Best Category Bonuses

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March 28 2017 Update

This page has been replaced with a new up-to-date version.  Please visit the new page here: Best Card Category Bonuses.


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[…] cards offer category bonuses for different types of spend (you’ll find a full roundup of the best of these here).  Unfortunately, with many card issuers, it’s pretty difficult to figure out if you really […]

trackback

[…] Earns valuable points within bonus categories. For a nearly complete list, see “Best Category Bonuses“. […]

[…] in mind the many opportuntiies for stacking today: whether a shopping portal promo, credit card bonus category, or current Amex Offer, there are many ways to save. It’s also worth repeating that […]

[…] advantage of some savings on Visa or Mastercard gift cards while also taking advantage of a great Category Bonus or the current Apple Pay promos from Chase or Amex. Make sure to log in and add these coupons if […]

[…] bonuses, as I do with Delta. Or, perhaps you simply want to earn extra rewards using cards with big category bonuses, or big rewards for everyday […]

[…] make a tiny profit depending on your gift card resale relationships. Paired with a card that earns 5X or 5% at office supply stores, this is another nice opportunity to earn rewards and get a discount at the same […]

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

Jean

Surprised u didn’t mention (or I missed it) the app TPG To Go. While the reminder to use a certain card is a little slow to pop up (sometimes I’ve already left the store…), it’s sometimes easier than rifling thru all my cards at the check stand. Also useful when my labels fail me (or I’m uncertain if my quarterly bonus labels are up-to-date).

[…] bonuses, as I do with Delta.  Or, perhaps you simply want to earn extra rewards using cards with big category bonuses, or big rewards for everyday […]

JustSaying

Did I miss the 5X update for AMEX Platinum business or did I misunderstand their new bonus? Also looking for who gives best bonus on electric car charging station charges?

JustSaying

No I went low and got a Leaf for only 17.5k after credits. Once the cheaper Tesla comes out then we’ll get that one. So now we are learning how to play find my charger. So the Amex Biz Platinum should only be used to run up 15k for 100k in points and then only to do 5K and over to get 1.5x?

[…] large category bonuses are possible.  For example, if they are sold at grocery stores, we can pay with credit cards that earn great grocery store bonuses.  Or, if they are sold at stores such as OfficeMax or Staples, we can pay with credit cards that […]

[…] (yes, this Thursday) to their Platinum cards: 5 points per dollar for airfare.  In looking at my Best Category Bonuses page, you can quickly see that the Platinum card will be the single best card for buying […]

Tom Tuhtan

You should probably add the Chase Sapphire Reserve with effective 4.5% Ultimate Reawards discount towards travel via 3x UR points from purchases on restaurant and travel.

[…] other cards offer better value for gas station purchases (found here).  And, many offer equal or better value for airline purchases (found here).  However, the […]

themanwhocan

Marvel mastercard (marvel.com)

3% Dining, Select Entertainment.

Select entertainment categories include Movie Theatres, Video Rental and Game Stores, Theatrical and Concert Promoters, Amusement Parks, Digital Entertainment, Games and Software, Music, Books and Newsstands, Toys and Hobby Stores.

In other words, it also works at Amazon.com since it covers book stores and music stores.

themanwhocan

In the Online Shopping category, the Savingstar online shopping portal was shut down.

[…] Best category bonuses […]

[…] You can find more great credit card options here. […]

[…] 5X bonus categories are not available, you’ll need a backup card for restaurants.  My Best Category Bonuses page shows that its possible to earn 5% cash back with the US Bank Cash+ card, but only at fast food […]

[…] stores (earn a credit card category bonus and fuel […]

TomT

Shouldn’t the City National Crystal card be listed at 3% (up to 3.6% when redeemd for airfare) under the Gasoline, Grocery, Restaurant & Travel categories? Their official website at https://www.cnb.com/lending/cards/individual/crystal-credit-card.asp says: “Earn 3 Points per $1 spent on gasoline, grocery, airline, hotel, taxi, limousine, rental car, train, bus, restaurant, fast food and takeout food and dining purchases” (they really seem to emphasize the restaurant category by listing it 4 different ways)

Mark

Thank you for all the amazing info you and other bloggers provide! Chase IHG card gives 2X on restaurants, gas, and grocery, as well as a free night annually at any IHG property – which more than covers the $49 annual fee.

[…] Credit card category bonus: 5X Chase Ink, Amex Simply Cash, Discover Business. Other category bonuses can be found here. […]

[…] Best category bonuses […]

[…] decent credit cards are worth the cost.  In some cases, credit cards offer far greater rewards (such as those that offer 5X rewards at grocery stores or drug stores), so it’s OK to spend more than 1% when manufacturing […]

Nish

Good compilation of information.
A suggestion.

It will be better to have another category credit cards with No foreign transaction fee. E.g. All Discover, All Capital one and many others so that readers can have a choice of selecting No annual fee & No foreign transaction fee card

Themanwhocan

Bellco VISA Platinum Rewards.
3X at Grocery Stores, Gas Stations, Gas Pumps, Sporting Goods Stores, Shoe Stores, Sports Apparel, Sports/Health Clubs.

No annual fee.

The example Grocery Stores they list are: Whole Foods Market, King Soopers, Target, Walmart

3,000 points = $25; 10,000 points = $100
https://www.bellco.org/personal/loans-credit-cards/credit-cards/platinum-rewards.aspx

Themanwhocan

I forgot to mention the Bellco card is for Colorado residents.

