Smartphones of the future could work in a completely different way thanks to 5G, and it means you’ll rarely have to upgrade | Smartphones can't become obsolete if they don't actually run our apps. In the future, we might be streaming our apps over 5G.

Smartphones of the future could work in a completely different way thanks to 5G, and it means you’ll rarely have to upgrade

Smartphones of the future could work in a completely different way thanks to 5G, and it means you’ll rarely have to upgrade

Smartphones of the future could work in a completely different way thanks to 5G, and it means you’ll rarely have to upgrade

Smartphones of the future could work in a completely different way thanks to 5G, and it means you’ll rarely have to upgrade

Smartphones of the future could work in a completely different way thanks to 5G, and it means you’ll rarely have to upgrade

Smartphones of the future could work in a completely different way thanks to 5G, and it means you’ll rarely have to upgrade
Smartphones of the future could work in a completely different way thanks to 5G, and it means you’ll rarely have to upgrade
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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

  • Smartphones of the future connected to 5G networks will be able to stream our favorite apps instead of running them from our phones themselves.
  • That means smartphones won’t need powerful chips to run apps. They’ll essentially become slabs of glass screens with batteries attached to them, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon told Business Insider.
  • It’s a nearly identical concept to Google’s Stadia game streaming service, where power-hungry games run from Google’s cloud computers, and the visuals are streamed over the internet like a YouTube or Netflix video.
  • There’s still much to be done before 5G networks and technology can reliably stream apps wherever we are, whenever we want.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In the future, you won’t need to upgrade your phone as often because it’ll never get too old or too slow to run your favorite apps.

That’s because apps won’t have to be “bound by the processing power on your phone,” Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon told Business Insider. Instead, apps will run from massively powerful computers in the cloud, and they’ll be streamed from the cloud over fast and lag-free 5G networks.

Indeed, the smartphone of the future won’t need to be powerful anymore, and it won’t become obsolete as quickly; it’ll essentially become a slab of glass screen with battery attached to it, ready to stream our apps.

And our apps will be running and streaming from cloud computers that will always be updated, and will never become obsolete.

If not all the apps will be streamed over the cloud, apps that Amon calls “super apps” will. So far, we’re not sure what kinds of things “super apps” can do, but here’s one way to think about it: Popular apps like Instagram and TikTok would have been considered “super apps” back when the first smartphones were released.

Google's Stadia game streaming service.

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Google’s Stadia game streaming service.
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Crystal Cox/Photographer

The concept is almost identical to Google’s Stadia game streaming service, where power-hungry games run from Google’s cloud computers, and the visuals are streamed over the internet to a device like a Chromecast connected to a TV, a laptop, or a smartphone – just like how we watch a YouTube or Netflix video today.

Amon said “it’s not a coincidence” that Google released its Stadia game streaming service at the same time that 5G networks are becoming more widely available (albeit slowly).

5G networks promise faster data speeds and snappier performance than the 4G LTE networks we’ve been using since 2011. According to some of the 5G examples we’ve seen, it should essentially perform as well as your home’s WiFi network, if not faster.

Still, we need to give 5G and technology a chance to expand and advance before our smartphones become pieces of glass and batteries that stream apps – we’re nowhere near the point where we can rely on 5G right now.

The 7 best hotel credit cards from Hilton, IHG, Marriott, and more

The 7 best hotel credit cards from Hilton, IHG, Marriott, and more

A hotel credit card can earn you points toward a free stay, and benefits like complimentary elite status.
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A hotel credit card can earn you points toward a free stay, and benefits like complimentary elite status.
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Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

The best hotel credit cards of 2019:

“What is the best hotel credit card?” is probably the question I get asked the most. Everyone wants to earn rewards for a dream vacation, and with so many options out there, it’s hard to choose or qualify the “best” card.

When considering a hotel credit card, it’s important to factor in your travel goals: Are you looking to stay at a five-star resort in the Maldives? Or do you want to be able to book a cheap staycation once or twice a year without paying an exorbitant annual fee?

It’s also important to consider the card’s welcome bonus, recurring benefits, ease of earning free nights via credit card spending, category bonuses, and elite status perks (if any). With that in mind, here are my picks for the best hotel credit cards.

Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It’s important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.


Hilton Honors Aspire Card

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Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

Welcome bonus: 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months

Annual bonus: Weekend night reward after renewal, plus an additional night after $60,000 spent in a calendar year.

