Best Credit Card for Bonus Cash Back
How we picked the cards to evaluate:
NerdWallet reviewed more than 60 cash-back cards. To be considered, a card had to be widely available, offer elevated cash-back rates (in excess of 1%) in specific categories, and deliver a top rewards rate of:
- At least 5% for cards that limit how much spending is eligible for the top rate.
- At least 3% for cards with no limit on spending eligible for the top rate.
The cards we reviewed include products from NerdWallet partners, but this did not influence our selection of the winner.
How we chose the winner:
When choosing our best credit card for bonus cash back, we considered the following factors in descending order of importance:
- Rewards rates.
- The categories that earn rewards at elevated rates.
- How much spending qualifies for elevated rates (aka “bonus caps”).
- Annual fees.
- Sign-up bonuses.
- How much effort is required to manage the card (for example, whether you must activate rewards categories).
- Redemption rules and options.
In the case of cards with annual fees, we looked at how much spending would be necessary before a consumer would come out ahead compared with no-fee options.
Cards' NerdWallet star ratings alone do not determine awards. Here's how our credit cards team distinguishes between star ratings and award selections:
- Star ratings are quantitative: We assess the features of a card, score those features according to how they compare with other options on the market and assign the card a rating of 1 to 5 stars based on those features. In general, a card that rates 4.5 stars will be a better value for more people than a card that rates 4.0 stars. However, the 4.0 card might be better than the 4.5 card for an individual consumer depending on that person’s circumstances.
- Selection for awards is both quantitative and qualitative: Selection for the awards is based on discussion among editorial team members and relies on the same criteria used for the star ratings. However, star ratings alone do not dictate awards. Rather, the awards identify the best cards for specific uses or specific types of consumers, such as those who prefer cash rewards rather than points or miles and who are willing to track bonus categories to maximize their earnings.
How we verified our data:
NerdWallet gets credit card information from partner issuers through automated data feeds. Information about cards from nonpartner issuers is verified on the issuers’ websites.