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Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping of 2021

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As you prepare for the holiday season, having the right credit card at your disposal can make a significant difference. Whether it's to earn bonus rewards on your top spending categories or a long introductory 0% APR promotion that makes it easier to stomach a little debt, it's important to make sure you have the right credit card in your wallet.

These credit cards are some of the best to help you maximize your rewards and savings for the holidays.

6 Partner Offers

Our Picks for the Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

1.5% cash back on every purchase
Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

2% cash back rewards on purchases

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

5% cash back on rotating categories

5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3% cash back on dining and drugstores

1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card

Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card

Intro APR offer that applies to purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 18 months from account opening; intro APR period can be extended up to 3 months with on-time payments during the intro and extension periods
Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

5 points per dollar spent on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3 points per dollar spent on dining, online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs) and select streaming services

2 points per dollar spent on all other travel

1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

3% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services, and at grocery stores

1% cash back on all other purchases

200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

Best for Fair Credit: Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Most of the top credit cards for holiday shopping require good or excellent credit, which means having a credit score of 670 or higher. But if you're not quite there yet, consider the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. Responsible card use can help you strengthen your credit for the future.

The card charges a modest $39 annual fee, and it doesn't skimp on rewards. You'll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. It's best to avoid carrying a balance, though, with the card's 26.99% variable APR.

While this card can work if your credit score isn't in good enough shape to qualify for our other top credit cards for holiday shopping, those with good or excellent credit may have better options available. If your credit is below the fair threshold and you want to build up a credit history, you might look into another card such as the Milestone® Gold Mastercard®.

Best for General Shopping: Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

If you have good credit and are looking for a card that offers a high base rewards rate, look no further than the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card.

The card offers a flat 2% cash back on every purchase you make, and unlike some other 2% cash back credit cards, there are no requirements you have to meet to get that rate. What's more, it offers an introductory bonus: $200 when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.

In addition to its excellent rewards program, the card offers a solid introductory APR promotion. You'll get an introductory 0% APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening, after which the APR will be 14.99% - 24.99% (variable). Balance transfers made within 120 days of card opening qualify for this card's intro APR and carry a balance transfer fee of 3% ($5 minimum). Balance transfers made after the first 120 days have a 5% fee ($5 minimum).

This card is an excellent choice for people with good credit who prefer simplicity and want value that sticks around beyond the holiday season. But if you're looking to maximize your rewards on certain purchases, there are no bonus categories to speak of.

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

Apply

on Wells Fargo's website

Good - Exceptional

Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card

APR

14.99%-24.99% (Variable)

Intro APR

0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

Rewards

2% cash back on Purchases

Intro Bonus

Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$0

Card Details
  • New! Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a 14.99% to 24.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5
  • $0 annual fee
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don’t expire as long as your account remains open
  • Enjoy a premium collection of benefits at a selection of the world's most intriguing and prestigious hotel properties with Visa Signature Concierge
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card
  • Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
  • Matched For You are statements made by Experian and may not reflect Wells Fargo’s underwriting standards

Rates and Fees

Best for Rotating Bonus Categories: Chase Freedom Flex℠

If you're hoping to make the most of your holiday shopping experience, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is tough to beat. The card offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in rotating bonus categories that change every quarter when you activate. From October to December 2021, those categories are purchases made via PayPal and at Walmart.

Because PayPal is a payment option with millions of retailers, you can use this to your advantage to maximize your rewards. Just keep in mind that when you hit the quarterly maximum, all other purchases net the card's base rewards rate of 1%.

The card also offers a solid incentive to new cardholders: You'll have the opportunity to earn a $200 bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get 5% back on up to $12,000 in grocery store purchases (excluding Walmart and Target) during the first year with the card.

Additionally, you'll get an introductory 0% APR promotion on purchases for 15 months. After that, the APR jumps to 14.99% to 24.74% variable, depending on creditworthiness.

This card is excellent for maximizing rewards in certain categories, and the card does offer bonus rewards on various everyday spending categories throughout the year. Most of your purchases will likely earn just 1% back, however, so consider using this card in tandem with one that offers a high flat rewards rate.

Read full review
Apply

on Chase's website

Good - Exceptional

APR

14.99% - 24.74% Variable

Intro APR

0% Intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

Rewards

5% cash back on Rotating Categories

5% cash back on Travel

3% cash back on Dining

1% cash back on All Other Purchases

Intro Bonus

Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Annual Fee

$0

Card Details
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases.
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; and 1% on all other purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99% - 24.74%.
  • No annual fee.

