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Highest Cash Back Credit Cards

Updated Sep 22, 2021 | Published Jul 09, 20207 min read

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At a glance

The highest cash back credit cards offer 5% or 6% cash back in select categories. Some reward programs have stable bonus categories, while others change throughout the year or let you pick your own. There are even some ways to boost your cash back beyond the typical rates.

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Want great rewards? How about simple redemption systems that let you get those rewards quick and easy?

We’ve rounded up the most rewarding cash back credit cards on the market. They offer 5% back or more for certain purchases, a pretty significant discount you can take advantage of over and over again.

5% cash back means you’ll get a minimum 5% return on your spending, usually in the form of a statement credit. Spend $100, get $5 in cash back.

If you want to earn a little back for every purchase you make, these cards should be on your radar.

Insider tip

Cash back cards usually aren’t too complicated, but if you really want to maximize your credit card, there are some ways to boost the value of the cash back rewards you earn in some cases. We’ll show you how.

What’s the Highest Cash Back Credit Card?

Here’s a quick summary of the seven cards with the highest cash back rates:

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Purchase APR0% on purchases for 12 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Groceries and gas are necessities. Why not have a card that’s great for both?

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review) delivers, offering the best rate you’ll find at U.S. supermarkets along with a competitive rate for gas.

As for the other bonus categories, they’re nothing to sneeze at, either: Transit covers rideshares like Uber and Lyft, and who doesn’t use at least one streaming service? (The list of eligible services is extensive, covering all the usual suspects like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, and then some.)

Spending Rewards
  • 6% cash back:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Transit
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • $300 statement credit for spending $3,000 in the first 6 months

Key Features

  • Amex Offers: Find offers for extra cash back at a changing selection of merchants.
  • $120 Equinox+ Credit: Get up to $10 per month for a stand-alone monthly membership to the Equinox+ app. Will not apply if you purchase the membership through the Equinox app or a third party.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Shopping protections: Return Protection, Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection
  • Travel protections: Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance, Global Assist Hotline
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)

Insider tip

If the Blue Cash Preferred card looks good but you don’t spend too much in its categories, consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review). It’s a similar card with no annual fee and lower cash back rates. (Rates & Fees)

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APRSee Terms

The Discover it® Cash Back (Review) boasts a unique offer that puts it near the top of the cash back pecking order. Like all Discover credit cards, not only will you get handy reward categories for no annual fee — you’ll also get double cash back for every purchase in your first year.

That’s an excellent find on a card that gives you 5% bonus cash back on a changing selection of categories, which rotates every three months and typically includes everyday purchases like groceries, gas, and dining. Check out the categories below, or read more about them here.

After the first-year bonus you’ll end up with an unrivaled 10% cash back! And non-category purchases will cash out at 2% back, on par with the very best flat-rate cash back cards.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories (up to $1,500 spent per quarter, then 1%; activation required):
    • January – March: Grocery Stores, Walgreens, CVS
    • April – June: Gas Stations, Wholesale Clubs, Select Streaming Services
    • July – September: Restaurants, PayPal
    • October – December: Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • Cashback Match: Get double cash back for the first year, provided at the end of the first year
Quarter 5% Cash Back Categories
January – March Grocery Stores, Walgreens, CVS
April – June Gas Stations, Wholesale Clubs, Select Streaming Services
July – September Restaurants, PayPal
October – December Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com

Key Features

  • Free FICO credit score: Track your FICO Score 8 over time, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Social Security number alerts: Get notified if your SSN is found on any thousands of risky websites.
  • New account and inquiry alerts: Activate alerts to see if any new accounts or credit inquiries appear on your Experian credit report.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
Insider tip

In college? There’s another card made for you in Discover’s lineup, with the same great rewards program: Discover it® Student Cash Back (Review).

Chase Freedom Flex℠

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Chase Freedom Flex℠
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

The information related to Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Like the Discover card above, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ (Review) provides 5% back in categories that switch every three months. In this case you’ll also earn 5% back on Lyft purchases, a timely addition as rideshares become more popular.