Themanwhocan

UMB Simply Rewards VISA
3X on Gas, Grocery, Discount Stores, Restaurant & fast Food

No annual fee

$20 account credit for 2,000 points
https://www.umb.com/Personal/Banking/CreditCards/UMBVisaPlatinum/

[…] Best category bonuses […]

[…] there is a great resource on Frequent Miler, the Best Category Bonus – Credit Card […]

TomT

The PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards actually provides 5% as a statement credit for gasoline pay at the pump purchases, as long as you also have a money market account at PenFed and also avoids the $25 annual fee for the card and makes it a “Plus” credit card vs. the “Standard” card. You can have a money market account with only $25 in it to qualify for this. See the details at https://www.penfed.org/Platinum-Cash-Rewards/

TomT

I think you should also list the Amazon Store card. It provides 5% off all Amazon purchases for Prime members. Better yet, to annual fee for this card. You can confirm this at http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201739600

TomT

You should list the Citi ThankYou Premier at 3.75% (1.25 per point) for Car Rentals. Also, the Citi ThankYou Pestige should be listed at 3.99% where you have it as 3.75% for Hotels & Travel / Airlines above. From the official Citi ThankYou Premier application Pricing & Terms pages: “3 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies, gas stations, commuter transportation, taxi/limousines, passenger railways, cruise lines, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, campgrounds and trailer parks, time shares, bus lines, motor home/RV Rental and boat rentals” Also “25% more value on airfare, hotels, cruises and car rentals when redeemed through the ThankYou Travel Center.” The Prestige page states “3 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at airlines, hotels and travel agencies” and “50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points … enough points to redeem a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards” (equals 1.33 multiplier)

[…] are 20 different credit cards that offer at least 2x on dining. The US Bank Cash+ card offers fast food as a 5% cashback category, while the Amex SimplyCash […]

Sherri

My two biggest spend categories are groceries and restaurants – so it looks like one card I have, the Amex HHonors Surpass – covers both at 6X – can I ask a silly question? what does the second column mean – estimated value? thanks

Would this be the first card you would reach for these categories?

[…] Best category bonuses […]

[…] Best category bonuses […]

[…] to your Magic Band end up on your hotel bill, which means that if you use a credit card that has hotels as a bonus category to settle up at your resort hotel, everything you charged to your Magic Band will also get that […]

[…] if you look at Frequentmiler’s list of best category bonuses on credit cards, the best bonuses are cashback. It’s true now more than […]

DaveA

Just a heads up Golden1 Platinum Rewards Visa is only for CA residents.

Given that I am in a bordering state I took a chance and successfully applied for deposit accounts followed by a credit card app. My credit card app was declined and told on reconsideration that no unsecured credit was granted outside of CA.

Hopefully this helps someone else avoid a hard pull.

[…] Best category bonuses […]

[…] Best category bonuses […]

TomT

Citi has not been offering new accounts for the Dividend World MasterCard for at least two months now. Therefore, I suggest it not be listed as a 5% rotating category card above. Citi also has a Forward card (no annual fee) that gives me 5% off of all restaurants, movie theaters and brick and mortar bookstores (ecludes amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com). You previously listed that card, but took it off once Citi stopped offering new accounts on it.

TomT

I do not belive that Citi will allow you to open a new Dividend card under any circumstances, including conversion/downgrade. I already have one from many years ago, but Citi would not allow my wife to convert another Citi card to a Dividend card. Based on this, I recommend you longer list it. If you have other info on how to convert/downgrade an existing Citi card to a Dividend card, I would love the details.

themanwhocan

US Bank Cash+ will lose Restaurants as a 5% category and gain it as a 2% category. Fast Food is still a 5% category.

Coldwater Creek MasterCard 3X Gas, Grocery. Dunno the redemption value of the X…

Golden 1 Credit Union Platinum Rewards. 3% cash rebate Gas, Grocery, Restaurant.

Security Service Power Travel Rewards. 3X Gas, Travel, Dining. +10% annual bonus on points earned. No statement credit option, but Amazon.com gift cards available at 1 point = 1 cent.

New Mexico Educators Cash Rewards card. 5% rotating categories. Warning: the bank seems to have a huge number of potential fees, such as $5 PER DAY if your account is over drafted, and there are fees for not using your bank account, fees if the us mail they send you ever bounced back as undeliverable, etc, etc. even fees for setting up another bank so you can transfer money, and then fees for actually allowing the money to transfer…

http://www.nmefcu.org/home/loans-and-credit/credit-cards

Frank

Is there any card with bonuses for theater tickets? Not movies, but Broadway theater. I am about to spend $1000+ on tickets.

JustSaying

And don’t forget San Francisco Giants baseball 3X and priceless!

themanwhocan

The Saturday Night Live MasterCard gives 2X for entertainment purchases, and 4X for extertainment purchases on Saturdays 😉

https://d.comenity.net/snlcard/public/benefits/Benefits.xhtml

[…] Many stores offer their own rewards programs in which you earn points as a percentage of each purchase.  Grocery stores, in particular, tend to offer fuel rewards (points that can be used for gas station discounts).  Even better, they often run promotions for double or quadruple points for the purchase of merchant gift cards.  And, as you’ll see on the list above, many grocery stores now sell eBay gift cards.  Optimize your purchase by buying at a grocery store offering fuel rewards and pay with a credit card that has a great grocery store category bonus. […]

TomT

There is another Chase AARP card (different than the one you have listed with 3% rewards for gas & restaurants) that provides 3% rewards for travel purchases defined as “every flight, hotel stay, car rental, train ride, cruise and travel agency purchase”. See https://creditcards.chase.com/aarp/TravelRewards

[…] Best category bonuses […]

Dave

There are (or were) 2 versions of the card: https://creditcards.chase.com/aarp/cardmember and https://creditcards.chase.com/aarp/TravelRewards one gives you gas and restaurants, the other travel. You have it listed in all 3 of those categories. The application link you sent seems to only let you apply for the gas/restaurant one, but not travel. I cannot find anywhere any information on the travel one being withdrawn or how to apply for it.

