Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards

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Citi Double Cash

  • 2% cash back. Specifically 1% cash back when you buy + 1% cash back when you pay.
  • No annual fee.

Bank of America Travel Rewards Card

  • Up to 2.625% cash back when redeemed towards travel. This requires Platinum Honors status in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, i.e. $100,000 in assets held at Merrill Edge. If you are not a Preferred Rewards member, 1.5% cash back when redeemed towards travel.
  • No annual fee.

Barlcaycard Arrival Plus

  • Earns 2 miles per dollar spent. You can redeem 1 miles for $0.01 towards travel, and you also get a 5% rebate back in the points spent. This ends up being an effective 2.1% cash back towards travel.
  • $89 annual fee. This annual fee means that you must spend $80,000 first to recoup the $89 annual fee vs. a 2% cash back card with no annual fee.
  • However, the special factor of this card is the large upfront sign-up bonus which most cash back cards do not have. You can use 8,900 miles to pay for the annual fee.

Fidelity Visa

  • 2% cash back. Rewards must be deposited into an eligible Fidelity account.
  • No annual fee.

Alliant Credit Union Cashback Visa

  • 2.5% cash back.
  • $59 annual fee. This annual fee means that you must spend $11,800 first to recoup the $59 annual fee vs. a 2% cash back card with no annual fee.

Chase Freedom Unlimited (w/ Chase Sapphire Reserve)

  • 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can get 1.5 cents towards travel per 1 Ultimate Rewards points. If you earn via the Freedom Unlimited and redeem on the Sapphire Preferred, that results is 2.25 cents cash back towards travel.
  • No annual fee. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve does have a hefty annual fee, but I think this is a nice pairing worth mentioning if you already have the Sapphire Reserve.
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Comments

  1. Love these posts. Also the Citi Thank You card that I signed up for through this site was supposed to have 5% CB on gas and groceries for only the first year. However I’m now well over a year and still getting 5%.

  2. Any ideas on the Chase card whether a political contribution is considered a charitable organization? I doubt it, but just curious.

  3. The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express looks like the case freedom back in the old days! I think I will pick that up, as I no long have a gas and groceries cc

    However one of the best Cash Back Credit Cards of all time is the Orchard Credit Card, I dont even know if they still offer it, but I still have mine. A flat 2% cash back on all purchaces! Like the Fidelity but its a Master Card and its cash 🙂

  4. Sorry Klein, you’re out of luck.

    Just like for tax purposes, political contributions and charitable organizations don’t mix.

  5. The fidelity card can be used with their cash management account which has no minimum to open and none to keep open. I’ve had both the Visa 1.5% and AmEx 2% for several years now and normally keep the balance at $1 and transfer funds out to my primary bank when they are posted each month.

  6. With respect to the Fidelity Card and 529s. We received this letter from them.

    The ScholarShare College Savings Plan will transition to a new program manager, TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., in early November. In addition to the detailed information regarding this transition that you have already received, we want to notify you about how this change will affect your Fidelity Investments rewards credit card.
    You need to take action now

    As of November 1, 2011, your rewards points will no longer be automatically deposited to your ScholarShare Plan Account. You will need to do the following before this date:

    Designate another eligible Fidelity account to receive these rewards points. To change your designated account, log on to Fidelity.com or call 877.811.7088.
    Or, you can choose to redeem your points for travel, brand-name merchandise, gift certificates, experience rewards, and more through WorldPoints® rewards. To redeem rewards, log on to Fidelity.com, go to the “Portfolio Summary” tab, click on the “Credit Cards” tab, and then the “Manage Rewards” tab. Or, you can call 877.811.7088.

    If you have any questions about your Fidelity Investments rewards credit card, call 877.811.7088 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Sincerely,

    Richard A. Mitchell
    Executive Vice President
    Personal Investing
    Fidelity Investments
    Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC

  7. @Brad – Do you have a regular Fidelity account (or 529, IRA) as well, though? I always thought the cash management account was meant to piggyback on top of a Fidelity brokerage account.

    The way I read their website, it seems to let you open a cash management account if you have a Fidelity brokerage account already, but if you don’t, it says something like “No problem, you can open a cash management and Fidelity brokerage account together”.

    If it is a standalone brokerage account, I wonder if I can change my Fidelity brokerage account to a cash management account for the ATM fee rebates. I used to have a myCash account but they closed it on me, probably due to inactivity.

    @DataIsGold – Yes, California booted Fidelity and is moving to TIAA-CREF. Weird, because they only switched to Fidelity a few years ago from another firm. However, Fidelity does still manage the 529 plans of a few other states, if you wanted to go that route and open another 529 plan.

  8. redlenses says:

    I have the Fidelity 2% AMEX card with a cash management account, no other accounts at Fidelity. Every time the 2% gets credited (in $50 increments I think) , I transfer the money to my online savings. That, the old Schwab Invest First 2% VISA, and my PenFed for Gas are my main cards.

  9. redlenses says:

    When I opened the Fidelity account it was a:
    mySmart Cash Account(R)

    Which was changed to the Fidelity(R) Cash Management Account recently.

  10. redlenses says:

    Capital One Cash Rewards card gives: 1.5% automatic rewards (1% on everything, plus .5% annually), no fee. ($100 sign up bonus – spend $500 in first 3 mos)
    http://www.capitalone.com/creditcards/cash-rewards-credit-card/rewards

    Fidelity Visa gives: 1.5% of purchases into a deposit in your Fidelity account (earn 2% once you’ve spent $15,000 annually), no fee.
    http://personal.fidelity.com/products/checking/content/investment_rewards_card.shtml

  11. What? The 2% on everything is back? Just when old Chuck went out the door, this card comes back. I used Fidelity right before chuck when it was 1.5. This is great!

