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PayPal bonus bonanza: Amex and Chase go head-to-head in offering up to 10x this holiday season

Nov. 02, 2021
4 min read
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Welcome offers and everyday spending are some of the ways cardholders can accumulate thousands of points and miles every year.

But as we sprint into the final months of the year, there's another (underrated) way you can earn a sizable haul of points this year: limited-time bonus spending offers. This holiday season, you could earn up to 50,000 additional points with your eligible cards — and all with relatively low lift.

Both Amex and Chase are currently running spending offers with PayPal on participating cards, so the credit cards you usually use for online shopping may be different this year. Here's everything you need to know.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)

Cardholders of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card or the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (not available to new applicants) can earn 10 points per dollar (up to 50,000 bonus points) when you check out with PayPal through Dec. 31.

With the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, cardholders traditionally earn 2x on non-bonus purchases — so you're looking at 8 additional points per dollar with this promotion. You'll need to activate the offer here by Dec. 17. Then, simply shop away. Thousands of online retailers accept PayPal as a payment method at checkout, so it's just a matter of using your Marriott Bonvoy Amex card and accruing 8x on the first $6,250 spent by the end of the year (and you'll earn 2x on non-bonus purchases) for potential earnings of up to 10x.

TPG values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.8 cents each, so you can also think of this offer as getting a lucrative 8% return on your online shopping.

Chase Freedom Flex

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Chase Freedom Flex offers 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories you activate, on the first $1,500 spent. While the bonus categories change every quarter, the year's final quarter usually includes PayPal — ideal for maximizing earnings on all of your holiday shopping.

Cardholders who maximize this $1,500 threshold every quarter will earn 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points — for a grand haul of 30,000 points annually.

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While it's not necessarily a surprise that the Chase Freedom Flex offers PayPal in the final quarter of the year, the issuer has also announced a limited-time offer that coincides nicely with the rotating categories. Until the end of the year, there's a promotion to earn 4% additional cash back on your "top spend category" from the following categories:

With some strategy in mind, you could double-dip on your earnings with this quarter's PayPal and Walmart bonus and this new top spending category promotion to earn a whopping 13x on your purchases by the end of the year — for a potential of up to 19,500 points, worth $390 for travel.

Bottom line

This holiday season, your eligible credit card could net you thousands of bonus points. If you happen to carry both the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant and the Chase Freedom Flex in your wallet, you'll have to decide if you would rather earn bonus points through Marriott Bonvoy or the Ultimate Rewards program. If you're able to maximize the spending threshold on both cards, your travels could really take off in the new year with thousands of points readily available in your account balances.

While it's not necessarily a surprise that the Chase Freedom Flex offers PayPal in the final quarter of the year, it's interesting that Marriott announces this promotion following last week's massive news of the program scrapping its award charts in 2022 in favor of dynamic pricing. That said, there's still time to book your award stays now before these changes officially take place in March (with no official date announced), even using your bonus points earned from this promotion for a dream stay in a high-value property before rates go up.

Featured image by Photo by Eva Katalin Kondoros / Getty Images
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.