Gas to Groceries: Finding Your Best Cash Back Credit Card Deals

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Cash back credit cards give you a chance to put a little something back in your pocket with every purchase you make. But you can boost your savings even more when you select cards that offer special deals on certain spending categories.

Get more mileage out your dollars

Do you put a lot of miles on your car each week? You can ease the pain of filling the gas tank if you pay with a credit card that provides a higher percentage of cash back rewards on fuel purchase.  We feature several cards that offer those special deals:

  • Some Discover it® cards are currently offering a big 5% back on all your gas purchases up to $1,500. If you’re planning a long trip to close out the summer, that means you could get up to $75 back to spend on meals, souvenirs and other expenses along the way. The Discover cards also give you 1% back on all your other purchases.
  • If you’re a long distance commuter or a frequent traveler who knows that you’ll be spending a lot more than $1500 on gasoline each year, the Credit One Bank® Gas Rewards Card might be another good choice. Although you get only 1% cash back, there’s no dollar limit on the amount that you can earn back.

If you have more than one cash-back credit card, consider using the one that gives you the highest percentage cash back until you reach the spending limit. Then switch to another card and start earning the cash-back benefits on that one as well.

More ways to save

If you drive an electric or hybrid vehicle—or simply don’t travel much—you’d probably prefer a credit card that rewards other types of purchases. Here are two suggestions.

  • Discover it Chrome gives users 2% back on combined restaurant and gas station purchases up to $1,000 each quarter. You get 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Capital One’s Journeysm Student Rewards Card tries to get young people off to a good start by rewarding good payment habits. The cards not only give them 1% back on all purchases but also add a 25% bonus when they pay on time, for a total of 1.25% cash back.

Timing your purchases

Some cash rewards credit cards give a high percentage back in certain categories at different times of year. The categories usually change quarterly, so you might earn 4% back on restaurant purchases from January through March, 4% on movies and other entertainments April through June, 4% on clothing from July through August and 4% on toys and sporting goods from September through December.

Many card issuers (but not all) require you to sign up for each of these bonus deals, so you’ll want to check with them regularly to make sure that you take advantage of these savings.

If you’re just choosing a cash back card, check if you are limited as to when you can take out your rewards. Do they have to be withdrawn in $25 or more increments, for example, or do you lose the cash if you don’t take it out by a certain time? Look for a card without an annual fee—there are plenty out there.

Don’t forget to compare cards that offer rewards points to cash-back cards. The rewards points can often be redeemed for gift certificates or even cash, and may provide some even better deals that cash-back cards.

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Please note your financial situation is unique and our tips & advice presented here may not be appropriate for your situation. recommends that you seek different advice & opinions from your own accountant or financial adviser who understands your individual circumstances before making any important decisions or implementing any financial strategy.