Pick a Card, Any Card
After nearly two decades tucked inside our wallets, affinity cards--credit cards that pay a small percentage to the organizations whose names they carry--are going from joint ventures to creative partnerships. Here are a few next-generation cards:
AlaskaAirlines VisaSignatureCard (Bankof America)
Best For: Big-spending snow bunnies
Perks: Sign up for a platinum card and snag a $50 companion fare--ditto when you renew.
Caveat: The annual fee of $75 dampens any enthusiasm over the companion fare.
Elvis Presley Visa (MBNA)
Best For: Graceland die-hards
Perks: Cardholders get 10 percent off tickets to Graceland and discounts at some shops and restaurants in The King's old 'hood.
Caveat: The low APR you start with accelerates quickly.
Starbucks Duetto Visa (Chase)
Best For: Java junkies
Perks: This is a credit card, reloadable Starbucks card and donation-generator rolled into one.
Caveat: The charitable aspect of the card involves a one-time $5 donation to The Starbucks Foundation, which supports nonprofits.
Best For: Women's basketball groupies
Perks: This card gives you VIP-access to the Discover Fan Lounge at WNBA arenas and chances to mingle with players.
Caveat: Five-percent cash back is offered only on select purchases.