Think getting paid to shop sounds like a fantasy? Maybe, but it can be your dream come true -- if you use credit cards with the best rewards.
ShopSmart magazine reviewed the cards that are available to consumers, and "Good Morning America" consumer correspondent Elisabeth Leamy appeared on this morning's show to share the magazine's findings.
Here are ShopSmart magazine's picks for cards that give cash back, airline miles and points rewards.
Click HERE to visit ShopSmart magazine.
Q: Which card is the best to use if you want cash back for groceries, gas and drugstore items?
A: The American Express Blue Cash. After $6,500 in annual spending, you get 5 percent cash back at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations, and 1.25 percent cash back for purchases elsewhere.
Q: Which card is best for travel miles?
A: The Capital One Venture. This card rewards you with 2 miles for every $1 that's spent. If you spend $1,000 in the first three months of getting the card, you'll get 10,000 miles, and the $59 annual fee is waived for the first year. It carries a 13.9 percent APR.
Q: What's the best card for people who love to shop?
A: Fidelity Rewards American Express. This card gives you 2 points for each $1 that you spend and you don't need a brokerage account to have the card. You will need a brokerage account redeem points for cash deposits. It carries a 13.99 percent APR.
Q: How can I choose the card that's right for me?
A: Here are a few tips: Watch out for sneaky fees. About 20 percent of credit cards have annual fees, which can offset your rewards. None of the cards selected by ShopSmart charges an annual fee in the first year, but you should be on alert for fees for balance transfers, cash advances and foreign transactions.
Q: When I'm thinking about selecting a rewards card, should I go for points or cash rewards?
A: Go for cash. With cash back cards, you don't have to calculate the value of the reward. You may also be less tempted to spend point on items you don't need at the card issuer's online malls.
Q: Should I look for a rewards card at a store where I shop all the time?
A: You should definitely get paid for loyalty. See whether our favorite retailer has a good rewards program. For example, Amazon.com's rewards Visa card doesn't have an annual fee and it pays you $30 within days of your first purchase. You'll get 3 points for every $1 you spent at Amazon, 2 points for every $1 you spend at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores, and 1 point for every other dollar that you spend. Points are unlimited, never expire and may be converted to cash.
Q: Are there limits to some of the rewards?
A: Make sure you check for the fine print gotchas. There may be clauses in the card contract that could diminish your rewards. For example, Discover pays only 0.25 percent rewards at discount or warehouse stores -- including Walmart -- rather than its standard 1 percent back.
The Chase Freedom card rotates its 5 percent bonus categories each quarter and you have to opt in every quarter to get those rewards. Other cards might cut off your rewards after you reach a cap in monthly spending in a certain category, such as gas or restaurants.
Not all points are created equal. A certain number of points on one card may not get you the same kind of rewards as the same number of points on another card would.
Here are some other cards ShopSmart reviewed:
American Express Costco True Earnings: Three percent cash back at gas stations, restaurants (for up to $3,000 of spending at gas stations, then falls to 1 percent), 2 percent on travel, 1 percent elsewhere. There's no annual fee with a Costco membership. Otherwise, the APR is 0% for 6 months and 15.24 percent after.
Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards: Two percent cash back on gas and at major grocery stores, 1 percent back on everything else. Rewards don't expire and may be redeemed at anytime, and there's no balance transfer fee. (0 percent APR until March 2011, then 14.9 percent after).
Chase Freedom: Five percent cash back in rotating seasonal categories such as gas, groceries, home improvement, and 1 percent on all other purchases. Cash back points never expire. (0% APR for six months, then 12.99 to 22.99 percent after).
Penfed Premium Travel Rewards American Express: You earn 5 points for every dollar spent on airfare, 3 points for each dollar spent on dining and hotels until Dec. 31, 2010, and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere. There a 20,000-point sign-up offer when you spend $650 in the first three months. There's no foreign transaction fee. Military families join for free and others pay a one-time fee of $20. (13.24 percent APR).
Penfed Visa Platinum Cashback Rewards: Five percent cash back on gas purchases paid at the pump, 2 percent at supermarkets and 1 percent elsewhere. Military families join for free and others pay a one-time $20 fee.