Save money on your holiday purchases with these offers
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available.
With the holidays coming up, you're probably planning your shopping strategy. You're probably looking for ways to save money on these purchases, as well.
Some credit card perks are flashy and get a lot of attention. Think: lounge access, avoiding checked bag fees, built-in cellphone insurance and elite status. However, there are other, less-heralded benefits on your credit cards that can help you save a lot of money during the holiday shopping season. These can come in the form of targeted offers, rebates or spending credits.
Today, let's look at how to save money during the holidays using benefits attached to credit cards that are already in your wallet.
Offers from credit card issuers
You may not be aware that credit card issuers have offers programs. Through targeted promotions, you can add deals to your credit card that function almost like a coupon.
After adding an offer to your card and then using that same credit card to make a purchase with the merchant, you can receive a rebate or bonus. These typically come in one of the following formats:
- Spend X amount of money, receive Y amount of money back.
- Spend X amount of money, get Y% back.
- Spend X amount of money, get Y number of bonus points.
- Get extra bonus points for each dollar spent with a particular merchant.
It's important to note that all of these offers will require adding the offer to your credit card in advance. Then, you will need to use that same credit card to make an eligible purchase with the merchant participating in the offer.
Related: Extreme couponing: How credit card merchant offers can save you hundreds of dollars every year
It's important to read the terms of offers to make sure your purchases will trigger the offer, such as needing to pay at the pump (on most gas station offers) or whether the spending threshold must be met in a single transaction to trigger your rebate.
It's also important to understand that these are targeted offers. Not everyone will see the same offers, and rebates you see on one credit card may not be available on another card from that same bank.
Let's look at some of the current offers available through Amex Offers, BankAmeriDeals, Capital One Offers, Chase Offers and Citi Merchant Offers to learn how to save money during the holidays using these targeted offers.
Also, if you're looking for offers related to travel, check out our collection of the best travel offers on credit cards this month.
Amex Offers are the most well-known of the credit card merchant offers and tend to be the most robust. The amount of time you have from enrolling in an offer until you must complete the spending tends to last longer than with other merchants. Additionally, many offers from American Express allow you to complete the spending requirements over multiple transactions — rather than needing to spend all of the required amount in one purchase.
Related: The ultimate guide to saving money with Amex Offers
While there are numerous offers available currently, here is a sample of the best offers we're seeing right now:
- Sephora: Get 5 bonus points per dollar, with a maximum of 1,500 points (expires Nov. 30, 2022).
- Apple Pay: Spend five times using Apple Pay, get $15 back (expires Nov. 30, 2022).
- eBay: Spend $15 or more, get $5 back (expires Dec. 19, 2022).
- Origins: Spend $75 or more, get $15 back (expires Dec. 25, 2022).
- Ralph Lauren: Spend $200 or more, get $40 back (expires Dec. 31, 2022).
- Bloomingdale's: Spend $75 or more, get $15 back (expires Dec. 31, 2022).
- H&M: Get 25% back on purchases, with a maximum of $10 back (expires Dec. 31, 2022).
- Macy's: Spend $60 or more, get $10 back (expires Dec. 31, 2022).
- Lululemon.com: Spend $100 or more, get $20 back or 2,000 bonus points (expires Jan. 31, 2023).
- Tommy Hilfiger: Spend $75 or more, get $25 back (expires Jan. 31, 2023).
Offers will look like this, and you will need to add them to your card before making a purchase:
You can also see the details of an offer to determine which purchases qualify, whether purchases must be made in a certain channel and whether you can use multiple purchases with that particular offer.
If you aren't seeing these offers, understand that you can only have 100 new offers available on an American Express credit card at any one time. If you want to get more offers to show up, you'll need to wait for offers to expire or add some of your offers to a card, creating space for new offers to show up.
Related: The secret to getting more (and sometimes better) Amex Offers on your card
BankAmeriDeals are available to those who have Bank of America credit cards or debit cards or Merrill Lynch credit cards.
Related: Full guide to Bank of America's BankAmeriDeals cash-back deals
For those wondering how to save money during the holidays, these are the best offers we're seeing right now that can put money back in your pocket on purchases with Bank of America cards:
- Overstock.com: 10% back on your first purchase, with a maximum of $45 back (expires Nov. 15, 2022).
