How to use credit card perks for Valentine’s Day celebrations and gifts
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Consumer spending for Valentine’s Day is expected to reach $25.9 billion in 2023, according to recent research from the National Retail Federation (NRF). This expected spending surge is much higher than the $23.9 billion consumers spent on gifts and celebrations for the holiday in 2022, and it would also be the highest Valentine’s spending level on record.
To break these figures down further, around 52 percent of consumers plan to spend an average of $192.80 this year, which is up from the average of $175.41 in 2022. This average amount in Valentine’s spending is being earmarked not only for gifts for partners and spouses, but also for gifts for pets, teachers, friends and co-workers, noted the NRF.
While there are no rules that dictate you have to spend that much on Valentine’s Day, you may be able to get gifts cheaper (or free), plan a special experience or come up with a fresh idea if you have a stash of credit card points to spend.
Whether you want to splurge on your loved one or you’re short on cash and want to score a cheap or free gift that won’t disappoint, read on for some fun ways you could use credit card rewards for Valentine’s Day celebrations and gifts in 2023.
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 later, 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 sign-up bonus that you can redeem to cover holiday gifts. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited®* is offering an additional 1.5 percent cash back on top of all purchases’ original cash back rate for the first year (on up to $20,000; exclusive offer through Bankrate). There’s no annual fee, either.
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, however, you may be able to use rewards for gift cards to a romantic restaurant or a retailer your spouse or partner already loves.
As an example, some of the gift card redemptions available for Capital One credit cards right now include Apple, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Sephora and more. 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, but they could work for you depending on where you live.
As an example, you may be able to redeem World of Hyatt points through this program for redemptions like tickets to see The Lion King on Broadway in New York City or a Japanese whiskey tasting in San Francisco, California.
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. 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 is accessible through the Resy app. You can even use the Resy app to set up notifications for when a table becomes available at a restaurant you are hoping to get into, so it’s worth giving a try.
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 a fancy 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 you opt for 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.
*The information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.