Best cash back credit cards of September 2020

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

The simplest credit card reward you can earn is cash back. With a cash-back card, you’re getting money back just for using a credit card. But if you’re not using the credit card with best cash-back rewards for your spending habits, you’re missing out on free money. Booking flights and hotels with rewards earned from the top travel credit cards can get you trips worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, but don’t overlook cash-back credit cards (even if you’re a die-hard miles and points collector).

Earning the points you need to book airfare and accommodations is easy with the best airline credit cards and the best hotel credit cards. While those expenses are normally the biggest part of a travel budget, you’ll still have more to pay for once you get to your destination. These other expenses can add up quickly – but you won’t have to worry if you’re earning cold, hard cash from the best cash back credit cards. You can redeem cash back for anything, not just travel, to offset these incidental expenses.

The best cash-back credit cards

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express APPLY NOW

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

READ MORE

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited® APPLY NOW

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

READ MORE

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card APPLY NOW

Citi® Double Cash Card

READ MORE


Comparing the best cash back credit card offers

Credit CardBonus Offer Cash back rate
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressLimited time offer: $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. Offer expires 12/10/2020. Terms apply.
  • 6% at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1% cash back)
  • 6% on select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% at U.S. gas stations and on transit
  • 1% on everything else
  • Terms Apply
Chase Freedom Unlimited®$200 bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on purchases
Citi® Double Cash CardNo intro bonus2% back: 1% back on all purchases and an additional 1% back when you pay off the purchases
Chase Freedom®$200 bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in rotating quarterly categories (activation required)
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card20,000 bonus points (worth $200 in cash back, travel, gift cards or other rewards) after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of card opening
  • 3x points on travel purchases (flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals)
  • 3x points on eating out and ordering in
  • 3x points on gas stations, rideshares, and transit
  • 3x points on eligible streaming services
  • 1 point on all other purchases
  • Terms Apply
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card$300 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • 4% on dining and entertainment purchases
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • -1% on all other purchases
Ink Business Cash Credit Card$750 cash back bonus after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% back (5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on the first $25,000 you spend in combined purchases at office supply stores and on phone, internet, and cable TV services each account anniversary year
  • 2% back (2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for select U.S. streaming services, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations

Bonus

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred card has a limited time offer: $300 statement credit bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. Offer expires 12/10/2020.

Insider tip

While this card earns a stunning 6% back on select U.S. streaming services, you’ll want to be aware that sometimes you won’t earn that bonus if the service is paid for as part of a package deal. For example, if a streaming service was bundled with your cable or internet provider you wouldn’t earn the 6% back. Terms Apply.

Benefits

The card also has some rock solid bonus categories or 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1% cash back), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit and 1% cash back on everything else.

Annual fee

The Blue Cash Preferred has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee. Offer Expires 12/10/2020. (See rates and fees).

Why it’s worth it

The Amex Blue Cash Preferred is great for stacking up savings on your daily commute. You’ll get unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit. And the transit category is broad: it includes subways, ferries, taxis, ride sharing, tolls and parking.

The 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services is a bonus category almost everyone can easily take advantage of because it includes services like:

  • Amazon Music
  • Apple Music
  • Audible
  • CBS All Access
  • Direct TV Now
  • ESPN+
  • Fubo TV
  • HBO Now
  • Hulu
  • iHeartRadio
  • Kindle Unlimited
  • MLB.TV
  • NBA League Pass

  • Netflix
  • NHL.TV
  • Pandora
  • Prime Video Unlimited
  • Showtime
  • Sling TV
  • SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
  • Spotify
  • YouTube Music Premium
  • YouTube Premium
  • YouTube TV

Just keep in mind that if you pay for one of the subscriptions through a third party or as part of a package deal, you might not earn the bonus cash back. Also, certain superstores, like Target or BJs, won’t qualify for the U.S. supermarket bonus.

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for spending outside of bonus categories

Bonus

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you can earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.

Insider tip

If you have the Sapphire Reserve card you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each toward travel booking through the Chase travel portal. That makes it a great card to pair with the Freedom Unlimited because every purchase you make would be earning 2.25% toward travel (1.5x Chase points X 1.5 cents per point).

