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Most of us are adjusting our spending habits as our everyday spending habits change. The money you previously spent on travel is going toward other expenses instead. Even if your daily purchases tend to be boring, you can still earn exciting rewards. Here are a few ideas and guides to some of the best credit cards for everyday spending, including the opportunity to earn 80,000 bonus points or up to 5% cash back on purchases.

chase sapphire instacart bonus
Some of the best credit cards for everyday spending include the Chase Sapphire cards with their Instacart bonus. Photo by Instacart

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® earns some of the most valuable credit card points—Chase Ultimate Rewards.

You earn 2 points per $1 on travel and dining plus unlimited 1 point per $1 on everything else. However, Lyft rides earn 5x points, through March 2022. Chase is also adding several Sapphire bonus categories available from July 1, 2020, through September 30, 2020:

  • 3x Ultimate Rewards on Instacart purchases on the first $3,000 spent
  • 3x Ultimate Rewards at gas stations on the first $1,500 spent
  • 5x Ultimate Rewards on select streaming purchases on the first $1,500 spent in combined spending
  • Up to $50 statement credit for Instacart Express memberships

It’s also possible to redeem your Ultimate Rewards for 1.25 cents for gas stations, grocery stores, and home improvement stores through September 30, 2020, with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. As always, your points are worth 1.25 cents each when booking award travel on the Chase travel portal. Each point is worth 1 cent each for cash redemptions. You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners.

There’s another exciting retail partner benefit that can save you money and make life easier. You get one year of free DoorDash DashPass membership. DashPass benefits include unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders with a $12 minimum purchase total. This must be activated by 12/31/21 though.

The annual fee is $95, but we believe its value is justified (you can learn more in this in-depth Chase Sapphire Preferred review). The signup bonus is 80,000 Ultimate Rewards, worth $1000 in award travel, after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited

Two other Chase options that are perfect for everyday spending: the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Both cards have no annual fee, earn cash back on all purchases, and have the same signup bonus. New cardmembers have the opportunity to earn a $200 cash bonus after making $500 in purchases during the first 3 months of account opening. Also, cardholders can earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Both cards can also be used along with a Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card to earn more bonus points. You can then transfer points earned with the Freedom cards to your Sapphire or Ink account for the card’s travel redemption bonus or 1:1 point transfers. Each Ultimate Rewards point is worth 1 cent each for cash redemptions or award travel you book through the Chase travel portal.

Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a World Elite Mastercard product that offers cardholders the opportunity to earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories, up to $1,500 (then 1% back). However, cardholders must activate the categories, though it’s fairly simple to do when the time comes.

These are the other Chase Freedom Flex℠ bonus categories that cardholders will earn cash back from:

  • Up to 5% cash back on groceries (excludes Target and Walmart purchases) on the first $12,000 in the first year
  • 5% cash back on travel purchases in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 3% cash back on restaurants, including takeout and delivery services
  • 3% cashback on drugstore purchases
  • 1% cashback on everything else

It’s likely that the 5% quarterly bonus category will be the same for the Visa and Mastercard versions. In the 4th quarter of 2020, you can earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in holiday-related purchases. And, the 5% grocery purchase benefit can be a good way to maximize the Chase Freedom Flex℠ during your first year of ownership. However, Target and Walmart purchases only earn 1% as they are “discount stores” that also sell merchandise.

Related: Chase Freedom Flex Review

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a Visa Signature product that has similar earning opportunities. However, there are no quarterly rotating categories to activate. Instead of earning at least 1% cash back on all purchases, as you do with the Freedom Flex, you’ll earn at least 1.5% back. However, a few select purchases earn up to 5% cashback.

  • Up to 5% cash back at supermarkets on the first $12,000 during the first year (excludes Target and Walmart)
  • 5% cashback on travel you book using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cashback on drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cashback on all other purchases

Besides the 5% and 3% bonus categories, the base rate of 1.5% cashback (1.5 Ultimate Rewards per $1) lets you earn 50% more on non-bonus purchases than most rewards credit cards.

Related: Chase Freedom Unlimited Review

Citi Double Cash Card

Earning cash rewards is the most flexible credit card currency. The Citi® Double Cash Card keeps it simple as you can earn up to 2% back on every purchase. Cardholders earn 1% back when they buy, plus 1% back when they pay for the purchase. Earning is unlimited. You can redeem your cash balance for statement credits, paper checks, or bank deposits.

The Citi Double Cash also has no annual fee which makes this a perfect compliment to a card that earns up to 2% on your other monthly purchases. However, signup bonus chasers may find this card lacking as there isn’t a signup bonus.

Related: Best cash back credit cards

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Tiered rewards credit cards like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express make it easy to earn outsized bonus cash on your largest everyday spending. Earning categories include:

  • 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (on the first $6,000 per year, then 1% back)
  • 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions (such as Hulu, Netflix, and Apple Music)
  • 3% back on transit
  • 3% back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% back on everything else
Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Also, Plan It gives cardholders the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.
Available until 12/10/2020, there is a $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95 (See Rates & Fees). The welcome bonus is the ability to earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months. This offer also expires on 12/10/2020.

This is your best option for getting the most cash back at U.S. supermarkets (and is one of the best credit cards for groceries). The other 6% and 3% daily spending categories are attractive too.

Related: Cash Back Credit Cards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

A travel rewards credit card is still a good option for maximizing daily purchases. However, you should be selective about which travel credit card you use. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2 Venture Miles per $1 on every purchase. But, Uber Eats purchases earn 5x miles per $1 spent, through January 31, 2021.

