UPDATED: December 20, 2017 – It is estimated that the typical American consumer will spend approximately $940 for gifts this year. Retail sales will increase 3.5% over 2015 sales to a whopping $656 billion! Much of that money will be spent using credit cards. It’s important that you make the most of the available credit card rewards during the holidays.
Here are some tips to help you to maximize credit card rewards this season:
- Check with the first store where you plan to shop. If it’s a large retailer, it may offer a store credit card with 0% interest for the first year. These are great deals, but only if you pay the complete balance off before the end of the 0% interest period. Some store cards have interest rates as high as 29%, so be careful!
- A great credit card to use during the holidays is the Discover It credit card. Offering 5% cash back for any purchases from participating clothing and department stores, and Amazon in particular, until December 31. There’s no annual fee for this card. After a period of 12 billing cycles, Discover It will gift your earned cash back to you, which essentially doubles the cash back you receive for a whole year.
- Before you go to your favorite retailer online, go to a credit card online rewards portal, where you’ll be able to ramp up your bonus earnings. The portal of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards earns you three extra points for each dollar spent at Macy’s or Lowe’s. As well as six additional points for each dollar spent at Neiman Marcus, Nike, and hundreds of other sites. Citi’s Bonus-Cash Center offers 4% extra cash back from Old Navy, and 2% back at Walmart, plus hundreds of other reward offers.
- Another great credit card rewards portal is the American Express Membership Rewards site. Cardholders can use your rewarded points to buy gifts, often at a significant discount.
- The Capital One Quicksilver reward card has no annual fee, $100 cash bonus if you’ve spent $500 during the 1st three months, and there are no minimums for redemption. Plus your cash back rewards never expire!
- Remember to check the promotions and offers section each time you log into your account, especially during the holiday season. Some credit card issuers offer extra points when you buy select purchases. Some offer free mileage, so your family travel will be less expensive. Finally, some cards offer holiday season only cash back rewards.
- American Express is offering two free Uber rides (worth $65 each) if you need a ride from 11 major US airports.
- Keep an eye out for sign-up bonuses when applying for a new card. Some of these cards can earn you from 30,000 up to 50,000 bonus points! Bear in mind, though that you’ll need to spend $3,000 to $4,000 within the first few months of activation.
- Wells Fargo is offering up to 10% off on each purchase at online, local, and national retailers – thousands of them!
- CITI holiday shoppers have a choice of 8 different ways for redeeming ThankYou points. You can share your points with others, shop at Amazon.com, redeem your points at LiveNation.com. Look into booking some travel, redeem your points for gift cards. Request credits to buy an eligible purchases or shop with your points at BestBuy.com.
As always, consumers need to be careful, to avoid holiday scams. It’s safer to use a credit card than a debit card during this season. Credit cards charge 0% liability for fraud, while you might be liable up to $50 if fraud happens on a debit card. Avoid smaller private online sites that are selling deals that are too-good-to-be-true. Only buy from large reputable sites. Finally, don’t fall for deals like getting a $500 gift card free that’s being offered as a holiday promotion on social media sites.