Best for Intro APR Period: Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card

If you have plans to spend a lot during the holidays and your top priority is a long intro APR period you can use to pay down the debt, consider the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card.

This card offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 18 months from account opening, with the chance to extend that to 21 months total as long as you make at least your minimum monthly payments on time every month during the intro and extension periods. Once the 0% intro APR period expires, your interest rate for purchases and balance transfers will increase to 12.99% to 24.99% (variable) APR. Balance transfers made during the first 120 days you have the card will incur a 3% fee ($5 minimum) and qualify for the intro APR; transfers made after the first 120 days incur a 5% fee ($5 minimum).

Because of how long this card's intro APR promotion is compared with some of the other options on our list, it's best suited for people who plan to spend a lot and need that extra time to pay down the balance.

There are few cards with a longer intro APR period. That said, the card doesn't offer rewards of any kind, so you may want to use a rewards card for your everyday spending.

Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card

Apply

on Wells Fargo's website

Good - Exceptional

Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card

APR

12.99% - 24.99% (Variable)

Intro APR

0% Intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

Rewards

Intro Bonus

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Card Details
  • 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Intro APR extension of up to 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro and extension periods. 12.99% to 24.99% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min: $5.
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Get up to $600 of cell phone protection when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible).
  • Through My Wells Fargo Deals, you can earn cash back in the form of a statement credit while you shop, dine, or enjoy an experience simply by using your eligible Wells Fargo Credit Card
  • Select “Apply Now” to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
  • Matched For You are statements made by Experian and may not reflect Wells Fargo’s underwriting standards

Rates and Fees

Best for Travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If you like the idea of earning bonus rewards on groceries and dining but don't want to pay hundreds of dollars in annual fees, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a solid choice.

The card offers 5 points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3 points per dollar on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out; 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (excluding superstores like Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs); 3 points per dollar on select streaming services; 2 points per dollar on other travel; and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

As a new cardholder, you can also earn a bonus that's tough to beat. The card offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. That's worth $750 in travel when booked through Chase.

The card does charge a $95 annual fee, but the welcome offer provides an equivalent value that could cover that for upwards of seven years. Consider this card if you're travel-minded and your spending aligns with the card's bonus categories.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply

on Chase's website

Good - Exceptional

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Rewards

5X points on Travel purchased through Chase

3X points on Dining

2X points on Travel

1X points on All Other Purchases

Intro Bonus

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Annual Fee

$95

Card Details
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.

Best for Food and Entertainment: Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you enjoy attending holiday events, such as concerts, movies and other types of entertainment, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card should be on your radar. The card is also a solid choice for groceries and dining.

You'll earn unlimited 3% cash back on entertainment, dining, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Target and Walmart), and 1% back on everything else. You'll also earn 8% back on event tickets purchased through Vivid Seats through January 2023.

New cardholders can earn a $200 cash bonus when they spend $500 in the first 3 months they have the card, and get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15-month months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99%.

This card is an excellent option if you want to maximize rewards on entertainment, groceries and dining. However, it's not necessarily the best rate you can get with groceries and dining, so consider this card if entertainment is a top spending category for you.

Also, remember that, like other cards on our list, this one's base rewards rate is just 1%, so it may be a good idea to use it only for bonus spending.

How to Use Credit Cards to Your Advantage During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time to spend with family and friends, but that also means spending money. Here are some ways you can use your credit cards to your advantage during the holidays:

  • Charge only what you can afford to pay off at the end of each month. If you do anticipate spending more than you can pay off, use a card with a 0% intro APR promotion.
  • Track how much you are actually spending by using online or mobile budgeting tools so you don't go over budget.
  • If possible, redeem your rewards for cash back or statement credits to help offset some of your holiday shopping expenses.
  • If you have a travel card, maximize your rewards to help cover the cost of a trip during the next year.
  • Check your card's benefits guide to see if you can take advantage of other benefits, such as extended warranty coverage, purchase protection and more.

Use Experian CreditMatch™ to Find the Right Card

It can be difficult to find the right credit card with so many options available, especially if you're not sure where your credit stands.

The good news is that you can use tools like Experian CreditMatch™ to get an idea of which cards you might be eligible for based on your credit profile. You can also check your credit score and review your Experian credit report for free to understand what your credit file looks like and where you can make improvements.