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Black Friday is almost here once again. Millions of shoppers will be at stores or on their computers and mobile devices to scoop up the best deals just like any other year, and those who prepare ahead of time stand to save the most.
In addition to learning about various brands’ sales and comparing prices ahead of time, another important step is to pick up the right credit card for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. With the right rewards credit card, you can earn rewards and a welcome bonus, plus gain valuable consumer protections that can help you save money, hassle and stress.
Best credit cards to use on Black Friday 2022
The best credit cards on the market can help you earn cash back or flexible rewards for each dollar you spend on Black Friday. Some also offer generous welcome bonuses to consumers who can meet a minimum spending requirement within a specific timeframe, and the best cards come with no annual fee.
To find the best card for you, you’ll want to compare cards based on the rewards and benefits they offer. Here are our top credit card picks for Black Friday:
Chase Freedom Flex: Best for rotating bonus categories
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ doesn’t charge an annual fee and you’ll earn 5 percent cash back on activated bonus category purchases each quarter (on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent back), 5 percent back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases, 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2025), 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases. You can also earn a $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening.
For the final quarter of 2022 (October through December), Chase’s rotating bonus categories include Walmart and PayPal. This makes the Chase Freedom Flex ideal for holiday shopping at Walmart or with the millions of retailers that accept PayPal as payment. As a final bonus with this card, you’ll get an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 17.99 percent to 26.74 percent. This introductory offer can help you avoid interest on your holiday purchases for more than a year. Purchases you make with this card will also qualify for purchase protection against damage or theft. You can also qualify for extended warranty coverage on eligible items.
Discover it Cash Back: Best for cash back potential
The Discover it® Cash Back doesn’t charge an annual fee and earns 5 percent cash back on rotating categories each quarter (on up to $1,500 per quarter, then 1 percent back; activation required) and 1 percent back on other purchases. Discover will also match all the rewards you earn during your first year. So if you max out the 5 percent category, you’ll earn $300 in rewards, which will double at the end of the year for a total of $600 in rewards.
For the final quarter of 2022 (October through December), Discover’s rotating bonus categories include Amazon and digital wallets. That makes this card perfect for holiday shoppers who plan to buy gifts at Amazon or through their phone, for example. Plus, this card also comes with a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then a variable APR of 15.74 percent to 26.74 percent).
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express: Best for online shopping
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has some intriguing benefits for Black Friday shoppers. For instance, you can earn up to $250 cash back as a new cardholder — $100 when you spend $2,000 in your first six months, plus up to $150 back (in the form of 20 percent back on purchases, applied as statement credits) — when you use your card to check out with merchants via PayPal in your first six months.
There’s also no annual fee with this card, and you’ll earn 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets at U.S. gas stations and on U.S. online retail purchases (on up to $6,000 in each category per year, then 1 percent back) and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. If you’re planning on shopping with several different retailers this season, the Blue Cash Everyday is a solid pick with its 3 percent back on online retail purchases. Cardmembers also qualify for an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 18.24 percent to 29.24 percent.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card*: Best for Amazon shoppers
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card comes with no annual fee, but you’ll need a Amazon Prime membership to get this card, which currently costs $139 per year. You can get up to a $150 Amazon gift card instantly upon approval, which is a nice, no-strings-attached welcome bonus. You’ll also earn 5 percent back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2 percent back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; and 1 percent back on all other purchases.
If you frequently shop at Amazon and Whole Foods, it’s hard to beat the unlimited rewards you can earn with this card. Plus, as a cardholder, you can earn 10 percent back or more through limited-time offers on a rotating selection of Amazon products. You’ll also get important benefits like purchase protection, extended warranty coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance and no foreign transaction fees — all of which can come in handy if you’re traveling for the holidays, too.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: Best for flat cash back
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offers unlimited 2 percent cash rewards on all purchases, making it one of the best flat cash back cards on the market today. That makes it a great choice if you tend to spend a lot outside of typical bonus categories or if you don’t want to keep track of which categories you earn more rewards in.
This card also comes with no annual fee, cellphone protection (terms apply) and Visa Signature perks. Plus, you can earn a welcome bonus of $200 in cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first three months, which could help cover some of your Black Friday shopping. And if you need more time to pay off a balance, you’ll also get a 0 percent intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (then a variable APR of 18.74 percent, 23.74 percent or 28.74 percent applies).
