’t translated to lower health costs for parents. For example, out of pocket costs for patients aged 0 to 18 increased by 18% between 2012 and 2016.
But it’s a different story in every state. WalletHub therefore compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 30 key indicators of cost, quality and access to children’s health care. Our data set ranges from share of children aged 0 to 17 in excellent or very good health to pediatricians and family doctors per capita. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
Eco-friendliness and personal finance are related. Our environmental and financial needs are the same in many areas: providing ourselves with sustainable, clean drinking water and food, for example. We also spend money through our own consumption and taxes in support of environmental security.
In the past year, the U.S. has seen an especially devastating amount of natural disasters. According to National Geographic, 17 storms caused an estimated $200 billion in property damage. Hurricane Maria, for example, left Puerto Rico without power for months and severely hurt the territory’s economy. Experts attribute the high number of hurricanes to unusually warm Atlantic waters, so it’s possible that living more sustainably and using greener energy sources could prevent us from having quite as bad hurricane seasons in the future.
Free credit reports are available from several sources, including WalletHub, which is the first and only website to offer free credit reports and scores that are updated on a daily basis. WalletHub also provides an early-warning system for credit-report changes in the form of 24/7 credit monitoring, plus customized guidance to help you save more money. All you have to do is sign up (it’s 100% free).
Size matters when choosing a city in which to launch a startup. As many veteran entrepreneurs — and failed startups — understand well, bigger is not always better. A city with a smaller population can offer a greater chance of success, depending on an entrepreneur’s type of business and personal preferences.
Every small city offers unique advantages and disadvantages to new business owners. Some benefits include lower overhead costs, stronger relationships with customers and the potential to become a big fish in a little pond. But there are plenty of drawbacks, too. For one, entrepreneurs who want to build a large professional network aren’t likely to make as many connections in a town with fewer residents. Other restrictions might include limited industry options, a less diverse customer base, and difficulty attracting and keeping top talent.
Taking good care of your cash is essential to reaching top WalletFitness®. But with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates from historical lows and the stock market regularly reaching record highs, it’s fair to wonder where to put your money.
To help answer that question, WalletHub analyzed the rates, fees and features associated with more than 2,250 deposit accounts. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs from banks and credit unions across the country. You can check out our findings below.
The Verdict: The Capital One® Savor℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card is the best option for saving money on what you eat, provided you have the good or excellent credit needed for approval (Capital One is a WalletHub partner). Savor gives you 3% cash back at restaurants of all types, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on everything else, in addition to a $150 bonus for spending $500 within three months of account opening. It doesn’t charge an annual fee or a foreign transaction fee, either. In contrast, the average cash rewards card offers just over 1% back on all purchases, plus an initial bonus of about $117.
The Capital One Savor Card also provides several other perks, which are somewhat less impressive yet still important. For example, you can simply “tap to pay” at millions of merchant locations, thanks to an RFID chip embedded in the Savor Card. And you get 0% introductory APRs for new purchases and balance transfers for the first nine months your account is open.
Pennsylvania earned its nickname as the Keystone State for a good reason: it’s an economic, political and social powerhouse that is key to the growth of America. In other words, it has all the elements of a family-friendly state.
Solid ongoing rewards for more than just hotel reservations
No annual fee in the first year
Standard $49 annual fee isn't nothing
Note: This card is no longer open to new applications. Information listed here is accurate as of Apr. 10, 2018.
The Verdict: The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is perhaps the best hotel rewards card on the market, offering attractive benefits capable of satiating the appetites of IHG loyalists and people testing the hotel-affinity waters, at a price point neither group can quarrel with.
Loved by marketers yet vilified by media, millennials are at once the most popular and unpopular generation alive. They’re soon to be the largest, too, giving them a huge influence on American culture and consumption. Today, these early-20-to-early-30-somethings who are often depicted through negative stereotypes — entitled, parentally dependent, emotionally fragile — are responsible for 21 percent of all consumer discretionary spending in the U.S.
And yet, despite their trillion-dollar purchasing power and higher educational attainment, millennials are economically worse off than their parents. Why? The financial crisis remains a big part of the reason. Millennials have come of age and entered the workforce in the shadow of the Great Recession, which has significantly reduced their job prospects and earning potential for decades to come. By one estimate, millennials today earn 20 percent less than Baby Boomers did at the same age.
On April 17, Uncle Sam will once again take his cut of the past year’s earnings. And many taxpayers are already wondering how that will affect their finances. However, since the tax code is so complicated and has rules based on individual household characteristics, it’s hard for the average person to tell. And with a new tax code recently signed into law, next year’s taxes will be quite different.