Dave

Great job consolidating all this info in 1 page. 1 question though, I don’t see the a way to apply for the Chase AARP travel card anymore, only the gas/restaurant card. Am I missing something?

Rob B

Great tool. Kudos. You likely explained it elsewhere but I cannot find how the 3x bonus for charities for the US Bank Flexperks becomes 4.6%…

Nikki O

I didn’t read all of the comments, but I’m curious why the Hyatt card isn’t listed?

Themanwhocan

Elan has 2 new credit cards based on American Express network.

A “Cash Rewards American Express” that gives 3% Gas, 2% Supermarket, 1% everything else. Gas bonus limited to $6000 spend per year. No annual fee.

And a “Travel Rewards American Express” 3X Airlines, 2X Restaurant and Hotel, 1X everything else with $95 annual fee and $75 cash back after first card use.

rob black

T&C of Amex everyday says that loadable cards do not qualify. What has your experience been?

PenFedCorrections

PenFed Platinum Rewards offers 5X points on gas (at the pump) purchases (not listed) and 3X points (not 2X) at grocery stores.

See https://www.penfed.org/visasignaturepoints/

JustSaying

I didn’t see AMEX EveryDay Preferred and the Citi Thank You Premier?

Themanwhocan

You might need a new category, for online purchases. There are starting to be a lot of combination shopping portals with corresponding credit cards that often give 10% or more combined cash back at select online merchants.

Ebates.com/Ebates VISA, Upromise.com/Upromise MasterCard, Savingstar.com/SavingStar American Express, are just three that immediately come to mind. I guess Discover IT and Chase Freedom are also in this category.

Roc

Sam’s Club MasterCard offers 5% on gas, 3% on travel or dining, and 1% elsewhere.

Kroozer

The Barclay Arrival (non-Plus) is not listed here at all. It has 2X cashback on dining and travel purchases with no annual fee.

TomT

You might want to add the Barnes & Noble MasterCard to the Books category. It provides 5% cash back via statement credit for anything (except gift cards) purchased at Barnes & Noble stores or via bn.com. It earns 1% elsewhere via points that convert to gift cards in 25 increments (2500 points). It has a $0 annual fee and a sign up bonus of a $25 B&N gift card upon 1st purchase.

Themanwhocan

Not sure if you want to list this one. It does have multiple useful 2X categories. 5X at Quicken.com, Intuit.com, TurboTax.com and QuickBooks.com

Chase Quicken Rewards Visa.

http://quicken.intuit.com/personal-finance-tools/rewards-personal-credit-card.jsp

Themanwhocan

Consumers Credit Union Visa Signature Cash Rebate Card.
3% Grocery/Convenience stores, 2% Gas purchases, 1% everything else. Maximum cash rebate of $6000/year.

$100 when you spend $1000 in first 60 days.

http://www.myconsumers.org/loans-credit/visa-cards/visa-signature-cash-rebate-card.html

FrequentMiler

Thanks. Added

Willard Crumberger

This is a great page. so hard to find and keep track of category-specific rewards, esp. since they change every quarter for cards like Chase Freedom. Does anyone know of a page like this that is kept up to date? I’ve found this app to be useful for convenience since I tend to carry many rewards cards at once: http://www.rewardscardpicker.com/ but love to see the fair trading price rebate figures.

Charles

Under Restaurants, I do not see the regular Chase Sapphire. 2x for restaurants.

FrequentMiler

Added

Themanwhocan

The Discover Business Card gives 5% cash back on first $2000 spend/yr at Office Supplies.

https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/business/

FrequentMiler

Thanks. Added.

[…] Best category bonuses […]

James H

Just got an invite for the AAA Member Rewards card issued by BOA. No annual fee, 3x for travel and AAA related purchases, 2x for gas, grocery and drug stores, & 1x for everything else. Do not see where there are maximum cash back limits on spending. Does anyone have experience on how the CVS vanilla reloads are categorized with this card.

FrequentMiler

Thanks! Added AAA card

FrequentMiler

Added Santander Bravo card.
Removed Cash+ from hotels category

Themanwhocan

US Bank Cash+ loses Hotels category, and Gains Gym/Fitness Centers in 2nd quarter 2014.

Brad

Ouch. The Cash+ is slowly turning into a more useless 5% card like the Citi Dividend Platinum Select!

FrequentMiler

As long as they keep Charity as a 5% category, I’m happy

afterbang

Looks like Wyndham is no longer a part of the MC Easy Savings.

Themanwhocan

https://www.santanderbank.com/us/personal/credit-cards/bravo

Bravo card has 3X Gas, Groceries, Restaurants. Cap at $5000 spend per quarter (15,000 points). Annual fee waived if you maintain a checking account with Santander.

Plus World MasterCard benefits.

Themanwhocan

I think the Fair Trading Value for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred in the Grocery category should be set at 4.75%, since that is the best you can hope to earn. It is capped at $6000 and has a u annual fee, so if you hit exactly $6000 in groceries you end up with 4.75%, and if you are more or less from $6000 the earnings percentage is less due to the fixed $75 fee. So the card should drop a few spots on the list.

Any other cards with annual fees should be adjusted as well.

So the Sallie Mae has the best cash back percentage, its only weakness is a low monthly cap.

