At Experian, consumer credit and finance education is our priority. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.
In this article:
'Tis the season for giving—which means you're probably going to spend a lot of cash you've worked hard to earn all year.
Americans will spend an average of $1,284 on holiday gifts, travel and entertainment—a 2.7% increase from last year—according to PwC's 2019 Holiday Outlook survey. This holiday shopping season, make sure the right credit cards are in your wallet to help you save money, maximize rewards and stay out of debt.
Check out these five credit cards before you start spending.
Discover it® Cash Back
If you're planning on doing most of your Black Friday shopping online—and don't forget about Cyber Monday—the Discover it® Cash Back card is tough to beat. During the last three months of 2019, the card offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending at Amazon.com, Target (in-store and online) and Walmart.com when you activate. You'll earn 1% on everything else.
What's more, Discover will match all your cash back earnings at the end of your first year with the card—effectively earning you 10% back on your holiday shopping using those websites, plus 10% on all other bonus categories, and 2% back everywhere else. Discover's introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months means you will have plenty of time to pay down your holiday spending without accruing interest.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
If you do a lot of holiday entertaining, consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and its generous 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases each year; after that it's 1% cash back). You also earn 6% back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, and 1% back everywhere else.
Just be aware that superstores like Walmart and Target and warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club don't count as supermarkets.
While the card does come with a $95 annual fee, you can make up for it with the intro bonus alone: New cardholders will earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months with the account. You'll also get an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening, giving you plenty of time to pay down any lingering holiday debt.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If you like the idea of turning holiday spending into your next vacation, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can help make that happen. The card offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months—that's worth $750 in travel when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
You'll also have the option to transfer your points to one of several airline and hotel rewards programs at a 1-to-1 ratio, giving you plenty of ways to redeem your rewards for an incredible trip.
The card offers 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. It also comes with several travel perks, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, primary rental car insurance (which doesn't require you to involve your personal insurance company like most credit cards) and more.