Get Started

Learn more about Credit Cards, Travel Programs, Deals, and more.

Easy Money! Earn Big Cash Back Rewards with These Five Credit Cards

This post may contain affiliate links - Advertiser Disclosure. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.
Favorite Cash Back Credit
Photo by Pictures of Money.

My Five Favorite Cash Back Credit Cards: Rack Up Easy Money

The hobby’s focus on redeeming rewards for cash back is arguably at its highest level currently for many reasons.  Innovative cash back options like Chase’s Pay Yourself Back, consumers’ decreased travel habits, and the need for a little extra during the pandemic are just a few reasons that many opt for cash.  I recently described why cash back is my overall favorite credit card rewards redemption.  Let’s take a look at my five favorite cash back credit cards, but first I have a caveat to share.

One Caveat

Many hobbyists pursue advanced cashout methods involving multiple card accounts in given rewards ecosystems, significant account balances, and other requirements in order to obtain more lucrative cash back redemption values.  For the purposes of this article, I’m focusing on stand-alone cash back credit cards which we can all take advantage of for simple cash back rewards.  I look forward to discussing more advanced plays to take cash back rewards to the next level in a future article.

Favorite Cash Back Credit

Discover it Miles – My Favorite Cash Back Credit Card

The single highest uncapped, flat cash back rate card out there is the Discover it Miles card.  You effectively earn at a 3% cash back rate for the first cardmember year.  A cardmember is awarded 1.5% on all credit card spend in each statement period, and the this total cash back is matched at the end of the cardmember year.  Even better, there is no annual fee!  The card doesn’t regularly have a welcome offer, but you can sometimes get a $100 offer when you are referred to the card (the person who refers you can also obtain $100).  My wife and I have referred each other to this card multiple times.  Discover has approved us for new accounts each year, so we’ve been able to continue earning 3% long term.

However, Discover can be quirky on certain stuff.  Credit limits can be somewhat low, they are increasingly inflexible in increasing credit lines, and they can be slow to release credit after payment.  You can read more about these wrinkles here.  Regardless, the card provides a great cash back rate with no annual fee.

Favorite Cash Back Credit

Citi Double Cash

The Citi Double Cash card has been solid since it was introduced several years ago, and it’s pulled off the rare feat of improving with age.  Another cash back card with no annual fee, the Double Cash’s 2% cash back rate is undeniably solid.  You get uncapped 1% cash back in your account on all purchases, plus another 1% cash back when you pay.  There is a $25 redemption minimum.  More recently, Citi has allowed cardholders to turn their cash back rewards into ThankYou points.  This gives cardholders who also have a ThankYou-point earning card (Premier, Prestige, or Rewards+) the option to transfer points to travel partners, bookings, or Shop Your Way (gift cards!) for an even higher value.  I love the flexibility to earn cash back now, but later decide to convert to ThankYou points later if I so choose.

The bad news is welcome offers for the Citi Double Cash have been virtually non-existent since it’s introduction.  The good news is Citi is remarkably liberal in allowing product changes, including to the Citi Double Cash.  My wife and I have each product changed old Citi AA credit cards to Double Cash cards in the past.  Consequently, we no longer close personal Citi cards – I just convert to more Double Cash accounts!

Favorite Cash Back Credit

PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa

Like the Double Cash, the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa earns 2% cash back everywhere and uncapped.  In order to obtain the 2% rate, you must maintain $500 in a PenFed checking account.  Otherwise, the cash back rate is 1.5%.  Unlike the Double Cash, the cash back rewards from PenFed post very quickly.  A few days after purchase, the full 2% in cash back rewards is in my account and available to be withdrawn.  Plus, there is no redemption minimum.

Just as important (for me, at least), this 2% cash back card is issued by a smaller bank/credit union rather than a huge entity in the credit card rewards space.  For those of us who are particularly aggressive in the hobby, I view having a diverse set of cards across a variety of banks and credit unions is integral.  As with the above two cards, there is no annual fee with this PenFed card.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred

While we are talking about annual fees, let’s get the ugly part out of the way with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred.  Normally, the annual fee is $95.  Ouch.  But there is plenty of good stuff to more than counterbalance that annual fee.  Here we go:

These Offers May Have Ended Or Changed

  • A welcome offer!  This can vary, but I’m currently seeing a $300 offer after $3k spend in six months.
  • 6% cash back on U.S. Supermarket spend up to $6k per calendar year. 1% after that.
  • 6% cash back on U.S. streaming services.
  • 3% cash back on transit (rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, etc).
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 1% cash back everywhere else.
  • $95 annual fee is waived the first year.
  • Learn More

More realistically, I calculate savings after maximizing the grocery store spend and taking into account the annual fee.  While I effort to save on groceries, we do spend about $500 monthly, anyway.  Net rewards on just that $6k grocery spend is $265.  That’s a savings of just over 4.4% on grocery spend for the year.  Pretty good!  I consider this card a great option for normal spenders who are looking to easily maximize cash back on broadly applicable categories.

Question: How Do I Know If I'm Eligible For A Chase Bonus?

Chase Freedom Flex

Much has been written and discussed about the Chase Freedom Flex.  Many are very excited about this card.  Indeed, there is much to admire, particularly for those eligible for the current welcome offer:

  • Earn $200 cash back after $500 spend in the first three months of card membership.  Earn 5% cash back on grocery store spend up to $12k in the first card member year.
  • 5% cash back on quarterly rotating bonus categories up to $1.5k per quarter.
  • 5% cash back on purchases via the Chase travel portal.
  • 3% cash back on drug store, dining, and drug store purchases.
  • 1% cash back everywhere else.
  • Learn More

For those eligible, applying for this card to take advantage of the welcome offer is a no-brainer.  Beyond the first year, the quarterly categories primarily drive the rewards, unless one is a big-time drug store spender.  I consider the unpredictability of the quarterly categories as a liability, but normal users should be easily able to gain rewards from this card, albeit at a low scale.

My Favorite Cash Back Credit Cards – Conclusion

Quite a variety of cash back cards with varying earning structures, welcome offers, and features exist.  As consumers, we can all benefit!  Prior to pursuing any of the above cards (or any others, for that matter), consider your spending habits and go after the optimal cards to maximize your rewards-earning potential.  And for existing cardholders, routinely review your card portfolio and determine if tweaks are necessary!  What is your favorite cash back credit card?  Why?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Lower Spend - Chase Ink Business Preferred® 100K!

Chase Ink Business Preferred® is a powerful card that earns 3X Ultimate Rewards points in a broad range of business categories on the first $150K in spend per year. Right now earn 100K Chase Ultimate Rewards points after $15K $8K spend in the first 3 months with a $95 annual fee.

Learn more about this card and its features!

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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.


    • Andrew P,

      I’m not very familiar with that card, but it seems like a solid 2% cash back everywhere option. In my experience, FNBO has been a bit unpredictable with approvals. Also, if you don’t have a Double Cash already, you may want to consider that card first for the reasons I described in the article. Of course, I don’t know your personal situation; if you are looking to branch out with a cash back card from a different bank than I mentioned, this one may be a good option.

  1. I am considering the AMEX blue cash preferred but am put off that the redemption option is a statement credit and not actual cash back. Am i reading this correctly, and if so is there a workaround to get actual cash back?

    • Pointsmiser,

      I’m not aware of a workaround, but perhaps others are. Regardless, from my perspective, the difference between redemption via statement credit or another “cash back” avenue (bank transfer, for instance) is negligible. But if you don’t find cash back via statement credit acceptable, the Blue Cash Preferred may not be the optimal card for you.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here