It also has no foreign transaction fee, which is handy for when you book a trip abroad again. It’s no surprise that it is also one of the best credit cards for international travel.

It’s also easy to redeem your Capital One Venture miles. Each mile is worth 1 cent for travel statement credits. Eligible purchases include flights, hotels, timeshares, car rentals, and other common travel purchases. Through September 30, 2020, you can redeem your miles for food delivery, takeout and streaming services.

This Capital One Venture Card review explains how this card also comes with Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit. The annual fee is $95 but the 100,000-mile signup bonus is worth $1000 in award travel. New cardholders can earn the 100k mile bonus by spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards

Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Attention, Costco shoppers! The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a good match if you do the bulk of your shopping at this warehouse club. This can be one of the best credit cards for everyday spending due to these bonus categories:

  • 4% on eligible gas station purchases (including Costco gas) on the first $7,000 per year, then 1% back
  • 3% back on restaurants
  • 3% back on eligible travel purchases
  • 2% back at Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% back on everything else

You receive your rewards balance as a Costco shopping credit or cash credit each February. Only being able to redeem your credit once per year can be a slight frustration if you prefer a cash rewards card with more flexible redemption options.

This card has no annual fee, although you must be a Costco member to qualify.

Related: Best Citi Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

If you’re going to get a premium travel credit card, your best option can be the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Of the pricey travel credit cards, the Sapphire Reserve has some of the most friendly benefits for everyday spending purchases.

Here are the best Sapphire Reserve benefits for your daily habits:

  • Earn 3x Ultimate Rewards on dining every day and on travel (once you earn the $300 travel credit)
  • $300 annual travel credit (Chase applies this credit toward grocery and gas station purchases as well as travel through December 31, 2020)
  • 50% point redemption bonus (1.5 cents each) when booking award travel on Chase
    • Points are worth 1.5 cents each for gas station, grocery, and home improvement purchases with the Chase Pay Yourself Back tool through the end of September
  • Up to $50 in statement credits for Instacart Express memberships until September 30, 2020
  • One year of complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership
  • Up to $120 in DoorDash statement credits ($60 in 2020 and $60 in 2021)
  • One year of complimentary Lyft Pink membership
  • Earn 10x points on Lyft purchases through March 2022

It’s possible to earn up to 10 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® on these purchases.

  • Instacart: 5x points on delivery and pickup orders on the first $3,000 spent from July through September
  • Gas stations: 5x points on the first $1,500 spent in July through September
  • Select streaming services: 10x points back on the first $1,500 in combined spending on select services like Spotify and Netflix from July through September

You don’t have to activate this offer to start earning bonus points. After maximizing the 5x or 10x bonus, your remaining 3rd quarter purchases earn 1 point per $1.

When flying, you can also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit. Priority Pass Select airport lounge access is another frequent flyer perk when you fly regularly again. You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards to airlines and hotels at a 1:1 ratio to book award travel.

The annual fee is $550. But, using the limited-time shopping benefits can help offset the annual fee and your limited travel schedule. Also, the signup bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points is worth $750 in award travel or Pay Yourself Back benefits. You earn the signup bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

Related: Is Paying Annual Fees On Premium Credit Cards During COVID Worth It?

Summary of the Best Credit Cards for Everyday Spending

An increasing number of credit cards are shifting their bonus categories to match your everyday spending habits in 2020. You can quickly earn bonus points that can turn into cash rewards or for booking future award travel.

What are everyday purchases?

“Everyday purchases” are common and recurring expenses including:

You may enroll in “auto-pay” for some expenses so the merchant automatically bills your credit card on the same day each month. Other expenses may require you to pay at the time of purchase, including groceries or gas stations since the price varies with each purchase.

Non-everyday purchases include traveling for a vacation or a spontaneous road trip. Unplanned home repairs or medical bills may also be irregular purchases. However, you can still earn bonus points when paying these bills with a rewards credit card.

Is it good to use a credit card for everyday spending?

Yes, rewards travel credit cards can be one of the best ways to pay for everyday purchases. One reason why is that you can earn rewards points that you can redeem for cash back or award travel to save money on future expenses.

A second benefit of paying with a credit card is for the purchase protection benefits. You might be able to reverse a charge even if the merchant refuses to issue a refund. Your dispute claim must be for a qualifying reason, of course.

Using a credit card instead of a debit card means you’re not liable for fraudulent transactions. If scam purchases happen with a debit card, you must wait for the bank to reimburse the unauthorized purchase amounts back into your bank account. With a credit card, your bank account balance remains intact.

Also, credit cards may offer additional benefits to offset select purchases. Premium travel credit cards, for example, reimburse up to $300 in travel purchases and airline fees.

Is it better to use cash or a credit card?

A credit card can be a better option to pay for purchases as you can earn rewards points. These points defray future expenses whether you earn cash rewards or travel rewards. Cash purchases (and most debit card purchases) don’t earn purchase rewards.

Paying with credit is also more popular for in-store purchases as paper money can spread germs. Plus, you don’t have to carry exact change. The ongoing coin shortage is making some businesses accept credit and debit card purchases only.

Paying with cash can be better if you’re going to pay late fees or interest charges on your credit card balance. These charges almost always cost more than the rewards you earn. Cash can also be the better option when merchants charge a fee higher than the rewards you earn, like paying your taxes with a credit card.

Related articles:

For rates and fees of The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Josh Patoka
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

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