Earn $1,000+ With These 3 Cash Back Cards

Earn $1,000 or More With These 3 Cash Back Cards

What could you do with an extra $1,000? Pay down debt, shore up an emergency fund, invest in broad-based index funds? Whatever your plans might be, you can do it and you can start right now! Boost your financial position with ChooseFI's step-by-step guide on how to earn more than $1,000 a year with cash back credit cards.

Quick Steps

  1. Open the Chase Sapphire Preferred, spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months and earn $800 (this card does have a $95 annual fee).
  2. Next, open the Chase Freedom Flex by Mastercard, earn $200 on a $500 spend within the first 3 months, then spend up to $12,000 at grocery stores in the first 12 months and earn another $600.
  3. Then, open the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, spend $1,000 in the first 3 months and get a $250 in cash back. You would also earn 6% on groceries (up to $6,000 per year in purchases) and streaming services, making the total earnings for this card a total of up to $310. The catch here is that there is a $95 annual fee, which is why we placed this card in third place.

ChooseFI's Simple Three-Card-$1,000 Game Plan

The barrier to entry with this strategy is low. Married, single, still in school, you can do it! Anyone who has $17,500 in actual living expenses over the next year will earn up to $1,850 in cash back in less than twelve months. That's more than 10% back on money you would spend anyway! The general strategy is this:

  1. Go for cards that offer the highest welcome bonuses for signing up, especially ones with the most generous category bonuses.
  2. 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!
  3. Meet the minimum spend requirement, preferably with expenses made in the highest cash back earning categories.

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, and if you're up for it, there are extra credit bonus recommendations for scoring even more.

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.

New cardmembers will earn a one-time 80,000 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 80,000 Ultimate Rewards point bonus worth $800. Note that this excellent card has a $95 annual fee, though.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is billed to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You have the option to exchange these points for cash or for travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards booking portal. You'll get better value when redeeming your points for travel though. When booking travel with points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, points are worth 1.25 cents, or 25% more.

You will earn 2% for travel and dining out, but given the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, this might not be a useful bonus category. That said, you'll receive 1% cash back on your spend, and here are some responsible ways to meet the $4,000 minimum spend.

Steps To Earn $1000 With The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Here's how to meet the $4,000 minimum spend in responsible ways:

Pay Bills With A Different Kind Of Plastiq

Plastiq is an online payment service. It's a great hack to use when you want to pay for things that don't normally take credit cards, like rent, or to pay someone who helps around the house. Plastiq normally charges a 2.5% transaction fee, but when you sign up for Plastic using our link, your first $500 through Plastiq will be free-free.

Note: using the Chase Sapphire Preferred will not work on payments through Plastiq on mortgages, HELOCs, auto loans, student loans, and payroll.

Sign up with Plastiq here.

Give Yourself The Gift Of Amazon

Amazon has practically everything you could ever dream of needing to shop for. Rather than pay as you go, front-load your account with gift cards to help meet your credit card minimum spend. Purchase the Amazon gift cards using your Chase Sapphire Preferred and then load them right back into your Amazon account. You meet your minimum spend, and now have an Amazon gift card balance already in your account, waiting to be used.

Score Some Discounted Gift Cards On Raise

There are stores where you regularly spend money. Don't pay full price, get a big discount and get closer to meeting your minimum spend. Buying discounted gift cards on Raise can save you up to 30% at stores you already shop at. Need your oil changed? Grab a Jiffy Lube gift card and get 20% off! Or purchase a Hulu gift card at face value and earn an immediate 9% back in Raise Cash.

Better yet, stack your gift cards with coupons from Raise for an even bigger discount.

Sign up for Raise here!

Pay Your Bills In Advance

Don't wait for the bills to come to you, pay them in advance! Assuming you aren't living paycheck-to-paycheck and have no cash flow concerns, prepaying on your regular bills is an excellent strategy. You earn both the cash back and ensure you meet the minimum spending requirements. Stick to the essentials like home utilities, cell phone, home internet, and groceries to help you hit the required minimum spend.

But pay attention to which of these you prepay because you use them to get the most value from the next two cards we recommend.

Total earned from 1 card: $800 bonus 

Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred here

#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 90 days of account opening. But wait, it gets better! Grocery store purchases (not including Walmart and Target) earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent in the first year–all with no annual fee!