Category bonuses: 14x points at Hilton hotels, 7x points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies, and at US restaurants (3x points on everything else)

Complimentary elite status: Hilton Honors Diamond

Annual fee: $450

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is hands-down the best co-branded hotel credit card out there. For starters, with the 150,000-point welcome bonus, you can book upwards of 30 free nights, depending on the hotel category. But high-end redemptions aren’t too far off, either. For example, with these points you can cover two free nights at the Hilton Waikoloa Village or the LondonHouse Chicago.

The card comes with top-tier Hilton Diamond status, which gets you free breakfast, lounge access, and a 100% bonus on points earned via paid stays.

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card also offers a free weekend night reward when you renew your card, plus an extra free night when you spend $60,000 in a calendar year. Travelers will appreciate up to $250 in annual Hilton resort statement credits, up to $250 in annual airline incidental credits, and Priority Pass Select membership. You’ll also earn up to $100 in on-property credits when you book a 2-night minimum Hilton stay at qualifying properties on HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard. The Hilton Honors Aspire card really goes above and beyond in providing exceptional value and a VIP travel experience at every turn.

Click here to learn more about the Hilton Honors Aspire card from American Express.


IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

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Business Insider

Welcome bonus: 80,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months

Annual bonus: Free anniversary night at IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, earn 10,000 bonus points after you spend $20,000 on purchases and make one additional purchase each account anniversary year

Category bonuses: 25x points when you stay at an IHG hotel, 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1x points on all other purchases

Complimentary elite status: Platinum elite status

Annual fee: $89

The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is one of the best hotel cards in terms of value. In exchange for an $89 annual fee, cardholders get access to impressive perks like complimentary Platinum elite status, a fourth night free on award bookings, and a $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck fee credit every four years. Additionally, cardholders earn a free night every year, which can be used at any IHG hotel worldwide that costs up to 40,000 points per night.

IHG free nights range from 10,000 – 70,000 points per night. With 80,000 points from the IHG Rewards Club Premier card, you could cover eight free nights. Additionally, IHG offers rates as low as 5,000 points per night through the PointBreaks promotion.

Click here to learn more about the IHG Rewards Club Premier card.


Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

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Business Insider

Welcome bonus: 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first four months. Plus, earn a $100 Hilton statement credit after your first purchase in the first three months. Offer ends December 31, 2019.

Annual bonus: Weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 in a calendar year

Category bonuses: 12x points at Hilton hotels, 6x points at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations in the US, 3x points on all other purchases

Complimentary elite status: Hilton Gold status (upgrade to Hilton Diamond after spending $40,000 in a calendar year)

Annual fee: $95

With free nights at Hilton ranging from 5,000 – 95,000 points, the current welcome bonus on the Hilton Honors Surpass Card will cover one to 30 free nights. Add in the free weekend night and you’re looking at even more free nights. Of course, not everyone is looking to redeem their points at a low-category hotel. Even if you opt for a top-tier redemption, you’ve got at least two free nights covered with this welcome bonus (assuming one is a weekend night).

The reason why the Hilton Honors Surpass card earns a high spot on this list of top hotel cards is because of how easy it is to earn a free night via credit card spending. While some cards require upwards of $40,000 for a free night at a top-tier hotel, it takes just $31,667 on the Hilton Honors Surpass card. Add in the generous category bonuses on everyday spending, and earning free nights becomes even easier.

The Hilton Honors Surpass card doesn’t slack off when it comes to travel perks, either. Cardholders receive instant Gold elite status, with the ability to upgrade to Diamond after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. Hilton Gold status perks are equivalent to what most other reward programs offer top-tier elites: Free breakfast, room upgrades based on availability, bonus points, and the possibility of club lounge access (assuming you’ve been upgraded to a Club room). This is a solid card for those who want elite status perks and the ability to rack up free nights quickly.

Click here to learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card.


The World of Hyatt Credit Card

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Business Insider

Welcome bonus: 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months, plus an additional 25,000 points after you spend $6,000 total on purchases within the first six months

Annual bonus: Free night at a Category 1 – 4 hotel for renewing your card, plus another Category 1 – 4 night if you send $15,000 during a card membership year

Category bonuses: 4x at Hyatt hotels and Exhale locations; 2x points on local transit commuting, restaurants, gym memberships and airline tickets purchased directly from the airline

Complimentary elite status: Hyatt Discoverist. Plus earn 5 qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every year and 2 additional qualifying night credits every time you spend $5,000 on your card.