FrequentMiler

That makes sense, but not for all cards. Often people will pay the annual fee for a card for its perks and so it wouldn’t be right to count that against the category bonus values. Plus, it sounds like a lot of work! 🙂

Brad

@Themanwhocan I agree completely that for those that think on the margin the Amex BCP has a marginal/incremental reward of 4.75% for each dollar spent from $1 to $6000 at grocery stores. For me, I view the Amex BCP as no longer having any further use once I would hit the $6000 cap, but of course other people may view the gas rewards or other benefits as worthwhile enough to justify the $75 AF and thus view the AF as a “sunk cost” rather than thinking on the margin.

Marshall

FM:

Did not get my 3X from US Bank for a charitable donation made to my church. Was told by the rep that since Visa classified it as a “religious organization” and not a “charitable” organization, it did not qualify, even though clearly a church is a charity under the IRS code. Strongly suspect the same holds true for all US Bank products. Tell readers to check Visa merchant classification before make contribution. I am appealing the decision and will let you know what happens.

FrequentMiler

Sorry to hear that. That’s a problem with all category bonuses. You only get the bonus if the organization you pay is coded a certain way for credit card processing. Sometimes, though, that can work in your favor. For example, some 7-11 stores are coded as gas stations (even when they are not) and so it is possible to get gas station bonuses there.

Marshall

FM:

Just found a brokerage firm that lets you buy stock with a credit card! Can buy up to 2500 per month of any individual stock. Only limit is that there is a limited selection of stocks available. No fees for buy OR sell side. Here is the link.

http://a.loyal3.com/invest-in-stocks/?ref=pu_CJca_STOpl_ANsz_TXcid_SIGN#why

FrequentMiler

Cool!

Brad

@ Themanwhocan and/or FM

PayPal Extras MasterCard and eBay Mastercard 3X is not 3% unfortunately.

Terms say 6,000 points can be redeemed for $50 cashback

$50 divided into $2,000 3x category spend (2K x 3 = 6K pts) equals 2.5% cashback.

FrequentMiler

Thanks Brad. Updated.

TomT

I don’t agree with listing the OLD version of the Amex Blue Cash card. I currently have a Citi Forward Visa card that gives me 5% at all restaurants (including fast food) and book stores, and a PenFed Visa Platinum card gives me 5x points (4.25% fair value) for all gas station pump purchases, but since you can no longer get those cards, there’s no point listing them. In fact, you added and then removed them from this page. So why is the old version of the Amex Blue Cash card worth noting?

FrequentMiler

The Old Blue Cash card is listed because you can still get the card. See my best offers page for details (bestoffers.frequentmiler.net).

Themanwhocan

The Union Bank Graphite American Express Card gives 3% on Airline purchases, 2% Gas and Grocery, 1% everything else. It does have an annual fee after the first year of $99

https://www.unionbank.com/personal-banking/loans-lines-credit/credit-cards/graphite-american-express-card.jsp#

FrequentMiler

Thanks. Added

[…] Best category bonuses […]

FrequentMiler

Themanwhocan: Thanks, I added both cards as you suggested.
.
Card User: Thanks. Added.

Card User

Also for Gas, Groceries and drug stores, you can add the Amex Blue Cash, 5% after $6,500 spend (on anything) per year.

Themanwhocan

The PayPal Extras MasterCard gives 3X on Gas and Restaurants. That would tie for 2nd place in the restaurants category.

Themanwhocan

Also the Ebay Mastercard has the same benefits. Apparently you can obtain one of each.

Marshall

FM:

You don’t have a category for charity donations, but US Bank Flex Travel Perks card gives 3% back on charitable donations. I am not aware of any other cards that gives bonuses for this.

Card User

Cash Plus (also from US Bank) has a 5% category for charity.

FrequentMiler

Thanks. Good suggestion. I’ll add both cards to a new Charity section

TomT

Since the Amex Blue Cash Prefered card earns 6% cash back on groceries, and all of your other listings are ordered by fair trading price rebate, shouldn’t it be listed before the Wells Fargo Cash Back Card? Also, I’d suggest noting that the Wells Fargo Cash Back Card only earns a higher percentage for the first 6 months.

FrequentMiler

Yes, thanks. Fixed

Card User

Well, both cards have limitations, the 6% is only on the first $6k per year, whereas WF is uncapped (but only 5% for that single 6 month period). So some will find the WF card is more valuable, if you can get away with using it very hard!

[…] using the correct credit card is of paramount importance for getting more rewards. Frequent Miler has a great rundown of the best credit card bonus categories, and in a subsequent post, I’ll do an overview of the best cards for the military […]

Marshall

FM:

Thanks for the info. Also, will amazon GC purchase with Discover card qualify for the 5% bonus? I really appreciate all of your help.

FrequentMiler

Yep

FrequentMiler

You probably won’t get the bonus again if you reapply for the BA card. Only if the BA card changes in a material way (so that it is considered a new product) will Chase officially allow you to get a new signup bonus.

Marshall

Also, I canceled my British Airways card in April of 2012.
Can I re-apply for the card and get the bonus pints again?
I understand that you can after an 18 month waiting period.

Marshall

FM:

Thanks for earlier info. Will the purchase of an amazon gift card thru Amazon qualify for the 5% Freedom bonus?

FrequentMiler

Yep

Marshall

FM:

Do you know if Amazon Payments made with Chase Freedom will qualify for Amazon spend for bonus? Thanks.

FrequentMiler

Marshall: Amazon Payments will not qualify for the Freedom 5X category, but it will qualify for the Discover It card’s 4th quarter 5% back.

FrequentMiler

Removed Citi Forward card. Thanks Themanwhocan. I had already removed it from some other pages, but forgot this one.

Themanwhocan

It looks like the Citi Forward is now just a 1X card for new applicants.

