According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales in November and December of this year are expected to surge 3.6 to 4 percent compared to last year. Said another way, Americans could spend as much as $682 billion on their holiday gifts this year if the numbers hold.
As usual, a lot of that spending will take place on Black Friday, the notorious shopping holiday that takes place the day after Thanksgiving. As NRF figures show, more than 154 million individuals shopped in stores or online on Black Friday in 2016, spending about $290 each, on average.
Best Rewards Cards for Black Friday Shopping 2017
If you’re gearing up for a shopping holiday this Thanksgiving, you’re not alone. But, you have the opportunity to shop in a class of your own if you pick up the right rewards credit card ahead of time.
While Black Friday is well known for its out-of-this-world discounts and deals, many rewards cards are offering big signup bonuses and extra cash back just for using them while you shop.
Here are the best cards for this year’s shopping season, including Black Friday and other holiday sales:
Discover it® Cash Back
The Discover it® Cash Back may be one of the most lucrative options for this year’s holiday shopping season, especially if you plan to shop on Amazon.com or at Target. This card doles out a flat 1 percent back for every dollar you spend along with 5 percent cash-back on your first $1,500 spent in categories that rotate every quarter. The kicker is, this year’s final bonus category (October – December) includes Amazon.com and Target.
So, if you plan to do your holiday shopping on Amazon.com or at Target, you’ll get a flat 5 percent cash-back for everything you buy up to a $1,500 limit. But, it gets even better. During your first year as a cardholder, Discover® has promised to double the amount of cash back you earn.
For January through March 2019, earn 5% Cashback Bonus at Grocery Stores, on up to $1,500 in purchases when you activate. Excludes purchases made at Walmart and Target.
The Discover it® Cash Back also comes with no annual fee, making it a smart option for all your regular purchases.
The Chase Freedom® card may be a dream come true if you plan to do your Black Friday shopping at Walmart or on Walmart.com. This card offers a flat 1 percent cash-back on every purchase you make plus 5 percent cash back on your first $1,500 spent in categories that rotate every quarter. Amazingly, this year’s final “bonus category” is perfect for holiday shopping. You'll earn the 5% cash back on your first $1,500 on purchases made at eligible department stores and purchases made using PayPayl or Chase Pay® from October through December 2019. You will need to activate by December 14th, 2019 to take advantage of this offer.
While a ton of department stores are included in the promotion and you can read the entire list here, some of the most popular options include Kohl’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, Dillard’s, and Von Maur.
As if this wasn’t enough incentive to sign up, the Chase Freedom® card also offers a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Consumer perks like CreditJourneySM, which gives you unlimited access to your credit score, Zero Liablity Protection, Purchase Protection, and Extended Warranty Protections. Best of all, you’ll never pay an annual fee.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
If you plan to do some of your holiday shopping at the grocery store, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is another smart card to consider for this year’s festive season. This card offers an amazing 6 percent cash-back on your first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets annually, 3 percent cash-back at U.S. gas stations, and 1 percent cash-back on all other purchases. You’ll also get a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
Additional consumer benefits also round out this card’s offering. Once you sign up, you’ll qualify for extended warranties on qualifying products, guaranteed returns on select products, purchase protection, car rental insurance, and more. This card does come with a $95 annual fee.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card is another card to consider if you plan to do a lot of your holiday shopping on Amazon.com specifically. Once you sign up and become an Amazon Prime member (if you’re not already), you’ll earn a flat 5 percent cash-back on every purchase you make with the online store.
Since this is a regular Visa card, however, you can use it for purchases made nearly anywhere. As such, you’ll also earn 2 percent cash-back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1 percent back on all other purchases. This card also comes without an annual fee.
Citi® Double Cash Card
While the Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t offer 5 percent back like some of the other cards on this list, it can be absolutely advantageous for certain types of holiday shopping. This is mostly due to Citi’s amazing Price Rewind program. With Citi Price Rewind, you can get a refund if a qualified item you purchase with the card goes down in price within 60 days of your initial purchase. The kicker is, once you register your item, Citi does the hard work and searches for a lower price for you.
On the rewards side, the Citi® Double Cash Card still comes with one heck of an offer. Once you sign up for the card, you’ll earn a flat 2 percent cash-back on everything you buy – 1 percent back when you make a purchase and another 1 percent back when you pay it off. This card also comes without an annual fee, making it a smart option for all your purchases year-round.
The Bottom Line
If you’re hoping to earn some massive rewards to go with the crazy discounts you score on Black Friday, a rewards credit card or cash-back credit card could be exactly what you need. Keep in mind, however, that you need to pay off your balance every month if you want to avoid credit card interest and truly benefit from the rewards you earn.
If you want to charge your holiday purchases and pay them off slowly, on the other hand, certain rewards cards may leave you better off. The Chase Freedom® card, for example, offers 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. After that, a variable APR of 16.74% - 25.49% applies. With this offer, you could rack up meaningful rewards and pay off your purchases slowly without paying interest.
At the end of the day, the best rewards card for your Black Friday shopping extravaganza depends on where you plan to shop and your individual needs. With some research and careful planning, your holiday shopping budget should easily translate into some meaningful rewards worth celebrating.