NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for September 2023

As you soak up the last of summer and prepare for cooler temps ahead, these credit card tips can keep your budget in check.
Jaime Hanson
By Jaime Hanson 
Edited by Erin Hurd

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Despite record-breaking heat around the country, the arrival of September means that fall is around the corner. With crisper air and hopefully cooler temps, the busy holiday season will be here before we know it. As you shop for Labor Day bargains, price out Thanksgiving plane tickets, and prep your football tailgate spread, here are a few ways to squeeze a little extra value from your credit cards this month.

🤓Nerdy Tip

National Coffee Day is September 29th! Pay a visit to your favorite local shop for savings on your favorite brew. You'll earn 4x Membership Rewards points when you pay with your American Express® Gold Card. Terms apply.

Gear up for football season

Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card
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Whether you’re stocking up on tailgate snacks or watching the game at your favorite local bar, a credit card that earns rewards on dining, groceries or both can help fund your football feast.

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, for example, helps you score on all of these fronts. It earns 3% back on purchases at grocery stores, bars, restaurants, and on eligible streaming services and entertainment purchases, all with a $0 annual fee. All other purchases earn 1% back.

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Get your home winter-ready

It may be hot outside now, but savvy homeowners know winter is right around the corner. That means now is the time to get ahead on winter-proofing your home, before the expenses and busyness of the holiday season set in. Do you need a new furnace or water heater, or is your snow blower on its last legs? Labor Day may be a good time to look for sales at Home Depot, Lowe's or elsewhere.

For big projects with a hefty price tag, a 0% intro APR credit card can offer some breathing room on interest charges. Take a look, for example, at the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card, which currently offers 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR . That long introductory interest period could come in handy for holiday shopping as well.

Plan holiday travel

If you haven't already done so, now is the time to book flights and hotels for holiday travel. Taking this month to plan ahead for the holidays will give you time to shop around for the best deals or even earn a healthy sign-up bonus to apply toward next year's vacation.

Explore the best redemption options

Have you been sitting on a pile of credit card rewards? Explore which redemption options will earn you the best deal on holiday flights and hotels. If your card allows you to transfer points to a partner airline or hotel plan, you may get more value than you would redeeming points directly through the card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example, allows you to transfer rewards to partners at a 1:1 ratio. It carries an annual fee of $95.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
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Collect rewards toward future travel

Don’t have points to redeem quite yet? If you’ll be paying cash for holiday flights and hotels, that’s a great opportunity to stash away some rewards for next year’s summer vacation by earning a sign-up bonus on a new card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card currently offers this valuable sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

In addition, the card earns 5 points per dollar spent on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online grocery store purchases; 2 points per dollar spent on travel booked outside of Chase Ultimate Rewards® and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Max out your Q3 rotating bonus categories

It’s the last month of the quarter, so now is the time to max out bonus rewards earnings on any rotating category cards in your wallet. Can’t remember what those bonus categories are for this quarter? Here’s a quick refresher:

Discover it® Cash Back
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Discover it® Cash Back and the Discover it® Student Cash Back

  • Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent at gas stations and on purchases made through a digital wallet (1% thereafter and on all other charges).

  • Activation is required before earning at the elevated rate, so hopefully you took that step earlier this quarter. If not, you can still do so by logging into your account on the Discover website or mobile app. The 5% earnings rate isn’t retroactive on previous purchases, but you can still rack up some decent rewards on this month’s purchases. 

  • See how much cash back you have remaining to earn this quarter by logging into your Discover account and selecting Rewards > 5% Cashback Bonus Calendar.

Chase Freedom Flex
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Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent at gas stations, EV charging stations, and on select live entertainment (1% thereafter and on all other charges).

  • If you haven’t already, activate the bonus categories online or in the Chase mobile app by September 14, 2023, to receive your 5% rewards for all eligible purchases during the quarter. That includes purchases made before activating.

Citi Dividend

  • Earn 5% back at gas stations and home improvement stores.

  • Enrollment in required before the elevated earnings rate takes effect

  • Citi Dividend comes with a total annual cash back cap of $300, including both elevated earnings and the card’s regular rate of 1% back on all purchases. 

🤓Nerdy Tip

Both the Chase Freedom® and the Citi Dividend are no longer available to new applicants. However, existing users are still eligible to earn the 5% back in bonus categories after activation.

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