There could be many reasons why you might not be working on 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.

Groceries

For the first 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.

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The best cards offering bonus points on grocery purchases are below:

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
The Platinum Card from American Express10X Membership Rewards at U.S. Supermarkets for first 6 months for new cardmembers
American Express Gold Card4X Membership Rewards at U.S. supermarkets
Citi Premier Card3X ThankYou Points at supermarkets
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card6X Hilton Honors points at U.S. supermarkets
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card5% cash back at Whole Foods
Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex5% cash back at Wholesale Clubs and on grocery store purchases
Chase Sapphire Reserve3X Ultimate Rewards on $1,000 per month at grocery stores.

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 spent at grocery stores 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. If you shop mostly at wholesale clubs, like Costco, then the Chase Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited are good options.

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Flights

Traveling may be the farthest thing on your mind right now, but if you are planning to fly anywhere anytime 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 January through March 2021 are below:

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
The Platinum Card from American Express5X Membership Rewards on flights booked via Amex Travel or directly with an airline
Citi Prestige Card5X ThankYou Points
Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex5% cash back/5X Ultimate Rewards via the Chase travel portal.

Although both the Amex Platinum and the Citi Prestige Card earn 5X points on flights, the Amex Platinum should be your preferred option because it provides trip delay insurance.

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Hotels

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:

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
Amex Platinum5X Membership Rewards on prepaid hotels booked via Amex Travel
Freedom Unlimited/Freedom Flex5%/5X Ultimate Rewards via the Chase travel portal
Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card3X Ultimate Rewards
Citi Prestige3X 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.

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Cruises

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.

Credit CardsEarning Points and Details
American Express Green Card3X Membership Rewards
Citi Prestige3X ThankYou Points
Freedom Unlimited/Freedom Flex5% cash back/5X Ultimate Rewards via the Chase travel portal
Chase Ink Preferred3X Ultimate Rewards
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Rental Cars

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.

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
Freedom Unlimited/Freedom Flex5% cash back/5X Ultimate Rewards via the Chase travel portal
Chase Ink Preferred3X Ultimate Rewards points
Amex Green Card3X Membership Rewards Points
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card5X points via the Altitude Reserve Center
restaurant or dining_best bonus category

Restaurants

Dining is a very popular bonus category across many cards. When there’s a competitive bonus category, the bonus points available can be pretty high.

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
Citi Prestige5X ThankYou points
American Express Gold Card4X Membership Rewards
Freedom Unlimited/Freedom Flex3% cash back/3X Ultimate Rewards
Amex Green Card3X Membership Rewards
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Rideshare

Rideshares can be tricky. Some banks consider rideshares as travel while others don’t. Other cards have bonuses for specific rideshare companies.

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
Chase Sapphire Reserve10X Ultimate Rewards on Lyft, 3X on others
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card5X Ultimate Rewards on Lyft, 2X on others
Amex Green Card3X Membership Rewards
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Food Delivery

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.

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
Citi Prestige5X ThankYou Points on DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats
Amex Gold Card4X Membership Rewards
Freedom Unlimited/Freedom Flex3% cash back/3X Ultimate Rewards
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card4% 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 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.

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Gas Stations

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 as possible when filling up the tank.

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
Amex Platinum10X Membership Rewards for new cardmembers on first $15,000 spent in first 6 months
Citi Premier3X ThankYou Points
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card3X points
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card3% cash back
mobile pay_bes bonus category

Mobile Pay

Mobile pay is becoming increasingly popular every day, 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.

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve3X 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 Card1.8% 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.

Entertainment

Entertainment can be a broad category, but there are a few cards available this quarter that specify all entertainment as a bonus category.

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card4% cash back, 8% on Vivid Seats
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card3% cash back
streaming services_best bonus category

Streaming Services

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.

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
Blue Cash Preferred Card6% cash back
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card5% cash back
Wells Fargo Propel3X points
Chase Freedom/Freedom Flex5% cash back/5X on streaming services

Quarterly Bonus Categories (January through March 2021)

Some of our favorite cards include bonus categories that change quarterly. Below are two of our favorite cards and their quarterly bonuses for January through March.

Credit CardEarning Points and Details
Chase Freedom5% cash back/5X at Wholesale Clubs, Internet, Cable, and Phone Providers, and Select Streaming Services (up to $1,500)
Chase Freedom Flex5% cash back/5X at Wholesale Clubs, Internet, Cable, and Phone Providers, and Select Streaming Services (up to $1,500)
Discover It Cash Back Credit Card5% at Grocery Stores, Walgreens, and CVS (up to $1,500)

Final Thoughts

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.