credit cards

Great Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

The branded card of a retailer you are loyal to may have strong rewards.

As you dive into holiday shopping, get some extra oomph from your spending by using a rewards credit card that provides additional cash back or points at the retailers—or retailer websites—you visit most.

The Discover It card, for example, provides 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com in the fourth quarter of 2020 (1% on all other spending). Quarterly categories for 2021 hadn’t been announced at press time, but bonus categories in 2020 included grocery stores, gas stations, wholesale clubs and restaurants. For rewards on a broader variety of online purchases, consider the Bank of America Cash Rewards Visa. You choose one of six categories that earn 3% cash back, including online shopping, gas, dining, travel, drugstores, and home improvement and furnishings—and each calendar month you can change the category. The card also offers 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. After you spend $2,500 combined in the 2% and 3% categories each quarter, you get 1% back on purchases in both categories. All other spending earns 1% back.

The branded card of a retailer you are loyal to may have strong rewards. The Amazon Rewards Visa offers 3% cash back on Amazon purchases (5% if you’re a Prime member), and the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard provides 5% back at Walmart.com and 2% at Walmart stores (5% in-store the first 12 months if you use Walmart’s mobile-payment app). Both cards offer rewards in other spending categories, too. The Target RedCard offers a 5% discount on in-store and online Target purchases.

Rake in a big bonus. The holiday season may be a good time to open a card that offers a bonus of cash back, points or miles if you charge a certain amount in the first few months. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa ($95 annual fee) card offers 80,000 points—worth $1,000 in travel bookings or $800 in cash—if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Or consider the Bank of America card mentioned above. It provides $200 for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.

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