  12. My favorite card is an AARP/Chase card. 5% cash back on everything for six months! I use it to pay for my daughter’s college tuition, property taxes and whatever else I can charge – then pay it in full every month. I have been depositing all credit card cash back money into one account for years. Watching that account grow makes paying credit card bills a little easier.

  13. Anyone know if Costco is considered a grocery when using Amex Blue Cash?

  14. You might want to add the Sallie Mae 5% off Gas/Groceries card (http://www.salliemae.com/5percent). You get 5% cash back on the first $500 of Gas/Groceries each month and 1% off after that. 1% on everything else and no annual fee.

    Also, if you get it soon they are offering a $100 bonus after your first $500 spent.

  15. Fidelity 2% cash comments are not entirely accurate. You do not have to deposit rewards into a fidelity account, they will send you a check if you want.

  16. @ Frank Kim.

    Warehouse clubs do not count toward the 6% cash back amount on groceries. I wasn’t even aware you could use your AMEX Blue Cash card to pay for things at Costco … thought the only credit card they accept is the TrueEarnings Costco Card.

  17. Vince Thorne says:

    Nice roll-up. Too add: COSTCO offers their own Amex credit card which gives 2% cash back on costco purchases, 3% on gas and 3 % on travel and dining.

  18. @Jonathan, as someone said. The Cash Management account was the old MySmart Cash account. Same account, just a new name. Although I use Fidelity for most of my investments (Brokerage, IRA, 401(k), etc). There is no requirement to have a brokerage, IRA, etc to have cash management. I do recommend that people who don’t have other Fidelity accounts leave a few $$ in there and not keep it at a $0 balance on a regular basis.

    @Kevin. Yes you can have FIA send you a check from their web site for the Fidelity branded card but if you do that you don’t get the full 2% cash back unless you redeem 25,000+ points at a time or $12,500 in purchases. Using a Fidelity Account you can redeem 5000 points at a time or $2,500 in purchases.

    @Michael. Costco accepts any AmEx branded card. I use my 2% Fidelity AmEx card and I can confirm you get 2% cash back from it, on top of the 2% if you’re an executive member.

  19. @Vince Thorne. Wrong %’s in your post, here are the correct ones for the personal card: Costco’s Amex TrueEarning’s card is 3% cash back on annual gasoline purchases up to $3,000, then 1% after that. Also 2% restaurants (used to be 3%), 2% travel, and 1% for everything else (including Costco). But you do get 2% back if you use the Fidelity Amex card at Costco.

  20. Is it just me, or are those rotating categories so annoying? I think I am personally boycotting all of those. 😀 (I’ve had Chase Freedom for a while – rewards for groceries and gas are nice – but we don’t spend much on anything else).

  21. The Citi Dividend card Jonathan links to gives you the promo 0% APR, and $100 cash back after $500 in spending in the first 3 months. If you go directly to their website (sorry Jonathan), you can get the card without the promo APR, but with $200 bonus cash back after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Depends what your needs are.

    Jonathan, perhaps you could link to the other offer somehow, so you still get the referral credit? Or is the offer you’ve linked to the only one that gives affiliate credit?

  22. P.S. Here in the NE, Wegmans has pretty much every gift card you can imagine available. Nice way to rack up the 6% cash back bonus. You can even buy Amex gift cards, which means you can essentially get 6% cash back on EVERYTHING…

  23. Anyone know if CVS and Trader Joes count as supermarkets for the Amex Blue Preferred?

  24. Instead of getting the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, I’d just go with the Blue Cash. No annual fee, so I don’t have to worry about hitting some minimum spending mark to make it worth having. 3% back on groceries instead of 6%, which means that in order to make the Preferred one worth having, you need to spend more than $48/week on groceries. If you spend less, you actually make more money with the non-Preferred one.

    $25/week with the Preferred = $3 in your pocket annually. With the non-Preferred = $39

  25. josefismael says:

    citi forward card – 5% cash back on restaurants/bars, movie theaters, and bookstores (including all Amazon purchases). I’m a younger guy so really this is where a LARGE portion of my income is going – after investments, of course 🙂 Not sure if they’re still offering it, but when I signed up there was a 10k point bonus for spending X amount in X months. If I remember right the requirements weren’t too insane….

  26. Catanpirate says:

    Salliemae.com/5percent

  27. @Brent212. Trader Joe’s should count as a supermarket. Have done 5% back with Chase Freedom in the past and they have qualified. CVS is a drugstore not a supermarket.

    Since I currently have Amex cards, I was able to just sign in and apply w/o all the extra input fields like employer, etc. Instantly approved for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred. No idea what limit though. Will probably only use this card to buy groceries and restaurant gift cards at the grocery. PenFed for the 5% on gas and probably everyday. Chase Freedom/Citi Dividend depending on given category. Amex Costco for the 2% on travel. Discover for 5% back from Staples.com, etc. Wish there was one card that did it all lol!

  28. RE: Amex Blucash Preferred…

    I just have the regular Amex BlueCash (not preferred). Yes the preferred gives 6% on groceries but the regular BlueCash already receives 5% on that category. Additionally, the regular BlueCash gives 5% on GAS and pharmacies. For us, 1% additional on groceries is nowhere near enough to give up 5% on gas. Some other cards offer that, yes, but it’s generally seasonal and subject to a low limit.

    If there’s something I’m missing regarding the benefits of these two cards, please let me know!

  29. Picked up the Blue Cash Preferred since $100 a week at the grocery store will more than pay for the annual fee. I sure hope it takes a while before they Nerf bat this card like they did the old Chase Freedom. Thanks for the link! Enjoy your $75 referral bonus, Jonathan 😉