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The Best Cash Back Credit Card Rewards

Published 12/16/07 (Modified 12/17/13)
By MoneyBlueBook

Updated List Of The Best Cash Back Credit Card Offers Below!

As I indicated in the past, I'm a big fan of integrated credit card reward programs like Citi Card's ThankYou Rewards Network. I like how all of their reward credit cards generate Thank You rewards that can be pooled into one source and later redeemed for rewards like cash back, statement credit, airline tickets, and popular merchandise. Years ago, you could get a higher cash back percentage with your credit cards, but times have changed as companies have cut and reduced their cash back benefits in favor of encouraging reward point usage. But many people still prefer to stick with cash back cards. Cash back rebates are easier than reward points to understand and despite the slightly lower percentage back offered by the former, many people still favor the convenience and simplicity that cash back reward credit cards provide.

People Like Cash Back Cards Because They Are Much Easier To Use and Redeem Than Reward Cards

I personally don't mind using credit cards that offer reward points, but I'll admit that it does involve more micromanaging. I've been accumulating Citi ThankYou rewards for more than a year now and have accumulated a substantial stockpile of points, enough for an international airplane ticket to Asia and more. But the process requires me to monitor my point progression to ensure my points are not near expiration since accrued reward points do expire after some time if not timely redeemed.

Upon close inspection of all credit card reward and cash back programs, it's apparent that a prudent user who doesn't mind some extra work will find that reward point cards tend to yield a slightly higher percentage back. Unlike cash back credit cards, reward point cards do usually require you to keep track of your own tallies and affirmatively submit a request when you qualify for point redemption. But despite the higher returns, some people still find the redemption procedure of reward cards to be too much trouble - instead, preferring the simplicity of automatic cash back credit. It's true - with cash back credit cards there is no hassle. When you charge something, you automatically get a portion back as statement credit or a cash back check after a certain period of time. You don't have to do anything extra because the whole cash rebate earning process is usually automated.

Well after much research, here's what I've come up with. The best cash back credit card is definitively either the Chase Freedom or Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, but there are several good choices as well.

My List of The Top Credit Cards That Provide The Best Cash Back Reward Percentages:

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  1. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express - Earn Cash Back: 3% at US supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% at US gas stations & select US department stores, 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Terms and Restrictions Apply.
  2. Chase Freedom® - Enroll each quarter to earn 5% cash back in rotating categories that change every 3 months such as gas stations, restaurants and more, subject to quarterly maximum spend. You get 1% cash back for all other purchases.
  3. TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express - This very popular Amex card offer from Costco allows you to earn 3 percent cash back on gasoline at US gas stations and on gasoline at Costco up to $4,000 per year in purchases, then 1%; 2 percent cash back at US restaurants; 2 percent cash back on eligible travel purchases, including at Costco; 1 percent cash back on other purchases, including at Costco. Terms and limitations apply. You will receive your cash back in the form of an annual reward coupon. There is no annual fee with a paid Costco membership. Terms and Restrictions Apply.
  4. American DreamCard MasterCard - The American Dream Card (provided by HSBC) is not your typical direct cash back reward card, but it offers something similarly attractive in return. Rather than getting a mere rate of 1% or 3% cash back on all of your daily purchases, for every single dollar you spend with the card, you earn a single entry into the American Dream Card monthly prize drawing, with the chance to win up to $25,000. The more frequently you use the card, the higher your chances of hitting the recurring monthly jackpot.
  5. Fidelity Investment Rewards Visa Signature Card - Earn 1.5% back for each $1 spent on the first $15,000 in purchases each year. With this card you earn a point for every dollar spent. When you've accumulated 5000 points, the total points can be instantly converted into $50 cash and deposited into your Fidelity Investment brokerage account. The Fidelity credit card offers the same competitive purchase rebate percentage for all purchases. This card is definitely not your usual straight cash back credit card.
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17 Responses to “The Best Cash Back Credit Card Rewards” 

  1. Mrs. Micah says:

    I recently redeemed some reward points. It was a small hassle, but everything went pretty smoothly. And it financed a couple date nights, which was happy. :)

  2. Raymond says:

    I think reward cards give a better percentage back than cash back only cards, but they do require much more work and management. I wish there was an easier way to manage point expiration - like a Yodlee for card reward programs.

