1st Quarter 2016 5% Rotating Cash Rewards Credit Cards

Posted by Madison on December 28, 2015

1st quarter cash back is here and it’s focused heavily on gas stations. It’s time to organize, activate and put your cards into a regular rotation. In addition, since we still have the opportunity to double our Discover it Cashback to 10% the Discover card again remains at the top of the quarterly rotation list!

Reevaluate Quarterly Cash Rewards

It’s our quarterly check-in to reevaluate the cards we are carrying to take advantage of the best 1st quarter 2016 cash rewards credit cards bonuses. Every quarter we reevaluate the cash back cards to make sure we get the highest cash back on each purchase including the credit cards that offer cash back on a rotating quarterly schedule.

As you switch out your cards, don’t forget to follow up on all your rewards and make sure you are earning the right cash back and maximizing all of your purchases.

We do the same swap every quarter, so you know exactly how it works: take out the old 4th Quarter 2015 5% Rotating Cash Rewards Credit Cards and maximize your cash rewards for 1st quarter 2016 to make sure you have the right cards, you are signed up for the 5% promotions, and you know where to use them.

1st Quarter 2016 5% Cash Rewards Credit Cards

Discover it. The Discover 5% cash back for 1st quarter 2016 includes gas and ground transportation! Don’t forget you still earn double your 5% to 10% cash back if you are a new cardholder or signed up earlier this year! Here’s more information on the Discover it 10% Double Cashback. The 1st quarter 2016 Discover it 5% categories are:

  • Gas Stations
  • Ground Transportation (Uber, Taxis, Rental Cars, etc)

Discover 5% cash back is on up to $1,500 in purchases. Here’s the place to activate your 1st quarter Discover rewards. We will update the entire Discover Rewards Calendar as soon as they announce the other quarters.

Chase Freedom. The Chase Freedom card is also featuring 5% cash back on gas this quarter! The 1st quarter 2016 Chase Freedom 5% categories are:

  • Gas Stations
  • Communter Transportation (Taxis, subways, local commuter buses and trains)

Chase Freedom 5% cash back is on up to $1,500 in purchases. Here’s the place to activate your 1st quarter Chase Freedom rewards. We’ll update the 2016 Chase Freedom Rewards Calendar shortly. Also see the Best Way to Maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.

Citi Dividend. Citi 5% cash back this quarter is focused on your home. The 1st quarter 2016 Citi Dividend 5% categories are:

  • Home Depot
  • Home Furnishing Stores

Citi 5% cash back is on up to $300 cash back per calendar year ($6,000 in purchases). Here’s the place to activate your 1st quarter Citi Dividend rewards. We’ll update the 2016 Citi Dividend Rewards Calendar soon.

US Bank Cash +. Don’t forget you need to pick your 5% categories each quarter for the US Bank Cash + card. Here are some of the 5% cash back choices:

  • Gym & Fitness Centers
  • Cell Phone
  • Various Stores (Bookstores, Clothing, Department, Sporting Goods, Electronics, Furniture and More)

You need to select your categories five days before the end of the current quarter. US Bank 5% cash back is earned on your first $2,000 in combined net purchases (purchases minus returns or credits) in your chosen 5% categories. Here’s the place to activate your 1st quarter Cash Plus rewards.

No Sign Up Needed

And as always, here are the easier cash back categories, since you don’t need to sign up:

Category Card Cash Back
Grocery Stores Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
or American Express Old Blue Cash Card
or Sallie Mae MasterCard
6% cash back (up to $6,000 per year)
Gas* American Express Old Blue Cash Card
or Sallie Mae MasterCard
Restaurants Citi Thank You Premier Card 2 ThankYou Points for every $1
Target Target credit card 5% discount
Amazon Amazon Visa or
Citi Forward Card (college students only)
3% cash back
5% cash back
Wireless and Office Supplies SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express 5% cash back
Internet and Cable Chase Ink Plus 5x rewards points
Costco Fidelity Credit Card 2% cash back (expires March 31, 2016)
Travel Barclaycard Arrival Various
Charitable Donations US Bank FlexPerks Card 3x points
Choose Your Own Categories SimplyCash® American Express 3%
Everything Else Fidelity Credit Card
or Citi Double Cash
or Barclaycard Arrival

*I left the categories on the grid for those currently in rotation. Readers requested that I leave them on as a backup for which card to use once they’ve exhausted their rotating rewards.

How to Get Your 5% Cash Back

Here’s my checklist for rotating cash back programs:

  1. Sign up for all of the new quarterly cash back programs, even if you don’t know if you’ll use that card. To sign up, just log in to your account online and select the 1st quarter 2016 5% cash back information. In order to earn the 5%, you have to enroll in each program quarterly.
  2. Write which categories to use each card for using a marker on the front of the card. It works really well to keep the cards straight!
  3. To keep the list of cards straight, I also began printing out a quick cheat sheet to slip in each of our wallets.

Sign Up Bonuses

All of the links for current sign up bonuses are now listed in our credit card directory.

If you're looking for a new credit card, be sure to check out our credit card directory!

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