FrequentMiler

I’ve updated the PenFed and Sallie Mae bookstore entries. Thanks Kirk and SM Checker.

FrequentMiler

Kirk: Thanks for the heads up on that. I’ll update the % equivalents. I think that the real reason few blogs mentioned it is that few bloggers have those cards.
.
SM Checker: Good question. I’ll look it up.

SM Checker

Isn’t the books limit on Sallie Mae $750 per month, not $250 (which is the limit for gas and groceries)

Kirk

Penfed devalued their rewards program a couple of months ago (with absolutely no warning). Strangely, none of the blogs have even mentioned it except for PFD. If this had been Chase or Amex that devalued their point programs without warning there would be a huge outcry. 5x is now worth more like 4.2%. The devaluation affects both the PenFed Platinum Rewards and the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards programs.

[…] Use a Credit Card to Earn Miles on Everyday Purchases […]

[…] Best category bonuses […]

[…] Best category bonuses […]

[…] Best category bonuses […]

FrequentMiler

Tom T: Apparently I messed up my footnotes! Citi ThankYou points are currently worth up to 1.33 cents each when paired with a Citi thankYou Premier card and used for flights. soon that will go down to 1.25 cent each.

Tom T

Why is the Citi Forward card shown with 6.65% when it only offers 5x points for the listed categories? Also, the **** footnote mentions a 10% increase when redeemed at BOA (Bank of America?), but that seems to apply to a other cards, plus 10% added to 5% would be 5.5% not 6.65%. BTW, movie tickets also get 5x points with this card.

Themanwhocan

Well, the possible category I noticed was Utilities:

Huntington Voice 3X 3%
Barclaycard Rewards 2X 2%

I wonder if Utilities includes cable TV or Internet…

FrequentMiler

Themanwhocan: Thanks! I’ve added the Huntington Voice card to many of the categories. I may have to add new categories because of this card!

Themanwhocan

The 3X Rewards version of the Huntington Choice card offers 3% cash back (1 point = 1 cent) in a category of your choosing. There are 13 categories to choose from!

https://www.myhnbrewards.com/learnmore.aspx?source=ccrwdlm

FrequentMiler

Tom T: Thanks for the PenFed info! I’ve updated the tables accordingly.

Tom T

I notice you also list a question mark (“?”) for the Fair Trading Price Rebate ccolumn for the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards Amex card. I have this card and can confirm that it only allows you to purchase merchandise and gift cards for select stores, but still at the usual 100 points per dollar rate. So, I would probably still value it at a 1:1 ratio. That said, the 5% ONLY applies to airfare purchases. It only provides a 1 point per dollar reward for all other categories, including hotels, rental cars, etc. So, putting it under the Airlines / Travel category is a bit misleading without some kind of footnote.

Tom T

I notice you have a question mark (“?”) after the percentage under the Fair Trading Price Rebate column for the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card. I have this card and can confirm that it does allow you to convert the points into Visa pre-paid cards at a 100 points per dollar rate. Therefore, I would value it at a 1:1 ratio.

FrequentMiler

Added the Wells Fargo cash back card: 5% cash back for gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for 6 months. Took away the similar Citi Preferred 5X offer since it has become difficult if not impossible to find.
.
Tom: Sorry, I don’t know of any solutions other than to scour many different local branches in the hope that they’ll have the old offer laying around.

Tom T

I went to my local Citibank branch toay in the hopes of opening the card with 5x ThankYou points for Gas, Groceries and Drug Stores. Unfortunately, they do not have anything other than applications through their computer system, which had the exact same offerings as everyone can see online. Can you confirm that there still really are branches that offer the 5x option, and if so, which branches? Thanks!

Thom

Thanks for the tip–looked into it, though, and it’s not a true 5% because it’s Wells Fargo points, which are not quite 1:1 cash ratio.

Learned this the hard way once with PNC points…never again.

FrequentMiler

Thom: Actually, there’s a cash back version of the card (which I’d highly recommend over the point-earning version). Details here: http://www.pfdigest.com/2013/08/21/more-details-about-the-wells-fargo-5-card/

Thom

Thanks–yet again, another reason why you are the man!

FrequentMiler

I should clarify my last response. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m particularly recommending Wells Fargo cards at all. I don’t actually have any experience with them. I was just saying that if you were to get one, then go for the cash back one instead of the point earning one.

FrequentMiler

Thom: Thanks for the (offered) beer. Yeah, the Miles Professor revisited a branch office to look for the offer and did find one but was told that they were not going to replenish the offer once they’re used up (at least I think that is what she wrote). You could try for the Wells Fargo 5% offer instead..

Thom

FM, it seems to me that 5X on EDS for TYP is dead for new accounts–including ‘walk-ins’, such as the Prof. detailed three months ago.

After your post of 8/16 I went digging and since the recent ‘improvements’ to TYP of last month, it doesn’t appear that anyone but the grandfathered still get the 5X at pharm, etc. Wondering if an update is therefore in order.

Thanks for all you do–you’re the travel blogger most worth buying a beer at Arbor Brewing Co., I feel.

FrequentMiler

I’ve removed the Cash+ card from the airlines category since it does not have airlines as a 5X option for the upcoming quarter.

