13 Best Cash Bonus Credit Cards of 2019

13 Best Cash Bonus Credit Cards of 2019

credit card advice

Eric Bank
By: Eric Bank
Posted: May 16, 2019
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines and are updated regularly.

Cash back credit cards provide the versatility of cash without the complexities of miles or points. But what makes these cards true standouts is their cash bonus offers. With these cards, you receive cash back of at least 1% on every purchase, with some providing up to 6% cash back on qualifying purchases.

The bonuses that these cards offer can take several forms. For example, some offer a lump sum of cash when you spend a specified amount of money on the card within a set period after opening the account, known as a signup bonus. Another type of bonus involves higher reward rates on selected types of merchants. And then there is a card that offers a Cashback Match for the first year.

While a cash back bonus is an important facet of these cards, remember to consider all factors when deciding which card is right for you.

Cash Back Cards | Cash Signup Bonuses | FAQs

Best Cash Back Bonus Cards

Our experts recognize these 10 cards as offering the best cash back bonuses in 2019. Most also offer other attractive features that make them all-around winners.

  • New Offer! Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 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
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® cash bonus takes the form of extra cash back on the first $20,000 you spend in the first year. Instead of the usual 1.5% cash back, you earn 3% during the introductory period. That makes the bonus worth up to $300 more than the regular cash back. The rewards do not expire as long as you keep the account open. There is no minimum amount required to redeem your cash back.

2. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card now offers a welcoming bonus of $250 when you spend $1,000 or more in the first three months.

  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Make anyone age 13 or older an authorized user and earn cash back for their purchases
  • $95 annual fee

The card also offers higher rewards on selected bonus categories. For example, you earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year. That can add up to an annual $360 bonus reward just for your supermarket shopping. You also receive 6% cash back on purchases from select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% on U.S. gas station and transit spending. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 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.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Discover it® Cash Back is a bonus category card earning 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases  at different types of merchants — including but not limited to Amazon.com, restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations –each quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. The biggest bonus reward from this card is a Cashback Match on all purchases you make in the first year. That means you can earn an effective cash back rate of 10% on selected purchases during your first year. You must activate the new bonus category each quarter to receive the 5% bonus rate from this no-annual-fee card.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 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.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
17.24 - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom® card charges no annual fee and provides a $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 on purchases during the first three months. You earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in each quarterly-activated bonus category, such as gas stations, grocery stores, and home improvement stores. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back. The card also offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases.
  • Receive 0% for 21 months on balance transfers made within 4 months of account opening
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back; transfer fee applies
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month
  • No categories to track and no caps on cash back.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 21 months
15.74% - 25.74% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

The Citi® Double Cash Card tells a tale of “no’s”: No quarterly categories, no limits on cash back, and no annual fee. Instead, you get 1% cash back on all purchases and another 1% on the amount paid back each month. That adds up to 2% cash back with no caps. In addition, you receive an 18-month 0% APR bonus on purchases and balance transfers. You must complete your balance transfers within the first four months to qualify for the bonus rate.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 16.24%-28.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months on qualifying balance transfers
16.24%-28.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card offers you a $200 cash rewards bonus when you use the card to make at least $1,000 in purchases during the first three months. You receive 1.5% unlimited cash rewards and 1.8% on purchases made with a qualifying mobile wallet during the first 12 months. The card also charges no annual fee, features free reward redemption at Wells Fargo ATMs, and provides cellphone protection.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★
4.4

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases.
  • Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on all purchases in the first 12 months from Account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus on all Cash Rewards earned once a year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable APR.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases for the first 12 months from account opening
0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months from account opening
Variable APR of 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% will apply after the Introductory Period
$0
Good/Excellent

With the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®, you receive 3% cash back on up to $10,000 in purchases during the first year. After that, you get 1.5% unlimited cash back and a 10% anniversary bonus on all cash rewards you earn each year. You’ll also get an introductory 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers posted during the first 60 days following account opening. The card charges no annual fee.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers three different tiers of unlimited rewards. You earn 4% cash back on entertainment and dining, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases. In addition, you can earn a $300 cash bonus by spending $3,000 on purchases during the first three months after you open the account. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year. The Savor card offers special deals from time to time with partners like Vivid Seats and Postmates Unlimited.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card charges no annual fee and offers three reward tiers with no rewards caps. You earn 3% cash back on entertainment and dining, 2% for purchases at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases. New cardmembers can earn $150 by spending $500 on purchases during the first three months. In addition, you get a 15-month introductory 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which is among the highest available. This no-annual-fee card will pay you a $150 cash bonus if you spend $300 on purchases during the first three months. You’ll also get a 15-month introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers. Rewards have no expiration date while the account remains open.

