The Best Credit Cards for Maximizing Your Holiday Shopping

Holiday Shopping Credit Cards

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‘Tis the season for holiday shopping.

According to a recent study performed by the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an average of $885 on holiday shopping this year. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 33% expect to spend at least $1,000 on gifts.
  • 22% expect to spend between $500 and $999.
  • 29% expect gift spending to be between $100 and $499.
  • 3% plan to spend less than $100.

If you can be responsible with those purchases, you should be getting something back on the money you spend. A true thrifty traveler is always getting cash back or valuable credit card rewards points.

Here’s our list for the best cards to maximize your 2018 holiday shopping.

 

The Chase Freedom Card

The Chase Freedom Card is one of my favorite no annual fee credit cards on the marketplace. Each quarter, Chase releases a list of retailers and/or spending categories that will earn a 5% cash back bonus on all spending up to $1,500. For the fourth quarter of 2018, those bonus categories are:

  • Wholesale Clubs (Sams Club, Costco, etc.)
  • Department Stores
  • Chase Pay (see which retailers accept Chase Pay here).

On top of those bonus categories, cardholders earn 1% cash back per dollar spent on all other purchases. What makes the Freedom card so valuable is that as long as you hold either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, all cash back earned on the Freedom card can be converted into Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Read up on how to do that here.

To top it all off, the Chase Freedom Card offers a 0% interest rate for the first 15 months from account opening.

 

  • Welcome Offer of $150 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months (can be converted to 15,000 Ultimate Rewards Points)
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating quarterly bonus categories.
  • Earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Receive a 0% APR for the first 15 months from account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Subjected to the Chase 5/24 Rule

 

Holiday Shopping Credit Cards

 

Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Card

 

The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

As the name suggests, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card has many similarities to the Chase Freedom card. But instead of a rotating 5% cash back quarterly bonuses, the Freedom Unlimited card earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every dollar you spend on the card.

Again, as long as you hold either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, the cash back earned on the Freedom Unlimited card can be converted into Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You can read more about that here.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card also offers a 0% interest rate for the first 15 months from account opening.

 

  • Welcome Offer of $150 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months (can be converted to 15,000 Ultimate Rewards Points)
  • Earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • Receive a 0% APR for the first 15 months from account opening
  • No Annual Fee
  • Subjected to the Chase 5/24 Rule

 

Holiday Shopping Credit Cards

 

Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

 

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card launched earlier this year, offering a 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months with the card. It earns 3x points at gas stations, rideshare programs like Uber or Lyft, and travel expenses like flights and hotels. It also offers an introductory rate of 0% APR for the first 12 months of card membership. To cap it, it has no annual fee.

While we value points that can be transferred to airline and hotel partners for their flexibility, redeeming these points directly through Wells Fargo is simple and easy for the average traveler to understand.

  • 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months. These can be redeemed for up to $300 towards travel.
  • No annual fee
  • 3x points per dollar spent on travel, eating out and ordering in, gas stations and streaming services like Hulu & Netflix
  • 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases

 

Learn more about this card and other travel rewards cards here.

 

The Discover it Cash Back Card

Another one of my favorite, all-around cash back cards out there is the Discover it Card. Like the Chase Freedom card, the Discover it card earns 5% cash back per dollar spent at different places each quarter. Think gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and Amazon.com. You will also earn a 1% unlimited cash back per dollar spent on all other purchases.

For the fourth quarter of 2018, here are the bonus categories that will earn 5% cash back:

  • Amazon.com
  • Wholesale Clubs (Sams Club, Costco, etc.)

The card also offers a special introductory offer and will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year of card membership automatically. There is no limit to how much cash back they will match. And like the other cards on this list, the card offers a 0% APR for the first 14 months.

 

Holiday Shopping Credit Cards

 

To learn more about the Discover it Cash Back Card, visit the Top 10 Credit Card Offers for the month section of our Top Credit Cards page. 

 

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, any card is a good card to use for holiday shopping if you are working towards a minimum spend requirement to earn a large welcome offer bonus. But you should never spend money you don’t have just to reach the minimum spend. That’s just a path to financial trouble.

The cards on this list are solid holiday shopping options and also offer an introductory 0% APR period to ease the strain any holiday spending might cause.

 

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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