Best cash back credit cards

Hi All,

Looking to get a new cash back credit card. Currently we use a discover which is behind the times at 1% cash back and a miles
Card but have a ton of miles and don’t see traveling happening a lot for next year. Plus we only use the miles when we are going over seas as it seems to offer the best ROI on miles.

I’ve found a credit union card offering 2.5% cash back. It has no silly categories or points scheme. Just straight 2.5% cash back deposited to bank account.

Only cap is $10k in spending a month = $250 cash back a month. $99 annual fee but waived first year.

Anyone else found or use anything with higher cash back without gimmicks and games?

Personally, I use chase sapphire reserve and chase freedom.

Freedom gives 5% cash back on a variety of categories that change each quarter. Often it’s things like “gas stations” or “grocery stores”. Sometimes it’s amazon.

All the points from that get rolled in to my sapphire reserve card where they’re worth 1.5x on travel. So, 7.5% cash back towards travel. Sapphire reserve is 3% on some categories, 2% on others, 1% on others, but again, everything is 1.5x for travel.

Travel gets booked through the chase portal, and often is cheaper than you can get elsewhere, even before the points are applied.

They’ve been offering the 1.5x on more than just travel recently as well.


US Bank Altitude Reserve triple points when you use Apple Pay wherever accepted. Works out to 4.5% on travel when redeemed. Hefty annual fee of $400 but you get $300 travel credit and priority pass that works at the restaurants not just lounges 10 passes per year.

Aside from cash back, is your next priority simplicity (one card for everything)?

I pay for different things with different cards based on what I’m buying. The minimum I get back is 2.625%.

By the way, I would count this as two gimmicks/games, the first being the $10k monthly cap and the second being the AF they spring on you in year two – which seriously dilutes the rewards.

Also, Alliant sucks. :stuck_out_tongue:

Care to share these and their respective cash back?

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I hear you that there are programs terms. Any card has some.

Simplicity and max cash back is the goal. We usually do not go over $10k a month. If we have big purchases I would time them correctly and float stuff to another card if we were going to lose a lot of cash back.

I still negotiate with businesses cash discounts on large items. Sometimes they will discount 5% or more to not have it run on credit card versus a check.

This was my daily driver for years before the Citi Double Cash, now it’s my backup and for Costco. Very happy with both Citi and Chase, Citi just pays me more and I find cash back process easier.

I was an OG AMEX BlueCash for years before the Chase Freedom, but the rewards fell behind. The contemporary version isn’t even as good as the program I was grandfathered into.

There are a couple better rewards on the Bank of America cash rewards, and if you bank with them you get even more than advertised, but their autopay is so antiquated (from MBNA acquisition) it was always a pain to setup/change and after it screwed up twice (if you get a statement credit in billing cycle it will won’t correct for that, then next bill is wrong too because of timing problem) I cancelled all my BofA credit and debit cards. There is no amount of cash back worth them possibly misreporting something as anything but “paid ontime, in full”.

Edit: @trism is a rewards savant (who uses his Amex to buy gas cards at Lowes for bonus cashback, which I have no time for), I’ll leave that to him. What I’ll add is, for me, nothing has improved my ability to pick the best card at checkout like pay. I have rewards cards I’ve never carried, eg my Amazon Visa, which I only use at Amazon (saved in my account) and Wholefoods. Simplicity in being able to select and pay with a card I never ever carry.

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I do everything I can to stay away from BoA and Wells. I have lines of credit expiring with Wells and am oh so happy to have them gone. They are never easy to deal with.

I like simplicity. You can make more money. You cannot make more time.


My approach borders on mental illness, but here goes.

For non-category purchases I use the no-annual-fee Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa (unlimited 1.5% back, plus 75% relationship bonus) for a total of 2.625%.**

We also have three of their no-AF 3/2/1 cards, where you choose the category for 3% back (+75%).

Right now that’s 5.25% back on Online Shopping, Dining and Travel, but you can change the category on each card as often as once a month. Cap for the 3% (5.25%) is $2,500/quarter per card. These also pay 2% (3.5%) back at Costco and grocery stores, however…

For groceries right now I’m getting 6% back on the Amex Blue Cash Preferred. This card has a $95 annual fee, but if you downgrade to the no-AF version and wait a couple of months, they’ll pay you $150-250 to upgrade it back. I think on my third “re-upgrade.”

Utilities and ISP charges get 5% back with the US Bank Cash+ Visa. Some of the utilities charge credit card fees, so I dramatically overpay to make the fee almost meaningless, and then just let the recurring bills gobble up the account credit.

I have several other cards that are best for other niche purchases and that meet other objectives besides cash back.

** Someone will be along shortly to point out that only an idiot would keep that kind of money at Bank of America, which is why it’s fantastic that balances in most types of accounts at Merrill also count. It doesn’t make a lot of difference to me which brokerage holds some of my Vanguard ETFs. :slight_smile:


You need help? Lol

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If we do have you committed, it will be for skimming mustard packets from Five Guys, not cc hacking.


I think the threads you are looking for are these:



  3. This might be useful too: Card Recommendation Flowchart v15


If you want simple, get a Discover Miles card for 1.5% back on everything. At the end of the first year they’ll give you a 100% bonus on the rewards earned in the first 12 months.

That’s 3% on everything with no caps. Then close the card and have someone else in the household open one.

Repeat this every year until they no longer do the first-year match.

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Lol. Trying to simplify here. I’m going to do the double cash card.

2% automatic. No thinking necessary and I’ll keep my costco for Costco purchases.

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But but overpaying the isp by a 1000 you could be getting 30% returns on a mutual fund somewhere
(That’s an MSD joke).

Thanks for the tips!

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I’m probably foregoing a number of “300% opportunities” as someone posted recently, but it works for me. :wink:


This is what I have its great.

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Truthfully I have way too many cards. The ones I use for cashback / UR earning are:

  1. Chase Freedom: max out 5% categories and transfer points to Sapphire Preferred

  2. Discover: max out 5%. I don’t use it for anything else

  3. Bank of America Cash Rewards: 3% category set for gas when there isn’t 5% with Freedom or Discover

  4. Citi DoubleCash: for everything else

Is it complicated? Yes, but it allows me to maximize my cashback each month


I honestly keep it as simple as possible:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (no need for reserve right now with the high fee) for travel, restaurants, etc.

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited (old card on which they just upped the percentage for some things) for most things - 1.5% back and I’m not going crazy figuring out which card to use.

  • Citi Costco for Costco (4% because of executive) and gas (4% back at every gas station), plus anything that needs a 2-year extended warranty. I think Citi is just about the only one left that gives you two extra years as opposed to one.

I’ve debated getting something like an Amex Gold for groceries, but I have enough cards in my wallet with other things like Neiman, Saks, and Bloomingdale’s in there too - sometimes you get a crap ton of gift cards back on purchases and it’s worth it to use a store card.