The US Bank Cash + is an interesting cash back credit card. It earns 5% cash back in quarterly categories. But what separates it from other 5% or 5x credit cards is that cardholders can choose their 5% categories from a list. Such customization is awesome for those who already have a lot of credit cards. Plus, the US Bank Cash + has no annual fee, which makes it an excellent keeper card.
US Bank is offering a sign-up bonus worth $150 for the Cash + credit card. It can be earned by spending just $500 within the first three months. This is a typical sign-up bonus for a no annual fee credit card. Fortunately, its easy to earn because of the low minimum spend requirement.
Furthermore, the earning potential of the US Bank Cash + depends on the categories chosen. Cardholders must choose two 5% categories and one 2% category per quarter. However, all other purchases will earn 1% cash back.
Cardholders will earn 5% cash back in two categories chosen from the following list:
- Cell Phone Providers
- Department Stores
- Electronics Stores
- Fast Food
- Furniture Stores
- Ground Transportation
- Gyms & Fitness Centers
- Home Utilities
- Movie Theatres
- Select Clothing Stores
- Sporting Goods Stores
- TV, Internet, & Streaming Services
This is an extensive, but very specific list of bonus categories. US Bank is trying to provide a unique list of categories. But they are too unique compared to those from competitors’. Discover uses the opposite strategy of providing general categories so that more people will use their cards. Conversely, it appears that US Bank is trying to fill in the gaps.
Cardholders can earn up to $100 cash back per quarter within the 5% categories. In other words, there is a $2,000 spending limit for the 5% categories each quarter. Thereafter, cardholders will earn just 1% within the categories. Fortunately, the $2,000 limit is higher than the $1,500 limits from the Discover It and Chase Freedom Flex cards. That means cardholders can earn an extra $25 cash back every quarter relative to the Chase and Discover cards if you maximize the categories.
Cardholders must also select a category every quarter. US Bank provides the option to sign up for email or text reminders to select your category. Competitors Chase and Discover send automatic email reminders
Furthermore, the Cash + earns 2% cash back in one more chosen category. Cardholders can also select this category, but the list is much smaller. There are three options:
- Gas Stations
- Grocery Stores
The 2% categories are not remarkable because there is a plethora of other credit cards that earn more rewards in all three options. 2% is not much at all compared to the value of transferrable points or the amount of cash back you can earn from another card.
Moreover, US Bank provides a plethora of redemption options. Traditional options include via statement credit, direct deposit, and Visa gift card. But US Bank has added Pay Pal purchases as another option. Unfortunately, all cash back earned has a 36-month expiration date. In other words, cardholders have three years to use their cash back.
Statement credits are when you negate part of your credit card bill with cash back earned. Some cash back cards offer statement credits as your only redemption option. There is no minimum redemption amount when selecting this option. This is the best option of the three if you do not have an account with US Bank.
Direct deposit is when US Bank puts your cash back into a bank account. The catch with this option is that you must have a savings or checking account with US Bank. US Bank will not deposit your cash back into an account from another bank.
This is the best option for those who have an account with US Bank.
Visa Gift Card
The Visa gift card is the worst redemption method of the three. It is the only option that has a minimum redemption amount of $20. And cash back must be redeemed in $5 increments.
Pay Pal Redemptions
Furthermore, cardholders can use their cash back to make purchases via Pay Pal as of February 15, 2021.
Surprisingly, the US Bank Cash back has some nice benefits for a no annual fee credit card. Some of them are from Visa Signature while others are from US Bank. The best US Bank-based benefits are highlighted here:
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
This benefit is like the primary rental car insurance perk from Chase. Cardholders just have to pay for their entire rental car transaction with their card and then decline the extra collision insurance (or loss damage waiver) from the rental car company.
Travel & Emergency Assistance Services
These services can be nice for travelers, especially if they do not have any travel credit cards. US Bank will help cardholders get medical, legal, and travel services when they are on vacation. However, cardholders are responsible for the costs. These services simply act as a concierge.
Extended Warranty doubles the time period of the original manufacturer’s warranty up to one year. Products must have a warranty of three years or less. And there is a maximum of $10,000 per claim.
This is a nice benefit that has recently gone by the wayside for many no annual fee competitors. It’s nice to see that US Bank still has this perk for their cash back credit card.
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex is one of the best alternatives to the US Bank Cash +, especially for travelers. This is because cardholders can transfer rewards earned to a premium Chase card if they have one. In other words, Freedom Flex cardholders earn cash back which can be turned into Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points through transferring.
Furthermore, the Chase Freedom Flex has no annual fee. Chase is also offering a sign-up bonus worth $200 (or 20,000 UR points) with a $500 minimum spend requirement.
The Freedom Flex earns 5% (or 5x UR points) within quarterly rotating categories. But the Freedom’s categories are chosen by Chase two weeks before the start of a new quarter. Plus, the Freedom Flex earns 3% (or 3x UR points) on dining and pharmacy purchases. All other purchases earn just 1% cash back (or one UR point per dollar).
Chase also offers the same cash back redemption option as the US Bank Cash +. But the big advantage of the Freedom is the ability to transfer points to a premium card. That makes it the better card for travelers. But those who want to earn cash back must determine if US Bank’s unique categories are worth it.
Alternatively, the Discover It is another excellent 5% cash back card. It is closer to the US Bank Cash + because both cards earn strictly cash back and have no annual fee.
Plus, Discover is offering a unique sign-up bonus for their flagship credit card. Discover will double all cash back earned within the first 12 months of having the card. This is a nice incentive to keep the Discover card long-term as the rewards grow. The Discover It is the better card for the first year. But thereafter, cardholders must determine which card’s categories work best for you.
Fortunately, Discover posts their categories for the next year online every November 1. The categories are always online for your reference and cardholders can compare them to the predetermined categories of the US Bank Cash +.
The US Bank Cash + can be a lucrative option for cardholders who can maximize its unique categories. It is also a great alternative to the Discover It and Chase Freedom Flex cards for those who want to earn cash back. However, travelers are better off with another credit card, despite the Cash + card’s benefits.
Apply Today: US Bank Cash +