Are you ready for summer? As the new season approaches, Americans often find themselves faced with certain expenses that are less common during the rest of the year. For example, the summer is a peak time for both airline travel and road trips, and many families incur other expenses, like summer camp for their children. The summer is also a season for giving gifts at weddings and graduations.
Savvy spenders can use a cash back credit card to help save money on your summer expenses. The right card for your needs might offer additional cash back rewards for some of your big summer expenses, or perhaps a competitive rate of cash back for all purchases. (You can find more on the best cash back credit cards in America here.)
Remember, before you sign up for any credit card, it is a good idea to look at the terms and conditions so you understand what you’re agreeing to. It’s also a good idea to check your credit before applying since a stellar credit score will help you qualify for the better cards on the market. You can do see where your credit stands by viewing two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.
With those caveats in mind, here are four cards that can offer the most cash back this June, July and August.
Amex’s Blue Cash Preferred (see full review here) offers additional cash back that makes sense during the summer (and throughout the year). For instance, when shopping for a summer barbecue, this card offers a remarkable 6% cash back for purchases from U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in eligible spending each year. And if you are planning on taking a road trip, you can earn 3% cash back on at U.S. gas stations. Finally, cardholders earn 3% cash back at select U.S. department stores, which can be a great place to find wedding and graduation gifts.
You also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, and new applicants can earn $250 cash back after spending $1,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. Plus, if you are planning on upgrading your smartphone this summer or later this year (and you apply for the card before June 15, 2016), you can get 10% cash back at U.S. mobile phone service providers, up to $200. There’s a $75 annual fee for this card. (Editor’s Note: The 10% back for mobile phone services is no longer being offered and the annual fee has changed. Be sure to check any credit card’s full terms and conditions before applying as terms do change.)
2. Discover it
Another way to earn cash back on your summer purchases is to use a card that offers discounts at select retailers and on merchant categories that change throughout the year. This summer, the Discover it card (see full review here) offers 5% cash back on many common summer purchases, on up to $1,500 of eligible spending each quarter. During the second quarter of 2016 (April-June), the featured categories are restaurants and movies, which can be great for catching this summer’s big blockbusters. In the third quarter, (July – September), the featured bonus categories are home improvement stores and Amazon.com. These categories can be useful for cardholders who will spend part of this summer adding on a deck or completing other projects around the house. Furthermore, Discover will match all of the cash back earned by new cardholders at the end of their first year. There’s no annual fee for this card.
While some cash back credit cards are ideal for summer purchases due to their bonus levels of cash back on specific categories of purchases, others make sense for offering strong rates of return on all purchases —including that aforementioned summer camp, which might not qualify for any bonus rewards categories. The Citi Double Cash card offers cash back twice, with 1% at the time of purchase and another 1% when the purchases are paid for. There is no annual fee for this card. (Full Disclosure: Citibank, as well as American Express and Discover advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
4. US Bank Cash+
Since you might make different kinds of expenses throughout the year, the Cash+ card from US Bank allows you change your cash back bonus categories each quarter. Cardholders can earn 5% cash back on up to $2,000 in combined spending each quarter on two categories that you choose. These categories include popular places for summer expenses including department stores, movie theaters and car rentals. You also earn 2% cash back at gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores. You earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is no annual fee for this card.
At publishing time, the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express, Discover it and Citi Double Cash cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.