Tips for choosing a credit card for Black Friday shopping
The best credit card for Black Friday or Cyber Monday can vary from one person to the next. However, the right card for you depends on your spending habits, where you plan to shop and whether you want to pay down your balance right away or spread out payments over time.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right credit card and make the most of Black Friday deals.
Figure out how you want to earn and redeem rewards
First, you should know that not all cards offer the same type of rewards. Some cash back credit cards only let you redeem rewards for statement credits or direct deposits, while others let you cash in your rewards for merchandise, gift cards, travel and more. Make sure to take a look at some of the top credit card rewards programs to find an option that offers what you want the most.
Earn a welcome bonus — or two
See which cards currently have the most generous sign-up bonus offers and potentially pursue more than one bonus. For example, if one cash back credit card lets you earn a bonus for spending just $500 within three months of account opening, you may be able to sign up for a second card and earn a second bonus that will help to further cover your holiday shopping bill.
Consider cards with a 0% intro APR offer
Since credit cards tend to charge high APRs, they tend to be an expensive borrowing option for the long haul. If you want to pay down your balance slowly over time, consider a rewards credit card that offers an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases for a year or longer.
Apply for a credit card online
For most credit cards, you’ll learn whether you’re approved or not in as little as 60 seconds, and many cards allow you to use your newly-approved card number instantly. However, it can sometimes take a few days or weeks to learn if you’ve been approved for a card, especially if you’re applying for a card that has strict or numerous requirements. It could also take up to a week or more for your new card to arrive. Be sure to read the fine print related to approval time and card arrival time before applying for a new card for Black Friday shopping.
How to maximize your credit card rewards on Black Friday
Once you make sure you have the right credit card for in-person and online shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are a few steps you can take to boost your rewards haul this year.
Earn more rewards with shopping portals
If you plan to do the bulk of your shopping online, make sure you’re considering issuer shopping portals as a part of your strategy. Many credit card issuers offer their own shopping portals, including American Express, Chase and Capital One. Many airlines also have shopping portals, as well. As a last resort, if your credit card doesn’t have a shopping portal, you can also rack up more rewards with a cash back site like Rakuten or TopCashback.
All shopping portals work similarly. All you have to do is log in to your account and choose an item to purchase from participating retailers. If you go through the portal before you make a purchase with a participating store, you’ll earn bonus rewards (depending on the program). Just keep in mind that shopping portal offers are extended on top of the rewards you’ll earn with your credit card. In that sense, credit card shopping portals let you “double-dip” on your rewards.
Look out for extended warranties and purchase protection
As you compare credit card offers, keep in mind that some of the best cash back credit cards offer purchase protection against damage or theft. This means that, if an item you buy with your credit card is damaged or stolen within a specific period of time (usually 90 to 120 days), you can get reimbursed for repairs or replacement costs. Limits for purchase protection vary from card to card, so be sure to check your cardmember agreement.
Extended warranties that apply to items with a manufacturer’s warranty can also be helpful around the holidays. That’s especially true if you plan to make expensive purchases for yourself, like new appliances for your kitchen or a new laptop. This benefit will add more time to the manufacturer’s warranty your item comes with already, thus lengthening the amount of time you can qualify for repair or replacement.
Consider cards with return protection
While none of the credit cards we’re suggesting for Black Friday offer this benefit, some premium credit cards offer return protection. This means that, if a retailer will not accept your item back within a specific period of time, your issuer will reimburse you for that item (up to a certain amount).
For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a popular travel credit card that offers this perk. With this card’s return protection, you can be reimbursed for eligible items the store won’t take back (within 90 days of purchase). Coverage is good for up to $500 per item with a cap of $1,000 per year.
The bottom line
Whether you plan to shop at Walmart for Black Friday or spend the entire holiday weekend on Amazon.com, the best rewards credit cards can help you get more bang for your buck. Not only can you earn rewards for each dollar you spend, but you can also maximize your rewards with welcome bonuses, shopping portals, limited-time offers and more.
Additionally, some credit cards also come with purchase protection and extended warranty coverage, which can help you save money if items you purchase are stolen or damaged, or if eligible items break down after the manufacturer’s warranty runs out. Still, make sure to compare all the top rewards credit cards on the market today in terms of their rewards and their benefits before you apply for a card.
*All information about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.