How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases

By Elizabeth Lang. Last updated 3 May 2016. 2 comments

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How much did you spend during the holiday season last year? How much will you spend this year? Think for a moment.

Perhaps you'll spend $500-$1000 on gifts?

And what about food and clothes?

Whether you're kicking off the season by hosting Thanksgiving or just bringing appetizers to holiday dinner parties, you may spend an extra $300 on food. A new outfit for New Years Eve along with tickets to a show or two during the holiday season will run about $200. And travel? If you have to travel anywhere, you're looking at $50 for a tank of gas (at least) and upwards of $2,000 if you're buying plane tickets for your whole family.

The reality is that the holidays cost a lot of money.

Thankfully there are 5% cash back credit cards that will ease the strain on your wallet this season. (Or at least give you a boost in your cash reserves in January when you're able to redeem the rewards.) If you spend $3,500 during the holidays on a 5% back card, you'd be entitled to $175 in cash back rewards. Even if you just spend $500, with a 5% rewards card you'll get $25 back.

So before you head out to purchase gifts (and dinner party supplies, and a new outfit, and plane tickets), consider picking up one of these top 5% cash back rewards cards for the holiday season.

Target REDcard

When I think of Christmas shopping, I immediately think of Target. This is because as a kid I would save up my money and my parents would let me visit Target by myself and buy presents for everyone. (For several years my present of choice was a one dollar box of mint holiday cookies.) Target has gifts for everyone on your list — from clothes to electronics. Get 5% off all your Target purchases with the Target REDcard; plus with groceries in many stores you'll also save 5% on food for the holidays. Cardholders can also get free shipping on their purchases along with an additional 30 days to return an item.

Click here to learn more and apply for the Target REDcard today!

Blue Cash Preferred Card® from American Express

If you're hosting Thanksgiving, a New Year's Dinner, or a party anytime in between, you'll likely be paying a pretty penny for food. Thankfully, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers 6% back (yes, that's 6%, not 5%) at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases. For those traveling by car during the holidays, this card also offers 3% back at U.S. gas stations. Shopping at select U.S. department stores also gets you 3% back. Cash back comes in the form of Reward Dollars, which can be used towards statement credit.

Sign up for this card now to receive their special offer of $350 back after meeting purchase requirements (offer ends June 15, 2016). You'll also get some relief with their 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months (after that, your APR will be a variable 13.24%-23.24% based on your credit). There is a $75 annual fee for this card. Terms and limitations apply.

Click here to learn more and apply for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express today!

Discover it® Cashback Match™ with No annual fee

credit cardWould you rather avoid the holiday lines on Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and every other day in between by shopping online? If you prefer shopping online, then use (or apply for) the Discover it® Cashback Match™ with No annual fee for your holiday season shopping. Get 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter, up to $1500 every quarter you activate; you get 1% cash back on all other purchases. With Cashback Match™, Discover matches all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year — automatically. You also get your recent FICO Credit Scores for free on monthly statements and online.

The card currently offers 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (then a variable APR of 11.24%-23.24%).

Click here to learn more and apply for the Discover it® Cashback Match™ with No annual fee today!

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom® card gives 5% total cash back on quarterly bonus categories as well (1% on all other purchases). Note that the 5% back is limited to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter (so $75 cash back), and you must enroll your card to activate the bonus each quarter. Chase also has an online shopping portal that gives you extra cash back. There is no annual fee.

Sign up now to get $150 bonus cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Earn another $25 after you add an authorized user and make a purchase within 3 months. Plus get 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.

No matter what your plans are for the holidays this year, there's a card that can help you earn 5% back.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.

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Guest's picture

I think people forget about the hidden costs of the holidays. I'm guilty of buying a new top when maybe I could just wear a festive colored one that I already have. Thanks for the reminder. I'm hoping to score some cash back this year.

Guest's picture

You have the current Chase Freedom categories completely wrong. They should be Amazon and select department stores.