Guide to Rewards Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

“Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.”

With Halloween nearly upon us, it’s now full steam ahead to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and (eventually) New Years. Of course, there’s still plenty to do before that — including the annual holiday shopping season. As a result, while you may not realize it, this may make for a good time to get a new credit card. That’s because you may be able to find an option that will reward you for your purchases, gift you with a significant bonus, or provide you with other ways to save while completing your gift list.

For each card, we’ll highlight what makes it a potential holiday shopping pick. This includes the reward categories it offers, the sign-up bonus it currently boasts, whether or not there’s an intro APR, and more. With that, here are some credit cards that just might come in handy this shopping season.

Chase Freedom Flex

  • Rewards: 5% back on rotating quarterly bonus categories (up to $1,500 in spend per quarter), 5% back on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% back on dining, 3% back on drugstore purchases, and 1% back on everything else
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Sign-Up Bonus: $200 back when you spend $500 in your first three months
  • 0% Intro APR Length: 15 months from the date of account opening

This card only debuted last year but makes a strong case for itself as a well-rounded option for holiday shopping. Starting with the sign-up bonus, the $200 you’ll earn after spending $500 in your first three months can definitely help stretch your holiday budget. Beyond that, the Freedom Flex offers an introductory 0% APR for 15 months (from the date of your account opening).

As for rewards, the key is the 5% quarterly cashback category — and, for October to December 2021, cardholders can earn 5% cash back on purchases at Walmart, as well as on purchases they make using PayPal. Elsewhere, customers can also earn 5% back on travel booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% back on dining, 3% back on drugstore purchases, and 1% back on everything else. Plus, you’ll also earn 5% cash back on up to $12,000 in grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) made in your first year. All in all, these elements add up to one appealing option for holiday shoppers.

American Express Blue Cash Everyday 

  • Rewards: 3% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in annual spend), 2% back at U.S. gas stations, 2% back at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on everything else
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Sign-Up Bonus: $200 cash back when you spend $2,000 in your six three months
  • 0% Intro APR Length: 15 months from the date of account opening

Another no-annual-fee option for the shopping season is the American Express Blue Cash Everyday. Not only does the card currently offer new customers a $200 bonus when they spend $1,000 in their first three months but also features 0% APY on purchases for 15 months from the date of your account opening.

As far as holiday shopping rewards go, the American Express Blue Cash Everyday offers 2% back on purchases at select U.S. department stores. This list includes Macy’s, JC Penney, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, and many other stores. Meanwhile, cardholders will also earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in annual spend), 2% back at gas stations, and 1% back on everything else. With all that considered, this could be a good choice for the holidays and, well, Everyday.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Sign-Up Bonus: $200 cash back after you spend $500 on the card in your first three months
  • 0% Intro APR Length: 15 months

The Capital One Quicksilver card is a good choice for those who want a little bit of everything. That’s because it combines an enhanced but attainable sign-up bonus with an easy flat-rate rewards structure and 0% intro APR. Starting with that sign-up bonus, you can currently earn $200 cash back when you spend $500 in your first three months.

Turning to the rewards, the Quicksilver earns your 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. This could make it a strong pick for those who don’t want to worry about which card to use when. Additionally, the card offers 0% APR on purchases for your first 15 months.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Card

  • Rewards: 5% cashback on purchases in two eligible spending categories each quarter (up to $2,000 in combined eligible purchases), 2% back on purchases at one of these options: Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, or Restaurants, and 1% back on everything else.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Sign-Up Bonus: $200 back after spending $1,000 in purchases during your first 120 days.
  • 0% Intro APR Length: First 18 billing cycles (on balance transfers)

The U.S. Bank Cash+ card is an interesting option for a few reasons. First, it allows customers to earn up to 5% cashback but requires you to select two spending categories from a list of 12 eligible options and caps this at $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter. On top of that, you’ll also earn 2% back on either gas station, grocery store, or restaurant purchases — but you’ll have to choose one. Heck, even the current welcome bonus is a bit different from most, offering $200 back after you spend $1,000 in your first four months as opposed to the more typical three months.

