Guide for the Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

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Holiday shopping makes November and December two of the most expensive months for many. But, with a little planning, you can use this opportunity to utilize your credit card spending and earn an extra gift for your effort. We’ll explain how with this guide on the best credit cards for holiday shopping.

The winter holidays are the perfect time to get a new credit card. This is because you have 90 days to earn a one-time signup or welcome bonus. Since you’re spending more than usual, you may finally have a chance to reach that higher spending requirement while still accomplishing your shopping.

Of course, you should aim for a card with valuable ongoing benefits too. Make sure this card has bonus point categories you use on a normal basis.

Travel Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

Travel rewards card usually have the best bonuses and card benefits. You should try these cards first to maximize your spending.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

A pristine travel rewards credit card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This premium travel rewards card offers 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Thanks to a 50% redemption bonus, your bonus points are worth $750 when you redeem them for award travel.

Plus, you can also transfer points on a 1:1 basis to airline and hotel partners. Some partners include Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and World of Hyatt.

On every purchase, you earn 1 point per $1 spent. For travel and dining purchases, you earn 3 points per $1 spent.

Besides the valuable rewards points, the real reason to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve® might be its additional travel benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • $300 air travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit

Before you apply, make sure you qualify for the Sapphire signup bonus.

Wells Fargo Propel

The brand new Wells Fargo Propel is a hybrid travel and cash rewards credit card. It doesn’t have an annual fee and it comes with a 30,000 point welcome offer after spending $3,000. This bonus is worth $300 in cash reward or it can be worth up to $450 in award travel.

You might prefer this card if you want to earn bonus points on your daily purchases. With the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, you earn unlimited 3x points on these purchase types:

  • Dining
  • Gas, Rideshares, and Transit
  • Travel
  • Popular Streaming Services

All other purchases earn 1 point per $1.

This can be the perfect card for buying the new iPhone. Why? Well, with this card you get up to $600 in cell phone protection. Not bad.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

Sometimes, credit cards offer a tiered signup bonus. That’s the case with the World of Hyatt credit card.

You can earn up to 60,000 bonus Hyatt points in the first six months:

  • Receive 40,000 points by spending $3,000 in the first three months
  • Get 20,000 extra points spending an additional $2,000 within the first six months

If you don’t know, World of Hyatt points are some of the most valuable hotel points in the business. Like other hotel programs, free nights start at 5,000 points. But, the most expensive rooms only cost 30,000 points per night. With other loyalty programs, a mid-level property costs 30,000 points per night.

You can also get two free Hyatt night each year. Your first night is automatic each anniversary year. By spending $15,000 in annual card purchases, you get a second free night.

Your holiday spending earns 1 point per $1. But if you spend at Hyatt, you’ll get 4x points. Additionally, you’ll earn 2x points for purchases made on:

  • Dining
  • Airline tickets directly from the airline
  • Local transit and commuting
  • Fitness club and gym memberships

Besides shopping for the holidays, you can earn bonus points booking your holiday travel too.

Hilton Honors Credit Cards

There are two Hilton Honors rewards credit cards that offer a free annual night rewards. Depending on how often you stay at Hilton properties helps you decide between the Hilton Honors Ascend and Hilton Honors Aspire Card.

The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card is the “mass consumer” card with a $95 annual fee. You earn a free weekend night after spending $15,000 in a year and earn up to 12x Hilton points for each dollar you spend. Plus, you get automatic Hilton Honors Gold status.

With the Aspire, you will have a $450 annual fee. But, you have plenty of luxury benefits. You get an automatic free weekend night certificate each year. The second free night happens when you spend $60,000 annually. Other benefits include $350 in Hilton credits, Hilton Honors Diamond status, and Priority Pass lounge membership.

Either card offers 150,000 bonus points. This bonus is worth up to 30 reward nights. The only difference between the two is the spending requirement. You must spend $3,000 in 90 days with the Ascend. And, you must spend $4,000 with the Hilton Honors Aspire.

Editor’s Note: The information for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING

Best Cash Rewards Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

These two cash rewards credit cards can also put some money back in your pocket.

Chase Freedom

During the 4th quarter of 2018, the Chase Freedom earns 5% back on holiday shopping. When you shop at department stores, wholesale clubs, or use Chase Pay, you get 5% back on the first $1,500 you spend.

Each quarter the 5% bonus category rotates. Your non-bonus purchases earn unlimited 1% back. You can redeem your Freedom rewards points for travel or cash rewards. If you own another Chase credit card, your points can be worth more when redeemed for travel.

The Freedom doesn’t have an annual fee. Also, you earn an easy $150 bonus cash after spending $500 in the first year.

Discover It

The Discover It might have the most exciting bonus offer for cash rewards credit cards. While other credit cards require you to spend so much money in the first 90 days, the Discover It doesn’t have a spending requirement.

With this bonus offer, Discover matches your purchase rewards for the entire first year. Like the Chase Freedom, you either earn 5% or 1% back on each purchase. And, the 5% bonus category changes every quarter. So you essentially get either 10% or 2% back on each purchase your first year.

From October to December 2018, you get 5% back on Amazon and wholesale club purchases. If you do your holiday shopping at either of these places, you get 5% back on the first $1,500 spent.

Summary on Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

Some credit cards cater to places where you do the bulk of your holiday shopping. For other cards, you only earn the base reward. But with either card type, your spending helps you earn those coveted welcome offers. You may even qualify for card anniversary bonuses too.

Mary Renking

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Guide for the Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping
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About the Author

Mary Renking
Mary writes about how to book travel with award miles & points, reviews top travel credit cards, and basic rewards news.

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