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Best Credit Cards for 3% Cashback of 2021

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated September 29, 2021 . Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Best Credit Cards for 3% Cashback
Best 3% cashback credit card for transit and U.S. gas stations Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Best 3% cashback credit card for dining and entertainment Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Best 3% cashback credit card for choice categories Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Best 3% cashback credit card for travel Citi Premier® Card

If you’re in the market for a new credit card and prefer cashback rewards over points and miles, you’d be wise to consider a card that offers the highest amount of cash back on every purchase you make.

There are several credit cards currently available that offer up to 2% cash back on every purchase. But if you want to earn an even higher cashback rate – and don’t mind keeping track of bonus categories or spending limits – you can earn 3% cash back or more in a number of popular spending categories, including restaurants, hotel stays and transit.

Based on our research of cards available through LendingTree, as well as top cards offered by major issuers, here are the best credit cards that offer 3% cashback in the following categories.

Best For 3% cashback credit card for transit and U.S. gas stations

Blue Cash Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
Intro Purchase APR 0% on purchases for 12 months
Annual Fee $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
Regular Purchase APR 13.99%-23.99% Variable

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is perhaps best known for offering one of the highest cashback rates currently available at U.S. supermarkets. However, the card also offers a generous rewards rate on transit and U.S. gas station purchases.

Cardholders earn 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 and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases. Terms apply.

New cardholders can earn $300 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.

Plus, there’s an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months, then a 13.99%-23.99% variable APR will apply.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges an annual fee of $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Also, if you plan to use the card when traveling outside of the U.S., you will be subject to foreign transaction fees of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

To see the rates and fees for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Along with offering one of the highest cashback rates available at U.S. supermarkets, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers a generous cashback rate on U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit and at U.S. gas stations.

If you max out the $6,000 spend threshold at U.S. supermarkets each year, you’ll earn $360 back annually on those purchases alone — which more than covers the card’s annual fee after the first year of card membership.

You receive cash back on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express in the form of reward dollars that you can redeem as a statement credit. You can redeem reward dollars for statement credits in increments of $25 whenever your total balance is $25 or more, at a credit of $1 for every reward dollar redeemed.

Unlike other rewards credit cards, you can’t transfer your reward dollars to an airline or hotel loyalty program. You have to redeem your cash back at American Express’ rewards website rather than the more popular Membership Rewards portal.

To see the rates and fees for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express benefits include:

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Return protection of up to $300 per item and up to $1,000 per calendar year
  • Free two-day shipping through ShopRunner (enrollment required)
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Baggage insurance
  • Cellphone protection
  • Trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance

*Terms apply

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is perhaps best known for offering one of the highest cashback rates currently available at U.S. supermarkets. However, the card also offers a generous rewards rate on transit and U.S. gas station purchases.

Cardholders earn 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 and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases. Terms apply.

New cardholders can earn $300 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.

Plus, there’s an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months, then a 13.99%-23.99% variable APR will apply.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges an annual fee of $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Also, if you plan to use the card when traveling outside of the U.S., you will be subject to foreign transaction fees of 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

To see the rates and fees for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Along with offering one of the highest cashback rates available at U.S. supermarkets, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers a generous cashback rate on U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit and at U.S. gas stations.

If you max out the $6,000 spend threshold at U.S. supermarkets each year, you’ll earn $360 back annually on those purchases alone — which more than covers the card’s annual fee after the first year of card membership.

You receive cash back on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express in the form of reward dollars that you can redeem as a statement credit. You can redeem reward dollars for statement credits in increments of $25 whenever your total balance is $25 or more, at a credit of $1 for every reward dollar redeemed.

Unlike other rewards credit cards, you can’t transfer your reward dollars to an airline or hotel loyalty program. You have to redeem your cash back at American Express’ rewards website rather than the more popular Membership Rewards portal.

To see the rates and fees for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express benefits include:

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Return protection of up to $300 per item and up to $1,000 per calendar year
  • Free two-day shipping through ShopRunner (enrollment required)
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection
  • Baggage insurance
  • Cellphone protection
  • Trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance

*Terms apply

Best For 3% cashback credit card for dining and entertainment

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

SavorOne

Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card may be the best fit if you dine out on a regular basis or frequently attend entertainment events. The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 3% cash back on dining and entertainment; 3% cash back on popular streaming services; 3% cash back at grocery stores; 1% cash back on all other purchases. plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at vivid seats through january 2023.

The dining category includes purchases at restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries. Note, food trucks, food carts and merchants that sell food and beverages and are located within larger establishments (like hotel restaurants and grocery store food counters) may not qualify for the higher cashback rate.

The entertainment category includes ticket purchases made at movie theaters, sports promoters, theatrical promoters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls and bowling alleys.

However, golf courses, country clubs (including membership fees), collegiate sporting events, amusement park tickets purchased on third party sites and non-industry entertainment merchants, such as cable, digital streaming and membership services, are excluded from this category.

Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits, checks, previous purchases, gift cards and more.

