NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for April 2024

Jaime Hanson
By Jaime Hanson 
Edited by Erin Hurd

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From the first burst of spring flowers out of the dirt to the joys of a warm day after a long winter, April is a month that brings freshness and renewal. And with a new financial quarter, tax day approaching and spring travel well underway, April also brings plenty of opportunities to freshen up your financial outlook.

As you find yourself spring-cleaning your spending habits this month, here are a few tips to help you make the most of the credit cards in your wallet.

Activate quarterly 5% rewards categories

April 1 marks the beginning of a new quarter, and with that comes a change in cash-back categories for popular 5% cash-back credit cards, including the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Discover it® Cash Back.

These cards earn 5% back in quarterly bonus categories on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter (1% thereafter) — but activation is required to earn that 5% rate. (All other purchases earn 1% back.)

The good news is that activation is easy and can be done online in a click or two, but you do need to remember to click. In addition to activating, you can take steps now to adjust your spending habits and ensure that you take full advantage of these 5% cash-back categories.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom®

Q2 2024 bonus categories: Amazon, dining, select hotel bookings

Chase Freedom Flex
NerdWallet rating 

For much of the country, April brings at least a hint of spring as daffodils start to poke their heads above the ground. If the thought of flowering foliage makes your green thumbs twitch, your Chase Freedom Flex℠ or legacy Chase Freedom® card’s bonus categories at and Amazon may be just what you need to save on outdoor essentials or gardening supplies. Want to get out of town this spring instead? Earn extra rewards on your hotel stay and your restaurant bill (more details here). 

Here’s how to make the most of your Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom® this quarter:

What you can do right now:

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

Discover it® Cash Back
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Q2 2024 bonus categories: Gas, home improvement, public transit

Whether you’re planning on hitting the road for spring or summer break or launching yourself into home improvement projects, Discover’s bonus categories for the second quarter of 2024 can offer some value for your spending.

What you can do right now:

Citi Dividend

Q2 2024 bonus categories: Drugstores, grocery stores

Though it’s no longer available to new applicants, the Citi Dividend offers two great bonus categories this quarter for everyday use among legacy cardholders: drugstores and grocery stores.

Note that Citi Dividend’s annual cash-back cap works slightly differently than other rotating category cards. 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. 

What you can do right now:

  • Log in to your Citi account and activate the 5% bonus category.

  • If you tend to order groceries online, change your default payment method on your grocer’s website or mobile app to your Citi Dividend card.

🤓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.

Finalize preparations for tax day, April 15

Did tax season sneak up on you this year? Here's some tips that could help.

Itemize your deductions using credit card tools

Most credit card issuers provide a year-end summary of your spending, which can help if you itemize your deductions. This helps you see where you spend the most and also helps you quickly identify any tax-deductible items like medical expenses and charitable contributions.

And if you’re a small-business owner, side hustler or solopreneur, note that you can deduct business credit card fees and interest payments, along with many other business-related expenses. The year-end summary for your business credit card is a great resource to help identify deductions.

Think twice before paying taxes with a credit card

For those of us who are fans of chasing credit card points, the idea of earning rewards on a big tax bill may be tempting. But between processing fees, interest payments and a potential spike in your credit utilization, the downsides of paying taxes with your credit card typically don’t outweigh the benefits you’ll incur. 

Especially if you’re not certain you’ll be able to pay the balance right away, it’s important that you fully understand the costs of paying taxes with a credit card. So before you make this move, use this credit card interest calculator to get a clear picture of how much you’ll pay in interest.

Use your refund to pay down debt

Will you be receiving a tax refund this year? Make the most of that inflow of cash by planning in advance how you’ll make it work for you. Already living debt-free? Consider using your tax refund to pad your emergency fund. Or, if you’re carrying high-interest credit card debt, a tax refund may offer the opportunity to pay it down.

BankAmericard® Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

If your tax refund makes only a small dent in your debt, consider doubling up on savings strategies by applying for a balance transfer credit card like the $0-annual-fee BankAmericard® credit card, which currently offers: 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 16.24% - 26.24% will apply .

All balance transfers carry a fee: 3% of the amount of each transaction. Even so, this one-time fee may be worth paying if it saves you money on interest charges over time.

Make the most of your credit cards during spring travel

We talk a lot about using credit cards to save up for a big trip, but what about once you’re already on your way? Here are a few ways you can use your credit card to save during spring travel, or to save up points for trips later in the year.

Spring road trip? Save money at the pump

Road trips are a great way to see the country while saving money on travel. Even so, costs at the pump can add up steeply over a long trip. Make the most of every pit stop with a credit card that earns rewards on gas. For example, the Citi Custom Cash® Card, when used just for gas, earns an impressive 5% back on up to $500 spent per billing cycle, all with no annual fee.

Renting a car? Take advantage of rental insurance benefits

If you’ll be renting a car for spring travel, refresh your memory on your credit card’s rental car insurance coverage. Depending on the card you hold, it may be that you have sufficient coverage for your rental already and can avoid the additional insurance fee when you arrive at the car rental desk.

Traveling abroad? Watch for foreign transaction fees

Pay attention to the credit card your pull out of your pocket when traveling abroad, as many cards carry foreign transaction fees (typically 3% of each transaction) that add up quickly on a big getaway. 

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