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The best credit cards for Target purchases

Jan. 30, 2023
17 min read
An image of the front of a Target store.
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Editor's Note

This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. 

Whether you're purchasing groceries, cleaning supplies, electronics or anything in between, there’s a good chance you do some of your shopping at Target.

And if you’re spending a significant amount there, you’ll want to make sure you’re using a credit card that maximizes your purchases from the store. With the right card, you can earn cash back that goes into your pocket, or points that you can put toward that trip you’ve been dreaming about.

As a superstore with a large variety of products, most Target locations code as general spending, so the best card for traditional grocery stores or wholesale clubs may not necessarily be the best card to use at Target. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still earn extra rewards or save cash on your Target purchases.

Here are the top credit cards that will help you maximize your Target purchases with discounts or bonus points.

Overview of the best credit cards for Target purchases

First, a quick note: A small number of Targets are considered “grocery stores” which means at these locations, you’ll earn points based on the grocery category. Your best bet might be to make a small purchase and check your statement to see how the purchase was “coded.” If your Target is considered a grocery store, here are some of the best cards for groceries.

For everyone else, here are the best cards to use:

The information for the Discover it Cash Back and the Target REDcard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Best credit cards for Amazon purchases

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Comparing the best credit cards for target purchases

CardWelcome BonusAnnual feeEarning rates
Capital One Venture XEarn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.$395.10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through the Capital One travel portal; 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through the Capital One travel portal; 2 miles per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Capital One VentureEarn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.$95.5 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through the Capital One travel portal; 2 miles per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Target REDcardNone.$0.5% savings on qualifying purchases at Target.
Discover it Cash BackDiscover will match your first year’s cash back.$0.5% cash back on rotating quarterly bonus categories on the first $1,500 in purchases each quarter you activate (up to $75 back per quarter); 1% unlimited cash back on all purchases; cash back match at end of first 12 months.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressEarn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months of card membership.$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 (see rates and fees).6% cash back up on up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year at U.S. supermarkets; 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services; 3% cash back on transit and U.S. gas stations; 1% cash back on everything else. Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Terms apply.
American Express® Gold CardEarn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months card membership.$250 (see rates and fees).4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1 point); 4 points per dollar on restaurants; 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel; 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.$0.5% on quarterly categories (up to $1,500 combined spending, activation required) and on travel purchased through Chase Travel booked through Ultimate Rewards; 3% back on drugstore purchases and on dining purchases; 1% on all other purchases.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Earn an additional 1.5% on all purchases up to $20,000 spent in the first year.$0.5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2025; 5% on Chase Travel booked through Ultimate Rewards; 3% back on drugstore purchases and on dining purchases; 1.5% cash back on other purchases.

Best credit cards for Target purchases

Capital One Venture X

JOHN GRIBBEN/THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $395.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. TPG values this bonus at $1,388.

Earning rate: Earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through the Capital One travel portal, 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through the Capital One travel portal and 2 miles per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

Why we like it: Although the Capital One Venture X has the highest annual fee of any card on this list, it comes with an extensive range of benefits that are beneficial for frequent travelers. You'll get up to a $300 statement credit toward travel purchases made through the Capital One portal, bringing down the effective annual cost to just $95 per year. Not only that, but you'll get a 10,000-mile bonus every account anniversary, complimentary access to the Capital One lounges and Priority Pass lounges for you and up to two guests, up to $100 in statement credits toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck and much more.

Target shoppers also win when paying with the Venture X, since you'll earn 2 miles per dollar on all eligible purchases. TPG values Capital One miles at 1.85 cents each, so you're looking at an effective 3.7% return whether you're buying groceries or furniture at Target.

For more details, check out our full review of the Venture X.


Apply here: Capital One Venture X


Capital One Venture

WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. TPG values this bonus at $1,388.

Earning rates: Earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through the Capital One travel portal and 2 miles per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

Why we like it: Like the more premium version of the card, the Capital One Venture may be better suited for Target shoppers who can't justify paying hundreds of dollars in annual fees.

Plus, you're still earning the same 2 miles per dollar spent rate on all eligible purchases — including at Target — but for just $95 per year. Plus, you'll still get two complimentary visits to the Capital One lounge annually and up to a $100 statement credit toward your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.

For more details, check out our full review of the Venture card.


Apply here: Capital One Venture


Target REDcard

ERIC HELGAS/THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Earning rates: Get a 5% discount on all eligible Target purchases.

Why we like it: Unlike other cards on this list, this card offers an immediate discount on your purchases. Getting a 5% discount on Target purchases, both in-store and online, can save you a pretty penny. Plus, cardholders get 5% off at Starbucks locations inside Target.

Other benefits include a 10% discount coupon every account anniversary, 30 extra days for returns and free shipping on most Target online purchases without having to meet the usual $35 minimum.

Remember that you can only use this card at Target, and the card is offered as either a debit or credit card. The debit version can often make more sense, as it won’t add to your 5/24 count with Chase.

Discover it Cash Back

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Discover will match your first year’s cash back.

Earning rates: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in eligible spending in rotating quarterly categories after activation and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Why we like it: The Discover it is a rotating category card, offering 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in accordance with Discover’s cash-back calendar (activation required). These categories vary throughout the year, from gas stations to wholesale clubs, and has included Target in the past, like in the fourth quarter of 2020.

When Target.com is not a part of the quarterly cash back bonus category, your purchases will only earn 1% back. Since the card doesn’t charge an annual fee, it won’t hurt to keep it in your wallet throughout the year, though.

The card is relatively easy to be approved for. Since this is a cash-back card, the redemption process is straightforward, with no minimum amount required for redemption. But keep in mind you have to activate the new categories each quarter via Discover’s website.

For more details, check out our full review of the Discover it cash back card.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

ISABELLE RAPHAEL/THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95 (see rates and fees).

Welcome bonus: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months of card membership.

Earning rates: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases — then 1%) and select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit and 1% back on other purchases.

Why we like it: The Blue Cash Preferred offers strong earnings in many popular spending categories, including U.S. supermarkets. While some banks code select Target stores as grocery stores, most do not.

To make sure you're earning 6% back on your Target purchases, you’ll want to purchase Target gift cards from traditional U.S. grocery stores. Then you can use those gift cards to pay for Target purchases.

Target gift cards can be purchased at many grocery stores, including Kroger and Safeway locations. Many Amex cards have restrictions against earning points on gift card purchases, but reports suggest that this isn’t strictly enforced, so proceed at your own risk.

For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Blue Cash Preferred.


Apply here: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express


American Express® Gold Card

EDEN BATKI/THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees).

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months — though be sure to check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re targeted for a higher welcome offer (targeted offer subject to change at any time). TPG values this bonus at $1,200.

Earning rates: Earn 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1 point per dollar) and at restaurants, 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amex Travel and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

Why we like it: The Membership Rewards points you earn with the Amex Gold are fully transferable, so you can get some great value from them when redeeming for flight or hotel bookings. Like the Blue Cash Preferred Card, the bonus on supermarket spending does not extend to superstores like Target, so to earn 4 points per dollar on your Target purchases, you’ll want to purchase Target gift cards from a traditional U.S. grocery store.

In addition to the enhanced earning rates at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants, this card offers high returns on airfare. You’ll also earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly (up to $120 annually) when you pay with your card at participating partner restaurants. Enrollment required.

Furthermore, Amex Gold cardholders get up to $120 in annual Uber Cash, distributed as up to $10 credits per month. Your card must be added to your Uber account to receive the Uber Cash benefit. Enrollment is required.

When you take advantage of all of the perks, you can effectively lower the card’s $250 annual fee to just $10.

For more details, check out our full review of the Amex Gold Card.


Apply here: American Express® Gold Card


Chase Freedom Flex℠

THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $0.

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earning rates: 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories (up to the first $1,500 in combined purchases, activation required), Lyft rides through March 2025 and on Chase Travel booked through Ultimate Rewards, 3% back at drug stores and on dining, and 1% cash back on other purchases.

Why we like it: For the first time, Target is one of the 5% categories for the first quarter of 2023, making this an excellent choice to maximize earnings on your Target purchases. And even when it's not one of the 5% quarterly categories, you can usually buy Target gift cards from a store in the bonus category, such as grocery or office supply stores, and maximize your Target spending that way.

However, where this can offer some outstanding value is when you pair this card with a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. That's because Chase allows you to combine the awards in your different accounts, effectively converting your cash-back rewards into full-fledged transferable Ultimate Rewards points and giving you access to some fantastic award options.

For more details, check out our full review of the Chase Freedom Flex.


Apply here: Chase Freedom Flex℠


Chase Freedom Unlimited®

JOHN GRIBBEN/THE POINTS GUY

Annual fee: $0.

Welcome bonus: Earn an additional 1.5% on all purchases up to $20,000 spent in the first year.

Earning rates: 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2025 and on Chase Travel booked through Ultimate Rewards, 3% back at drug stores and on dining, and 1.5% cash back on other purchases.

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited is ideal for purchases that typically don’t fall into the bonus categories offered by other cards, such as Target purchases, since it earns a flat 1.5% back on those.

Again, you can maximize your earnings by pairing this card with a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. This combination allows you to earn an effective 3% return on your Target purchases, based on TPG valuations.

For more details, check out our full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited.


Apply here: Chase Freedom Unlimited®


Bottom line

If you’re a regular Target shopper, use one of the above cards to maximize your purchases. And, no matter what card you use, always click through your favorite shopping portal when you buy online and sign up for the Target Circle rewards program to stack your earnings.

Additional reporting by Emily Thompson, Stella Shon and Chris Dong.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here.

Featured image by KATHERINE FAN/ THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees