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The holidays are just around the corner, and you're getting ready to tackle your gift list—which means some serious spending is on the horizon. Wouldn't it be nice if you could recoup some of that cash? Whether you want to limit your holiday debt or simply crave a reward for your shopping efforts, a rewards credit card can help.
By choosing the right rewards card and using it responsibly, savvy shoppers can maximize their rewards without blowing their budgets. To give you a head start, we've culled through current offers to pick six cards that offer excellent rewards for holiday shoppers. Choose wisely, and your rewards credit card could be the gift that keeps on giving long after the holidays end.
Best Cash Back Rewards Cards
Discover it® Cash Back
With 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR), cash back matching and no penalty fee, the Discover it® Cash Back card has a lot of good things going for it. From November 2019 through December 2019, you'll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 on purchases from Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com—in other words, likely the places you're already planning to shop for the holidays. The rest of the year, you'll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in rotating quarterly categories including gas, groceries and restaurants, when you activate.
The 14-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers lets you use the card for holiday shopping and get more than a year to pay off the balance before accruing interest. After the introductory period, you may be eligible for a 13.49% APR if you have excellent credit. That's significantly lower than the national average of around 17%. Speaking of interest rates, there's no penalty APR on this card, so your ongoing APR won't skyrocket if you miss a payment. Discover also protects you with identity monitoring that alerts you if your Experian credit report shows a new account opened or if your Social Security number is found on the dark web.
Are you looking for a way to make your holiday dollars go further? The Chase Freedom® card can help. Chase is offering a $150 intro bonus once you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months after opening your Chase Freedom® account. You'll also earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in different bonus categories each quarter as long as you activate. November 2019 through December 2019, the bonus category is department stores and purchases made with PayPal or Chase Pay, so it's easy to earn the 5% cash back as you check off your gift list.
Aside from the bonus categories, you get unlimited 3 cash back on all other purchases. There's also a 15-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers, which means you can rack up cash back on your holiday purchases and get more than a year to pay them off without accruing any interest. Items purchased with the card are covered for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per item, and you can extend the manufacturer's warranty on eligible purchases for an additional year. All of this helps to ensure your holiday gifts keep on giving.
Best Travel Rewards Cards
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Yes, the $550 annual fee for The Platinum Card® from American Express is steep, but if you love to travel and want to do so in style, the rewards and perks you'll earn will quickly recoup your investment. Spend $5,000 on the card within 3 months and you'll earn 60,000 bonus points. You also earn 5 points per dollar spent on flights and hotels, making holiday travel very rewarding. But points are only the beginning. You'll get hundreds of dollars in statement credits with your chosen airline, upgrades and perks worth an average of $550 when you stay at American Express' affiliated luxury hotels and resorts, and access to 24/7 concierge services to help you plan and book unforgettable trips.
Book through American Express Travel and you can pay with points without worrying about blackout dates or seat restrictions. Don't want to use points for travel? You can also redeem them for gift cards, merchandise or entertainment, such as curated By Invitation Only experiences that give you exclusive access and preferred seating at sporting, entertainment, fashion, fine dining, art and performance events. Move over, Beyoncé: There's a new VIP in town.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Are you a frequent traveler and fan of the Hilton brand? From the Waldorf Astoria to Hampton by Hilton and Homewood Suites, there are over 570 Hilton properties worldwide at every price point. Use the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card for your holiday shopping and earn points you can redeem for stays at more than 4,800 hotels and resorts, as well as with Hilton's travel, shopping, dining and entertainment partners. Each dollar spent with a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio earns you a whopping 12 points, so if you're going cross-country to visit the folks, tell Mom not to make up the sofa bed and book a Hilton stay instead. (Both your back and your wallet will thank you.) Cardmembers receive complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status for free breakfasts, room upgrades and other perks.
You'll also earn 6 points per dollar at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. Spend $2,000 on the card in the first 3 months to earn 125,000 bonus points. If you're making a big purchase, use the card's Plan It feature to set up a monthly no-interest payment plan. You also get damage/theft protection and two years' extended warranty on eligible items purchased with the card, plus a ShopRunner membership for free two-day shipping so even last-minute gifts arrive on time.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Because rewards points can have different values depending on what you redeem them for, it's often hard to tell exactly how much points are worth. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card spells it out for you and offers the biggest sign-up bonus around. Spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from account opening and get 60,000 bonus points. If you redeem those points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (which gives you 25% more value for rewards points), they're worth $750. Redeem them for cash, and they're worth $600—still a nice chunk of change to offset your holiday spending. This card is best for those who travel and eat out often; you'll earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar on all other spending.
Points can be transferred to Chase's frequent travel program partners at 1-to-1 value, and the card offers some useful travel benefits too. In addition to auto rental collision damage waiver coverage, travel and emergency assistance services, and baggage delay insurance—all services that many cards offer—the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance of up to $20,000 per trip and trip delay reimbursement for meals and lodging up to $500 per ticket. On the shopping side, eligible items bought with the card are covered against damage or theft up to $500 per item, and enjoy up to one year of extended warranty protection.