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See grandkids, or the Grand Prix! Best credit cards for retirees

By , CardRatings contributor
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Best credit cards for retirees

Ah, retirement. Time to trade the jacket and tie or laptop-sized shoulder bag for new life goals, with a healthy dose of relaxation and maybe a little travel. You're looking at a lot of changes in your future--new schedule, new hobbies, and changes in how you save and spend. It's a good time to compare credit cards to find the best credit card deals that match your life's new needs.

Best card for seeing the world

Been dreaming of a voyage across the Atlantic or the Pacific? Or a front-row seat at the Grand Prix? Whether your dreams include London, Beijing or Monaco, you know that foreign travel can be pricey. It may be fun to drop some yuan on bird's nest soup, but it's less appealing to lose a bit of every greenback to foreign transaction fees. Many credit cards charge you these fees every time you make a purchase abroad, and those 2- to 3-percent dings each time can add up.

But not with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which charges no foreign transaction fees when using the card abroad. Need help with travel costs? You'll also earn 2X miles on every purchase, with no limit and no expiration date. When you spend $3,000 on purchases on the card within the first three months, you can earn a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles equal to $400 in travel. There are no blackout dates on travel. The card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year; $59 after that.

Best cards for cross-country travel

Of course there's plenty to see in your own backyard, whether it's the Grand Canyon or your brand-new grandchild. If you're planning to focus on domestic travel, consider a couple of cards with good perks for local destinations.

  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. If you foresee a lot of hotel rooms in your future and are comfortable with well-known brands, a card that rewards you with hotel stays is a promising option. The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is affiliated with Starwood Hotels and resorts, a company that includes the W, Sheraton, Westin, aloft and Le Meridien chains, among others.

    You can earn Starpoints on eligible purchases then redeem the points for stays at over 1,100 SPG hotels in nearly 100 countries worldwide — with no blackout dates. Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges. Points can also be used on over 150 airlines with SPG flights, with no blackout dates on travel.

    The card offers $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65. Terms and restrictions apply.

  • AARP Visa Signature Card from Chase. If you're like many Americans, you've been getting AARP mailings since you turned 50. If you finally belong to this growing organization, the AARP Visa Signature Card from Chase is a nice perk for members, a card with unlimited cash back. You can earn 3 percent cash back on gas stations and restaurant purchases and 1 percent on all other purchases.

    The card comes with a zero-percent introductory APR for the first 12 months on new purchases and balance transfers. After the introductory period, the variable purchase APR applies, currently 16.24 percent. The card has no annual fee. Certain restrictions, limitations, and exclusions apply.

Best credit cards for saving money at home

No matter your budget, you'll be looking to cut unnecessary expenses in retirement. Moving to cards with no or low fees and low interest rates can be a particularly easy and satisfying way to meet that goal. Take a look at these two options:

  • PenFed Promise Visa® Card. If you're eligible for the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, you will find a good low-interest, option with no fees in PenFed Promise Visa® Card. The card is for consumers with excellent credit, who can get a low introductory purchase APR of 7.49 percent for the first 36 months, and after the introductory period ends the variable purchase APR applies, currently, 9.99 percent. The card also offers a nice balance transfer promotional APR.

  • Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum. The Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum is another card that rewards consumers with excellent credit. The interest rate is currently a low variable APR of 7.25 percent. It's also one of the best balance transfer credit cards; you won't pay a transfer fee. The card has no annual fee.

Whether you're spending your retirement on the road, in your own backyard or a little of both, the above options can help you find a card that fits your new lifestyle and keeps more money in your pocket.

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