3 Ways to Earn More Cash-Back Rewards When You Shop

Don’t miss out on money you could earn with NEA membership benefits that reward you for your purchases.

Happy couple making online purchases

by NEA Member Benefits

It’s nice to earn cash back with a credit card that gives you rewards, but most cards don’t give you the flexibility to customize what you earn your rewards on.

Many credit cards either offer only one or two categories in which you can earn rewards, or the credit card company will select what kinds of purchases you’ll earn rewards on in a given month. If you’re a homebody, travel-mile rewards aren’t a good fit. Or maybe you have a short commute but your credit card offers you rewards only on gasoline.

The best rewards credit card for you is the one that lets you match your rewards to your lifestyle.

With the customizable NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Visa Signature® credit card, you can decide what you want to earn 3% cash back on each month. The six categories are gas and EV charging stations, online shopping/cable/streaming/internet/phone plans, dining, travel, drug stores/pharmacies, or home improvement/furnishings.

And you still earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 you spend in your combined choice category and grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter.

Keep reading to find out 3 ways you can use this customizable cash-back rewards credit card to help you maximize your rewards every time you shop.

1. Adjust your top-earning category monthly based on your biggest expected expenses

You decide how you spend your hard-earned money, and now you can decide how you get rewarded, too. By having the choice of where and when you’ll earn your 3% cash-back rewards, you can maximize your rewards based on your spending habits throughout the year with the NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Visa Signature credit card.

For example:

  • If you’re planning to book your summer vacation—buying plane tickets, reserving a hotel room and rental car—then select Travel for the month when you’ll be making those purchases.
  • If you’ll be going on vacation and plan to eat at restaurants a lot, you could select Dining for that month.
  • If you want to tackle some home improvement projects, you could select Home Improvement & Furnishings for the month you’ll be buying supplies, décor and more.
  • If you’ll be buying a lot of holiday presents online, select Online Shopping for that month.

You could plan out your big shopping expenses for the year, updating your 3% rewards category each month for future purchases to maximize the cash-back rewards you earn. For every qualifying dollar you spend in that category during that billing period, you’ll earn 3 cents toward your cash-back rewards total.

The benefits are obvious: If you were to book a $500 plane ticket at the regular 1% cash-back rewards rate, you’d earn $5. But if you change your 3% category to Travel before you purchase your plane ticket, you could earn $15, thereby accelerating your cash-back rewards earnings.

Here’s an example of how monthly purchases can add up to a sizable cash-back reward in a year:

2. Set-and-forget your top-earning category based on your shopping habits

Customizing your 3% cash-back category every month can help you maximize your rewards, but it also can take a lot of planning and effort. Another option is to simply select one of the six categories as your 3% cash-back category and leave it as-is every month.

If you and your family frequently dine at restaurants or order takeout, then consider selecting the Dining category. If you’re regularly renting cars, staying in hotels, or flying to visit family or take vacations, select the Travel category.

The NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Visa Signature credit card is one of the best credit cards you can have if you want to get rewarded when you shop online. When you compare credit cards, you’ll discover that there aren’t too many that offer the Online Shopping rewards category. If you make a lot of purchases over the internet, you can pick Online Shopping as your top-earning choice category to earn 3% on those transactions.

With six categories to choose from, you have a lot of flexibility in deciding what purchases you’ll earn your cash-back rewards on.

3. Use your cash-back rewards card when shopping through NEA Discount Marketplace

This option helps you turbocharge your rewards because you’re earning cash-back rewards in two places on a single transaction.

When you shop through NEA Discount Marketplace, powered by Rakuten, you get access to special deals and cash-back offers on brand-name products through thousands of online retailers. And when you pay for your purchases with your NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Visa Signature credit card and have online shopping selected as your top-earning choice category, you can earn 3% cash-back rewards on those purchases.

When you use your NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Visa Signature credit card to make online purchases through NEA Discount Marketplace, you can earn cash-back rewards from your credit card AND from Rakuten!

How do I take advantage of these NEA member benefits?

If you don’t already have an NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Visa Signature credit card, find out more about this card and apply online.

To start shopping through the NEA Discount Marketplace, see what cash-back deals are available now. Deals change regularly, so check back often.

If you already have a Rakuten account, find out how to connect your information to your NEA login so you’ll be eligible for all of the exclusive offers you’ll find here just for NEA members.

If you already have the NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Visa Signature credit card, your account already has access to the customizable rewards options. The default 3% cash-back rewards category is gas and EV charging stations.

To update your preference as desired, you must go to Online Banking or use the Mobile Banking app to change the choice category for future purchases.

You can change your 3% choice category once a month, or you can select a category and leave it as is for as long as you like.

Your cash rewards redemption options include getting a check or statement credits, or having a deposit made directly into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.

Your cash rewards won’t expire, so you can redeem them whenever you like.


For information about rates, fees, other costs and benefits associated with the use of this card or to apply, click on the “apply now” link on the NEA® Customized Cash Rewards Visa Signature® credit card page at https://www.neamb.com/products/nea-cash-rewards-card and refer to the disclosures accompanying the online credit card application. This credit card program is issued and administered by Bank of America, N.A.

Mobile Banking requires that you download the Mobile Banking app and is only available for select mobile devices. Message and data rates may apply.

Apply for the NEA credit card that offers cash-back rewards