5% is a great rate, but here’s a neat trick to get an even better return on your spending. If you also have certain other cards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards family, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) or Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review), you can expand your redemption options by transferring your rewards from the Flex over to that other card, where they can be worth more.

Rather than getting $1 in value for every $1 in cash back, like you normally would, you could get $1.25, $1.50, or even $2.00 or more through point transfers to partner airlines and hotels. That’d boost your cash back equivalent with the Freedom to upwards of 6.25%, 7.5%, or even 10% — not too shabby, but it takes a bit of extra work.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on:
    • Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate every three months (up to $1,500 spent per quarter; activation required)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
Quarter 2021 Categories 2020 Categories
January – March
  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Internet
  • Cable/Phone Services
  • Select Streaming Services
  • Gas Stations
  • Select Streaming Services
  • Internet, Cable, Phone Services
April – June
  • Gas Stations
  • Home Improvement Stores
  • Grocery Stores
  • Fitness Club & Gym Memberships
  • Select Streaming Services
July – September
  • Grocery Stores (excluding Target and Walmart)
  • Select Streaming Services
  • Amazon
  • Whole Foods Market
October – December
  • Walmart
  • PayPal
  • Walmart
  • PayPal

Key Features

  • DoorDash membership: Get a free membership (DashPass) for three months, and a 50% discount for the next nine months; a DashPass provides free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12.
  • Shop through Chase/Chase Offers: Earn extra cash back or find discounts with the Shop through Chase and Chase Offers programs.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Travel and Emergency Assistance, Cellphone Protection
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
Insider tip

There’s another rewarding card in the Freedom lineup, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (Review). It’s like the Freedom Flex but it offers a flat 1.5% cash back for non-category purchases, instead of rotating categories.

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

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U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0*
  • Purchase APR13.99% - 23.99%* Variable

Rates & Fees

Sick of credit cards that are always bossing you around, telling you where to shop to get the best rewards?

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card (Review) gives you the freedom to pick two (!) 5% cash back categories every three months, out of a healthy selection that includes common expenses like ground transportation along with rare finds like home utilities, department stores, furniture stores, and streaming services.

If you’re the type to plan out big purchases in advance, you can adjust your 5% bonus rewards to fit. This could work especially well with furniture, electronics, and clothing.

Don’t forget about the 2% options: You can choose one “everyday” category to fill out your rewards program. But this rate is on the low end, so you may want to consider a different rewards credit card for that kind of spending.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back in your choice of two categories (up to $2,000 spent per quarter)
  • 2% cash back in your choice of one everyday category
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $200 cash bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 120 days after account opening
5% Cash Back Categories
Ground Transportation Fast Food Cell Phone Providers
Department Stores Home Utilities Select Clothing Stores
Electronics Stores Sporting Goods Stores Movie Theaters
Gyms/Fitness Centers Furniture Stores TV, Internet & Streaming Services
2% Cash Back Categories
Gas Stations Grocery Stores Restaurants

Key Features

  • Free credit score: See your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call for personal assistance with travel bookings, dining reservations, business services, and more.
  • Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection: Get perks at select hotels like a $25 food and beverage credit and room upgrades when available.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Security, Extended Warranty, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Roadside Dispatch
  • Purchase APR: 13.99% - 23.99%* Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles on Balance Transfers*, then 13.99% - 23.99%* Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0*
Read more 4 Best Credit Cards for Streaming Services: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$95
  • Purchase APR15.99% - 24.99% Variable

The information related to Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Dining is a popular expense, and you don’t typically find cash rewards credit cards with very high rates. The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) offers an industry-leading 4% at restaurants (for static categories), but it comes at the cost of an annual fee.

New cardmembers typically get a nice welcome bonus to help offset the fee, but you may want to consider the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) instead. It’s a less-rewarding offer with no annual fee and an introductory APR, and it may be more palatable.

