Skip to content
SuperMoney logo

What Are Rotating Credit Card Bonus Categories?

Last updated 01/30/2020 by

Eliana Carmona
When shopping for a personal credit card, it’s essential to weigh all your options. After all, credit cards aren’t just a convenient way to spend money. They’re also a great way to earn rewards and perks with every dollar you spend. That’s why cashback credit cards are such a popular choice. Some cashback credit cards provide varying reward rates for different types of spending at different times of the year. If you spend smart, credit cards with rotating bonus categories can help you to maximize your returns according to your spending habits.
But what exactly are rotating credit card bonus categories? What differentiates these credit cards from other cashback cards? And what are their benefits and drawbacks? Read on to learn everything you need to know about credit cards with rotating bonus categories.

Compare Credit Cards

Compare the rates, fees, and rewards of leading credit cards.
Compare Credit Cards

What are rotating credit card categories?

Rotating bonus credit cards are a type of cashback credit card whose bonus categories change, usually every three months. One quarter, your credit card might offer cashback bonuses on gas stations, while the next quarter might incentivize spending at grocery stores.
Rotating bonus cashback cards offer higher reward rates than any other type of cashback card. As such, if you adjust your spending or the card you use to reflect the quarter’s bonus category, you could get serious returns.

What distinguishes them from other cashback cards?

There are three different types of cashback cards: flat-rate cards, tiered cards, and rotating bonus category cards.

Flat-rate cards

Flat-rate cards incentivize all spending at the same rate. For any purchase you make, you’ll receive the same amount of cashback. Typically, the rate is relatively low — around 1-2%. With flat-rate cards, there’s no limit on how much cashback you can receive in a given month.

Tiered cards

Tiered cards set a different cashback rate for different spending categories. For example, if you travel often, you might want to seek out a tiered card that pays 3% cashback for travel, 2% for groceries, and 1% for everything else. However, there’s often a limit on how much cashback you can get in the higher-tier categories. Still, these credit cards are a great option if your budget is consistently dominated by one spending category.

Rotating bonus categories

Rotating bonus categories often offer the highest rewards, but you have to jump through hoops to get them. They’ll provide the highest cashback rate on a specific spending category (or set of categories), which changes every quarter. Often, these rotating categories are tiered. For example, for one quarter, a rotating bonus credit card might offer 5% cashback for spending on travel and 1% on everything else. The next month, they might offer 5% cashback on groceries and 1% on everything else.
Like tiered credit cards, there’s usually a limit on how much cashback you can get in the higher-tier categories. But unlike tiered cards, rotating bonus credit cards require some active maintenance. Each quarter, you’ll usually have to opt-in or “activate” these categories. In exchange for your extra effort, you’ll reap unparalleled savings.

What bonus categories are available?

Regardless of which type of cashback rewards you pursue, you’ll have some choices to make about which categories to prioritize. Let’s go through your options.
Popular cashback categories include:
Dining.Department stores.
Entertainment.Home utilities.
Hotels.Fast food.
General travel.Select clothing stores.
Groceries.Movie theaters.
Gas.Gyms/fitness centers.
Office supplies.Furniture stores.
Streaming services.Non-bonus spending.
Home improvement stores.

Should you get a credit card with rotating bonus categories?

If you’re willing to put in a little extra effort and attention to optimize your spending, then absolutely! However, if you’re looking for a card that will earn cashback in the background, a rotating bonus credit card may not be the best fit. That’s because cashback cards that rotate their categories each quarter require are high-maintenance.

How can you manage a credit card with rotating cashback categories?

If you want to get a credit card with rotating bonus categories, there are ways to make the maintenance a little easier. For example, you can set up a recurring quarterly calendar event to remind you when it’s time to sign up for a new set of bonus categories.
And to make the most of your spending, you can leverage an app like Wallet. Wallet can tell you which credit card to use to maximize your rewards. Plus, Wallet’s monitoring software can help you to make an informed decision about which bonus categories you should prioritize, by giving you real data about where you spend the most.

How can you maximize your cashback rewards?

To maximize your savings, you could combine more than one of the above types of cashback credit cards. For example, you might take out a rotating bonus cashback card and a tiered cashback card to ensure that even when your favored spending category is out of rotation, your tiered card still has you covered.

What are some excellent rotating bonus credit cards?

Are you looking for a good credit card with rotating categories? Try the following.

Getting started

The right credit card for you will depend on your purchases and how much you spend every month. It also depends on how much attention you’re willing to put into your spending. An excellent way to start is to make a realistic budget of where you spend the most money each month. Then, compare several different credit cards to find out which will benefit you the most. Make sure to assess their annual fees, rewards programs, cashback rates, and any additional hidden fees to find the right card for you.
To compare credit cards of all types side-by-side, check out our list of top-rated personal credit cards.

Share this post:

You might also like