Credit
December 8, 2017

The Six Best Ways to Optimize Your Rewards Credit Card for the Holidays

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated December 8, 2017

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Rewards credit cards give you various perks for using the card for your shopping. During the busy holiday shopping season, you can optimize your card usage so that you’re getting the most out of them.

Many rewards credit cards give you opportunities to make cash back during your holiday shopping. Some cards have shopping portals that provide you cash back when you spend money on certain stores, while others give you a flat cash back rate.

Make sure you redeem your cash back after you earn it. The credit card company may offer a rewards portal with several options, such as choosing a gift card, getting a statement credit or sending the money to your bank account.

Use the rewards credit card that has the highest bonus for that shopping category. For example, if you have a card that gives you 5 percent cash back or 5x rewards points for grocery stores and it’s the best bonus out of your cards, pay for your groceries on that one.

Holidays are filled with sales, specials and other temptations. Put together a holiday budget, so you only spend what you plan to during your shopping trips. Many credit card companies update your transactions in near real time so that you can keep a running tally of your spending.

Special offers come in many forms and provide additional opportunities to optimize your rewards and credit card spending. American Express is well-known for this, with offers you can add directly to the card. Since these kick in after you make the purchase, you can often stack them with discounts and cash back from other sources.

Playing the waiting game for important holiday gifts is never fun. Some rewards cards offer a membership with ShopRunner, which gives you free two-day shipping at participating online stores. This perk is also great for limiting how much you have to spend on shipping.
These six methods let you keep more money in your pocket, even when you’re buying presents for everyone in your social circle.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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