Maximize your seasonal spending with these 3 credit cards
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
December is one of my favorite months of the year. I love the cooler temperatures and the holiday season. When I was growing up, Dec. 1 was a mini-holiday at my house because it was the day we put up Christmas decorations. Festivities involved multiple trips to the attic to bring down the boxes of evergreen decorations and a trip to Target for a few new items.
Now that I’m older, I realize that decorating my own apartment for the holidays can be expensive. Throw pillows, blankets, Christmas lights and seasonal trinkets can cost a pretty penny. And don’t get me started on the cost of buying and decorating a Christmas tree.
Luckily, there are credit cards out there to help me earn rewards while I feed my holiday decor obsession. Here are my top picks.
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Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Annual fee: None.
Sign-up bonus: $200 cash bonus after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
How to maximize your seasonal spending: With the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card, you’ll earn 3% back on the category of your choice, 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% on everything else. There is a $2,500 quarterly cap on combined 3% and 2% spending each quarter; then earn 1%. One of the spending categories is home improvement and furnishings, a category that includes florists, antique stores, hardware shops — the list goes on.
You can earn 3% back when you buy those seasonal throw pillows and blankets, add festive wreaths and flower arrangements from your local florist, grab new lawn ornaments from Lowe’s or all of the above. You can also boost your earnings if you’re eligible for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program, earning as much as 5.25% back on your holiday decor purchases.
Once the season is over and your decorations go back into storage, you can get continued value from your card by changing your category every month to fit your spending habits throughout the rest of the year — making this one of the most flexible cash-back cards on the market.
Chase Freedom Flex
Annual fee: None.
Sign-up bonus: $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
How to maximize your seasonal spending: The Chase Freedom Flex earns 5% on rotating categories each quarter (with a $1,500 cap on 5% spending each quarter). The fourth-quarter categories for 2021 are Walmart and PayPal purchases, which are some of the easiest quarterly categories to max out since you can buy many seasonal purchases either through Walmart or using PayPal as a payment method.
You can also pair your Chase Freedom Flex with Chase Ultimate Rewards cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to convert your cash-back earnings into points. Those points can then be redeemed through the Chase travel portal or transferred to a Chase travel partner for even more value.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee: $95.
Sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
How to maximize your seasonal spending: With the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, you’ll get unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, including any seasonal decor your heart desires. The other cards on this list are restricted to certain categories, but you’ll earn 2x with the Venture no matter what you buy or where you shop. You may not get the best return with the Venture (compared to cards that offer 5% or 3% on specific categories), but you don’t have to worry about activating quarterly or monthly categories. If you buy your seasonal decorations from a number of shops that may not fall under a specific category, the Venture is a good choice.
Your Venture miles can be used as a statement credit to pay off eligible travel purchases, or you can transfer miles to one of Capital One’s 15-plus airline and hotel transfer partners.
Don’t forget to use shopping portals
Aside from the extra two seconds it takes to click through the link, using a shopping portal doesn’t cost anything. It’s another easy way to maximize your purchases, on top of using the right card.
Whether you go all-out with seasonal decor (like my family) or only plan to add a few holiday touches around the house, it’s important to maximize your purchases with the right card(s). Luckily, there are plenty of credit cards that help you rack up rewards on decor purchases.
But it’s always best to choose a card that provides you value year-round. If you take advantage of the right shopping portal and credit card matchup, you could even get a jump-start on your 2022 travel fund with the rewards from your holiday shopping.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon and Benét J. Wilson.
Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
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