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While some cards have permanent bonus categories, others change from time to time. This has been especially true this past year. We hope this guide will make choosing the best card to make a purchase just a little bit easier for you.
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There could be many reasons why you might not be working on earning a credit card welcome bonus right now. Maybe you’re trying to get below 5/24, or you’re letting your credit report cool off a little bit before opening some new cards.
Whatever the reason, you should still try to take advantage of credit card bonus categories. That’s why we’ve decided to compile the best bonus category options currently available in the market on a quarterly basis.
While some cards have permanent bonus categories, others change from time to time which has been especially true this year. We hope this guide will make choosing the best card to make a purchase just a little bit easier for you.
For the second quarter of 2021, there are quite a few options to earn increased points on groceries. Many issuers are offering increased bonuses on grocery purchases as many people are staying at home rather than traveling.
The best cards offering bonus points on grocery purchases are below:
- The Platinum Card from American Express – 10X Membership Rewards at U.S. Supermarkets for first 6 months for new cardmembers, up to $15,000 between U.S. Supermarkets and U.S. Gas Stations
- American Express Gold Card – 4X Membership Rewards at U.S. supermarkets
- Citi Premier Card – 3X ThankYou Points at supermarkets
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card – 6X Hilton Honors points at U.S. supermarkets
- Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card – 5% cash back at Whole Foods
Chase Sapphire Reserve – 3X Ultimate Rewards on $1,000 per month at grocery stores (expires April 30, 2021).
- Discover It Cash Back Credit Card – 5% at wholesale clubs
There’s quite a few limited time offers for cards that will earn extra points and miles at grocery stores.
New applicants for the Amex Platinum can earn 10X Membership Rewards on the first $15,000 combined at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations in the first 6 months of card membership. Chase has also extended 3X Ultimate Rewards on the first $1,000 spent every month at grocery stores on the Chase Sapphire Reserve through the end of April.
Travel is starting to pick up which may have you thinking of booking a flight sometime soon. You should be sure to earn the most points possible on any cash tickets you’re purchasing.
The best cards offering bonus points for flights from April through June 2021 are below:
- The Platinum Card from American Express – 5X Membership Rewards on flights booked via Amex Travel or directly with an airline
- Citi Prestige Card – 5X ThankYou Points
- Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex – 5% cash back/5X Ultimate Rewards via the Chase travel portal.
While there are exceptions, you’ll want to focus on earning transferable points when booking hotels in most cases. Here are your best options with Amex, Chase, and Citi:
- Amex Platinum – 5X Membership Rewards on prepaid hotels booked via Amex Travel
- Freedom Unlimited/Freedom Flex – 5%/5X Ultimate Rewards via the Chase travel portal
- Chase Ink Business Preferred – 3X Ultimate Rewards
- Citi Prestige – 3X ThankYou Points on hotels, 4th night free
If you’re looking to pay cash for your hotel stay, the Citi Prestige should be on your radar. Twice a year you can get your 4th night free on a paid hotel stay booked through ThankYou.com.
Another option to earn 5X points is the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card. You’ll earn 5X points on hotels booked through the Altitude Reserve Center with your card, but there are no transfer partners with U.S. Bank.
If you’re staying at a chain hotel, you may get some bigger benefits booking with the hotel’s co-branded credit card. The Hilton Aspire Card will earn 14X Hilton points at Hilton properties while the World of Hyatt Credit Card will earn 4X Hyatt points at Hyatt properties.
For cruisers, you’ll want to book using a card that earns point bonuses on cruises. Co-branded cruise cards aren’t typically the best options. Instead, use a card that earns flexible points.
When renting a car, you should consider more than just the total amount of points you’re getting. Some cards offer rental car insurance when you book with them, but they may not offer the most points. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card provides primary insurance coverage while many of its peers do not.
Dining is a very popular bonus category across many cards. When there’s a competitive bonus category, the bonus points available add up quickly.
Rideshares can be tricky. Some banks consider rideshares as travel while others don’t. Other cards have bonuses for specific rideshare companies.
For food delivery, some cards offer unique credits in addition to bonus points. Balancing your earnings and credits to offset the costs is the best way to save and earn.
- Citi Prestige – 5X ThankYou Points on DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats
- Amex Gold Card – 4X Membership Rewards
- Freedom Unlimited/Freedom Flex – 3% cash back/3X Ultimate Rewards
- Capital One Savor Card – 4% cashback
Unfortunately, the Citi Prestige no longer gets $5 back on all Postmates orders over $25. Earning 5X points is still a good bonus rate for food delivery, even without the discount.
Meanwhile, the Amex Gold Card has a $10 per month credit that you can use with Grubhub and Seamless. The Chase Sapphire Reserve currently provides a DoorDash DashPass membership which includes free delivery from participating restaurants. Amex cardmembers with a Platinum, Gold, or Green card can get a free Uber Eats Pass membership for 12 months.
after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
You might not be commuting as much right now if you’re working from home, but you should still try to get as many points possible when filling up the tank.
- Amex Platinum – 10X Membership Rewards for new cardmembers on first $15,000 spent in first 6 months at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets combined
- Chase Freedom Flex– 5%/5X Ultimate Rewards on the first $1,500 spent at gas stations this quarter
- Discover It Cash Back Credit Card – 5% at gas stations
- Citi Premier – 3X ThankYou Points
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card – 3X points
- American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card – 3% cash back
Mobile pay is becoming increasingly popular, especially as people are trying to reduce contact as much as possible. As the popularity of mobile pay services increases, so does its popularity as a bonus category.
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve – 3X on Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, LG Pay
- Apple Card – 3% on Apple Pay transactions at Uber, UberEats, T-Mobile, Exxon, Mobil, Nike, Walgreens, and 2% back on all other Apple Pay transactions
- Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card – 1.8% cashback on mobile payments for the first year with your card
Although the Apple Card and Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card are technically two of the best options for mobile pay, we don’t generally recommend them. Many cards will earn bonus points on their respective categories even if you pay with mobile pay. So if you’re dining out, look to use the best restaurant card instead of an Apple Card or the Cash Wise Visa.
after you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days
Entertainment can be a broad category, but there are a few cards available this quarter that specify all entertainment as a bonus category.
- Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card – 4% cash back, 8% on Vivid Seats
- Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card – 3% cash back
after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
For many people, streaming services have replaced traditional cable and satellite TV. Although it may be a hassle to change all your billing information, using one of the following cards will get you the most back on streaming services this quarter.
Quarterly Bonus Categories (April through June 2021)
Some of our favorite cards include bonus categories that change quarterly. Below are two of our favorite cards and their quarterly bonuses for April through June.
- Chase Freedom (not available for new applicants) – 5% cash back/5X at gas stations and home improvement stores (up to $1,500)
- Chase Freedom Flex– 5% cash back/5X at gas stations and home improvement stores (up to $1,500)
- Discover It Cash Back Credit Card – 5% at gas stations, wholesale clubs, and select streaming services (up to $1,500)
There are a lot of great cards out there for every bonus category this quarter. Missing a category you’d like to see included in the future? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be sure to include it next quarter.
Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.