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Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

Last update: Dec 23, 2014
Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping
Santa and his elves are hard at work these days, double-checking their lists and trying to make sure every nice child has a merry holiday season. But times have been tough for a lot of us, including Mr. Claus, and we could all benefit from savings during such an expensive time of the year.
Luckily, credit card companies are following in the tradition of retailers and are offering their best promotions and sales during the holidays. So, as long as credit cards haven’t left lumps of coal in your stocking in the past, make sure to consider the following list of the Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping (some of which originate from CardHub advertising partners) as they have the potential to spread a lot of holiday cheer.
Those who aren’t in the market for a new card should also take note that credit card companies are offering a number of holiday promotions for existing cardholders . You can check them out, along with CardHub's 7 Tips for Saving on Holiday Shopping, below the following card selections.
  • Best for Lowering Your Holiday Spending Tab with an Initial Rewards Bonus

    Provides 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 during the first three months. That’s equal to $500 in travel (when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards) or a $400 statement credit. No annual fee during the first year ($95 thereafter). By using this card for holiday spending, you’ll be able to either replenish your bank account soon thereafter or subsidize travel over spring break or summer vacation.
  • Spending at least $3,000 during the first 90 days that you have this card will trigger a 40,000-mile rewards bonus, which can be redeemed for a $400 statement credit applicable to any travel-related expense. This card, which begins charging an $59 annual fee the second year you have it, also offers the miles equivalent of 2% cash back across all purchases.
  • Spending at least $3,000 during the first 90 days that you have this card will trigger a 40,000-mile rewards bonus, which can be redeemed for a $400 statement credit applicable to any travel-related expense. This card also provides the miles equivalent of 2% cash back across all purchases. While it charges a slightly higher annual fee beginning in the second year than the Capital One Venture Card ($89 vs. $59), cardholders also get 10% of the miles they redeem for a travel statement credit back upon using them. As a result, this card is more valuable than the Venture Card if you spend more than $15,000 per year.
  • The Club Carlson Credit Card offers 50,000 bonus points with your first purchase and 35,000 additional points for spending at least $2,500 within 90 days. You can redeem the 85,000 points for up to 18 free hotel nights, depending on the category of hotel you select and the number of consecutive nights you book. (The last night of your stay is free when you use rewards to book at least two consecutive nights.) There is a $75 annual fee for this card.
  • Frequent travelers who like to stay at Hilton hotels can get up to 12 free nights via the 60,000-point bonus this card provides when you spend at least $3,000 in the first three months. Making this card, which charges a $75 annual fee, your primary spending vehicle during the expensive holiday shopping season will make that spending threshold much more attainable than usual.
  • Best Ongoing Rewards to Benefit During the Holidays & Beyond

    This card provides the equivalent of 2% cash back across all purchases – the highest base cash back rate among consumer cards – by giving you 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% cash back when you pay your bill. It does not charge an annual fee.
  • Offers 6% cash back at supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year), 3% at gas stations, 3% at department stores, and 1% on everything else. The $100 initial bonus and free year of Amazon Prime that it provides cardholders who spend at least $1,000 during the first three months also serves to cancel out at least the first year’s $75 annual fee. This card enables you to save on all of your shopping and automobile gas not only during the holidays when these costs might be inflated, but throughout the rest of the year as well.
  • Best for Avoiding Interest on Holiday Purchases

    You will not be assessed interest on the balances you incur with this card for the first 18 months you have it, provided that you submit at least the required minimum payment by the due date each month. It does not charge an annual fee, but a regular rate between 11.99% and 21.99% will kick in at the end of the 18-month intro period. Using this card in conjunction with a credit card calculator can help you avoid hundreds of dollars in interest as you pay down what you spend during the holiday season. Just make sure not to use it as an excuse to overspend.
  • One of the few other cards on the market offering 0% on new purchases for 18 months, this Bank of Hawaii product has a regular rate between 13.98% and 16.98% and does not charge an annual fee. It also offers 10,000 bonus points redeemable for a $100 statement credit if you spend at least $1,000 during the first 90 days, 1 point per $1 on all purchases, and a 10% year-end rewards bonus.
  • Best for Lowering the Cost of Existing Debt & Buying Yourself Some Holiday Shopping Breathing Room

    Offers 0% on balance transfers for 15 months and doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee (for transfers made during the first 60 days) or an annual fee. The savings you can derive from this card could even be enough to cover all of your holiday shopping expenses. The average household has roughly $6,700 in credit card debt, and that figure is sure to rise during the expensive holiday shopping season. The Slate Card can therefore save many of us a lot of time and money paying down what we owe.
  • Best for Limited-Time Holiday Discounts at Major Retailers

    New applicants for this card will be rewarded with a 20% discount that applies to the first order after account approval. Customers will also get a separate 15% discount coupon when their card arrives in the mail. Being a Kohl’s cardmember entitles you to several other discounts offered throughout the year as well.
  • Gives new cardholders up to $100 in discounts (20% off) on all merchandise purchased on the day of approval and the next day after. This offer is a store credit card, which means it can only be used at Macy’s locations and However, it has less stringent approval requirements than most of the other cards mentioned on this page.
  • This card offers a 15% initial discount – on the day of account opening for in-store applicants or on any purchase made within the first 90 days of account opening for those who apply online.It also offers the equivalent of 8% cash back on Toys R Us purchases given that you receive 2 points per $1 and 125 points are worth $5.

  • This card offers a 15% discount on the day of account opening, and has no annual fee.

Reviews & Discussion

Help others find the Best Credit Card for their needs by providing recommendations, caustions, and insider tips
Our editors' recommendations for the Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping are a reflection of their own subjective opinions, and they should not be relied upon as the sole basis for choosing your credit card. We work hard to present you with the most accurate credit card information, however, the credit card terms and conditions do not originate from us and thus we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information. Before applying for a credit card we recommend that you verify the credit card terms and conditions on the credit card company's web site. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Ad Disclosure: Certain offers originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on a card's details page using the designation "Sponsored Card", where applicable. Advertising status does not affect which cards show up on this page but may impact the order in which they appear. At CardHub we try to list as many credit card offers as possible and currently have more than 1,200 offers, but we do not make any representation of listing all available offers.
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