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Best rewards credit card, preferable to cash?
Old 11-14-2013, 08:36 PM   #1
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Best rewards credit card, preferable to cash?

Looks like there are a couple recent threads on the penfed card, and a thread from 2010...but anyone using a great rewards credit card for cash back as a reward? We don't like to fly so airline miles don't seem to be up our alley.

Our current gives 2% on restaurants and travel with 1% on everything else, but there has to be better. Looking at Nerdwallet a lot of those posters have card A for 5% gas, card B for groceries, etc. whereas I am not so sure that is for us. One card for all would be better. But some of those have monthly or quarterly rotating categories (some you must sign up for) for the higher rewards. I suppose that would be OK, but something that is across the board would be easier.

The Amazon card (3% on amazon purchases, 2% on restaurants and groceries, and 1% on everything else) or the capital one quicksilver seem to be forerunners in my search so far.

Not sure I want to mess with Discover or American Express because of their limited scope of acceptance at all retailers.

One would think with wealth and great credit there would be special cards out there.
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:41 PM   #2
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I use Discover and have had very few places not take the card. I always keep a VISA/MasterCard on me for safety as well though. AMEX has been the iffier card in my opinion
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:52 PM   #3
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The capitalOne was the best I could find at 1.5% for everything after the Schwab 2% went away.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:29 PM   #4
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I do points not cash so can't help you much. I do think that the cash cards have gotten stingier. I switch off from airline to hotel cards, depending on my upcoming plans, and use visa and amex both, depending on the offers.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greencheese View Post
I use Discover and have had very few places not take the card. I always keep a VISA/MasterCard on me for safety as well though. AMEX has been the iffier card in my opinion
+1 though I gave up my Amex card. My Discover card pays 2% on everything that I can apply to any travel charges I have. We travel enough that it is the equivalent of getting 2% cash back on everything. Unfortunately, it is not available to new customers.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:49 PM   #6
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I have to admit I'm really into credit card cash back and I personally greatly prefer cash benefits over miles or any other perks.

All my numerous credit cards have cash back and no annual fee. I charge virtually EVERYTHING I spend (of course paying off the bill in full every month), just to maximize the $$ I get back every year. It really starts to add up -- hundreds of dollars a year when all is said and done.

I use Discover as my main card because of the consistent cash back all the time and the very good (5%) cash back on different things on a quarterly basis (which literally takes 1 minute to sign up for 4 times a year). Also when redeeming your CashBack with Discover you can extract even more benefits, since of the gift cards they offer that have a higher face value than the reward amount you pay (e.g., pay $45 in Discover dollars for a $50 CVS card).

I also have a AAA BoA card that gives 3% cash back on gas, so I dedicate that card for fuel most of the time. That card also simultaneously earns AAA points that get translated periodically into money you can spend at AAA, including for your annual membership fee.

I use Chase Sapphire cards (Visa and MC) mainly when I'm traveling internationally since no one uses Discover outside the US.

Finally, I also have an AmEx card with the typical 1% cash back on regular purchases, but I rarely use it anymore for anything except shopping or getting gas at Costco (where that's your only credit option), or the rare remaining international place that only takes AmEx.

All of these cards I've had for many, many years, and didn't really think I needed more.... but then I saw an ad yesterday for a no fee AARP Chase credit card that's offering 3% cash back for gas and for restaurants, and 1% for everything else, plus a sign up bonus, so I have to admit I'm mildly tempted to get it..........
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:20 PM   #7
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I mainly use an American Express 2% rewards (all categories) from Fidelity and the Amazon Visa card.

Next I want the American Express 6% on groceries, 3% gas.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:38 PM   #8
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I have the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card. I had the Clue Cash non-preferred for a long time. The Preferred has an annual fee, but for us the fee is way more than outweighed by the higher rewards. We put everything on Amex that we can unless the vendor charges a fee to use the card. For example, DS is currently attending both the CC and a university. The university charges a fee to use a credit card while the CC doesn't. So all charges at the CC go through Amex. I use Amex to pay utility bills and pretty much everything and get back considerable cash. Sometimes we take it in cash, but they also have some gift cards you can get. Some gift cards are a terrible deal (you get less face value for the Amex gift cards that what you pay for them), others are the same value as money (pay $25 rewards for $25 credit). However, from time to time you can get a gift card for a discount, usually 5%. We've often used the cash back to get restaurant gift cards at a discount (of course, only for restaurants that we regularly go to).

There are a few places that don't take Amex so I carry around a Mastercard for those places, but it is really a small minority.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:58 PM   #9
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  • 2% cash back on everything Fidelity Amex
  • 3% gas, 2% restaurants & travel, 1% everything else cash rewards Costco Amex
  • 1.5% travel rewards BofA VISA with no foreign transaction fee chip card - apply rewards against restaurants, hotel, etc. - close enough to cash back.
  • 3% Amazon cash rewards Chase VISA
Pretty much covers it. All with no annual fee.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:08 PM   #10
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1.5 up to 2% cash back on everything Fidelity Visa (felt the Visa was accepted more places than the Amex)
Costco Amex
A bunch of cards for the signup bonus bucks, which mostly get cancelled before the annual fee comes due. (Like Chase Sapphire, Ink Bold, Ink Plus, Barclays Arrival)
Penfed, more's the pity, is still being carried, but not used - they just aren't competing at their former level.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:25 PM   #11
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I like Discover and Amazon.
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Old 11-15-2013, 10:48 AM   #12
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  • 3% Amazon cash rewards Chase VISA
Pretty much covers it. All with no annual fee.
And you can link your Chase card to Amazon and use the points to pay for purchases on Amazon.

- Rita
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:08 AM   #13
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And you can link your Chase card to Amazon and use the points to pay for purchases on Amazon.

