The best credit cards for Target purchases
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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page includes information about the Discover it Cash Back that is not currently available on The Points Guy and may be out of date.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.
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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:
- Target REDcard
- Discover it Cash Back
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- American Express® Gold Card
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
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.
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, 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
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.
Apply here: Target REDcard
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.
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
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 onand 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
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
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.
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.
Featured image by Katherine Fan/The Points Guy.
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