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Citi ThankYou Premier Card or Discover it Cash Back: Which Offers Better Value?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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Getting inundated with credit card offers is overwhelming. Points versus cash back, signup bonuses versus dollar-for-dollar matches, how do you know if you’re making the right choice for your reward credit card? What features makes one card more valuable than another?

We’ll get into the details of how to evaluate reward cards with a head-to-head match of two heavyweight credit card competitors: the Citi PremierSM Card and Discover it® Cash Back.

Citi PremierSM Card

Citi provides three different options for its ThankYou® cards, but the one providing the most rewards for your spending is the Citi PremierSM Card. You earn points each and every time you spend, but will be rewarded more generously for certain purchases: Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations, Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment, Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.

Unfortunately, opting to redeem your points for cash back only nets you .5 cents per point, making your cash back percentage between 0.5%-1.5%.

Points hold more value when you choose to redeem them for travel. Typically, your points are worth 1 cent each in this category, but when you have a Citi PremierSM Card, their value is bumped up to 1.25 cents each. You can also transfer your points to a partner airline miles program to redeem them at a 1:1 ratio. You can get the same 1:1 redemption ratio if you cash in for certain gift cards or call Citi to use the cash back for a mortgage or student loan payment. Some redemption options, however, don’t hold much value such as cash back and statement credit. Both of which are redeemed at 0.5 cents per point.

The Citi PremierSM Card has an annual fee of $95.

Discover it® Cash Back

While point-earning power is fixed with Citi PremierSM Card, Discover rotates the categories and is one of the best options for 5% cash back. Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like grocery stores, gas stations, Uber and Lyft, restaurants, and Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. The 5% is limited to $1500 spending per quarter, 1% after that. Activation is required.

  • January – March 2020 – Grocery Stores
  • April – June 2020 – Gas Stations, Uber and Lyft
  • July – September 2020 – Restaurants and PayPal
  • October – December 2020 – Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com

All other purchases get unlimited 1% cash back automatically. With Discover it® Cash Back, your cash back holds the same value regardless of whether you choose to redeem it via a statement balance, deposit into an outside account, or gift cards.

As of publication, Discover has a special introductory offer for new customers. Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.

Discover it® Cash Back

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Rates & Fees

Pros & Cons

There are positives and negatives to each program, depending on your primary goal when opening an account.

Citi PremierSM Card

Pro: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Points are redeemable for $750 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com.

Con: Points aren’t worth very much. If you opt to get cash back in the form of a check, you’ll only get .5%-1.5% back on all of your purchases. Spending on travel will earn you the most, and when you redeem points for travel you’ll be getting the best redemption value.

Pro: Categories don’t rotate. Earning points with Citi PremierSM Card doesn’t require a calendar or alarm. Because you don’t have to register for higher-grossing categories, you can spend how you normally would without having to think a lot about strategy.

Con: More expensive. Citi’s card comes with a steep annual fee of $95.

Discover it® Cash Back

Pro: The new cardmember offer is worth waiting for. You have to wait until the end of your first year to receive it. However, a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you have earned during the year is worth the wait.

Con: Have to register to earn 5% cash back. In order to get 5% cash back in the rotating bonus categories, you’ll have to remember to register at the beginning of each quarter. If you’re not organized enough to remember, you could blow the biggest earning opportunities with this card.

Pro: Rewards are more valuable. 1 reward point with Citi ThankYou® is only worth 0.5 cents. Even if you spend completely outside of bonus categories, you’d be earning 1 cent for every dollar spent with Discover it® Cash Back.

Pro: Less expensive. Discover it® does not have an annual fee, and offers an introductory APR of 0% for 14 months on purchases. Discover also offers an intro APR of 0% for 14 months on balance transfers, then 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR. Although a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)* applies.

Other Cash Back Card Options

There are other cash back card options on the market that are more competitive with Discover it® Cash Back. One is the Chase Freedom® card. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card presents a different type of advantage. You earn unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases. This eliminates the need to strategize when to buy the things you need, and figure out point conversions.

Just keep in mind, all of these cash back options are only valuable if you pay off your card on time and in full each month. Once you start paying interest it voids the return of earning cash back.

Cash Back Winner

In this head-to-head battle, Discover it® Cash Back dominates when it comes to cash back. The only time Citi ThankYou® points are worth more is when you are spending on travel, and in some cases when you redeem for travel through their Travel Center. For almost all other purchases, Discover it® Cash Back is the better deal.

The information related to Citi PremierSM Card and Chase Freedom® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brynne Conroy
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Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here

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Best of, Earning Cashback

The Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Every Category – 3% and More in January 2020

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

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In our analysis, there are over 25 categories where you can earn 3% or more in cash back on your credit card purchases. In this post, you’ll find the best cash back credit cards that earn more than 3% cash back in popular spending categories, such as dining, gas, airfare and groceries.

U.S. Supermarkets – up to 6% (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Terms Apply |  Rates & Fees

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.49%-25.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 12 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 12 months
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions & 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers the highest rate we could find for U.S. supermarket shopping: NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions & 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more This card does have a $95 annual fee, but if you spend $1,584 a year at U.S. supermarkets, you’d earn enough cash back to recoup the annual fee.

Gas – 5%

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all retail purchases.
Regular Purchase APR
11.50% - 18.00% Variable

You might not have heard of this credit union, but anyone can join. You just need to pay $5 to join the American Consumer Council / Kentucky and you’re eligible.

Another option includes the Sams Club® Mastercard®. You earn 5% cash back on eligible gas worldwide, including gas at Sam's Club (on the first $6,000 per year, then 1% after). Earn 3% cash back on dining and travel. Earn 1% cash back on other purchases at Sam's Club and wherever Mastercard is accepted. You need to be a Sam’s Club member to hold the card.

Dining – 4%

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards Rate
4% Cash Back on dining; 4% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
Regular Purchase APR
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited 4% Cash Back on dining; 4% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020. The card also lets you earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Cardholders will be charged an annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.

Airfare – 3%

Uber Visa Card

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The information related to Uber Visa Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Uber Visa Card

Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% back in Uber Cash on Uber, Uber Eats, and JUMP, 3% back in Uber Cash on dining, hotels, and airfare and 1% back in Uber Cash on all other purchases
Regular Purchase APR
17.24% - 27.99% Variable

The Uber Visa Card earns 5% back in Uber Cash on Uber, Uber Eats, and JUMP, 3% back in Uber Cash on dining, hotels, and airfare and 1% back in Uber Cash on all other purchases. The foreign transaction fee is 0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. So it’s great if you travel outside the U.S.

General purchases: Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card card earns Unlimited 3% cash back during the first year; 2.5% cash back afterwards (note, this does not include certain categories, such as gift cards). The card also comes with a $99 annual fee, waived the first year.

Keep in mind that Alliant is targeting this card to high spenders with excellent credit, so it might be tough to get approved.

Earning cash back in other popular spending categories

We’ve organized cash back cards for each of the over 25 spending categories that are currently eligible for 3% or more in cash back rewards. They include both year-round offers and quarterly rotating categories.

You’ll find three types of cash back rewards, in the order of hassle factor:

  • Unlimited cash back – This is the simplest form. You usually won’t find the very highest 5%+ rewards this way, but we’ve found some great cards that get you 3% or more in some popular categories.
  • Cash back with limits – This is where a card limits the cash back you earn by putting a cap on the spending which earns the cash back in the specific category, on a combination of categories, or the card as a whole.
  • Quarterly rotating categories – These are the cards with the big headline 5% rates. Don’t be fooled. While you can earn the 5% rate, you may have to opt in to categories each quarter manually and be hit with caps on how much you can earn.

Airfare

Unlimited

With limits

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Amazon.com

Unlimited

  • 5%: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card* (Prime members only)
  • 3%: Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card*

Bookstores

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose

Car Rentals

Unlimited

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.
  • 3%: Visa Rewards Credit Card from InFirst FCU (no annual fee -join FAPAC at a reduced rate of $10 using discount code INFIRST)

Cell phone

With limits

  • 5%: Chase Freedom® – up to $1,500 when you activate – Jan – March 2020
  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card – up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 5%: Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card* – on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year

Clothing Stores

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Commuting, Taxis

Unlimited

  • 3%: Citi PremierSM Card* ($95 annual fee)

Department Stores

Select U.S. department stores. See the list here.

  • 3%: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ( $95 annual fee). See Rates & Fees.

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Discount Stores

With limits

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Drugstores

With limits

  • 5%: Discover it® Cash Back – up to $1,500 when you activate – Jan – March 2020 (CVS and Walgreens)
  • 3%: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer* – 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Electronics

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card®* – 3X points in one of 10 categories (capped at $2,000 each quarter or 6000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points.

Furniture

With Limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer – 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases

Gas

Unlimited

  • 5%: Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card (anyone can join the credit union by becoming a member of the American Consumer Council for $5)
  • 4.25%: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card (anyone can become a member of PenFed paying a one time dues to Voices for America’s Troops for $14 or National Military Family Association for $15)
  • 4%: Visa Rewards Credit Card from InFirst FCU (no annual fee – can join FAPAC at a reduced rate of $10 using discount code INFIRST)
  • 3-5%: PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
  • 3%: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ( $95 annual fee). See Rates & Fees.
  • 3%: AARP® Credit Card from Chase Bank*
  • 3%: The Farmers® Rewards Visa® Card from Comenity Bank
  • 3%: Coastal Credit Union, Apple Credit Union, Vystar, and several other credit unions
  • 3%: Citi PremierSM Card* ($95 annual fee)

With limits

  • 5%: Chase Freedom® – up to $1,500 when you activate – Jan – March 2020
  • 5%: USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card – up to $3,000 a year in purchases
  • 5%: Sams Club® Mastercard® – up to $6,000 cash back a year
  • 5%: Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union – Jan – March 2020 – up to $1,500
  • 4%: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi* – for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
  • 3%: U.S. Pride® Credit Card from Bank of America* – on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice
  • 3%: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer* – on the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter

Supermarket Spending

Unlimited

  • 5%: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card* – Earn 5% at Whole Foods Market
  • 3%: Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card* – Earn 3% at Whole Foods Market

With limits

  • 6%: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms apply.
  • 5%: Discover it® Cash Back – up to $1,500 when you activate – Jan – March 2020
  • 5%: Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union – Jan – March 2020 – up to $1,500
  • 3%: Visa Signature Cash Rebate Card from Consumers CU – up to $6,000 rebate per year – anyone can become a member of the credit union
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 a quarter
  • 3%: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express – Earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms apply.

Gyms

With Limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose

Home Improvement

No limits

  • 3%: The Farmers® Rewards Visa® Card from Comenity Bank*

With limits

  • 3%: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer* – 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Hotels

Unlimited

  • 3%: Uber Visa Card*
  • 3%: AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Card*
  • 3%: Citi PremierSM Card* ($95 annual fee)
  • 3%: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi* (need to be a Costco member)
  • 3%: Visa Rewards Credit Card from InFirst FCU (no annual fee – can join FAPAC at a reduced rate of $10 using discount code INFIRST)
  • 3%: Sams Club® Mastercard®

With limits

  • 3%: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - $200 Cash Rewards Offer* – 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, 1% on all other purchases
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Movie Theaters

With Limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose

Office Supply Stores

With limits

  • 5%: Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card* – up to $50,000 in bonus purchases a year
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Restaurants

Unlimited

  • 3%: Uber Visa Card*
  • 3%: AARP® Credit Card from Chase Bank*
  • 3%: Sams Club® Mastercard®
  • 3%: Marvel Mastercard®*
  • 3%: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi* (need to be a Costco member)
  • 3%: Visa Rewards Credit Card from InFirst FCU (no annual fee – can join FAPAC at a reduced rate of only $10 using discount code INFIRST)

With Limits

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Sporting Goods Stores

With limits

  • 5%: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card* up to $2,000 / quarter across two 5% categories you choose
  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 a quarter

Target

Unlimited

  • 5%: Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Trains, Cruises, Other Vacation

Unlimited

  • 3%: AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Card*
  • 3%: Citi PremierSM Card* ($95 annual fee)
  • 3%: Visa Rewards Credit Card from InFirst FCU (no annual fee – can join FAPAC at a reduced rate of $10, using discount code INFIRST)
  • 3%: Sams Club® Mastercard®

With limits

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

Utilities

  • 3%: Huntington Voice Credit Card® – up to $2,000 in spending a quarter in one category of your choice

*The information related to this offer has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information. These offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or are no longer available.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at [email protected]

Tracy Brackman
Tracy Brackman |

Tracy Brackman is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Tracy here

Advertiser Disclosure

Earning Cashback, Reviews

Chase Freedom or Discover it: Who is the King of 5% Bonus Cash?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Chase Freedom or Discover it: Who is the King of 5% Bonus Cash?

If you’re going to use a credit card, choosing one that rewards you for spending is a given. Choosing the right card? That’s another story. With so many cards offering similar cash back programs and terms it can be difficult to choose one over another.

For example, should you get the Chase Freedom® or Discover it® Cash Back?

Both offer 5% cash back categories that change each quarter, with that 5% limited to your first $1,500 in spending on those categories each quarter. Where they differ is in the actual 5% bonus categories, the introductory bonus offer, and some fine print.

In this post, we’re going to dissect both cards and how they stack up against each other.

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

The information related to Chase Freedom® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

With Chase Freedom®, you can Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

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Rates & Fees

Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

You earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like grocery stores, gas stations, Uber and Lyft, restaurants, and Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. The 5% is limited to $1,500 spending per quarter, 1% after that.

  • January – March 2020 – Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
  • April – June 2020 – Gas Stations, Uber and Lyft, wholesale clubs
  • July – September 2020 – Restaurants and PayPal
  • October – December 2020 – Amazon.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com

All other purchases get unlimited 1% cash back, automatically. You can redeem cash back for gifts cards, statement credits, charitable donations, deposits to an account or merchandise.

Aside from the cash back program, Discover it® has special introductory offers. There’s an intro APR of 0% for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers. There is a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

Pros and Cons

Now, let’s dive into the pros and cons of both cash back programs.

Chase Freedom®

Pro: A competitive intro bonus for small spenders. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
This sign-on bonus is great perk for new customers.

Pro: Flexible points. While you can always use your points for cash back, the Freedom earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. That means you can also use them for travel, gift cards, and other items. In addition, if you have another card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points you can combine the points for more reward opportunities.

Con: You need to activate your 5% bonus. Another negative of the Chase Freedom® card is the 5% bonus category requires activation each quarter. If you forget to subscribe to the program, you’ll only get 1% cash back for all spending, so this is a card that you’ll have to actively manage. Plus, the 5% bonus categories are announced quarterly, so it can be difficult to plan ahead.

Discover it® Cash Back

Pro: A good introductory offer for big spenders. You can get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically (new cardmembers only). That can really add up if you tend to be a big spender, though the catch is that bonus double cash back doesn’t hit your account until the very end of your first year. The Chase Freedom®‘s introductory offer hits your account after just 3 months worth of spending.

Con: You need to activate your 5% bonus. Like the Chase Freedom® card, Discover it® makes you subscribe to the 5% bonus place each quarter. You can set up email reminders, but it’s still a hassle to actively opt-in instead of being about to set that on auto pilot. So, again, this isn’t a card where you can passively earn cash back.

When to Consider Both Cards

Now, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds if it makes sense.

You can get both cards and alternate use throughout quarters so you can take advantage of both card’s 5% bonus categories to get 5% on more of your spending.

Of course, you’ll have to remember to activate each bonus category and label the cards in your wallet to know which one to use at what time.

But, if you spend in these areas anyway why not earn cash back for doing so?

There’s no annual fee for either card.

Other Cash Back Card Options

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Regular Purchase APR
11.00% - 15.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter).

The Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union let you Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter). Rates are 11.00% - 15.00% Variable APR with no balance transfer fee. There’s an intro 5% APR Intro Rate for all Balance Transfers (first six cycles after card opening).

Even better, you don’t have to activate the categories each quarter. Here are the 5% cash back categories in detail:

  • January to March – Groceries and gas expenses
  • April to June – Movies, restaurants and home improvement
  • July to September – Gas and education expenses
  • October to December – Restaurants, hotels and airfare

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.74% - 25.24%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has a rewards program that’s a little different than all three offers above. With this card you can earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!

Which Card Will Benefit You the Most?

Overall, the Chase Freedom® and Discover it® Cash Backare similar cards. Both earn 5% cash back in revolving categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter you activate). If you’re making a choice of one over the other, your choice would ultimately depend on your spending habits, so you can use the card (or a combination of both cards) to maximize your regular purchases.

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Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here