Best Cash Back Cards and Why Reward Miles Suck!

If you're not getting at least 1.5% cash back on your credit card, you're missing out. And when I say cash back, I mean exactly that, not points, not miles, but actual cash. Points and miles are complicated and a largely a waste of time. In the same amount of time you'll spend juggling cards, dodging fees, learning about the new tips and tricks, or changes, then moving around miles just so you can find an airline to redeem them, you could be enjoying life or better yet, making more money. By the way, this works for non-americans as well which I'll talk about at the end of the post. I've met a lot of the points gurus and travel hackers, and they all have one thing in common, they love traveling for free, but none of them realize that free isn't free when they're speaking 20 hours a week of brain power on their hobby.

I've tried them all and even hired one of those Points Gurus to find me a Business Class flight from Thailand to Hawaii and none of them could beat the price I got with a quick google search myself. Best of all, with the cash back I got from my card, the entire flight was free and I didn't have to deal with redeeming miles or other things that no one has time for. In this post I'm going to show you the 3 Cards everyone should have including one of which gives you an insane 3% cashback and I'll be including a review of the new Apple Card as well.

Watch the Video Explainer: 

Watch the original, but note that Zero Card is now being replaced by Apple Card in my recommendations list.

Why Reward Miles Suck

You may be tempted or even tricked into following some Million Miles Points Guru into thinking you can get something for free and that you'll be flying first class around the world like they are with nothing but their miles. But here's a secret. These guys spend every moment of their day reading the latest trick on how to generate artificial spend and other bullshit that ultimately ends up either ruining their credit score or them messing up and paying 24.9% interest and late penalties on a card they forgot they opened.

In the same amount of time you spend trying to figure out how to redeem your miles you could be building a real business and getting a ton of cash back without doing any work.

By the way, I could technically be one of those Million Mile Gurus or A Points Guy as I've earned way over a million miles on just one of my cards. This month I got $5,503.40 in cash just for clicking two extra buttons and saying I want to use my miles instead of paying my bill this month.

Points and Miles are a waste of time.

Sounds good right?

It is, but it's only because I spend zero brain power thinking about this stuff and just watch the reward miles rack up.

If you told me I'd have to open 6 different internet browser windows, apply for 6 different cards all at once then remember to cancel them all before the end of the year or risk paying $125 to $450 for each of them, I'd tell you to go to hell. Having just three cards is already a pain in the ass to remember to pay off every month and if I ever get hit with a missed payment or have to pay 14.9% on a card I forgot about, I'll choke someone.

So what's the alternative?

Here are three cards that you should have in your wallet right now and if you don't, you're missing out.

apple card

Apple Card

Starting with the Apple Card, it's a no brainer, it's free with no annual fees. You can use it world wide with no fees. And if you use it on your phone's apple pay, you get back 2% on everything.

Easy. It's recommended and an easy no brainer. Watch the video below for more info. 

Zero Financial 

This card will supposedly give you 3% Cash Back on all purchases, no categories, limited time signup bonuses or annual fees. The only downside if you need to get on the waitlist as it's not out yet. I love the fact that they allow you to auto pay your balance every month so you never have to remember to log in. The fact that they attach it straight into a bank account makes it so you can never overspend more than you have and because there is no annual fee, it's a no brainer.

Unfortunately it took them 2 years to launch the card and their customer service is terrible. I doubt that Zero Financial and the Zero card will actually take off, especially with the new Apple Card as their competitor. Bryce Galen, the CEO of Zero really dropped the ball and missed out on a great opportunity by not focusing on good customer experience or service.

I got $5,503.40 in Cash Back this month.

Barclay Arrival+ 

Right now since i'm waiting for the Apple to come out I'm putting all of my expenses on my Barclay Arrival card. The reason why I like it is the fact that I essentially get 2.05% cash back on all purchases and zero headache or bullshit.

With other miles cards you have to try to find an airline that will let you redeem it, then you have to transfer them from one to another, find an open window, and waste your time. With Barclay you just buy whatever ticket you want, then anytime up to 60 days later you just click two buttons and get your money back for it. That's it.

If you don't like Barclay, you can also get the Capital One Venture instead which is exactly the same but gives you 2% back instead of the extra .05% and way better customer service. I've had tons of great experiences with Capital One but Barclay has been a huge hit or miss.

Tons of legroom flying business class back from Europe

Capital One QuickSilver

As a backup, I recommend and personally use the Capital One QuickSilver card which gives 1.5% card back on all purchases, also with zero bullshit and great customer service.

If you never travel outside of the U.S. the Citi Cash Card is also a great option as you get 2% cashback without any annual fees. The biggest downsides is they charge a 3% foreign transaction fee which makes this a terrible card for digital nomads. I've also heard they give stupidly low limits for this card which makes it only good as a backup or for those not running a real business.

These past few months I haven't been running a lot of expenses through my cards as ever since I sold my dropshipping store I lost out on close to $20,000 in spend. The good news is next month I'm starting a bunch of new stores again and will be putting at least one of the on my cards which will let me rack up points once again.

Even though it's fun seeing over a million points in my balance, and even though all of the cards I use and recomend here are super easy and bullshit free, cash is still king which is why I'm super looking forward to the new Zero card coming out. I'll be super to write a review of the Zero Card as soon as I start using it, but I've read though their fine print and it seems like a great option.

Cashback Cards for Non-Americans

I'm so tired of hearing people from other countries moan about not having cash back cards in their country. The fact is, most people are too lazy to research it themselves and actually look around. Without even being from these countries, I was able to find some type of decent cashback card for every country I've searched for so I'm convinced people aren't looking hard enough or at all.

Sure some of these don't have signup bonuses, but who cares. If you follow my advice from above you'll be spending $10,000 - $25,000 a month on your cards anyways and those points rack up quick.

Canada - check out the MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard which gives 2% cash back.

Australia - take a look at the Citi Rewards Platinum Card which gives you 1.25% cash back.

England - you have the American Express Platinum Cashback which gives you 1.25% and a 5% starting bonus.

I didn't have time to look up every country in the world, but you get the point. Just google "best cashback credit card" and the name of your country and I'm sure you'll find something. Hope to see all of you flying business class somewhere in the world with all of the cash you'll be stacking up in your bank accounts.

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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  1. Hi Johnny. I remember hearing a podcast you did recently in which you interviewed a guy who had a website to help people pick out the best credit card in order to max out the benefits. Can't remember his name or the website but how does this blog tie into that? Seems like you were pretty pumped back then on frequent flyer miles.

    1. I still love getting miles and points but after wasting a ton of time trying to figure out how to transfer airline miles, dealing with shitty cards just to get the signup bonus, etc, I realized it's a complete waste of time.

      From now on i'm only doing straight forward cashback cards like the ones I mentioned in this post.

  2. You should have a look at Tail. A great edition to the monzo card and will slowly support all banks in the future Http://

  3. Hi Johnny, thank you for providing a helpful post on choosing the best credit card.

    I just took a look at the FAQ of Zero Financial and it looks like this card cannot be used for business purposes. They mentioned they will close your account if they suspect any business activity. They use automated techniques to identify and flag patterns inconsistent with personal use.

    Hopefully they plan to offer a business card in the near future.

    1. That's super weird they would do that. I doubt it'll be an issue as I use personal cards for business all of the time but I guess we'll find out!

    2. There's really no downside to give it a try and see what happens. Most likely you'll go years or forever before they even care.

  4. Hey Johnny, I'm an Australian and been bemoaning the fact that we don't have cashback credit cards here (apart from sign-up cashback bonuses, no % of purchases cashback cards) so I was super excited when I saw you mention a Citibank card that does cashback. However upon investigating - the citybank credit card you mentioned doesn't give 1.25% cashback - instead it gives 1.25 reward points per $1 spent.

    After chatting with the Citibank reps over the phone, their rewards program gives cashback at an approximate rate of 0.125% ($25 per 25,000 points which you would need to spend $20,000 to accumulate) which doesn't seem worth it to be honest. In this case would you recommend to go with miles instead?

    1. Hey thanks for the Aussie update. There is no possible way their rewards are structured to only give you $25 cash back every time you spend $20,000. That'd be a terrible return. I'd call them again and have them clarify if you spend $20,000, how much CASH value (or at least gift card value) you would get back.

      The problem with Australian cards right now is that there is less demand and competition. Find a card that either has $0 annual fee, or one that makes sense depending on how much you spend.

  5. I live in Canada. Can I get a good US credit card with cash back? BTW I recently joined DSL so I could really use a good cash back CC ;-)


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