One simple ratio known as the “tax burden” helps cut through the confusion. Unlike tax rates, which vary widely based on an individual’s circumstances, tax burden measures the proportion of total personal income that residents pay toward state and local taxes. And it isn’t uniform across the U.S., either.
Traveling by plane costs an average of $370 per trip. And choosing the wrong airline has the potential to take even more from us. For instance, 24 animals died during air transportation in 2017, and four major U.S. airlines had at least one pet fatality.
While critical to consider, such factors often fly under the radar due to our focus on price. But finding the cheapest airfare is now quite easy for anyone with an internet connection. So this report examines those other, overlooked aspects of air travel to help consumers make more-informed decisions.
10,000 more bonus miles for spending $25,000 in a year
No foreign transaction fee
$150 annual fee
No initial bonus
The Verdict: The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® is a solid option for frequent travelers with excellent credit who want one card they can keep for years. But this new offer, which Barclays (a WalletHub partner) calls the “Premier Global Travel Card,” has a lot to live up to. Its predecessor, Arrival Plus, was one of the best rewards credit cards for years.
Arrival Premier is making a name for itself by offering a very different value proposition than much of its travel rewards competition. It replaces the big initial bonus common among rewards cards right now with an annual spending bonus. You get 15,000 bonus miles for spending $15,000 in a year, plus another 10,000 points if you spend $25,000. That means you can score $150-$250 in bonus travel each year you use Arrival Premier, as its miles are worth a penny apiece when redeemed for travel statement credits.
After the Great Recession, it became clear that more people needed to learn financial literacy. The housing-market collapse and following financial crisis reminded Americans of our obsession with debt and the dangers of quick access to finances for under-informed consumers.
But how much have we learned since, and what are we doing to help future generations avoid repeating our mistakes?
Credit card companies are the banks and credit unions that issue credit cards to consumers and small business owners. They also service cardholders’ accounts, billing for purchases, accepting payments, distributing rewards and more. Examples of major credit card companies include Bank of America, Barclaycard, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and Wells Fargo. Credit card networks play a different role. They dictate where credit cards can be used, facilitate payment processing at the point of sale and administer secondary credit card benefits, such as rental car insurance, travel insurance and extended warranties. The four major card networks are Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover.
The names of both a credit card’s issuer and its network are listed on the front of the card. The only exceptions are store credit cards, which don’t belong to a card network and can only be used at the retailers they’re affiliated with.
The Verdict: If you’re planning a big balance transfer and have good or excellent credit, you should definitely consider the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card– 21 Month Balance Transfer Offer (Citi is a WalletHub partner). Diamond Preferred doesn’t charge an annual fee and offers 0% on balance transfers for the first 21 months your account is open, as long as you complete the transfer within the first four months. That’s just about the longest 0% term on the market, giving you ample time to get out from under your forthcoming debt before a regular APR takes effect. The bad news is you have to pay a 5% (min $5) balance transfer fee for the pleasure of avoiding interest for 21 months.
Citi Diamond Preferred also offers 0% on new purchases for the first 12 months your account is open. That’s a bit longer than the average 0% card gives you but still nothing special.
The Verdict: You don’t need to be a civil engineer to enjoy Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever. Rather, urban planning jokes aside, you need to have good or excellent credit to qualify and either big-ticket spending in your plans or a significant balance already accruing interest at a high rate in order to benefit. That’s because the Citi Simplicity® Card is most notable for offering 0% introductory interest rates on new purchases and balance transfers for 18 months (Citi is a WalletHub partner).
When you further consider that it does not charge an annual fee, Simplicity clearly is an amazing offer for new-purchase financing and a pretty great way to reduce the cost of existing debt. You just need to make sure to incorporate its 5% (min $5) balance transfer fee into your debt payoff plan.
Stress affects everyone. Although we cannot eliminate stress entirely from our lives, we can minimize it by choosing to live in the least toxic environments. American stress levels have been rising for many demographics since their low point in 2016. Common stressors include the future of America and money, along with uncertainty about health care. But not all demographics are affected in the same way. For example, women’s stress levels rose in the past year while men’s actually dropped.
But certain states have contributed more than others to elevating — or decreasing — stress levels in the U.S. WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 38 key indicators of stress to determine the places to avoid and achieve a more relaxing life. Our data set ranges from average hours worked per week to personal bankruptcy rate to share of adults getting adequate sleep. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and our full methodology.