The holidays are on our doorstep, and you know what that mean: holiday shopping time. This year, it’s time to shop smarter, which means picking your credit cards strategically based on what rewards they have to offer. Here are some tips:
- Rewards where you shop: Look for cards that give you the best rewards for purchases you are already going to make, like for online purchases or at major department stores.
- No interest until next year: Find a card that has an extended 0% intro APR period so you have plenty of time to pay off those big ticket purchases before they start charging you interest.
- Big intro bonus: Get a card with a hefty intro bonus so you have a little extra spending cash for the holidays. If you are buying a TV for $1,000, but can get a $400 bonus from your card for spending $1,000, that TV is only $600.
- Traveling for the holidays? Find a card that offer no blackout dates so you can use miles to pay for expensive holiday travel.
So which credit cards are the best at combining these rewards? Here are our picks:
Best Credit Card for Online Shopping and No Interest until 2015: Discover it® Card
- 0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 14 months – then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% – 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
- Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars by over 4,000 cardmembers.*
- No annual fee, no late fee for your first late payment – APR won’t go up for you paying late, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee.*
- Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements.*
- 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 when you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.*
- Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it’s unusual, you’re alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.
- U.S.- based customer service – anytime, day and night.
- *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking “Apply.”
Best Intro Perk with $400 Bonus: Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
- Earn 2X miles on all purchases
- Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
- Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home
- Book the travel you want – airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase
- Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
- No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
- Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
Best Credit Card for Holiday Travel: US Airways Premier World MasterCard®
- Earn up to 40,000 bonus miles with qualifying transactions
- Exclusive: Book award flights for 5,000 fewer miles – award travel starts at just 20,000 miles for cardmembers
- Zone 2 boarding on all US Airways flights
- Earn 2 miles per $1 on US Airways purchases
- Earn 1 mile per $1 on purchases everywhere else
- Annual companion certificate good for up to 2 companion tickets at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
- First Class check-in
- Please see terms and conditions for complete details
- Apply for the card here
Best Prepaid Card with Intro Rewards: American Express Serve®
- Get American Express Serve and you could get $50 when you use Direct Deposit. Must enroll in Direct Deposit by 10/30/13.*
- No credit check. No minimum balance. No activation fee.
- Manage your money with the prepaid card, online account, and mobile app.
- Shop online or off and get access to membership benefits like Purchase Protection.*
- Enroll in Direct Deposit to get your paycheck in your American Express Serve Account on payday.
- No need to use a check. Email money to anyone no matter where they have a bank account.
- The safety and security of American Express.
- The 24/7 customer service you expect from American Express.
- *Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.
- Apply for card here.