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Hit a Credit Card Bonus Rewards Maximum? You’re Probably Not Done Earning

Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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Bonus Rewards Maximum

Some credit cards offer bonus rewards on the purchases you make most. The cards often have spending caps on these extra rewards, but that doesn’t mean you stop earning rewards once you hit the credit card bonus rewards maximum. Read on to find out how rewards work once you surpass the spending caps on a few of our favorite cash-back rewards cards.

The Discover it® - Cashback Match™ and Chase Freedom® cards: 5% rewards are just the beginning

The Discover it® - Cashback Match™ and Chase Freedom® both offer 5% cash-back rewards on up to $1,500 in quarterly spending. But your rewards won’t end there.

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

The Discover it® - Cashback Match™ offers 5% cash back rewards on the following quarterly bonus categories on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter:

DISCOVER BONUS CATEGORIES FOR 2017
Q1 (Jan. 1 – March 31)Gas stations, ground transportation and wholesale clubs
Q2 (April 1 – June 30)Home improvement stores and wholesale clubs
Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)Restaurants
Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)Amazon.com and more (details to be announced)

Any spending above and beyond the quarterly cap, and on all other purchases, will be rewarded at 1% cash back.

The card has an annual fee of $0 and an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.74% - 23.74% Variable APR.

Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back on rotating quarterly bonus categories on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter. Here are the current bonus categories:

Chase Freedom® bonus rewards categories for 2017
Q1 (Jan. 1 - March 31)Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls or Amtrak)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30)Grocery stores and drugstores
Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)"Summer Fun" (details TBA)
Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)"Holiday" (details TBA)

If you spend more than $1,500 in the bonus categories, you’ll be rewarded at the normal rewards rate of 1%.

The card has a $0 annual fee and it also has an introductory APR offer: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 24.49% Variable APR. But wait, there’s more. Check out the Chase Freedom®’s signup bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Keep earning on your supermarket spending

These two cards offer extra rewards on supermarket spending up to $6,000 per year. But you’ll keep earning rewards long after you hit the cap.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers 6% back on U.S. supermarket purchases (on up to $6,000 in spending each year), an unlimited 3% back on U.S. gas and U.S. department store spending, and 1% back on everything else. After you hit the $6,000 supermarket cap, you’ll continue earning rewards at a rate of 1%.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has an annual fee of $95 and an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% - 24.74% Variable APR. There’s also a decent signup bonus: $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 3% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (capped at $6,000 in annual spending), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% back on everything else. Any supermarket spending above the $6,000 cap will be rewarded at 1%.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has an annual fee of $0 and an introductory APR offer of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.74% - 24.74% Variable APR. And there’s a signup bonus: $100 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Bottom line: A multitude of credit cards with spending caps on bonus rewards continue paying out at a lower rate on your spending after you hit the cap. You should always check your card’s benefits statement to make sure your card has this policy.

Erin El Issa is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @Erin_Lindsay17 and on Google+.

Image via iStock.