Which SimplyCash 3% Cash Back Category Will You Choose?

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I applied for the American Express SimplyCash business card recently and have already gotten my $250 statement credit for spending $3,000 in the 1st 3 months.

One of the things I like about this card is being able to choose a 3% cash back category that best fits my business spending.

What’s SimplyCash?

Link:   American Express SimplyCash Card

Link:   My review of the American Express SimplyCash card

 The American Express SimplyCash is a cash back business card that gives you:

  • $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the 1st 3 months (but you must be approved by April 28, 2014!)  $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 6 months when you apply by September 21, 2015 January 25, 2016 April 27, 2016. 
  • NO annual fee
  • 5% cash back on purchases at US office supply stores (like Staples) and wireless phone services
  • 3% cash back on purchases in 1 of 7 categories you choose
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • Terms & limitations apply

Some folks don’t consider business cards because they don’t think they have a business.  But read my post about ways you might qualify for a business credit card!

And if you don’t think you can’t spend $5,000 in 6 months, here are 40+ ways to complete a credit card’s minimum spending requirement! 

What Bonus Categories Can I Choose From?

You’ll always get a 5% bonus on spending (up to $25,000 a year) at US office supply stores and wireless phone services.  Other business cards, like the Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus, also offer 5 points per $1 you spend (5% cash back) in these categories.

But I prefer earning Ultimate Rewards points from the Ink Bold and Ink Plus to the 5% cash back from the SimplyCash card.

Which SimplyCash 3% Cash Back Category Will You Choose

Other Business Cards Have Similar 5% Cash Back Categories

The American Express SimplyCash card also lets you pick 1 category from a list of 7 to earn 3% cash back on:

  • Airfare (purchased directly from airlines)
  • Hotel stays purchased directly from hotels (excluding timeshares, banquets,and events)
  • Car rental companies listed at americanexpress.com/rewards-info
  • US gas stations
  • US restaurants
  • US purchases for shipping
  • US purchases for advertising in select media

You have to select a category within the 1st 2 months of getting the card.  After that, you can only change your selection once a year, between December 1 and January 31 of each year.

How to Choose Your 3% Cash Back Category

Link:   SimplyCash 3% Cash Back Registration

Within 2 months of getting your card, go to the SimplyCash registration page to choose your 3% cash back category.

Which SimplyCash 3% Cash Back Category Will You Choose

Which Category Will You Choose?

Be careful choosing a category, because there are lots of exceptions and limitations on what qualifies as bonus spending.  For example, airfare and hotel must be purchased directly from the airline or hotel, not from a 3rd party travel site such as expedia!  And restaurants in hotels, event venues, or casinos might not count either.

Once you choose, you’ll then get a confirmation of the category you’ve enrolled in.  Remember, you can only change it once a year after this, between December 1 and January 31.

Emily and I Will Earn 3% Cash Back on Restaurants

I already get 2 points per $1 I spend at gas stations and hotels with the Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus cards.  And I earn 3 points per $1 on airfare and 2 points per $1 on shipping and media with the American Express Business Rewards Gold card.

So I chose restaurants for 3% cash back because that’s a category I don’t get a spending bonus on with any of my business cards.  However, if you have a Chase Ink Cash card, it offers 2% cash back at restaurants.

But I will NOT use my American Express SimplyCash while traveling abroad because the 3% cash back is only at US restaurants AND there is a foreign transaction fee.

Which SimplyCash 3% Cash Back Category Will You Choose

Earn 3% Back at Restaurants…but NOT in French Polynesia! Only US Restaurants Count

Although it’s not a Business card, I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred at restaurants in foreign countries because you get 2X points (or 2% cash back) at restaurants ANYWHERE and there’s NO foreign transaction fee.

Maybe the AMEX SimplyCash will motivate Chase to give 3X points at restaurants with their Ink Bold and Ink Plus business cards.  I’d use those overseas because they don’t charge a fee when used in other countries.

Your spending habits and goals may be different, so pick a category that makes the most sense for you.

If you don’t choose a category, according to the terms and conditions, you’ll automatically earn 3% cash back at US gas stations.  So if you forget, you won’t completely lose the opportunity to earn 3% cash back.  And remember, some gas stations sell other stuff, like groceries, gift cards, and automotive supplies.

Bottom Line

The American Express SimplyCash business credit card lets you choose 1 category to earn 3% cash back.  You must choose a category within 2 months of receiving the card, and can change the category once a year after that.

Your choices are:

  • Airfare (purchased directly from airlines)
  • Hotel stays purchased directly from hotels (excluding timeshares, banquets and events)
  • Car rental companies listed at americanexpress.com/rewards-info
  • US gas stations
  • US restaurants
  • US purchases for shipping
  • US purchases for advertising in select media

I chose restaurants because I don’t have a business card that has restaurants as a bonus spending category.  But you should pick the category that makes the most sense for your spending.

Which category will you choose for 3% cash back?

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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16 responses to “Which SimplyCash 3% Cash Back Category Will You Choose?

  1. I’m giving this card a miss until my next round of applications because I was able to get a 100k AmEx platinum offer, but if I was getting it’d I’d probably go for restaurants as well. I get 2x Chase UR points, but I’d probably prefer 3% cash back.

  2. I just noticed that the award miles required on United for a round trip business class ticket from North America to South Asia has been increased from 120K to 140K. Did this just happen or is this seasonal? Thanks

  3. I already have an existing Amex SimplyCash card (that’s collecting dust). If there’s a way for me to take advantage of this offer, I’d totally do it, especially since my card don’t even have the ability to change my category for the 3% rewards.

  4. I value my chase sapphire 2x on restaurants much higher than I would 3x cash back. If the airlines keep devaluing I may change my mind!

  5. Darius – when you buy flights on Expedia or Orbitz, the charge on your statement is often comes as airline (eg. United even though you booked on Expedia). Would it be possible to book flights on Expedia (and get points through UR portal for example), and also get 3% Cashback since Amex statement will show it as airline charges?

    Thanks, Barak

  6. It says 5% for US shipping…does it STACK with the 5% OPEN rebate for fedex?

  7. errr i mean 3% for US shipping + 5% Open rebate for fedex…

  8. Tsai Lun Huang

    I chose 3% US shipping, since I will be shipping a lot later.

    For dining, I use US Bank Cash+ to get 5% cash back. I can adjust it to get 5% from other merchant category every quarter, in cash it overlaps with Chase Freedom or Discover it bonus categories. : )

  9. Darius…I am going to pick restaurants for my 3%. Does fast food count? I am going to stick with my 4 Inks for gift cards though.

  10. When does the cash back post? I got the $250 statement credit but after two statements have not gotten any cash back for regular spending.

  11. Hi Darius,
    is it possible to meet the minimum spending purchasing gift cards?
    thanks

  12. Hi Darius,
    buying a gift card at a gas station will count towards the 3% cash back or not? any suggestion?

  13. Pingback: One Week Left: $250 Sign-Up Bonus on American Express SimplyCash | Million Mile Secrets