Posted by sirtheta on January 13, 2017
Credit Card Benefits Credit Cards Earning 4%/4x Or More!

Published on January 13th, 2017 | by sirtheta

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Master List of Credit Cards with 4%/4x+ Rewards

A lot has changed in the two and a half years since the last post about 5%+ cash back cards. This is a (hopefully) comprehensive survey of the current landscape of high-earning rewards cards. For the sake of brevity, important caveats about categories have (generally) not been elucidated and only cards that earn cash back or points with cash value (close to 1 cpp) are included—so no hotel or airline cards. Additionally, cards with limited-time offers are excluded (such as the Wells Fargo Visa Signature card or the discontinued BBVA Compass NBA), as are cards with limited redemption options (such as the CapitalOne BuyPower Card).

You can view our list of best credit cards for certain types of spend here.

If you notice anything missing, have suggestions, or have questions, please drop a comment!

Last updated January 24, 2018.

Personal Cards

Cards with No Annual Fee

% Back / x PointsCategoriesCardCap (max yr earning)
5xRotates QuarterlyChase Freedom$1,500 / qtr (30,000 UR)
5%Rotates QuarterlyDiscover it$1,500 / qtr ($300)
5%Rotates QuarterlyCiti Dividend$6,000 / yr ($300)
5%You Choose Options That Rotate QuarterlyUS Bank Cash+$2,000 / qtr ($400)
5%Sporting Goods Stores & GasFNBO Ducks UnlimitedNone
5%Sporting Goods Stores & GasFNBO NRA Complete RewardsNone
5%TargetTarget REDcard (Credit & Debit)None(?)
5xPriceline.comBarclaycard Priceline.com RewardsNone(?)
5%Hotels through Orbitz AppComenity Orbitz RewardsNone(?)
5%Barnes & NobleBarclaycard Barnes & NobleNone(?)
5%Mens WearhouseSynchrony Perfect FitNone(?)

Credit Union Cards

% Back / x PointsCategoriesCardCap (max yr earning)
5%EverythingPeople Caring More CU MasterCard Platinum Rewards$50 / mo ($600)
5xAirfarePenFed Premium Travel RewardsNone
5%GasFort Knox FCU Visa PlatinumNone
5xGas (pump only)PenFed Platinum RewardsNone
5%Rotates QuarterlyNusenda FCU Visa Platinum Cash Rewards$1,500 / qtr ($300)
4xGasInFirst FCU Visa Rewards CardNone(?)
4xRotates QuarterlyNusenda FCU Visa Platinum Rewards$1,500 / qtr (24,000 points)

Cards with Special Requirements

% BackCategoriesCardCap (max yr earning)Special Rqmts
10%Rotates QuarterlyDiscover it$1,500 / qtr ($750)must be in first 12 consecutive billing periods of card membership (which can span 5 qtrs)
5.5%CostcoBankAmericard Cash Rewards$2,500 / qtr ($550)must have Costco Executive membership ($110 / yr), exclusions here, AND be a Platinum Honors client, AND redeem into a Bank of America checking or savings account
5.25%GasBankAmericard Cash Rewards$2,500 / qtr ($525)must be a Platinum Honors client, AND redeem into a Bank of America checking or savings account
5%Amazon.comChase Amazon Prime RewardsNonemust have Amazon Prime ($99 / yr or less)
5%CostcoBankAmericard Cash Rewards$2,500 / qtr ($500)must have Costco Executive membership ($110 / yr), exclusions here, AND be a Platinum client, AND redeem into a Bank of America checking or savings account
5%Drugstores, Gas, and GroceriesAmerican Express (Old) Blue Cash$50,000 / yr ($2,500)must first spend $6,500 at a rate of 1% on groceries, gas, and select drugstores, and 0.5% on all other purchases
5%Gas (pump only)PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards PlusNonemust have a qualifying PenFed product, such as an active checking account with $250 in direct deposit per cycle
5%GasSam’s Club MasterCard$6,000 / yr ($300)must have Sam’s Club membership ($45 / yr)
5%Gas & Military Base PurchasesUSAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express$3,000 / yr ($150)must be a USAA member
4.5%GasBankAmericard Cash Rewards$2,500 / qtr ($450)must be a Platinum client, AND redeem into a Bank of America checking or savings account
4.5%CostcoBankAmericard Cash Rewards$2,500 / qtr ($450)must have Costco Executive membership ($110 / yr), exclusions here, AND be a Gold client, AND redeem into a Bank of America checking or savings account
4.2%CostcoBankAmericard Cash Rewards$2,500 / qtr ($420)must have Costco Executive membership ($110 / yr), exclusions here, AND redeem into a Bank of America checking or savings account
4.125xBank of America Travel CenterBankAmericard Travel RewardsNonemust be a Platinum Honors client
4%GasCiti Costco Anywhere$7,000 / yr ($280)must have Costco membership ($55 / yr)
4%Costco & Costco.comCiti Costco Anywhere$37,500 / yr ($1500)must have Costco Executive membership ($110 / yr), exclusions here
4%CostcoAll 2% Visas (whether flat 2% or 2% on wholesale clubs)N/Amust have Costco Executive membership ($110 / yr), exclusions here

Cards with an Annual Fee

% Back / x PointsCategoriesCardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)Special Rqmts
6%GroceriesAmerican Express Blue Cash Preferred$95$6,000 / yr ($360)
5xAirfareAmerican Express Platinum (all Personal flavors)$450None
5xTravelFirst Hawaiian Bank Priority Destinations$50$6,000 / yr (30,000 Priority Miles)
4.5xGroceriesAmerican Express Everyday Preferred$95$6,000 / yr (27,500 MR)must use card 30 or more times in a billing period

Cards with Enhanced Cash Back when Redeeming Points

Points redemption options that always yield cold, hard cash (or equivalent, such as booked travel) at a defined & consistent rate above 1 point to 1¢ give you enhanced cash back, a term I just made up. In other words, (Points Earned) x (Redemption Avenue’s Cents Per Point) = % enhanced cash back.

The following caveats hold for Chase cards: you must be planning a trip you would pay for with cash, AND you must use Ultimate Rewards points to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal for the same price it would’ve cost you otherwise.

The following caveats hold for the American Express Business Platinum: you must be planning a flight you would pay for with cash, AND the flight you are planning must qualify for the 50% Airline Bonus, AND you must use Membership Rewards points to pay for the flight with Pay with Points (via amextravel.com) for the same price it would’ve cost you otherwise.

Similar caveats apply to the FlexPoints program. In all cases, an increased booking cost lowers your enhanced cash back while a decreased booking cost increases your enhanced cash back.

There are no caveats for the American Express Platinum Card for Schwab, which I could easily be convinced into crowning the best “enhancing card” (given a number of assumptions such as you already have a personal Platinum card, etc., etc.).

Note: the Citi ThankYou Premier and Citi Prestige cards would’ve made this list several months ago due to the fact that you could book American Airlines fares through the ThankYou Travel Center at a rate of 1.6¢. Alas, all redemptions are now at a rate of 1.33¢, which will be further reduced to 1.25¢ on July 23, 2017.

Enhanced by the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 AF)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve converts points to enhanced cash back at a rate of 1.5%.

% BackCategoriesChase CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)
7.5%Rotates QuarterlyFreedom$0$1,500 / qtr ($450)
4.5%Dining & TravelSapphire Reserve$450None

Enhanced by the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Preferred ($95 AF)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, and Ink Preferred convert points to enhanced cash back at a rate of 1.25%.

% BackCategoriesChase CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)
6.25%Rotates QuarterlyFreedom$0$1,500 / qtr ($375)

Enhanced by the American Express Business Platinum ($450 AF)

The American Express Business Platinum converts points to enhanced cash back at a rate of 1% plus 35% your points, for each redemption. (From October 5, 2016 thru May 31st, 2017this was 50%. The change from 50% to 35% did not change the list of cards, only the supplementary points potential). Enough redemptions can put you at an enhanced cash back rate of 1.54%. note: continued redemptions (of the “+ #x” portion) eventually converts points to enhanced cash back at a rate of nearly 1.54%.

% Back + x PointsCategoriesAmerican Express CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)Special Rqmts
5% + 1.75xAirfarePlatinum (all personal flavors)$450NoneNone
5% + 1.75xMercedes-Benz dealershipsMercedes-Benz Credit Card$95NoneNone
4.5% + 1.575xGroceriesEveryDay Preferred$95$6,000 / yr ($540)must use card 30 or more times in a billing period
3% + 1.05xAirfarePremier Rewards Gold$195NoneNone
3% + 1.05xGroceriesEveryDay Preferred$95$6,000 / yr ($360)None
3% + 1.05xGasEveryDay Preferred$95Nonemust use card 30 or more times in a billing period
3% + 1.05xGasMercedes-Benz Credit Card$95NoneNone

Enhanced by the American Express Platinum Card for Schwab ($450 AF)

The American Express Platinum Card for Schwab converts points to cash (in a linked Schwab brokerage account) at a rate of 1.25¢.

% BackCategoriesAmerican Express CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)Special Rqmts
6.25%AirfarePlatinum (all personal flavors)$450NoneNone
6.25%Mercedes-Benz dealershipsMercedes-Benz Credit Card$95NoneNone
5.625%GroceriesEveryDay Preferred$95$6,000 / yr ($337.50)must use card 30 or more times in a billing period

Enhanced by the FlexPoints Program

The FlexPoints program convert points to enhanced cash back at a rate of up to 2¢.

