I’ve written about the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, which I LOVE because it gets me 6% cash back on groceries. I’m usually more of a points guy, but you cannot argue with 6% cash back.
Given the ridiculous gas price situation (especially in California, though pretty much everywhere), you are leaving a ton of money on the table if you do not get the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards card (not an affiliate link). It pays 5% cash back on all gas purchases (paid at the pump), and there’s no annual fee (or foreign transaction fees, though there’s no reason to use this card for that reason, since they only pay .25% cash back on other purchases).
I was speaking with someone this week who said he spent $200/week on gas because of a long-ish commute. That’s $500 cash back a year. Yes, you’ll be forgoing 10,000 Starwood points (or 12,500 airline transfer miles) each year (or 15,000 United miles if you have the United Club card), but I’d gladly take the $500 instead.
You need to be a member of an approved organization to join PenFed, but if you’re not they offer a $15 one-time membership to “Voices for America’s Troops” which will qualify you to join the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which offers the card.
I know that carrying all these extra cards around can be a pain in the butt, but this is an easy one — leave it in your glove compartment and enjoy the 5% cash back.