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NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for November 2018

Holiday expenses can add up. Offset them by earning cash back and rewards on Thanksgiving and Black Friday spending.
Nov. 16, 2018
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for November 2018
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

The clocks are shifting and the evenings are growing longer. It’s time to light up these cold nights with some warm holiday celebrations.

Entertaining can get expensive, though, so use these credit card tips to earn cash back and rewards this November.

» MORE: Browse our archive of credit card tips

Get cash back on Black Friday

Hold off until Friday, Nov. 23, to make big purchases such as household appliances and electronics so you can take advantage of Black Friday deals. Major retailers like Best Buy and Walmart will share more details about their Black Friday sales in the coming weeks, and Target recently publicized its deals.

Wholesale clubs will offer deals on big-ticket items like televisions and gaming systems. And if you have either the Chase Freedom® or an eligible Discover card like the Discover it® Cash Back, it could be a lucrative shopping day indeed, as wholesale clubs are a 5% cash-back bonus category for those cards in the fourth quarter of 2018. With either the Chase Freedom® or a qualifying Discover card, you’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined quarterly purchases in bonus categories that rotate every three months (quarterly activation is required). All other purchases earn 1% back.

Keep in mind, however, that Costco accepts only Visa cards.

If the idea of camping out in front of a big-box store gives you nightmares, the 5% bonus for Q4 on the Discover it® Cash Back also applies to Amazon.com — perfect for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The other 5% bonus categories for the Chase Freedom® this quarter are department stores and purchases made via Chase Pay.

Consider cards with lengthy intro APR periods

Planning to replace your old fridge or washer/dryer on Black Friday this year? It can be hard to budget for huge household expenses while also buying holiday gifts. Consider using a credit card with a lengthy introductory APR period to buy the new appliance, and then pay the balance off over time without also having to pay interest. If you want to have such a card in time for Black Friday, now is the time to apply.

Some examples of credit cards that offer lengthy intro APR periods and charge no annual fee:

Use the right card for Thanksgiving groceries

The cost of a turkey and all the trimmings really adds up. Choose a card that will reward you handsomely for all that stuffing mix and canned cranberry goo.

With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you can earn a tough-to-beat 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (1% back after that). Terms apply. It does have a $95 annual fee. But with the rewards at U.S. supermarkets plus 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores (1% back on all other purchases), it’s possible to come out on top. Terms apply. There’s also a welcome offer: Get a $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

If you’d prefer a card with no annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% back everywhere else. You can also earn a welcome offer: $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Give generously to those in need

Giving Tuesday, on Nov. 27, provides a nice break from nonstop Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Consider using your rewards or cash-back credit card to make a donation to your favorite charity.

While credit card processing fees may reduce your donation by a small amount, some issuers and charitable organizations offer ways to offset that cost, so that the organization ends up receiving your full gift.

You’ll earn credit card rewards and possibly even a tax deduction if you itemize.

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