The holidays are supposed to be a time for festivities and fun. But they’re also one of the most stressful times of the year. Now with the pandemic, you’re most likely balancing working from home, your children’s remote learning classes, or finding another child care provider.
Although many people fell under financial hardships this year, the holiday season will still go on. According to a recent survey from the National Retail Foundation, the average consumer will spend about $998 on decorations, gifts, and food this year.
Regardless if you intend on spending that amount or plan to be more frugal this season, there are a few things you can do to lower your stress and get more enjoyment out of the holidays:
- Preparing your gift-giving list early
- Establishing a reasonable budget
- Knocking out holiday shopping early on
This year, the way we celebrate the holidays will look much different. But US News My Money’s best credit cards for holiday shopping list might help make your life a little easier.
Best For Online Shopping
Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
In the midst of the pandemic, online shopping is more appealing than ever. According to a 2020 holiday retail survey from Deloitte, consumers will complete 64% of their holiday shopping online this year.
If you plan on knocking out most of your gift-giving online, consider signing up for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card. You don’t need a Prime membership, and there are no annual or foreign transaction fees. But if you’re already a Prime member, you can be eligible for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. The latter offers more rewards, but you need to have a Prime subscription, which runs $119 annually.
With the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, you can earn:
- 3% cash back on any purchase from Amazon.com and Whole Foods
- 2% on dining, gas, and drug stores
- 1% on all other purchases
Plus, you can get a bonus $50 gift card to Amazon when you open a new account.
Best For Holiday Entertaining
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
When you sit down to create your holiday budget, don’t forget non-gift-related expenses! Chances are in years past you spent more than usual on alcohol and food to entertain holiday guests.
If you plan on hosting holiday parties this year, make sure you include these added expenses in your budget. Also, you may want to sign up for American Express’s Blue Cash Preferred Card. This credit card will make it easier to keep your friends, family, and other guests happy, full, and entertained.
When you spend $3,000 or more in the first six months you get this card, AmEx will issue a $300 statement credit — perfect for lowering holiday costs.
With the Blue Cash Preferred Card, you can earn:
- 6% cash back on groceries, up to $6,000 per year (then 1% on everything after that)
- 6% cash back on select streaming platforms
- 3% cash back at gas stations
- 3% cash back on transit (such as taxis, ride-hailing, parking, and buses)
- 1% cash back on everything else
The Blue Cash Preferred Card comes with a $95 annual fee, but AmEx will waive it for new cardholders.
Best For Department Stores
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
Although online shopping may be the top choice for most people this year, that doesn’t mean you should rule out department stores. If you plan on checking out some of the seasonal sales at your favorite department chain this year, make sure you have the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.
This credit card offers cashback on any purchase made in-person and online, plus points when you fill up at the pump.
With the Blue Cash Everyday Card, you can earn:
- 3% cash back on groceries, up to $6,000 spent annually (then 1% on everything after that)
- 2% at department retailers
- 2% at gas stations
- 1% cash back on everything else
What makes the Blue Cash Everyday Card one of the best credit cards for holiday shopping is that even though you don’t get as many perks, you don’t have to pay an annual fee.
Best For Travel Rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has one of the best welcome bonuses available on the market right now. When you spend $4,00 or more in the first three months, you’ll earn 80,000 points — a $1,000 value when redeemed for travel.
For every dollar you spend, Chase gives you one point, which is worth about 1.0 cent. However, if you apply your points toward travel using the Chase rewards travel portal, each one will be worth 25% more, or about 1.25 cents. That means you can exchange your 80,000 sign-on bonus for an $800 statement credit, or $1,000 for travel.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can get two points for every dollar you spend on:
- Qualifying delivery services
- Takeout or in-person dining
Plus, from now until March 2022, Chase will give you five points for every dollar you spend when you use Lyft. There are no foreign transaction fees, 24/7 customer service, and insurance for trip cancellations and baggage delays.
- Harzog, Beverly. “Credit Cards That Love Holiday Shopping.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 4 Nov. 2020, creditcards.usnews.com/articles/credit-cards-that-love-holiday-shopping.