Best Rewards Cards for Holiday Shopping
November 1, 2018
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According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), winter holiday spending is the second largest consumer spending event of the year. Only back-to-college spending is higher, and that category only affects a small percentage of families. Winter holiday spending, on the other hand, affects hundreds of millions of consumers and led to an average of $967.13 in spending per person in 2017.
If you plan to shop for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or other winter holidays this year, it’s only natural to wonder if a credit card could leave you better off. After all, many credit cards offer travel rewards or cash-back and some offer consumer protections such as guaranteed returns and extended warranties.
5 Credit Cards to Consider for the Holidays This Year
If you’re angling to get something in return for your holiday shopping this year, it makes sense to compare credit card options right now. With a new card in your wallet early, you can maximize all your holiday shopping and potentially have rewards to redeem after the holidays hit.
With that in mind, here are five cards that could offer the best bang for your buck depending on your spending style and rewards goals:
Discover it® Cash Back
One of the most lucrative offers to consider for this year’s holiday season is the Discover it® Cash Back. While this card doesn’t offer a signup bonus, it does offer 1% back on all purchases and 5% back on your first $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter. It just so happens that October through December of 2018 comes with 5% back on Amazon.com and wholesale club purchases — the ideal rewards card combo for holiday shoppers who prefer to buy gifts online or in wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club.
Another factor that makes the Discover it® Cash Back a solid option is the fact it doesn’t charge an annual fee. Also note that Discover will double all the rewards you earn the first year, meaning you could earn up to 10% back on all your holiday shopping in 2018.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
If you want to earn flexible travel points on all your holiday shopping, you can also consider the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Once you sign up for this card, you have the potential to earn 50,000 miles worth $500 in travel after you spend $3,000 within three months account opening. You also earn 2x miles for each dollar you spend, which makes this card a smart option for regular expenses even after the holidays are over.
If you’re someone who is really into travel, you’ll also benefit from the fact this card offers a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. However, one of the biggest benefits of this card is the fact that you can redeem points for any travel expense at a rate of one cent per point. You could pay for hotel stays, airfare, train travel, or a cruise, for example. It’s totally up to you how you choose to reward yourself.
This card does charge a $95 annual fee, but it is waived the first year.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Another card to consider lets you redeem points in several different ways. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card lets you cash in points for cash-back and gift cards or for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. This portal lets you book the same hotels, airfare, and excursions found on Expedia.com, meaning you’ll have tons of flexibility there.
If you travel frequently, also note that Chase Ultimate Rewards lets you transfer points 1:1 to popular airline and hotel partners such as Marriott Rewards, World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards, British Airways, JetBlue, Air France / Flying Blue, Southwest Airlines, and United MileagePlus.
If you’re looking to earn an initial rush of points on your holiday spending, you’ll love the fact that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 50,000 points after you use it for $4,000 in spending within three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 2x points on dining and 1x points on all other bills. However, clicking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal also lets you earn up to 10 extra points per $1 spent at participating stores. This card does charge a $95 annual fee, but it is waived the first year.
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Another cash-back card we love for this year’s holiday spending season is the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card offers 4% cash-back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash-back at grocery stores, and 1% cash-back on all other purchases. Amazingly, you also earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
There are no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee the first year ($95 per year thereafter). We also love the fact you can redeem your points for statement credits to cover any purchase you want.
The Chase Freedom® is solid cash-back card all year-round, but it could be especially lucrative this upcoming holiday season. This card offers 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases and 5 points per $1 spent on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter. For the final quarter of 2018, the bonus category includes department stores, Sam’s Club, and Chase Pay.
If you plan to do your holiday shopping in department stores, you’ll definitely want to check out the list of department stores that qualify for the 5x point offer. There are plenty of popular stores on the list including Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Sears. You can also secure the 5x bonus points when you use Chase Pay to shop at stores like Walmart and Target. You can check all the stores that take Chase Pay here.
In addition to offering 5x points in categories that rotate each quarter, also note that the Chase Freedom® offers an initial signup bonus of $150 after you use your card for $500 in purchases within three months of account opening. Considering this card doesn’t charge an annual fee, it’s a no-brainer.