Disclaimer: I do not receive any commissions, kickbacks, or sponsorships from the financial institutions I mention on this page. All of this is just the opinion of some dude on the internet.


I like to ask two questions when discussing credit card bonuses:

  1. What does this credit card offer (especially compared to other cards)?
  2. Do the benefits of applying for this credit card outweigh the time it takes to manage it?

With cash back cards, this tends to be pretty straightforward. Cash back cards offer, well, cash back, and they usually offer a lot of it.

Let’s use the Fidelity Visa as an example.

  1. What does this card offer?  Cash back
    1. What’s the sign-up bonus?  $150 after spending $1,000 within 90 days
    2. How many points does this card earn?  2 points per dollar
    3. How valuable is each point?  1 cent each when redeeming into a Fidelity account
      1. Is this value set in stone, or does it change depending on how many points you redeem at a time?  Value is set in stone
    4. Are there multiple types of points?  No
    5. Do these points expire?  No
  2. What does this card cost?  Time to manage (potential new banking login, monthly payments, etc.)
    1. Does this credit card charge an annual fee or require a paid membership?  No
    2. Can I hit the minimum spending requirement without spending money I would’ve otherwise saved?  Yes (spending requirement is low)
    3. Do I have to spend a lot of time to maximize my rewards?  No, but the minimum redemption is $25
    4. Any other fees I should be concerned about?  No foreign transaction fees
    5. Is any of this worth the hassle of having to manage an additional account?  Yes, a 2% discount on almost every expense is worth the hassle of remembering one more username and password

And the truth is, this is the same breakdown for any other 2% cash back credit card out there. The Wells Fargo Active Cash is the exact same thing, except the sign-up bonus is $200 after spending $500 within 90 days and the card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. Get the Fidelity Visa if you’re going overseas and the Active Cash if you want an extra $50 bonus or a smaller spending requirement. Want a 2% card for international use but don’t like minimum redemptions? Get the SDFCU Premium Cash Back+.

See how easy it is to understand? This is why cash back bonuses are great.

All of these competing cards are slightly different, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time asking if any of them are worth it. There’s not a lot to explain because cash speaks for itself. Does this card offer at least $150 (or 10% cash back on its minimum spending requirement, whichever is greater) for signing up? Will I actually use this card for its bonus earning categories? Does it fill a niche or provide benefits I otherwise lack? If your answer to most of these questions is yes, then it’s a good card. And if your answer is no, then you’re probably signing up for a travel card with a convoluted rewards program (and that card better have a sign-up bonus worth at least $500 or it’s terrible).