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5 Things To Remember When Using Credit Cards During The Holidays

By: John Tunningley

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For many, the holiday season is a time that includes a lot of spending. Well, if you’re going to be making lots of purchases anyway, you might as well get the most out of each one! This could mean signing up for a new card to earn a sign-up bonus or using a card that provides some protection for your purchases.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons to open a new credit card this holiday season.

Price Protection

In addition to receiving bonus points from meeting minimum spend requirements, some credit cards also offer price protection benefits which can be incredibly useful in this season of sales.

Major cards from Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Discover, and even USAA offer price protection of some sort. With claim maximums up to $500 and yearly maximums up to $2,500, these cards can easily cover their annual fees with a single claim.

It’s important to check the benefits and exact terms of a specific credit card but many of the cards on our list of best cards for December include price protection including the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Card, and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.

Some of our members even had the opportunity to buy some pre-Black Friday deals that were advertised at a lower price on Black Friday and successfully submitted claims for the difference in price.

Increased Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses

As the giving season is now in full swing, we often see at least a few cards increase their sign up bonuses realizing that this is the perfect time to lure in new customers who need to do some holiday shopping.

Of course, these same credit card companies also count on you racking up holiday debt that will take months for you to pay off but we all know better than to fall into that trap (hopefully). Instead of racking up debt, though, we can spend responsibly on the presents for which we already budgeted to easily meet minimum spends and earn tons of points from sign-up bonuses.

Large Purchases and Holiday Shopping

Because so many of us have large purchases that we make around this time of year, earning a sign-up bonus with extra point earning opportunities could be a dream combination.

Currently, Chase has a promotion if you use the Chase Pay application in which you can earn 10x points per dollar on purchases with Walmart and Best Buy up to $325 and $400, respectively. The bonuses are available for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, Chase Freedom, and Chase Freedom Unlimited but only for a limited time.

This means that if you’ve been considering a signing up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and also thinking about a new TV you could knock out a chunk of your minimum spending requirement with a single purchase and get a ton of bonus points on the purchase.

Not many cards have category bonuses at places such as Target, Walmart, and Best Buy so using your holiday shopping to help meet a minimum spending requirement on a new card is almost always your best bet.

Holiday Travel

If you’re like me, any excuse to travel is a good one and the holiday season is one of the best excuses. Applying for a card that has a great bonus category for travel like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, or The Platinum Card from American Express can be another great way to earn some extra points while working towards meeting your minimum spend requirements.

Many cards include travel as a bonus category. While these cards are great choices for any holiday travel purchases, you can earn a ton of points if you use this spend to earn a sign-up bonus.

If you are concerned about delays or cancellations, you might value trip delay protection more than earning a new sign-up bonus and choose to book with a card with great trip delay protection.

Regular Bills and Spending

While putting some of your gift and travel spending on these new cards, it’s also important to remember you can use the new card for other everyday spend too. Whether groceries, gas, or even rent and utilities can all be put on a new card to help you meet the minimum requirement.

If a bill doesn’t provide a way to pay with a credit card keep in mind you can always use Plastiq which can help you pay just about any bill with a credit card. Combining regular purchases with the additional spending you do around the holidays is one of the easiest ways to reach minimum required spending limits quickly without changing your spending habits and racking up debt you won’t be able to pay back.

Final Thoughts

We always hear lots of questions about maximizing spend to earn the most points possible. While utilizing bonus categories is always a nice boost, earning a sign-up bonus will always get you the most bang for your buck.

With all this points-earning excitement, don’t forget other benefits of your cards during the holiday shopping season. Price protection benefits could help you save a ton on some of the gifts you buy and trip delay protection can come through for you when you get stuck at the airport.

So, make the most of your holiday shopping, earn tons of points, and have a fun with your friends and family. Just don’t spend more than you can handle. We don’t want any post-holiday horror stories of you not being able to pay off your card!

Keep traveling,

John

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