Rotating Rewards Categories

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Last updated: 01/27/2023
Rotating Rewards Categories

What Are the Rewards Categories?

Rewards categories vary from one card to another, but the most common ones are grocery stores, restaurants/food chains, gas stations, home improvement stores, clothing stores, gyms/fitness centers, car rentals, auto shops, T.V./internet services and streaming services. Here’s how it works: if your credit card has a 5% cash back offer, for every $100 you spend in the reward categories for the quarter, you earn $5 back. 

It’s important to remember that rewards categories are rotated every quarter (i.e.: every three months) and that credit card companies generally put a limit on how much can be earned in rewards. For example, say your card comes with 5% cash back for the first $2,000 you spend at grocery stores, restaurants and auto shops. For that quarter, any purchases made after the $2,000 limit will not earn the 5% reward. 

How to Maximize Points Earned

Here are some tips on how to make the most of your rotating rewards credit card:

Choose a Card That Suits Your Spending Habits
What do you spend the most of your money on? Find out and look for a card that offers you rewards for it. Old credit card statements should give you all the details you need. Ideally, cards that offer rewards for food purchases (at grocery stores, fast foods and restaurants) are your best bet. People generally spend more money on food than on any other item. 

People in their twenties should also look out for cards that offer rewards for phone and internet services, as well as T.V. streaming services (like Netflix and HBO). Also, note that some cards require users to activate the rewards offer every quarter. If you fail to do so, you earn no points for making purchases. 

Use Your Credit Card for Everyday Purchases
If you focus only on using your card at outlets that belong in the rewards categories, you’ll miss out on a lot. For one, some credit cards offer 1% cash back on all purchases (whether they’re made in the rewards category or not). Secondly, when you use your card to make purchases all the time, it becomes second nature and, on occasion, you earn rewards from the select categories without even being aware of it.  

Add Other Users to Your Account 
Another way to make the most of your rotating rewards credit card is to add a spouse or close friend to your credit card account. When they make purchases, you earn rewards and afterward, you can sort out how much they spent on your card. However, be sure to only add people that you know to be responsible, since you’ll end up paying for their purchases. 

Don’t Ignore Signup Bonuses
People often focus on cash back rewards and forget that there’s value to be had in other places. The Chase Freedom Flex℠, for example, gives out a $150 signup bonus when the cardholder makes purchases to the tune of $500 within 90 days of opening an account. 

Top 5 Credit Cards with Rotating Rewards

The significant features to look out for in rotating rewards credit cards are the available categories, quarterly limits, signup bonuses, how rewards can be redeemed, and how long it takes for the rewards to expire. When these factors are put into consideration, here are the top 5 rotating rewards cards out there:

Discover It® Cashback Card
The Discover It Cashback Card offers 5% cash back for payments made to restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations,, and many others. Categories are rotated every quarter and the maximum amount that rewards can be earned on per quarter is $1,500. It also comes with a signup offer that matches all rewards earned during the cardholder’s first year. 

Chase Freedom Flex℠
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card also offers 5% cash back for rotating categories every quarter (capped at $1,500 per quarter). Cardholders also stand to earn a $200 signup bonus when they spend $500 on purchases within three months of opening an account.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card allows to you to earn 3% cash back on a category of your choice (available choices include gas stations, online stores, home improvement stores, etc.), 2% cash back at wholesale clubs and grocery stores, and unlimited 1% cash back on other purchases. The 3% and 2% cash backs have a purchase limit of $2,500 per quarter. The BofA card also offers new customers a $200 signup bonus for spending up to $1,000 within 90 days of opening their account. 

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card
The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card allows cardholders to choose two categories to earn 5% cash back every quarter (capped at $2,000), one category to earn 2% cash back, and 1% cash back on other purchases. New customers receive a $200 signup bonus when $1,000 is spent on purchases within 120 days of account opening.

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®
Cardholders earn 5x points for purchases made in selected categories every quarter and 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases with the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard. There’s also a $150 signup bonus after the first $1,200 is spent (within 90 days).


Rotating rewards credit cards offer users a unique opportunity and if you make the most of the cards, there’s a lot of value to be leveraged. However, you must remember to only pick cards that suit your spending habits, to look out for the best signup bonuses, and to take note of quarterly limits before deciding on a credit card. 
Finance Guru

Finance Guru