- Rita
Yes, that's what we do. It's very easy.

My husband and I each have one. That's because we're greedy and each took the offered sign-up bonus.

We buy a lot of stuff on Amazon (Prime), and always have, so this has been great.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:10 AM   #14
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I play with the cash reward cards also, but not to the extreme. I use the following:

DISCOVER: Use this card the most for 2% cash back on everything. Since it was issued by Sam's Club, I can use this as my membership card also and don't need another card in my wallet.

AMEX: Use this card only at COSTCO's as that's the only card they take except for a bank debit card. Use it at COSTCO's only.

BANK OF AMERICA: Use this card for gas purchases except for COSTCO's and Sam's Club. It does 3% cash back on gas and 1% everything else. I also have another Band of America card which I use almost every day because it is my debit card. I never carry much cash in my wallet because I depended on the debit card.

I just cannot get in the habit of charging things like groceries except for COSTCO's and Sam's. I could probably save a lot in cash back if I only used the credit cards but never liked that habit. Wife does a lot of on line purchasing like Amazon, Ebay, etc. and usesd her PayPal card for that.

I don't pay that much attention to gas purchases anymore since we got the Prius. I can drive all week around town and fill it up for $20 to $25 so I'm not picky about the card I use.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:24 AM   #15
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And you can link your Chase card to Amazon and use the points to pay for purchases on Amazon.

- Rita
But should you be doing that, because then you miss out on additional 3% cash rewards on those purchases? Technically it would be better to get the cash back from Amazon separately, and then use the Amazon credit card for all your Amazon purchases.

Although I also understand that the convenience of using the rewards at Amazon may outweigh the additional savings!
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:27 AM   #16
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But should you be doing that, because then you miss out on additional 3% cash rewards on those purchases? Technically it would be better to get the cash back from Amazon separately, and then use the Amazon credit card for all your Amazon purchases.

Although I also understand that the convenience of using the rewards at Amazon may outweigh the additional savings!
I don't sweat losing 3% of 3% = 0.09% of original purchases.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:31 AM   #17
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Looks like there are a couple recent threads on the penfed card, and a thread from 2010...but anyone using a great rewards credit card for cash back as a reward? We don't like to fly so airline miles don't seem to be up our alley.

Our current gives 2% on restaurants and travel with 1% on everything else, but there has to be better. Looking at Nerdwallet a lot of those posters have card A for 5% gas, card B for groceries, etc. whereas I am not so sure that is for us. One card for all would be better. But some of those have monthly or quarterly rotating categories (some you must sign up for) for the higher rewards. I suppose that would be OK, but something that is across the board would be easier.

The Amazon card (3% on amazon purchases, 2% on restaurants and groceries, and 1% on everything else) or the capital one quicksilver seem to be forerunners in my search so far.

Not sure I want to mess with Discover or American Express because of their limited scope of acceptance at all retailers.

One would think with wealth and great credit there would be special cards out there.
Credit Card that I have owed for awhile :
chase freedom
5% on diff. things ea.quater
1% on everthing else

just got
chase sapphire
2% on travel and dining
1% everything else
bonus div. on spending ea yr.
will get $400 after I spend $3,000 in 1st 3 months
will count as $500 when I book travel through them
no fee 1st yr
can move my freedom points to this card.


chase marriott
got this for the 70,000 bonus pt. after spending $1,000 in 1st 2 mo.
and 1 free night on opening it. (We used the 1 free night to book a one bedroom at the Tampa Renanssiance the night before our cruise (rated 16th out of 157 on Tripadvisor) The cost would have been $154. Or $172.48 w/ taxes)
with the 70,000 bonus points I cans stay at this level hotel 4 more times free
no fee 1st yr. $85 after w/one free night

got rid of


Chase BP - Use to pay 5%
Chase Airtran - got 2 free RT. Transferred to SW and flew to Seattle,wa
for our Cruise. 1st yr. was free so canceled before the fee was due.
(SW is just offered me the same deal)
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:06 PM   #18
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Our BofA Travel Rewards chip and signature card worked really well overseas. We got this card for the 0% foreign transaction fee. It also pays 1.5% in travel rewards which can be credited against your bill - many things qualify, including restaurants. Supposedly I'll get another 10% of rewards at the end of the year because I have a linked BofA checking account. No annual fee.

There were several locations that didn't accept swipe cards. A major one being the train stations! But I was able to use my chip and signature card.

There were quite a few shops in Amsterdam which were credit card only (no cash) - and some of these only accepted chip cards.

The signature thing was no problem overall. They just printed a second receipt to sign.

A lot of folks over there rub their thumb over the card chip before putting it in the machine when it doesn't work right away. The "magic touch" they say .

I would love to have a chip and pin card - then I would have been able to use the automated machines to buy tickets, etc too.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:28 PM   #19
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One caveat I would add when looking at cards is that some pay 2% back and some pay up to 2% back. The real rates are written in the fine print within the fine print.

I also like getting "free" stuff on Amazon from my rewards cards points every month. I have the Am Exp 2% money put in a Fidelity account and it makes more than my other cards, but it just doesn't have the same thrill as seeing that "pay for it in points" message on the Amazon check out screen.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:30 PM   #20
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I like Discover and it really is accepted virtually everywhere now. Some of the features I like are:
-You can pick your due date.
-You can easily pay online with reminders, etc.
-You can use the cashback immediately on Amazon.com ... even if its just a few dollars.
-The 5% cashback can be stacked with shopping cashback. For example for Oct-Dec, you get 5% cashback on online purchases PLUS you can get 5% cashback from Walmart.com (for example)
-You can get $50 after your first purchase if you sign up using a referral. (Let me know if you'd like a referral.)
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