  3. Ashley @ Wide Open Wallet says:

    I like the Citibank Thank you network too but I wouldn't mind switching to a cash back crdit card, it really makes more sense.

  4. Christine Talley says:

    I have the American Express Blue. I'm considering switching to the Chase Freedom, because it looks like I would've gotten 3x more cash back. That you have to spend $6,500 before the 5% kicks is a major disadvantage of the American Express.

  5. gas cash back says:

    Discover Open Road is the way to go! They give rewards in a form of cash back for gas purchases and pretty much any auto-related purchases. Check it out

  6. Martin C. says:

    I recommend taking a look at the USAA cash rewards or the USAA Total Rewards card - run by the United Services Auto Association.
    I think the USAA credit cards offer something like 1.25% or 1.50% cash back rewards (I forget which). I recall their APR interest offer was something like 6.75% for purchases. Not a bad cash back credit card offer with low interest rate too...

  7. Archan Ganguly says:

    I have both the Chase Freedom and the HSBC Platinum 2% cash back card and I love them both. The HSBC one is really cool because I get cash back on any online purchase or for that matter on the shipping charges of the products I buy.
    I use the Chase Freedom for bills and for the other top 4 categories and that gives me a 3% back. Its really sad that Walmart and Kroger are not in the top 5 categories of Chase Freedom.

  8. AMEX Blue Cash means Green says:

    If you are anything like me (charge EVERYTHING to get rewards) and have substantial gas and grocery charges then this is your card. 5% back on Gas AND Groceries, plus 1.5% on everything else. Just about EVERYONE takes AMEX now. I previously had airline cards, this past year we charged enough on AMEX to earn 2.5 Southwest Airlines tickets if we were still on their card, but earned $950 cash back. I've never paid more than $300 for a SWA ticket, so we definitely came out ahead!

  9. Miles credit card says:

    Nice article,I love it, Thansk for sharing

  10. The Thrifty Expat says:

    I have two of the top three cards on you list - and they are both great for specific purposes.

    I was disappointed to see that there was a relative newcomer that was not mentioned. The Charles Schwab Visa offers a straight up 2% refund on all purchases to a Charles Schwab Investment Account.

    Their biggest benefit to those who travel - There are no foreign currency transaction fees. To those of us living, working or traveling overseas, this increases our cash back potential exponentially.

    Martin C. also make a great point about the USAA MasterCard. USAA is an excellent card.

    And I'm really interested in the Advanta Net 90 Platinum Business Card. That sounds like a fantastic alternative.

  11. Mike says:

    Where are the links to some of these cash back credit card offers? Is the Discover Card purchase card the only one left? This is why I hate the new governmental approach to tackling the credit crisis. Taking down the credit card companies by enacting harsher and stricter credit card bill of rights or whatever will only serve to damage and punish responsible credit card users like myself. No one realizes this as they are all blinded by their dislike of the big-bad credit card companies. It's truly a double edged blade....

    Eventually if this keeps up, the card issuers will pull away all of their lucrative cashback credit card programs and leave us with nothing. Quite frustrating....

  12. nathan l says:

    schwab has 2% back no limits with no yearly fee. deal only works if you have a brokerage account though.

  13. cheryl hutchinson says:

    I have used the Chase Freedom card for a couple of years. Their customer service stinks. They treat their customers like dirt.

  14. cheryl hutchinson says:

    I have had the Discover card since 1985. They are very intune with their customers. They will do everything they can to make you happy. Good card.

  15. DL says:

    I have had a Discover card for 8 years and its one of the best credit cards I carry. They are constantly mixing in new offers and maintain 5% rewards unlike all the other card companies. Also, they have great customer service and I genuinely feel they care about me as a customer.

  16. SR says:

    Discover says up to 1% cash back... Well, not really, 1/4% for first $1500, 1/2% for second $1500. You Don't get 1% until over $3000 every month. Typical hidden facts.

  17. Chase Stinks says:

    Chase just got rid of their Freedom card and "upgraded" everyone to the Saphire card whose rewards are not nearly as good. This card is no longer a great rewards card

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