For new cardholders, earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

If you’re looking for a cashback card and happen to do a good amount of spending on dining and entertainment, the 3% rewards rate for spending in those categories are attractive, especially considering that this card has a $0 annual fee. Plus, there’s no cap on earnings.

There are similar cards out there that offer higher rewards for dining and entertainment, but most either have an annual fee, rotating cashback spending categories or they require you to crunch numbers to figure out the best redemption values. The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card keeps it simple with its three flat cashback rates and easy redemption.

Capital One® rewards never expire as long as the card is open and active, and you can redeem in any amount at any time. You can also choose to redeem your cash back for gift cards or apply it as a statement credit for previous purchases.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card benefits include:

  • 0% intro on purchases for 15 months (14.99% - 24.99% (variable) APR after) (i.e. extra time to pay off those splurge-worthy Hamilton tickets, interest-free)
  • Shop more securely with virtual card numbers that protect your account information online, security alerts and a card locking feature if you misplace your card
  • Social Security number monitoring with CreditWise®, which also gives you free access to your credit score
  • Extended warranty on eligible purchases made with the card
  • Automatic travel accident insurance for covered losses
  • Complimentary concierge services – handy for making dinner reservations or booking entertainment
  • VIP experiences and exclusive on-site perks for cardholders for select music, sports or culinary event

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card may be the best fit if you dine out on a regular basis or frequently attend entertainment events. The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 3% cash back on dining and entertainment; 3% cash back on popular streaming services; 3% cash back at grocery stores; 1% cash back on all other purchases. plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at vivid seats through january 2023.

The dining category includes purchases at restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries. Note, food trucks, food carts and merchants that sell food and beverages and are located within larger establishments (like hotel restaurants and grocery store food counters) may not qualify for the higher cashback rate.

The entertainment category includes ticket purchases made at movie theaters, sports promoters, theatrical promoters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls and bowling alleys.

However, golf courses, country clubs (including membership fees), collegiate sporting events, amusement park tickets purchased on third party sites and non-industry entertainment merchants, such as cable, digital streaming and membership services, are excluded from this category.

Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits, checks, previous purchases, gift cards and more.

For new cardholders, earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

If you’re looking for a cashback card and happen to do a good amount of spending on dining and entertainment, the 3% rewards rate for spending in those categories are attractive, especially considering that this card has a $0 annual fee. Plus, there’s no cap on earnings.

There are similar cards out there that offer higher rewards for dining and entertainment, but most either have an annual fee, rotating cashback spending categories or they require you to crunch numbers to figure out the best redemption values. The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card keeps it simple with its three flat cashback rates and easy redemption.

Capital One® rewards never expire as long as the card is open and active, and you can redeem in any amount at any time. You can also choose to redeem your cash back for gift cards or apply it as a statement credit for previous purchases.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card benefits include:

  • 0% intro on purchases for 15 months (14.99% - 24.99% (variable) APR after) (i.e. extra time to pay off those splurge-worthy Hamilton tickets, interest-free)
  • Shop more securely with virtual card numbers that protect your account information online, security alerts and a card locking feature if you misplace your card
  • Social Security number monitoring with CreditWise®, which also gives you free access to your credit score
  • Extended warranty on eligible purchases made with the card
  • Automatic travel accident insurance for covered losses
  • Complimentary concierge services – handy for making dinner reservations or booking entertainment
  • VIP experiences and exclusive on-site perks for cardholders for select music, sports or culinary event

Best For 3% cashback credit card for choice categories

Bank of America<sup>®</sup> Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Apply Now
on Bank of America's secure site
Intro Purchase APR 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
Annual Fee $0
Regular Purchase APR 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card details updated Sept. 9, 2021

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers a unique opportunity to earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Choice categories include gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores and home improvement and furnishings. When you open your Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card account, your choice category will automatically be set to gas. However, you have the option to change the category online or through the mobile app one time each month.

You can redeem cashback rewards for statement credits or deposits made directly into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or for credit to an eligible account with Merrill.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card limits the amount of cash back you can earn at the 3% rate. But if you max out the $2,500 spend cap on your choice category each quarter, you can earn $300 cash back on those purchases each year.

There is a signup bonus of $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening and $0 annual fee.

Additionally, the card charges foreign transaction fees of 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a good option for those who don’t want to be locked into pre-selected bonus categories that earn a higher cashback rate as the card allows you to select from six of the following categories every month: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings.

It’s also a good choice for frequent spenders at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, as you’ll earn a decent cashback rate on purchases in those categories.

This card isn’t for people who don’t spend a lot in the bonus categories, as you’ll earn a subpar rate on all other purchases. You would be better off with a flat-rate card that earns you a consistently high rate on all purchases like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or a rewards card that is more aligned with your spending.

If you have a balance on an existing high-APR card or plan on making a large purchase, there is also a good 0% intro period for transfers and purchases — 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days and 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases. After both intro periods end, a 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR will apply. These 0% intro APR periods can save you a tidy sum on interest charges.