Annual fee: $95

Hyatt requires 5,000 – 40,000 points for a free night, depending on the category. That makes the sign-up bonus from the World of Hyatt Credit Card redeemable for 1 – 10 free nights.

Hyatt has one of the best hotel rewards programs left, and it’s expanding rapidly. The World of Hyatt Credit Card is a great addition to your wallet if you’re looking for a solid sign-up bonus and recurring benefits. The current bonus is good for a free night at a top-tier hotel like the Muse Saint-Tropez or up to 10 nights at lower-category hotels. In addition, the card offers useful category bonuses and free nights issued annually based on card renewal.

The World of Hyatt Card comes with free Discoverist status, which offers benefits like premium internet and 10% bonus points on paid stays. Cardholders aiming for higher status will appreciate the 5 qualifying night credits issued every year and the ability to earn two additional credits per $5,000 spent on the card.

Click here to learn more about the World of Hyatt Credit card.


Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

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Business Insider

Welcome bonus: 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months

Annual bonus: Free night (for hotels at or under 50,000 points per night) every year after your card account anniversary

Category bonuses: 6x points at Marriott hotels, 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines (2x points on everything else)

Complimentary elite status: Marriott Gold status (earn Platinum after spending $75,000 in a calendar year)

Annual fee: $450

At 7,500 – 85,000 points per night, you can book up to 10 free nights at a Marriott hotel with this welcome offer. When Marriott implements new peak/off-peak pricing in September 2019, this range will widen ever further. Off-peak are set to start at 5,000 points per night while a top-tier Category 8 property could go as high as 100,000 points.

While the Bonvoy Brilliant‘s annual fee is $450, cardholders receive a lot of bang for their buck. The card includes a $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck credit, a $300 annual Marriott Bonvoy statement credit, Priority Pass Select membership, and a $100 credit when you book an eligible two-night minimum stay at a Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis hotel.

Cardholders will receive Gold Marriott status out of the gate, plus 15 nights toward the next status tier. Overall, this is a solid card for travelers who stay with Marriott frequently and want a leg-up in the elite status race. Even those who only stay with Marriott a few times a year will find value in all the added perks.

Click here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card.


Wyndham Rewards Visa Card

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Business Insider

Welcome bonus: 15,000 bonus points after your first purchase or first balance transfer

Annual bonus: N/A

Category bonuses: 3x points at Wyndham hotels; 2x points on gas, utility, and grocery purchases.

Complimentary elite status: Gold

Annual fee: $0

Wyndham Rewards is a great program for families who need a little more space on their vacations. Most Wyndham properties are essentially condos, offering multiple bedroom, full kitchen, and washer/dryer. These amenities are incredibly useful for families trying to save points while still traveling comfortable.

A free night at any Wyndham hotel is either 7,000 or 15,000 points per night. The card pays out 2 bonus points per $1 spent on common spending categories like gas, groceries and utilities.

Learn more: I’ve spent free nights in Hawaii, Colorado, and South Carolina thanks to one of my favorite under-the-radar hotel cards


Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card

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Business Insider

Welcome bonus: 50,000 points after your first purchase, plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days

Annual bonus: 40,000 renewal points each year when you renew your card. Earn one free night for each $10,000 in spend (up to $30,000).

Category bonuses: 10x points at Radisson hotels

Complimentary elite status: Gold

Annual fee: $75

Radisson Rewards is probably the most underrated hotel rewards program out there. I would rank this card higher on the list, except that there are *only* 1,175 Radisson hotels around the world. That means there are fewer places to redeem free nights, even if earning them is so easy with the Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card.

It takes just $1,800 – $14,000 worth of non-bonus category spending on this card to earn a free night. To give you an idea the caliber of hotel Radisson has abroad, there’s the Mayfair London which can go for upwards of $600 per night or 70,000 points. The Radisson Blu Cannes and Radisson Blu Nice both have rates of over $400 per night in the summer but can be booked with 70,000 points.


Non-hotel brand cards to maximize rewards on hotel stays

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve are also good picks for hotel purchases.
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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

If you’re loyal to a specific hotel brand, having a co-branded card makes a lot of sense, as it can get you complimentary elite status, bonus points, and other perks when you stay with that chain.

But if you care less about brand loyalty and more about earning as many points as possible, a general travel rewards credit card like one of these could make more sense:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve earn bonus points on travel and dining (2x on the Preferred, 3x on the Reserve), and you can transfer your Chase points to Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott, among other partners. The Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee, and the Reserve has a $450 annual fee (but comes with a $300 annual travel credit that applies to everything from Uber rides to hotel stays).

If you don’t want to keep track of bonus categories, the Capital One Venture card is a particularly good option. It earns 2x miles on all purchases. The card has a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year.

There’s also the Platinum card from American Express, which offers complimentary Gold status with both Hilton and Marriott. Plus, if you have the Amex Platinum you can earn 5 points per dollar on Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts stays. These are stays at luxury properties, and your reservation includes benefits like complimentary upgrades, free breakfast, and property credits. The Amex Platinum has a $550 annual fee, but it easily can be worth it thanks to benefits like this.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture — we compared 2 of the top travel rewards cards and named a winner

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture — we compared 2 of the top travel rewards cards and named a winner

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been one of the most popular rewards credit cards since it launched over a decade ago. It gives you 2 points per dollar on restaurant and travel purchases and 1 point everywhere else.
  • The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gives you a flat 2 miles per dollar everywhere, but rewards are not as valuable as the Preferred’s when you transferred to partner airlines.
  • Both cards come loaded with useful travel and purchase protections.
  • If I had to pick a winner, though, it would be Chase Sapphire Preferred. The benefits and value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points are tough to beat. But depending on your travel preferences, either card could be a good fit for your needs.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages! In the blue corner, weighing in at 13 grams of blue stainless steel: Chase Sapphire Preferred. In the red corner, made from a 75% recycled blue stainless steel and weighing in at 16 grams: Capital One Venture.

While both of these rewards credit cards are made from blue stainless steel, each offers a unique set of rewards, benefits, and costs. Depending on where you spend most and how you like to travel, you might find that either Chase’s card or Capital One’s makes more sense for your needs.

Here’s a head-to-head face-off on which card dominates for 2019 and beyond.

Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It’s important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture: the biggest differences

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture are both travel rewards credit cards with annual fees of $95, but with the Venture card, the annual fee is waived for the first year. The way you earn and redeem points with each card is different, so it’s important to look at what sets them apart to decide which could be best for your needs.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1 points per dollar everywhere else. That compares to an unlimited flat 2x miles with the Capital One Venture card. But Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Capital One Venture miles work differently, and each may appeal to a different type of traveler.

In general, Chase Sapphire Preferred is better for those who want to squeeze out more value per point and are willing to put in a little time to figure out the best way to redeem points with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program’s airline and hotel transfer partners.

The Capital One Venture is better for those looking for really easy and flexible redemptions. To understand why, let’s dive into the details of each program and how the redemption options work.

Chase Sapphire Preferred rewards

Puerto Rico Jan 2019_Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card 25

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The Points Guy

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2 points for every dollar you spend on travel and dining purchases and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. You can redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal for 1.25 cents each, with no limits or blackout dates.

Points can be worth a lot more, however, when you transfer to partner airlines. You can also transfer to hotel partners, but airlines tend to offer the best value. I recently got a huge value when I took my dad to Israel in business class with Chase points transferred to my United account.

All Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers are at a 1:1 ratio, meaning one Chase point = 1 mile or point at the airline’s or hotel’s program.

Chase’s airline-transfer partners:

  1. United MileagePlus
  2. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  3. JetBlue
  4. British Airway Executive Club
  5. Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  6. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  7. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  8. Iberia Plus
  9. Aer Lingus AerClub

Chase’s hotel-transfer partners:

  1. Marriott Bonvoy
  2. World of Hyatt
  3. IHG Rewards Club

This card lived in my wallet for a very long time until I decided to upgrade it to the ultra-premium Chase Sapphire Reserve. But I still often call the Sapphire Preferred the best card for people new to travel rewards. It gives you a ton of value, a lot of protections, and if you ever have any trouble, Chase customer support for these cards is very good.

Read more: After months of contemplation, I finally upgraded to the Chase Sapphire Reserve with a 10-minute phone call

Don’t overlook the value of the Sapphire Preferred card’s other benefits too. Chase just helped my sister get her money back after a bad experience with an African tour guide operator. But that’s a story for another day.