% BackCategoriesUS Bank CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)Notes
up to 6%RestaurantsFlexPerks Gold$85$120,000 / yr (N/A)Cap is on the base rate of 1x, which drops to 0.5x after $120,000 in spending
up to 6%Charitable DonationsFlexPerks Travel Rewards$49$120,000 / yr (N/A)Cap is on the base rate of 1x, which drops to 0.5x after $120,000 in spending
up to 4%Airfare & GasFlexPerks Gold$85$120,000 / yr (N/A)Cap is on the base rate of 1x, which drops to 0.5x after $120,000 in spending
up to 4%Category You Spent the Most on Each Billing Cycle: Airfare, Gas, or GroceriesFlexPerks Travel Rewards$49$120,000 / yr (N/A)Cap is on the base rate of 1x, which drops to 0.5x after $120,000 in spending

Enhanced by the Merrill Lynch Travel Portal

% BackCategoriesMerrill Lynch CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)Notes
up to 5%EverythingOctave$950NoneWhen redeemed for airfare

Enhanced by Best Buy

% BackCategoriesCiti CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)Notes
6%Best BuyMy Best Buy & My Best Buy Visa Platinum$0None(?)must be Elite Plus ($3,500 / year spending at Best Buy); earns 3x at Best Buy which is 6% when converted to Best Buy Reward Certificate
6%Best BuyMy Best Buy Visa Gold$59None(?)those with poor credit get a Visa Gold instead of Visa Platinum; must be Elite Plus ($3,500 / year spending at Best Buy); earns 3x at Best Buy which is 6% when converted to Best Buy Reward Certificate
5%Best BuyMy Best Buy & My Best Buy Visa Platinum$0None(?)earns 2.5x at Best Buy which is 5% when converted to Best Buy Reward Certificate
5%Best BuyMy Best Buy Visa Gold$59None(?)those with poor credit get a Visa Gold instead of Visa Platinum; earns 2.5x at Best Buy which is 5% when converted to Best Buy Reward Certificate

Business Cards

Cards with No Annual Fee

% Back / x PointsCategoriesCardCap (max yr earning)Special Rqmts
5%Office Supply Stores & Wireless Telephone ServicesAmerican Express SimplyCash Plus$50,000 / year ($2,500)None
5xOffice Supply Stores & Cable TV, Cellular Phone, Internet, and Landline ServicesChase Ink Cash$25,000 / year (125,000 UR)None
5xBusiness ExpensesFirst National Bank Business Edition Visa Card with Absolute Rewards$25,000 / year (125,000 points)None
4%GasCiti Costco Anywhere Business$7,000 / yr ($280)must have Costco membership ($55 / yr)
4%Costco & Costco.comCiti Costco Anywhere Business$37,500 / yr ($1500)must have Costco Executive membership ($110 / yr), exclusions here

Cards with an Annual Fee

x PointsCategoriesCardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)
5xOffice Supply Stores & Cable TV, Cellular Phone, Internet, and Landline ServicesChase Ink Plus$95$50,000 / yr (250,000 UR)

Cards with Enhanced Cash Back when Redeeming Points

Enhanced by the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 AF)

% BackCategoriesChase CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)
7.5%Office Supply Stores & Cable TV, Cellular Phone, Internet, and Landline ServicesInk Plus$95$50,000 / year ($5,000)
7.5%Office Supply Stores & Cable TV, Cellular Phone, Internet, and Landline ServicesInk Cash$0$25,000 / year ($2,500)
4.5%Advertising, Shipping, Travel & Cable, Internet, and Phone ServicesInk Preferred$95$150,000 / year ($9,000)

Enhanced by the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Preferred ($95 AF)

% BackCategoriesChase CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)
6.25%Office Supply Stores & Cable TV, Cellular Phone, Internet, and Landline ServicesInk Plus$95$50,000 / year ($3,125)
6.25%Office Supply Stores & Cable TV, Cellular Phone, Internet, and Landline ServicesInk Cash$0$25,000 / year ($1,562.50)

Enhanced by the American Express Business Platinum ($450 AF)

% BackCategoriesAmerican Express CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)Notes
3% + 1.5xChoose One: Advertising, Airfare, Gas, Shipping, & Computer Hardware, Software, and Cloud ComputingBusiness Gold Rewards$175$100,000 / yr ($6,000)

Enhanced by the American Express Platinum for Schwab ($450 AF)

None exceed 3.75%.

Enhanced by the FlexPoints Program

% BackCategoriesUS Bank CardAnnual FeeCap (max yr earning)
up to 6%Charitable DonationsFlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards Card$55None(?)
up to 4%Cellular Phone & Category You Spent the Most on Each Billing Cycle: Airfare, Gas, or Office Supply StoresFlexPerks Business Edge Travel Rewards Card$55None(?)



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Jake P
Jake P

Great post, sirtheta. Thanks for all you contribute both here and over at r/churning!

Jason
Jason

I can’t say enough about the good stuff you guys put out consistently on this blog. you guys are amazing

Justin
Justin

Great post. I think you mean 7.5% for Ink cash/plus when enhanced by CSR?

Nun
Nun

Unless I’m missing something I agree that it’s 7.5%. If it’s 10%, how was that calculated?

Billy
Billy

I see these missing:

– Huntington Voice (3% on selectable categories, $2k max per quarter). This is the only way I know of to get cash back on utility payments (which as a landlord I have a lot of). For Q3 though, I may switch to Drugstores as I no longer have an FSA to pay for those.

– Sam’s Club Mastercard (5% Gas, 3% Restaurants, 3% Travel) As someone who travels infrequently, this is one of my most-used cards because gas and restaurants are combined on the same card. If only it weren’t run by Synchrony! Also, you can can only collect on rewards once per year.

Bill
Bill

The Sams MC is available for both personal and business. The personal account web site is much easier to use than the business web site. The 5% on gas is capped at $6k, and excludes gas stations that are part of supermarkets and warehouse clubs (other than Sams/Walmart).

The 3% on dining and travel is uncapped, paid out annually.

Jon S
Jon S

How about Amex Blue for Business, enhanced by the Biz Plat? 2.3x MR on everything (with a year wait for the .3) = 3.45% + 1.15x using your counting method?

Bodiddely
Bodiddely

For the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Plus card, I’ve heard that it is literally only 5% on gas purchased from a pump (e.g. buying merchandise inside a gas station doesn’t count). Anyone have confirming (or counter) DPs on that?

AB
AB

I’m a little confused by all the Costco appearances. Costco Executive gives you 2% back as a program. But you could pay cash and still get that 2% back. Furthermore, any 2% cb visa card would also stack with it to reach 4%. Why just focus on the BofA cards?

ew
ew

excellent post don’t forget to add infirst credit union visa rewards that is a costco cc clone with 0 AF (4% cb on gas)

Kelly
Kelly

I’m confused on hoe the Business Gold Rewards gets 4.5% + 1.5% using the Plat. I thought it received 3% on a category of your choice. How do you get 4.5%?

Skyline
Skyline

Yes, I’m confused by this too. How do you get 4.5% + 1.5%?

Smart Provisions

With the Sallie Mae Credit Card losing it’s 5% Cashback on Gas, Groceries, and Amazon, I’ve been trying to find a decent alternative.

Thanks for the great list, sirtheta!

ES
ES

Super post. Thanks.

Being rather old school, I often will copy and paste info like this into a file I can store in the cloud or email to myself, But there is no easy way to do that, given the formatting.

I’ve had this problem with other DOC posts – as well as posts from other bloggers – too. Small fonts can make it hard for some to read and if I have a slow internet connection on my phone, waiting for a site to load can be frustrating, so assuming I can just bookmark it is not a good solution for me.

Is there any way you can link to a PDF or excel file? That would make it much easier to consult on the fly. How about a link to a version that displays full screen and ad free?

As a general point, it would be terrific if more of the fabulous tools and lists this site provides were accessible that way too. A few weeks ago DOC published a great tool called New Resource to Track Credit Card Bonus Categories & Travel Credits and I saw something somewhere – maybe a tweet – wondering why there were not more comments. Maybe a contributing factor is that the small font and display on just 2/3 of the page makes it hard to read. I looked then for a link to a version that would be full screen but found none.

I know there needs to be room for ads but I would find the site and its excellent resources even more useful if the info could also be displayed somewhere in a full page or pdf or excel version. In fact, I would be happy to pay for such access.

Thank you and happy weekend!

C J
C J

Using Google Chrome you can use ‘Save as PDF’ from the print menu (Control+P)

Michael
Michael

Is it worth noting, the cards enhanced by BofA Preferred Rewards as well? I know they are noted throughout in the top section, but don’t have their own section at bottom?

Travel Rewards Card
Cash Rewards Card
AAA Card
etc…

Jan W
Jan W

Stellar post! I’m planning for my post-CSR application spree (DH and I both go under 5/24 on April 1). I’ve been researching how to maximize CSR as well as my Amex BPlat. This is the perfect tool. Thanks so much!

t
t

Target Redcard – 5% off at Target (+Free shipping)

Matt P
Matt P

USAA Amex cashback rewards plus gives 5% backon gas and on base purchases up to $3000 per year so $150 cashback.

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