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Best fixed bonus category cash back cards

The most lucrative rewards cards for fans of a fixed bonus category structure

Summary

Many rewards cards offer a higher rewards rate on a specific kind of purchase, making them fixed bonus category cards. Here’s how to decide which fixed bonus category card is right for you.

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Cash back cards come with three main rewards structures – flat rate, rotating bonus categories and fixed bonus categories. Depending on what kind of card user you are, any one of these three types of cards can provide great potential value.

Many rewards cards offer a higher rewards rate on a specific kind of purchase, making them fixed bonus category cards. Both travel and cash back cards often employ this structure, but travel cards will offer points or miles while cash back cards offer much more flexible cash rewards – usually redeemable for a statement credit or direct deposit into your bank account.

If you prefer the flexibility of cash back to points or miles – and think a bonus category card might be best for you – you have plenty of great options. Whether you spend more on groceries, gas or eating out, there is a rewarding cash back card out there.

What kind of spender is a fixed bonus category card best for?

Cash back cards with fixed bonus categories are best suited for two specific kinds of cardholder:

  • Cardholders who spend a significant amount of their budget in a particular category, such as groceries or dining out.
  • Cardholders juggling more than one rewards card who are looking to boost their combined rewards rate.

If either of these situations apply to you, then a bonus category card can be a very lucrative addition to your wallet.

Because bonus categories cards offer higher rates of cash back in specific areas of spending, the best way to choose one of these cards is by identifying which area in your budget could be earning great rewards. When it comes to bonus category cash back cards, the most rewarding options typically offer bonus cash back on groceries, gas or dining.

Best bonus category cash back cards for grocery shopping

Since fixed categories offer the most cash back in one type of purchase, you should choose a card based on where you spend the most money – and therefore can earn the most cash back. For many cardholders, groceries make up a significant part of their budget. Here are some of our most popular bonus category cash back cards that reward grocery shopping.

See related: Best credit cards for grocery shopping

CardRewards rateAnnual fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply
$95
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back general purchases
  • Terms apply
$0
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card
  • 5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases
  • 2% back on restaurant, gas station and drug store purchases
  • 1% back on other purchases
$0 ($119 Amazon Prime membership required)

Best bonus category cash back cards for gas

If you have a long commute and spend a lot of money on gas, several cash back cards reward you for filling up. Surprisingly, co-branded cards from Costco and Sam’s Club are some of the most lucrative for these kinds of purchases, even if you don’t fill up at their station. If you are looking to skip out on an annual fee, the Discover it® chrome also offers an inflated rate on gas station purchases.

See related: 5 great credit cards to save on gas now

CardRewards rateAnnual fee
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
  • 4% cash back eligible gas purchases (first $7,000 in purchases, 1% thereafter)
  • 3% cash back restaurant and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back Costco purchases
  • 1% cash back general purchases
$0 ($60 Costco membership required)
Discover it® chrome
  • 2% cash back on restaurant and gas station purchases (on up to $1,000 in combined spending per quarter)
  • 1% unlimited cash back on general purchases
$0
Sam’s Club Mastercard
  • 5% cash back on gas (up to first $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
  • 3% cash back dining and travel
  • 1% cash back other purchases
$0 ($45 Sam’s Club membership required)

Best bonus category cash back cards for dining out

For foodies who prefer dining out to cooking at home, there are also some great bonus category cash back cards that reward restaurant purchases above all else. One fan favorite is the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, though its annual fee is a bit pricey for some spenders. Luckily, the Savor card is not the only rewarding bonus category cash back card for fans of eating out, and there are plenty of other rewarding options.

See related: Choosing a dining rewards card: Dining in vs. eating out

CardRewards rateAnnual fee
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 8% cash back on tickets through Vivid Seats (offer ends May 2020)
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
$95 (waived first year)
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 3% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
$0
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
  • 3% cash back on a category of choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvements and furnishings)
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • $2,500 combined limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
$0

Final thoughts

Cash back cards with fixed bonus categories offer a unique opportunity to bring home substantial rewards in an area where you spend more money. By choosing the right card (or cards) that aligns with your budget, you can often bring home more rewards than you would with a flat-rate card.

What’s up next?

In Products

Joint Costco memberships: Can we also share the Costco Citi card?

It’s possible to share the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi just like you would the Costco membership. However, be mindful of the responsibilities as the brunt of the charges will fall on the primary account holder.

Published: July 23, 2019

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: October 16th, 2019
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15.18%
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Cash Back
17.25%
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Student
17.29%

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