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Black Friday is the start of one of the biggest shopping seasons of the year — and savvy shoppers are already getting ready to take advantage of doorbuster deals, price comparison tools and other money-saving tips and tricks.
Of course, saving money on every purchase is only part of the Black Friday experience. If you know the best Black Friday credit card strategies, you can earn valuable rewards as you shop the sales and prepare for the holidays — and some of those rewards could be worth more than you realize.
We asked Scott Lieberman, COO of The Rideshare Guy and founder of TouchDownMoney.com, how he uses credit cards to save money on Black Friday. Here’s what you need to know — whether you’re hoping to maximize your credit card rewards, earn a sign-up bonus or rack up enough miles to fly first class on your next vacation.
Use Black Friday to maximize bonus category rewards
If you have a bonus category rewards credit card, you already know that you can earn industry-leading cash back, points or miles on specific shopping categories. Some bonus category rewards cards are designed to reward grocery shopping, for example. Others reward dining and entertainment purchases. There are even bonus category rewards cards for streaming media services.
Lieberman uses his bonus category rewards cards to earn cash back on Black Friday purchases. “This Black Friday, my plan is to maximize credit card rewards on my Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it cards,” he says.
The Chase Freedom FlexSM and the Discover it® Cash Back cards are both rotating category bonus cards, which means their highest-earning bonus category rewards rotate every quarter. This year, the Chase Freedom Flex’s fourth-quarter bonuses include five Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Walmart and PayPal purchases — and the Discover it card is offering 5 percent cash back on Amazon.com and purchases made through digital wallets.
“I’ll be using my Discover It card to earn five percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent at Amazon.com from October through December 2022,” says Lieberman. “I’ll earn $75 cash back. The Chase Freedom Flex is offering five points per dollar spent, up to $1,500 at Walmart from October through December 2022. That’s a maximum of $75.”
Use Black Friday to fund upcoming travel
If you want to use credit cards to save money on Black Friday, earning cash back and points on Black Friday purchases is only the first step. You also need to know how to maximize the value of your credit card rewards, especially if you’re hoping to use those rewards to fund an upcoming purchase, such as a vacation.
“Instead of redeeming my Chase Ultimate Rewards points as cash back, I move those Chase points to my Chase Sapphire Preferred card,” says Lieberman.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of today’s best travel cards. Like many rewards aficionados, Lieberman takes advantage of the Chase trifecta, and transfers the Ultimate Rewards points he earns with his Freedom Flex to his Chase Sapphire Preferred account. Many people do this so they can book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, increasing the value of their points by 25 percent in the process. Others, including Lieberman, move their points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred so they can transfer those points to one of the Chase transfer partners — and get even more value.
“Moving my Chase points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card allows me to transfer the points to partners like United, Southwest, JetBlue and Hyatt to get way more than $75 worth of travel,” Lieberman explains. “This strategy has helped me pay for luxury Business Class flights to Europe using points, not money!”
Use Black Friday to meet sign-up bonus requirements
In addition to using Black Friday as an opportunity to earn and redeem credit card rewards, you could also use your Black Friday purchases to meet the spending requirements for your next credit card sign-up bonus. Many people spend a lot of money on Black Friday, after all — which means that if you open a new credit card before you begin your holiday shopping, your purchases could help you earn a sign-up bonus worth several hundred dollars.
Worried you won’t be able to buy enough gifts to meet the spending requirement? Try combining holiday purchases with everyday necessities. Or consider using the Black Friday sales as an opportunity to invest in home improvement purchases or small business supplies.
“In previous years, I’ve used Black Friday to stock up on business purchases I’ll be using throughout the year,” says Lieberman. “This helped me meet the minimum spending requirement on the Chase Ink Business Preferred to earn the massive sign-up bonus.”
The massive bonus he refers to: The Ink Business Preferred® credit card offers 100,000 bonus points for cardholders who make $15,000 in purchases in the first three months of account ownership. Bankrate values Ultimate Rewards points redeemed via Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred at 1.25 cents when redeemed through the Chase travel portal, and up to 2 cents when transferred to travel partners.
“Currently, that bonus is worth $1,000 cash, $1,250 in travel purchases through Chase’s travel booking site or $2,000+, depending on how you use the points with airline and hotel partners like Marriott and British Airways,” says Lieberman.
If you aren’t a small business owner but are looking for similar travel rewards, consider applying for one of the Chase Sapphire cards instead. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has the same $95 annual fee as the Ink Preferred, and offers new cardholders 80,000 bonus points if they spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. Sapphire Preferred points have the same value as the Ink Preferred (1.25 cents) when redeemed through the Chase travel portal.
The more premium Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers 80,000 bonus points to cardholders who spend $4,000 within the first three months. Sapphire Reserve has a heftier ($550) annual fee, but comes with better perks and earns points worth more when redeemed through the Chase travel portal — 1.5 cents vs. 1.25 cents.
The bottom line
There are many different ways to save money on Black Friday — and when you choose the right credit cards for your purchases, you can save even more. Whether you use Black Friday as an opportunity to earn a credit card welcome bonus or plan your Black Friday shopping around bonus category rewards, there are plenty of ways to use your credit cards to rack up cash back, points and miles. If you follow Lieberman’s example and redeem your credit card rewards for their maximum potential value, you can get the most out of every Black Friday purchase.