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Are you making a shopping list and checking it twice? The best credit cards for holiday shopping make it easy to earn cash or travel rewards at the most popular stores. Plus, as this time of year can be more expensive than other months, these last few weeks of the year can be one of the best times to earn a nice signup/welcome bonus (like one of the many 100k bonus offers available!).
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent on combined purchases (once activated) that rotate quarterly. For example, PayPal and Walmart purchases earn 5% cash back from October through December 2020. Travel purchases made on Chase Ultimate Rewards earn unlimited 5% back.
Purchases at restaurants (including takeout and delivery services) and drugstores earn 3% back. All non-bonus spending makes 1% back. You can redeem your points for cash, travel, and gift cards. Another option is pooling your points with a Chase Sapphire card.
There isn’t an annual fee. New cardmembers can earn $200 bonus cash by spending $500 in the first three months.
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express can be a good option for holiday shopping and nearby road trips. You can earn up to 3% back on purchases:
- 3% back at US supermarkets (on the first $6,000 per year, then 1%)
- 2% back at U.S. gas stations
- 2% back at select U.S. department stores
- 1% back on everything else.
This card doesn’t have an annual fee (See Rates & Fees). New cardmembers will earn 20% back on Amazon purchases (up to $200) for the first 6 months plus $100 bonus cash after spending $1,000 in the first 6 months on new purchases.
Learn more: Cash Back Credit Cards
Citi Double Cash Card
Instead of spending time figuring out which card is best for the stores you plan on patronizing, the Citi® Double Cash Card makes earning bonus points easy. You can earn unlimited 2% back on all purchases (1% back at the time of purchase and 1% back when you make a balance payment).
Cash redemption options include a statement credit, bank account deposit, and a paper check. There is no annual fee.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the best flat-rate travel rewards credit cards. You earn 2 Venture miles per $1 spent on any purchase. Uber Eats purchases earn 5x miles through January 31, 2021.
Each mile can be most valuable when redeemed for travel statement credits, upcoming travel, or transferring to an airline or hotel partner. One additional perk is a fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
The annual fee is $95. New cardmembers can earn up to 60,000 bonus miles ($600 award travel value) by making $3,000 in purchases during the first 3 months.
Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card earns up to 6 Marriott Bonvoy points on these ongoing rewards categories:
- 6x Bonvoy points on eligible Marriott purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy Hotels
- 3x points at US restaurants and flights booked directly through the airline
- 2x points on all remaining eligible purchases
As the Bonvoy Brilliant is a premium hotel credit card, it comes with a few extra benefits. Some key benefits include an annual $300 Marriott statement credit, $100 on-property credit (on qualifying stays), and one free anniversary night valid at a property requiring up to 50,000 points.
The annual fee is $450 (See Rates & Fees).
New Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card cardholders can earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 in purchases in their first 3 months.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns some of the most valuable credit card points for travel rewards. You earn 3 Ultimate Rewards per $1 on travel (immediately after earning the $300 travel credit) and dining. The first $1,000 in grocery store purchases each month earn 3x points through April 30, 2021. Plus, cardholders earn 10x points on Lyft rides, including bikes and scooters. Complimentary Lyft Pink Membership is also available when activated by March 21, 2022. All remaining purchases earn 1 point per $1.
Each Ultimate Rewards is worth 50% more (1.5 cents each) when you book award travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. You can also transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to airlines and hotels, including Southwest Airlines, United, World of Hyatt, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Valuable holiday shopping benefits include:
- Up to $120 back in Peloton Digital purchase credits (through 12/31/2021)
- Purchase protection up to $10,000 per claim ($50,000 per year)
- Return protection up to $500 per item ($1,000 per year)
- Extended warranty protection of up to one year
Premium travel features include a $300 annual travel credit (also valid at gas stations and grocery stores through June 30, 2021), Priority Pass Select lounge access, and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.
Points are also worth 50% more now through April 30th, 2021 when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature.
The annual fee is $550. New cardmembers can earn 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards ($750 award travel value) by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
If you don’t want a premium credit card, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You earn 2x Ultimate Reward points for travel and dining. Lyft rides earn 5x points through March 2022. And through April 30, 2021, cardholders automatically earn 2x points per $1 spent at grocery stores, up to $1,000 per month. All remaining purchases earn 1 point per $1.
Each point is worth 1.25 cents each (25% more) when booking award travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to airlines and hotels or redeem for cash and gift cards.
Additionally, cardholders can earn up to $60 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021. Points are worth 25% more now through April 30, 2021, when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. Points are also worth 25% more when redeemed through the new Chase Dining hub in Ultimate Rewards, now through April 30, 2021.
The annual fee is $95, and new cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus points ($750 award travel value) by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred Review
Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is a tiered cash reward credit card that lets you pick the 3% bonus category. Gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvements and furnishings are the categories that can earn 3% cash back.
In addition to getting 3% back on one category of choice, you also get 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. You earn 3% and 2% back in the first $2,500 in combined quarterly spend. All non-bonus purchases earn 1% back. Bank of America Preferred Rewards members can earn between 25% and 75% more on each purchase.
This is a great cash back credit card to consider.
There is no annual fee. New cardmembers can earn a $200 cash bonus by spending at least $1,000 in the first 90 days.
Learn more: Cash Back Credit Cards
Summary of the Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping
As you cross items off your holiday shopping list and check it twice to not overlook any person, these best credit cards for holiday shopping give you the confidence you’re earning the most rewards possible. In addition to the ongoing rewards, look for limited-time promotions that can boost your spending power.
- Stay On Top Of Expiring Airline Miles During COVID-19
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For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
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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.
- 1 Chase Freedom Flex
- 2 Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
- 3 Citi Double Cash Card
- 4 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- 5 Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
- 6 Chase Sapphire Reserve
- 7 Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- 8 Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card
- 9 Summary of the Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping