How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases

By Elizabeth Lang. Last updated 19 April 2017. 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!

Discover it® Cashback Match™

Would 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™ for your holiday season shopping. Get 5% cash back in rotating categories up to the quarterly maximum each time 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 14 months on purchases and balance transfers (then a variable APR of 11.49%-23.49%). There is no annual fee.

Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom® card allows you to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Chase also has an online shopping portal that gives you extra cash back. There is no annual fee.

Get a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus get 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, after which a variable APR of 15.74%-24.49% will apply . Balance transfers have a fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

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

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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.