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What’s the Best Credit Card for Winter Spending?

December 10, 2014
Credit Cards
Best credit card for winter spending
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Wintertime can come with a lot of expenses. But if you purchase your cold-weather necessities with the right credit card, there’s an opportunity to rack up some substantial rewards.

Not sure which card is the right one for the stuff you’re planning to buy? Take a look at the Nerds’ top picks below.

If you need new winter clothes: Discover it® Cash Back

Parkas and boots don’t come cheap, so be sure to use the Discover it® Cash Back for all the accoutrements you’ll need to keep warm this winter. With it, you’ll earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter. Plus, you’ll get 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The bonus rewards categories toward the end of the year often give cardholders the opportunity to earn 5% back on winter clothing. The current bonus categories are here:

Discover bonus categories for 2018
Q1 2018 (Jan. 1 – March 31)Gas stations and wholesale clubs
Q2 2018 (April 1 – June 30)Grocery stores
Q3 2018 (July 1 – Sept. 30)Restaurants
Q4 2018 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31) and wholesale clubs

However, shopping with your Discover it® Cash Back any time of year is a smart choice because you’ll have the ability to do your spending through Discover Deals. This is the online shopping portal operated by Discover, and using it could score you bonus cash back, a statement credit or an in-store discount at your favorite merchant. So even if you miss a great bonus category, Discover Deals will likely have a discount or bonus for your shopping needs.

Finally, keep in mind that the Discover it® Cash Back charges an annual fee of $0. With all these great perks, it’s definitely a card to keep on hand.

If you’re purchasing snow tires: Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Folks in snowy climates know that having the right tires is a necessity. But unfortunately, they don’t come cheap. If your car is due for a new set of snow tires, consider using the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer to buy them.

With this card, you’ll earn 1% cash back on your purchases, then an additional 1% cash back when you pay them off. That means you’ll get an extra rewards boost on your snow tires purchase as soon as you pay it off.

Also, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer charges an annual fee of $0, so it’s an economical choice for big purchases and ongoing rewards.

If you’re buying a lot of coffee to stay warm: Chase Freedom®

Staying warm with hot beverages is a smart idea in the winter, and, luckily, the Chase Freedom® will reward you richly for doing so. With this card, you’ll earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter. You’ll also earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

For the first quarter of 2015, the Chase Freedom® is featuring Starbucks as a 5% category. This means you’ll be earning serious cash back with every latte you buy. And in the same quarter, grocery stores and movie theatres will also be 5% merchants. So whether you’re planning to cook some comfort food at home or catch a movie to get out of the cold, the Chase Freedom® is a great way to pay.

Unlike many other cash-back cards, the Chase Freedom® carries a signup bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And remember, it charges an annual fee of $0. All in all, it’s a great card to keep in mind.

If you’re booking a getaway from the cold: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Coping with the cold is one thing, but sometimes you just need a break from the snow and ice. If this sounds familiar, think about getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. With it, you’ll earn 2 points for every dollar spent on dining and travel, and 1 point for every dollar you spend elsewhere. Generally, points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are worth about $.01 apiece. But if you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, the value of each goes up by 25%.

Also keep in mind that you’ll have the option to transfer your points to participating frequent travel programs at a 1:1 ratio. If you’re looking for a tropical getaway this winter, we recommend transferring your points to United Airlines, since it offers a number of direct flights to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland. And booking an award ticket shouldn’t be too hard since late January and February are considered off-season travel to the islands, according to a report in USA Today.

If your travels will take you overseas, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has you covered. It comes chip-enabled and charges no foreign transaction fees. This will make swiping abroad easy and inexpensive.

To get you started on your journey, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provides a stellar signup bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. It does charge an $0 for the first year, then $95. But with all the great features that come with this card, we think the annual fee is worth it.

Snowball fight image via Shutterstock