The card charges a $95 annual fee and currently offers a 60,000-point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening a new account. That starts you with at least $750 in value toward free and discounted travel when you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.

Capital One Venture rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

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The Points Guy

The Venture card from Capital One gives you 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. You can redeem miles through Capital One’s portal with no blackout dates or restrictions with a value of 1 cent each. That means each purchase gives you an equivalent 2% cash back toward travel.

You can also use Capital One’s Purchase Eraser feature to “wipe” travel charges from your Venture card statement. You’ll also get 1 cent per mile with this redemption option. If you value simplicity above all else, this is the easiest way to put your Venture card‘s rewards to work for you.

It used to be that miles were only redeemable through Capital One, but Capital One added its own list of airline-transfer partner.

Here’s a current transfer-partner list from Capital One:

  1. Aeromexico Club Premier
  2. Air Canada Aeroplan
  3. Flying Blue Air France/KLM
  4. Alitalia MilleMiglia
  5. Avianca LifeMiles
  6. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  7. Emirates Skywards
  8. Etihad Guest
  9. EVA Infinity MileageLands
  10. Finnair Plus
  11. Hainan Fortune Wings Club
  12. JetBlue TrueBlue
  13. Qantas Frequent Flyer
  14. Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  15. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

There are a few noteworthy things about this list.

First, you’ll notice that it does not contain a single major US airline – the closest thing is JetBlue, the most recently added partner. Next, you may notice that it offers a wide array of international airlines, including some of the most luxurious in the world – Singapore, Emirates, and Etihad often battle for the title of the world’s most luxurious airline.

It is also important to note that you can’t always transfer them at a 1:1 ratio. Because Venture miles may become fewer airline miles, you might get the best value by redeeming right through the Capital One portal. Like with Chase, you can always run the numbers for a specific flight to compare.

The card charges a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) and currently offers a 50,000-mile bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening an account.

Read more: The Capital One Venture card comes with valuable travel benefits – we break down whether they are worth a $95 annual fee

Comparing the benefits

For benefits, these cards are neck and neck.

Both come with no foreign transaction fees and a wide range of travel and purchase coverage.

Chase Sapphire Preferred includes trip cancellation insurance, primary car rental insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay insurance, and travel emergency assistance. At the checkout counter, it offers purchase protection and an automatic extended warranty.

Capital One Venture comes with travel accident insurance, secondary car rental insurance, and travel assistance. It gives you an extended warranty at checkout. One big benefit you don’t get with the competitor in this case: an up-to-$100 credit for TSA’s Global Entry or PreCheck programs when you pay with this card.

For benefits, Capital One’s card is a little lighter than what you get from Chase. Depending on how much you travel and the anticipated costs along the way, those insurance and protections benefits can be very valuable.

Comparing the costs

Both cards have a $95 annual fee, though Capital One Venture waives it the first year. Otherwise, costs are fairly comparable if you pay off the card in full each month by the statement due date.

If you can’t afford or can’t handle paying off the card each month, a rewards credit card may not be the best choice for your needs. Credit card interest usually costs a lot more than you get back in rewards, so a card with an intro APR offer and low interest rates is best if you need to carry a balance.

Outside of the annual fee, you can avoid all costs on both of these cards by avoiding some less common activities like balance transfers and cash advances. Always pay your card in full each month no matter what card you have. My credit card philosophy is very similar to Atlanta-based money guru Clark Howard.

Choosing the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture

If I had to pick a winner, it would be Chase Sapphire Preferred.

While Capital One Venture gives you more miles per dollar and offers more transfer partners, its airline partners won’t be as useful to many US travelers, and your miles usually don’t transfer at a 1:1 ratio, so you get less value.

Advanced travelers and those who are willing to research award availability on major US travel partners can get the best results from Chase Sapphire Preferred. Those who just want to keep things easy and flexible will enjoy Capital One Venture’s structure a little more. The Sapphire Preferred also has the edge when it comes to travel protections like primary car rental insurance and trip delay insurance – hopefully you don’t have to put these benefits to use, but if you do they can save you some serious cash.

Either way, regular travelers looking to get a travel rewards card with an annual fee around $100 will do very well with one of these cards.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Click here to learn more about the Capital One Venture card.