  •  0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR
  •  0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR
  • Opportunity to earn 25% to 75% more cash back on every purchase as a Preferred Rewards member
  • Purchase and extended warranty protection

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card details updated Sept. 9, 2021

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers a unique opportunity to earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Choice categories include gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores and home improvement and furnishings. When you open your Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card account, your choice category will automatically be set to gas. However, you have the option to change the category online or through the mobile app one time each month.

You can redeem cashback rewards for statement credits or deposits made directly into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or for credit to an eligible account with Merrill.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card limits the amount of cash back you can earn at the 3% rate. But if you max out the $2,500 spend cap on your choice category each quarter, you can earn $300 cash back on those purchases each year.

There is a signup bonus of $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening and $0 annual fee.

Additionally, the card charges foreign transaction fees of 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction.

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a good option for those who don’t want to be locked into pre-selected bonus categories that earn a higher cashback rate as the card allows you to select from six of the following categories every month: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings.

It’s also a good choice for frequent spenders at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, as you’ll earn a decent cashback rate on purchases in those categories.

This card isn’t for people who don’t spend a lot in the bonus categories, as you’ll earn a subpar rate on all other purchases. You would be better off with a flat-rate card that earns you a consistently high rate on all purchases like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or a rewards card that is more aligned with your spending.

If you have a balance on an existing high-APR card or plan on making a large purchase, there is also a good 0% intro period for transfers and purchases — 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days and 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases. After both intro periods end, a 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR will apply. These 0% intro APR periods can save you a tidy sum on interest charges.

  •  0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR
  •  0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR
  • Opportunity to earn 25% to 75% more cash back on every purchase as a Preferred Rewards member
  • Purchase and extended warranty protection

Best For 3% cashback credit card for travel

Citi Premier<sup>®</sup> Card

Citi Premier® Card

Apply Now
on Citibank's secure site
Intro Purchase APR N/A
Annual Fee $95
Regular Purchase APR 15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

The Citi Premier® Card, issued by our partner Citi, offers an elevated rewards rate on travel, gas station, dining and entertainment purchases, as well as a generous sign-up bonus when redeemed for travel through the ThankYou Travel Center.

Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, earn 3x points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1x per $1 spent on all other purchases.

One nice perk of the Citi Premier® Card is that you can transfer your points to numerous airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, including JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico, Qantas, and more.

The Citi Premier® Card does come with an annual fee of $95.

If you’re in the market for a cashback travel rewards card, the Citi Premier® Card is hard to beat. It offers a generous sign-up bonus, an elevated rewards rate on travel purchases, 0% foreign transaction fees and numerous travel transfer partners. There’s no cap on the number of points you can earn and points don’t expire as long as the card account remains open. You’ll earn a generous 3x rate on air travel, travel agencies and hotels, plus you can take advantage of the annual $100 statement credit for a hotel stay costing over $500 booked with thankyou.com.

Citi Premier® Card benefits include:

  • $100 annual hotel benefit when you spend more than $500 for a single stay when booked through thankyou.com
  • Free authorized user cards
  • Access to Citi Entertainment
  • Annual hotel savings benefit
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

The Citi Premier® Card, issued by our partner Citi, offers an elevated rewards rate on travel, gas station, dining and entertainment purchases, as well as a generous sign-up bonus when redeemed for travel through the ThankYou Travel Center.

Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, earn 3x points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1x per $1 spent on all other purchases.

One nice perk of the Citi Premier® Card is that you can transfer your points to numerous airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, including JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico, Qantas, and more.

The Citi Premier® Card does come with an annual fee of $95.

If you’re in the market for a cashback travel rewards card, the Citi Premier® Card is hard to beat. It offers a generous sign-up bonus, an elevated rewards rate on travel purchases, 0% foreign transaction fees and numerous travel transfer partners. There’s no cap on the number of points you can earn and points don’t expire as long as the card account remains open. You’ll earn a generous 3x rate on air travel, travel agencies and hotels, plus you can take advantage of the annual $100 statement credit for a hotel stay costing over $500 booked with thankyou.com.

Citi Premier® Card benefits include:

  • $100 annual hotel benefit when you spend more than $500 for a single stay when booked through thankyou.com
  • Free authorized user cards
  • Access to Citi Entertainment
  • Annual hotel savings benefit
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

Which 3% cashback credit card is right for you?

Ultimately, the right card for you depends on where you spend the most each month. For example, if you spend a large amount on gas, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card could be a great fit. But if you also spend a large amount on groceries, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express may be more ideal, thanks to its generous rewards rate at U.S. supermarkets and solid cashback rate at U.S. gas stations.

Tracy Brackman

Tracy joined LendingTree in June 2019 as a senior writer. She began working in the credit card space in 2009 as the editorial department manager for FlexOffers, an affiliate marketing company. She went on to work as product information manager for Bankrate, where she managed the financial and credit card product details for two affiliate networks, as well as Bankrate owned and operated sites. Prior to joining LendingTree, Tracy worked as products editor for CreditCards.com, where she developed the credit card products section and created content focused on breaking credit card news.

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The above offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available. Check the Issuers’ website for more details.