The holiday season is right around the corner, and it never hurts to get prepared early. Making your shopping and travel plans well in advance could save you big bucks.
Case in point: Applying for the right credit card now could result in serious rewards earning that you can leverage into purchasing gifts, trips to visit family and more. Looking for a few suggestions? Here are some of the Nerds’ top picks:
If you’re a big department store shopper: Chase Freedom®
|Chase Freedom® bonus rewards categories for 2019|
|Q1 (Jan. 1 - March 31)||Gas stations, tolls and drugstores|
|Q2 (April 1 - June 30)||Home improvement stores and grocery stores|
|Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)||"Summer" — TBD
(In 2018: Gas stations, Lyft, Walgreens)
|Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)||"Holiday" — TBD
(In 2018: Department stores, wholesale clubs, Chase Pay)
Remember, the Chase Freedom® charges an annual fee of $0 and will get you started with a small signup bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. That’s a nice little cash boost you can use to buy more gifts for loved ones if you’d like, or maybe even a little treat for yourself.
If you’re a big online shopper: Discover it® Cash Back
|Discover bonus rewards categories for 2019|
|Q1 (Jan. 1 – March 31)||Grocery stores|
|Q2 (April 1 – June 30)||• Gas stations
• Uber and Lyft
|Q3 (July 1 – Sept. 30)||• Restaurants
|Q4 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)||• Amazon.com
• Target (in store and online)
Also, if you plan on taking longer than a month to pay off your holiday gifts, the Discover it® Cash Back will give you 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.24% - 25.24% Variable APR. That’s a long time at 0%, so you don’t have to worry about racking up interest on your holiday spending.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the Discover it® Cash Back provides all these great features with an annual fee of $0.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of traveling for the holidays: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
With this card, you’ll earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend. Since each mile is worth $.01, you’re getting a rewards rate of 2%. However, you get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem, which effectively drives the rewards rate up to 2.1%. That’s pretty generous, given that the industry standard is only 1%.
When it comes time to redeem rewards, you have the flexibility to go online and book your travel as you normally would, then pay yourself back with your miles in the form of a statement credit. Whether you’ll be flying cross-country to see relatives for Thanksgiving or going on a cruise to celebrate the New Year, the miles earned with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® can help foot the bill.
Plus, you’ll start off with a killer signup bonus: Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. This could go a long way toward helping pay for your holiday travel if you complete the spending requirement quickly. Remember, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® does charge an annual fee of $89 (waived first year). But since this card will go far in helping you visit loved ones far and wide this holiday season, we think that’s a small price to pay!
Holiday shopper image via Shutterstock