Quirks aside, what lands the U.S. Bank Cash+ card on this list are some of the options available for that 5% category. For example, the line-up for October to December 2021 includes such eligible categories as “select clothing stores,” electronics stores, sporting goods stores, and department stores — all of which could prove helpful to those doing holiday shopping. Of course, since you can only pick two, you may want to take a closer look at your shopping list before determining which two options are the best for you. If you do, this could prove to be a powerful cashback weapon in your wallet.

American Express Gold Card

  • Rewards: 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in annual spend), 4x points at restaurants, 3x points on flights booked directly through the airline or via Amex Travel, 1x points on everything else
  • Annual Fee: $250
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in your first six months
  • 0% Intro APR Length: N/A

On the surface, the American Express Gold Card may not seem like the most obvious holiday shopping option. However, it does have some hidden benefits and other perks that I think allow it to qualify. First of all, the card is currently still boasting the highest public sign-up bonus it’s ever offered, allowing new cardholders to earn 60,000 Membership Reward points when they spend $4,000 in their first six months. That extended timeline means that you’ll have the entire holiday shopping season and beyond to reach that minimum spend. Meanwhile, other benefits include $10 a month in dining credits for eligible restaurants and, soon, $10 a month in Uber Cash as well.

Another reason I believe that the Amex Gold could be a good option right now is because of the Amex Offers that cardholders can take advantage of (note: Amex Offers are also available on other American Express cards). While the specific offers vary by cardholder, these deals that result in extra points or statement credits can be quite lucrative and perhaps even introduce you to some smart gift ideas. Personally, I managed to save $281 in Amex Offers in the past year. So, between the generous sign-up bonus, potential bonus, and the many other benefits of the American Express Gold Card, this one is worth considering even with its $250 annual fee.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card

  • Rewards: 5% back at Whole Foods and on Amazon for Prime Members, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, 1% back on everything else
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Sign-Up Bonus: $100 Amazon gift card upon approval
  • 0% Intro APR Length: N/A

This year, there’s a good chance that you’ll be doing a lot of your shopping online — which likely means shopping on Amazon. In that case, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you may want to consider the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card. In addition to offering 5% back on Amazon and at Whole Foods, you’ll also earn 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. Plus, upon getting approved for the card, you’ll get a $100 Amazon gift card.

By the way, if you’re not a Prime member, there’s also the Amazon Rewards Visa card. It offers much of what the Prime card does but lowers the earning rate at Amazon and Whole Foods to 3%. Additionally, those approved for this card will get a $50 Amazon gift card. Either way, you’ll pay no annual fee for the Amazon Prime Rewards or Amazon Rewards Visa Card.

Citi Double Cash Card

  • Rewards: 1% cash back when you buy plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Sign-Up Bonus: N/A
  • 0% Intro APR Length: N/A

Finally, if you’re looking for a simple shopping solution, then the Citi Double Cash Card may be the pick for you. Instead of featuring multiplier categories, this card instead offers 2% cashback on everything — 1% back when you buy and 1% back when you pay off your purchases. That makes it one of the most attractive flat-rate cards on the market.

In terms of downsides, the Citi Double Cash Card doesn’t currently include any type of sign-up bonus. Additionally, while it does offer 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers made in your first four months, that intro APR doesn’t apply to purchases.


There are many elements that could make for the perfect holiday shopping credit card. However, it’s important to consider what your needs are and let that determine your pick. Happy shopping!

“DyerNews has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. DyerNews.com and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.” (Note: advertising relationships do not have any influence on editorial content. Advertising compensation allows DyerNews.com to provide quality content for free. All editorial opinions are those of the individual author and/or Dyer News.)


Also published on Medium.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and has recently starting publsihing his own personal finance blog at https://moneyat30.com/

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Credit cards are very useful tools if used responsibly. This holiday season use your cards wisely and enjoys its benefits.

Nice list of credit cards and its and its corresponding rewards, this list helps you to make most out of your rewards.

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