Does this targeted sign-up bonus move a USAA card to the top of the cash-back cards list?

USAA has a targeted holiday offer on its 1.5% cash-back Visa card that’s one of the best cash-back bonus offers I’ve ever seen: a $200 bonus after only 12 purchases.

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It’s not the best-earning no-fee card.

That title goes to Citi’s Double Cash card, which earns a simple 2% cash back on everything. But that card doesn’t have a sign-up bonus.

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It’s not the only no-fee card to offer a $200 bonus.

Bank of America’s MLB card offers a $200 bonus from time to time, but it requires $500 in spend, and it’s earning structure isn’t simple.

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It’s not the only card to offer a simple 1.5% cash back.

Capital One and Chase both have cards that earn a simple 1.5% cash back, but their sign-up bonuses top out at $150 and require $500 in spend.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited

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Capital One Quicksilver

So why is USAA’s offer so good?

The offer requires only 12 purchases in order to earn the $200 bonus. That’s among the best bonuses for a no-fee card, along with one of simplest spend requirements I’ve ever seen.

Here are the details:

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Is this the best cash-back card?

It depends on your priorities and spending, but many would argue that Chase’s Freedom Unlimited card is better, IF you use it in conjunction with one of Chase’s premium cards that allow you to transfer your Chase points to travel partners.

Chase’s Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Business Preferred are all premium cards that allow you to transfer your Chase points to these partners:

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By transferring your Chase points to the travel partner that fits your travel plans, it’s possible to make that 1.5 cents per dollar worth substantially more.

But premium Chase cards have annual fees of anywhere from $95 to $450.

If we’re strictly comparing cash-back cards with flat cash earnings though, this USAA offer is definitely one of the best.

You would need to spend $10,000 on your Citi Double Cash card before you would earn the $200 that the USAA card would give you as a sign-up bonus.

In the long run, or after $40,000 in spending, the Citi Double Cash card would be more lucrative than the USAA card.

This is the second awesome credit card offer I’ve seen from USAA recently.

A couple of month’s ago, USAA members in a handful of states were offered a cash-back card, as part of a pilot program, that earns a flat 2.5% cash back. It only required the cardholder to make a direct deposit of at least $1K per month to a USAA checking account.

I’m very interested to see if that credit card continues and expands across the country.

But who is eligible for USAA products?

If you, your spouse or your parents served in the military, you should be eligible for most USAA products, such as credit cards.

Finally, I should mention a card that some would consider the cash-back king:

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The earnings structure isn’t simple, but it could be very lucrative if you were able to maximize the bonus categories.

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The reason I didn’t mention this card earlier is because it’s a business card, and the $3K minimum spend requirement puts it in a different category from all the other fee-free cash-back cards, in my book.

*Update: Doctor of Credit now has a post about this offer, along with some additional details about USAA credit cards across the board.

Thoughts? Thanks for reading!

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