Key takeaways

  • According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 87 percent of consumers plan to participate in some form of July 4th celebrations in 2023.
  • No matter how your July 4th holiday plans shake out this year, you have the potential to earn credit card points or redeem rewards to pay for supplies, travel and more.
  • Some of this year's best strategies to save on July 4th include redeeming travel rewards for hotel stays and car rentals and using cash back to cover fireworks, food and party supplies.

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate with fireworks, food and fun, but that doesn’t mean all the fanfare comes cheap. The National Retail Federation (NRF) found that, among the 87 percent of Americans who plan to celebrate the holiday in 2023, individual consumers are spending an average of $93.34 on food. Not only that, but 32 percent of Americans are spending even more on patriotic items and decor for their celebrations.

The money spent may be well worth it in the end, but that doesn’t mean you can’t maximize your spending or redeem some rewards to cover your purchases. There are actually quite a few ways to do both this July 4th holiday, so read on to find out how to use rewards cards to their potential.

Use a rewards card for last-minute supplies

First off, you should be using one of the best rewards credit cards to pay for last-minute July 4th food items, party supplies and fireworks. Doing so can ensure you maximize rewards on your spending, although you should make sure you’re using the most optimal card for each purchase you make.

If you’re heading to the grocery store for food items or patriotic decor, for example, you should use a grocery store credit card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, since it offers 6 percent cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent).

In lieu of a credit card with bonus rewards on groceries, you can also opt for a flat-rate card that offers more rewards on everything you buy. One example is the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which offers 2 percent cash back on purchases with no annual fee.

Take advantage of quarterly bonus categories when you can

Some cash back credit cards also offer bonus rewards in categories that rotate each quarter, and you’ll want to take advantage of these opportunities when you can. The Chase Freedom Flex℠* is a card that fits this criteria since it offers 5 percent back on up to $1,500 spent in activated categories that rotate each quarter (then 1 percent back). Current Chase Freedom categories for July 2023 through September 2023 include gas stations, electric vehicle charging and select live entertainment, which may work rather well for the July 4th holiday.

Another card to consider with rotating categories is the Discover it® Cash Back. For July 2023 through September 2023, the Discover cash back calendar lists gas stations and digital wallets for bonus category spending (on up to $1,500 in purchases when you activate). Obviously, you could maximize this category for July 4th this year by using this card to fill up your tank for a holiday road trip and by paying for holiday purchases with a digital wallet like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

Redeem travel rewards for holiday travel

Maybe you’re planning holiday travel for July 4th, either across the country or fairly close to home. In either scenario, you could redeem rewards earned with travel credit cards for a few tanks of gas in your car, a hotel stay or even airfare. If you have a cash back credit card, you may be able to redeem your points for statement credits to cover any travel purchases you make, but you may also be able to book travel through a portal.

Meanwhile, travel credit cards offered through programs like American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards let you redeem rewards for travel through their respective portals or for transfers to airline and hotel partners.

Cash in rewards to cover holiday bills

You can also check whether your rewards credit card lets you redeem points for statement credits that cover anything and everything you plan to buy for the July 4th holiday this year. This means you could use rewards to cover your holiday food spread, all the patriotic decor you bought for your home and even fireworks if you want to.

Most cash back credit cards offer this option, and many flexible travel credit cards do as well. You may also be able to redeem rewards for gift cards that can be used to pay for holiday food and supplies. For example, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program lets users redeem points for gift cards at a rate of one cent per point. As of this writing, Chase gift card options include stores and services like, DoorDash, Instacart and Target.

The bottom line

While this year’s July 4th holiday is fast approaching, you still have time to maximize rewards or redeem points in a way that helps you keep costs down. Not only can you earn more points by paying for holiday expenses with the right rewards credit card, but you can use your points to pay for holiday travel, food and supplies and anything else that will help make your holiday weekend the best it can be.

If you haven’t signed up for a rewards credit card yet, you may even have time to earn a generous credit card sign-up bonus with some of your holiday spending this year. Set aside some time to compare cash back and rewards credit cards, and you’re bound to find an option that suits the way you spend.

*The information about the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected independently by The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.