The Best Reward Credit Cards and 0% Offers For Christmas Shopping
Published 11/6/08 (Modified 5/10/13)
Updated List Of The Best Christmas Credit Card Offers With Shopping Rewards and 0% APR Deals Below
Well it's almost that time of the year again. No, not tax season - I'm talking about Christmas! For many Christians, Christmas is first and foremost a deeply religious holiday tradition that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. For the vast majority of folks though, the Christmas holiday season is all about shopping, buying gifts, and exchanging presents. The incredible compulsion to shop till you drop is so potent and all pervasive because the holiday starts so early and ends so late. Currently, the winter shopping season starts on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when retail stores unleash their tidal wave of heavily discounted sales and free giveaways to jump start the holiday shopping race. Black Friday is quickly followed by Cyber Monday, when online shoppers take to the Internet airwaves after their Black Friday shopping binges to seek out the best online shopping deals and offers. Helped along by the shopping demand of other winter holidays like Hanukkah, the cycle of Christmas bargains and shopping deals doesn't let up until well into the new year. Even then, hardcore shoppers still continue to raid the retail outlets and department stores for leftover holiday closeout sales and bargains.
Overwhelmed by the sheer number of retail store sales, promotional discounts, and limited time offers during the Christmas shopping season, it's no wonder the amount of money spent on Christmas presents for many far exceeds the seasonal spending rates of other holidays during the rest of the year. Whether it's the strong social pressure to buy more and more expensive gifts for friends and family, or whether it's the competitive aspect of obtaining that perfect gift for your child (talking Elmo, Nintendo Wii, or PlayStation video game system for example), we all seem to succumb to the inevitable Christmas shopping craze in one way or another.
Take me for example. I'm ordinarily a frugal shopper throughout the year, preferring to stay conservative and disciplined in my purchase habits. However, even I tend to let go a little bit during the Christmas months. That's why as much as I enjoy the Christmas holiday festivities along with the cheerful sights and sounds, I often secretly dread this time of the year. Despite my better judgment, I know my frugal wits are likely to be laid to waste when all is said and done due to societal gift exchanging pressures. However, it's important not to get too carried away with our shopping exuberance, lest we risk falling into a serious financial trap when the bills come in. Like an alcoholic hang over, the actual party and festivities may be quite enjoyable, but the post game reality may be too difficult to handle if you're not smart with your wallet and spending decisions. That's why it's more important than ever to hold onto your financial senses and not abandon your frugal, deal hunting ways. During this time of year, online cash back deals, shopping coupon codes, and all sorts of discounts and promos abound - and it's important to seek them out.
Christmas Shoppers Maximize Their Money With Cash Back Rewards and 0% Credit Card Offers
Like it or not, it's an undeniable trend that more and more consumers are utilizing the convenience and shopping incentive perks of credit cards to make their Christmas purchases. Frankly, it's not hard to see why. Credit cards offer a higher degree of ease and convenience compared to cash. Because of online credit card tracking, it's much easier to budget, analyze, and control your spending during the holiday season when all of your purchases are charged to your credit card. Due to the extensive fraud and unauthorized purchase protections offered by major credit card issuers, credit card purchases also tend to enjoy greater security oversight and more liberal return policies than ordinary cash purchases.
However, probably the number one reason why holiday shoppers utilize credit cards to do their Christmas shopping is to earn cash back credit card rewards and to take advantage of attractive 0% APR deals that allow them to make interest free credit card purchases for an introductory period of time. While those who struggle with credit card debt ought to stick with cash spending, those who have a good track record of responsible credit card use have the potential to save a sizable amount of money through credit card spending rewards, and enjoy a degree of financial flexibility with interest free shopping. Remember, unlike the use of balance transfers, you must actually charge purchases to your reward credit card to earn incentive rewards, and you must use it to make purchases to take advantage of any introductory 0% APR rates. Never use your credit card to request cash advances. Cash advances are almost never included in any introductory rate promotions so avoid using them.
List Of The Credit Card Reward Offers and 0% APR Deals For Christmas Holiday Shopping
Cash Back Reward Credit Card Offers - Whether you opt for cash back cards or credit card point rewards redeemable for gift cards, cash, and airline travel, both offer cardholders the competitive opportunity to spend and save money at the same time. Reward credit cards that offer point rewards for qualified purchases tend to offer a higher reward rate than straight cash back cards, however they often require a bit more micro managing of reward redemptions. For those of you who need to do your shopping now, you may want to take advantage of the $100-$200 gift card promotions offered by a select number of credit card issuers for new applicants - check out my compiled list of credit card sign up bonuses.
In terms of credit card reward earning potential, bear in mind that most credit cards have programs geared towards certain types of purchases (such as grocery, gas, or restaurants) with higher reward percentages for purchase made with those merchants. However, because most purchases via the Internet and or made in malls and department stores do not usually qualify for one of these special higher rebate categories, they generally must settle for the default reward rate - generally around 1%.
Here is my list of Christmas shopping reward credit cards:
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express - New Card members can earn cash back with no rotating categories or enrollment: 3% at US supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% at US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Terms and Restrictions Apply.
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express - Earn up to 5 Starpoints for every eligible dollar charged directly at hotels and resorts participating in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. Get 1 point for every dollar of eligible purchases spent. As with any credit or charge card be sure you review the card application page for the terms and restrictions. Terms and Restrictions Apply.
- Chase Freedom® Visa - Enroll each quarter and get 5 percent bonus cash back in popular, rotating categories like gas stations, restaurants and more, subject to maximum quarterly spend. Earn 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
- Capital One Cash Credit Card - Get 1 percent cash back on all eligible purchases, with no earning limit or expiration.
- Fidelity Investment Rewards Visa Signature Card - Enjoy a 1.5% points for each $1 spent on the first $15,000 in purchases per year. Points can be redeemed for cash and deposited into your Fidelity brokerage account.
Credit Cards That Offer 0% introductory APR on Purchases for Interest Free Purchases (Ideal For Christmas Shopping)
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express - 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months. After that you APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99%-21.99%.
- Blue Sky from American Express® - 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months. After that your APR will be a variable rate, currently 17.24%-22.24%
- Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card - 0 percent introductory APR for 18 months on purchases and 18 months on balance transfers
- Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card -$100 Cashback - 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months