A few years ago, I started using a credit card to pay all of my monthly expenses. I pay it off every month (this is key!), and I get points and rebates just for using it. It’s amazing how quickly the rewards can add up! There are a lot of programs out there, and different ones will be best for different people depending on what you spend the most on and what kind of rewards you prefer. Below, I’ve broken down some of the best in four categories.
Best Cash Back: Chase Freedom
If you prefer a straightforward cash back card for every day use, this card is really versatile, but the quarterly cap on 5% cash back is a drawback. Look at your spending to see if you would hit the threshold before signing up.
- No annual fee
- Earns 5% cash back on bonus categories that change every quarter, such as gas, groceries, and restaurants, up to $1,500 spent per quarter
- Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Sign up bonus: Earn $100 for spending $500 in the first three months after opening the account and 0% intro APR
Best for Household Spending: American Express Blue Cash Preferred
If most of your spending is on household needs, this is a great card with unbeatable reward percentages. A couple of drawbacks to note: not all superstores are categorized as “grocery” (and aren’t eligible for the 6%); inquire with customer service if you want to know about a specific store you frequent. Also, American Express is not accepted everywhere, as it has higher merchant fees than other cards (so many small businesses won’t take it). That being said, it is my personal card of choice.
- $75 annual fee
- 6% cash back on groceries, up to $6,000 spent annually, and unlimited 3% rewards on gas and department stores
- Redeem reward dollars for cash back, gift cards, luxury items, travel, and more
- Sign up bonus: Get 100 reward dollars, redeemable for a $100 statement credit, after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months, and one year of Amazon Prime membership for free after meeting spending requirements
Best for Frequent Travelers: Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard
This card has excellent rewards with no caps, plus great perks for travelers.
- $89 annual fee waived the first year
- No foreign transaction fees
- Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent with no cap
- Redeem your miles as a statement credit against any travel expense
- Baggage insurance and travel insurance included
- Sign up bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first three months
Best for Business Owners: Chase Ink Cash for Business
Earning cash back for business expenses is a no brainer, and this card covers just about everything.
- No annual fee
- No fee for additional cards for employees
- 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent annually on wireless and landline services, office supplies, and cable services
- 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent annually on dining and gas
- 1% unlimited rebate on all other purchases
- Sign up bonus: Earn $300 cash back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months plus 0% introductory APR for 12 months
Do you use a reward card for your monthly spending or have another system that works for you? Tell us about it in the comments below.