30 affordable tech gifts anyone will be happy to receive — all under $25

30 affordable tech gifts anyone will be happy to receive — all under $25

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Tile

  • It’s true that the best consumer tech products are generally pricey, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t gems out there for those on budget seeking ideal tech gifts.
  • We’ve managed to find several excellent tech gifts for under $25, including the Tile Mate Bluetooth Tracker, the Logitech G300s Optical Gaming Mouse, and more.
  • Shopping for all kinds of gifts this season? Read all of our Holiday 2019 gift guides on Insider Picks.

It’s well known by now that gadgets tend to be some of the most expensive gifts out there, which is tough when you’ve received a tech fan for that Secret Santa with a $25 budget. However, you’d be surprised by the level of quality tech gifts you can find under this rather strict price range.

For less than $25, you can find all sorts of fun, useful, entertaining, and creative tech gifts that at least someone in your family or friends circle will love. Trust us, we’ve done the research.

The top 5 cheap tech gifts under $25 include:

  1. Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker
  2. Magnasonic Projection Alarm Clock
  3. Anker PowerDrive USB-C car charger
  4. Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini for smart homes
  5. Google Cardboard DIY VR headset

Regardless of whom you’re shopping for, we think we’ve found at least tech gift under $25 that would serve that loved one in your life well without running up your credit card bill.


A fun phone case

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Case Mate

Case-Mate Phone Cases for iPhone and Samsung, available on Amazon, starting at $25.00

Case-Mate has a wide range of cases for iPhones and Samsung phones, so you’re sure to find one they’ll love. Whether they want a leather case, a clear case, or one that’s iridescent, full of glitter, or covered in real pressed flowers, Case-Mate has an option.


A PopSocket Grip

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PopSocket

PopSocket Grip, available on Amazon, starting at $10.00

PopSocket grips stick on the back of any phone to provide a comfortable grip, but they can also be used as a stand. The thing that makes PopSockets so giftable is that they come in so many different styles. You can give your loved one a PopSocket with their favorite sports team, pop culture fandom, or animal on it.


Tech-friendly touchscreen gloves

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Amazon

Achiou Winter Knit Touchscreen Gloves, available on Amazon, starting at $6.99

One of the most frustrating things about being outside in the winter is that you either can’t use your phone, or might freeze your hands off in doing so. Aichou’s bestselling winter gloves have special pads on the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger that will allow you to use your phone comfortably.


A board game powered by Alexa

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Amazon

Voice Originals When In Rome Alexa Board Game, available on Amazon, starting at $5.96

For any family with an Echo, the super-affordable When in Rome is a must-have. In this top-rated board game, players journey across the globe answering trivia questions and learning interesting facts about many different countries. Alexa facilitates the game as your tour guide and referee.


An Amazon smart speaker

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Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen), available at Amazon, $24.99

Naturally, if you want to play the board game above, you’re going to need an Amazon smart speaker so that Alexa can referee. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this smart speaker can do, though.


A phone ring holder

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Amazon

Fitfort 360 Phone Ring Holder Finger Kickstand, available on Amazon, $7.99

A phone grip or a kickstand? This handy phone accessory is both. It acts as a grip to prevent your phone from slipping while you’re holding it, and a stand to stabilize your phone while you’re watching videos, chatting with friends, or playing games.


A next-level screen cleaning kit

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Amazon

Whoosh! Screen Cleaner Kit, available on Amazon, $13.59

The Whoosh! Screen Cleaner Kit is the perfect gift for a friend who’s always got a dirty screen. Coming with a pocket-sized bottle of cleaning spray and two cloths, this kit will also clean tablets, e-readers, TVs, Kindles, and anything else with a display.


An iPhone tassel cable with charging

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Amazon

Oneenjoy Tassel Cable for iPhone, available on Amazon, $10.99

Your friend will never be caught without a phone charger again. This handy leather tassel keychain includes a hidden USB-to-lightning cable that’s perfect for charging an Apple device on the go.


A water-resistant smartphone armband

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Amazon

Tribe Water Resistant Cell Phone Armband Case, available on Amazon, $9.33

A great gift for runners and fitness enthusiasts, the Tribe cell phone armband case helps you take your phone on the go. It comes in three sizes, and can accommodate pretty much any phone, from the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy A8 to the iPhone XS Max and Galaxy Note 10. Your phone retains full touchscreen functionality while it’s in the case, and the band also includes a handy key holder and headphone jack.


