If you’re looking for a good secondary credit card to your travel credit card or would simply rather have the bonus cash instead of the travel points, this list can help you pick out one of the best cash back credit cards. Surely, you can find one to maximize your purchases. Some of these cashback credit cards can even help you earn cash rewards while you travel.
Best Cash Back Credit Cards:
Blue Cash Everyday from American Express
Best For: Gas and Grocery Spending
Annual Fee: $0
Two of your largest weekly expenses can be buying groceries and putting gas into your car. If so, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express can be your best friend. It earns the following purchase rewards:
- 3% cash back on Groceries (1% after your first $6,000 spent annually)
- 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores
- 1% cash back on everything else
You will not pay an annual fee with the Blue Cash Everyday. And, you can also earn a $150 cash bonus after spending $1,000 in your first three months.
If you are willing to pay an annual fee for a cash back credit card, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express costs $95 per year and earns 6% cashback on groceries and 3% at U.S gas stations and select department stores. And, it has a $200 welcome offer.
United TravelBank Card
Best For: United Airlines Cash Rewards
Annual Fee: $0
The United Airlines TravelBank is a hybrid cashback/travel rewards credit card. You will not pay an annual fee and it also has a tiered rewards system:
- 2% cash back on all United purchases
- 1.5% cash back on all non-United purchases
- 25% statement credit for in-flight United purchases
If you like to fly United Airlines but don’t want a full-fledged United rewards card with an annual fee, this can be a good option. It doesn’t come with free checked bags, priority boarding, or any other airline amenities, but, it does earn cash back on each purchase. With 1.5% cashback on everyday purchases, this card is competitive with the best cash back credit cards. But, unlike the other flat-rate cards that only earn 1.5% cash back, you get 2% back on United purchases.
Your cash rewards can be redeemed in $1 increments for United flights. There are no minimum redemption requirements, so you can even redeem your balance of $1 on your next United flight if you desire.
Citi Double Cash
Best For: Flat-Rate Cash Back
Annual Fee: $0
If you prefer the simplicity of earning the same cashback rate on every purchase, you will earn 2% cash back on every single purchase with the Citi Double Cash. With each purchase, Citi will give you the first 1% when the transaction is completed and the remaining 1% after the payment is made. Your cash rewards can be redeemed for a statement credit in $25 increments.
There are no earning limits and you will earn 2% if you only spend $1 or your entire credit limit each month. Another unique benefit is that your first late fee is waived if you accidentally forgot to make a payment once.
Best For: Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards with tiered cash back rewards
Annual Fee: $0
If you own the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you already earn 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Owning the Chase Freedom lets you earn 5 points on everyday purchases with rotating quarterly spending categories. This legit way helps you earn double the Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each for award travel with the Sapphire Preferred.
You will need to pay attention to the 5% rotating categories as they are updated quarterly and let you earn 5% (instead) of 1% on the first $1,500 in quarterly purchases for expenses including gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and department stores. And, you need to opt-in to the bonus categories before you can begin earning the bonus cash. A snapshot of the 2017 5% cash back calendar is below:
In addition to earning 4% more on select purchases, you can also enjoy a $150 signup bonus after spending $500 in the first three months.
Best For: Most valuable sign-up bonus
Annual Fee: $0
Another excellent tiered cash back credit card is the Discover it Card. Like the Chase Freedom, Discover it cardholders can earn 1% on everyday purchases and 5% on quarterly bonus categories on the first $1,500 spent on bonus purchases. They are very similar to the categories offered by the Chase Freedom with a few differences. For example, Discover will let you earn 5% cash back at Amazon and Target in the 4th quarter of 2017 while Chase offers 5% cash back at Walmart and select department stores.
The real value of the Discover it Card is also in its sign-up bonus. For the entire first year of ownership, Discover will match your bonus rewards dollar for dollar. If you earn $300 in bonus cash, Discover will give you an additional $300 in cash rewards. When most cash back credit cards will only give you $150 to $200 at best for a sign-up bonus, you can greatly profit from this card.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Best For: Cash statement credit for travel aficionados
Annual Fee: $95 (waived for the first year)
The Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you redeem your points for statement credits, although Ultimate Rewards points are more valuable for travel. Each point is worth 1-cent (1,000 points=$10) and can be redeemed for cash statement credits.
The 50,000 point sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth $500 in statement credits. Not bad. The Ink Preferred business credit card comes with 80,000 point sign-up bonus worth $800 in cash.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee and it has chip technology.
Summary of Best Cash Back Credit Cards
Cash back credit cards can be a good option as you know your rewards points can always be worth at least one cent each while some travel credit card points might only be worth half a cent. You might also consider adding a cash back credit card to maximize the value of you non-travel purchases. In some cases, your points can be redeemed for a higher value for award travel instead of receiving a cash back reward.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Chase Freedom
- Best Travel Credit Cards for 2017
- Best Chase Credit Cards
- Best Chase Business Credit Card