FrequentMiler

sr383: please look for those cards in my related post: https://frequentmiler.com/2013/06/04/best-rewards-for-everyday-spend/

sr383

I would add two others:

Costco cash back:
Costco’s own card is good for 1%, but I think the Fidelity AMEX is good for 2%

Utility cash back (for all those places that don’t fit a category card:
Fidelity AMEX – 2%
Priceline Visa – 2%
CapitalOne Quicksilver – 1.5%

FrequentMiler

tjrssibelle: I have the Arrival card and many others listed in a separate post about best cards for everyday spend: https://frequentmiler.com/2013/06/04/best-rewards-for-everyday-spend/

tjrssibelle

what about Barclay’s Arrival cards? for example, the AF one gives 2x miles on all purchases

Titan Limousine

subscribing to this blog post ……. hope you update it frequently ! 🙂

Cher

The 2% cashback on the US Bank Cash+ categories are still unlimited. The $2000 limit is only for the 5% categories.

FrequentMiler

Cher: Thanks, I’ve updated the page accordingly.

[…] Use a Credit Card to Earn Miles on Everyday Purchases […]

[…] Best category bonuses […]

Frindle

Looks like PenFed may be changing their rewards card to 3% for gas, if you look at their website. Lists the 5% in a way that makes it appear to be a sign on bonus for a short period of time, then drops to 3%.

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

Frequent Miler

afterbang: Thanks. I trashed the spam.

Frugalguy: Thanks. I added the Blue Cash Everyday. Look tomorrow for a new page for the best cards for non category spend (like the FIA Amex)

Frugalguy

Great looking, FM! It is much clearer.

I still insist you should include the following two:
Everything Else: FIA AMEX, 2% on everyting. No-brainers’ best choice
Grocery: AMEX Blue Cash Everyday, 3%, better than 2% and no annual fee.

afterbang

2 spam comments above..

FrequentMiler

Thanks for that info, afterbang. I was coincidentally in the process of overhauling this page when I read your comment so I went ahead and revised the screenshot of the Easy Savings program. That’s great news about Avis and Budget!

afterbang

FM – Just looked at Mastercard Easy Savings, there are more partners now – including Avis and Budget car rentals at 5%. Thanks for the great resource.

FrequentMiler

grace: Thanks! I’ve updated this page (and added the Hilton cards to the restaurant category too)

grace

You still have Surpass listed for cell/cable but that is no longer a 6 pt/$ which is why I just signed up for the Chase Ink Bold.

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

FrequentMiler

Update: I added the Citi ThankYou Preferred offer (5X grocery, drug stores, gas for 12 months)

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

Marshall

FM:

Citi AA cards are now giving 3 AA miles for drugstore spend
thru 3/31. Question: Seen some chatter about Citi charging VR cards as cash advance. Do they or don’t they?

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

frugalguy

Thank for the post. It is great. Just want to add something to make it even better:
1. Grocery: remove or note on AMEX HH as it was said it is going to discontinue on grocery and drugstore;
2. Grocery: Add AMEX blue cash everyday. As it is free (no AF) and 3% is higher than other no-AF cards.

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

[…] 6x the points, depending on where you purchase vanilla reloads.  Check out Frequent Miler’s post on best category […]

FrequentMiler

kyunbit: Thanks for the suggestions. I think you meant Citi (not Chase) ThankYou Premier. Truthfully I find their flightpoints program so confusing that I don’t like to recommend it to people.

kyunbit

Chase Thank you premier needs to be on this list. With flightpoints, each $ spent is worth 2.66% or 3% at grocery/drugstore/gas stores

FrequentMiler

Uncle upChuck (nice name!): I think you’re right. I’ve updated the post.

Uncle upChuck

Does the BoA Cash Rewards card really give 3% back at drugstores? Their website just says 3% back on gas, and 2% back on grocery.

FrequentMiler

afterbang: Thanks. Updated. BTW, doesn’t 2% become 2.2% when transferred to BOA checking? And 3% becomes 3.3%? Or is the 10% bonus only for base rewards?

afterbang

heads up, you have BOA Bank Americard Cash Rewards: 2% it is actually 3%. (the 2% is groceries, 1% everywhere else)
And it could be called 3.1%, 2.1%, and 1.1% if you calculate for the 10% bonus for transferring the cashback to your BofA checking or savings acct.

source:
http://learn.bankofamerica.com/products/managing-credit/bankamericard-cash-rewards-credit-card.html

FrequentMiler

Kirk: that’s a good question, but I don’t know the answer.

Kirk

Do you know if any of the gas station credit cards you listed will pay the bonus for in-store gas station purchases? I’ve read that Chase cards will work, but what about the others.

WishyAnand

Thanks FM. Probably not going to apply for now since Ink gives me 5% back on some of those categories, but good to know.

Am waiting for you to post the next big initial spend and earn deal on Amex cards, since I only have one at the moment (Delta Skymiles).

WishyAnand

Was trying to see if any of my cards give more than 1 percent on auto insurance, but no luck. Google search led to Discover Escape which is a good catch-all (2 percent on everything plus 25k miles — 1k per month of usage for 25 months).

FrequentMiler

WishAnand: US Bank’s Cash+ card has an option for 5% back for “bill pay” which really means “telecom, cable, internet, and insurance

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

PeterJon

I’d like to see an article about recommendations for a newbie. I want to do this and do it right. I will use this article for reference, but I’d like to know what is the general recommendation for someone in my position, who is just getting started.
.
Last week I applied to the Chase INK cards, the BOLD cards, an Amex and two others. I have excellent credit so I’m sure I’ll be approved for most of them.
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Also, I have a MasterCard from BofA from an extinct plan they used to have (Elite Rewards). I’d like to transfer this available balance to a card that would be more point-friendly. Any recommendations?

FrequentMiler

PeterJon: Do you subscribe to my weekly newsletter? That’s geared more towards newbies than my daily blog so you may find it more helpful. Also, feel free to email me specific questions. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about BofA Elite Rewards so I don’t know what options there are (if any) to transfer points from that program to others.

kanshin

I found that you need to register another easysaving account.. probable because you have another “company”

FrequentMiler

kanshin: Strange. I added 3 cards from 3 different companies to one account.

kanshin

I have the same problem that I registered my ink Cash before and I recently received my Ink bold. I am unable to add to card too.

