Credit Card Bonus Categories 2020 – Here’s Which Credit Card To Use

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Credit Card Bonus Categories 2020 - Here's Which Credit Card To Use

Credit Card Bonus Categories 2020 – Here’s Which Credit Card To Use

Our guide to credit card bonus categories in 2020 looks at the best credit card to use in each category. Credit card bonus categories can change often, so here’s a look at the best earning rates in 2020. We’ll break down spending categories and highlight the best cards to use for that type of transaction. This helps you earn the most points and miles possible by multiplying what you earn on every transaction.

Updated 9 / 14 / 2020

Table Of Contents

if you’re looking to jump to a specific category, these are the categories included in this pos:

Rotating / Quarterly Bonus Categories (July-September 2020)

There are 2 popular cards with rotating / quarterly credit card bonus categories. Here are the bonus categories for July-September 2020:

  • Chase Freedom Card – 5% / 5X on up to $1,500 of purchases at Amazon and Whole Foods
  • Discover It Cash Back Credit Card – 5% on up to $1,500 of purchases at restaurants and PayPal

Temporary Credit Card Bonus Categories In 2020

Numerous credit card issuers have temporary bonus categories, due to the reduction in travel this year. Here are temporary credit card bonus categories in 2020, broken down by bank, limits, and promotional period:

American Express Temporary Bonus Categories

Numerous cards from American Express have temporary bonus categories right now:

  • Delta SkyMiles Reserve, Delta Platinum, Delta Gold and Delta Blue Consumer Cards – 4X miles at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020).
  • Marriott Bonvoy and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Consumer Cards – 6X Marriott Bonvoy points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $7,500 in eligible purchases (May through July 2020).
  • Hilton Surpass and Hilton Aspire Consumer Cards – 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020). Bonus Points earned on credit cards between May 1 through December 31, 2020 will be considered Base Points and will count towards Elite tier qualification and Lifetime Diamond Status.

In addition to these extra points earning opportunities, there are free credits that can be redeemed on American Express cards.

Chase Temporary Bonus Categories

There are multiple cards from Chase with temporary perks running July 1-September 30, 2020:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • 10X Ultimate Rewards on up to $1,500 of spending on streaming services
    • 5X Ultimate Rewards on up to $3,000 of spending on Instacart
    • 5X Ultimate Rewards on up to $1,500 of spending at gas stations
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
    • 5X Ultimate Rewards on up to $1,500 of spending on streaming services
    • 3X Ultimate Rewards on up to $3,000 of spending on Instacart
    • 3X Ultimate Rewards on up to $1,500 of spending at gas stations

Additionally, the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve are both offering $50 in statement credits toward a yearly or monthly membership with Instacart Express.

U.S. Bank Temporary Bonus Categories

U.S. Bank has the following temporary credit card bonus categories in 2020:

  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve – 3X points on takeout, food delivery, and dining
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve – annual $325 “travel credits” also apply for reimbursement on bar, restaurant & fast food purchases June 1-December 31, 2020

Best credit card for online shopping

Amazon / Online Shopping

When shopping online, look for things like Amex Offers to boost your points earning or get statement credits. Also, the following cards can earn the most amount of points / cash back:

  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card – 5% cash back on all Amazon purchases
  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa – 5% cash back on the first $2,000 of spend in your 2 preferred categories (choose options like electronics stores / sporting goods / department stores / furniture stores / clothing–covers limited stores)
  • Citi Double Cash – 2% cash back on all purchases
  • American Express Blue Business Plus – 2X Membership Rewards on all purchases

Tip: Another great way to earn extra points from online shopping is to buy gift cards from office supply stores (see below for best cards) and then pay with those when shopping online. The same idea works for cards that earn a bonus at grocery stores.

Airfare / Flights

Many cards earn elevated rewards for travel-related items. Specific to flights, these are the best options:

Credit Card Bonus Categories

Cell Phone Bills

In addition to credit cards that offer free cell phone insurance, some cards earn extra points when paying your phone bill:

  • Chase Ink Business Cash – 5X / 5% cash back on phone services (on up to $25,000 across all 5X categories on the card)
  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa – 5% cash back on the first $2,000 of spend in your 2 preferred categories
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred – 3X Ultimate Rewards on phone services (on up to $150,000 across all bonus categories on the card)
  • U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards Mastercard – 3% cash back on phone expenses (unlimited)

Cruises

There are multiple cruise line companies with their own co-branded credit cards. However, these tend to offer a low return on your spending. Instead, consider these cards:

