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Among the many cashback cards out there are ones that offer rotating quarterly 5% bonuses in specific spending categories. These special categories allow you to earn extra points on things like gas, groceries, restaurants and wholesale clubs.
If you’re looking for a card that will allow you to get bonus cash back for designated spending categories, we’ve compiled a list of who’s currently offering what among the top credit cards. We also let you know what the spending limits are and exactly how you can — and can’t — earn those quarterly bonuses.
Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically*
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter up to the quarterly maximum, when you activate*
Any amount, any time. Cash back rewards never expire*
- INTRO OFFER: 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.
- Earn 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.
- Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
- Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
- Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
- Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
- No annual fee.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Discover it® Cash Back
The current rotating quarterly categories for this card are:
- January-March 2018: Stand-alone gas stations and wholesale clubs
- April-June 2018: Stand-alone grocery stores
- July-September 2018: Restaurants
- October-December 2018: Amazon.com and wholesale clubs
How to earn it. The card allows you to 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. If you want the quarter cashback bonus, you must remember to register each quarter. There’s no limit on the overall amount of cashback you can earn outside the bonus. You can redeem your cashback bonus for gift cards, eCertificates, charitable donations, credit to your card account, an electronic deposit into any account you designate or you can pay at select merchants like Amazon.com.
The fine print. In the first quarter, gas bought at superstores and supermarkets may not be eligible for the higher cashback bonus. Wholesale club services like travel and cell phones purchases may not be eligible. The second quarter grocery store category excludes anything you buy at convenience stores, gas stations, warehouse clubs, supercenters, discount stores or at grocery stores associated with supercenters or discount stores.
For the third quarter, restaurants include full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast-food locations. And in the fourth quarter, eligible purchases include Amazon.com checkout, digital downloads, Amazon.com gift cards, Amazon Fresh orders, Amazon Local Deals, Amazon Prime subscriptions and items sold by third party merchants through Amazon.com’s marketplace. Again, wholesale club services like travel and cell phones purchases may not be eligible.
Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
17.24 - 25.99% Variable
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
- Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
- Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey?
- No annual fee
See additional details for Chase Freedom®
This card’s quarterly rotating categories are:
- January-March 2018: Gas stations; internet/cable/phone services; and Chase Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay
- April-June 2018: Grocery stores, PayPal and Chase Pay
- July-September 2018: Gas stations, Lyft and Walgreens
- October-December 2018: Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs, and Chase Pay®
How to earn it. Cardmembers 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. Like the Discover it® Cash Back, this card requires you to sign up each quarter in order to earn cashback bonuses — but this card allows you to sign up for email reminders.
If you forget to activate your chosen category before the quarterly deadline, you can still earn your 5% cash back on everything you buy during the quarter. If you activate it any day before the deadline, you’ll earn the bonus cash back for category purchases dating back to the start of the quarter.
The fine print. The gas station category in the first quarter only covers automotive gasoline that can be paid for either at the pump or inside the station. Truck stops, boat marinas, oil and propane distributors and home heating companies are not included. For the second quarter, grocery purchases from Walmart and Target are excluded from the bonus cash back.
For your third-quarter Walgreens purchases, it only covers Walgreens, Walgreens.com and Walgreens-owned drug stores operating under the brand Duane Reade. Delivery service merchants and Rite Aid drugstores are not included.
Huntington Voice Credit Card®
This card comes with a twist. Cardmembers can choose from among 10 different categories every quarter and earn 3X points in one of 10 categories (up to $2,000 per quarter or 6,000 points), and all other purchases earn 1X points. The categories are: gas stations; travel and entertainment; restaurants; discount and warehouse stores; grocery stores; utilities and office supply stores; electronics, computer and camera stores; department, apparel and sporting goods stores; auto parts and service stores; and home improvement stores.
How to earn it. Once you have the card, you can choose one of the 10 categories once within the first 30 days of opening an account. After that, you can change your category before the start of the next quarter. You can earn bonus cash for up to $2,000 of spending during a quarter, or 6000 points. You can redeem your rewards for cash, gift cards, retail merchandise or travel.
The fine print. Like other cards, Huntington Voice Credit Card® breaks down stores that are eligible for higher bonus points.
- Grocery stores
- Gas stations
- Travel and entertainment
- Home improvement stores
- Utilities and office supply stores
- Department, apparel and sporting goods stores
- Electronics, computer and camera stores
- Discount and warehouse stores
- Auto parts and service stores
Visa® Cash Platinum Rewards Credit Card Nusenda Credit Union
Cardmembers Earn 1% cash back on all purchases, and 5% cash back on purchases in quarterly rotating categories. The quarterly rotating categories are:
- January-March 2018: Groceries and gas expenses
- April-June 2018: Movies, restaurants and home improvement
- July-September 2018: Gas and education expenses
- October-December 2018: Restaurants, hotels and airfare
How to earn it. The good news with this card is you don’t have to sign up every quarter to get the bonus cash back because you’re automatically enrolled. Aside from the Huntington Voice Credit Card®, this card has one of the broadest number of categories eligible for bonus cash back. New cardholders earn 2% cash back on all purchases in the first 90 days.
The fine print. You must become a member of the Nusenda Credit Union in order to get the Visa® Cash Platinum Rewards Credit Card Nusenda Credit Union. In order to become a member, you must either live in New Mexico or know a current member who can recommend you.
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
Like the Huntington Voice Credit Card®, this card allows you to choose which categories you want for the bonus cashback rewards. You earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose. 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category, like gas stations or grocery stores. 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases. The 2% categories — you choose one — are gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores.
The 5% categories are:
- Home utilities
- Ground transportation
- Select clothing stores
- Cell phone providers
- Electronics stores
- Car rentals
- Gyms/fitness centers
- Fast food
- Sporting goods stores
- Department stores
- Furniture stores
- Movie theaters
How to earn it. The card offers one of the largest number of cashback categories in the bonus cash segment. Sign up for email alerts to remind you to register for your quarterly categories and inform you of any changes.
The fine print. If you don’t choose your 5% and 2% categories before the beginning of a new quarter, you won’t get the higher cashback rewards which means you’ll earn 1% on all your purchases. Your cash back can only be redeemed as a statement credit or deposit to a U.S. Bank savings, checking or money market account or as a U.S. Bank Rewards Card, with a $20 minimum redemption. Make sure you choose your category each quarter. If you don’t, eligible purchases will drop to 1%, the lowest cash back you can earn.
The bottom line
The bonus cash back you can earn with these cards can be tempting. But look at the rotating categories to ensure they’re ones where you spend regularly — it’s no good to get 5% cashback rewards for Lyft if you’re a loyal Uber customer.
Most cards release their rotating categories at the beginning of the year, which will give you time to plan so you can get the biggest cashback rewards bang for your buck. Read the fine print on what places are included and excluded from your rewards. If you buy your gas at Costco or Safeway, you may not be eligible for that bonus cash back.
Finally, once you choose a card, don’t forget to sign up every quarter (if your card requires that) so you can get your rewards.
View our top sign-up bonus credit cards here.