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.
Best personal cash back cards March 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.
Learn more about the Citi Double Cash, apply for the Citi Double Cash.
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 2% cash back on dining and travel, and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. However, if you deposit 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 does require effort.
Learn more about the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, apply for the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.
Best cash back card for dining
The no annual fee Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 3% cash back on dining, groceries, 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.
Read a review of the Capital One SavorOne, apply for the Capital One SavorOne.
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 incredible return.
Read a review of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, apply for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred.
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.
Read a review of the Citi Custom Cash, apply for the Citi Custom Cash.
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 first quarter of 2023, the card is offering 5% cash back at grocery stores, Target, and on fitness clubs and gym memberships.
Read a review of the Chase Freedom Flex, apply for the Chase Freedom Flex.
Best business cash back cards March 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.
Learn more about the Amex Blue Business Cash, apply for the Amex Blue Business Cash.
Best cash back card for big spenders
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus 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 $200 cash back reward if you spend $200,000 or more on the card in an anniversary year. For a business that spends a lot, this is a solid option.
Learn more about the Capital One Spark Cash Plus, apply for the Capital One Spark Cash Plus.
Best cash back card for big transactions
The New Business Card! 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.
Learn more about the Chase Ink Premier, apply for the Chase Ink Premier.
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.
Learn more about the Chase Ink Cash, apply for the Chase Ink Cash.
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.
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 American Express® Blue Business Cash Card (Rates & Fees).
Let's keep in mind you do not have an objective opinion because you're being paid to promote certain cards. Some mentioned the Alliant card for example, which you never mention.
1. An alternative to the BofA Premium Rewards is the BofA Travel Rewards. Straight 2.625% (with cash balance). No annual fee. No foreign transaction fees.
2. Alliant Credit Union Visa. Straight 2.5% up to $10k per month, 1.5% thereafter. No annual fee. No foreign transaction fees. Conceivably $120k per year at 2.5%. In two-player mode, $240k per year at 2.5%.
Easy to do a break even on the BofA cards that are 2.625% across the board vs. the Premium Rewards.
Premium Rewards is 3.5% (an extra 0.875%) on travel and dining at the max benefit level.
The break even on the $95 annual fee is $10,857 spent on travel and dining.
US Bank Altitude Go has 4% cash back on dining, 3 2% categories, no foreign transaction fees, and a $15 annual streaming bonus. For me it is the superior dining cash back card.
It's trite to say this bank or that bank is rotten. But, having done personal and business banking with a wide range of banks over the course of five decades, I can safely say that only PNC is a worse bank than US Bank.
I like my credit union's card: 2% cash back on everything (no messing around with spending categories), no annual fee, and no international fees. Check out your local credit union.
I would argue that the Chase Freedom Flex is a better no-fee dining card than Savor. Both are 3% cash back but Freedom Flex also offers 5% quarterly cash back and Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which also have more travel partners).
Depends. A quarter with 5% gas stations is very bad for me (I refuel like once a month), while a Paypal quarter (like right now) definitely puts it ahead.
SavorOne's 3% grocery is really really good though. Is there another no AF card that matches that?
Sure, the (no AF) Citi Custom Cash is 5% back on the first $500 of groceries every month.
Have radically simplified the Doubt family’s cc use recently. Decided that after preaching the Pareto principle for so long, we should also live it.
AMEX Platinum for flights & lounges. B of A Premium Rewards for everything else.
Simplification indeed. Based on a comment to another post, I looked at my own spending pattern. What were the total possible points if I had a card to max out each category? With only two cards, I could obtain about 90 percent of the total possible points. With only three cards, 95 percent. Now, throw in the value of marital harmony when Player 2's frustration level goes down.
One does fail to account the size of your spending.
By simplifying and not optimizing,
If you charge $500 annually you could lose out on $10.
If you charge $50,000 annually you could lose out on $1,000.
Now throwing the maintenance cost of marital harmony, that's potentially another get out of jail gift.