Best American Express Cash Back Credit Cards

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available or the benefits and terms have changed. View the issuer’s site for current information. 

American Express is well-known for its travel services and rewards credit cards, but it also offers an interesting stable of cash-back cards. For customers that either don’t travel that much or don’t want to waste time worrying about converting rewards points or miles into something of tangible benefit, a cash-back card can be the optimal fit.

All of these cards provide at least 1% cash back on all purchases, but each one also has unique kickers that provide much higher cash-back benefits depending on how customers use them.

5 Best American Express Cash Back Rewards Cards

To find the right card for you, look through this overview of the four best American Express cash-back cards. Take note of which bonus categories most closely match your own everyday spending patterns, and be sure to note whether or not a card carries an annual fee, as that can affect the total amount of cash-back rewards you can earn.

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Credit Card Features
Best for: Cash Back on Groceries and Streaming
  • 6% cash back on groceries, up to $6,000 a year; after that, 1% cash back
  • 6% cash back on eligible streaming services
  • 3% cash back on transit
  • 3% cash back on gas
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Best for: No-Fee Cash Back
  • 3% cash back on us supermarkets, up to $6,000 annually
  • 2% cash back on gas
  • 2% cash back at select department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
American Express Cash Magnet Credit Card Best for: Flat Cash-Back Rate
  • Earn $200 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of opening the account
  • 1.5% cash back on all your purchases
USAA Federal Savings Bank Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Credit Card Best for: Cash Back for USAA Members
  • 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in combined gas station and military base purchases yearly
  • 2% cash back on your first $3,000 in grocery purchases yearly
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card

Best for: Membership Rewards points for travelers

Groceries and streaming have become a way of life during the pandemic, and that combination of spending makes the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card a good card to have. The top tier 6% cash back you’ll receive on those spending categories is just about the best you’ll find in the industry. You’ll also earn 3% cash back on transit and gas, and 1% on all other purchases, all for the $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year of card membership. Currently, new card members will also enjoy a 0% promotional APR on all purchases for the first 12 months as well.

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The Welcome Offer for this card is $300 after spending $3,000 in the first six months of card membership.

American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card

Best for: No Fee Cash Back

If you want to maximize your cash-back rewards but don’t want to pay an annual fee, the American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card might do the trick for you. Cash-back rewards aren’t as high as with cards requiring an annual fee, but the card still offers a relatively high level of perks nonetheless.

The American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card rewards what are typically “everyday” purchases for most people: supermarkets, gas and select department stores. The cash back rate is 3%, 2% and 2% on those categories, respectively. That’s about two to three times what a lot of $0 cash back rewards cards pay.

You’ll also earn 1% cash back on all of your other purchases as well. There is a current Welcome Offer of $200 after spending $2,000 within the first six months of card membership, which again is a pretty significant perk for a card that carries no annual fee. New card holders are also rewarded with a 0% introductory purchase APR for the first 15 months.

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American Express Cash Magnet Credit Card

Best for: flat rate for cash back

The simplest American Express cash-back credit card is also one of the best. The American Express Cash Magnet Credit Card offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases. This straightforward rewards scheme means the card holders can use this card for any purchase without having to figure out whether or not they are maximizing their cash rewards. For everything from grocery store purchases to hotel accommodations to everything in-between, you’ll earn 1.5% cash-back when you use this card, and all for no annual fee.

Additional perks attached to this card include a 15-month, 0% introductory APR on purchases, a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 on the card within the first three months of card ownership and car rental loss and damage insurance.

USAA Federal Savings Bank Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Credit Card

Best for: cash back for USAA members

USAA Members can enjoy some great cash-back rewards by using the USAA Federal Savings Bank Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Credit Card.

Although all purchases earn at least 1% cash back, the card pays 2% on the first $3,000 in grocery purchases yearly and a whopping 5% cash back on the first $3,000 in combined gasoline and military base purchases per year. The variable APR on this card can go as low as 11.90%, and there is no penalty APR.

Additionally, the card has $0 annual fees and foreign transaction fees, making it a low-cost way for service members in the USAA to enjoy some significant cash back. The card also offers a host of helpful travel benefits, such as auto rental coverage, baggage delay and reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption coverage and travel accident insurance. USAA customer service is also available 24/7.

Methodology: identified the best cash back credit cards by analyzing the following factors: (1) annual fees; (2) APR for purchases; (3) promotional APR; (4) sign-up bonuses; (5) rewards and features. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some bonus offers may or might no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how one accesses the web page. Data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material between Aug. 4, 2021, and Sept. 27, 2021. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account. Rewards had to be in form of cash back to qualify.

About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

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