We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
I’ll show you which categories will give you 5% cash back for the next few months and how you can activate your bonus!
Cards That Give You 5% Back in Rotating Categories
1. Chase Freedom
Through September 30, 2015, you can earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (on up to $1,500 in spending) at gas stations and Kohl’s with the Chase Freedom card.
Just remember to activate these bonus categories by September 14, 2015.
2. Citi Dividend
The Citi Dividend card is no longer open to new applications. However, folks who already have this card, can earn 5% cash back (up to $300 in cash back per calendar year) on direct airline purchases and at Hilton through September 30, 2015.
3. Discover it Cash Back Card
If you’re a Discover It cardholder, you can earn 5% cash back on home improvement stores, department stores, and Amazon (on up to $1,500 in spending) this quarter. The cash back you earn will be doubled at the end of your 1st 12 billing cycles, for a total of 10% cash back!
Note: New cardholders get the double cash back automatically but folks already with the card have to call Discover.
You’ll also earn $50 after your 1st purchase within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
Don’t forget to activate this bonus, or you’ll miss out on 5% cash back!
4. US Bank Cash+
Link: US Bank Cash+ Categories
With the US Bank Cash + card, you can get 5% cash back (on up to $2,000) in 2 categories of your choice and 2% cash back in 1 category of your choice. But you must select your categories each quarter.
Here’s a look at the categories you can choose from with a few examples, but check the “Merchant Examples“ for more details:
- Bookstores – Barnes & Noble, Amazon Kindle Books, and some University Bookstores) Note: Some folks say they’ve received 5% back on many Amazon purchases besides books with this category.
- Car Rental – Avis, Budget, National Car Rental
- Cell Phone – AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon
- Charity – American Cancer Society, Kiva, The Salvation Army
- Department Stores – Bloomingdales, JCPenney, Nordstrom Rack
- Electronics Stores – Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, TigerDirect
- Fast Food – Chipotle, Panera Bread, Starbucks, and Cold Stone Creamery!
- Furniture Stores – American Furniture, Ethan Allen, IKEA
- Gyms – 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym, LA Fitness
- Movie Theaters – AMC Theatres, Fandango.com, Regal Cinemas
- Select Clothing Stores – Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, Old Navy
- Sporting Good Stores – Big 5 Sporting Goods, REI, Sports Authority
Earn 5% to 6% Back in Many of These Categories Year Round!
You can earn cash back in many of the above categories anytime with cards like:
- AMEX Blue Cash Preferred – 6% cash back at US grocery stores (up to $6,000 per year)
- AMEX SimplyCash – 5% cash back at US office supply stores
That’s because you can buy gift cards at grocery stores and office supply stores for:
- Movie Theaters
- Home Improvement Stores
- Department Stores
- Clothing Stores
Don’t Worry About Gift Cards or Rotating Categories Each Quarter!
Folks who don’t want to fuss with rotating categories might consider a card that earns multiple bonus points on every purchase, such as:
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus – 2X Arrival miles on everything, worth 2.2% back when redeemed for $25+ travel expenses
- Citi Double Cash – 1% cash back on all purchases and another 1% cash back when you pay your bill
- Discover it Miles – 1.5% back, doubled at the end of the 1st year, for an effective 3% back on everything
However, you can earn 5% to 6% cash back on many of these categories anytime, by purchasing gift cards at grocery stores or office supply stores with cards such as the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred.
And if you want to don’t want to deal with registering for special categories and purchasing gift cards, you may do better with cards such as Barclaycard Arrival Plus, Citi Double Cash, or Discover it Miles. That’s because with these cards you’ll earn a bonus everywhere you use your card!