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The best cash back credit cards for active duty US military servicemembers can put up to 6% back in your bank account. Cash back cards are great if you do not travel frequently or you just want to be rewarded for your everyday purchases.
Cash back cards offer the simplicity of just getting cold hard cash for your normal spending. Some of them offer extra cash back bonuses in specific categories like gas stations, groceries, supermarkets, or pharmacies.
The AAFES or NEX gas stations on base or post qualify for the gas category. The Commissary rings up as a supermarket and the Shoppette usually qualifies as a gas purchase.
All the cards listed below also have a welcome bonus, which you will receive after spending the minimum amount required in the time required. These are often low threshold minimums ($500-$1000) with plenty of time to meet the spend.
Citi® Double Cash Card
The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay off the purchase.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred
- Learn how to apply for the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred
- Normally a $95 annual fee, WAIVED for military + spouses
- INCREASED: $250 welcome bonus after spending $1000 in the first 3 months of Card Membership
- 6% cash back on US supermarkets, including OCONUS/CONUS Commissaries
- NEW: 6% cash back on US streaming services, including Apple Music, Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Prime Video (full list here)
- NEW: 3% cash back on transit purchases such as taxis, Uber, Lyft, parking, tolls, trains, buses, subway, and more
- 3% cash back on US gas stations (including OCONUS NEX/AAFES)
- 1% back on all other purchases
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is the best day-to-day cash back credit card for military servicemembers.
The 6% cash back at US supermarkets, including the DECA Commissary on base/post, is the best cash back offer available on any category. This cash back works overseas on US military bases, as Commissary transactions process like you are in the States.
AMEX has recently added 6% cash back on many US streaming services, including:
Amazon Music, Apple Music, Audible, CBS All Access, Direct TV Now, ESPN+, Fubo TV, HBO Now, Hulu, iHeartRadio, Kindle Unlimited, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, Netflix, NHL.TV, Pandora, Amazon Prime Video Unlimited, Showtime, Sling TV, SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite, Spotify, YouTube Music Premium, YouTube Premium, YouTube TV
A 3% category has also been added for transit including taxi/rideshares (like Uber and Lyft), parking, tolls, trains, and buses.
The 3% cash back on US gas stations also works on OCONUS and CONUS bases, at the NEX and AAFES gas stations.
You can also get a $250 welcome bonus after spending $1000 in the first 3 months of card membership. This is only $333 per month, a very easy spending threshold. The Blue Cash Preferred is an excellent choice for military servicemembers, especially since the $95 annual fee is completely waived.
- Learn how to apply for the Chase Freedom
- $150 welcome bonus after $500 of purchases in the first 3 months after opening card
- 5% cash back on rotating categories up to $1500
- 1% cash back on every other purchase
- Points never expire as long as account is open
- No annual fee
The Chase Freedom card offers 5% back on rotating categories and no annual fee. Click here to check out this card.
The welcome bonus is 15,000 Ultimate Reward points worth $225 if you transfer them to your Chase Sapphire Reserve with no annual fee for military. Or $150 if you just cash out your points.
I’ve had this card since I joined the military. I keep it open to age my credit history with no annual fee.
Gasoline is usually one of the categories for half the year, making this a great card to use to fill the car up. I usually put whatever the 5% category is on this card, then travel and dining on my Sapphire Reserve, and then everything else on my Chase Freedom Unlimited.
- Learn how to apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Earn $150 cash back after $500 spend in the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase after that
- No annual fee
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is my go to card when I’m CONUS.
The $150 cash back is earned as Chase Ultimate Reward Points. You can transfer them to your Chase Sapphire Reserve to maximize the value of the points and get more than 1 cent per point.
The card offers a simple 1.5% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee. Great to use for online purchases or anything other than travel and dining which you should get 3% back on with your Sapphire Reserve.
This is my default card when I’m back in the States. If you can get 5% back on easy categories like gas or groceries with the Chase Freedom card above do that. Otherwise use this card to get 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
American Express Cash Magnet Card
- Learn how to apply for the AMEX Cash Magnet Card
- $150 cash back welcome bonus when you spend $1000 in the first 3 months of Card Membership
- 1.5% cash back unlimited
- No annual fee
American Express Blue Cash Everyday
- Learn how to apply for the AMEX Blue Cash Everyday
- $150 cash back when you spend $1000 in the first 3 months of getting the card
- 3% back at US supermarkets up to $6000 per year
- 2% on US gas stations, 1% on all other purchases
- No annual fee
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards
- Learn how to apply for this up to 4% cash back card here
- Early spend bonus of $300 CASH after $3000 of spending in 3 months after opening
- UNLIMITED 4% cash back on dining and entertainment – HUGE if you like to go out to eat!
- 2% cash back at grocery stores
- 1% on everything else
- NO foreign transaction fees
- NO annual fee for US servicemembers! ($95 normally)
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards
- Learn how to apply for card HERE
- $150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- 1.5% cash back on all purchases including gas, BX, PX, AAFES, and Shoppette
- No limit to how much you can earn, points never expire, no rotating categories
- No annual fee
- No foreign transaction fees (rare for no annual fee cards)
Cash back cards offer US military members an easy way to earn cash for the day to day spending of life.
My first credit card was a cash back American Express. A cash back card is a great way to start building your credit history so you can qualify for the best military credit cards, like the AMEX Platinum (read my full American Express military Platinum review). Or check out my full list of credit cards that waive annual fees for military.
Are you are more of the travelling type? Does the idea of flying business class to New Zealand and Australia for New Year's Eve sound like a dream vacation? Then check out my step by step guide of no annual fee luxury travel cards for military servicemembers. Or sign up for my complete beginner's course for military credit cards, the Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course.
Cash Back Credit Cards for Military FAQ
Yes, cash back credit cards can be great if you want to earn cash back on all your purchases and bonus cash back on certain categories, like groceries or gas. However, you can earn even more value from your spending by earning flexible credit card points and transferring them to airlines for almost free flights, hotels for free nights, and other partners for vacation or travel experiences.
The Citi Double Cash card gives 2% cash back. 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay the bill.
The Citi Double Cash card, Amex Blue Cash Preferred, Chase Freedom, and Chase Freedom Unlimited are my top recommended cash back credit cards in 2020.
If you want to just earn cash, cash back can be better than points. However, if you like travelling, vacationing, or flying to another state to see family, you will probably get more bang for your buck with credit cards points.