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$ Back

While there are some solid cash back opportunities out there, most often there are better points options for the same spending (with some exceptions, i.e. 5% with Amazon Prime credit card varieties, 5% cashback on some categories with US Bank's Cash+ Visa Signature no annual fee credit card & a number of rotating category bonus 5% cashback cards such as on Discover It & legacy Citi Dividend (although with Chase Freedom Flex & legacy Freedom, as well as the Citi Custom Cash, it's best to convert to points via another annual fee Chase Ultimate Rewards card). That said, even a cashback earning card can be superior to points earning cards at times, especially if you buy points, i.e. a 3% cashback card for a year with all the cashback used to buy Choice Hotels Rewards for <.6 cents each during Daily Getaways and redeemed for 20x that value on certain redemptions. Likewise, an Alliant Credit card earning 2.5% cashback is generally going to be better than spending on an IHG credit card since there are ongoing options to buy IHG Rewards for half a cent per point, while the bonus categories for the best Alliant cards, not including for IHG spending itself, are 5 points per dollar. There are better alternatives, like spending on the Amex Blue Business Plus for 2x Amex Membership Rewards per dollar (TPG valuation of 2 cents per point, so a 4% return if you achieve exactly that), but I digress.

Before applying for any credit card, it's important to not just consider the ongoing spending, but also the signup bonus involved, since it could take years of spending on a card to achieve a sign-up bonus value on another card. For a more thorough analysis before jumping into something, go here for a credit card recommendation personalized to you.

Best Ongoing Spend Cash Back Credit Cards in my opinion that can't be converted into points effectively:

1. Alliant Visa Signature with 2.5%/$ mode

2. Discover It 5% rotating categories with $1500/quarter max

3. US Bank 5% in categories of your choice, especially categories not often covered. While I originally intended to get this one for utilities, the Wyndham Business Earner's 5x points per dollar is a much better choice for that, where I believe the TPG valuation of 1.1 cents per point is lower than I would ever want to use the points for despite the fact that you can buy them for <1 cents at least on one occasion in the past.

4. Citi Dividend (no longer open to applications but in my wallet - 5% rotating categories with an annual cap of $6k and no quarterly cap)

5. Multiple options in the Bank of America lineup, especially if you are a Preferred Rewards Member, especially if you have $100k in holdings with them or more. It's how I get 3.75% cashback (instead of 3%) on online shopping up to $2500 in spend per quarter by just being a Gold Preferred Rewards Member (achieved via $20k threshold primarily for stocks & a Roth IRA since you won't get much interest in one of their savings or checking accounts).

6. Additional 5% rotating category cards here.


2. Best Ongoing Spend cash back cards where you can convert the cashback into points directly & effectively, typically with annual fee accruing cards from the issuers

A. Citi Double Cash (2x Citi Thank You, especially when combined with the Rewards+ (for 2.2x/$ when converted to rewards) & Citi Premier or Prestige)

B. Citi Custom Cash (5x on up to $500/month on your top category

C. Chase Ink Cash (5x on bonus categories up to $25k/yr)

D. Chase Ink Unlimited (1.5x)


One of the best cashback options for in store transactions on a very small scale, in my opinion, is with the Cash App debit card's boost feature which I go into here.


For online transactions, my go-to is Rakuten combined with Amex MR. Especially if you're able to get the cashback to be converted to Amex MR as described here, it's a solid option. I do that rather than searching which place offers the most because of the value of time and how Rakuten + Amex MR seems to be better than alternatives in most cases. If you don't care about points, check out


Credit cards like Bank of America, Amex, & Chase (& debit cards such as in the case of the Cash App & Bank of America) also have special promos that you can activate with specific merchants at times, which is how my company saved hundreds on Dell purchases last year on top of the Dell credits that came on the Amex Business Platinum.


Which credit cards are best for you will depend on your spending, but you can get a free consultation with me through a form.


There are also options for discounts which are worth exploring as well. For instance, I recently saw an opportunity to combine the Cash App's $1 off a purchase of $1.50 or more at Sonic with the ability to get 3 corndogs for $1.50 + tax (since they sometimes have sales where they run for 50 cents each), leaving a net cost when combining the 2 deals of $.50 + triple tax for 3 corndogs from Sonic. Another example is where I was recently getting effectively 49 cents plus tax bacon Cheeseburgers by combining a 10 cents cashback per transaction debit card with an ongoing $.59/Cheeseburger at Burger King with an option they initially had where you could add bacon for free (when their options first were expanded for customizing their burgers and sandwiches). Here are some further reservation based points earning dining options: & here are some more ideas on saving on food:


Another option for $ back is initial banking relationships with banks, credit unions, and investing opportunities. Bank of America's investing options are my favorite for ongoing relationship with credit cards if you have >$20k that you are looking to invest or if you could grow your investments to be worth >$20k (& especially if over $100k) even from much more humble beginnings.

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