- Zazzle: 10% back on your first purchase, with a maximum of $9 back (expires Nov. 19, 2022).
- Babbel: 10% back on your first purchase of a subscription service of at least $37.95, with a maximum of $9.50 back (expires Nov. 19, 2022).
- Godiva: 10% back on your first purchase, with a maximum of $13 back (expires Nov. 29, 2022).
These targeted credit card offers provide cash back at eligible merchants, and offers can change regularly. As with other programs, you need to add a deal to your eligible card first before making a purchase.
If you click on an offer, you can read the terms to see which types of purchases are eligible for the offer. Most offers will say that they are valid only on your first purchase with that merchant after adding the offer to your card.
Capital One Offers
Those with Capital One credit cards can take advantage of Capital One offers. Here are some of the best Capital One Offers we're seeing right now for holiday purchases:
- Sam's Club: Up to 12% back (new memberships) or as low as 1.5% on standard purchases.
- H&M: 12% back.
- Apple: 3% back.
- Macy's: 5% back.
- Ulta Beauty: 7% back.
- Uniqlo: 6% back.
- Sephora: 5% back.
- The North Face: 15% back.
- Lego: Up to 6% back.
- Journeys: 12% back.
Capital One Offers function differently than programs like Amex Offers and Chase Offers, so it's important to understand how these work.
Related: Complete guide to saving money with Capital One Offers
You can scroll through Capital One offers or can search for a merchant in the search bar at the top. You'll notice that the main page here doesn't show any deadlines for these offers.
If you click on a particular merchant's offer, details are available. This is where the peculiarities of Capital One Offers become apparent.
To use these offers, you must follow the link from the "Continue to Merchant" button at the top of the offer details page. Many of these offers require using them within 24 hours, and backing away from the link you followed can lead to not receiving the cash back from your offer.
That's because these offers function using cookies to track your progress from adding the offer to completing a purchase. In this way, it functions like a shopping portal (more on those below).
Of the programs that list an ending date or expiration for offers, Chase Offers tend to have the shortest lifespan and don't apply across multiple charges. These offers are available on all Chase credit cards and debit cards — both personal and small-business cards.
Related: Your ultimate guide to Chase Offers
These are the best offers we're seeing available right now:
- Bloomingdale's: Get 15% back, with a maximum of $20 back (expires Nov. 24, 2022).
- Banana Republic: Get 15% back, with a maximum of $10 back (expires Nov. 24, 2022).
- Gap Factory: Get 20% back, with a maximum of $10 back (expires Nov. 24, 2022).
- Adidas.com: Get 10% back, with a maximum of $17 back (expires Nov. 28, 2022).
- The Art of Shaving: Get 10% back, with a maximum of $16 back (expires Dec. 8, 2022).
- Under Armour: Get 5% back, with a maximum of $6 back (expires Dec. 15, 2022).
- Callaway Golf: Get 10% back, with a maximum of $46 back (expires Dec. 15, 2022).
- Aeropostale.com: Get 10% back, with a maximum of $9 back (expires Dec. 31, 2022).
- Vineyard Vines: Get 10% back, with a maximum of $20 back (expires Dec. 31, 2022).
The good thing about these offers is that they clearly show how many days are remaining until the promotion ends. However, you'll need to click on an offer to find more details, such as spending thresholds to trigger the rebate.
For example, this offer for ShopDisney.com advertises 10% back, and you don't have to spend a minimum amount of money to get a statement credit of 10% back. However, there is a maximum rebate you can receive: $5. After spending $50, you'll maximize this offer and won't get any additional money back, no matter how much you spend.
Citi Merchant Offers
Citi doesn't provide a list of which cards have access to Citi Merchant Offers. However, most (if not all) Citi credit cards should have access to these deals.
Related: More cards added to Citi Merchant Offers: How to snag statement credits on travel, dining and more
Here's how to save money during the holidays with some of the best offers Citi is showing right now:
- Uber Eats: Spend $25 or more, get $10 back (expires Nov. 30, 2022).
