Use your credit card to save on Mother’s Day purchases

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Mother’s Day is May 9 this year, and Americans are expected to spend a record $28.1 billion on the holiday, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). That’s up about 5 percent from last year. The organization says 25-34 year-olds will be the biggest spenders, averaging $367 apiece. Jewelry, flowers, electronics and dining out are expected to be among the most popular categories.

The NRF reports that 34 percent of Mother’s Day shoppers anticipate buying gifts online. That’s ahead of department stores (28 percent), specialty stores such as florists and jewelers (26 percent) and small businesses (23 percent). While you’re celebrating mom, how about earning some extra credit card rewards?

Online shopping

My favorite way to save on e-commerce purchases is to click through an online shopping portal. Some credit card issuers (such as Chase, Capital One and Wells Fargo) offer these, as do many airlines (including American Airlines AAdvantage Shopping Portal, Delta SkyMiles Shopping Portal, United Airlines and more). There are also a host of shopping portals that aren’t tied to a specific card or airline. Popular examples include Rakuten, Google Pay, Top Cashback and BeFrugal.

The way it generally works is that you log into one of these sites and then click through to a retailer’s website and shop normally from there. That simple act of using their link—which is an affiliate marketing play—can score you considerable cash back, airline miles or other rewards points. You can use a site like CashbackMonitor.com to see which sites offer the best deals at different websites. Or if you’re particularly loyal to a certain credit card or airline, you can focus on their portal to earn cash back, points or miles in that currency.

The best part is that these savings are stackable. You can combine your savings from an online shopping portal with a store coupon and a rewards credit card. That’s three ways to save on the same purchase!

It’s easy to find Mother’s Day-themed categories. For instance, Rakuten is running special Mother’s Day promotions. These include 10 percent cash back from Olay, ULTA Beauty and Nike. I frequently use Shop Through Chase, and I recently scored an extra 20 percent cash back at SendFlowers.com. I also got 20 percent cash back via a recent Etsy purchase I made through the Google Pay app. There are tons more savings opportunities out there.

Card-linked offers

American Express, Chase and Wells Fargo are among the credit card brands that offer card-linked offers—essentially digital coupons that you load onto your card. I just checked out my Amex Offers and found $10 off a $35+ purchase at Teleflora.com. Another good one for Mother’s Day is an extra 4 percent cash back on Ann Taylor purchases up to $150. These, too, are stackable with store coupons and typical credit card rewards categories.

Standard rewards categories with Mother’s Day appeal

If you’re taking mom out for a meal, pay with one of the best credit cards for restaurant purchases. Top cards include the American Express® Gold Card, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Don’t forget about retail credit cards, either. The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, the Target RedCard and the Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard® all give up to 5 percent cash back on purchases made from those respective retailers, and all three sell just about everything. Other stores that mom might love—and that give you 5 percent cash back when you use their card at their stores – include Best Buy, Gap and T.J. Maxx.

Think outside the box

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ gives 5 percent cash back at home improvement stores and gas stations from April 1 through June 30, 2021 (activation is required and the rate applies on up to $1,500 in purchases; cardholders earn 1 percent cash back after that). These aren’t classic Mother’s Day categories, but home improvement stores have a lot of great gift ideas ranging from spring flowers to home furnishings and more. And gas stations often sell gift cards from dozens of other merchants.

You could give one directly to mom, or you could buy her something using a gift card that you got at a discount. Many grocery stores also have gift card racks. Among the best credit cards for grocery shopping, my favorite is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It gives 6 percent cash back on up to $6,000 in annual spending at U.S. supermarkets, then 1 percent cash back after that.

The bottom line

As long as you’re spending money, you would have spent anyway, credit card rewards represent free money. Use these strategies to defray some of your Mother’s Day costs by earning extra cash back, points or miles.

Have a question about credit cards? Email me at ted.rossman@bankrate.com and I’d be happy to help.

The information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, Target RedCard™ , and Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard® has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.