Best Credit Cards for Holiday Purchases


3 minute read

The holidays are quickly approaching which probably means you’re spending way more money than you typically do on gifts, decorations and holiday entertaining expenses. Since many of these purchases fall within the retail shopping category- we wanted to put together a list of credit cards that would get you the most bang for your buck when it comes to rewards and shopping related benefits. By using a credit card for holiday shopping purchases you’ll earn rewards points and cash back and get perks like free purchase protection and extended warranty periods on certain purchases. Since not every credit card or reward point is made equal, use this list to help you decide which card to use.

Also Read: How to Pick the Right Rewards Credit Card

Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex Card earns 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards Points on rotating categories quarterly which makes it a top choice for those of you looking to sign-up for a credit card to use while holiday shopping. For the 4th Quarter of 2021, the bonus categories are Walmart and Paypal, Chase is also offering a category bonus of an additional 4x points on the category in which you spend the most from the following list (making it possible for you to earn more than 10x points per dollar):
-Travel (including transit)
-Home improvement
-Select streaming services
-Select live entertainment
-Gas stations
-Fitness clubs
-Grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart purchases).

Holiday Shopping protections offered by the Chase Freedom Flex include purchase protection which covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. It also offers Extended Warranty Protection which adds an additional year of warranty protection to eligible US manufacturers warranties of three years or less.

Discover It Cashback Card

The Discover it card is a great choice for anyone who likes to get their shopping done online. Like the Chase Freedom Flex Card, the Discover It has 5% quarterly bonus categories and, just in time for the holidays, you’ll earn 5% at, and on up to $1,500 in purchases when you activate the offer. Online shoppers rejoice, this offer couldn’t be easier to maximize since you can buy pretty much anything on earth from Amazon, and Walmart and Target are pretty popular stores for holiday gifts. Cash back is also a great rewards structure for anyone who values simplicity and straightforward redemptions.

Bank of America Customized Cash

The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit card is a great fee-free option for anyone whose spending patterns vary and who has accounts with Bank of America that qualify for their Preferred Rewards Program. You’ll earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

Preferred Rewards members earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase. So you could earn 5.25% cash back on purchases in the category of your choice for all of your holiday shopping. The really cool thing about this card is that it allows you to change your top category each month so you can really maximize your holiday shopping purchases.

Citi Custom Cash

If you prefer to transfer your rewards to travel partners like airlines and hotel chains and have other Citi Premium Credit Cards, you should consider the Citi Custom Cash Credit Card because it automatically earns 5x in your top spend category each month. This makes it extremely easy to earn 5x points per dollar in the following categories:
-Gas Stations,
-Grocery Stores,
-Select Travel,
-Select Transit,
-Select Streaming Services,
-Home Improvement Stores,
-Fitness Clubs,
-Live Entertainment.

Amex Preferred Cards

If you buy almost everyone gift cards for the holidays each year, the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card and Amex Blue Cash Preferred cards are great options for your holiday shopping expenses. Deciding which card is a better choice for you depends on whether you want cash back or flexible rewards points. For cash back- the Blue Cash Preferred earns 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6K in purchases. While the Everyday Preferred 3X the points for purchases made directly at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases and a 50% bonus each billing cycle you use the card 30 times- for a total of 4.5 Amex Membership Rewards Points on grocery purchases.

These cards also offer generous shopping protections including extended warranty benefits for warranties of five years or less, purchase protection for 90 days from the date of purchase and return protection.

Now that you have some ideas as to the best credit card for holiday shopping that will earn you the most rewards, get out there and spend confidently (and responsibly, of course). If you’re not sure which reward type is right for you check out our post, “Beginner's Guide: Understanding Different Currencies.”

Written by Bethany Walsh
Bethany is Card Curator’s travel rewards expert. She is a native New Yorker and a miles, points and loyalty program strategist. Bethany is also the founder of, where she works to teach people that luxury travel is never out of the budget. Her favorite vacation spots include Hong Kong, Toronto and any place with a beach. Bethany lives for a deal and has had a love (read: obsession) for the miles and points game ever since she received her first sign-up bonus. When Bethany is not lying on a beach or analyzing mileage award charts, she enjoys spending time with her foster dogs (plus her four pets) and volunteering for an animal rescue.

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