A tabletop Pac-Man machine

source
My Arcade

My Arcade Micro Pac-Man Retro Arcade, available at Target, $24.99

For the retro game fan in your life, give them the gift of Pac-Man at their desk with a miniaturized version of the original Pac-Man cabinet. It’s a great way to get a game fix in on their lunch breaks.


An adjustable phone stand

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Amazon

Lamicall Adjustable Phone stand, available on Amazon, $10.99

Whether you’re watching Netflix or video chatting with your parents, the Lamicall Phone Stand is the perfect place to mount your phone. It fits any phone between 4 and 8 inches, from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone XS, and can accommodate most cases. It’s also easy to adjust, and can flip between portrait and landscape modes.


A headphone holder for their desk

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Amazon

Brainwavz Hengja Headphone Hanger, available on Amazon for $12.99

The Brainwavz Hengja is an essential gift for a friend who has on-ear or over-ear headphones. This adjustable headphone hanger is super easy to screw onto a table, shelf, or even a thin wall. It’s quite sturdy, and will fit pretty much any headphone size.


An ultra-slim Bluetooth keyboard

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Amazon

Omton Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard, available on Amazon for $13.99

For a friend who’s always on the go, a portable Bluetooth keyboard is an excellent choice. The Omton Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard is slim enough to easily fit in a backpack, purse, or handbag, and can easily connect to any Bluetooth-enabled phone or tablet. No need to lug a laptop around: Whip this out to type wherever you are.


A DIY virtual reality headset

source
Justin Gmoser/Business Insider

Google Cardboard, available on Amazon, $15.00

Most people think of virtual reality as something that’s high tech and expensive, but you can gift Google’s Cardboard VR headset for just $15. Stick a phone into this device, and they can watch 180-degree and 360-degree videos, play VR games, and experience the virtual landscape. (Seriously, once you’ve seen Google Street View in VR, you’ll never want to go back).


A cheap but effective laptop bag

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Amazon

AmazonBasics Laptop Bag, available on Amazon for $8.99-$18.00

Amazon is full of laptop bags of all prices, but the AmazonBasics Laptop Bag is one of the top-rated, and it gets the job done for as low as $8.99. It comes in 11.6-, 14-, 15.6-, and 17.3-inch models to accommodate any laptop size, as well as a smaller version for tablets. Plus, it has extra pockets for mice, cell phones, pens, and other small gadgets you might be carrying.


A Wi-Fi smart plug for smart homes

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Amazon

Kasa Smart WiFi Plug Mini, available on Amazon, $23.00

A smart plug is the perfect gift for anyone looking to start up a smart home. You can connect any device to the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini, from lamps to fans and air conditioners, to make it a smart device. That means you’ll be able to control it with Alexa and Google Assistant, add it to routines, and schedule it to turn on and off whenever you like.


Glasses with a blue-light filter

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Amazon

Cyxus Vintage Retro Blue Light Filter Glasses, available on Amazon, $15.90

It seems every day, more and more research is coming out about the dangers of over-exposure to blue light from phone and computer screens. A 2018 study showed that too much blue light can increase your risk of blindness. The Cyxus Vintage Retro Blue Light Filter Glasses are a good, affordable gift for anyone who uses screens and wants to protect their eyes.


A stylish phone charger for suitcases

source
Nordstrom Rack

Calpak Faux Leather Power Charging Luggage Tag, available on Nordstrom Rack, $19.97

A smart luggage tag is the perfect gift for a tech-loving traveler. This one from Calpak is a stylish addition to any suitcase, but it’s also a surreptitious power bank that can charge your phone while you’re waiting in the TSA line.


A USB-A to Lightning charging cable

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Amazon

Anker Powerline+ II Lightning Cable, available on Amazon, $16.99

For a stocking stuffer or gift exchange, you can never go wrong with a charging cable. There are so many different lightning cables out there that it might be tough to know which one to buy. But around the internet, many reviewers agree that the 10-foot Powerline+ lightning cable from Anker is the best one.


An affordable waterproof Bluetooth speaker

source
Amazon

Amalen Bluetooth Wireless Outdoor Sport Speaker, available on Amazon, $19.99

The Amalen Bluetooth Wireless Outdoor Sport Speaker is a useful gift for pretty much anyone. It’s got a huge sound and comes with a built-in microphone for phone calls. It’s also waterproof, so you can use it in the shower, by the pool, out in the rain, or anywhere else you might want some tunes.


