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As you buy gifts for your loved ones and friends, it’s wise to use the best credit cards to maximize each purchase. Not only can you earn points/miles, but you might also earn extras that are special for the season of giving. Additionally, if you’re looking to earn a new credit card signup or welcome bonus, it can be easier to earn now rather than during the months you don’t spend as much. Here are our picks for the best credit cards for holiday shopping.

best credit cards holiday shopping
Use the best credit cards for holiday shopping to get the most out of your purchases this winter season. The Park Hyatt Hamburg. Credit: Hyatt

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card has one of the highest cash back rates and a $0 annual fee. Each purchase earns up to 2% back (1% at the purchase time and 1% when you make a balance payment). Earning up to 2% back on purchases is pretty easy with no categories to activate or math to figure out which purchase earns what.

You can read more in our Citi Double Cash Card review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns at least 1.5% back on purchases. That can be 50% more points on retail purchases than most rewards credit cards.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns unlimited:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

The annual fee is $0.

New Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders can earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything they buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back! That means new cardholders can enjoy:

  • 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (Chase’s premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards, and more)
  • 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 4.5% on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service)
  • 3% on all other purchases

New cardholders earn this extra 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 spent in the first year.

Read more in our detailed Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is an attractive cash back credit card as you earn 5% on the first $1,500 in rotating quarterly bonus categories (once activated).

Cardholders earn:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1% on all other purchases.

Non-bonus purchases earn 1% but you can earn bonus points on qualifying travel, dining, and drugstore spend.

New cardholders can earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The annual fee is $0.

Related: How Hard Is It To Get The Chase Freedom Flex Card?

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is known for being one of the best travel credit cards. But, your holiday shopping points can be worth 25% more when you redeem them for award travel.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns unlimited:

  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Anniversary Hotel Credit)
  • 3x points on dining (including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out)
  • 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target®, Walmart®, and wholesale clubs)
  • Also 3x points on select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel purchases
  • 1x point per $1 spent on all non-bonus purchases 

There is a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit. It comes in the form of a statement credit that will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for hotel accommodation purchases made through the Ultimate Rewards program, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $50.

Plus, on each account anniversary, you’ll earn bonus points equal to 10% of your total purchases made the previous year. So, if you spend $25,000 on purchases, you’ll get 2,500 bonus points.

You might be able to earn bonus points for online purchases by shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall.

New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

The annual fee is $95.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred Review

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is one of the newest premium travel credit cards. You earn at least 2x miles per $1 on purchases. Consider this card if you want to redeem your miles for travel statement credits but also want several additional travel perks.

Cardholders earn unlimited:

  • 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles on all other purchases

Additionally, cardholders have access to several other airport benefits, including unlimited access to all-inclusive amenities at Capital One lounges and Priority Pass lounges worldwide, a fee credit of up to $100 for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, and up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel.

You can redeem your Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card miles to cover travel expenses or transfer your miles to Capital One travel transfer partners.

Cardholders also get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on their first card anniversary. Hertz President’s Circle status is another benefit they can enjoy.

New Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Cards cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus miles when they spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

The annual fee is $395.

Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Southwest Airlines Credit Cards

You may be surprised to find that one of the best credit cards for holiday shopping is an airline card. The consumer Southwest Airlines credit cards are currently offering one of their best signup bonus offers yet.

New Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

You may want to consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card if you want to get more benefits on a Southwest consumer card. Your purchases can earn up to 3x Rapid Rewards.

The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is an excellent option for earning bonus cash at department stores.

Cardholders can earn:

  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
  • 2% Cash Back at select U.S. department stores
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases

Note that cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits. You can request cash statement credits with a minimum $25 balance.

The welcome bonus is the ability to earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

The annual fee is $0 (See Rates & Fees). This is one of the best American Express cards.

Learn more: Cash Back Credit Cards

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

The information for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card can be your best option if you’re doing most of your holiday shopping through Amazon.

Your rewards categories include:

  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores
  • 1% back on everything else

You can redeem your purchase rewards on future Amazon shopping trips or also for cash back, travel, and gift cards. This card has no annual fee and it’s also a metal credit card.

However, one stipulation to get this card is that you must be an Amazon Prime member.

Non-Prime members can apply for an alternate version but you only earn 3% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.

Owner’s Rewards Card by M1

The information for the Owner’s Rewards Card by M1 has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you want to turn your credit card points into passive income, consider the Owner’s Rewards Card by M1. You can reinvest your purchase rewards through the M1 Finance free investing app. You can earn up to 10% back at participating retailers and each purchase earns at least 1.5% back.

Some of the merchants include:

  • GameStop (10%)
  • Ulta Beauty (10%)
  • Wayfair (10%)
  • Etsy (5%)
  • Nike (5%)
  • Apple (2.5%)
  • Amazon (2.5%)
  • Best Buy (2.5%)
  • Target (2.5%)
  • Walmart (2.5%)

During the holiday shopping season, M1 is also randomly reimbursing 50 purchases daily.

This card doesn’t have an annual fee. However, you will need an M1 Plus membership ($0 for the first year and then $125) to have this card and enjoy other benefits.

Related: Can You Buy Stocks With A Credit Card?

Summary

While the holiday shopping season can be one of the most expensive times of the year, these credit cards for holiday shopping can help you get extra rewards so you can enjoy cash or travel benefits later on. You might even be able to earn more at your favorite stores by using these cards. It can be a win-win situation if you can use your card responsibly.

Related Articles:

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 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
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.

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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.

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