Cash Back Credit Cards
I’ve long shared why cash back is my favorite credit card rewards redemption. Currents inside and outside of our points and travel hobby have brought more to the cash back rewards table. Kudos to all of you who have incorporated cash back into your overall rewards strategy! And to everyone else, there’s still hope for you. Indeed, cash back rewards can assist in reaching your goals, travel and otherwise. Here are my favorite cash back credit cards right now.
Note: This article isn’t about more advanced cash back schemes involving bank points or holding multiple cards. I’ve described that plenty. Today, I’m purely focusing on cards which directly provide cash back to consumers.
Synchrony Premier World Mastercard
I must admit that I backed into this card unintentionally. Upon the Rakuten Visa card’s demise, I was product changed to the Synchrony Premier. This card quietly earns 2% cash back on all purchases without an annual fee. Plus, cardholders receive World Mastercard benefits like $5 monthly credits at Lyft and DoorDash and a complimentary 3 months of DashPass. On top of these benefits, I enjoy the utility of this 2% cash back card with a bank beyond the obvious card-issuing heavyweights.
Bread Cash Back American Express
Speaking of cards from “other” issuers, I’m a big fan of the Bread Cash Back Amex card. The card earns 2% cash back everywhere, and it’s a third party Amex card issued by Comenity. I kind of have a thing for third party Amex cards. Such cards are useful for additional Amex Offers and easy rewards via online Serve loads. We haven’t picked up this no annual fee card yet, but we expect to soon.
Capital One Spark Cash Plus
A 2% cash back card with a $150 annual fee – what? It can make sense for some, including me. This business card is one of the few with a substantial welcome offer currently. It’s $1k right now and has been higher in the past. Capital One’s private bankers can also offer superior welcome offers.
More importantly, the Spark Cash Plus has no preset spending limit. Cardholders have access to truly unlimited rewards with this card. Like some other cardholders, I have no problem paying $150 for that capability. Rewards post quickly after charges arrive on the card and are immediately redeemable.
PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature
This card earns 1.5% cash back everywhere, but cardholders easily up that to 2% by parking $500 in a fee-free checking account. In my experience, PenFed is relatively generous with credit limits, and rewards are immediately available for redemption after transactions post. And there’s no annual fee to worry about.
Chase Freedom Flex
An old standby, the Freedom’s evolution into the Freedom Flex made a solid card even stronger. Many are accustomed to the rotating 5% cash back categories each quarter (up to $1.5k spend), reliably including staple categories like supermarkets, dining, and gas stations at various times during the year. The current welcome offer provides a great return – $200 back after spending $500. Plus, new cardholders can receive 0% APR for 15 months. The card earns 3% cash back year-round at restaurants and drug stores and 1% back everywhere else. This card packs quite a punch with no annual fee.
Gearheads may proclaim “you can do better” with these rewards by picking up more Chase cards for travel partner transfers. Perhaps, but simple redemptions with this one card is enough for some cash back fans.
The Citi Double Cash and Amex Blue Cash Preferred are also worth considering. In my view, the highlight of the Double Cash is how it’s essentially become a 4x everywhere card for Choice Privileges points. This excellent transfer ratio is more impressive to me than its 2% cash back feature. The Amex Blue Cash Preferred flaunts a 6% cash back rate at supermarkets, but that’s substantially limited based on a $6k annual spend cap and a $95 annual fee. Still, individuals can stack up substantial rewards by selecting the right welcome offer and optimally timing their card application and closure.
Cash back cards somewhat understandably don’t get a lot of attention. In general, cash back cards don’t regularly offer lucrative welcome bonuses, unlike cards earning bank points or travel currencies. But I’m thankful that new cash back options continue to appear. Some of the best angles in our hobby don’t grab headlines, and I feel the same way about cash back cards. So then, I encourage you to dive into the nuances of cash back credit cards. I’ll see you there!
Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.