If you’re not maximizing your credit card rewards, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Personally I like to earn travel rewards for my credit card spending (ideally transferable points), and also do what I can to maximize various spending categories, including restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and non-bonused categories.
However, I also recognize that a lot of people prefer to earn cash back for their credit card spending. That’s totally fair, since cash back gives you lots more flexibility. Just as with travel rewards cards, it’s important to make sure you’re getting as much value as possible. In this post I wanted to take a look at the most lucrative cash back personal and business credit cards.
In this post:
Best personal cash back cards December 2023
There are several excellent cash back personal credit cards, whether you’re looking to maximize your return on everyday spending, dining, groceries, or a variety of other categories. Let’s go over what I consider to be the best cash back personal credit cards.
Best cash back card with no annual fee
If you’re looking for a simple cash back card with no annual fee, it’s tough to beat the Citi Double Cash® Card. The card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase (in the form of ThankYou points, but they can easily be cashed out).
It’s also a Mastercard, which has great acceptance with merchants. If you’re not earning at least two cents back on every dollar spent (after paying your bill), you’re not doing it right.
Best cash back card with effort (and money)
The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is potentially incredibly lucrative. The $95 annual fee card offers 2x points (effectively 2% cash back) on dining and travel, and 1.5x points (1.5% cash back) on all other purchases.
However, if you have at least $100,000 with Bank of America or a Merrill investment account, you qualify for the Platinum Honors tier, offering a 75% rewards bonus. That means you could be earning up to 3.5% cash back on dining and travel, and 2.625% cash back on all other purchases. That could be huge, but it does require effort. The card also offers a $100 annual airline credit, making it easier to justify the annual fee.
Best cash back card for dining
The no annual fee Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (Rates & Fees) offers 3% cash back on dining, groceries (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), entertainment, and popular streaming services, all with no foreign transaction fees.
I consider this to be the best no annual fee cash back card for dining, especially when you consider that you can even use the card for purchases abroad without paying fees. This is an underrated and well-rounded card, and it’s one that I personally have.
Best cash back card for groceries
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is simply an incredible card if you spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets. The card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and offers 6% cash back on the first $6,000 spent every year at supermarkets (1% cash back after that). That’s an unbeatable return.
Best cash back card offering 5% back each billing cycle
The no annual fee Citi Custom Cash® Card offers 5% back in the category that you spend the most in each billing cycle, for up to $500 in spending. Eligible categories include restaurants, gas stations, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.
Best cash back card offering 5% back each quarter
The no annual fee Chase Freedom FlexSM Credit Card offers 5% back in rotating quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 worth of spending each quarter. Maximizing this can be an easy way to rack up cash back. For example, in the second quarter of 2023, the card is offering 5% cash back with Amazon and Lowe’s.
Best business cash back cards December 2023
There are some rewarding business credit cards that also offer a generous cash back rewards structure, though there aren’t quite as many with good bonus categories. Let me share what I consider to be the best cash back business credit cards.
Best cash back card with no annual fee
The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card is a no annual fee card (Rates & Fees) that offers 2% cash back on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year (1% cash back after that). You won’t find a much better return for everyday spending on a no annual fee card.
Best cash back card for big spenders
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus (Rates & Fees) is a pretty unbeatable card for businesses that spend a lot in non-bonused categories. The $150 annual fee card offers unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase with no foreign transaction fees.
On top of that, you’ll receive a $150 cash back reward if you spend $150,000 or more on the card in an anniversary year. For a business that spends a lot, this is a solid option.
Best cash back card for big transactions
The Ink Business Premier℠ Credit Card is arguably the best cash back card for businesses that spend a lot, especially in big transactions. The $195 annual fee card offers unlimited 2.5% cash back on purchases of $5,000 or more, and unlimited 2% cash back on all other eligible purchases, all with no foreign transaction fees. Earning 2.5% cash back is pretty unheard of.
Best cash back card offering up to 5% back
While a bit more niche, the no annual fee Ink Business Cash® Credit Card offers 5% cash back on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines. The card also offers 2% cash back on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on restaurants and gas stations. This is an exceptional card, in my opinion.
There are plenty of great cash back credit cards out there, and the best option for you will depend on the categories in which you spend the most.
If you want to keep things simple and want a no annual fee personal card, you can’t go wrong with the Citi Double Cash for everyday spending, and the Capital One SavorOne for dining, groceries, and no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees).
For businesses that don’t spend that much, I think the 2% cash back on the first $50,000 spent with the Amex Blue Business Cash is great. Alternatively, the Capital One Spark Cash Plus and Chase Ink Premier are ideal for businesses that spend a lot.
What’s your favorite cash back credit card?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card (Rates & Fees).