I’ve written several posts about credit card rewards in the past, so if you’re new to credit card points/miles/sign-up bonuses, check out some of these posts before reading further here.
- Credit Cards: Friend or Foe?
- The Basics of Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses
- The Three Best Cards to Get Started with Credit Card Rewards
I get occasional questions from blog readers about which credit cards I use on a regular basis. Mostly these are from people that aren’t interested in signing up for multiple cards to get big sign-up bonuses, but instead just want to find 1-2 cards to get the maximum rewards for their everyday purchases. This is always tough to answer because everyone’s monthly spending is different, but listing the cards I use on a regular basis and the perks of each one is usually helpful. Here’s the list of cards that I have in my wallet currently, and why they potentially deserve a spot in yours as well.
- Discover It
- This card has been consistently in my wallet for years now and is one that I will probably keep forever due to it having no annual fee. I use it exclusively for whatever the 5% rotating category is for that particular quarter. Currently until the end of September the 5% category is restaurants, which is pretty valuable for most people. Starting in October the 5% category will be Amazon and wholesale clubs (Sams, Costco, etc.), just in time for the holidays.
- Current sign-up bonus: $50 after first purchase, with all cashback doubled for the first year (that means instead of 1% on general purchases, you get 2%, and instead of 5% for the rotating categories, you get 10%).
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom has a place it my wallet for the same reason as the Discover It, the 5% rotating categories! There is also no annual fee on the card, and since this card earns Chase Ultimate Reward points, it can be even more valuable if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The points can be moved from the Freedom to one of the Sapphire cards and then transferred to Airline and Hotel partners (my favorites being Southwest, United, and Hyatt) where the redemption rate can be much better than just the one cent per point from cashing the point in. The current 5% category, until the end of September, on this card is gas stations, Walgreens, and Lyft. That is a category that is useful to virtually everyone.
- Current sign-up bonus: $150 after spending $500 in the first three months.
- American Express Blue Cash Preferred
- I was approved for this card earlier this year and will likely cancel it once the annual fee is due next year, but until then it has a place in my wallet. Unlike the two previous cards, this one comes with an annual fee of $95/year but for many people the annual fee will be worth it due to the rewards offered by the card. This card offers 6% cashback at grocery stores as well as 3% cashback at gas stations, year round instead of rotating categories. Considering the average American spends over $300/month on groceries, the 6% cashback from grocery stores alone could amount to over $200/year for you which more than negates the annual fee! Another valuable thing to remember is that grocery stores sell various gift cards for restaurants, gas, Amazon and more, which means 6% cashback on those as well. Whether or not you are able to justify the $95 annual fee past the first year, this card shouldn’t be passed up for the first year for both the cashback as well as the sign-up bonus offered.
- Current sign-up bonus: $250 cashback after spending $1,000 in the first three months.
- Barclay Uber
- This is a fairly new card and really underrated in my opinion. It has the best rewards and benefits of any card that doesn’t have an annual fee. It earns 4% cashback at restaurants, 3% back on airfare and hotels, as well as 2% cashback on many online purchases including online shopping and Uber. Unlike the rotating 5% categories with Discover It and Chase Freedom, these cashback rates apply all year long. In addition to the rewards, the card has no foreign transactions fees (very useful when traveling internationally), $600 worth of mobile phone insurance when you use the card to pay your cell phone bill, and a $50 credit each year toward subscription services if you spend $5,000 or more on the card throughout the year. Those benefits are wonderful and unprecedented for a card with no annual fee. Add in the sign-up bonus, and this card is a no-brainer to get and keep for the long haul.
- Current sign-up bonus: $100 cashback after $500 in spending in the first three months.
With these four cards I’m currently able to get the following cashback rates:
- 6% at grocery stores
- 5% at restaurants
- 5% at gas stations
- 3% on airfare and hotels
For many of you guys these are probably some of your highest spending categories, which should make it pretty easy to get 3-4% or more back on your cumulative purchases throughout the year. Those cashback percentages can really add up over the years!
Do you regularly use any of these cards? Let me know in the comments below! Shoot me a message if you have any more questions about these cards or credit card offers in general!
***Some of the links in this post are referral links for the cards if they are available. As I’ve talked about before, referrals are a win-win situation since you get the same sign-up bonus while also supporting this site with the bonus I get if you sign up!