  • The Platinum Card from American Express – 5X Membership Rewards on cruises booked through AmexTravel.com
  • American Express Green Card – 3X Membership Rewards
  • Citi Prestige Card – 3X ThankYou Points
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Ink Business Preferred – 3X Ultimate Rewards

Credit Card Bonus Categories

Entertainment

Entertainment as a credit card bonus category can cover a lot. Here are cards that offer extra points and cash back in this category:

  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa – 5% cash back on the first $2,000 of spend in your 2 preferred categories (choose “movie theaters” as a category)
  • Capital One Savor Rewards Card – 4% cash back (8% cash back on purchases with Vivid Seats)
  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card – 3% cash back
  • U.S. Bank Business Edge Select Rewards Card – 3X on a bonus category of your choice (choose “travel/entertainment”)

feast

Food Delivery

Multiple cards offer perks in this bonus category. Your monthly Uber credits from the American Express Platinum Card are valid for Uber Eats. The American Express Gold Card has a $10 monthly credit for Grubhub and Seamless. The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides a DashPass membership, which gives you free delivery on DoorDash orders. Additionally, the Citi Prestige provides $5 in credits for all Postmates orders greater than $25.

Here are the best cards for earning maximum points on food delivery purchases:

pump

Gas Stations

Here are the best credit cards to use at gas stations:

Credit Card Bonus Categories

Grocery / Supermarket

Multiple banks and credit card issuers have the temporary bonus categories on grocery / supermarket mentioned above. Additionally, these cards earn the highest points on spending at supermarkets:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited – 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in grocery spend for new account holders, valid for your first year
  • American Express Gold Card – 4X Membership Rewards at U.S. Supermarkets (4X earning limited to $25,000 per year)
  • Citi Premier Card – 3X ThankYou Points at supermarkets

Gym Memberships

You can earn extra points when paying your gym / fitness club membership with the following cards:

  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa – 5% cash back on the first $2,000 of spend in your 2 preferred categories (choose “gyms/fitness centers”)

Home Improvement / Construction

For those looking to earn extra points on spending at home improvement stores, use these cards:

  • Lowe’s Business Rewards Card from American Express – 5% cash back at Lowe’s
  • Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card – 3% cash back on your preferred category (choose “home improvement and furnishings”, which covers home improvement stores AND contractors doing work on your home)

skyline

Hotels

Generally speaking, the most points will be earned by using that hotel chain’s credit card (ex: World of Hyatt Credit Card for stays at Hyatt, American Express Hilton Surpass Card or other Hilton cards when staying at Hilton, etc.). If you don’t have a card for that brand, the following are good options depending on your booking strategy:

  • The Platinum Card from American Express – 5X Membership Rewards on hotels booked through AmexTravel.com
  • Capital One Venture – 5X earning on hotels booked through CapitalOneTravel.com
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve – 5X earning on hotels booked through the Altitude Reserve Center in your member portal
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Ink Business Preferred – 3X Ultimate Rewards on hotels
  • Citi Prestige Card – 3X ThankYou Points on hotels, 4th night free

Best credit card for mobile payments

Mobile Payments

Using tap-to-pay or mobile wallets is increasingly common. Some banks list this as a credit card bonus category for certain cards in 2020:

  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve – 3X points
  • Apple Card – 3% for Apple Pay purchases with Uber, Uber Eats, T-Mobile, Exxon & Mobil gas stations, Nike & Walgreens; otherwise, get 2% back on all other Apple Pay purchases

While these are credit card bonus categories, it’s 2020, and most credit cards recognize the merchant regardless of tap-to-pay / mobile wallet. This means that paying at a restaurant codes as a restaurant. You could still use a card with a restaurant bonus category and earn those bonus points.

Office Supplies / School Supplies

When shopping at places like Staples, Target, or Office Max for your school or office supplies, earn bonus points with these cards:

    • Chase Ink Business Cash – 5X / 5% cash back at office supply stores (on up to $25,000 across all 5X categories on the card)
    • Target RedCard Debit or Target RedCard Credit Card – 5% cash back on purchases at Target

Pharmacies / Drug Stores

For the pharmacies category, remember that this is for stand-alone pharmacies. Pharmacies located inside other stores typically code as whatever that store is (supermarket, for example). Max out your points with these cards:

  • Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card – 3% cash back on your preferred category (choose “drug stores”)
  • Chase Freedom Flex – 3% cash back / Ultimate Rewards on pharmacy / drug store purchases
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card – 2% cash back on all drug stores & pharmacies

Credit Card Bonus Categories

Rental Cars

Consider what rental car perks your card may offer, as well as the credit card bonus categories for earning the most points. Look for rental car insurance or even elite status with the rental agency. Purely in terms of points earning, these cards rank highest:

  • Capital One Venture – 5X earning on cars reserved & paid for through CapitalOneTravel.com
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve – 5X earning on rental cars booked through the Altitude Reserve Center in your member portal
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Ink Business Preferred – 3X Ultimate Rewards
  • American Express Green Card – 3X Membership Rewards
  • Citi Premier Card – 3X ThankYou Points

dining

Restaurants

Don’t forget to enroll in dining programs for extra points, and then take advantage of the 2020 credit card bonus categories with these cards:

  • Citi Prestige Cards – 5X ThankYou Points
  • American Express Gold Card – 4X Membership Rewards
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – 3X Ultimate Rewards
  • American Express Green Card – 3X Ultimate Rewards

Additionally, some food delivery apps may code as ‘restaurant’, which means you could earn extra points and miles this way also.

Credit Card Bonus Categories

Rideshares

Before committing to ‘set it and forget’ for the card in your rideshare profile, check how you get charged after the first use. Make sure it’s coding properly to earn the most points possible.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – 10X Ultimate Rewards on Lyft, 3X on other rideshare apps
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – 5X Ultimate Rewards on Lyft, 2X on others
  • American Express Green Card – 3X Membership Rewards
  • Citi Premier Card – 3X ThankYou Points
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card – 3X points

Streaming Services

Remember that we listed temporary credit card bonus categories for 2020 above. Several cards are offering temporary perks for streaming services. Credit cards with every day bonus points earning in this category are the following:

  • American Express Blue Cash Preferred – 6% cash back
  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa – 5% cash back on the first $2,000 of spend in your 2 preferred categories
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card – 3X points

hotel

Travel / Transportation

Several other categories include items that could be considered “travel”, such as flights, hotels, etc. Here, we are including points earning from items which generally code as “travel” but don’t fall into those areas (this could include public transportation, taxis, buses, etc.):

  • Expedia Rewards Voyager Card from Citi – 4X points on Expedia purchases (3X with the Expedia Rewards Card)
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve – 3X points on all travel
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – 3X Ultimate Rewards on all travel
  • American Express Green Card – 3X Membership Rewards on tours, campgrounds, travel purchases on third party travel websites, and travel purchases on amextravel.com. Also earn 3X on trains, taxis, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.
  • American Express Blue Cash Preferred3% cash back on transit–including taxis, rideshare services, parking, tolls, trains, buses, etc.
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card – 3X points on transit and home stays (including Airbnb)

Utilities & Bills

Paying your electricity bill, internet, etc. can earn extra points and miles when using the following cards:

  • U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa – 5% cash back on the first $2,000 of spend in your 2 preferred categories
  • Chase Ink Business Cash – 5X / 5% cash back on internet services (on up to $25,000 across all 5X categories on the card)
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred – 3X Ultimate Rewards on internet & cable services (on up to $150,000 across all bonus categories on the card)
  • Voice Credit Card from Huntington – 3X points on up to $2,000 in your preferred category each quarter (choose “utilities & office supplies”)

Credit Card Bonus Categories

Warehouse Clubs

Warehouse clubs are places like Sam’s Club or Costco, where you need a membership to shop there and typically buy items in bulk quantities. While these can be rotating categories at different times with Discover or Chase, not many cards have a bonus category here all year. Additionally, these stores will NOT count as “supermarket” or “grocery” stores for those bonus points. Here are the best cards for warehouse clubs:

  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card (also the personal version) – 2% cash back on purchases from Costco or Costco.com
  • Citi Double Cash – 2% cash back on all purchases
  • American Express Blue Business Plus – 2X Membership Rewards on all purchases
  • Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card – 2% cash back at wholesale clubs (on up to $2,500 across all bonus categories on the card, per quarter)

Remember that Costco only accepts Visa cards in person. They accept Mastercard online.

Final Thoughts On Credit Card Bonus Categories 2020

There are tons of credit card bonus categories 2020 offers which enable you to earn extra points for daily spending. Simply using the right credit card can earn a bunch of extra points for what you’re already spending. If the purchases are online, there are even greater opportunities, since you can stack your purchase through shopping portals.

If you discover any new categories, let us know! We’ll keep this updated as perks and benefits on cards change or as new credit card bonus categories are announced later in 2020.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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3 COMMENTS

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not sure that it matters but Costco only takes Visa so the Citi Double Cash and Amex cards won’t work there.

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