Key takeaways

  • Doing something special for Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you’ve got credit card points, miles or other rewards saved up.
  • You can use your credit card rewards for everything from booking exclusive restaurant reservations and getting specialty event tickets to buying gifts with the gift cards you redeem from points.
  • If you’re planning on opening up a new credit card, consider one with a strong welcome bonus and an attainable spending threshold to help you boost your rewards even further before Valentine’s Day comes around.

This year, consumer spending for Valentine’s Day is expected to reach $25.8 billion, according to research from the National Retail Federation (NRF). This is pretty close to last year’s spending plans of $25.9 billion, with Bankrate further finding that around 52 percent of consumers planned to spend an average of $192.80 in 2023.

With spending around the 2023 holiday season also reaching new heights, according to the NRF, it’s no surprise that companies are gearing up for lots of Valentine’s Day spending in 2024, too. Yet even though the data points to more spending this year, you shouldn’t have to increase your spending to celebrate your belovedWith the right combination of points and perks, you may be able to get gifts for your loved one or plan a special experience more cheaply — or even for free.

Whether you have a high budget and are looking to splurge on your loved one or you’re short on cash and need a frugal gift that won’t disappoint, read on for fun ways to use credit card rewards for Valentine’s Day celebrations and gifts in 2024.

Use travel rewards for a weekend getaway

Whether you actually want to escape over Valentine’s Day or you’re hoping to surprise your sweetie with the details for a trip you have planned, it makes sense to take stock of your points and miles before you book anything.

Many flexible travel credit cards make it possible to use rewards to pay for part of your travel booking, which can be helpful if you don’t have enough points to cover an entire trip. Some rewards credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, even let you get a boost in value when you use points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

For example, you can use points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to book airfare, hotels, rental cars and more through Chase, and you’ll get 25 percent more value (1.25 cents per point) when you do. You can also pay for a trip with a combination of points and cash if you’re running short on what you need.

So, where should you go? Consider a weekend getaway to the mountains or the big city, or book a fun-fueled trip to Las Vegas or an all-inclusive resort. Flexible rewards points can help make any of that happen if you have a stash of points built up and you’re willing to use them.

Redeem rewards for cash back

Many top rewards credit cards also let you redeem rewards for cash back or statement credits to your account, usually at a rate of 1 cent per point. This means you can use your credit card rewards to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts or pay for a fancy dinner, then reimburse yourself with the rewards you have.

Alternatively, you could even sign up for a new cash back credit card with the purpose of earning a welcome bonus that you can redeem to cover holiday gifts. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is offering an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back.. If you charge enough to the card, you could use the extra cash back you earn to buy your loved one something special. Plus, the card has no annual fee, so it won’t cost you anything to carry it.

Redeem rewards for gift cards

Many rewards credit cards let you redeem rewards for gift cards as well, although redemption rates vary. Depending on the credit card you have and availability you may be able to use rewards for gift cards to a romantic restaurant or a retailer your partner already loves.

As an example, some of the gift card redemptions available for Capital One credit cards at the time of writing include:

  • Apple
  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Lowe’s
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • Bonefish Grill
  • McCormick & Schmick’s
  • Sephora

You can even get a prepaid Mastercard and use that toward your next purchase. With these options in mind, it’s easy to see how you could turn a gift card redemption into a Valentine’s surprise your partner will love.

Cash in World of Hyatt points for a fun splurge

World of Hyatt makes it possible to redeem rewards for hotel stays at more than 1,000 properties worldwide, but you can also use points for fun experiences through the World of Hyatt FIND experiences program. Most of the available experiences are in and around big cities, so they could work for you depending on where you live.

For example, you may be able to redeem World of Hyatt points through this program for:

  • Admission to the American Dream TilT museum in East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • Admission to The Whiskey Tasting Factory in Nashville, Tennessee
  • A two-hour guided tour through The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, New York
  • A hot air balloon ride in Scottsdale, Arizona
  • A boat ride with an Executive Chef–catered picnic on the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary

You can take advantage of these experiences just by being a World of Hyatt rewards member, so even if you don’t have enough points to cover the whole excursion, you can pay with cash instead.

Book exclusive restaurant reservations with Amex Global Dining

If you hold an eligible American Express credit card — such as The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card — you can automatically qualify for a perk called Global Dining Access with Resy. This cardholder benefit makes it possible to book prime-time restaurants that are typically difficult to get into, some of which include:

  • Carbone in New York, New York
  • Zahav in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • The Grey in Savannah, Georgia
  • Cúrate in Asheville, North Carolina

You’ll also get a “VIP Diner Badge” that lets establishments know you’re a valued guest and should be treated accordingly.

This dining perk works best in big cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, and it even has international options if you find yourself traveling in cities like London, United Kingdom’ Sydney, Australia and Lima, Peru. The program is accessible through the Resy app, which you can use to set up notifications for when a table becomes available at a restaurant you are hoping to get into.

The bottom line

Whether you want to surprise your sweetheart with a fun new gift or just need some cash to take them out for dinner, make sure to check how much you have in credit card rewards. Depending on your stash, you could buy something pretty spectacular and get a good deal, whether that’s on a weekend trip somewhere new or a gift you wouldn’t normally splurge for with cash.

There are many ways to save money on Valentine’s Day this year, and tapping into credit card rewards can help make this special day unforgettable.