Confused about which card will score you the most perks and points? You’re not alone. REAL SIMPLE. REAL LIFE. financial expert Farnoosh Torabi helped get Rachel Vize’s finances in order. Here are her picks for plastic.

By Real Simple
Updated October 27, 2008
James Baigrie

Best Low-Rate/Low-Fee Cards

Recommended for: People who want the freedom to carry a balance on their card without being charged up the wazoo.

With 0% APR the first year and then 8.9% APR and up to $20,000 spending limit, this card is a great bet for those with already-good credit.

This card offers 0% APR for the first year, plus all the usual AmEx perks (purchase protection, etc.) with the option to pay every month or carry a balance.

Best Cards for Getting Cash Back

Recommended for: Those who prefer to use plastic for the majority of their purchases, plan to pay off their balance in full each month, and crave cold hard cash over other perks.

This card gives you 1% cash back on every regular dollar you spend, and 2% cash back for every dollar spent at gas stations and major grocery stores.

Offers a range of cash back options, starting at 1% for regular purchases and topping out at 20% for online purchases made through its site, Shop Discover.

Best Cards for Saving on Gas

Recommended for: Gas-guzzlers who primarily want to use their card at the pump.

You’ll receive a 6% rebate on all the gas you buy in the first three months, and a 3% rebate after that.

Use this card at Hess filling stations and you’ll get a 10% rebate during the first 90 days, and 5% from there on out.

Best Cards for Air Miles

Recommended for: Very frequent fliers who don’t tend to carry a balance on their cards, since interest rates can be on the higher side.

If you’re a fan of the airline, this card is a great way to rack up points that can be redeemed for free tickets; for every $200 spent, you’ll get one “TrueBlue” mileage point―and they don’t expire.

Want the freedom to fly any old airline? This card, which has no annual membership fee, credits you 1.25 miles for every dollar spent towards the fleet of your choice. Bonus: There are no blackout dates or seat restrictions, and the mileage never expires.

Tip: Make sure that your credit card offers you a spending limit that you won’t be bumping up against―if you’re using more than 30% of the allotted amount, it will start to affect the health of your credit score.