It’s almost time for the 3rd quarter 2011 cash rewards credit cards bonuses. Since many credit cards now offer cash back on a rotating quarterly schedule, we have to reorganize each quarter.

With the holiday weekend coming up, I wanted to be sure everyone had enough time to get your cards switched out before traveling, especially to take advantage of many of the 5% travel categories that start on Friday!

Let’s switch out the old 2nd Quarter 5% Rewards and maximize your cash rewards for 3rd quarter 2011 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 2011 5% Cash Rewards Credit Cards

Chase Freedom. The Chase Freedom card is done with the home improvement and lawn & garden bonuses this quarter. However, the Chase Freedom 2011 reward is perfect for anyone traveling! It’s great timing for us since we’re heading out of town for the 4th of July weekend and will be spending a lot on gas. The 3rd quarter 2011 Chase Freedom 5% categories are:

  • Gas
  • Hotels
  • Airlines

Discover More. The Discover 5% cash back on department stores ended with the 2nd quarter 2011 rewards. Discover is also focusing on travel and summertime fun. The 3rd quarter 2011 Discover More 5% categories are:

  • Gas Stations
  • Hotels
  • Movies
  • Theme Parks

Citi Dividend. Last quarter the card featured similar home improvement categories as Chase and Discover, but the Citi card is back in the game this quarter with the restaurant category, in addition to the travel categories! The 3rd quarter 2011 Citi Dividend 5% categories are:

  • Restaurant
  • Hotels
  • Car Rentals

Note: You’ll have to login to your account to see which Citi Dividend card categories are assigned to your card. Some of our Citi Dividend cards, showed airlines instead of restaurants for 3rd quarter.

No Sign Up Needed

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

Gas Purchases. The Pen Fed Platinum VISA gives 5% cash back for pay at the pump gas purchases.

Target Purchases. Target purchases will keep going on the Target 5% discount credit card.

Grocery and Drugstores. I’ll continue to put grocery and drugstore purchases on our Chase AARP 5% Cash Back card this quarter. Hopefully, some of the other cards will pick up groceries again soon in the next quarterly rotation, as my Chase card is almost past the intro period.

Restaurants. The TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express offers 3% cash back for restaurants. It looks like we’ll only use this card at Costco this quarter since we’ll be using the Citi card for restaurants.

Everything Else. All other purchases can continue to go on the Schwab credit card or Fidelity Credit Card for 2% cash back.

How to Get Your 5% Cash Back

As a reminder, 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 3rd quarter 2011 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!

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:

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

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