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Best Credit Cards for Black Friday and Holiday Shopping

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'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. According to PwC's holiday shopping outlook survey, Americans plan to spend an average of $1,250 each on holiday gifts, travel and entertainment—a 5% increase from last year. 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.

Find the best credit cards for you in Experian CreditMatch.

Check out these six credit cards before you start spending:

Chase Freedom®

Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
Ongoing APR: 16.99% to 25.74% variable, depending on your creditworthiness

The Chase Freedom card is a good one to have in your holiday shopping arsenal. During the last quarter of 2018, cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of spending at department stores, wholesale clubs and on any purchases using Chase Pay. That can net you up to $75 in rewards. (All other purchases earn 1% unlimited cash back.)

You also get a 0% introductory rate on purchases for 15 months, which means you can pay off your holiday spending in chunks over time without accruing interest. Apply now and you'll get an additional $150 after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.

Discover it® Cash Back

Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months
Ongoing APR: 13.99% to 24.99% variable, depending on your creditworthiness

If you spend a lot of money at Amazon.com for your holiday gifts, the Discover it® Cash Back can help you save big. From October 1 to December 31, 2018, you'll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of spending at Amazon.com and at wholesale clubs (you'll earn 1% on everything else).

But if you're a new cardholder, Discover will match all your cash back earnings in the first year of the account—effectively earning you up to 10% back on your Amazon and wholesale club spending this quarter. 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

Annual Fee: $95
Intro APR: 0% on purchases for 12 months
Ongoing APR: 14.99% to 25.99% variable, depending on your creditworthiness

If you do a lot of holiday entertaining, you can't beat the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, thanks to the whopping 6% cash back spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases each year; after that, it's 1% cash back). You also earn 3% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores.

While the card does come with a $95 annual fee, you can make up for it with the sign-up bonus alone: new cardholders will earn a $200 statement credit after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of having the account.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 9 months
Ongoing APR: 25.49% variable

If you prefer to keep things simple, the Cit® Double Cash Card is a good way to go. You earn 1% back on all purchases, and then another 1% back once you pay those purchases off. That's a good incentive to pay down your holiday spending. While there are no sign-up bonuses, you get peace of mind with this card.

Citi is one of the few issuers that still offers excellent price protection through its Citi Price Rewind program, which does a 60-day search for lower prices on your purchases. If there is a lower price, Citi will refund the difference (terms apply). An introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfer for nine months also offers some flexibility with paying down holiday spending.

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®

Annual Fee: $89, waived the first year
Intro APR: 0% for the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening
Ongoing APR: 17.99%, 21.99% or 24.99% variable, based on your creditworthiness

If you like to redeem your credit card rewards for travel, the Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is a good option. You earn two miles for every $1 spent on all purchases, and there's no limit to how much you can earn.

To redeem, you simply book your travel with the card—whether it's airline tickets, hotel reservations or other travel purchases—and get travel statement credits with your miles (10,000 miles equals $100 in statement credits). You also get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem. Use your holiday shopping to earn the card's sign-up bonus: 60,000 miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

Annual Fee: $0
Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
Ongoing APR: 14.99% to 25.99% variable, depending on your creditworthiness

The AmEx Cash Magnet card offers a respectable 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases, and there are no limits to how much you can earn. You can also get a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases within the first three months of opening the account. You can earn an additional $100 statement credit if you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months of opening the account.

You also get access to Pay It Plan It program, which lets you set up a monthly payment plan for large purchases with a fixed monthly fee and no interest charges.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.
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