Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping: Cyber Monday and Beyond
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Doesn’t it seem like the holidays come earlier every year? It’ll be time to shop again before you know it. At the start of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday gets a ton of buzz, but we like its online equivalent, Cyber Monday, a lot more. Seriously: all the awesome holiday deals without waking up at 4 a.m. and getting trampled at the mall? Yes, please! Cyber Monday falls on November 28th this year, and you don’t need to do much to prepare. All you need is the right credit card.
It’s time for NerdWallet’s roundup of the best credit cards for online holiday shopping – the rewards cards that, on top of being solid choices year-round, are offering special holiday promotions. Why not stay cozy at home and avoid the stampede this year? You don’t even need to shop on Monday. These cards’ deals last the whole week, month, or even year. Without further ado, here are our top five favorite cards and their holiday promotions.
Capital One Venture Rewards
Capital One’s Cyber Week promotion starts on Black Friday and goes through Cyber Monday (November 25th through November 28th). Shop online at Perk Central, the Capital One rewards mall, to stretch your dollars the furthest. 40 merchants are offering online promotions, including Macy’s, Barnes & Noble and Microsoft. Once the promotion ends, you can still earn up to 15 bonus rewards per dollar through select retailers through December.
The Capital One Venture Rewards hands-down offers one of the best rewards rates, at 2 No Hassle Miles per $1 spent (that’s 2% on all purchases!). It does come with a $59 annual fee (waived the first year), so if you’re looking for a no-fee card, the Capital One Cash card runs a close second. It has a1.5% rewards rate at the end of your card’s anniversary when you make all your payments on time.
The Chase Freedom is one of the best no-fee rewards cards out there, offering rotating 5% cash back categories and 1% back on all other purchases. From October through December, it’s all about dining, department stores, movies and charities. You’ll receive the 5% back on those categories up to $1,500 in purchases. Don’t have a Chase Freedom yet? Sign up now for one of the best deals in the rewards card business: $100 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months, no matter what you buy. Nothing like a little extra help with those holiday bills!
While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out the online holiday deals at Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall. Shop for merchandise there on Cyber Monday and you’ll save 25%! You’ll also get an extra 10% back if you shop at the Apple Store, twice as much as Apple usually offers for credit card rewards. If you’re feeling lucky, they’re auctioning off a different electronic device each weekday through November 25th. Bidding starts at one point for each item, but we have a feeling that won’t last long.
American Express Platinum
Amex is turning Cyber Monday into Cyber Week. Shop through their Membership Rewards site and save 20% at 50 major retailers like Banana Republic, Sony and Cuisinart. The promotion runs from November 21st through November 30th. You need to have a Green, Gold, ZYNC, Platinum or Centurion card to qualify. The AmEx Platinum is a great card for travelers – it has no foreign transaction fee, but more importantly, it gives you access to Priority Pass lounges, worth $400 a year by itself. Travel in style!
AmEx Blue Cash
Though our favorite Amex rewards card, the Blue Cash Preferred, isn’t participating in Cyber Week, it offers an unparalleled deal for the procrastinating gift-givers among us. It offers 6% rewards on groceries (up to $6,ooo spent a year) and unlimited 3% on dining and department stores. Where holiday shopping factors in, however, is the gift cards. You can buy a $50 gift card to a completely unrelated category – electronics, let’s say – and as long as you buy it at Safeway, you’ve earned yourself 6% rewards. Just remember to keep in mind the $6k/year spending cap.
If you can stand to get up from your computer desk, Amex is also offering a special promotion for Small Business Saturday, which encourages shoppers to support local businesses. Sign up on the movement’s Facebook page, spend $25 with your Amex card at a qualifying local business, and get a $25 statement credit. We say it’s worth leaving the house for a deal like that. Only 200,000 small business credits are available, so you’ll need to sign up soon.
Like the Chase Freedom, the Citi Dividend offers 5% rotating cash back categories and 1% back on all other purchases. Through December 31st, the cash back categories include department stores, clothing stores, electronics stores and toy stores. Don’t have a Citi card yet? They’ve got a special holiday signup bonus with your name on it: earn $150 when you spend $750 in the first three months.
For even more cash back, do your online shopping through the Citi Bonus Cash Center, Citi’s online discount mall. They have over 400 diverse retailer partners, from PETCO to Bloomingdales. You’ll earn an average of 5% back, and sometimes a whole lot more. Kabloom, a site that sells fresh flowers, is currently offering 15% back. Condé Nast, the publishing company that produces magazine like Vogue, GQ and The New Yorker, is currently offering 30% percent back!
Learn more about online discounts
Want to see a complete list of the amazing rewards you can earn with your card? Dying to know if your favorite store has partnered with your card’s online mall? NerdWallet’s online discount tool lets you look up kickbacks at every major credit card mall. Browse by category, merchant or mall to find a great deal on exactly what you’re looking for.