Chase Freedom vs. American Express Blue Cash Everyday

Both the Chase Freedom card and the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express are among the top tier of cash back cards. In this head-to-head matchup, we compare the two cards to help you decide which is the better option–Chase Freedom vs. Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.

When it comes to rewards credit cards, many prefer a cash back rewards card over points or miles because of the simplicity. With cash, you can use the rewards anyway you want.

With that in mind, we thought a comparison of two of the most popular cash back cards available was in order: the Chase Freedom card and the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.

Depending on your card usage habits, you might want to consider one of these two cards as your primary rebate earnings card. If you can’t settle on just one card, you could use a combination of them both for full cash back rewards earning potential.

This article will highlight the offers of both cards to help you determine which card you should consider based on your spending habits.

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom offers a nice cash back bonus of $150 after you spend $500 on the card within the first 3 months, which makes this one of my favorite cards. Plus, with this card you can earn on every purchase. There are no spending tiers and no caps on the amount you can earn. The card offers 0% on purchases for 15 months and 0% on balance transfers for 15 months.

This card uses rotating categories that earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases. As a result, you must register each quarter for the program in order to earn the 5%. Also, remember rotating categories change each quarter which means you aren’t always earning in the same categories.

Card Details

  • 1% Cash Back: The Chase Freedom offers you a 1% rebate for each $1 of net purchases. You do not earn rebates on balance transfers or cash advances.
  • 5% Cash Back: The Chase Freedom also offers 5% cash back in popular categories like gas, home improvement and department stores. These categories change each quarter, and the 5% cash back is limited each quarter to $1,500 in purchases. After that, additional purchases in the select categories earn 1% cash back.
  • Cash Back Offer: This card gives $$150 cash back after you spend $500 within the first 3 months.

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

I prefer the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express because it does not use rotating categories. Instead the categories in which you earn don’t change and that makes earning simple and straightforward.

With each eligible purchase you make you will earn one to three percent of the purchase amount back. Here’s how it works:

  • 3% for purchases at supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
  • 2% for purchases at department stores and for gasoline purchased
  • 1% for all other purchases.

You can redeem reward dollars for statement credits, or additional items like merchandise and gift cards, whenever your available reward dollar balance is $25 or more. The card offers 0% on purchases for 15 months and 0% on balance transfers for 15 months. After that, your APR becomes a variable rate.

In addition, you can earn a $150 bonus when you spend $1000 on the card in the first three months.

Rewards Details

  • 1% Cash Back Offer: You will earn 1% back on all your eligible purchase made to your account.
  • 2% Cash Back Offer: 2% for eligible purchases at department stores and for automobile gasoline purchased at stand-alone gas stations
  • 3% Cash Back: You will receive 3% for eligible purchases at supermarkets (excluding superstores and warehouse clubs) on up to $6,000 spent each year (1% thereafter).

Which Card Is Best For You?

To answer this question we are going to highlight some of the key differences of each card. From there you will be able to determine which card will fit your spending habits the best.

  • Cash Back Offer: As I noted above, I prefer cash back cards without rotating categories. For others, earning 5% cash back on select purchases each quarter is appealing. It comes down to your personal preferences and spending habits. However, rotating category cards are only as good as you make them. Forget to take advantage of the rotating categories each quarter and the card loses its key feature.
  • Cash Back Bonus: Both cards offer a $150 bonus to new card members. There is, however, one notable difference. The Chase Freedom requires you to spend $500 on the card in the first three months to qualify, while the requires a $1000 spend.
  • Introductory Rate: Both cards offers a 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.
  • Rewards: Chase offers 5% in rotating categories and the categories change each quarter. One quarter you could be earning 5% on gas purchases and the next it could be 5% on home purchases. The Amex card always gives 3% on supermarket purchases and 2% on gas purchases. If you spend a great deal at the supermarket or on gasoline you might want a card that always gives back for those purchases.

