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During Thanksgiving weekend each year, more than any other time, consumers strive to score deep discounts on holiday gifts or purchases for themselves. This often means staying out all night after Thanksgiving dinner or waking early on Black Friday itself, but it’s not just the Friday after Thanksgiving that brings shoppers out in droves.
Last year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated that more than 164 million consumers planned to shop during the 5-day holiday weekend that starts on Thanksgiving and ends on “Cyber Monday,” the online equivalent of in-store Black Friday sales.
While there will always be an on-the-ground shopping component involved in Black Friday, much of the spending has moved online over recent years. Some estimates claim that Cyber Monday brought in as much as $7.9 billion in sales from U.S. shoppers alone last year, and that figure was up 19.7 percent over the year before.
If you’re angling to make the most of the holiday shopping season, however, there’s one strategy that works whether you prefer to shop in-person or online. With the right rewards credit card, you can earn rewards for each dollar you spend and gain valuable consumer protections that can help you save money.
Which credit cards can help you earn rewards on Black Friday?
Before you pick up a rewards credit card that will help you maximize Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchases, you’ll want to consider a few different factors. For example, you likely want to know and understand the earning rate on any card you sign up for — or the number of points you’ll be able to earn for each dollar you spend. On top of that, you’ll want to see if you can score a big welcome bonus for meeting a minimum spending requirement within a few months.
The following chart includes some of the best rewards cards for Black Friday and Cyber Monday including their earning rates, welcome bonuses, and more.
Ongoing rewards rate
|Chase Freedom®||Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter you activate; earn 1% back on other purchases||$150 when you spend $500 within three months||$0|
|Discover it® Cash Back||Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter you activate; earn 1% back on other purchases||Discover will match all rewards you earn the first year||$0|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Earn 2% cash back — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% as you pay it off||None||$0|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||Earn 6% back on up to $6,000 each year at U.S. Supermarkets and select U.S. streaming services; 3% back on transit and U.S. gas stations, and 1% back on other purchases||Limited Time Offer: Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. Offer Expires 12/10/2020||Limited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Earn 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on other purchases||80,000 points when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening||$95|
Pay special attention to the two top cards on this list — the Chase Freedom and Discover it. Both offer 5 percent back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter, then 1 percent, and these categories tend to be ones you can easily maximize during the holiday shopping season (activation required).
With the Chase Freedom in your wallet, you’ll earn 5 percent back on up to $1,500 spent at department stores or with Chase Pay or Paypal for the final three months of 2019. With the Discover it Cash Back Card, the top rewards category for October through December includes Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.
In addition to general rewards credit cards like the ones listed above, you could also consider store credit cards from stores like Kohl’s or Macy’s. If you do opt for a store credit card, however, keep in mind that you’ll most likely qualify for discounts on in-store purchases instead of rewards you can spend however you want.
Utilize credit card shopping portals to earn more rewards
If you plan to do a lot of your holiday shopping online, also make sure you’re considering shopping portals as part of your strategy. Where some credit card loyalty programs have their own shopping portals, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, many airlines have shopping portals as well and they all work similarly.
With a shopping portal from a program like Southwest Rapid Rewards, American AAdvantage, or Delta SkyMiles, you can typically earn 2 to 10 more points or miles for each dollar you spend online simply by logging into your account and clicking through a portal before you shop.
Stores that participate in portals can vary but usually include options like Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Home Depot. If you’re going to shop online, you have nothing to lose by navigating through your credit card’s rewards portal to take advantage of those extra points or miles.
Tips to maximize rewards for Black Friday
While earning rewards on Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases is easier than ever, you should also consider which credit cards offer consumer protections that can secure your purchases and help you save money. The following tips explain which benefits to look out for and how they work.
Look out for extended warranties and price protection benefits
Some rewards credit cards offer extended warranties that help protect your purchases for a year or longer after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. You may want to consider cards that offer this perk if you plan to buy an LED television, new appliances, a laptop, or another large purchase since using a card with this benefit could automatically extend the warranty for free.
It’s also worth considering whether a card offers price protection — a benefit that can help you get a refund for part of the purchase price of a product if the price goes down within a specific length of time after you bought it, usually up to 90 or 120 days. Using the example of an LED television, for example, if you bought the television for $900 but the price went down to $780 within a few months of the purchase date, you could get a refund of $120.
Consider credit cards with purchase protection or guaranteed returns
You might also find that purchase protection or guaranteed returns are perks that come with a rewards card. With purchase protection, you may qualify for reimbursement if an item you purchase (like a flat-screen television or laptop) is damaged or stolen within a specific length of time, usually 90 to 120 days.
Guaranteed returns promise that you can get a refund for an item a store will not take back within a similar length of time. With both purchase protection and guaranteed returns, you have to use the credit card that offers this coverage for the purchase of an item for it to qualify.