NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for May 2023

From Mother's Day and Memorial Day to graduations and weddings, May is a month full of expenses. Here's how to score savings on gifts, travel, dining and more.
Jaime Hanson
By Jaime Hanson 
Edited by Erin Hurd

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From the kickoff of graduation and wedding season to Mother's Day, Memorial Day and more, May is packed with opportunities for gatherings.

However, all those get-togethers can bring a lot of added cost. Without some preparation, stress over finances can take the fun out of May festivities.

To help you stay focused on celebrating loved ones (and not the cost of doing so), here are a few credit card tips to help you maximize your budget this month.

Save on celebratory meals

Are you looking forward to Mother's Day brunch on your favorite restaurant patio, or firing up the grill for Memorial Day by the pool? Celebratory meals with loved ones are one of the great joys before the summer season officially begins, but costs can add up quickly.

Discover it® Cash Back
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Find savings on dining out and hosting at home through your Discover it® Cash Back, which features restaurants and wholesale clubs as this quarter's bonus category. When you activate this offer, you'll save 5% on up to $1,500 this quarter at all restaurants, plus wholesale clubs like Sam's, BJ's and Costco (1% thereafter).

If you haven't already, simply log in to your Discover account to activate the bonus category. You can also add your eligible Discover card to your digital wallet for easy use at restaurants and most wholesale clubs.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Though Discover cards aren’t accepted inside Costco stores, you can still use your eligible Discover card for purchases made on the Costco website to take advantage of this quarter’s 5% cash-back offer.

Gift generously without going broke

Along with celebratory meals, many occasions in May also call for giving gifts to the ones we love. But how do we show we care without breaking budgets in the process? To maximize savings on gifts this month, try stacking merchant-specific credit card offers with cash-back offers from a shopping website like Ibotta or Rakuten.

For example, some targeted Chase credit card customers could triple stack offers to save big on flowers for Mother’s Day by using offers from The Bouqs Co. First, log in to your Chase account and look for offers available to add to your card. After you select offers to add to your card, you'll earn cash back on your statement once you meet the terms. Find the Chase Offer to earn 10% cash back from Bouqs and add it to your card. Then, visit Rakuten and search for The Bouqs Co. Navigate to Bouqs from the Rakuten link, and you'll apply a 20% savings coupon, plus earn 6% cash back. Pay with your Chase card, and stack the offers for a bunch of savings with just a few clicks. » MORE: How to use credit card bonus malls and card-linked offers

Use awards nights to avoid sky-high hotel rates

With so many traveling for graduations and weddings, hotel rates in May can run unusually high. That makes these occasions an especially great time to save your cash by using hotel points and free night awards.

These days, many hotel chains no longer have award charts. That means the number of points you'll pay for a room increases the more the cash rate of the room goes up with demand. Hyatt, though, does offer an award chart. That means there's a fixed maximum number of points it will ever charge for a room, even when cash prices are sky-high. For example, one Hyatt Place hotel in State College, Pennsylvania, has a going rate of more than $850 per night during 2023's graduation week, but it only costs 23,000 points per night. That's a redemption of 3.7 cents per point — an excellent value compared to the current NerdWallet valuation of 2.8 cents per Hyatt point.

Shop and finance wisely during Memorial Day sales

If you've been anticipating a major furniture or appliance purchase, Memorial Day sales can be a great time to save on those items. The holiday is known for deep discounts on both large and small household appliances, outdoor furniture and mattresses. But if you're charging that purchase to a credit card and will need to pay over time, interest can quickly eat away at any savings you may have found in store.

BankAmericard® Credit Card
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The BankAmericard® credit card currently offers the following: See Terms.

You'll need good to excellent credit (a score of 690 or above) to qualify. But with adequate planning, this can be a great way to take advantage of sales without incurring expensive debt.

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