The best credit cards for Target purchases

May 12, 2020

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Whether for your groceries, cleaning supplies, electronics or anything in between, chances are you do at least some of your shopping at Target, especially with Amazon Prime orders being delayed amid these troubled times. 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 towards that trip you’ve been dreaming about while being cooped up at home.

Being a superstore with such 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 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.

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Maximize your spending by using the right credit card on your Target purchases. (Photo by Katherine Fan/The Points Guy)

Overview of the best credit cards for target purchases

The information for the Discover it Cash Back and Chase Freedom Unlimited 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 Reading: Best credit cards for Amazon purchases

In This Post

Comparing the best credit cards for target purchases

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Annual fee Earning rates
Chase Sapphire Reserve* Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. $550 10x on Lyft rides, 5x at grocery stores and select superstores (on up to $1,500 spent through June 30), 3x on travel, 3x on dining, 1x on everything else
Target REDcard N/A $0 5% savings on qualifying purchases at Target.
Discover it Cash Back Discover 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 per quarter);  1% unlimited cash back on all purchases; cash back match at end of first 12 months
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Receive a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. Terms apply. $95 (see rates and fees) 6% cash back up to $6,000 per 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. Terms apply.
American Express® Gold Card Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $4,000 in purchases in your first three months. $250 (see rates and fees) 4x on restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1x), 3x on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com, 1x on everything else
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card* Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. $95 5x on Lyft rides, 3x at grocery stores and select superstores (on up to $1,500 spent through June 30), 2x on travel, 2x on dining, 1x on everything else
Chase Freedom Unlimited $200 bonus after spending $500 in their first three months. $0 5% cash back on Lyft rides, 1.5% cash back on other purchases.

*These Chase-issued cards are temporarily offering bonus points at grocery stores, including superstores such as Target stores as long as they have a full line-up of groceries available. Your standard Target that doesn’t sell any or just a small selection of groceries won’t apply, but all Targets that have a deli and/or bakery will be included.

Best credit cards for Target purchases

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $550

Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening (valued by TPG at $1,000).

Earning rates: Now through June 30, you’ll earn 5x points (on up to $1,500 per month) at grocery stores. Superstores like Target count as long as there is a grocery section. You’ll also earn 10x points on Lyft rides, 3x on travel, 3x on dining, 1x on everything else.

Why we like it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers terrific returns on popular spending categories on top of a generous sign-up bonus and some of the best travel benefits offered by any rewards credit card. 5x points at grocery stores and many superstores equates to a whopping 10% back, based on TPG valuations.

You also get an impressive 3x points on travel and dining purchases, which are both broadly-defined categories that include things like parking fees and food delivery orders.

The annual fee may seem high at first, but benefits like a $300 annual travel creditLyft Pink membershipPriority Pass membership, up to $60 per year in DoorDash credits (at least for 2020 and 2021) and a complimentary DashPass membership can go a long way to help offset that.

Apply here: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Target REDcard

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Welcome bonus: N/A

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 anniversary, 30 extra days for returns and free shipping on most Target online purchases without having to meet the usual $35 minimum. You’ll also get 10% back on Hotels.com bookings.

Keep in mind 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.

Apply here: Target REDcard

Discover It Cash Back

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Welcome bonus: Discover will match your first year’s cash back.

Earning rates: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in eligible spending in rotating quarterly categories and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. From Oct. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, one of the 5% bonus categories will be Target.com 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. These categories vary throughout the year, from gas stations to wholesale clubs. Since Discover matches your first year’s cash back, new cardholders can earn a terrific 10% back on Target.com purchases in the fourth quarter.

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.

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.

Apply here: Discover it Cash Back

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: Receive a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. Terms apply.

Earning rates: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per 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 increase your chances of earning 6% back on your Target purchases, you’ll want to purchase Target gift cards from traditional U.S. grocery stores. Then 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.

Apply here: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

American Express Gold Card

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)

Welcome bonus: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $4,000 in purchases in your first three 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 anytime).

Earning rates: Earn 4x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1x) and dining, 3x on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com and 1x on everything else.

Why we like it: The 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, so to earn 4x points on your Target purchases, you’ll want to purchase Target gift cards from a traditional U.S. grocery store.

In addition to 4x points at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants worldwide, this card offers high returns on airfare. You’ll earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with your card at participating partner restaurants, as well as up to $100 in annual airline incidental credits.

When you take advantage of all of the perks, you can effectively lower the card’s $250 annual fee to just $30.

Apply here: American Express Gold Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95

Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (valued by TPG at $1,600).

Earning rates: Now through June 30, you’ll earn 3x points (on up to $1,500 spent) at grocery stores and superstores like Target and Walmart as long as there is a grocery section. You’ll also earn 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 2x on travel and dining, 1x on everything else.

Why we like it: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has long been one of the most popular starter cards because of its strong bonus categories, impressive welcome bonus and reasonable annual fee. Its elevated bonus on grocery store spending is just the cherry on top.

Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the travel and dining categories are broadly defined. Frequent Lyft customers will enjoy the 5x on Lyft rides and fans of DoorDash food delivery service can take advantage of at least 12 months of DashPass membership.

The points you earn with this card can be transferred to Chase’s various partners or redeemed for 1.25 cents each through Chase’s travel portal. Just know that the Chase Sapphire Preferred does typically require you to have at least a little bit of credit history and a decent credit score.

Apply here: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 bonus after spending $500 in their first three months.

Earning rates: 5% cash back on Lyft rides; 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. It earns a flat 1.5% back on everything. There’s one exception to the 1.5% earning rate for new card holders, but it’s a good one. Thanks to Chase’s partnership with Lyft, card holders earn 5% back on Lyft rides.

Card holders also get three free months of DoorDash’s DashPass, with the next nine months for 50% off.

If you pair this card with a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you’ll be able to convert your cash back into full-fledged transferable Ultimate Rewards points, amounting to a respectable 3% return on your Target purchases, based on TPG valuations.

Apply Here: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Bottom line

If you’re a regular Target shopper then you should use one of the above cards to maximize your purchases from the store. Right now, the best card options come from Chase, specifically the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which is offering 5x points on grocery store and select superstore spending. Just remember that only some Target locations will qualify for the bonus.

Beyond June, the most rewarding options will come from American Express, but only if you don’t mind going through the process of purchasing Target gift cards from grocery stores.

If you want simplicity and to save on your Target purchases year round, it would make more sense to use a card like the Target REDcard or Chase Freedom Unlimited.

No matter what card you end up using, be sure to sign up for the Target Circle rewards program to stack your rewards.

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 George Frey/Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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