- Sam's Club: Get 5% back on a single transaction (expires Nov. 30, 2022).
- GameStop: Get 3% back on a single transaction (expires Dec. 1, 2022).
- Men's Wearhouse: Get 3% back on a single transaction (expires Dec. 23, 2022).
- Aeropostale: Get 3% back on a single transaction (expires Dec. 23, 2022).
- Carter's OshKosh B'gosh: Get 2% back on a single transaction (expires Dec. 23, 2022).
- MACcosmetics.com: Get 4.5% back on a single transaction (expires Dec. 23, 2022).
- UrbanOutfitters.com: Get 3% back on a single transaction (expires Dec. 23, 2022).
- H&M: Get 2% back on a single transaction (expires Dec. 23, 2022).
- Tommy Hilfiger: Spend $75 or more, get $15 back (expires Dec. 31, 2022).
One of the positives about Citi's offers is that you often can add the same offer to more than one credit card. One of the downsides, however, is that merchants (especially restaurants) tend to be those near the mailing address on your account — that's not very helpful on your next vacation.
When you click on an offer, you can scroll down to see details. These details will tell you whether an offer can be used more than once, when the offer expires and which purchases are eligible. That includes whether online, in-person or both types of transactions qualify.
Make sure to read the terms
As mentioned several times, it's important to read the terms of these offers. This will help you ensure that you receive the credit or bonus points you're expecting.
Key items to look for include the following:
- When the offer ends.
- Whether the offer applies to a single transaction or more than one.
- If there is a minimum spending amount required in order to receive the rebate or bonus points.
- What types of transactions are eligible and where those transactions must take place (online, limited numbers of stores, etc.).
- Whether the offer applies to purchases, subscription services or anything offered by that merchant.
- If certain products are excluded, such as gift cards.
- Whether you need to follow a special link when shopping with that merchant in order to receive the rebate.
Stack with shopping portals
I mentioned shopping portals briefly and it's worth highlighting these in their own section. Shopping portals allow you to use one or two extra clicks during your online shopping experience and reap extra rewards. These can come in the format of a set amount of cash back, a percent of cash back or bonus points.
Rather than drawing this out here, we have resources that will help you understand how adding a shopping portal in the mix can help you triple-dip during your online shopping: the bonus received from the shopping portal, the bonus or rebate earned from the credit card offer and the points or cash back that your credit card earns when you spend money.
See the following articles for more details:
- Earn even more rewards by adding this one small step to your online shopping routine
- Your guide to maximizing shopping portals for your online purchases
- The beginner's guide to airline shopping portals
- Download these 4 shopping portal buttons to amplify your earnings
- Don’t want to miss out on earning bonus points? There’s an extension for that
Use spending credits on your cards to cover gifts
It's also worth mentioning that you may be able to get holiday gifts without spending any of your own money. Consider credit cards that offer credits monthly, quarterly or annually. Here are two examples:
The Platinum Card® from American Express offers up to $100 in shopping credits with Saks Fifth Avenue each year. This is available as a maximum of $50 from January to June and another $50 from July to December. If you purchase a gift for a friend or relative that costs $50 or less, you could receive your statement credit from American Express and have $0 in out-of-pocket expenses for that gift. Enrollment is required in advance for this benefit.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers up to $300 in travel credits each year. What counts as travel is defined broadly here, and you could purchase a bus pass, gift card for train rides or another travel-themed gift for someone and receive reimbursement for your purchase.
Related: Which purchases count as travel with the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
If you're thinking about how to save money during the holidays, giving gifts that cost you nothing (or next to nothing) in the end is a great money-saving tool.
Related: Monthly checklist: Credit card perks and benefits you should be using this month
Giving gifts for the holidays doesn't need to break the bank. With these tips on how to save money during the holidays, you should have a good understanding of how your credit cards can play a vital role in reducing your expenses.
Between credit card rebate offers, shopping portals and your credit card's built-in perks, you may be able to get extra rewards or money back on your holiday purchases. And if you stack all of these, you might even get bonus points while purchasing a gift that didn't actually cost you anything in the end.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Yellin.