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I love earning miles on my credit card purchases as it enables me to travel in a way that I would not be able to otherwise.
Mileage cards also typically come with strong signup bonus offers, while the best cash-back cards typically don’t offer any signup bonus. And I can use multiple cards that earn miles to create a strategy like the Chase Quinfecta to really maximize rewards.
But not everyone is enamored of miles. There’s a high learning curve until you can learn how to use your miles in the most advantageous ways. And even then, you still need to have flexibility to best utilize them and they can be devauled.
For people who don’t care to spend time on figuring out miles or for people who just want cash back instead of travel credit, there are still some great options.
The Citi Double Cash card gives 1% cash back on purchases and 1% cash back on payments, for an effective 2% cash back on all purchases. It has no annual fee, but its Achilles’ heel is that there is a 3% foreign transaction fee, which makes it useless when you’re abroad. It also requires $25 in earnings before you can cash out. It does offer 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months.
The Alliant Cashback Visa gives 3% cash back in your first year and then 2.5% cash back in subsequent years, but it requires that you join their credit union and it has a $99 annual fee after the first year. You’ll need to spend $19,800 on general purchases each year just to break even with a no annual fee 2% cash back card after the first year.
There are lots of cards that offer quarterly bonuses, like Chase Freedom 5% categories, but those are limited to $1,500 in quarterly spending and you need to stay on top of things to activate the bonus each quarter. It also carries a 3% foreign transaction fee.
The PayPal Cashback Mastercard® offers 2% cash back on purchases everywhere Mastercard is accepted and it has no annual fee.1 Plus it has no foreign transaction fees, so you’ll earn the full 2% cash back no matter where you are.
You need a PayPal account for this card.
The PayPal Cashback Mastercard offers you the ability to earn Cash Rewards on all of your purchases that you can transfer to your PayPal balance. Learn more about Rewards Program Terms and important information on redeeming Cash Rewards to your PayPal balance.
You can withdraw and redeem the earned 2% cash back from your PayPal account balance to your bank account at any time with no fees. Or you can send the balance to a friend with no fees. There are no minimum earnings required to withdraw and there are no maximum earnings.
This card has a true chip and PIN system, so you can use it at automated kiosks in Europe that don’t accept most US chip and signature cards by requesting a PIN for the card.
The PayPal Cashback Mastercard® comes with protections like:
- Extended Warranty that doubles the manufacturers warranty, up to one year.
- Price protection that refunds you the difference in price if the price drops within 60 days
- ID Theft Alerts
Do you prefer a mileage earning card or a cash back card?