Spending Rewards
  • 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats
  • 4% cash back on:
    • Dining
    • Entertainment
    • Streaming Services
  • 3% cash back at Grocery Stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • $300 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

Key Features

  • World Elite Mastercard Concierge: Call any time for non-emergency help with making reservations, finding hard-to-find gifts, and more.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits: Including Price Protection, Extended Warranty, MasterRental Insurance, Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, and more
  • CreditWise: Check your VantageScore 3.0 credit score for free, based on your TransUnion credit report, and see information from that report.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

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Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% for 15 billing cycles, then 13.99%–23.99% Variable

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card (Review) has a different approach. Rather than rotating categories, or choose-your-own categories, Citi will simply give you 5% back in your top spend category each month.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back in your top spend category each billing cycle (up to $500 spent, then 1%)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • $200 cash back for spending $750 in the first 3 months

The 5% spend categories are: drugstores, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, fitness clubs, home improvement stores, and live entertainment.

Key Features

  • Free FICO credit score: Check your FICO Bankcard Score 8 online or in the app, anytime.
  • Citi Entertainment: Provides access to music, sports, and culinary events
  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection: Get ID theft monitoring and alerts if any suspicious activity is found.
  • Contactless payments: Tap to pay at eligible terminals.
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 billing cycles, then 13.99%–23.99% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 billing cycles, then 13.99%–23.99% Variable
  • Balance Transfer fee: 5%, $5 minimum
  • Annual fee: $0

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

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Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
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  • Min. credit levelFair
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR14.24% to 22.24% Variable

There are a handful of Amazon credit cards, but the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (Review) is best for your average Amazon aficionado.

Cardholders earn 5% back on every Amazon purchase, which can add up to some great savings alongside the free shipping and deals you can get with Amazon Prime. Whole Foods Market is included at that rate, too (thanks to Amazon buying the grocery chain).

There are some useful 2% categories tagging along as well (drugstores made the list, which you don’t often see). The card is even made with metal, which is a bit more fun than your average plastic card.

You’ll need Amazon Prime to get and use this card; if you don’t have Prime, or if you cancel the subscription, you’ll get the less-impressive Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card (Review). It may not be metal, but it’s still a solid card.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back at:
    • Amazon
    • Whole Foods Market
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
    • Drugstores
  • 1% cash back for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $100 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon approval

Key Features

  • Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection: Perks at eligible hotels, including complimentary WiFi, room upgrades when available, a $25 food and beverage credit, and more
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call anytime for non-emergency assistance.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Baggage Delay Insurance, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Travel and Emergency Assistance, Travel Accident Insurance
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 14.24% to 22.24% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
Insider tip

There are a couple other Amazon credit cards that can get you 5% cash back at the online mega-retailer (if you have Prime):

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

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Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable

Don’t fret, small business owners — we’ve got a card for you too.

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (Review) has industry-leading rewards for a no annual fee card, offering 5% back on a pair of typical business expenses, plus Lyft. You’ll have to deal with a $25,000 annual limit on those 5% business categories, however, with a separate $25,000 limit for the 2% categories, and that could feel restrictive.

If you’ll be butting heads with the limits, think about pairing this card with other business reward credit cards, especially flat-rate cards with no spending limits, to maximize your cash back earnings.

Like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ above, you can get more out of this card by pairing it with certain other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. In this case, you may want to combine the Ink Business Cash with the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (Review), which gives a 25% bonus for travel redemptions and allows point transfers to travel partners. Once again, this could let you reach cash back equivalents upwards of 10% with the Ink Business Cash.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash back on up to $25,000 spent per year at:
    • Office supply stores
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2% cash back on up to $25,000 spent per year at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $750 cash bonus for spending $7,500 in the first 3 months after account opening

Key Features

  • Free employee cards
  • Chase Offers and Shop through Chase: Earn extra cash back with Shop through Chase or find discounts with Chase Offers.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Travel and Emergency Assistance, Roadside Dispatch
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 12 months, then 13.24% - 19.24% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 13.24% - 19.24% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
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For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Written by

Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.

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