Smart Rewards Cards for Back to School Expenses

Ask any ten year-old about the back to school blues and odds are, you’re going to see a sudden change in his face; kids hate the end of the summer and what it means. Ask any parent about those back to school expenses and you’ll get the same reaction; they too hate what it means. It’s just the “it” parents and kids dread are slightly different.

We might not can show a kid the way to stretch his summer vacation through Christmas, but we can provide their parents with some of the more attractive rewards credit cards that will surely offset the back to school expenses. First, we take a look at an impressive credit card that is ideal for Moms and Dads sending their college students off.

Visa Chase Freedom

Between July and the end of September, card holders earn a whopping 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent on gas, hotel and airline purchases. This really is an added benefit for homesick college kids and of course, the many trips made during the move. Plus, spend $500 in your first three months and you’ll earn $200 bonus cash back. Each new quarter, new categories open up that qualify for the 5% cash back and activating this bonus is a breeze.

Want to shop for back to school clothes online? Do your shopping through the Chase network and earn an additional 10% cash back. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1% cash back. Don’t worry about your cash back rewards expiring; they never do. The cherry on top of this offer is the absence of an annual fee – most definitely a crucial consideration for parents watching their bank accounts.

American Express Blue Cash

First, you’re not going to have to pay an annual fee, this alone makes it an offer worth considering. Plus, you’ll also enjoy a 3% rebate when you purchase gas and pay at the pump and while shopping for groceries. Another 2% cash back is applied for all those school clothes you purchase and dinners at participating restaurants. All other purchases earn you 1% in cash back. An intro 0% APR for the first twelve months for purchases saves money, too. While there are no bonus cash back categories, many consumers appreciate the straight forward program that lets them know exactly how much they’re earning.

Discover Open Road

This credit card has been ranked #1 in customer loyalty for fifteen years – and for good reason. It’s heavily focused on customer satisfaction, including 24/7 access to an account manager with sixty seconds of your call. There are no rewards fees and you can easily add an additional card for your student at no additional cost. No worries about how much your rewards redemption fee is, either – it’s always at no cost. Your very first purchase earns you a complimentary $150 gift certificate.

Perfect timing for hungry college students, no doubt. You’ll also enjoy an intro 0% APR for both purchases and balance transfers that’s good for an entire year. No annual fee and complimentary online services, such as budgeting and other tools. Plus, Discover has recently incorporated special account numbers online to ensure complete fraud protection. If by chance your card is stolen or lost, you face no liabilities at all.

With nearly $7.4 billion spent in school clothes during the 2010 back to school season, along with more than $2 billion spent in college bookstores, it’s clear this is the season that causes a lot of sleepless nights for parents and for those who are seeing their little ones head off to school for the first time. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 55 million kids in kindergarten to high schools last year. Couple this with the demand for the latest tennis shoes or handbags, and of course, the always present cell phones, Mom and Dad are definitely feeling the pinch.

And for those parents who are watching their not-so-little-ones head off to college for the first time, it’s little wonder many are left feeling overwhelmed. The least of your worries, however, should be how you’re going to pay those clothing, books and supplies tabs. With any of these credit card offers, your burden has just been eased to some degree. Be sure to read the terms and conditions closely so that you’re taking advantage of every benefit.

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