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. Discover it® Cash Back offers 1% back on all purchases and 5% back on your first $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter. INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
For January to March 2019, earn 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $1,500 in purchases when you activate. Excludes purchases made at Walmart and Target.
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 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 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 up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®. 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.
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 80,000 bonus points after you use it for $4,000 in spending within three months of account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You’ll also earn 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel. This card does charge a $95 annual fee.
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 unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, and 1% back on all other purchases. Amazingly, you also earn a one-time $300 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 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! From October through December 2019, Chase's 5% cash back category includes purchases made at eligible department stores and also purchases made using PayPal or Chase Pay®. You will need to activate this offer by December 14th 2019 to take advantage.
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 5% cash back offer. There are plenty of popular stores on the list including Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Sears. You can also secure the 5% cash back offer 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 5% cash back in categories that rotate each quarter, also note that the Chase Freedom® offers a $150 bonus after you spend $500 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Considering this card doesn’t charge an annual fee, it’s a no-brainer.
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