Find FREE Money – U.S. News & World Report survey on Cash Back Credit Cards

I love FREE stuff. I get so excited when I get something that’s FREE. It’s like this little part of me skips a beat and I want to dance a jig. I know I got it from my Mom because she gets this little smile on her face and she squeals. You have to know that this is really cute because my Mom is an introvert and very quiet. So, to see her get excited like this just tickles me to death. I learned from a young age to look for FREE things. Some people might call it scrounging, dumpster diving, being frugal, or savvy. I like to think that we are classy people, so we are savvy.

Some of the FREE things I’m super proud I’ve found in life are a Fisher price swing and slide(which I recently sold for $10 at a garage sale), Bought a house and received a $5,000 grant that was forgiven after I owned it for 5 years(Free Money), and our credit card points(Cash Back bonus that I use for “Date Night With My Honey“). I love FREE money so much that I once bought a book called “Free Money They Don’t Want You To Know About“. You can find it for $1.99 on this link. (I’m not being paid for that.) OR You could borrow my copy. I told my husband about a few of the ways the book says to find FREE money and he found $37. He was pretty excited.

I recently read the U.S. News & World Report survey that they put out regarding Best Rewards Credit Cards 2017. As I clicked on their links and read, I got super excited. THIS was what I wished I had 20 years ago. Where were they when I got my first credit card?! Since I love FREE money, I love when others make it easy for me to find that FREE money.  I want you to check out the research they’ve done on cash back credit cards.

Here’s an excerpt from US News and World Report:

Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2017

U.S. News evaluated 444 rewards credit cards using the steps outlined above. Each type of card has its strengths and shortcomings for earnings and redemptions, so there is no one ideal card for everyone. U.S. News’ top picks for rewards credit cards were narrowed down using the data points and criteria explained above and editorially selected for each type of card user.

Chase Freedom Credit Card
Best for general spending with cash back and bonus categories with no annual fee

Citi Double Cash Card
Best for flat-rate cash back on all spending with no annual fee

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Best for travel and dining expenses with large sign-up bonus

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Best for loyalty airline spending and sign-up bonus

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
Best for loyalty hotel spending and flexible reward options with sign-up bonus

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
Best for loyalty hotel spending and large sign-up bonus

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
Best for gas and grocery spending with cash back

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 
Best for business spending with large sign-up bonus


I was very glad to see that my credit card that I’ve had for over 12 years was on the list. They’ve given me $1,000’s of dollars back in gift cards and cash. Over the years I’ve used them to buy Christmas gifts, pay for babysitters, enjoy restaurants I normally wouldn’t go visit, and get a massage from a super nice spa. So, I’ll tell you this story about one fun experience we had using Cash Back Points. I only want to have 1 credit card because it simplifies my life when it comes to paying it off every month. So, when we got married, I persuaded my husband that he needed to close his American Express. Mostly because it had an annual fee and I wanted to make sure my “Sprinter” husband was reigned in. When we went to close it, we discovered he had 80,000 points. (I don’t recommend that you automatically close all accounts because if you are buying a house you need 3 lines of credit, each person’s situation is unique. For us, closing that card was a good decision.)

That’s when we decided to have some fun. We got gift certificates to a Hotel in Atlanta, GA and left after work on a Friday and made it to dinner at Legal Seafood. Seriously, the BEST seafood. We went crazy and got an appetizer, Legal’s Signature Crab Cake. My husband loves crab cake and declared it the best one he’s ever had. My Grilled shrimp and Lobster were so good. The entire dinner was paid for with the gift cards from our Cash Back Points. That made it taste even better. The next day we went to dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. The most succulent Filet Mignon I’ve ever had IN MY LIFE. It sliced like butter. It’s been 5 years and we still talk about that weekend.

I asked some friends what they use their Cash Back Points for.

Cate S. “Airline points. We put everything on it, pay it off every month and got three tickets to Arizona in March with them.”

Laura G. “We get points for our card. I’ve used them for car rentals on trips.”

Laura R.  “We’re a Southwest Airlines (Chase) card carriers. It allows my husband to fly free to any SWA destination with me!! Extremely happy with Chase and the benefits it provides!!

Courtney T. “We use the money for Christmas.”

Cathy J.  “I placed an order on Amazon and was asked at check out if I wanted to use my Discover points. It made the gift seem free.”

Chelsy B.  “Sometimes we just use them for an order we are already placing, but this year in particular, we are using them to buy the Harry Potter audiobooks.”

Gail B.  “On our vacation last February we used our points for the hotel. It sure helped!”

Sonja D. “Ours lets us put it back on our card towards the balance.”

I love these ideas. It feels so great to get FREE things. No matter what you use your points for, ALWAYS pay off your credit card in full EVERY SINGLE MONTH. Here’s why: According to the U.S. News and World Report article, “High APRs: Rewards credit cards tend to have higher interest rates. If you carry a balance, your interest charges may be more than earned rewards.”

So, if you want to find the best Cash Back Bonus card then here are a few suggestions that U.S. News & World Report suggest:

To find the best rewards card, consumers should look at the following criteria:

  1. Pick the right rewards program for you.
  2. Calculate earning potential.
  3. Factor in sign-up bonuses.
  4. Rewards program point valuation.
  5. Subtract annual fees.
  6. Understand cardholder benefits.

Happy Hunting for your FREE things!

To find U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORTS full survey, click on the link.


4 thoughts on “Find FREE Money – U.S. News & World Report survey on Cash Back Credit Cards

  1. Thanks for the info. I have used points for gas & for paying back on the card. Now I have some other ideas.

  2. I didn’t see Capital One listed. It gives 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Citi claims to give double but there’s a caveat to that so I stopped using my Citi. I also didn’t see Discover listed which offers 5% cash back on different goods and services quarterly… such as gas purchases January thru March.

    About 2 years in a row I’ve earned $500 cash back that I put in an interest earning Christmas club account every time I received a cash back check.

    1. I love that you used your cash back to buy Christmas. What a genius way to use free money. It uses the sub-accounts, interest earned on your Christmas Club account, AND the free cash back points. I’m glad you researched and were aware of the caveat to using your Citi card. So many people are naive to their credit card fine print. Way to be a savvy financial user.

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