Best Credit Cards For Maximizing Everyday Spending In 2022 – CNBC

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As long as you can pay off your balance on time and in full each month, it can be beneficial to use a credit card when shopping for the basics. Using a credit card that offers cash back, points or miles on your daily purchases can make your rewards balance balloon even more quickly.

While many popular cards are geared towards rewarding those who travel often, there are a number of great cards that are more centered on rewarding everyday purchases, such as grocery runs, gas fill-ups and online shopping.

And during this period of high inflation, rewards aren’t just a bonus — they can be a necessity. In a recent Wells Fargo survey, nearly half (49%) of Americans with rewards credit cards reported that they are relying on their rewards to help offset the inflated costs of their daily expenses.

To help you out on your next spending, Select details below the best credit cards for shopping the essentials and maximizing those everyday purchases.

Best credit cards for maximizing everyday spending

FAQs

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Best overall

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers from the date of account opening

  • Regular APR

    16.24% – 27.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Who’s this for: Amex’s Blue Cash Preferred Card is a cash-back credit card ideal for someone who wants to earn a respectable return across a range of common spending categories.

As you spend on the card, you’ll earn cash back in the following categories:

  • 6% cash back on groceries and purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year)
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back on transit including taxis, rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Additionally, the card comes with a lucrative welcome offer where you can earn $350 cash back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months of your card membership.

The card also comes with valuable benefits such as an intro 0% APR offer for 12 months (after, 16.24% to 27.24% variable APR), The Disney Bundle Credits, Equinox+ credits and return protection (enrollment required for select benefits).

How to redeem rewards: You can redeem your cash back for a statement credit to help reduce your monthly statement. There are no minimums to do this.

Best for earning travel rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase’s secure site

  • Rewards

    $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    17.49% – 24.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

Who’s this for: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card remains one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards for its broad spending categories and low annual fee.

As you spend on the card, you’ll earn:

  • 5X points per dollar spent on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3X points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out
  • 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 3X points on select streaming services
  • 2X points on all other travel purchases
  • 1X point on all other purchases

Plus, new cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The bonus is worth up to $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

If you enjoy traveling, the card comes with solid travel benefits including a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, comprehensive travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees.

How to redeem rewards: As you spend on the card, you’ll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. These points can be redeemed for cash back or gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point. Points are worth 25% more when you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal or the Pay Yourself Back tool, which allows you to redeem rewards points to cover eligible purchases. You can potentially get even more value from your points by transferring them to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners, like World of Hyatt and United MileagePlus.

Best for earning cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card

On Citi’s secure site

  • Rewards

    2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill

  • Welcome bonus

    For a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    16.24% – 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

Terms apply.

Who’s this for: The Citi Double Cash Card is a no-frills, cash-back credit card that can quickly help you save on your monthly expenses. And if you forget to pay your bill, Citi will waive your first late fee — though we don’t recommend getting into the habit of this.

As you spend on the card, you’ll earn 2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill. There’s no limit to the cash back you can earn.

Moreover, the card currently has a limited-time welcome bonus offer where you can earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.

How to redeem rewards: The cash back you earn is awarded in Citi ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for statement credits, cash back, gift cards, travel or merchandise. And, if you have another Citi-ThankYou-points earning card like the Citi Premier® Card, you can transfer your Citi Double Cash points to various travel partners.

Best for groceries and dining

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    18.24% – 25.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Who’s this for: The American Express Gold Card is ideal for foodies who want to rack up Amex Membership Rewards® points.

As you spend, you’ll earn:

  • 4X points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4X points per dollar spent on groceries at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • 1X points per dollar spent on all other purchases

Other benefits, which can help offset the annual fee, include monthly Uber credits, dining credits at select restaurants, travel insurance and special perks when booking hotel stays through The Hotel Collection (enrollment required for select benefits). Cardholders can also participate in Amex Offers, where they’ll earn statement credits or bonus points at select retailers.