[…] my recent post, “Best Category Bonuses,” I listed credit cards that earn the best bonuses in different popular categories such as […]

Chris

Citi Hilton card (no fee card) gets 3X at grocery, drug, and gas.

Wayne

The Lowes Amex gives 3% on restaurants, office supplies and wireless.

FrequentMiler

Wayne: Thanks. I added the Lowe’s card

JP

I think my Amex PRG gets 2x in restaurant spend as well

FrequentMiler

JP: I don’t think that the Amex PRG gets 2X in restaurant spend. If you can find any evidence of that, please send it my way.

Wayne: Thanks. I’ll add that in.

Chris: Since other Hilton cards get 3X for base spend, I think it would be confusing to list the Citi card here under those categories.

WhiteDesert

This is perhaps not the correct thread in which to ask this as it is a non-category spend question and it touches on the dreaded issue of valuing HHonors points, but so be it since the comment section is currently active:

What are folks thoughts re: the value of 3 HHonors versus 1.07 UR points?

I spend a ton at a mom&pop grocery store on my block. They don’t take AMEX, so I can’t use my AMEX HHonors card or my SPG. I can, however, use my Citi HHonors card. But I usually use my CSP, figuring that 1.07 UR points probably squeaks past 3 HHonors points.

Just curious as to opinions on this tactic.

FrequentMiler

WhiteDesert: My Fare Trading Price of 3 HHonors vs 1.07 UR is about the same. That being said, I would prefer UR just because of the flexibility of being able to use them for flights or hotels.

[…] Best Spending Category Bonuses – Frequent Miler details how to maximize the your points earning by matching the right credit card with the right spending category. Good stuff at this link. […]

Kim

Will I get a 10% statement credit with the AMEX Business Gold if I purchase a $500 OM gift card online? Has anyone received a statement credit for OM GC purchases made online?

FrequentMiler

Kim: Yes, you’ll get a 10% statement credit if you buy a $500 OfficeMax gift card online with an Amex business card. I’ve done this several times (in my case I bought $300 worth at a time).

Ced

Re: my comment above wrt CSP+UR mall. It’s actually 3 x 1.07 = 3.21X, since the 7% dividend applies to all points.

At about 1.5 ct per UR point. we’re talking 5% cash back on travel all year long.

Wayne

The Costco Business Amex gives 4% on gas (up to $7k per year) and 2% on restaurants and travel.

FrequentMiler

Wayne: Thanks. I’ve added the Costco business card

Ced

Chase Sapphire Preferred gives 3.14X (2 * 1.07 + 1) on travel booked thru UR portal. I think that’s worth noting, since it earns ‘normal’ mileage on airline like any revenue ticket. I don’t get why people use that option more often (i.e. when there is no better choice, like travelocity or 5x freedom category)

FrequentMiler

Ced: That’s true that you can earn more with the Sapphire Preferred by booking travel through UR. You can do even better by going through the Ultimate Rewards Mall to Travelocity (2X) and booking from there (for a combined 4X or 4.28X if you want to count the annual dividend). While these extras are awesome, I don’t want to list them in this post because it is true with any card: you can always go through some portal and increase your points or cash back. I don’t consider that a category bonus.

Muerl

Makes me glad I hung onto my Mileage Plus Select cart. 3 miles (and 1 eqm) for United 2 miles for Gas/Groceries/Dinning/Home Improvement/*A

MidTierStatus

BankAmericard Cash Rewards card has 3% on gas and 2% on groceries.

FrequentMiler

MidTierStatus: Thanks. I’ve added BankAmericard

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Daniel G

How long does it take for the master card easy savings to credit? I’ve used my card for gas at several of the fuel an locations and have yet to see a credit. It’s been 2 or 3 statements now since I’ve registered.

FrequentMiler

Daniel G: I’ve only received the credit once, but when I did it happened on the very next statement. My guess is that it somehow failed to track for you

Jay

Just out of curiosity, are none of the capital one cards worth mentioning? I vaguely remembered the venture and/or cash was decent.

[…] Best Category Bonuses […]

Joe

Advantage Miles, Delta Miles, US Airways Miles, Hawaiin Airlines Miles. We had planned on traveling but my wife is pregnant again and we had our first six months ago and she is going to nursing school so it’s just my salary we are working with. I would love to hear any suggestions anybody might have.I got a little crazy with CC’s. I should have stuck with the cashback cards but Oh well. Those bonuses were so hard to pass up.

Lively

FM: I have Ink Cash and I get 5X points at office supply stores….but I can’t transfer the points to any of their partners. I plan to transfer my Chase Reward Points to my husband’s Chase Ink Bold and then make the airline transfer from there. (I think that’s allowable.)

Lawrence

Part of the problem is that you have to then compare the value of the points. Say you get 1000 points/dollar on a particular card. If the program is 1000x more expensive, then you’ve gotten no where.

I’ve not done a lot of research, but some hotels like Marriott/Hilton are a lot of points per night (especially compared to SPG). So you have to compare it to the redemption value to get the real value – not just worry about the 5x or 2x etc.

Preacher

Ink Cash does give UR points. I just registered my Ink Cash with Mastercard Easy Savings, but it won’t let me register my Ink Bold. Can you only register one account per user ID?

FrequentMiler

Preacher: I don’t know if you’re limited to just one card with Easy Savings. I’ll try adding more cards myself to see what happens.

alan

The Chase Amazon Rewards Visa gets 2x at gas stations, restaurants, drugstores, and office supply stores.

