It’s summer! Time to clean out your wallet and reassign the cards you are carrying to take advantage of 3rd quarter 2012 cash rewards credit cards bonuses. Since many credit cards now offer cash back on a rotating quarterly schedule, we have to reorganize each quarter to make sure we get the best cash back.
At first I found it a pain to keep switching cards… but in a weird and twisted way, I actually look forward to it each quarter, as I can follow up on all of our rewards and make sure we’re earning the right cash back and maximizing all of our purchases.
You know how it works: switch out the the 2012 2nd Quarter 5% Rewards and maximize your cash rewards for 3rd quarter 2012 to make sure you have the right cards, you are signed up for the 5% promotions, and you know where to use them.
3rd Quarter 2012 5% Cash Rewards Credit Cards
Chase Freedom. The Chase Freedom card is moving on from groceries to gas again. I love when they run the 5% cash back on gas during the summer travel season! Restaurants are also a Chase Freedom 2012 reward. The 3rd quarter 2012 Chase Freedom 5% categories are:
- Gas Stations
See the entire 2012 Chase Freedom Rewards Calendar.
Discover More. The Discover 5% cash back is also switching to gas for 3rd quarter 2012! In addition, they’re adding theme parks for the rest of the summer, which sounds like a great reason to take the kids to the water park next week! The 3rd quarter 2012 Discover More 5% categories are:
- Gas Stations
- Theme Parks
See the entire 2012 Discover More Rewards Calendar.
Citi Dividend. The Citi card finally released their 3rd quarter rewards which includes air travel if you are planning some this summer. They’re dropping the home and garden purchases, so you should finish those purchases up before the end of the month with your Citi Dividend card. The 3rd quarter 2012 Citi Dividend 5% categories are:
- Car Rental
- Back-to-school shopping at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Store
No Sign Up Needed
And as always, here are the easier cash back categories, since you don’t need to sign up:
Grocery Stores. My favorite card, which has earned a permanent place in my wallet, is still the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card which gives 6% cash back on groceries.
Travel. Since airfare and gas are already covered in the rotating cards, we won’t need much else for travel. But I’ll keep our Chase Sapphire Preferred card on hand for hotels that don’t have a dedicated travel card.
Gas Purchases. The Pen Fed Platinum VISA gives 5% cash back for pay at the pump gas purchases. If you aren’t into switching around your quarterly cards above, you can keep this one in your wallet all the time.
Restaurants. Another option for restaurants is the Citi Forward card, which offers 5 ThankYou Points for every $1. I’m working on merging all of our Thank you points accounts, so I might use the Citi Forward card instead if we need to top off some point balances.
Target Purchases. Target purchases will keep going on the Target 5% discount credit card.
Wireless and Office Supplies. Wireless and office supplies get charged on the American Express SimplyCash Business card to get 5% on both of those categories.
Costco.The switcharoo at Costco is still working well! After showing our TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express as our membership card, we put our purchases on the Fidelity Credit Card for 2% cash back.
Everything Else. All other purchases are now going to gift cards purchased on our American Express. If you aren’t into the gift cards, you can put the rest of the charges on the Fidelity card or the Sallie Mae Card for 2% cash back. We’re also exploring the priceline 2% card we found during our latest Credit Card Application Spree.
How to Get Your 5% Cash Back
As a reminder, here’s my checklist for rotating cash back programs:
- 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 3rd quarter 2012 5% cash back information. In order to earn the 5%, you have to enroll in each program quarterly.
- 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!
Sign Up Bonus Offers
If you don’t have the 5% cash rewards cards I’m using, here are the ones currently offering sign up bonus offers: