Credit Cards That Offer Customizable Rewards

Customizable rewards offer maximum flexibility, but sometimes they require extra work.
Kimberly PalmerJun 25, 2021

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If your spending doesn’t often match up with the traditional bonus categories on credit cards, such as travel or restaurants, then you might be better off with a credit card that offers customizable rewards. With these cards, the bonus categories shift according to your own spending habits.

In some cases, you must actively select the bonus categories from a list, and in others, the bonus categories automatically shift in response to how you spend.

Nerdy tip: Depending on how you spend, you might be better off with a flat-rate cash-back card or a rewards card that offers more traditional bonus categories. It’s worth looking at how you spend before making that choice.

Here are some of the top cards that offer customizable rewards:

Cards that offer customizable rewards

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
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CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on up to $500 spent in your highest spend category per billing cycle (eligible options include grocery stores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and more).

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Rewards are earned in the form of ThankYou Points, which can be redeemed for cash back as a direct deposit, check or statement credit at a value of 1 cent per point. Other redemption options include gift cards, travel or purchases made on Amazon.com.

Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Annual fee: $0.

Why we like it

Rewards automatically adjust for your spending each billing cycle, which allows for maximum flexibility, especially if your spending changes month to month. Some of the 5% categories, such as live entertainment and home improvement stores, aren’t commonly found on bonus category lists, so if you happen to spend a lot on those categories, this card could give you a high rewards rate that’s difficult to match elsewhere.

Drawbacks

The $500 spending cap on the 5% rewards category means that you can earn at most $300 in your bonus category each year, plus the additional 1% rewards on all other spending. That’s a relatively low rewards rate after you hit that cap.

The automatically adjusting rewards structure is helpful for those who want to earn outsized rewards without fuss. But those looking to maximize every purchase will need to track category spending closely and consider pairing with another card to earn more than 1% on other purchases.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
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CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 3% back on a category of your choice, with options including online shopping, gas, and dining, and 2% back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs for the first $2,500 of combined bonus category/grocery store/wholesale club spending per quarter. After hitting that cap, you earn 1% back on those purchases.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Nerdy tip: Bank of America® Preferred Rewards members can earn 25%-75% more, depending on the amount they have in an eligible Bank of America® or Merrill account. That means the 3% back could increase to 5.25% back with the highest level of rewards.

Sign-up bonus: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

Why we like it

The flexibility to choose your own rewards categories out of a relatively flexible list — online shopping, for example, includes spending at many online retailers, including Amazon.com and BestBuy.com — gives cardholders a lot of leeway when it comes to earning bonus rewards. The dining category also includes spending at coffee shops and fast-food establishments, among others.

Drawbacks

This card takes some effort to manage: You can change your bonus category up to once a month, and if you don’t choose one, it will default to gas. The spending caps limit your earning potential.

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on the first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter in two categories of your choice. (In the past, options have included sporting goods stores and home utilities.)

  • 2% cash back in one “everyday” category of your choice. (In the past, options have included gas stations and restaurants.)

  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

Sign-up bonus: $150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

Why we like it

The fact that you can customize your rewards and pick not just one but two categories to earn 5% cash back on makes this card stand out. The spending cap of $2,000 is also relatively high.

Drawbacks

In order to earn the 5% and 2% bonus rewards rates, you must select the categories that you want each quarter. If you don’t opt in, then you'll earn only the 1% cash back rate.

Venmo Credit Card

Venmo Credit Card
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CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 3% cash back in your top spending category for the month (from one of eight possible categories, including grocery, dining, travel, gas and more).

  • 2% back in your second-place spending category for the month (from one of the remaining seven possible categories).

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Annual fee: $0.

Why we like it

The large number of bonus categories gives this card’s rewards maximum flexibility; you also automatically earn the bonus rewards in your categories with the highest spending each month, so you don’t have to actively manage the card or remember to opt in. After the first year, there is a relatively high spending cap of $10,000, combined, for the 3% and 2% bonus categories. After you hit that cap, then you earn 1% back for the rest of that year.

Drawbacks

You must have a Venmo account to apply for the card, there’s no sign-up bonus and many spending categories earn only 1% back.

The HMBradley card

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 3% cash back in your highest spending category for the statement cycle.

  • 2% cash back in your second-highest spending category.

  • 1% cash back on everything else.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Annual fee: $60, waived for the first year.

Why we like it

The card automatically gives you the bonus rewards on your highest and second-highest spending category for each statement cycle, so you don’t have to spend time managing your categories.

Drawbacks

You can only apply for the card if you have an HMBradley account, and the card is also geared toward applicants with credit scores of 700 or higher.

American Express® Business Gold Card

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN Credit Card
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CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar in two categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle. There are six categories to choose from, and they include airfare purchased directly from airlines and U.S. purchases at restaurants. The 4x rewards rate applies to the first $150,000 in spending on those two combined categories. Terms Apply.

Welcome offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Annual fee: $295.

Why we like it

If your business's spending aligns with at least some of the six bonus categories, you can earn a high level of rewards. You don’t have to opt into the categories; you automatically earn the higher rate on your two highest-spend categories, which makes the card easy to manage.

Drawbacks

The high annual fee means you have to spend a lot to earn enough rewards to break even; if you spend less, then a different card might be a better fit.

U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card

CARD DETAILS

Rewards:

  • 2 points per dollar spent on purchases made in the top two out of 48 categories; categories include things like advertising firms, airlines, gas stations and hotels.

  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 points worth $750 cash back. Just spend $7,500 in eligible net purchases on the Account Owner's Card within the first four months of account opening.

Why we like it

The bonus rewards category automatically updates based on your spending, which means you don’t have to spend time managing rotating categories.

Drawbacks

While the customizable rewards offer a lot of flexibility, especially since there are 48 categories to choose from, it doesn’t make up for the fact that the overall rewards rate is still relatively low.

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