Deck the halls: Use these cards to maximize your seasonal spending
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November and December are my favorite months of the year. I love the cooler temperatures and I the holiday season. When I was growing up, Nov. 1 was a mini-holiday at my house because it was the day we put up fall 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. After Thanksgiving, we’d start the process again to get ready for Christmas.
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.
Annual fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: $200 cash bonus after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
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 1%. One of the spending categories is home improvement and furnishings, a category that includes florists, antique stores and hardware shops, etc.
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 with the Preferred Rewards program. Eligible cardholders could earn 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.
Annual fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
The Chase Freedom Flex earns 5% on rotating categories each quarter (with a $1,500 cap on 5% spend each quarter). The Q1 2021 categories are wholesale clubs, select streaming services and internet, cable and phone services
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.
Annual fee: $95
Sign-up bonus: 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
With the Capital One Venture Card, you’ll get unlimited 2x miles 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 don’t 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” for eligible travel purchases, or you can transfer miles to one of Capital One’s 13 airline and two 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 2021 travel fund with the rewards from your holiday shopping.
Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson
Featured photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.
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