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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.
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.
The Chase Freedom® card is a good credit card to have in your holiday shopping arsenal. During the fourth quarter of 2019, cardholders will earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent at department stores and on any purchases made using PayPal or Chase Pay. That can net you up to $75 in rewards, but don't forget to activate the bonus to earn that rate. All other purchases earn 1% unlimited cash back.
This card also offers a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases for 15 months. So, if you spend a little more during the holidays than you can pay in full right away, you'll have plenty of time to pay off those purchases without accruing interest. Apply now, and you'll get an additional $150 after you use this card to spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
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.
Citi® Double Cash Card
If you prefer to keep things simple, the Citi® Double Cash Card is a good way to go. You earn 2% cash back on all your purchases—1% back when you make a purchase, and then another 1% back once you pay it off. That's a good incentive to pay down your holiday spending—and a good rate for a card with no annual fee.
While there's no cash sign-up bonus, you will get an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 9 months, which gives you some time to eliminate holiday debt. Also, the card's high rewards rate on everything means you know you'll get a lot of value out of it long after this holiday season ends.
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.