A Review of the U.S. Bank Cash+ Credit Card

The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card could be an excellent option if you’re looking for an everyday use cash back card. It’s especially great if your spending doesn’t necessarily fit the traditional cash back categories. With this card, you can actually set your own bonus categories every quarter! Here’s what you need to know:

  • Earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 of purchases in a quarter in two categories of your choice
  • Earn 2% cash back on one everyday spending category of your choice
  • Earn 1% cash back on everything else
  • Get a $25 Cash+ Bonus when you redeem $100 or more in a single redemption, up to once per year
  • No limit on total cash back earned
  • No minimum redemption for cash back
  • Zero fraud liability for unauthorized purchases
  • Automatic bill pay that lets you earn rewards faster
  • Travel accident insurance of at least $1,000,000 when you purchase tickets with your U.S. Bank Cash+ Card
  • Free Experian credit score for online banking customers
  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR for 6 months on balance transfers

Choosing Your Bonus Categories

The main pull of the U.S. Bank Cash+ card is that you get to choose your bonus categories – within certain limits. Other cash back cards tend to rotate their cash back categories based on seasonal norms. So, for instance, you might get a bonus in the spring at hardware and home decoration stores. But you don’t get to choose those categories.

U.S. Bank Cash Visa

With the Cash+, though, U.S. Bank gives you several categories to choose from each quarter, and you can choose two of them. You have to sign up for the card to get the full list of categories, but they include options like department stores, home improvement stores, hotels, airlines, charitable contributions, bill payments, restaurants, movie theaters, and more.

The Cash+ makes it easy for you to tailor your card’s best cash back bonuses to categories where you’re really going to spend that quarter. Of course, there are still limits, based on what each quarters possibilities are. But this is a good card to go with if other cash back cards’ rotating categories just don’t do it for you.

The Cons

Perhaps the biggest con with this card is that it requires excellent credit to get. It’s not the best cash back card to apply for if you don’t have a really great score. According to Credit Karma, only 18% of cardholders had a credit score of 651-700 when they applied. And a full 37% had a score of over 750 when they applied.

Also, keep in mind that the 5% cash back category is limited to $2,000 of spending on both your categories combined within that quarter. So if you choose home improvement stores and gas stations, for instance, and spend $1,500 at the first and $500 on the second in two months, you don’t get any more 5% bonuses that quarter – even if you keep swiping that card for gas and home improvement store purchases.

The Bottom Line

If you’re not a huge spender or the categories for other rotating-category cash back cards don’t fit you, the Cash+ is a great card to consider. An alternative to check out, though, would be the Chase Freedom®, which has an account opening bonus and a better 0% introductory APR offer.

A Review of the Sallie Mae MasterCard for College Students

If you’re a college student signing up for your first credit card, be smart about what you choose. With all the rewards cards out there, your options are endless – even if you’re just starting to build credit. One option among the many is the Sallie Mae MasterCard, which could help you pay down your student loans using your credit card rewards!

Here are the details:

  • Get 2,500 bonus points ($25 statement credit) when you use your card within 90 days of opening
  • Get 5% cash back on the first $250 you spend each month on eligible gas and grocery purchases
  • Get 5% cash back on the first $750 each month you spend on eligible book purchases
  • Get 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Use your rewards to pay down eligible Sallie Mae student loans
  • Rewards don’t expire

This could be a great credit card for you if you plan to pay down the balance each month. If you use the card to spend only what you can afford that month, you can use your rewards to make extra payments on your student loans. Like so:

Let’s say you spend $350 on groceries and gas in the first month of school. You also need to pick up your books, which cost $500. Then, you splurge on an outing with friends that costs $50. You have the money for all of these things in your checking account, but you charge them to your Sallie Mae card to earn rewards.

At the end of the month, you’ll have earned approximately  $39 in cash back rewards. It’s not a ton, but it could make the interest payment on your Sallie Mae student loan. And if you pay off the card in full when you get the statement, you don’t lose any of that reward to interest charges.

Bottom line: The Sallie Mae Rewards MasterCard could be a good option if you’re a student (or recent graduate) with Sallie Mae student loans, and if you plan to pay down your card in full each month.