What could you do with an extra $1,000? Pay down debt? Add to your emergency fund? Invest in broad-based index funds?
Whatever your plans, it couldn’t be simpler to get started today!
Bonus: If you’re looking for a long-term cash back credit card strategy, our good friend, and ChooseFI community member, Zac Hood, created the free app CashFreely, which we personally tested and highly recommend. More info below…but first:
ChooseFI’s Simple Three-Card-$1,000 Game Plan
The barrier to entry with this strategy is low and the rewards are significant!
If you have $7,500 of expenses you can put on a credit card (and pay off on time and in full every month so $0 in interest of course!) over the 12 months, you will earn more than $1,000 in cash back (and it could be much more depending on category bonuses). That’s like getting a 13% rebate on money you would have spent anyway!
That’s a massive win on your path to FI.
The general strategy is this:
- Go for cards that offer the highest welcome bonuses, especially ones with the most generous category bonuses.
- Only use money you will spend to meet your everyday living expenses, or planned purchases. Don’t spend extra money just for the sake of earning a bonus!
- Meet the minimum spend requirement, preferably with expenses made in the highest cash back earning categories.
- Pay your credit cards off on time and in full every month.
It couldn’t be easier! Wondering about which cards to open? No worries, we’ve got you covered. With these three cards, you can easily earn more than $1,000 within a year.
Quick Steps to $1,000+ in Cash Back
- Open the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months and earn $600 (this card does have a $95 annual fee).
- Next, open the Chase Freedom Flex℠ by Mastercard, earn $200 on a $500 spend within the first 3 months. $0 annual fee.
- Then, open the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, spend $3,000 in the first 6 months and earn $350 in cash back. Also: Earn 6% on up to $6,000 at US supermarkets, and select US streaming services each year. There is a $95 annual fee (See Rates and Fees).
Cash Back Card #1 Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Look no further than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for the biggest bonus and increased earning opportunities in a few targeted spending categories.
This is also our #1 travel rewards credit card, but if travel isn’t your thing, you can redeem the Ultimate Rewards points you earn for cash back, making this the best possible way to get started no matter what option you choose!
If you are ready to unlock a world of free travel, start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card. Welcome bonus is worth $750 of travel, more if you transfer them to partners like Southwest Airlines or Hyatt hotels. Details: $95 annual fee | $4k min spend in 3 months to earn 80k Chase UR Points.
New cardmembers will earn a one-time 60,000 point bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. Cardmembers can redeem points for a statement credit, check, or direct deposit with a value of 1 cent per point making the 60,000 Ultimate Rewards point bonus worth $600 in cash back. $95 annual fee applies.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns you Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. You earn 1 cent per point to redeem for cash back or 1.25 cents per point to redeem for travel through the Chase Travel Portal.
Total Cash Back earned from this card: $600
#2 Chase Freedom Flex by Mastercard
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ by Mastercard offers a $200 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first three months from account opening. But wait, it gets better! This card also rewards you with 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter on bonus categories you activate. Plus, cardholders will also earn 5% back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% everywhere else–all with no annual fee!
Steps To Earn up to $200 With The Chase Freedom Flex℠
With the welcome bonus, you’ll earn an easy $200 after you spend $500 from account opening, but there’s potential for much more! This card earns 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 3% at drugstores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Total earned from this card: $200 bonus
Total earned so far: $800.
#3 Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
This card earns $350 in cash back as a statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 6 months of account opening. $95 annual fee.
Steps to Earn $350 With Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Regular spending with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 1%, but this card really shines when it comes to US supermarkets and US streaming services, earning a nice 6% cash back for both categories (on up to $6,000 in purchases at US supermarkets per year). Other categories yielding a 3% cash back include US gas stations, rideshares, and transit purchases. Terms apply.
Total earned from this card: $350 bonus
Pro Tip: Use this card for groceries!
Total potentially earned from bonuses only with all three cards: $600 + $200 + $350 = $1,150
Congratulations! You’ve earned up to $1,150 using cash back cards on purchases you would make anyway!
Cash Back for the Long-Term with CashFreely
Zac Hood, a ChooseFI community member and founder of ‘Travel Freely,’ recently created a site & app called ‘CashFreely’ to help you maximize cash back credit card rewards over the long term.
We tested it out and it’s the easiest way to learn how to maximize your cash back without getting bogged down in needless complexity.
Zac and the team give you step-by-step directions to maximize your signup bonuses and ongoing category spending bonuses (like restaurants, supermarkets, gas, dining, etc.)
This is a completely FREE service and here are the links to get started:
Here’s feedback on CashFreely from Ben, one of our FI Weekly readers:
I’ve listened to several podcasts about travel rewards but every time I looked into it in more detail, I just got overwhelmed with all the different card choices, airline choices, hotel choices, etc. I just gave up and settled for earning my 1.5% cashback on every purchase. But earlier this week, you were mentioned in Brad Barrett’s weekly ChooseFI email, I decided to check out your site (I had no intentions of signing up). The first thing that pulled me in was the simplistic design of the website – I get overwhelmed with lots and lots of words and links. So once I actually created an account and added my current cards, it just seemed like the steps were simple and to the point. Well, an hour later, I had made an account for CashFreely AND TravelFreely and read through all the steps. Oh and I also applied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and that should be arriving in the next few days. I’m super excited to get this journey started. Your simplistic approach is what pulled me in. So thank you 🙂
Top Travel Rewards Offers
To see the rates and fees for the American Express card featured, please visit the following link: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees.