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.
- Open the Chase Sapphire Preferred, spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months and earn $640 (this card does have a $95 annual fee).
- Next, open the Chase Freedom Unlimited, 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.
- Then, open the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, spend $1,000 in the first 3 months and get a $250 in cashback. 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 $17,000 in actual living expenses over the next year will earn up to $1,650 in cash back in less than twelve months. That's almost 10% back on money you would spend anyway! The general strategy is this:
- Go for cards that offer the highest welcome bonuses for signing up, 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.
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 $600 cash bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. Note that this excellent card has a $95 annual fee, though.
You will earn 2% for travel and dining out, but given the unprecedented situation we find ourselves, 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.
Note: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is billed to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. However, you have the option to exchange these points for cash instead of travel. When redeeming for cash, 100 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth $1.
Steps To Earn $640 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.
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.
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: $600 bonus + $40 (1% of $4,000) = $640.
#2 Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited 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 Unlimited
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 an unlimited 1.5% 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: $1440.
#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 $310+ 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 + $60 (6% of $1,000) = $310
Pro Tip: Use this card for groceries!
Total potentially earned from all three cards: $640 + $800 + $310 = $1,750
Congratulations! You've earned up to $1,750 using cash back cards on purchases you would make anyway!
|Card Feature||Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Chase Freedom Unlimited||Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express|
|Sign Up Bonus||$600||$200||$250|
|Minimum Spend||Spend $4,000 within the first 3 months||Spend $500 within the first 3 months||Spend $1,000 in the first 3 months|
|Category Bonus||1% 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. 1.5% unlimited cash back.||6% cash back for groceries and streaming services. 3% for gas, rideshares, and transit.|
1% on everything else
|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.
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.
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!
|Card Feature||Ink Business Cash Credit Card||Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card|
|Minimum Spend||Spend $3,000 in the first three months||Spend $500 in the first three months||Spend $500 in the first three months|
|Category Bonus||5% 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 purchases||3% cash back on dining and entertainment.|
2% cash back at grocery stores.
1% cash back on everything else.
|Learn how to apply for this card here||Learn how to apply for this card here||Learn 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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