The best credit cards for Target purchases

Aug 8, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This guide has been updated with the latest information.


This page includes information about the Discover it Cash Back that is not currently available on The Points Guy and may be out of date.

Whether for your 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 towards that trip you’ve been dreaming about.

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.

Want more credit card news and advice from TPG? Sign up for our daily newsletter!

In This Post

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

Comparing the best credit cards for target purchases

Card Welcome Bonus Annual fee Earning rates
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 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 Express Receive 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card within the first six months of card membership, up to $200 back.

Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card within the first six months of card membership. Cash back received in the form of statement credits.

$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 for statement credits. Terms apply.
American Express® Gold Card Earn 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) 4x at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1x), 4x on restaurants, 3x on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel, 1x on everything else
Chase Freedom Unlimited $200 bonus after spending $500 in their first three months. 5% back on grocery up to $12,000 in grocery store purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®) in the first 12 months. $0 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022, 5% on Chase Travel booked through Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on drug store purchases and on dining purchases, 1.5% cash back on other purchases.

Best credit cards for Target purchases

Target REDcard

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

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up 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 account anniversary, 30 extra days for returns and free shipping on most Target online purchases without having to meet the usual $35 minimum.

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

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up 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 after activation and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. From Oct. 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2021, 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 (activation required). 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 of 2021.

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.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

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

Welcome bonus: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card within the first six months of card membership, up to $200 back. Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the 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 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 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).

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

In addition, Amex Gold cardholders get up to $120 in annual Uber Cash, distributed as up to $10 credits per month. Card must be added in Uber account to receive Uber Cash benefit. Enrollment required.

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

Apply here: American Express Gold 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 a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in their first three months of account opening.

Earning rates: 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022 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. In addition to its strong earning rates in other categories, cardholders also get three complimentary 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. The most rewarding options 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.

Additional reporting by 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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.