NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for July 2024

These credit card tips can help you maximize your budget this month so you can savor the summer fun without overspending.
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Written by Jaime Hanson
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Edited by Kenley Young
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The dog days of summer have arrived. July is a time to relish all that life has to offer, from poolside parties to backyard barbecues. (And don’t forget about Amazon Prime Day.)

July also marks the halfway point of 2024, making it an excellent month to take stock of your financial strategy and make necessary changes to your credit cards or spending habits.

We’ve gathered our best credit card tips to help you maximize your budget this month so you can savor the summer fun without overspending.

🤓Nerdy Tip

National Ice Cream Day is July 21! Pay a visit to your favorite local shop for savings on a sweet treat. You'll earn 4% cash back when you pay with your Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Ready to earn your first $100 in rewards?
Nerdwallet+ members can earn $100 in rewards by paying their first bill on time with one of these eligible credit cards.

Activate quarterly 5% rewards categories

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

Activation can be done online in a click or two. In addition to activating, you can take steps now to adjust your spending habits and ensure that you take full advantage of these 5% categories. (All other non-bonus-category purchases earn 1% back.)

Chase Freedom Flex®

Q3 2024 bonus categories: Gas stations, electric vehicle charging stations, select live entertainment, movie theaters

Chase Freedom Flex
NerdWallet rating 

Whether you're driving a gas vehicle, a hybrid or an EV, Chase has you covered to earn bonus cash back on your summer road trip. Then, once you arrive at your destination, you can earn bonus cash back at movie theaters and on select live entertainment. This relatively broad category includes amusement parks, sporting events and concert tickets. Aquariums, carnivals, museums and zoos are also included.

What you can do right now:

  • Log in to your Chase account to activate the 5% bonus categories.

  • Add your eligible Chase card as the primary payment method on any portals where you may be purchasing eligible live entertainment this quarter.

  • EV drivers, add your eligible Chase card as the primary payment method on your ChargePoint or EVgo app.

Discover it® Cash Back

Q3 2024 bonus categories: Grocery stores, Walmart

Discover it® Cash Back
NerdWallet rating 

From July 1 - Sept. 30, eligible Discover it cardholders will earn 5% back at grocery stores and at Walmart (up to the $1,500 quarterly spending cap; after that, purchases earn 1%). Activation is required.

That excellent rewards rate can take some of the sting out of the cost of hosting, say, a Labor Day bash.

What you can do right now:

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

Maximize savings on Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
NerdWallet rating 

Offering sales on everything from fashion and household goods to personal electronics, Amazon Prime Day, which runs July 16-17 this year, is a great time to score some midsummer savings on planned purchases.

For even more savings on Prime Day, consider the Prime Visa, which earns 5% back on all Amazon purchases. In addition, for a limited time the card is currently offering a very generous sign-up bonus.

Note that while the card's annual fee is $0, it does require an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $139 annually ($69 a year for students).

Sweeten summer spending with a sign-up bonus

Whether you’re traveling, paying for kids’ camps or shopping for the upcoming school year, summer tends to involve some out-of-the-ordinary spending. Maximize those expenses by using them to hit the spending requirement for a credit card sign-up bonus.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Here are two welcome offers worth considering right now. Terms apply:

Annual fee: $95.

Sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
NerdWallet rating 

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $150.

Welcome offer: Earn 65,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Check your midyear financial fitness

With half of the year already in the rearview mirror, how are you doing with the financial resolutions you set in January? Even if you aren't where you want to be, there's still time to get your finances into shape by the end of the year.

Review your credit card statements

Evaluate your credit card statements from the first half of the year, and be honest with yourself about spending habits that are slighting your financial goals.

Start by weeding out any unused subscriptions or expired free trials that may have crept up on your monthly statements. Then, if necessary, shift your overall budget to account for any unexpected large expenses or lifestyle changes that have come up over the last six months.

Revisit annual fees

If you’re carrying one or more credit cards with an annual fee, make sure you’re benefiting enough from the card to justify that cost. This is particularly true of cards that you may have grabbed for a sign-up bonus but are no longer using.

We rarely recommend canceling a credit card outright, as doing so can hurt your credit score. But if you’re paying an annual fee on a card you no longer need, consider requesting a product change to a no-fee version. Just check with your issuer first to make sure any rewards you’ve accrued will move with you.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you’re on the fence about downgrading a previously valuable card, consider calling the issuer to ask about a retention offer. It’s not guaranteed, but if you ask, issuers will sometimes waive an annual fee or offer bonus points or statement credits to keep your business.

Map out a debt-payoff strategy

BankAmericard® Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Before we know it, the spending pressures of the winter holiday season will be upon us. If you’re among the millions of Americans carrying credit card debt, now is a good time to make a plan for getting your credit card balances under control. That way, you can make holiday spending decisions that don't add to your debt.

If interest rates on your current credit cards are interfering with your payoff plan, consider applying for a balance transfer credit card like the $0-annual-fee BankAmericard® credit card. This NerdWallet Best-Of Awards winner for 2023 offers a 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.

Balance transfers generally incur a fee — in this case, 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.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Need help with motivation on your journey to debt freedom? Try out a visual aid, such as a coloring sheet that tracks your payoff progress. Having a visual and tactile reminder of your goal can help you stay on budget when spending temptation strikes.

To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please visit this page.

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