Last Updated: 5/14/2013
While there are some amazing airline and hotel loyalty credit cards out there, there’s something special about pure cash back credit cards that’s spiritually appealing to our inner capitalist selves. Out with black-out dates and annoying reservation systems; in with statement credits and instant gratification.
Our current list of best pure cashback cards features 2 cards from American Express. The first card we cover, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, offers a whopping 6% cash back in the high-spend supermarket category, along with good bonuses for some other categories. The second card we cover (again from Amex!) is the little-known Fidelity® Investment Rewards American Express® Card-another all-around cash-back powerhouse. But one thing they both have in common: they easily deserve to be considered among the best cash back credit card deals around—-bar none.
One final note before we embark: the team at GetDebit didn’t just pick these cards out of a hat. Rather, we relied on a powerful analytical tool called the GetDebit Ranking Engine to tell us. We provide it with a “standard” spending profile, and it ranks all of the credit cards in our database from best to worst. We also assume cardholders pay off their balances in full each month—if this isn’t true for you, you had best seek out a low interest rate card and not a rewards card, since rewards, no matter how generous, will never exceed finance charges. We also encourage you to use the ranke, and input your own spend profile, as truly everyone’s spending patterns are different and no one-size-fits-all approach will work.
So, without further ado…
Super(Market) Warrior: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
With this card, you’ll get 6% cash back at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, 3% cash back on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations and select major department stores; and 1% cash back on other purchases. It’s hard to beat this monster, and I carry this one in my wallet.
or check out the card on the American Express website.
Our Well-Rounded, Unsung Hero: Fidelity® Investment Rewards American Express® Card
According to the GetDebit Card Ranking Enging, the little known Fidelity® Investment Rewards American Express® Card clocks in at #2 on our list. Based on our standard spending profile,assuming no balances are carried, cardholders would earn $1,418 in rewards (net of fees) over a 3-year period. That places it within $50 of our #1 pick-mere rounding error.
Sign up bonus
Cardholders earn 2 points for every dollar spent, without spending category restrictions or earnings caps.
Here’s where it gets a bit more complicated. Fidelity offers several methods for redeeming points, with some potential for major upside here. Firstly, Fidelity offers Basic Air Rewards, which require a pre-determined (fixed) number of points to purchase, and allow you to obtain air tickets up to a maximum allowed value. For example, for 25,000 points, you can obtain a free ticket within the 48 continuous states as long as the value of the ticket is $400 or less. To qualify for Basic Air Rewards, you must purchase the ticket 21 days or more in advance, and include a Saturday night stay. Assuming your average ticket price falls around $325, your points would be valued at $0.0130 per point—and you get 2 of them for each dollar you spend, thus turning your card into a 2.6% cashback card!
The Fidelity Credit Card also offers various other redemption options that convert at exactly $0.01 per point, thus yielding a solid 2% cashback on your card’s purchases. Examples include car rentals and hotel awards, where you can redeem in increments of 5,000 points for $50 credits.
Finally, if you just want straight-up no-nonsense cashback, you can redeem in chunks of 25,000 points for $250 cashback—again ensuring 2% cashback performance for your Fidelity Amex card.
There are no annual fees, and the international transaction fee is a modest 1%.
or check out the Fidelity website to learn more.
Just remember, the best cash back cards available today won’t help you one bit if you don’t pay your balances on time!
Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.