Best Cash Signup Bonus Cards

These three cards offer the best signup cash bonuses. They also offer good introductory APRs and other valuable benefits.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • 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.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
14.24% - 25.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Discover it® Cash Back takes a different path to reward new cardholders. Instead of promising a cash bonus in return for a set amount of purchases in the first three months, it puts its money into a one-year Cashback Match. That means you get double rewards for the first year, which can easily add up to a decent figure.

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a $300 signup bonus to new cardmembers that spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. It also offers a triple-tiered rewards schedule of 2% at grocery stores, 4% on entertainment and dining, and 1% on all other purchases. There is no annual fee for the first year, but the fee is $95 thereafter.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 16.24%-28.24% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months on qualifying balance transfers
16.24%-28.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card will pay you a $200 cash bonus when you make $1,000 in purchases in the first three months. The card also offers 1.5% unlimited rewards on all purchases. Better yet, that rate jumps to 1.8% when you make purchases with a qualifying mobile wallet during the first year.

What is a Cash Bonus on a Credit Card?

It’s a jungle out there for credit card issuers. Competition is fierce, and each issuer looks for ways to distinguish itself from the others.

One way issuers can make a splash is by offering a generous cash bonus to new cardmembers. Typically, these bonuses offer a specified cash reward when you spend a certain amount on purchases during the first few months after opening the account. These are often referred to as signup bonuses.

The value of the bonus depends not only on the cash reward but also the likelihood that you’ll purchase enough with the card during the introductory period.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit CardFor example, The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card will pay you a relatively generous $300 cash bonus, but you have to spend $3,000 on purchases during the initial three months.

That’s a 10% reward-to-spend ratio. The card makes sense if you routinely spend at least $1,000 a month or are in the market for a big-ticket item.

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit CardCapital One also offers the SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card that gives you a $150 bonus for spending $500 in the introductory period, a 30% reward-to-spend ratio.

In other words, SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card gives you half the bonus of the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card for one-sixth the spending. For many, that’s an attractive and achievable alternative.

But what are the downsides? We can think of two possibilities.

The first applies to cards that charge an annual fee. That fee could eat up your introductory cash bonus and then some. Cards that waive the first year’s fee give you some breathing room to decide whether to keep the card.

The second potential problem occurs when the cash bonus spurs you to spend more than you’re comfortable repaying. You won’t gain much if you earn your cash bonus simply by purchasing items you don’t really need.

What Credit Card Pays the Most Cash Back?

You may be shocked to learn that credit card issuers don’t make it easy to directly compare their cash back rewards. Attention-grabbing reward rates are usually subject to various limitations, such as spending limits, merchant categories, and time periods.

Discover it® Cash Back CardIf we focus on just the first year, we like the Discover it® Cash Back for its Cashback Match and 5% bonus cash back (up to the $1,500 purchase limit) in quarterly revolving merchant categories. That means you can earn up to 10% cash back on some purchases in year one. You must opt-in to each quarter’s bonus categories to earn the 5% back.

If you spend $500 a month on the featured merchant type at the 5% cash back rate, you will receive at least $600 cash back by the end of the year, plus the cash back from your other purchases at double the usual 1% rate. We’re just sorry that the Cashback Match goes away after the introductory year.

Capital One® Savor® CardLooking at the three-month cash back bonuses, the winner is the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, paying $300 if you spend $3,000 during the introductory period. Several other cards offer smaller bonus amounts, from $150 to $250.

While these bonuses are a great feature, we think many consumers will be just as interested in the long-term cash back rewards each card offers.

In this regard, the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom® cards shine, with 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases from the featured quarterly merchant type. Categories rotate each quarter, and you must select your category at the start of each quarter.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressThe Amex Blue Cash Preferred® Card offers an even higher cash back rate of 6% on up to $6,000 in annual purchases from grocery stores and streaming services, but carries a $95 annual fee.

If you want a simple rewards system without categories and activations, our favorite is the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®. Like several other cards, it offers 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases. But uniquely, it also offers a 10% cash back bonus on each account anniversary. That’s equal to a permanent 1.65% cash back reward on every purchase, every year.

How Can I Spend My Bonus on My Credit Card?

You have options when it comes to spending your bonus. You can simply have the bonus credited to your card and use it to lower your balance or offset future spending. Most cards let you redeem any amount, but there are some exceptions. For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card has a $25 minimum redemption requirement.

Alternatively, most cards will wire your bonus to your bank account, which means you can choose to save it in an FDIC-insured CD or savings account. Also, by taking the bonus in cash, you can spend it directly, even on transactions you can’t or don’t want to use your credit card for.

The Discover it® Cash Back card offers some other interesting ways to spend your cash back bonus. For instance, you can donate it to select charities or use it to make payments on Amazon.com. You can also choose to redeem your bonus (minimum $20) for gift certificates or instant eCertificates from Discover’s partners.

Screenshot of Discover Cashback Landing Page on Amazon.com

Discover cash back rewards can be used to pay for purchases on Amazon.com when you link your Discover card to your Amazon account.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card allows you to take your rewards as cash or points. If you choose points, you can apply them in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program for items like gift cards, travel, event tickets, and Amazon.com purchases. Furthermore, you can transfer the points to Chase’s travel and hotel partners on a 1:1 basis. You can even earn extra bonus points at more than 350 stores via the Shop through Chase program.

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card’s bonus can be redeemed or shared via its Go Far® Rewards program. You can take your bonus as cash or points and use it at Wells Fargo online auctions or to pay for travel, digital downloads, merchandise, and gift cards. In fact, you can use the bonus to pay your Wells Fargo mortgage or loan. You can also gift, pool, or donate your rewards to select charitable organizations.

How Can I Maximize My Credit Card Cash Back?

You can manage your credit card use to maximize its value, including the cash back rewards you receive. Here are some tips for squeezing the most value from your card:

  1. Earn the signup bonus: Many cards offer a signup reward that pays you a cash bonus, usually at least $150, if you spend a set amount on purchases during the first three months. You can maximize the benefit by selecting a card with a spending requirement you’re confident you can meet. After all, the last thing you want is to come up short and forfeit the bonus.
  2. Understand tiered and bonus-category rewards: Tiered cards offer different reward rates for different purchase categories. Bonus-category cards also offer different reward rates, but the purchase categories rotate each quarter. If you want to get the most from these cards, you need to understand any spending limits they impose. If you can’t spend at least the limit on the high-reward categories, you won’t be maximizing your rewards. Should that be the case, consider a card that pays a high, fixed, unlimited rate on all purchases.
  3. Mark your calendar: If you choose a bonus category card, you must activate it every quarter to receive the high reward rate. Failure to do so will relegate your purchases to the lowest rate paid by the card. Most of these cards will give you some advance notice about the next category and you can always check the cash back calendar online. You can use this information to plan your shopping so you spend up to the quarterly limit. For example, if you know the next category will be grocery stores, you can plan to stock up several months’ supplies during the quarter. That way, you’re more likely to earn every dime available at the highest cash back rate.
  4. Don’t cancel that card: You will forfeit unclaimed rewards if you cancel your card. That’s true even for cards that advertise rewards that never expire. If you are intent on canceling an account, make sure you first extract your rewards.

For the more advanced credit connoisseur, you can combine cash back cards to get even more value from your spending.

Cash is Still King

The issuers of the credit cards we have reviewed here all understand the allure and versatility of cold, hard cash. Cash is easy to understand, unlike oftentimes complicated miles and points programs. And choosing a flat-rate cash back card can ease some complexity of tiered and bonus-category cards.

When choosing the perfect card, consider the cash back, but don’t overlook the annual fee, APR, reward caps, and available credit limit.