You get to decide what spending categories you'll earn 5% cash back on with a new credit card from U.S. Bank.
You can pick two of 12 categories, such as restaurants, hotels and airlines, from which you'll earn the top reward from the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card.
There are a couple caveats:
In addition, cardholders can choose one of three spending categories in which to earn 2% cash back each quarter. The choices here are gas stations, groceries and drugstores.
All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
You won't earn anything on cash advances, balance transfers, interest or fees.
The ability to choose where you’ll earn the most cash back sets this card apart from its competitors.
The main catch is that the Cash+ card requires you to enroll quarterly to earn higher levels of cash back (so do Discover and Chase Freedom).
If you forget, you'll only earn 1% back.
But you can sign up for notifications to help you remember, and you can enroll as early as 45 days before the quarter begins.
If you don't sign up until the quarter begins, there will be a two- to three-day lag before you start earning rewards, so it's best to sign up in advance.
You can choose the same bonus categories each quarter, but you can't change your categories once the quarter begins.
The Cash+ card does not limit how much cash back you can earn.
This feature also sets it apart from Discover and Chase Freedom, which limit cardholders to $75 in bonus cash back per quarter (5% of the $1,500 bonus category spending limit).
The Cash+ card's reward system is also simpler than point-based rewards offered by other creditors, such as Citibank and American Express.
You can redeem your cash back as a statement credit, reward card or deposit to a U.S. Bank account. You must redeem rewards within 36 months of earning them, but there is no minimum redemption amount unless you choose the reward card option, which has a $20 minimum.
If you don’t redeem until you've earned at least $100 in cash back, which would require spending at least $2,000 if you used the card exclusively for purchases that earn 5% back, you'll get a bonus $25 U.S. Bank Rewards Visa Card.
Statement credit redemptions don't count toward your minimum monthly payment (but you shouldn't be making only the minimum payment, anyway).
The card has no annual fee and comes with the usual Visa Signature credit card benefits like zero fraud liability and the auto rental collision damage waiver.
If you aren't approved for the Cash+ card, you may be automatically approved for a lesser card that does not earn 5% or 2% back, so read your approval notice carefully.
The Cash+ card has a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% based on your credit score.
We wouldn't recommend using it to carry debt, unless you have a balance you'd like to transfer that you can pay off during the 6-month, 0% introductory period. There is a 3% fee for balance transfers.
Compare this deal with the cash-back credit cards in our database.