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NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for November 2019

Nov. 4, 2019
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Card Basics, Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
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On the list of months in which you’re likely to indulge the most, November is near the top.

Over the course of just 30 short days, you’ll probably break bread at least once with a crowd — and you may even have to do some serious traveling to get there. It’s also a good bet that you’ll be taking care of some holiday shopping during this time.

If so, here are some credit card tips to help you make the most of your spending this month.

» MORE: See our archive of credit card tips

Prepare for the feast

It doesn’t matter if you call it Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving. The focus is a combination of good company and copious quantities of food. If you’re hosting or contributing to the spread, use a credit card that gives you cash back on your supermarket spending.

One excellent choice is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It has an annual fee of $95, but it earns 6% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). Plus, you’ll get 6% back on qualifying U.S. streaming services — especially useful if all that turkey has you wanting to park yourself in front of the TV for a while. Terms apply.

If you’re merely attending and not hosting? Earn some rewards as you get yourself to the party. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express also offers 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit including taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains and buses. All other spending earns 1% cash back. Terms apply.

The welcome offer, too, can help you cover the cost of some trimmings: $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

If your ideal Turkey Day is letting a professional do the dirty work, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns an unlimited 4% cash back on dining, plus 2% back at supermarkets and 1% back on all other spending. It’s got an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95, but also comes with a big enough sign-up bonus that you might consider picking up the restaurant tab: Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

» MORE: How to choose a rewards credit card

Reward yourself as you buy for others

Thanksgiving may be the main event, but November also comes with a triple play of days designed to make you reach for your wallet. From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and even #GivingTuesday, you’re likely to shell out some extra dough on gifts for yourself or others.

If you have an eligible Discover card, such as the Discover it® Cash Back, you can earn 5% cash back in quarterly rotating spending categories that you activate, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter (1% back on all other purchases). For the fourth quarter of 2019, those categories include Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target (in store or online), so the card could be an ideal shopping companion in virtual or brick-and-mortar shopping scenarios.

Similarly, the Chase Freedom® also earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Among its Q4 2019 bonus categories: department stores, PayPal and Chase Pay.

» MORE: How to optimize Chase Freedom, Discover it for Q4 2019

Take a breather

If you’re already struggling with credit card debt, it might be best to avoid putting tons of new holiday purchases on your existing card. Instead, you might consider moving that high-interest balance to a balance transfer credit card.

The Discover it® Balance Transfer card offers an intro 0% on Purchases for 6 months and 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR. What’s more, it also earns rewards, meaning it might be worth using next holiday season, after you’ve paid off your debt.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best balance transfer credit cards

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