A USB-C adapter for USB-A ports

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Amazon

HooToo USB-C Adapter, available on Amazon, $21.99

A USB-C adapter may seem like a boring gift, but it’s an excellent stocking stuffer for a tech enthusiast. If you’ve got an old mouse, a keyboard, a phone, a tablet, and headphones that all need to connect through that laptop’s new USB-C port, the HooToo USB-C adapter allows you to connect three of them at once from just one USB-C port. It’s super portable, and doesn’t require any fancy drivers to install.


A rechargeable LED lantern

source
Amazon

Core 500 Lumen Cree LED Battery Lantern, available on Amazon, $19.99

The Core 500 Lumen Cree LED Battery Lantern is an excellent gift for campers, or anyone else who has to spend time outdoors in the dark. It’s small enough to carry in a backpack, and has two different brightness settings. Plus, it can illuminate a space of up to 90 feet across, and lasts up to 65 hours.


An effective gaming mouse

source
Walmart

Logitech G300s Optical Gaming Mouse, available on Walmart, $21.00

The Logitech G300s is a great gift for someone who enjoys gaming, but doesn’t yet have a top-notch gaming mouse. It has a comfortable grip and six programmable buttons, and at just $21, it’s been praised by multiple reviewers as the best budget gaming mouse you can buy. (Don’t let the price tag fool you: The G300s isn’t a bad mouse; it’s just an old model.)


An ultra-wide gaming mouse pad

source
PCPartPicker

Turtle Beach Wide Drift Fast Premium Gaming Mouse Pad, available on Amazon, $22.21

If you’re not sure what to get your gamer friend, you can’t go wrong with a good mouse pad. There are millions of pads out there, but the Turtle Beach Wide Drift Fast Premium Gaming Mouse Pad is our favorite. It’s nice-looking, comfortable to use, and has a nice ridge around the edge to let you know when you’re about to run off.


A complete first-aid kit for pets

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Amazon

Rayco International Pet First Aid Kit, available on Amazon, $21.99

Anyone who has a pet they care about will appreciate the gift of the Rayco International Pet First Aid Kit. In addition to bandages, gloves, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and the like, this kit contains an LED emergency collar with three different flashing settings.


A USB charging adapter with five ports

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Amazon

Anker 40W 5-Port USB Wall Charger, available on Amazon, $22.99

A multi-device charger is a handy present for college students, New York residents, or anyone else with limited space and outlets. The Anker 40W allows you to charge up to five devices at a time, and gets the job done quickly.


A USB-C car charger

source
B&H

Anker PowerDrive USB-C Car Charger, available on B&H, $29.94

A car charger is a good stocking stuffer for any driver. But what’s great about the Anker PowerDrive USB-C Car Charger is it doesn’t just have a USB port – it also has a USB-C port to deliver a super-fast charge to USB-C devices. The PowerDrive isn’t limited to phones: The USB-C port can charge a computer (such as a Macbook) as well.


An effective dashboard phone holder

source
Amazon

iOttie Easy One Touch Phone Holder, available on Amazon, $24.24

If you know anyone who is still using an ancient GPS to navigate, have mercy on them and gift them the iOttie Easy One Touch Phone Holder. This car mount has a one-touch release mechanism for easily inserting and removing your phone, and its arm can pivot 225 degrees to ensure the most comfortable viewing angle.


A Tile Bluetooth item tracker

source
Tile

Tile Mate, available on Amazon, $18.49

Attach the Tile Mate to your keys, luggage, backpack, briefcase, or any other valuable possession to ensure you never lose that item again. If you misplace the object that includes your tracker, just check the Tile app to see its location in seconds. As a bonus, if you lose your phone, you can squeeze your Tile Mate to make it ring.


Magnasonic Projection Alarm Clock

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Amazon

Magnasonic Projection Alarm Clock, available on Amazon, $19.96

You probably have at least one friend who complains that they can’t get out of bed in the morning, no matter how many alarms they set. Try gifting them the Magnasonic Projection Alarm Clock. This device projects the time onto your walls or ceiling, so that regardless of what side you’re facing, you can see how late you are. It’s also got an AUX input and a built-in AM/FM radio to blast music in the morning.


Looking for more gift ideas? We’ve got you covered.

source
Hollis Johnson/Crystal Cox/Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
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