Pick your Amex SimplyCash Category Now!

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This is a quick reminder that you have until January 31, 2016 to select your 3% cash back category for the Amex SimplyCash credit card. With this card you get 5% cash back at US office supply stores and wireless phone services purchased directly from U.S. wireless providers, BUT… you also get 3% cash back at a category of your choice! Also, if you are not yet a card holder and interested in this no annual fee card, the current limited time offer of a $250 statement credit expires April 27, 2016 (scroll down to the bottom of the post to learn more about the offer.

You can select one out of the seven given categories to receive the 3% back, up to $25,000. I personally like the option of being able to get 3% cash back on either hotel rooms or and gas stations (airfare is good too, but I like to stick to Chase credit cards for the extra protection). Remember though, you can only select 1 category and cannot change it again until the following year (December 1 – January 31). These categories include:

  • Airfare purchased from airlines (must purchase your flight directly from a passenger airline that accepts the card; third-party airfare purchases do not qualify)
  • Hotel rooms purchased from hotels (must pay for your hotel stay directly with the hotel; booking through a third-party will qualify only if you are paying the hotel directly and not paying the third-party)
  • Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies (includes: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, E-Z, Fox, Hertz, National, Payless, Thrifty)
  • U.S gas stations (i.e., Gulf, Murphy, Exxon, Mobile, Hess, Shell; gas stations that are part of supermarkets or warehouse clubs, such as, Costco and Target, are not eligible)
  • U.S. restaurants (you might not earn the bonus for restaurants located within another establishment, such as a restaurants inside a hotel, casino, or event venue)
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (including: Google, Facebook, Yahoo, NBC National Broadcasting, CBS Radio, etc.)
  • U.S. purchases for shipping (including: UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc.)

Of course the category selection depends on your spending habits, but here are my thoughts:

  • If you typically use points and miles for travel (airfare and hotel spend), then selecting option Airfare or Hotels won’t do you any good. However, if you typically fly on expensive tickets for company travel and can use a credit card of your choice, getting 3% cash back on airfare could work out very well for you! If it is on personal travel, then I like to use a Chase credit card since most of them comes with trip delay insurance. For hotels, typically the hotel’s co-branded credit card will give you the best value.
  • If you travel often and rent cars, then Car Rentals could be a good option. There aren’t too many cards that give bonuses on car rental spend.
  • If you drive a lot gas could be a worthwhile selection, although there are many other no annual fee credit cards that will give you 3% cash back on gas purchases (as mentioned in this post)
  • This card gives a higher bonus at restaurants then any other card, so if you spend a lot dining out or paying for company dinners, selecting Restaurants could work out well.
  • Advertising and Shipping spend is probably only valuable for a small number of readers, but for those that run their own company and spend a lot in these two areas, this selection option could be worthwhile.

Other Card Benefits

Aside from the bonus cash back categories, this card also comes with a bunch of other benefits that can be very valuable. With this card you can…

  • Gain access to the American Express OPEN Savings program. I wrote about this more here, but essentially you can get up to 10% back as a statement credit at participating merchants (for example, 10% back at Hertz). I personally like the OPEN Savings program and have found it quite valuable. Let’s say you rent a car often at Hertz and select “Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies” as your bonus category, you can take advantage of both the 3% cash back opportunity as well as the 10% back offer from the OPEN Savings program. Just remember though, to get the 10% back at Hertz you must spend $2,501+ spend per year.
  • Register your card for the Amex Offers. This card will allow you to take advantage of more American Express Offers and earn statement credits. I love the Amex statement credit cards especially with a card that has no annual fee!

*Terms and limitations apply

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. In order to activate your cash back 3% category it is not available on the American Express website. You need to call American Express and speak to a customer service representative to change your cash back category.

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