Steps To Earn $800 With The Chase Freedom Flex

Between the $200 welcome bonus and maxing out the 5% grocery store bonus category during the first year, you'll earn at least $800. Plus, this card earns a 5% cash back on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, 3% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining in restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 3% at drugstores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Grocery Stores Sell More than Food

Even if your grocery budget doesn't support spending $1,000 a month, you can still qualify for this incredible bonus offer. Think outside the box a little when strolling the grocery store aisles. Many grocery stores sell gift cards to hundreds of different retailers you already shop at, including department stores, restaurants, Amazon, and others. With a little strategic planning during your grocery runs, hitting the $12,000 max can easily be within reach.

$200 bonus + $600 (5% of $12,000 at grocery stores) = $800.

Total earned so far: $1600.

Check out our full review here.

Learn how to apply for the Chase Freedom Flex by Mastercard here

#3 Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns a decent bonus and has solid cash back category bonuses.

This card offers $250 cashback as a statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.

Steps to Earn $250 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 groceries and streaming services, earning a nice 6% cash back for both categories. Other categories yielding a 3% cash back include gas, rideshares, and transit.

$250 bonus earned

Pro Tip: Use this card for groceries!

Total potentially earned from bonuses and bonus category spending with all three cards: $800 + $800 + $250 = $1,850

Learn how to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express here.

Congratulations! You've earned up to $1,850 using cash back cards on purchases you would make anyway!

Card FeatureChase Sapphire Preferred CardChase Freedom Flex by Mastercard Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Sign Up Bonus$800$200$250
Minimum SpendSpend $4,000 within the first 3 monthsSpend $500 within the first 3 monthsSpend $1,000 in the first 3 months
Category Bonus1% cash back on all purchases.
(2% for travel and dining out, not useful right now)
5% cash back on grocery store purchases in the first 12 months. 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining at restaurants, 3% on drugstore purchases, 1% on everything else6% cash back for groceries and streaming services. 3% for gas, rideshares, and transit.
1% on everything else
Annual fee$95$0$95
Learn how to apply for this card here.Learn how to apply for this card here.Learn how to apply for this card here

Extra Credit (And Extra Cash) For High Achievers

How about that extra credit mentioned? Now that you're hooked on earning cash back, here are some additional recommendations.

Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card gives you a $500 bonus if you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

This no annual fee card earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase and offers a 0% APR for the first 12 months after account opening on purchases.

Learn how to apply for the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card here.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has a $150 cash back bonus after you spend $500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.

All purchases earn 1.5% cash back with no annual fee.

Learn how to apply for the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card here.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card also earns $150 when you spend $500 in the first three months. However, it is unique in our extra credit card list since it has a few bonus categories to pump up your earnings potential. These aren't rotating categories either, the bonus categories are year-round.

Earn 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, and 2% cash back at grocery stores, with an even 1% earned on everything else. All with no annual fee!

Learn how to apply for the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card here

Card FeatureInk Business Cash Credit CardCapital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit CardCapital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Bonus$500$150$150
Minimum SpendSpend $3,000 in the first three monthsSpend $500 in the first three monthsSpend $500 in the first three months
Category Bonus5% at office supply stores, internet, cable and phone services (up to $25,000 in purchases).
2% at gas stations and restaurants (up to $25,000 in purchases).
1% on everything else.
1.5% cash back on all purchases3% cash back on dining and entertainment.
2% cash back at grocery stores.
1% cash back on everything else.
Annual Fee$0$0 $0
Learn how to apply for this card hereLearn how to apply for this card hereLearn how to apply for this card here

In A Time of Crisis, Cash Is King

The travel industry is getting clobbered. Only time will tell how the chaos will pan out. Gambling on travel rewards may reap huge rewards in the end, but one thing is for sure. Cash never goes out of style. In a time of uncertainty, cash back cards are a sure thing that provides you with a financial boost you can use.

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Affiliate Disclaimer

ChooseFI seeks to uncover helpful services that help you be financially resilient. However, we may receive compensation, at no cost to you, from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article, including from CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Opinions are the author’s alone, and this content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of these entities. See our disclosures for more info.

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4 thoughts on “Earn $1,000 or More With These 3 Cash Back Cards”

  1. I have tried multiple times over the last two days, using your link for the Plastiq referral, but receive this message after clicking on link in my email: The referral code could not be applied at this time. Please try again in a few moments.
    It was a very informative article, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  2. Hey, when I go to that first Chase link, it says you get 60,000 miles, not cash back. Has it changed? Please advise, thank you!

  3. due to covid and the uncertainty of travel right now, are you banking on rewards for cash back vs travel points? Do you recommend getting these 3 credit cards while “reserving” options for the future to get other cc with the intention of earning travel points? I’m new to travel hacking with cc

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