The Amex Gold Card is currently offering new cardholders a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership.

How to redeem rewards: Amex Membership Rewards points are best used when transferred to one of Amex’s various airline and hotel partners, such as Delta Air Lines or JetBlue. You can also redeem them for statement credits, gift cards and when checking out at retailers like Amazon, though you’ll usually get a lower value for your points.

Best for gas

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

On Citi’s secure site

  • Rewards

    5% cash back on purchases in top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent (then 1%); unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back after spending $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. The bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for first 15 months

  • Regular APR

    16.24% – 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

    Excellent, Good

Terms apply.

Who’s this for: The Citi Custom Cash Card is a great pick for your gas purchases, along with your other daily purchases.

As you spend on the card, you’ll earn:

  • 5% cash back on purchases in the top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent (then 1%)
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases

Eligible spending categories include gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.

This means that you can earn up to $25 cash back each billing cycle if you maximize the gas or other eligible spending category. But if you typically exceed that $500 threshold, you may consider adding another gas rewards credit card like the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card.

In addition, the Citi Custom Cash Card has a simple welcome bonus where you can earn an additional $200 cash back after you spend $750 in the first three months of account opening.

How to redeem rewards: You can redeem your points for cash back as a statement credit or direct deposit, gift cards, travel and even on Amazon orders.

Best for online shopping

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

On Amazon’s secure site

  • Rewards

    5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; 1% back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $100 Amazon.com gift card upon approval

  • Annual fee

    $0 (but Prime membership is required)

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.74% to 23.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

Who’s this for: The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is a good choice for someone who regularly shops on Amazon and at Whole Foods.

As you spend on the card, you’ll earn:

  • 5% cash back on purchases made on Amazon.com or at Amazon physical locations
  • 5% cash back on purchases made at Whole Foods
  • 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

The card also comes with a very simple welcome bonus, where you can earn a $100 Amazon gift card immediately after getting approved.

How to redeem rewards: The cash back you earn with this card is awarded as points that are worth 1 cent apiece. You can use your points for eligible purchases at Amazon.com or redeem your points through Chase for cash back, gift cards and travel.

Best for rotating bonus categories

Chase Freedom Flex℠

On Chase’s secure site

  • Rewards

    5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%), 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on drugstore purchases and on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    16.49% – 25.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

Who’s this for: The Chase Freedom Flex gives the opportunity for flexible spenders to earn generous amounts of cash back.

As you spend on the card, you’ll earn:

  • 5% cash back on the card’s rotating categories (these change each quarter and require activation)
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

The card also comes with a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months of card membership (after, 16.49% to 25.24% variable APR).

New cardholders can currently earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in their first three months from account opening.

How to redeem rewards: The cash back you earn can be redeemed for a statement credit, gift card, travel and more. Additionally, if you have another Chase-Ultimate-Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can convert the cash back into transferrable Ultimate Rewards points and potentially get much more value than 1 cent per point.

FAQs

Is it good to use a credit card for everyday purchases?

By using a credit card for everyday purchases, you can earn valuable rewards fairly quickly. However, it’s crucial to keep your spending within your budget and always pay off your bills on time and in full.

How can I maximize my spending on my credit card?

You can maximize your spending by having the right credit card that matches your spending habits. Additionally, if your spending habits change, you may consider switching cards to earn more rewards.

What is the best credit card to use for everyday purchases?

The best credit card for everyday purchases is one that most closely aligns with your purchasing habits and your financial goals.

Bottom line

Everyday essentials have quickly escalated in price, leaving many Americans scrambling to save money on their basic purchases.

While saving money by using a credit card may seem counterintuitive, credit cards provide a solid opportunity to make the purchases you need and earn rewards at the same time. However, it’s important to remember that credit cards should work in tandem with your monthly budget. If you’re overspending and getting into credit card debt, the rewards you’ll earn won’t make any tangible difference.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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