Use these cards to maximize your entertainment spending in 2021
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and current card details.
Entertainment spending usually makes up a large chunk of consumer spending in America — more than gas and clothing. Due in large part to the pandemic, the past year has been the opposite. However, a return to various forms of entertainment seems to be quickly approaching. But despite entertainment expenses being a historically common spending category, not many cards explicitly offer bonus rewards for entertainment spending.
In part, this is probably because of the ambiguity of the category itself. Entertainment spending can theoretically encompass a lot of different things and many things you’d assume would fall under that umbrella end up coding differently on a credit card statement — amusement parks, ski passes, dinner shows are all things that could easily be coded as travel or dining depending on the card, the specific merchant and where you make the purchase.
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But in this guide, we’ll walk through the cards that offer rewards on more general entertainment spending as we inch closer to a return in some entertainment spending.
|Card||Welcome bonus||Entertainment rewards rate||Annual fee|
|Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card||$300 after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening||4% cash back||$95|
|Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card||$200 after you spend $500 in the first three months of account opening||3% cash back||$0|
|Marvel Mastercard||$25 statement credit after your first purchase||3% cash back||$0|
|U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
|$150 after you spend $500 in the first three months||5% cash back||$0|
The information for the Marvel Mastercard, U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Welcome bonus: Earn a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
Rewards rate: Earn 4% cash back on dining, entertainment purchases, and popular streaming services, 3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target) and 1% on everything else.
How entertainment is defined: Capital One defines entertainment purchases pretty broadly. According to the Capital One website, entertainment purchases include tickets to movie theaters, plays, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, theme parks, aquariums, zoos, dance clubs, bowling alleys, pool halls, record stores and video rental locations.
Keep in mind: Additionally, Capital One only allows you to carry two personal Capital One branded cards at a time and also tends to restrict you to one new card every six months, including both business and personal cards. If you’re interested in this card, keep these restrictions in mind as you plan an application strategy.
Check out the Capital One Savor card review for more details.
Welcome bonus: Earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first three months.
Rewards rate: Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases
How entertainment is defined: Capital One defines entertainment the same across both Savor cards, meaning you’ll get bonus rewards on tickets to movie theaters, plays, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, theme parks, aquariums, zoos, dance clubs, bowling alleys, pool halls, record stores and video rental locations.
Keep in mind: The Capital One Savor may charge an annual fee, but anyone spending a significant portion of their budget on dining and entertainment will still likely get a better value from that card even with the annual fee. The SavorOne is best-suited for beginners and those with smaller budgets.
Check out the Capital One SavorOne card review for more details.
Welcome bonus: Earn a $25 statement credit after your first purchase.
Rewards: Earn 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, online purchases at Marvel.com and purchases at Marvel’s official merchandise booths.
How Entertainment is Defined: For 3% cash back earnings, entertainment includes “movie theaters, video rental and game stores, theatrical and concert promoters, amusement parks, digital entertainment, games, and software merchants, music, books, and newsstands, and toys and hobby stores.”
Keep in mind: Of all the cards on this list, this card offers the weakest sign-up bonus. But if you’re interested in a cash back credit card to earn on entertainment spending, it’s not a bad option. However, I wouldn’t suggest using it as an everyday spending card for any expenses that don’t earn 3% back.
The information for the Marvel Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
Welcome bonus: Earn a $150 cash bonus after spending $500 in eligible purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Rewards: Earn 5% cash back by selecting from two of 12 merchant categories each quarter on your first $2,000 combined purchases, 2% on one everyday category, like gas stations, grocery stores or restaurants and 1% everywhere else.
How Entertainment is Defined: U.S. Bank offers two entertainment-related categories that earn 5% cash back: movie theaters and TV, internet and streaming services. This includes popular services such as Xfinity, Netflix, Hulu and more. You can opt for both entertainment categories every quarter to maximize cash back if you choose.
Keep in mind: The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card offers compelling cash back earning rates for a card without an annual fee. Just don’t forget, you have to opt-in each quarter and select your preferred bonus categories to earn the higher rewards rates.
Check out the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card review for more details.
Consider a flat-rate card
Frequent travelers can use the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to earn 2x miles across every purchase. Business travelers can try out the Capital One Spark Miles for Business, which also earns 2x across every purchase. Both only charge a $95 annual fee (waived for the first year for the Spark Miles). There are also no-annual-fee versions of both cards for any beginners with a smaller budget.
If cash back is more your style, a card like the Citi® Double Cash Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited is also a viable option. The Citi Double Cash earns 2% on every purchase (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay your bill), while the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% back on all non-bonus categories. Both are no-annual-fee cards, and you can pair them with others within their issuer lineups to maximize your redemption options and value.
Don’t forget about exclusive access perks
There’s more to maximizing credit cards than just rewards (though earning rewards is largely part of that equation).
Some top travel cards offer exclusive perks for entertainment events. Some issuers hold invite-only events that grant you access to purchase hard-to-get tickets with a specific premium credit card. In those cases, it may make sense to use a card that doesn’t necessarily earn rewards on entertainment on those purchases. It all depends on what you find more valuable in each situation.
Related reading: Cards that offer VIP event access
Remember that some purchases may not code within the entertainment category, depending on how and where you make your purchase. For example, Disney World tickets may code as entertainment, travel, or something else entirely depending on how you obtain tickets.
During normal times, entertainment is a major part of life, no matter your precise personal interests or hobbies. Whether you are a rollercoaster aficionado, Marvel movie enthusiast, stand-up comedy fan or something in between, it’s good to have a card on hand that helps you earn additional rewards on those purchases and/or provides opportunities for enhanced experiences.
Additional reporting by Benji Stawski and Mike Cetera.
Featured image by Flashpop/Getty Images
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