This can work out to 3.2%, if you spend it on a plane ticket costing $400+. It’s 25k points for a $400 domestic ticket, and if it costs more you can pay the balance on a credit card. It can be tricky though, I haven’t actually found a good use of my 75k points: domestic tickets just aren’t that expensive. There are some restrictions, as well. I believe 21 day advance purchase, Saturday night stopover, and all flights on the same airline.

FrequentMiler

alan: Thanks. Added Amazon Rewards

Alex

Citi Dividend pays out up to $300 cash back per year, not per quarter.

FrequentMiler

Alex: Thanks for the correction! Updated

bringer

Don’t forget the US Bank FlexPerks Rewards(I got it during the olympics promo) They have 2x points for either Grocery or Gas and I believe 2x for phone, etc.

I’m currently using it to buy non-vanilla re-loadable gift cards similar to vanilla beans at grocery stores.
$80 in fees gets me $400 plane ticket WHILE still getting miles for the flight. Works great if you know how to cash out 🙂

FrequentMiler

bringer: Thanks for the reminder. I’ll add in FlexPerks

Grant

I thought the Ink Cash was 5% cash back, not 5x points. Am I wrong?

FrequentMiler

Grant: The Ink Cash is advertised as 5% cash back, but I believe you get Ultimate Rewards points just like the Ink Classic. Can anyone with an Ink Cash weigh in on this?

sam

I have the old ink bold, so no 5x at office stores and no 2x at gas stations 🙁

FrequentMiler

Thanks so much for the helpful suggestions. This post is getting better and better. I’ve made the following enhancements based on reader suggestions:
.
Added cards: Hyatt, Marriott, PenFed Platinum, PenFed Premium Travel, Amex PRG (missed 2x groceries before), MileagePlus Explorer for Business, Sallie Mae World Mastercard, AARP. Also added:
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American Express OPEN Savings, MasterCard Easy Savings

Marshall

FM:

Sometimes can get better bonuses when using a branded card at that brand. Foe ex: Amex Hilton Surpass pays 10X on Hilton stays.

FrequentMiler

Marshall: That’s true. Actually the Surpass has increased to 12X at Hilton properties!

Marshall

FM: Thanks for the info. Opens up new thoughts. Buy VRL card with Hilton Surpass at drugstore get 6X; Use Hilton card to pay for stay, get 12X; pay bill with money loaded on BB from drugstore,VRL card. Effect: 18X on Hilton stays! Can do same thing with any card where get multiples buying VRL card, load on BB, and then use same card to purchase services. Chase Ink 5X, deposit, travel at 2X, get 7X, etc.

Kathie Allen

Wonderful list! THANK YOU!

Shannon

Very handy post. Thanks!

Joe

FM, Have you ever considered writing about how to convert miles to cash? Great information. Thanks for the great work.

FrequentMiler

Joe: Is there any particular mileage program you have in mind for converting miles to cash? I expect that the techniques will vary with the program.

RestlessLocationSyndrome

Seems like if you spend on the US Bank Cash+ card at 5% locations and pay the bill with the Ink/Vanilla combo, the reload fee can be covered for a lot of your other spend to where you could be paying nothing for your miles.

Grant

Great list. I’m gunna get the Amex Hilton card soon. For the books/amazon category, it’s probably better if you buy amazon gift cards at office supply stores with Ink or at grocery stores. 5x chase is much better than 5x citi thank you points.

bk3day

All AMEX Business cards offer the following rebates

Shipping
FedEx Express — 5%
FedEx Ground — 5%
FedEx Office — 5%

Transportation
AirTran Airways — 5%
Hertz — Up to 10%
Carey — 5%

Lodging
Hyatt — 3%
Courtyard by Marriott — 5%
Fairfield Inn by Marriott — 5%
SpringHill Suites by Marriott — 5%
Residence Inn by Marriott – 5%
TownePlace Suites by Marriott — 5%

Client and Employee Appreciation
Barnesandnoble.com — 5%
1-800-Flowers.com — 5%

Office Supplies and Services
OfficeMax — 5% off transactions of $100 or more HPDirect.com — 5%
Symantec — 10%
Epson — 5%
Logoworks by HP — 10%
Firedog — 10%

Sheila

Thanks for the awesome list! Any bonus category or best way to pay for medical expenses?

FrequentMiler

Sheila: I don’t think you can get a category bonus for medical expenses. You might be better off with a Health Savings Account or something similar.

Nick

Gas and grocery: don’t forget the Sallie Mae World Mastercard: https://www.salliemae.com/landing/WorldCreditCard/

It’s capped fairly low, but it’s 5% with no annual fee.

Travel: the Chase AARP card gives 3% with no annual fee, although you do have to be an AARP member (no age restriction, though–anybody can join).

Ron

I was just thinking about making this type of list for myself. Thanks for providing this awesome content!

MileageUpdate

MileagePlus Explorer Biz Card get 2x on Gas, Office Supply and Restaurants.

Lively

One other comment…and I’m a complete point newbie…when I buy airline international air tickets, I have to double check and make sure a particular card does not carry a foreign transaction fee.

Lively

Am Ex Gold Personal gives 2X on groceries.

gbert

And PenFed Premium Rewards gives 5% on airfare.

Larry Ordway

Penfed Platinum Rewards gives 5% on gas,3% on groceries.

DRSP

The Hyatt card gives 2x on restaurants, airlines and car rentals.

FrequentMiler

DRSP: Thanks for the reminder. Updated with Hyatt and Marriott cards for 2X restaurants, airlines, and car rentals