Panera Bread has become the latest addition to the Apple Card’s 3% cash back category, joining retailers like Walgreens, Nike and T-Mobile.
Apple Credit Card, a product issued by Goldman Sachs targeting Apple enthusiasts, doesn’t offer the most impressive cash back program for every spender. With 3% back on Apple purchases, 2% on Apple Pay purchases and 1% when you use the physical card, it can be difficult to rack up rewards on your daily spending.
See related: Guide to the Apple Card
However, the Apple Card also offers another 3% cash back category – awarding cardholders for using Apple Pay at certain merchants. Slowly but steadily, the category is growing, as Apple adds more brands to the list.
The latest addition is Panera Bread, which joined the 3% category list on Aug. 3, 2020. Now cardholders can get 3% back on every Panera Bread purchase – if they use Apple Pay to pay for it.
It’s safe to assume that Apple will continue to add merchants to its Daily Cash list in the future. Keep an eye on this page to stay on top of any new additions.
Merchants in Apple Card’s 3% cash back category
There are currently five merchants on the Apple Card’s 3% cash back list.
Uber and Uber Eats
The first brand to join the list was Uber, which was added when the card launched on Aug. 20, 2019. Cardholders can earn 3% cash back when using Apple Pay and their Apple Card to pay for Uber rides and Uber Eats purchases.
See related: Best credits cards for Uber
Walgreens and Duane Reade
On Sept. 13, 2019, Walgreens and pharmacy chain Duane Reade joined the category. Eligible purchases made via Apple Pay earn 3% cash back, including prescriptions and purchases made through the Walgreens app and on Walgreens.com.
T-Mobile was added to the Apple Card’s 3% cash back category on Sept. 20, 2019. T-Mobile customers can earn 3% cash back when paying via Apple Pay inside a physical T-Mobile store.
On Nov. 25, 2019, Apple announced Nike would also be joining the list. Cardholders can use their Apple Card with Apple Pay and get 3% cash back at Nike, including in stores, Nike.com and Nike apps.
Exxon and Mobil
Perhaps one of the most notable additions is Exxon and Mobil, since it provides Apple cardholders with a way to earn cash back in one of the most common daily spending categories – gas station purchases. Announced on June 29, 2020, this rewards rate applies to fuel, car washes and convenience store purchases.
Panera Bread was the first restaurant to join the list on Aug. 3, 2020. Now Apple cardholders can earn 3% cash back on all transactions inside Panera stores, via the Panera app and on Panera.com.
Is Apple’s 3% cash back worth it?
While Apple keeps adding new merchants to its 3% cash back category, the options to earn rewards and their value are still rather limited.
Typically, cash back credit cards allow cardholders to earn cash back in spending categories – rather than with specific merchants – providing more ways to get rewarded. The Apple Card has taken a different approach, and how much a cardholder can earn in cash back depends on their lifestyle and brand preferences.
For instance, Nike prices its shoes at a $100 per pair on average. Getting $3 back on a $100 transaction isn’t a bad deal. However, even Nike aficionados and sports fans aren’t likely to make more than a few purchases per year.
T-Mobile could be a great category for those using the carrier. But since regular bill payments aren’t included and cardholders can only get 3% cash back at physical locations, opportunities to earn rewards also become quite limited.
On the other hand, Uber and Exxon/Mobil could be valuable cash back categories. Before the pandemic hit, the average American spent around $850 on gas per year, which would mean around $25.50 in cash back per year. In 2018, the average monthly Uber spend was between $26 and $110, depending on the location, bringing potential cash back to around $9 to $40 per year.
However, due to the pandemic, many have switched to working from home. Minimized commutes resulted in rideshare usage dropping between 70% and 80% in April 2020. This, without a doubt, has affected the earning potential in the Apple Card’s Uber and Exxon/Mobil categories.
Still, Uber Eats and Panera Bread can offer some value. According to a Bankrate grocery and food delivery survey, 49% of consumers picked up takeout and 28% had prepared food delivered during lockdowns in April 2020. If you get takeout or food delivery often these days, the 3% cash back rate could translate into significant earnings for you. With an average Uber Eats order costing $28.67, ordering in three times a week would put you at $344.04 monthly spend – and $10.32 in cash back per month.
The Apple Card is continuing to add new merchants to its 3% cash back category. While it does create more opportunities for cardholders to earn more cash back, the value depends on the cardholder’s spending habits, as well as brand preferences.
See related: Best flat-rate cash back credit cards