Benefits and perks

You’ll earn 1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on purchases, with no cap on how much cash back you can earn. And for the first year you have the card, you’ll earn 5% back at grocery stores (on up to $12,000 in spending). That makes this card one of the best for everyday, non-bonus spending.

It’s best for folks who like fixed rewards, because there are no bonus categories you’ll have to remember.

Annual fee

This card has no annual fee

Why it’s worth it

Just like the Chase Freedom card, when you pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with an annual-fee Ultimate Rewards card, all the points you earn become transferable to travel partners.

Because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are much more valuable when you can transfer them to travel partners, it makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited a top card for your everyday non-bonused spending and it can even make sense to pay your taxes with the card.

Citi® Double Cash Card: Best overall cash back card

Bonus

The Citi Double Cash card does not have a welcome bonus offer.

Insider tip

This year Citi added the ability to convert the cash back rewards you earn with the Citi Double Cash card into Citi ThankYou points at a ratio of $1:100 points, so each penny is worth one ThankYou point. If you have either the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card you can combine your Citi ThankYou points together and then transfer them to any of Citi’s 15 airline partners. That makes the Double Cash card the best way to earn Citi ThankYou points on non-bonus category spending.

Benefits and perks

The Citi Double cash card earns a straight forward 1% cash back when make a purchase and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase. To earn the cash back you’ll need to pay at least the minimum amount due on time.

Annual fee

Why it’s worth it

Anytime you can earn 2% cash back (1% when you buy, plus 1% when as you pay) on a no-annual-fee card it’s nearly impossible to go wrong. But, having the possibility of being able to take advantage of the Citi ThankYou transfer partners allows you to greatly increase the value of your rewards. For example, you can transfer 15,000 Citi points to Turkish Airlines and book a round-trip United Airlines partner award from the continental U.S. to Hawaii. Normally, 15,000 points would be worth $150 cash back, but even a cheap flight to Hawaii would cost you three times that much.

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Chase Freedom: Best for rotating bonus categories

Bonus

You can earn a $200 bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) with the Chase Freedom card after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Insider tip

The cash back you get with the Chase Freedom card is earned in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. By themselves, these points are worth one cent each toward a range of redemptions. But if you pair the Chase Freedom with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, your Chase points have more value because you can then transfer them to travel partners.

Benefits and perks

You’ll also earn 5% cash back (5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on the no annual fee Chase Freedom card’s rotating quarterly categories. After you activate the bonus, you can earn it on up to $1,500 in spending each quarter ($75 back) combined across all bonus categories. The bonus categories are typically useful, like gas stations, grocery stores and mobile wallet or PayPal payments.

When PayPal was included as a bonus category, I took advantage of the Chase Freedom card’s 5% cash back by paying my taxes through PayPal with my card. The category bonus made it a profitable move, even with the extra fees for making the payment with a card.

Annual Fee

Why it’s worth it

The ability to combine Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Chase Freedom card with other Ultimate Rewards cards and then transfer them to airline and hotel partners, like Hyatt and Southwest, is invaluable. For example, you could redeem 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for $300 cash back. Or, you could transfer those points to Hyatt and book a $900 hotel room. Those same points could get you to Hawaii and back if you transferred to British Airways or Singapore Airlines. That’s why being able to transfer your points is so powerful.

Chase has one of the more restrictive application rules – the 5/24 rule. Chase will not approve you for most of their cards if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (not counting Chase business cards and certain other business cards) in the past 24 months. The Chase Freedom card is affected by this rule. So if you’re new to the rewards credit card hobby, it makes sense to apply for the best Chase credit cards you want first, then get other cards later on.

Earning rewards like cash back on every purchase is a great way to take the sting out of common expenses. (Photo by ESB Professional/Shutterstock)

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best for biggest cash bonus with no annual fee

Bonus

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card comes with 20,000 bonus points (worth $200 in cash back, travel, gift cards or other rewards) after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of card opening.

Insider tip

If you pair the Propel card with the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card you can increase the value of your points if you pool your points between the two cards. With the Visa Signature card you can redeem points toward airfare booked through the Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards portal for 1.5 cents each. And if you spend $50,000+ on your Visa Signature card in a calendar year that rate bumps up to 1.75 cents each. The information for the Wells Fargo Visa Signature card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Benefits and perks

This card earns 3x points on travel purchases (flights, hotels, and car rentals), eating out and ordering in, gas stations, rideshares, transit and on eligible streaming services. You’ll earn one point per dollar for all other purchases. In addition to having no foreign transaction fees, you’ll also get cell phone insurance when you pay you cellular service provider with your Propel card (up to $600 per claim with a $25 deductible).

Annual fee

This card doesn’t have an annual fee.

Why it’s worth it

Your points are worth one cent apiece for rewards like cash back, travel or gift cards. If you spend a lot in these categories, earning 3% back in rewards is a good deal, especially for a card with no annual fee.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bonus

When you open a Capital One Savor card, you’ll earn $300 cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Insider tip

This is a great card that earns 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases. That’s one of the top cashback rates in those categories.

Benefits

It’s the perfect card to use when you’ve got a night out on the town planned because it earns 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases. You’ll also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

And there is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.

Annual fee

The card has a $95 annual fee, which is not waived the first year.

Why it’s worth it

The Capital One Savor is one of the best credit cards for restaurants, so if you eat out a lot and value cashback over miles or points, it’s a great choice. Also, the $300 intro bonus makes the deal even sweeter.

Ink Business Cash Credit Card: Best for no annual fee small business card

Bonus

You’ll earn a $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your Ink Business Cash credit card account.

Benefits and perks

The card also has excellent 5x and 2x bonus categories. You’ll earn 5% cash back (5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on the first $25,000 you spend in combined purchases at office supply stores and on phone, internet, and cable TV services each account anniversary year. And at gas stations and restaurants you’ll get 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year. For all other spending you’ll earn 1% cash back.

Annual fee

For small business owners, it’s hard to top the welcome bonus you’ll get with the no-annual-fee Chase Ink Business Cash card.

Why it’s worth it

If you spend a lot in the bonus categories, the Chase Ink Business Cash can put literally free money back toward your bottom line.

Like other Chase cards, it’s subject to the 5/24 rule, but because it’s a small business card, it won’t count toward your status when you open it. Even better, you can combine the points you earn with this card with other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards, even personal cards. Considering there’s no annual fee, the $750 welcome offer is extremely generous. To improve your chances of getting this card, check out our Chase Ink Cash approval tips.

How to pick the best cash back credit card

Do a quick search for “what is the best cash-back credit card” and you’ll quickly be overwhelmed with information. You’ll have to wade through details about bonus categories, annual fees, and benefits — and that’s before you start reading the fine print. You could spend hours doing research and still not end up with the best card for you. The good news is, we’ve done all the legwork so you don’t have to.

We’ve looked at everything you need to know including:

  • Intro bonus: Banks entice folks to apply for their credit cards with generous bonuses — and a big welcome bonus can be the difference between the “right” or “wrong” card.
  • Minimum spending requirements: You generally won’t earn an intro bonus without meeting a minimum spending requirement. This is a big factor in deciding whether or not you should get a card. It’s not a good idea to spend more than you normally would just to meet a minimum spending requirement.
  • Cash-back earning rate: How much cash back will you earn per dollar spent? And which, if any, categories of purchases will earn bonus cash?
  • Perks, quirks, and fees: Each card has different benefits, such as insurance coverage for everything from rental cars to cell phones. Some cards have an annual fee, although their perks will quite often offset the cost. You’ll want to make sure the benefits of a card outweigh any fees before you make a decision.

Common types of cash back credit cards

Cash back credit cards are those that earn cash back, as opposed to, say, miles or points, for purchases. Cash back cards can be put into three different earnings categories: flat rate, tiered and those with rotating bonus categories.

Flat-rate: With a flat-rate cash back card, you’ll earn the same amount of cash back on every purchase, regardless of what you’re purchasing.

Tiered: Tiered cash back cards offer a higher percentage of cash back on certain spending categories. And a flat rewards rate on all other spending.

Rotating Categories: Cards that offer rotating bonus categories will offer a higher earning rate on specific categories that change every so often. Then a flat rate on other purchases.

  For more credit card news, deals and analysis sign-up for our newsletter here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here.

Featured image by Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.

Meghan Hunter is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, she covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Join the Discussion!

Subscribe
Notify of
13 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments