This article is being updated.
Rewards credit card category bonuses offer an opportunity to maximize rewards on everyday spending. Whether you’re spending big on gas, groceries or office supply stores, you can earn up to 5 points for every dollar you spend in some spending categories.
Despite how rewarding category bonuses can be, not everyone wants to keep track of which credit card to use for various spending categories. If that sounds like you, consider one of these credit cards that earn higher-than-normal rewards on all spending.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great card for people who want to earn more than 1 point per $1 spent without thinking about category bonuses.
» Learn more: Chase Freedom Unlimited review: A winning combination
The card earns 1.5% cash back on all spending, which may not sound very exciting. However, if you have an Ultimate Rewards®-earning credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can convert your cash back to Ultimate Rewards® points and transfer them to over a dozen airline and hotel partners.
If you already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, adding a Chase Freedom Unlimited® to your wallet is a no-brainer. It has $0 annual fee and can help you earn Ultimate Rewards® faster.
United Club℠ Card
The United Club℠ Card earns 1.5 United miles per $1 spent on all purchases, which is great for those who want to earn accelerated rewards without worrying about category bonuses. The card does carry a hefty $450 annual fee, though the complimentary United Club membership (valued at $650) may be worth it, especially if you’re a frequent United flyer.
Plus, the current welcome bonus is pretty solid: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Discover it® Miles
The Discover it® Miles card may be lacking a traditional welcome bonus, but it makes up for it with a cash back match offer during the first year. Whatever rewards you earn during your first year get doubled. Depending on your spending patterns, that could be quite lucrative — even moreso if you’re putting all of your spending onto one card.
The card earns 1.5 miles per $1 spent on everything, which is equivalent to 1.5% cash back. With the first-year double rewards offer, you essentially earn 3% cash back on everything. That’s a great incentive for people who don’t want to worry about maximizing credit card category bonuses.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is an excellent choice for people who want to earn flexible rewards at a higher-than-average rate without having to think about category bonuses. The card has a $0 annual fee and earns 2% cash back on all purchases.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
If you’re looking for a business card that helps you earn Membership Rewards points faster, look no further than The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. The card earns 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent every year. Who needs category bonuses when you can earn a flat 2 points per $1 on a $0-annual-fee card? Terms apply.
Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®
The Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® doesn’t get very much attention, but it’s definitely worth a second look. The card earns 3 points per $1 on direct Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 miles per $1 everywhere else.
Through Dec. 12, 2019, the card is offering an increased welcome bonus: For a limited time: Earn up to 80,000 bonus miles with the new Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®
Thanks to the welcome bonus and generous earning rate, this card is great if you want to stock up on miles for a Virgin Atlantic sweet spot redemption. For example, flying from New York to London costs just 10,000 miles, while the same trip from the West Coast will set you back 15,000 miles.
Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card
You don’t read much about the Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card, or Radisson Rewards for that matter. But the fact is, Radisson Rewards is pretty undervalued as a rewards program. For example, a free night at a top-tier Category 7 hotel costs 70,000 points per night for a standard room.
While that may sound like a lot, it takes just $2,800 worth of paid stays for Gold elite members to earn enough points (Gold status comes with the card). Alternately, it takes just $14,000 in non-bonus category spending on the Radisson Rewards™ Premier Visa Signature® Card to earn enough points. The card earns 10 points per $1 at Radisson hotels and 5 points everywhere else.
Compare that to a program like Marriott Bonvoy, where earning enough points for a top-tier award night requires upwards of $50,000 worth of credit card spending.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Which 5% rotating bonus category card should I choose?
Current credit card bonus categories: Discover, Chase Freedom, Citi dividend
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